Movie Diary: ‘Surveillance,’ ‘Push,’ and ‘The Mighty Boosh’

07.14.09 8 years ago

BBC Video

No matter how much I write, it never seems to be enough.

I think the purpose of this blog, more than anything, should be to keep an ongoing and evolving record of everything I’m watching and reading and playing, and then to offer up long-form reactions to those things as they warrant.  And no matter how many hours a week I put in, I only ever seem to write about a percentage of it all.

That has to change.

And since there’s no way I’m going to cut back on the number of movies I see and I’m not going to suddenly discover more hours in a day, something else has to change.

So let’s try this.  At the end of each day, I’ll post my thoughts on everything viewed that day.  In some cases, I will later write a full review, and in some cases, I won’t.  Just depends on how much more there is to say.

In a perfect world, this will eventually allow me to cover, to some extent, every single thing I watch.  I’m sure this will take some time to snap into focus as a column and as a habit, but I’m betting this can relieve at least a little of the self-generating stress I almost always feel these days.

Let’s start by recapping the weekend we just wrapped up, which should give you some indication of the format for the column and just how much I watch in an average day.

“The Mighty Boosh”
Series 2, Disc 1

I’m late to the party on this show.  I’ve seen bits and pieces of it over the years, but it’s only in the last week since the DVDs of all three series of the show arrived here at the house that I’ve been immersing myself in the bizarre alternate reality created by Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding.

[more after the jump]

The first disc of the second series features some great episodes, including “Nanageddon” and “The Legend Of Old Gregg.”  One thing I love about the Boosh is how you can see a direct lineage between what they do and the history of British comedy.  It’s fresh and surreal and frequently insane, but the basic comedy relationship betwee uptight “jazz man” Howard Moon (Barratt) and laid back fashion-crazy Vince Noir (Fielding) is absolutely classic, and I love the dynamic between the two of them.  If you’re not already onboard, and you have any interest at all in lunatic English humor, all three series are about to be released on DVD in the US, and you owe yourself some private time with the Boosh.

“RiP – A Remix Manifesto”

Brett Gaylor’s documentary plays right into an ongoing concern of mine, the way copyright and creation maintain an uneasy tension, and how that tension is building towards what I’m guessing will be a seismic paradigm shift.  Girl Talk, a collage artist whose musical mash-ups can be intoxicating, is one of the main interview subjects, along with Cory Doctorow, one of the editors of Boing Boing, a website I love precisely because of the way they cover these issues on a daily basis.  The film may not answer all of the big questions it raises, but at least someone in our corporate-controlled culture has the balls to ask.


I wasn’t a fan of Jennifer Lynch’s first film, “Boxing Helena,” but I admired the ambition of it, and I fully acknowledge that growing up as the offspring of a singular artist like David Lynch could make it difficult to establish your own voice.  She makes some big steps forward with her new film, “Surveillance,” starring Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond as FBI agents who are tracking a serial killer.  An incident on the side of the road in a small town catches their attention, and they decide to investigate.  Revealing anything else about the plot would be unfair, but I can say that I think Lynch exhibits a strong sense of mood and a wicked dark sense of humor, and her script for the film (co-written with Kent Harper) is a nasty bit of business which suggests that Lynch does indeed have that voice of her own after all.

“Transformers” (BluRay)

I didn’t pick this up when it first came out, but on my last trip to Amoeba, Toshi was working the puppy dog eyes something fierce.  Since his birthday party this past Sunday was a “Transformers”-themed party (his choice) and I didn’t take him to see the first film in the theater (he was way too little), I figured I’d pick it up and surprise him with a post-party Daddy/Toshi screening.  Great transfer.  This film looks like “Chinatown,” script-wise, compared to the second film now, but it doesn’t seem to matter.  Tohsi loved every single second that there were robots onscreen, and it was a fun way to spend a few hours on a Sunday evening.


Oy.  As with “Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li,” this took me three different tries to make it all the way through.  Sorry, but the idea of a gritty real-world SF thriller would work better for me without Dakota Fanning and Camilla Belle as the leads.  There are some decent action beats, and Chris Evans continues to be a credible lead in search of a credible film.  But overall, it’s even hard to recommend to indiscerning genre nerds, and that’s saying something.

“The Deep” (BluRay)

I can honestly say there’s never been a better home video presentation of this Peter Yates adaptation of a mediocre Peter Benchley novel.  This BluRay transfer has that fuzzy ’70s anamorphic look, but the colors and the image are as good as that source material will ever allow, I’d wager.  The film’s got a sort of trashy ’70s TV mini-series vibe to it, but Robert Shaw classes the joint up even if he does seem blind shitfaced in 2/3 of his scenes.  He’s the old treasure hunter who shows Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bissett the ropes after they discover something that unlocks an underwater mystery.  Eli Wallach also contributes a memorable supporting turn.  Without the box-office clout of “Jaws,” no one would have ever made this into a film, but it’s sort of an interesting semi-dud to revisit, particularly with this new transfer.

So that’s what my weekend looked like, chipping away a little at a time on the movies amidst other things.  Probably the best of it was the Boosh at the very beginning, but i always love mixing things up like that.  Keeps it interesting.

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