Sunday, December 31, 2023

Goodbye 2023: Tell us something pretty

It's been another fucking weird year, right? It's been great and terrible in so many ways, for so many people in so many places, in so many tragic ways. 

With so much horribly needless suffering, I do feel constant guilt that I don't use this blog to take more of a stand on these issues, and rage against the injustices of the world with the loudest of them. Especially when I have the incredible privilege of being a full-time Dad for most of the week, and am insulated from some of the worst of the world.

But I do have places to do that kind of raging, and this isn't really one of them. This is for stupid reminiscences about the day I bought a lot of Alpha Flights comics in Dunedin in 1991, or how cool Doctor Who or Love and rockets are. 

The entertainments I consume can make me think about the world in a different way, or they can thrill me or inspire me, but they're just pretty things, there to make life just a bit more bearable.

I remain, as ever, completely fucking befuddled by people who get genuinely angry about a Star Wars film, when there is so much else to be righteous about in the world. On this interconnected planet, we're all stained by the blood on the floor that our leaders cause and encourage, and it all good and proper to rage against it. But you have to turn off, and read a comic book, or go to a movie, or just whatever you need to do, to make life a little easier.

Anyway, I'm going home for 2024. I don't know how that will go, but I'll try to keep talking about pretty things, even if that stain is never coming out.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

The year in movies

I thought this was another terrific year for movies, although I'd be hard pressed to name an absolute favourite film. I really liked Night of the Kings and its slightly magical way of surviving life in a prison on the Ivory Coast; I am still surprised that a Dungeons and Dragons film had the best laugh of the year; and I'm thinking about the things Mia Goth did in Pearl all the damn time. 

If I had a gun to my head, my favourite film of the year was probably John Wick 4, because it was enormously satisfying, and had Donnie Yen smoking everybody with the best physical performance of the year.

This is the third year in a row I took note of every film I actually watched, and it came in at 256 movies - very slightly above the 254 I saw in 2021, and well below the 316 I saw last year (mainly because the kids get up earlier than I do these days, so I don't get an hour or two in the morning to indulge in some cinema before they take over).

But it turned out like this:

  • I figured out that 22.8 percent of the movies I watched this year were ones I'd seen before - it wasn't like I could pass up on double bill of Romero's first two Dead films - but there was no excuse for watching that Aeon Flux with Charlize again. Still, it was down from the 28.4 percent of repeat screenings in 2022 and 26 percent the year before, s oI'm getting more new films in my diet.
  • Exactly 12 percent were prequels, sequels or remakes, about the same as last year. I love my corporate pap.
  • Almost one in 10 films - 9.6 percent - were made before I was born, up on 8.4 percent, but well down on the 13 in 2021, when I was apparently all about the history.
  • The 10.8 percent of films that were not in English was the highest in three years, well about the 6.1 percent in 2022 and the 4 percent the year before.
  • A solid 8 percent were feature length documentaries, similar to the 7.1 percent I saw last year.
  • Once again I am a terrible New Zealander, watching just 2.8 percent of Kiwi films, although this was back to 2021 levels after the paltry 1.6 percent seen last year.
  • And 6.8 percent were seen in the cinema, which is continuing to creep up, year on year. They were almost all excellent experiences - when you only see a few films in a theatre, you make the most of it.

So, still a basic bitch then, but I'm getting into the old and non-English films more and more every year, and feel this can only be a good thing.

The last film I'm watching this year is Infinity Pool and the first one of 2024 will be Poor Things on Tuesday, so the film life goes on.

Friday, December 29, 2023

This will always be the Tearoom of Despair: Writing about comics

How to become Seto Thargo

The peak of geek

I don't miss the Reign, but I do miss that hunt

The Fantastic Four's greatest adventure

Alan Grant gave the kids what they needed

Talking with Dylan Horrocks

Who's that Cable?

All around the world

The speed of Dillon

Slaine versus the El Women

Lone Wolf and Cub: Walking the white path

In Barry Linton's Auckland, everything was hot, heavy and horny

Thrillpower overload on dull suburban streets

He's the goddamn Batman

You can do it

Footrot Flats: Down on the farm for Christmas

Don't forget me, Animal Man

Bringing death and terror to the masses

The big books of Bolland

Luther Arkwright: Clean living might still save us all

The night I met the Big Red Cheese

I still miss you, Dave Cockrum

The Chaos Monsters: Too cute to live

What the world needs now...

Kevin O'Neill's bestiary is finished

Signal To Noise: The first graphic novel at the library

Silver Surfer: Blinded by the gleam of his heavenly arse

Wonder girls, shadow cats and magpies

Doomed Patrolling

Free your comics

Mark Millar wants to know what you are talking about

Sheer bloody perfection.

The Biz

My head is not yet full

The adventures of Nikolai Dante

Still Uncanny, after all these years

Carlos is the man

Oh no he didn't.

We're all turning into Larry Niven

Bob Temuka has come unstuck in time

Total crush on the New Warriors

The humanity of Watchmen

Surfing the skies with Kenny Who

Here comes Jim Lee!

I didn't need church when I had the corner dairy

Warren comics freak me out

Love and Rockets: Something's gonna explode

Harvey's kinda town

Hero of the Beach

Moving out of home with Marvels

A life of comic books

Ambush Bug: So silly, so quickly

I still hate you, Captain Sunshine


What if I never read comics?

Last night the Invisibles saved my life

This was my most-read post ever