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Archive for January, 2004

Actors

Posted: January 22nd, 2004, by Chris H

Work is generally crap but it does lead to lots of ways to kill time. Like playing baseball with pengiuns.

I never saw Punch Drunk Love, that’s why I didn’t vote for it.

Actors I like? I’d rather not notice that someone is acting in a film, so I find it hard to think of ones. I’m with Ollie on Phillip Seymour Hoffman (so to speak), cos I only recently found out his name after 3 or 4 films. And I’d go see Samantha Morton in a film, cos of how impressed I am with Morvern Callar.

my two cents

Posted: January 19th, 2004, by Ollie

my two cents: i thought punch drunk love was okay, pretty decent perhaps, but that was about it. my main problem was that i really couldn’t take adam sandler seriously. i know that’s kind of lame, but you can only forgive the guy so much for making so many films that consist of nothing but silly voices and fart jokes. i thought the main redeeming factor was the appearance of phillip seymour hoffman who is undeniably an incredible actor, and who always brings something special to every film he’s in. hey, there’s a handy excuse to do my current favourite actors list:

01 vincent cassel (always)
02 phillip seymour hoffman
03 bill murray
04 william h. macy
05 steve buscemi

any one of those names are more than enough to make me see a film, and usually, in my opinion, enough to make the film great. hey, new blog idea; actors we like. go on.

Hey, thats weird

Posted: January 19th, 2004, by Chris Summerlin

I was just logging into Blogger to put a message up to say I just saw Punch Drunk Love and I wish I’d voted for it but hadn’t seen it in time. It’s fantastic.

Punch Drunk Love

Posted: January 18th, 2004, by Dave Stockwell

We’ve got the Great Diskant Round-Up of 2003 finally on its way to your desktop in the near future, and I figured it might be a nice warm-up to proceedings to have a whinge about why not enough of our staff voted for Punch Drunk Love to get it into the top ten films of last year. (Possibly because it came out at the tale end of ’02 in the USA, but oh well.)

So what was wrong with it? Here you had a film that looked absolutely sumptuous, engorged with colour thanks to some extremely canny over-exposures. It was made by the man who made waves with the edited-to-shit-by-the-studios-but-still-excellent Hard Eight, appeared to be God after Boogie Nights, and who managed to divide audiences all over the world with the ridiculously ambitious Magnolia (me, I think it works, but I do have a propensity for three hour films not made by Peter Jackson). It had Adam Sandler in it, and he even acted well and wasn’t annoying for a second of the film. PT Anderson won best director for it at Cannes 2002. It was about love. And it had a harmonium.

So how come it got ignored? It seems that everyone’s into huge stories that arc over many films these days, and that it’s all about EPIC VISTAS and ACKSHUN, or awful “teenage comedies”. Critics said that this film was somewhat idiosyncratic, but it only seems that way because of what Anderson’s done before. Sure, it’s not entirely predictable and doesn’t feature ‘average’ people acting ‘normally’ for authenticity; instead it revels in the slightly anachronistic world that Anderson presents us with.

I feel like a right sap writing this gooey stuff, but I really value the kind of film that Punch Drunk Love represents in these days of increasing tendencies towards Blockbusters and Vomit-Worthy “Sure Fire Oscar Winner” films (check the horrifically bad adaptation of Philip Roth’s ‘The Human Stain’ that is obviously being held back for release on our shores until just before the ceremony in the spring). The idea of a personal touch on a film that does any kind of business at all is so rare these days that you have to keep your eyes open. My favourite film of 2003, which will be fairly obvious when you read our Round-Up, got a whole bunch of decent reviews in all the broadsheets, but I never heard of a cinema outside of Soho that screened it before it promptly disappeared without a trace. The only way I got to see it was by taking a plunge and importing the Region 1 DVD. Thankfully, it was worth it. But Punch Drunk Love was probably the best film I saw in a cinema last year (apart from a random one-off screening of Godard’s A Bout De Souffle).

