What if, like, what IF I actually attempted to recreate my LJ theme over here? Although really, it would probably be easier to find a theme that I could just slap my header image into.
Although I should investigate if this one originally had something like that.
Anyway. I guess the thing I really enjoy is how icons I made about 10 years ago still look ok.
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A lot of things happened in 2020, but mostly they happened to other people because I didn’t leave the house for most of the year.
And like, I don’t really have anything to say here about those things.
Anyway, on to the customary look back at the new films I saw in 2020 from least liked to most liked. I didn’t step foot in a cinema all year1, so I’m not entirely sure how I ended up seeing a good 10-15 more new films than usual – especially since I had a hard time sitting down and watching anything much over an hour long – and somehow I ended up watching like 100 films in total which seems… excessive. In previous years, I’ve said something about each film – that’s not happening today lol.
Genus Pan – This and the next film were just SO boring. This is the kind of thing I end up seeing when there’s a global pandemic and the film festival I normally go to moves online removing the logistic obstacles that needing to get a train across town to another cinema puts in my way.
- Striding Into The Wind
Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal – Turns out I don’t enjoy interactive films
The Yalta Conference Online – In some ways, doing the Yalta Conference as a Zoom meeting was a good idea. In other ways, it was not.
- Motorcycle Drive By
David Byrne’s American Utopia – Maybe this was overhyped? Maybe I’m just not that into David Byrne’s music?
- The Light Side
- Summer Shade
- 180 Degree Rule
- I Am Patrick: The Patron Saint of Ireland
Possessor – Everything I heard about this one beforehand was like “oooh scary horror, oooh body horror” (I guess because Brandon Cronenberg did it) but like… it’s just a science fiction film. It’s not scary horror.
- Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And Legendary Tapes
- Shadow Country
- Sound for the Future
- Identifying Features
- The Real Right Stuff
Mulan – I still don’t get why so many of the animated Disney films get remade as live action (well, I mean, I DO, it’s for the money BUT STILL). This was… same old, same old I guess.
- Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb
- My Octopus Teacher
The Disciple – This was really good. I feel like a lot of good films seem to be way down the list but it’s just that I saw a lot of new films this year.
- The Old Guard
- African Apocalypse
Ari Eldjárn: Pardon My Icelandic – Does an hour-long Netflix comedy special count as a film? Well, I guess. It’s in the films section after all.
Jude – This is a film about someone I know and tbh I don’t know whether I can really categorise it in with all the others very well because it’s valuable to me AS a film about this person and it’s not there to be entertainment.
- One Man and His Shoes
- The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special
- The Reason I Jump
- John Was Trying to Contact Aliens
Soul – I wanted to go and see Soul as part of LFF but it was one of the in-person-at-the-cinema-only ones, which obviously was ridiculous because of the global pandemic, but then it eventually came to Disney Plus so here we are.
Undine – I kind of knew the folklore so I figured I knew what would happen, and then stuff happened and it didn’t seem like that but then you get to the end of the film and you realise that exactly what was supposed to happen did happen.
Mogul Mowgli – This was a big m o o d from start to finish.
“They ever ask you, “Where you from?”Like, “Where you really from?”The question seems simple, but the answer’s kinda long”
Stray – I don’t know what I expected when I got a ticket to see a film about stray dogs in Turkey – certainly not a film that’s told at dog-height, but it works and it was great.
Wolfwalkers – We all know that the villain has always been Oliver Cromwell. The art in this was fantastic,
Enola Holmes – I am here for a whole franchise of this. CHURN THEM OUT. I will watch them. Forever lol at Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes.
The Painter and the Thief – This kind of reminds me of the film Dancer, which was about Sergei Polunin, in that clearly they start making the film and don’t really have any idea of where the story will end up and then it ends up being amazing.
Never Gonna Snow Again – Funny but also kind of sad.
Another Round – Yes, the last like 5-10 minutes are fantastic, but I think they’re only so good because you’ve just watched the whole film before that part and you need to, to kind of get that release.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – I LOVE Eurovision and this was great and the best part is how we never actually find out who won that context because that is not the point – much in the same way that with real Eurovision, it’s not really winning that’s the point for me.
Rising Phoenix – This was a really good look at a few Paralympic athletes from various backgrounds. I really hope that the Games can go ahead this year if there is a safe-as-possible way to do so, but at the same time WILL it be possible?
