June 13th, 2003

breaking bad

No, it just feels like it

I think the most common topic of conversation I've been involved in over the last two weeks is - The Matrix Reloaded: crap or not? I've been very much on the 'crap' side of the debate.

However here is a very good article by Adam Roberts on Matrix R. Now Roberts is a highly intelligent individual, author of several excellent books including Salt, which I think is an unusually good bit of political SF. I always read his online columns.

This is an open minded review. What he argues is that the form exemplifies the content. Here is a flavour:

when compared with the climax of the first movie, this adventure, its vicissitudes ... appear on the screen in an almost desultory fashion. The whole action sequence is then interrupted by a lengthy, slow-paced dialogue between Neo and the Architect in which concepts and language of rebarbative difficulty are exchanged, draining away narrative momentum further. But this, I think, is a deliberate device: by shifting the climax of this movie back towards the narrative midpoint the Wachowski brothers articulate in cinematic terms the experience of existing post-climactically.

In other words

So frequently repeated is this trope of expectation-excitement-disillusionment that is dominates the form and mood of the whole picture. In other words disillusionment is precisely what The Matrix dramatises: ... Indeed, the Wachowski's boldest aesthetic experiment is to try and represent disillusionment, anti-climax, in the idiom of the climax-addicted form of Hollywood action-blockbuster.

I don't buy it, but it is a generous and creative way to read the film. Towards the end of his review Roberts mentions (for obvious reasons) Nietzsche's concept of eternal recurrence. Just as Nietzsche enjoined us to embrace the mind-numbing tedium of enternal recurrence, and by consenting to it become empowered, so Roberts urges us to embrace the disappointment of this film, and reclaim it as an artistic experience in its own right.

This is exactly how I watch Tarkovsky movies, so perhaps he's on to something.

And - god I am going on aren't I? - If we get something out of a film, does it matter whether it was put in there on purpose?
breaking bad

But it was all done in the best possible taste

Pupils in a school in Berkshire have persuaded their teachers to strip off and be photographed for a nude pin-up calendar, reminiscent of the notorious Women's Institute calendar of 1999 (due to be made into a film any day now).

'The teachers were so keen that the calendar had to be extended by four months to include all 16 who volunteered.'

The biology teacher appears particularly pleased with himself.
breaking bad


While having my hair cut today I amused myself by thinking of my top five all-time film kisses. This is in the order they occurred to me, not necessarily in thrill order.

1 - Robert Carlyle and Linus Roache in 'Priest'

2 - Harrison Ford and Sean Young in Blade Runner

3 - Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in 'From Here to Eternity'

4 - Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh in eXistenZ

5 - Russell Crowe with both Joaquin Phoenix and Connie Nielsen in Gladiator (the latter was more of a thrill to be honest)

I have had a quiet week at work, with my boss away, and next week it will be all change. I've enjoyed doing a lot of webloggy stuff this week, reading and contributing.