It’s the pictures that got small

This week I saw my first Hitchcock on the big screen. I grew up in the ’80s, which meant that I first and, more often than not, only saw the classics of cinema on TV – and in the ’80s that meant, what, screens that were 30 inches across if you were lucky? TVs were big, bulky monstrosities, but the screens weren’t particularly big – which was good, really, because television channels broadcast images that were relatively fuzzy. If you sat close enough to the screen so that it filled your field of vision (and you could smell that weird electric smell), what you saw was basically impressionist art.

North By Northwest

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The Rear-View Mirror: Luther (2010)

Each Friday we travel back in time, one year at a time, for a look at some of the cultural goodies that may appear closer than they really are in The Rear-View Mirror. Join us on our weekly journey into the past!

Look, I get it. Luther is no longer the same now, compare to its first season in 2010. We still get to see Idris Elba playing the lead, his loyal sidekick DS Justin Ripley, gruff DSU Martin Schenk, Benny Silver and many other cool names that turn up for a few episodes or a whole season, like Saskia Reeves, Rose Leslie, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Indira Varma or Sienna Guillory. But since Alice Morgan dropped out of DCI John Luther’s life (and Ruth Wilson out of the series), something is missing.

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The Cons of Cons

Even though I greatly enjoyed Looper, Brick and, yes, The Last Jedi, it took me until last weekend to check out Rian Johnson’s sophomore film, The Brothers Bloom. It’s a strange film, strongly recalling the arch constructions of Wes Anderson while still breathing with a fabulating, downright sexy verve that’s not frequently found in Anderson’s works. There’s a willfulness to The Brothers Bloom that, in my eyes, makes it the closest of Johnson’s works to The Last Jedi. And, last but not least, it has reminded me of two things:

I love a good con movie.

But I cannot, will not, trust a con movie.

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Fringe Benefits 2018

Every few years I head to the Edinburgh Fringe for a week of theatre, comedy and impromptu games of Avoid The Leafleteers. This year we were once again ready to brave the professional performances, the amateur dramatics and the wind, drizzle and fog. As always, the range of shows to see was immense: from queasy comedy (or is it?) about toxic masculinity via Korean mashups of Shakespeare, folklore and calligraphy to immersive flights on Schroedinger Airlines, but also from accomplished acting and acrobatics to the decidedly more homespun and rough around the edges – but often no less engaging for that.

Edinburgh Fringe

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The Rear-View Mirror: Rango (2011)

Each Friday we travel back in time, one year at a time, for a look at some of the cultural goodies that may appear closer than they really are in The Rear-View Mirror. Join us on our weekly journey into the past!

Gore Verbinski has a lot to answer for.

Rango

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Some unhappy families are unluckier than others

Looks like A24, founded in 2012 and quickly becoming a major player in movie distribution, is pulling quality horror flicks out of a hat with disquieting regularity: they brought us The VVitch in 2015, It Comes At Night and The Killing of a Sacred Deer last year. Ok, for some, Sacred Deer is not exactly a horror movie, but like the others, it features a family in distress. And so does Hereditary. And if you find an unhappier, unluckier family than the Grahams anywhere in film or literature, you were looking maybe too hard. Continue reading

A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #13: The films of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3Join us for another A Damn Fine Cup of Culture podcast, in which we have a look at the indie horror and sci-fi films of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, from the huis-clos Resolution via Spring‘s dreamy summer body horror romance to cosmic horror/sibling drama The Endless. On the way, we also stop by 1970s New York with The Deuce and dark, original genre mix Colossal, in which Anne Hathaway inadvertently destroys much of downtown Seoul – hey, it’s happened to all of us.

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