Uncle Vanya – Ok, yes, this is the filmed version of a play that I did actually go to see in person, in the theatre, about a week before my workplace sent us all to work from home and maybe 10 days before the entire country did her first lockdown. I’m not convinced that all of the changes they made (mostly way the monologues played out, but how would I have it differently???) were all good choices, but when I watched this on TV, I still felt exactly as I had when I’d finished watching in the theatre. Would this play leave me as emotionally wrung out at the end in any other year? Maybe not, but maybe so. The set was even more beautiful in person, and I’m not sure that the film really captures that. Incredible 2020 vibes.
While I didn’t get to go to the cinema last year, I did manage to go to two gigs back in February – Dave Hause at the Union Chapel which was FANTASTIC and Asgeir at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, which was also delightful. Bedouin Soundclash was supposed to happen in May, but got pushed back to February 2021 and of course, it’s now been cancelled. I’m not sure that they’ll tour again so I’m glad I saw them when I could. The Star Wars concert that I was supposed to attend in March, was also cancelled, but I guess someone is always going to put on a Star Wars concert at the Royal Albert Hall, so that one will come around again one day.
1.I was going to say “weirdly,” but look, we all know what’s going on this year so it’s not weird at all.
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Considering the number of places my blog posts syndicate out to, you’d think I’d update a little more than I do. Such is life.
I’ve been catching up on a bunch of unread email newsletters in ye olde inbox and it’s like time-travel in a really nice way. The world when those missives were sent was still not that great a place but at least less of us were suffering and dying thanks to some pandemic and the failures of government.
The Home Screen newsletter (actually a recent edition, rather than one from some time last year) talked about how Adobe doesn’t like Photoshop to be used as a verb and I could only think that they probably wouldn’t be too fond of how I and a few other people say “potato-chopped” instead.
Read an article about people not remembering the 1918 Flu Pandemic and realising I had no idea that people don’t know about it? I guess a lot of people don’t study that period of history, and if they do learn about the First World War, they don’t learn about how there was this big double whammy of awful at the time. Plus, I guess, people who were alive then and are still alive now would have been tiny babies and there really aren’t that many of them left. And who hangs out with the elderly?
I mean, ok. I do and yeah, I knew a lady whose Dad survived WWI only to get it from flu when he came home – her mum used to drag her along to his grave on birthdays and Christmas and she hated it.
And I was thinking about it the other day, in the sense of “well how did we survive that?” but the thing is – millions and millions of us just didn’t. It’s that the way death works is that when you’re dead you’re not going to come back and chat about how you were sick and it was awful.
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As much as I enjoy academic study, signing up to do an actual university course/degree/whatever is expensive and completing a Masters is probably as far as I’m going to go with that. Other than cost, what would I even study further?! My undergraduate degree is software engineering but my postgraduate study was religion, politics and conflict resolution lol. My interests are kind of spread wide rather than going into a lot of depth (although, I suppose completing a degree is some depth!).
I used to do the odd Open University module when it was more subsidised by the government but now… At least they and other academic institutions have gotten on the MOOC-train and offer online courses, that are mostly free. I’ve just started Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology which the Smithsonian is offering on edX. As much as I love Star Wars, I love Star Trek more, so combining Star Trek and academic study is right up my alley.
Since I’ve complete the first unit of the course, I’ll add the Chief Warrant Officer insignia to this post to keep track of my course rank.
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As usual, a rundown of the new films I saw this year – from least liked to most liked.
- Ghost Dance – this was a short that I saw alongside The Deathless Woman and like… I just don’t get it. It’s not something I would have chosen to watch (I was there to see the main film) so I guess that’s why it’s at the least liked spot on the list.
- Color Out of Space – I guess I was expecting something more horror? I’m not that keen on horror but I thought I’d give weird-horror a try and like this wasn’t even that weird.
- Little Joe – This was ok and did the “a bit unsettling” thing well but also it was a bit boring.
- Guest of Honour – This was ok also.
- Faustina: Love and Mercy – My Mum wanted to see this so I got tickets for us both. It’s kind of billed as a docudrama and I guess I was expecting more of a narrative of the life of St Faustina. It’s more maybe a quarter about St Faustina, a third about Blessed Fr Michael Sopocko trying to get the cause of Divine Mercy really going and then the rest is about Divine Mercy and works that current sisters do.
- The Deathless Woman – So the director of this film was talking about it when I saw it and she mentioned how it’s kind of like how you might present a documentary as a theatrical production, which was an interesting approach. I was aware that there is had been a lot of persecution of the Roma during the Second World War and that now there is a lot of anti-Roma (and Traveller) sentiment and action, but I hadn’t really realised that the violence they experience was at this level.
