I am a self-facilitating media node (aka you are what you consume)

When it came time to write the customary summary of my media consumption for 2022 I began it thinking that it must definitely have been on par with 2021 – so that’s the influence of anecdotal info there, because having a newborn in the house seems to have aggressively accelerated my watching but it WASN’T enough to outpace a year of being locked in because of a pandemic.

Of course now that I’ve thought about it the most obvious thing for me to do is to figure out how to comparatively chart media data between years… cos that’s the sort of high-quality bullshit we’re into round here.

From what my crude reckoning tells me, this year it was 57 movies, 40 TV Series, and only 10 books (same as last year). Smell that? That’s achievement.

It felt like the last book took FOREVER to read (it *was* north of 600 pages, after all), but I really, really will try to improve on that in 2023. Partially because I’ve got a load of paternity leave for Q1 – but also cos I’ve got a hench stack of unread books out in my office.

Other notable bits of info:

  • I only counted Seinfeld as one TV series even though I watched all 9 seasons of it
  • Similarly, The Fast Show ran over several years but it’s counted here as one cos of the way I did it.
  • The Orville counted as 3 different shows because I watched other stuff in between. Consistency? Pah!
  • VERY little Dwayne Johnson content in 2022 compared to previous years – only 2 films and a season of Young Rock. Poor, really.
  • I haven’t been through and done the thumbs up/downs yet but thinking about the last year of media it feels like the main tentpole series that the streaming services were promoting were all a bit Meh: I found House of the Dragon, The Book Of Boba Fett, and The Rings Of Power all quite underwhelming. Andor was FAR better than expected.
  • The Boys is just magnificent. There’s nothing on TV like that.
  • Good lord. I will watch crap documentaries about any old shite, won’t I?


January 6th, 2022

We kinda mainlined the remainder of this: a weirdly compelling show considering how frigging appalling all of the people in it are. Srsly, there's barely a redeeming feature among them. It's TOTALLY irrelevant that one of the main characters was played by an actor (Sarah Snook) who it turns out is from Adelaide, and went to school around the corner from my parents' place. 👍

January 8th, 2022

Ah, the ol' time loop film eh?  Forever doomed to be compared with Groundhog Day.  Except instead of trying to get his end away with Andi MacDowell, this bloke was more interested in not getting the shit kicked outta him.

January 9th, 2022

Christ, I don't even remember watching this. Vaguely recall something with Affleck in it, playing a troubled-yet-serious-regretful-type. Hey ho, that's the downside of leaving a few months between watching average films and writing about them. 👎

January 14th, 2022

Basically this was just watching Baywatch again because it was so gloriously ridiculous the first time - except this version had extra bits that weren't considered good enough to be in the film for the first time around. The good news is that they were on par with the rest of this nonsense, and overall it made once again for an utterly brainless and marvellous watch. 👍

January 15th, 2022

I really, really didn't like this.  And it wasn't based on preconception because I'd never heard a thing about it. It was probably my curiousity about seeing Jon Favreau at work after having watched a load of his Star Wars material.  If anything I think a lot less of him now - the story (written, directed and produced by its auteur-wannabe star) was that of a primadonna chef who throws his toys out of the pram when he doesn't get his own way at work and quits. Having realised he needs to support his son he gets his wealthy ex-wife to bail him out, and then sets about on a journey of discovery and self-betterment.  Overcoming no adversity whatsoever he learns some valuable lessons and finally basks in the kudos, etc.  So I guess the message is that life'll be just fine if you're a white quasi-talented hack with access to money, and as long as you've got friends and family that'll fall for your bullshit they'll do enough heavy lifting to keep you afloat. Hmm, that was a bit dark. 👎👎

January 22nd, 2022

Bit of intense war drama here: and definitely not a PR piece for the allies, with Jeremy Irons's Chamberlain coming across as something of a tit.  Some nice stuff about adolescent bonding overcoming contemporary politics and a few nice tense moments to pique the interest.

January 22nd, 2022

For some reason our TV was suddenly inundated with Harlan Coben stories, so we picked this one on the strength of the casting - it seemed quite a decent mystery piece whose episodes left you wondering deliciously what this show was actually going to be about. Maybe a little far fetched with a couple of the later jumps, but on the whole a nice distraction!


