Week Notes 2021-05

  • Above, Werner Herzog watches skateboarding videos. I missed last week’s Week Notes because we’ve had some family things going on (made worse with the Covid restrictions, obviously). As a result I’ve not done a lot of laughing recently, but this video brought a big genuine smile to my face. Thanks Werner, I can always count on you.
  • For the same reasons I haven’t read an awful lot since finishing Do Photo: Observe more. Photograph less by Andrew Paynter the other week.
  • I did read I Left My Career in Prestige Media Because of the Shitty Men in Charge and They Are Still In Charge and Still Fucking Up by Jennifer Barnett, which is very depressing and predictable and frustrating, but absolutely worth reading.
  • I also read The Enduring Prose and Poetry of Clive James, which is a pretty long, but beautiful look at the life and work of the great man.
  • Mainly I’ve been watching a bunch of films just to take my mind off stuff:
    • In & of Itself is more a ‘tv special’ then a feature. It’s very much in the mould of Derren Brown I would say, but with even more of a performance art element to it. I think it’s been dividing opinion, but I loved it. I won’t say anymore to avoid spoilers.
    • I Used to Go Here is lightweight, unchallenging fluff, and that’s exactly what I needed (if you like Gillian Jacobs you’ll enjoy this film).
    • Mank is probably too long, and it probably too bogged down by its own passion project-ness. It’s definitely too ‘nerdy white male’. But, despite all that. I enjoyed it. I love Kane. I love Welles. I love Tom Burke. This would have to be very bad for me to dislike it.
    • Plunder Road was recommended by the Pure Cinema Podcast’s Discoveries of 2020 episode, it’s a gritty noir heist movie that hits all the right sweetspots that you need from a gritty noir heist movie.
    • Even better though was Payroll, which I read about in this BFI article and then put on my list just because it’s directed by Sidney Hayers who also directed Night of the Eagle, one of my favourite classic discoveries of last year. Payroll didn’t let me down. Set in Newcastle, it’s another heist film (I love heist films, in case you don’t know this already) that has a genuinely thrilling and nasty heist, brilliant tension and excitement, an added ‘kitchen sink drama’ element to it, great female characters… and all the classic heist elements done to perfection. Can’t recommend it enough.
    • I was reminded of The Invisible Man by the recent Empire magazine podcast with Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino (warning: it’s three hours long!), so I spent my Saturday night giving it a watch. It’s a solid seven. Would have been less if it wasn’t for Elisabeth Moss and her incredibly expressive face. God, she’s good.
  • Music-wise this week it has to be the new Madlib:

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