- The King – I mean, I don’t know that this needed to be made? It’s a fairly standard King of England goes to war with France kind of thing. The funniest part was how one of the filmmakers at the screening I saw talked about how they’d really boosted the parts for women and haha they really have not.
- To Live To Sing – So Chinese opera is not everyone’s cup of tea but I like that sort of thing and this was a really touching story about the head of an opera troop’s struggle to keep the group together and their art alive.
- Abominable – I am saw this and really wanted to eat buns but I had to dash off to see another film and didn’t have time.
- Tell Me Who I Am – I didn’t know anything about this going in other than one brother had totally lost his memory and his twin brother knew everything and I think if you are going to see it, maybe find out what happened to the two brothers in advance.
- Judy & Punch – All of the things that happen in a Punch & Judy show are in like the first half and there is a thing that happens and everyone laughed and then realised, wait, these are not puppets.
- Mr Jones – I guess we know Stalin was terrible, but the news hadn’t quite gotten out in 1933.
- Western Stars – This is just Springsteen playing the music from his album and then doing some talky-musing bits in between. It was ok and the msuic was nice.
- Jojo Rabbit – As much as imaginary friend Hitler was amusing for a while, I don’t know that he was necessary for the whole film but I guess he was in the book?
- Le Mans ’66 – Everywhere else (everywhere North American maybe) this film is called Ford Vs Ferrari like no one knows anything about what happens at Le Mans or…who knows really. I guess this is better for people who aren’t big racing fans, but I did enjoy it.
- Synchronic – This was my 10th most liked film of the year which I wasn’t expecting. I feel like perhaps a lot of people may have found this to be better than they thought it was going to be. It handles the time travel in a new, interesting way and Anthony Mackie is really great in this.
- The Red Sea Diving Resort – I knew a little about the stuff that happens in this film, but not really the extent of what went on. It’s also nice to see Chris Evans in a not-Captain-America role.
- The Two Popes – I saw this at LFF where I sat between a priest and an old dude who shushed the priest for eating crisps towards the beginning of the film. Is The Two Popes entirely factual? No. Does it give an accurate portrayal of the personalities of Popes Benedict and Francis? Hard to say. Is it enjoyable anyway? Yes. The main thing is that it really reminds us that these two men are human, like the rest of us.
- Spider-Man: Far from Home – What even happened in this film? Oh yeah, Peter Parker travelled around Europe and stuff. There have been a lot of Spider-Man films over the years. This was fun.
- Avengers: Endgame – Pretty much 6th most liked film on the list because of my extreme fondness for Captain America and the Winter Soldier. Not sure that it really ended this era of Marvel films in a way that totally made sense (although yeah, it did cement my opinion that Tony Stark is terrible – which considering that everyone who makes these films seems to adore him, probably says something). Interested to see where things go next. Kind of not into having to get Disney plus to do so. Maybe if I wait long enough it’ll all just be on regular freeview tv.
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – JJ Abrams did an extremely JJ Abrams thing in this film and that was kind of rubbish. I still think that he used Star Trek as a stepping stone to get to Star Wars, which ok, fair enough if you’re a big fan of Star Wars. At the same time, I think he’s stuck on his nostalgia for the original trilogy and maybe that leads to some weird decisions (plus, while I get that Carrie Fisher passing away did make plotting this tricky, it’s not well written). Despite all of this, I still love Star Wars and the performances from all the actors. Would have liked MORE droid stuff.
- Pokemon Detective Pikachu – For a really long time, I didn’t think this was a real film and then it showed up at the cinema and it was great. Really great.
- John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – So I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a Keanu Reeves film that I did not enjoy. Sure there are a few that I’m not going to see because of the premise of the films, but I’ve watched nearly everything else probably and there is not a single dud. John Wick is great. The universe that has been created is fascinating and I’m excited to see the next film to see what happens next.
- Knives Out – There are more films with Chris Evans than I was expecting tbh. This was everything I love about watching Miss Marple and Poirot over and over and over but new and hilarious.
- Captain Marvel – I think where maybe Endgame and Infinity War falter is that they are straight up superhero films. They’re not like, a particular type of film that happens to have superheroes in. Captain Marvel is one of those late 80s/early 90s action movie films where Tom Cruise or Harrison Ford might have played the hero and won the day, except way better because it has Carol Danvers and is in SPACE and like I saw this waaaay back in the first quarter of 2019 and it’s still at the top of my list. This is the film that, having considered and compared all the other new films I saw in 2019, still came out in front.