Bring on the Round-Up…

nintendo IS video games

Posted: January 17th, 2004, by Ollie

i wholeheartedly agree with everything mar-c said. as far as i’m concerned, nintendo IS video games, and i really don’t think i would bother with any of it if they weren’t around. for some time i’ve been getting increasingly annoyed at how the vast majority of new games are centered around killing people in the most brutal and realistic way possible, and now what’s even worse is that apparently people are falling for this crap to such a degree that it is hurting nintendo, who started it all if you ask me (obviously they didn’t, it was atari or someone, but i’m only old enough to remember the nes, and not a lot before it). it has crossed my mind more than once that all these soldier of fortune / medal of honor / socom / splinter cell games, and even the whole grand theft auto / getaway / manhunt / hitman 2 things, are all part of a vast government program to raise a generation of bloodthirsty and highly efficient killers, just in time for the impending onset of world war 3. maybe i’m just reading a bit too much into it, but give me mario or zelda anyday.

Leave Nintendo alone!

Posted: January 15th, 2004, by Marceline Smith

This article on BBC NEWS, GameCube fights to stay in the game, has had me gnashing my teeth. Few things annoy me more than Nintendo bashing and the general games industry’s willingness to write off Nintendo for supposedly making kids games (what does the look of a game have to do with gameplay, at which Nintendo excel?!). Having experienced the truly patronising attitude to Girl Gamer Buying Girls Console myself in GAME, it makes me seethe.

As pointed out further into the article, it’s not really surprising that Nintendo are failing to keep up in a sales battle between themselves, Microsoft and Sony. Although a big company, Nintendo are no megacorp and can’t throw money away on consoles knowing they can make it back on one of their millions of other products and markets.

I also really hate these console wars in general. In the good old days we had Nintendo vs Sega – basically doing the same things in slightly different ways. Now we have two new consoles who have stamped a truly western style on console gaming and pitching it perfectly at your average male gadget buyer who daydreams of killing people with fancy guns and driving flash cars into walls. With Sega no longer making consoles, Nintendo are out there alone in the ‘cutesy but innovative’ area and people often seem to forget that the majority of games Nintendo produce are aimed at the Japanese market who prefer these types of games (RPGs, puzzle games, Pokemon etc). If they have to compete with the Playstation and the XBox it means putting the US/UK markets first and making those types of games their priority.

The consensus seems to be that Nintendo should bow out of the console market gracefully and concentrate on making games, much as Sega has done. This would be hugely damaging to gaming I think, not least because of the innovations Nintendo has brought to consoles – compare any Nintendo controller to its respective competitors. And let’s not forget the Gameboy which has killed off every competitor who dared to try and break into the market. The launch of the new Sony handheld should be very interesting and very key to Nintendo’s future.

I have great faith in Nintendo though – they’ve always got something new, innovative and truly inspiring up their sleeves and I’m sure they can find a way to keep their niche in the face of generic games. If the worst does happen, gaming would be a very, very dull place without Nintendo.

The Blooding

Posted: January 12th, 2004, by Dave Stockwell

That’s really bizarre, I’ve been meaning to write about THE BLOODING #2 for the last month after picking up a copy at Black Eyes in Leeds… it’s dead good though, and I thoroughly recommend it. Ahem, back to talk about books. Join our club!

THE BLOODING #2

Posted: January 11th, 2004, by Marceline Smith

More literary stuff! Firstly, A FANZINE REVIEW!

This has been sitting on my desk for weeks and weeks now, for which I can only apologise. By shouting STUPID BROKEN INTERNET.