February 4th, 2022

This kicked arse.  I'd read some review excerpts with Odenkirk, but in no way paid enough attention to any of the stuff going on at the time to get a bead on what this was about.  However the line "from the makers of John Wick" probably tell you enough of what you need to know to get a sense of the plot bones.  Retired professional one-man-army gets dragged back in reluctantly, etc.  With Odenkirk being a far less likely protagonist, and some delicious OTT work in the final act by Christopher Lloyd. 👍👍

February 10th, 2022

Thanks again, Disney, for force-feeding me more bullshit.  Take one of the best, most ruthless, understated characters from the Star Wars universe, build the fanbase's expectation & excitement, and then reveal that the bloke underneath is a smug boomer who's generally *just* a little bit too pleased with himself. Throw in a load of stupid references/nods to elements of the original films, sprinkle around some Lucas-esque bullshit (mod squad?), and finally confuse the fuck out of everyone by having the last half of the series more or less about something else entirely. At least it made sense that the most annoying man to have emerged from this canon would bond with probably the most irritating alien species ever portrayed on screen. 👎

February 20th, 2022

Intriguing, this one - I had a look at the first one of these ages ago because of the concept (space/scifi comedy, helmed by Seth McFarlane), and found the whole thing a bit desperate. However one of the blokes at work suggested sticking with it - and I'm kinda glad I did! By about 5 episodes in it kinda found its rhythm: the stories & tone weren't a million miles from Star Trek TNG - as Kiel put it -, with fart jokes.  Given the personnel involved the TNG similarity isn't surprising... and it was enough to keep me interested and am now into Season 2. 👍

February 20th, 2022

The main things I took from this were: being impressed at how Timothy Spall was able to keep his facial expression looking exactly like a dog's anus for the whole film, thinking that Diana's chambermaids ushering her along a corridor looked like volunteer stewards at a CAMRA beer festival, and empathising with Diana's feeling of being hopelessly trapped.  Although in the case of the latter, mine was less about a restrictive dynastic culture and more about having paid £4.50 to rent on Prime and I might as well see it through cos there's no way I'll be going back to finish it later.

February 26th, 2022

This film features opportunities for The Rock to stand in a jungle looking pissed off wearing a khaki shirt. Plenty-silly treasure caper, which whilst predictable (or at least, trope-heavy) was still a good fun ride.  Chalk it up as one of the good ones.  It's no Baywatch though.

February 27th, 2022

I'll confess to only having seen about 40% of this, through a combination of drifting in & out of sleep on a flight, and being interrupted by the flight having to land. It seemed like a lot of fun though - combining a story from my childhood (including some tangible memories of certain sections of it being read to us by teachers from our primary school) with a vehicle for the amazing Anne Hathaway to dine out on the scenery as The Grand High Witch.


March 4th, 2022

Talk about having your expectations blown away. On first blush this seemed like an unnecessary reboot of a beloved 80s comedy property. And then Holiday Road fired up to herald the opening credits, and you think "Could they, though?". And I, for one, think they did. Totally stupid from one end to the other, and wonderful. You couldn't do MORE to portray a Griswold father than to have the audience leave thinking "He's a total dickhead, but he's got a lotta heart". The only unfortunate side-effects are that as well as Holiday Road, I also now have Seal's "Kiss From A Rose" stuck in my head AT ALL TIMES now. And, often find myself thinking about Chris Hemsworth's todger. 👍👍

March 8th, 2022
Documentary :: Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell doing his Gladwell thing – this time about how underdogs win, and the complexity of assumption which leads you to think that they won’t. Captivating stuff (albeit with some elements that have you thinking “reeeeeeeeallly?” afterwards) and worth a read. My challenge is that now having listened to his podcast a lot I can’t work out if I’m remembering something I’ve read, or that he’s said.

March 13th, 2022
Travel :: Adam Branford

An old friend from Australia’s produced this smirkworthy tome – a collation of blogposts from his adventures crossing India in an autorickshaw (tuk tuk) as part of a rally race. It’s fun to see the cultural experience unfold in front of naive eyes, and made for a quite enjoyable read.

