• Autumn Almanac

    Autumn Almanac

    ★★★

    Films like this are proof that sometimes you shouldn't start at the beginning. Like many of you out there, I have this compulsion to do things in chronological order, even if told not to. Start with a particular film, they say, then you can work back. Usually, I ignore them.

    With Tarr and Hranitzky, you really should start with the masterpieces; these earlier works just fill in gaps. This goes over some of the thematic territory of Satantango, but on…

  • Pom Poko

    Pom Poko

    ★★★★

    A better world is worth fighting for. We can conceptualise it; we know how things could be. Sometimes, it's just how things were. This is especially true for groups that are marginalised and cruelly repressed by imperialism, colonialism and, hell, capitalism. Yes, Pomo Poko is an environmentalist film, in line with the wider Ghibli oeuvre. But, it's also about the importance of preserving diverse and unique cultures, and how encroaching capitalism (here shown through 'modernisation') is antithetical to this.

    It…

  • Shirkers

    Shirkers

    ★★★★

    The film that was becomes the film that is. This documentary chronicles the gripping story of how a film was shot and stolen, a burst of creativity, personality and identity that was never allowed to take form. But this is a film in its own right, made up of the same people behind the film that wasn't and it is built with the spirit of that one.

    Yes, Shirkers (which carries on the same name as the lost movie) is…

  • Firestarter

    Firestarter

    Somewhat watchably bland horror but also a jumbled mess. This is clearly trying to remix a text to make it make sense, to keep it in line with modernity. In doing so it creates a mess, or translates an existing shambles. 

    It’s greatly aided by a John Carpenter score that’s really fun; if very familiar. It’s used decently in the film, if there’s anything here, it’s the music that’s bringing it. It’s a shorthand to a feeling and atmosphere that…

  • Ambulance

    Ambulance

    Bay does a throwback to his older films while having characters referencing his older films, all as an excuse to have high speed drone photography. The way the camera zips around is technically impressive but acrostically void, making for a worse looking and feeling film.

    It doesn't help that the film lacks any kind of inspiration or reason to be. We fast-forward through vague and clichéd context that doesn't really matter, then we hop genre tropes to facilitate speedy action.…

  • Short Cuts

    Short Cuts

    ★★★★★

    It's never really the Big One. When cinema narrativizes lives, creates singular arcs and frames people as protagonists, if falsifies. That is not how life is lived, we do not live through arcs and self contained neat structures, every action intersects with other actions and we can never have enough context. The short story is a better way to view life, a collection of them even better, an overlapping collection is better still.

    This miracle of a film collides a…

  • The Third Man

    The Third Man

    It’s time for another interview with a great writer form Letterboxd. This time, David Punch from The Twin Geeks (arguably one of the titular twins) goes through his very specific process. This leads to a wide ranging and reflective conversation about writing, why we write and how we diverge.

    I got so much out of doing it, I think you’ll get a lot out of listening to it. Read my favourite piece David has done here and listen to the interview…

  • Brewster McCloud

    Brewster McCloud

    ★★★★

    Altman films, or at least the really good ones, have this amazing ability to present a world distinct from a narrative. Films are authored, almost necessarily, therefore the mis-en-scene is usually fully built around narrative, or some clear purpose. This can, of course, have incredible results, especially when films trade in precise intentionality.

    In these Altman films, though, the world doesn't seem like it exists to support a plot. It feels like it exists externally to story and, to a…

  • Querelle

    Querelle

    ★★★★

    In Querelle, we explore how repression becomes expression. This is a narrative last tone piece that aims to conjure up the woozy and dream like confusion of male sexuality. It exists within a rigid matrix, in which divergence from a forced heterosexual norm is pejorativised. In this framework, we have disillusion, where fluid sexual experiences feel the need to be pinned down.

    This film presents male dominated existence, it presents overt masculinity, and the results of a phallocentric view. The…

  • Top Gun: Maverick

    Top Gun: Maverick

    People like when Zebra and I argue about movies, so on this episode of I’m Thinking of Spoiling Things we do just that. I continue to alienate the audience with my divergent takes and Zebra’s finger is still on the pulse. 

    We also cross off some recent releases and go through listener mail. Oh, we also had fan art. You can see it on The Twin Geeks page here.

    Listen there, on Spotify and on Apple Podcasts.

    Emails, we’d love some on Crimes of the Future (asap) to thinkingofspoiling@gmail.com).

  • Fast Company

    Fast Company

    This movie about cars going very fast in a straight line is a left turn for David Cronenberg. It's his first director for hire gig, not penning the script this time, leading to something that is stylistically divergent, as well a very distinct topic. We segue from extreme horror to the world of motor racing, drag racing to be specific. A movie not as odd as it may seem, considering that this is a world that Cronenberg is very interested…

  • Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off

    Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off

    ★★★

    The opening of this documentary is the best part. It's silent apart from the sound of skateboarding, as Tony Hawk tries the same trick again and again and again. It’s Haneke-esque in its instruction, perfectly articulating obsession and giving a key insight into this man.

    The rest of the documentary is really good. The chronology gets a bit muddled at points and the back third feels a bit jumbled compared to the smooth ascent of the earlier parts. But, it…