A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #9: Legion

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3Tune in for episode 9 of A Damn Fine Cup of Culture, which looks back at the first season of Legion, one of the most unique and exciting superhero narratives – especially for those out there who have had it with men and women in suits saving the universe – after we briefly stop by the Ozarks for a quick spot of money laundering and TV drama, hang out on the desert planet with Alejandro Jodorowsky and friends and check out the gruesome murders and medieval mansplaining of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. Continue reading

The way it really happened

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, there are a few things you probably know by now: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is one of the best films ever. Six Feet Under is a sadly underrated HBO gem worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as Deadwood, The Sopranos and The Wire.

And, most of all: I have an intense dislike of anything Based On A True Story.

Spotlight

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You can’t go home again

Mobile Homes is a good movie, no doubt, but there is a kind of void in its middle that prevents it from turning into a great movie. Bear with me. It’s the story of Ali (Imogen Poots), her young son Bone (Frank Oulton), and step-dad Evan (Callum Turner) who live out of Evan’s truck and drift from place to place, selling roosters for cockfights or reselling probably stolen household gadgets. They are chronically broke and often have to resort to dining and dashing, a trick that Bone has to do far too often. They are one broken exhaust pipe away from being homeless. I don’t doubt that Ali and Evan love each other, even if they also cling to each other out of necessity, and that Evan tries to be as good a step-dad to Bone as he can, although Ali and Evan often send Bone to find empty homes so they can do their B & E spiel. Life cannot go on like this for much longer. Continue reading

A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #8: Annihilation

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3Tune in for episode 8 of A Damn Fine Cup of Culture, which takes us to Area X and the Shimmer. Will we come back from our discussion of Alex Garland’s Annihilation unchanged? We also spend an all too short summer vacation in early ’80s Italy with Call Me By Your Name‘s Elio and Oliver and have a quick drink with Jessica Jones (watch out for season 2 spoilers from 11:40 to 13:10). Continue reading

Romance is shaped like a fish

I was prepared not to be a big fan of The Shape of Water. It looked twee and self-indulgent, and several people whose tastes I trust were lukewarm on it at best. TheĀ Hellboy movies didn’t do much for me, nor did Pacific Rim – but worse, I’d never really warmed to Guillermo del Toro’s biggest critical darling, Pan’s Labyrinth. I liked Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone, and I have a clandestine soft spot for Blade 2‘s comic book operatics, but more often than not I’ve liked del Toro’s endearing enthusiasm and the aesthetics of his films more than the films themselves.

Imagine my surprise when I really enjoyed The Shape of Water.

The Shape of Water

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The Long Read

For a while, in the 1990s, I read all the Stephen King novels I could get my hands on. Killer clowns, pet revenants, rabid St. Bernards: I devoured them all, most of them repeatedly. It’s safe to say that I was a fan – but in spite of that, it wasn’t the telekinetic teens or the possessed Plymouth Furies that scared me most. No, it was the sheer length of those massive tomes: hundreds and hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of pages of horror, Americana and thinly veiled author stand-ins.

IT Continue reading