Anyway. THE BLOODING #2. I remember very much liking issue #1 which was one of a group of zines that seemed to spring up from nowhere and prove that zines weren’t dying after all. Issue #2 is also very good. It’s got interviews with 90 Day Men, This Ain’t Vegas, Don Caballero, OXES, Karate, State River Widening and Twofold plus profiles of local label Freakscene, online distro Glaive and some other bits and pieces. It’s one of those zines that’s perfect for a bus ride or boring waiting room; I happily read it cover to cover in one sitting and was interested, amused and intrigued in turn. Definitely one of the better zines around with their coverage of both the latest Southern heroes and the stuff going on around their doorstep and some good layouts and use of space. I advise you to get yourself a copy asap. Email the_blooding@hotmail.com for more information or just send £1.50 to The Blooding, 40 Silsoe House, 50 Park Village East, Camden Town, London, NW1 7QH.

More literary stuff!

Posted: January 11th, 2004, by Marceline Smith

Firstly, A FANZINE REVIEW!

This has been sitting on my desk for weeks and weeks now, for which I can only apologise. By shouting STUPID BROKEN INTERNET.

Anyway. THE BLOODING #2. I remember very much liking issue #1 which was one of a group of zines that seemed to spring up from nowhere and prove that zines weren’t dying after all. Issue #2 is also very good. It’s got interviews with 90 Day Men, This Ain’t Vegas, Don Caballero, OXES, Karate, State River Widening and Twofold plus profiles of local label Freakscene, online distro Glaive and some other bits and pieces. It’s one of those zines that’s perfect for a bus ride or boring waiting room; I happily read it cover to cover in one sitting and was interested, amused and intrigued in turn. Definitely one of the better zines around with their coverage of both the latest Southern heroes and the stuff going on around their doorstep and some good layouts and use of space. I advise you to get yourself a copy asap. Email the_blooding@hotmail.com for more information or just send £1.50 to The Blooding, 40 Silsoe House, 50 Park Village East, Camden Town, London, NW1 7QH.

While I’m here, I’d also like to mention our new venture here at diskant – the diskant bookswap! If you read lots of books and would like to discuss your recent reading and trade your read books for some unread books then why not join up and do just that. Join up via Yahoo Groups or just send a blank email to diskantbookswap-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Isn’t The Internet Amazing? #527

Posted: January 7th, 2004, by Marceline Smith

I’ve just been astonished for the second time in two weeks in relation to the work of Robert Tressell, author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. You’ve probably never heard of this book but it’s possibly my favourite ever book and it even made it to #72 in The Big Read (where the BBC had great trouble finding anything to say about it, not surprising since they also managed to destroy the original tape of the dramatisation of the book after broadcasting it a mere two times). Anyway, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is one of the few books about working class life written by the working class, being the (semi-autobiographical) story of a group of house painters in Hastings at the turn of the century and the attempts of Owen to explain to them the principles of Socialism as a way of ending their poverty and powerlessness. It’s a great book, you should read it.

But to get back to the astonishment. Last week, I wandered randomly into a charity shop and discovered up on a high shelf a range of trade union and communist books, no doubt the past possessions of a recently departed relative. Among them was a copy of One Of The Damned, the biography of Robert Tressell which has been long out of print and which I have been trying to find a copy of for literally years, since reading the copy hidden in the vaults of Aberdeen Library. And here it was for the stupidly tiny sum of £2.75! Having now re-read the book, I’ve been filled with a sense of pained sadness and frustration as Fred Ball unravels the sad tale of Tressell’s life – his death in the workhouse, the butchering of the manuscript to cut it down to a shadow of the original, the loss of much of his murals and signwork and the general lack of recognition for his writing and artwork.

So then to discover this evening the TUC History Online website where they have scanned in every page of the original manuscript of this remarkable book, in Tressell’s handwriting with all the orginal amendments and self-censorship and all the later cutting and pasting (quite literally) and restoring, has quite knocked me over. Even just to see the original front page has practically made me want to cry.

It’s always been one of my main hopes for the internet, that you’d be able to find out anything at all in the greatest of detail and be able to see and read all the things currently hidden away in the archives of museums and universities. My heartfelt thanks go out to the TUC and all involved for making one person very very happy.

[I hope everyone enjoys the juxtaposition of today’s postings]