March 13th, 2022

Nowhere near as bad as people might have you believe. Nostalgia's a funny thing, though.  Seeing a film make a nod to a TV show or film series seems reasonable, but seeing a slightly self-indulgent film making a nod to a single earlier film... maybe that's not it/why. Not awful, but fine. Although I don't really know *who* it's meant to be appealing to - the kid-focused story is obvs for kids to "discover the world of Ghostbusters", but the fact that the plot relies massively on the appearance of some slack-faced old dudes clearly making 30-year-old callbacks?  Hmm.  Not awful, but not great.

March 14th, 2022

What a great little film! Although it's pretty easy to see why it sat on top of a screenplay blacklist for years (getting made only when Taika Waititi became one of the hottest properties in Hollywood).  A delightful piece about the importance of not following the crowd, told through a pretty harrowing and at the same time whimsical lens. And then some sublime casting - Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell, Stephen Merchant and Alfie Allen as nazis! And, Maori actor/director Taika Waititi as Adolf! Definitely worth a watch. 👍

March 20th, 2022

We REALLY need to stop watching films just because they've got The Rock in them. Well, no, that's not true. At least he didn't get a khaki shirt on and stand around looking pissed off in a jungle in this one. And I probably woulda watched it anyway after learning it had Julie Andrews in it.  Sufficed to say, it was totally a kids' film with some VERY obvious light comedy.

March 24th, 2022

Turns out the world needed another Batman movie.  Who knew.  This time it's (naturally) a bit grittier than the previous ones.  I enjoyed the home-grown sensibility of some of the costumes & gear, and there's little point in focusing on which bits seemed contrived given that THE WHOLE THING IS MASSIVELY CONTRIVED.  Bad guy The Gimpler The Riddler came across intending to seem like an insane genius, but to me felt like there was a helluva lot of luck involved in the "clues".  And of course it was 3 hours long, which is what we're all crying out for isn't it.  I stayed awake though, so that's a plus.

March 28th, 2022
Sci Fi :: John Birmingham

Fun little excursion, whereby Birmo’s written a story featuring 3 of his characters from his “The Disappearance” trilogy but set it in the world of SM Stirling’s “Emberverse”. Not that I’ve read that. But, you don’t really even need to know all that because as a standalone piece it’s quite a good fun post-apocalyptic treasure-hunting story – told with the trademark John Birmingham wry irreverance.


April 5th, 2022

This felt like Maisel back in form after wandering a bit - albeit getting plenty more value out of the supporting characters too, especially Abe Weissman and Moishe Maisel.  The plot arc shows The Plan starting to turn to doubt rather than events getting in the way of The Plan. And, I think it's setting us up for a 5th season that's got a lot going on for it. That didn't tell you a damn thing, did it.

April 8th, 2022

I'm not one of the legion of fans who devoured the Lee Childs books - my only exposure to Reacher really has been the Tom Cruise film.  Seasoned by the mouth-agape review of my mate Rodney, who just couldn't get over the fact that they'd cast a 5'6" actor as the 6'5" Jack Reacher.  This series really illustrated to me I think what Rodney was on about. He's a big lad, that Reacher. I enjoyed that the character is in no way portrayed as a one-dimensional giant lunk, but rather an observant, intelligent and just man with complexity, vulnerability and depth, but also with an impressive array of skills at his disposal.  The show's pace was great because the audience were figuring out the situation along with Reacher & friends rather than the end game being made clear early in the piece and the characters just following the signposts.  I'm very excited for the next instalment, should there be one. 👍

April 8th, 2022

"Famous with the mask on" - the thread here is around actors in small roles in the Star Wars trilogy. We know their lines; they're iconic. But unlike the marquee'd players, we know nothing about them. But, remembering that this was a film shot in the late 70s in England - prior documentary experience teaches us these are likely to be a bunch of normal Arthur Pewty's with a pile of non-anecdotes. And so, they are. There's a smattering of interesting stuff although it's a harsh lesson in realism for the aspiring actor. And then, for some reason, Dave Prowse?! WTF is he doing in this?

