Check out the automated podcast here.
Aliens (1986): Although I’ve seen Aliens many, many times, this was the first time I watched the special edition, which is about fifteen minutes longer than the original and supposed to be James Cameron’s director’s cut, i.e. preferred version of the movie. Some of the added scenes offer a bit more insight into the story and characters, which I found welcome additions. There is however a longer scene involving the colony before the marines arrive and that one just rubbed me the wrong way, I always liked how abrupt and mysterious the original cut was about the fate of the colonists. Of course, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you have no idea what I’m on about – and most definitely should watch this seminal piece of action sci-fi. I find it phenomenal how well it stands the test of time even 35 years after its initial release. One of my all time favourites, in no small part due to how it reinvents itself after the first movie in the series, making it a frequent appearance in discussions about sequels that are better than the original. I wouldn’t want to compare, they are both exceptional genre films that came about through very different production processes. Aliens, for what it’s worth, is still a blast. 9
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2020): If you’ve followed this blog at all, you know by now that I’m a sucker for time-loopy-rom-coms. What that in mind, I was surprised to come across TMoTPT, a time-loopy movie starring Kathryn Newton and Kyle Allen. The two make for a cute couple and their adventures within said loop focus on finding beauty in the mundane. I find that a fair challenge for most of our temporally (un)impaired lives and the witty writing and great chemistry between the leads make for a perfectly enjoyable movie – in spite of some familiar clichés here and there. 7
Another Country (1984): Starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth and Cary Elwes, among others, Another Country is based on the life of Guy Burgess, who, it says so on the IMDb page, “would become better known as one of the Cambridge Spies”. I have little idea what that’s about, which perhaps made the movie strange, as it frames a story of typical British upper class hypocrisy through the words of an aging fellow based in Moscow. This must be where the Cambridge Spies knowledge comes in handy. But beyond that, it’s fundamentally a movie about an all boys school where seemingly everyone has been around with everyone else, yet there’s this big pretense about it, alongside public repudiation and occasional whippings. Interesting, made more so by the presence of some popular actors in their youth, but not quite riveting. 7
Andy Murray: Resurfacing (2019): It’s rare to get anything resembling true emotions in a documentary about an active athlete. Murray had just broken the hegemony of the big three, he earned the number 1 ranking, and then a bad hip forced him to basically call an end to his career as a contender. It’s an emotionally daunting situation and, thankfully, the high level of access to Murray and his camp yields an honest take on the Scot’s situation. Unfortunately, the docu closes pretty early in the recovery process, one that’s still ongoing, even if the fundamentals have mostly been covered. Still, quite interesting to peak into this moment of particular darkness. 7
Kid 90 (2021): Another documentary this week, Kid 90 is Soleil Moon Frye’s journey of self-(re)-discovery. SMF was big in the 80s, when she played Punky Brewster, a show that didn’t quite make it to communist Romania, so I didn’t relate much to it. Her tale is relevant in as much as anyone’s life tale is relevant, peppered with (more) famous people you might know, as their lives crossed at one point or another. What I found value in is her revelation in the power of re-exploring days gone by, and I say this as someone who’s kept the odd journal and has thought about how we remember things. Although short and perhaps lacking in complexity, the movie provides a generational X-Ray that saw many lost and perished. 7