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December 2011

Spank's LFF Diary: The Wrap Party 2011

Bye Sandra (mixed media, 2011, click to enlarge)Or perhaps we could go with SpodoKomodo's suggestion of 'The Creeping Sense of Post-Festival Ennui' as a title this year. Whatever. With London Film Festival 2011 fast becoming a distant memory, here's our reviewing team to sum up what they thought of it - new reviews from Lesley, and final thoughts from The Cineaste, The Belated Birthday Girl and me.

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Simian Substitute Site For November 2011: Powder Monkey Fireworks


Comics: Anna Mercury (last published April 2010). Doktor Sleepless (last published August 2009). Fell (last published January 2008). Desolation Jones (last published December 2006). My magazine rack has all these examples of comics series which Warren Ellis has started, and then put on extended hiatus partway through owing to production issues and/or finding something else to do. Up until last week, I would have included Captain Swing And The Electrical Pirates Of Cindery Island in that list: but the fourth and final issue has just come out, some twenty months after the first one. Illustrated in the over-elaborate Avatar Press house style by Raulo Caceres, it shows Ellis racking up a number of events from the 1830's - the formation of the London Metropolitan Police, the discovery of electromagnetic induction, the reign of terror of the mysterious Spring-Heeled Jack - and mashing them into an entertaining steampunk thriller, with pirates thrown in for good measure. It has all the usual Ellis trademarks: political subtext that never quite stays as subtext, sudden bursts of messy violence, and constantly inventive swearing. "More money than I could spend in this life... I could buy a country with the change from having my cock cast in gold every day!" He's still a knob for blocking me on Twitter, though.

Movies: The big Bollywood movie for Diwali is Ra.One, reportedly the most expensive film made to date in India. It's been hyped to high heaven over the last few months, as it would need to be to have any hope of making its money back. But two days after its mid-week opening, I caught it on a Friday night playing to a quarter-full house. It's the story of a video game designer (played by Shahrukh Khan), the 'ultimate villain' he creates (the Ra.One of the title), and what happens when that villain breaks out of the game and into the real world. The much-touted effects are okay, but they pale in comparison to the sheer unbridled mentalism of last year's YouTube hit Robot (explicitly referenced at one point). And they're obviously where all the money has gone: the 3D conversion is somewhat basic, the script even more so. Anubhav Sinha directs the whole thing like Michael Bay without the subtlety - the first, London-based half in particular is painful to watch with its over-frantic cutting. It's got to be a bad sign that just four days after watching Ra.One, I couldn't tell you anything about its ending, except that the end title crawl lasts over ten minutes and they run out of music halfway through it.

Music: There's an important question to be asked about Tom Waits' Bad As Me: which dimmo had the bright idea of fixing a non-removable sticker directly onto its cardboard sleeve? Particularly when it's just a sticker full of words from various magazines telling us it's one of the best albums of the year. Underneath the sticker are the words 'Tom Waits', which basically would have told us the same thing. It feels like a Waits Greatest Hits compilation, taking styles and themes from everything he's done over the last thirty years, but with all new songs (his first new songs in seven years, lest we forget). It's all comfortingly familiar and splendidly new at the same time. Interested in finding out more? Then why not come to Tom's Private Listening Party?

Continue reading "Simian Substitute Site For November 2011: Powder Monkey Fireworks" »