April 9th, 2022

I think I got a bit confused here, as there's been loads of media rhetoric about the Steve Coogan-led dramatisation of the Savile story: and that's what I was interested in.  It's probably no coincidence therefore that Netflix have been pimping out this documentary to capitalise on the story's current profile.  Once started, of course, it's a gritty and grim piece of history that's hard to stop watching (in horror).  The sad thing is that because of the historical nature of what went on it's noble to *hope* that it never happens again, but other than the sheer scale of it I wouldn't be surprised if stories keep coming out for a good few years yet.  Humans really can be complete arseholes, can't they?

April 10th, 2022

Total 90s cornerstone, this. Was it the last time Dan Aykroyd played a character in a film that wasn't just Dan Aykroyd? The thing that struck me most on this watch (other than the visible 90sisms which at the time seemed like perfectly normal life) was the apparent ease with which Cusack would declare "I kill people", and his conversationalist would just gloss over it.

April 16th, 2022

Starting as a fairly fun social climb tracking the inner machinations of Queen Anne's rule this piece develops into a manipulative and then dark drama on trust, vulnerability, love and power.  It's a film that'll mainly be remembered for the disturbing/inconclusive ending, and providing a signature bit of avant-garde weirdness for the director to peg his hat on.

April 18th, 2022

The fortunes of this show were always going to be interesting following the plot developments closing out the 5th season, however the show weathered that change quite well - and in fact strongly.  Props to the writers for the onion-like layers of screwing-over that went on in this season.

April 22nd, 2022

4 goes to finish this (interrupted by couch-snoozin), which is no way to give a film an objective go at being received well, is it? For starters, I'm not someone who generally gives a monkey's about comicbook films. Then there was the hype... I guess I just found this REALLY unedifying. Neither rooted enough in truth to be interesting, nor 2-dimensional enough to feel like a comic. Probably missed the point. Don't care.


May 1st, 2022

We started this season in around Feb/March last year. They're just so damn epic in scale! Season 2 was quite the journey, with LOTS of key character deaths and huge changes in the political setup in 13th Century Turkey.  It's crazy-infuriating sometimes as you wonder WHY THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE LISTENING TO {character}, despite a now-lengthy track record of that person barking up the wrong tree.  179 episodes down, 199 to go...

May 2nd, 2022

The best way to consume this, I think, is to have it on in the background & dip in and out periodically - otherwise you'd lose your mind. Notionally interesting due to the regional heats/finals nature of the contest, the show promises that everyone's in with an even chance. But some groups are clearly in a different class. From the 2022 season I doubt there was a viewer who walked away from the programme without knowing that Spencer Metzger is quite the force to keep an eye out for restaurant-wise.  At least it was nice to see a different type of class-divide in Britain for a change.

May 6th, 2022

I loved this. Richard Ayoade directs an off-kilter Gilliam/Brazil-esque vision of a Dostoyevsky story in which an inadequate man encounters, covets, interacts with, worships, and is plagued by a much more successful clone of himself. Making films is such a lottery, isn't it? This was a gem. 👍👍

May 13th, 2022

This genre flick goes beyond being a film into being a bona-fide cinema classic, but on THIS occasion I saw it as a digital restoration at the Bristol IMAX as part of 20th Century Flicks' Forgotten Worlds film festival.  Pure early-80's Australian post-apocalyptic sci-fi, in a world with little to no exposition and a sense of just getting on with the story. And never before had I seen the sheer detail of the grittiness and ugliness. Exquisite! 👍

May 14th, 2022

Few films can stand out as being "truly dire" - but this was one of them.  Basically forcing the "different generation" trope as a woman who's been in a coma for 20 years returns to her high school to complete senior year, but bringing with her all the attitudes of a 90s teenager. 👎👎

May 14th, 2022

Seth McFarlane's love-letter to Star Trek TNG iterated even further into the SciFi while still keeping enough comedy in the mix to sell that as a premise.  These stories felt like GENIUNE TNG stories, which while the names and forehead-prosthetics were different, everything else about it smelled like episodes that didn't quite make it out of the writers' room. 👍

May 15th, 2022

What a weird film! I think we got drawn into this by seeing Alexander Skarsgard on a chat show and selling the idea so fully. And yet when you watch it you find yourself thinking, "Well, this isn't what I thought this was going to be".  Great prodiction values for an epic story - however I guarantee I won't be watching it again.

May 15th, 2022

So, I find it *really* hard watching things with Toni Collette in (and this is TOTALLY my issue) because I keep getting distracted about whether it was her that I really disliked in that Jurassic Park sequel (spoiler: it isn't - that was Tea Leoni, and I don't know why I can't tell the two of them apart).  Other than that, this was a reasonably compelling "secret identity" and conspiracy piece.

May 15th, 2022

I've got a bit of a funny relationship with this film. I *know* intellectually it's the sort of thing that a nerd of my pedigree ought to love/live & be able to quote backwards. However I'd only ever watched it all the way through once before, when a cinephile friend in Australia gave me one of his treasured 2 tickets to see 1992's "The Director's Cut", and for reasons I don't now recall I fell asleep during the screening and missed most of it[i] I also fell asleep during 2017's sequel, Blade Runner 2049 - though that was an 11pm screening so less surprising... .  This screening was again at the IMAX, and was the digital restoration version of 2007's "The Final Cut". And, I'm delighted to report I STAYED AWAKE!  There's something glorious about seeing a film presented with that much on-screen detail on a screen that size: total feast for the senses, and I definitely came out of it wondering HOW I'd fallen asleep in it the first time, and totally rapt in the experience.  I'll never forget that opportunity [ii]rather embarrassingly, I just spotted in my ticket collection that I'd actually seen The Final Cut of Blade Runner in 2010 at the National Film Theatre, and clearly had no recollection whatsoever of … Continue reading - thanks Sam[iii] Somewhat ironically, Sam was also the name of the aforementioned friend in the 1992 story !

May 30th, 2022
Biography :: Brian Jay Jones

As a Muppet fan I’ve long been drawn to the wholesomeness and creativity of Henson, tweaked by his Bohemian streak. So this biography was a wonderful chance to get a fuller picture of the story & timelines of things. SO many elements I didn’t realise, like former Disney CEO Michael Eisner being the one who got the Muppets their first break on the ABC network. A genuinely loving book, reminding the reader what a unique and special guy Henson was.

May 30th, 2022

I've seen this a few times before (incl. the Swedish original, and reading the books), but rewatched cos we were on a boat sitting around in a harbour and there was jeff-all else to do.  I suppose the thing that struck me was that the film is mercifully free of the author describing the furniture in every single room.


June 1st, 2022

Season 1 of this really, really grabbed me - so it's a bit of a shame that this followup instalment seemed to wander a bit. I don't know if there was an element of plot-padding, or maybe my mind just wasn't fully on it.  Still good, but not 2-thumbs-up good.  At least compelling enough to sign up for the next season, I'd say.

June 2nd, 2022

Similar to the Dad's Army one (I watched them back-to-back), this was pure Channel 5 non-documentary claptrap.  Some decent factual content about the programme, and filled in a bit more context for me about why it was so popular and ever-present in Australia (e.g. they filmed a companion series to it in Australia!). Mildly amusing.  Probably the highlight for me was the hapless mechanised prop-comedy, which was a staple of 70s UK sitcoms and I really love the ineptness of it all. Also notable for being the only phrase I've ever written with a question mark next to a colon.  In computer programming, that's called The Elvis Operator.

June 2nd, 2022

A very provocative title - although they're not going to call it "Approximately 50 minutes' worth of random footage and 2nd-hand anecdotes".  I did learn a few things about Dad's Army that I didn't know, such as Corporal Jones and Capt. Mainwaring not being able to stand each other because of the actors' relative political stripes.  And one of the actors being significantly younger than portrayed.  The most scandalous thing was probably John LeMesurier's love life, where he lived in a house where his wife was having affairs with other men in front of him. Poor bloke.

June 16th, 2022
Biography, Humour :: Joel Golby

See, I shoulda written this at the time rather than months later. I think the lasting impression I had of this was that it was an amusing collection of short stories, some of which (and more than I’d care for) involved football. I’ve absolutely no idea what prompted me to buy/read this, and I’m not aware of my life being any the richer for having done so. