I don’t think I ever actually wrote about the original Happy Death Day, it came out in one of those periods when I hadn’t the energy for anything. Yeah, I actually have two and a half paragraphs about it sitting in the draft folder that constitutes my recycle bin. It was a fun and poppy flick. I compared it to other Groundhog Day x whatever genre movies and found it to be well placed in the pack.
Clint Eastwood always looks like he’s wearing shoes two sizes two small nowadays. In The Mule he casts himself as a ninety year old failed horticulturalist who — out of a misplaced sense of pride — instead of turning to the family he abandoned years before, starts running drugs in order to make a living. His perpetual irascibility serves him well, he seems like a man that it just ain’t worth the time to fuck with.
About halfway through my screening of Stan and Ollie, someone sitting behind me said — in reference to the antics of the leads’ respective wives — ‘These bloody women.’ A strange reaction to have, I thought, given that they’re the best part of the film. I mean, the tale of Laurel and Hardy’s farewell tour of the UK is mostly pleasant enough, but lacks definition without a meaningful external lens through which to view them. Up until that point you’re just watching two talented actors do a perfectly serviceable impression of two others.
Just imagine being Rachel McAdams for a second.
At university I wrote my dissertation on the similarities between postmodern theatre and video games. Sort of taking what Auslander wrote about in Liveness and reflecting it back; analysing how design is being increasingly influenced by the performative desire of players. As a part of that I looked at Alternate Reality Games, comparing their successes to the continued failure of the modernist design ideals inherent in virtual reality. In short, the gameplay of an ARG is only tangentially connected to the actual puzzle design work of its creator — the real play comes in the interaction between the community trying to solve it.
The way that Crystal Moselle shoots skateboarding feels a lot like anybody else would shoot flying. It is loose and liberating, the camera gliding alongside as they perform, humanity captured in the shared joy of movement. The drama of Skate Kitchen comes in the fact that this promise is not one held up by society. While the skate park should itself be a meritocratic space, your skill on the board legitimizing your right to ride, it is not immune from the prejudices that consume the rest of society.
Say what you will about Michael Caine, at eighty five he’s still plugging away. Even if nowadays people are giving him less to do, he’s still turning up when called. Steady hand on the tiller, and if the audience can overcome the accent then they follow that man anywhere. Or maybe that’s just the British.