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The Good the Bad and the Multiplex - The Ex-Communicator

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December 1st, 2011


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08:14 pm - The Good the Bad and the Multiplex
This week I have been listening on my i-Pod to Mark Kermode, the film critic, read his own rantings about film 'The Good the Bad and the Multiplex: what's wrong with modern movies.' I like Kermode. He's powerfully irascible, but he seems like a nice bloke. The sections, or essays or whatever they are, are about:

Prologue: Mourning the loss of the projectionist in modern cinema
Chapter 1: Funny ranting anecdote about how awful it is to try and see a film in a multiplex, with incompetent staff and the horrors of an incorrect aspect ratio
Chapter 2: Modern summer blockbusters are utter shite
Chapter 3: 3-D is a waste of time, and will fail
Chapter 4: Being a film critic - why oh why does he even bother
Chapter 5: Why the Oscars and the US Market have a distorting effect on British cinema, forcing it into a narrow heritage/monarchist groove
Chapter 6: A smashing overview of non-English-language films, and why we should watch them in the original language (with subtitles) and not remake them and ruin them
Epilogue: Regret that celluloid is being replaced by digital film

Amiable ranting fun.

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:matildabj
Date:December 1st, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
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Sounds like a good palate-cleanser after too many academic texts. Thanks for the rec!

Have you seen the latest Walking Dead yet, btw? OMG.
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From:communicator
Date:December 1st, 2011 08:46 pm (UTC)
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No, I haven't been watching it. Do you recommend this season? Is it still as sexist as it was :-) Daryl is the one I like.
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From:matildabj
Date:December 1st, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
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Daryl's still very much in it, and has definitely developed since S1, as have most of the characters and their relationships among the group. I'd say read my last post to get an idea of what it's like - but then that would spoil you for the ending, which I thought was really well done.

You're right about it being sexist, although it is set in Georgia, where men are men and can legally fire a gun from the age of 14 afaik.
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From:ajr
Date:December 1st, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
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Not only is it still sexist, it now has added pro-life messages.

That aside, I'm not sure if I'd recommend it. Largely because events have been happening at a glacial pace, which makes things really boring. For a show supposedly about the struggle to live through a zombie apocalypse, this is nothing short of criminal. I missed an episode (the Sky+ recording failed) and it felt like I hadn't missed anything at all, so slow had things been moving. I can't rightly say if I'll be picking it up again after the mid-season break.
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From:tehomet
Date:December 1st, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
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Oh no, not an incorrect aspect ratio! :D
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From:communicator
Date:December 1st, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
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It's a massive issue to Kermode. And funnily enough Charlie Brooker was ranting on about it this week too.
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From:ajr
Date:December 1st, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
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When I saw Knocked Up in the cinema, for the first ten minutes everyone looked very short and very fat because the projectionist had put the wrong lens in the projector. It was awful, really awful, so I suppose that makes me an aspect-ratio nazi too. The only thing that annoys me more than an incorrect aspect ratio is a picture that is in the correct aspect ratio, but zoomed in so part of the picture is cut off - that is, how most people watch 4:3 programmes on their widescreen TV, because they "Don't like the black bars down the side". Nevermind that they lose the top and bottom of the picture when they zoom in, they'd rather that than have the black bars and the full picture. *sob*
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From:communicator
Date:December 1st, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
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I do agree with you ajr; it's just that Kermode makes it funny the way he blusters on. In this book he goes out and asks the cinema manager to fix the problem, but they won't. Idiots! I've done it, and the Showcase at Coventry are great, they just fix it right away.
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From:ajr
Date:December 1st, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
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I shall have to read the book to see Kermode's blustering, then; I actually have it to hand, but it fell down the pecking order, but I'll kick it back up again now.

Sounds like you've got a good cinema, possibly one with several projectionists, if they can fix a problem right away. It takes a while to fix complaints at my local, because there's probably only one projectionist covering all the screens. There was a period a few years back when there was a problem just about every single time I went to see a film.

Right, that's it. I've gone and talked myself to bumping the Kermode book up to the top of the pile now.
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From:communicator
Date:December 3rd, 2011 12:14 pm (UTC)
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Part of what is funny about the book is his exasperated manic delivery, hope that comes across in print.
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From:londonkds
Date:December 2nd, 2011 12:56 pm (UTC)
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My only big objection to the Kermode book is that I will seriously argue against anyone that the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy is a genuinely good and important work of fantasy cinema. (Haven't seen the fourth, because these things usually go downhill after they dump the protagonist of the original story - who is NOT Jack Sparrow.)
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From:communicator
Date:December 3rd, 2011 12:14 pm (UTC)
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Sorry I didn't reply before - lj has been bloody annoying - I liked the first PotC. I was interested that the PotC series bucks the trend which Kermode rightly identifies, that big-budget comedies tend to do badly. I think there's something about 'big budget' and 'comedy' that feels a bit forced.

I think that Jack Sparrow's humour, which so worried the studio execs originally that they wanted to take it out, by-passes this problem, because we feel that Depp is talking to us over the heads of the studio execs. He is winking at us, rather than force-feeding comedy to us. As if he's getting away with something. He more or less was.
From:huskyscotsman
Date:December 3rd, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC)
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I liked the first PotC too. The only complaint I tend to hear from people who don't like it is that "they keep going back to the same island!" Yes, okay, they go to the Isle of MacGuffin in the middle, leave, then go back again at the end. It's not that confusing, or redundant, and the plot actually makes sense. And lots of the actors are amusing, not just Johnny Depp. It's great how much fun Geoffrey Rush is clearly having.

The guy who plays the first mate, Kevin McNally, totally cracks me up. When he opened the first movie in that pitch-perfect Hollywood nautical accent with "cursed pirates sail these waters!" or some such, I knew I was going to love that movie. I mean, not just pirates, but cursed pirates. Funny how if he'd said "accursed" you might think he just dislikes pirates, but "cursed" definitely means there's some actual hexing going on.

Shame the next two movies were only so-so. Haven't seen the fourth yet.

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