Anyway my ratings etc are all over here on Letterboxd and starting my yearly rating list at the beginning of the year and just adding to it throughout, rearranging as I go, continues to be one of the best ideas I have ever had.
I know this is titled 2019 Films and stuff but it’s 2020 now and I don’t remember what the “and stuff” was going to be, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Happy New Year!
Mirrored from half girl, half robot.
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Or actually, not really. Just some minor griping about some stuff going on with the local church.
The priest at my church has had to go away for some sort of personal reasons, but the really interesting thing is how he and other priests belonging to their particular group keep going about a bunch of things – like they’re laying the groundwork for their own inability to remain as parish priests at my church.
The first thing seems to be kind of an obsession with the devil – how they can sense something at the church. What it really sound like, is a preoccupation with satan coupled with the new experience of living in a very quiet area, in a house that creaks like a normal house of its age, having previously only lived in busy cities and/or in community.
Then they’re convinced there is a witch down the road up to no good against them and the church.
And then… going on and on about how various parish priests have come to the church, gotten sick and then died. Which might work when told to some people, but doesn’t work when told to people who have known our parish priests very well over the years. The priests who were sick all arrived with existing health problems (and they conveniently neglect to remember a recent priest who is very much alive, appears hale and healthy but the rest of us know he has had lung problems for a long time) or just got old, and the normal things that come with old age occurred (also forgetting the priest who baptised me at our church who is now both extremely old but also, still alive lol).
Like, guys, the thing that there is in common about the priests who seem to have problems with satan at church are that you belong to this one group and like, you don’t seem to have enough faith or trust in God that He will take care of you which is like a big problem when you are a priest.
And don’t get me started on how saving money is apparently more important than saving souls.
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It’s not quite time for my end of year film list (since I have at least one new film left to watch this year) but there have been things I’ve been thinking about writing down for probably a month now and just haven’t so here are some of those things.
- I read an article about morning routine stories and how the right kind of morning routine is supposed to be able to make you more productive and how recently they’ve kind of morphed into a kind of self-care space and then went on to talk other ideas developing on from that. My weekday morning routine is to wake at 7am, visit the bathroom, fill my water bottle, put out my cereal bar and make a cup of tea that I then take upstairs and put on the bedside table. Then I get right on back into bed and go to sleep until the radio turns on at 7.30am and I find that past-me has kindly made now-me a cup of tea.
And then like, get ready for work, leave the house, blah blah blah.
- Still haven’t gotten the crib down from on top of the wardrobe to set it up downstairs for Christmas. Feels like it will be a lot of effort, although it will be the same amount of effort that it is every year and it’s just me that changes. The last couple of months have been kind of vague-feeling and I’ve been studiously ignoring it and buying tickets for things to look forward to instead. One week left until the days start getting longer again, maybe that will help too.
- The election. Ugh. That’s not helped. I don’t get how people can throw the poor, sick, vulnerable, marginalised etc under the bus and for what? The people I know who’ve voted Conservative are certainly not going to profit from it and just, ugh. So many things. Briefly looked into whether emigrating to Germany or the Netherlands was possible. Considered moving to Scotland. Thought about the religious life again (although that’s a thing I think about on and off and just haven’t ruled out). And being right about what the new government will do doesn’t even have the satisfaction of being able to say “I told you so” because it will be a tragedy. I suppose a Conservative vote is a selfish vote but how does being selfish uplift society? If we don’t help everyone up, even a little bit, then how can we progress and make great new discoveries? I guess I watch too much Star Trek.
- I basically need a TV channel that is Agatha Christie all the time. All the Marples. David Suchet’s Poirot. Tommy and Tuppence. Just that and nothing else.
- I’d probably take a bird table livestream too.
- If the psychiatric hospitals hadn’t been shut down 20-odd years ago, would the mental health of the nation be better now? I don’t know the answer to that, but the resource would be there at least.
- Of course, I can’t remember most of the things I was thinking about writing down for the last month.
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Today I’m wearing a dress that my Mum made for me a few years ago. She made two dresses at the time but it’s only occurred to me now, that that’s when she really understood the trouble I have with getting shirts and dresses that fit properly across my shoulders and allow me to still move my arms.
The dresses don’t have sleeves because she had such trouble having to alter them away from their original patterns to make them fit that she decided to cut her losses. LOL.
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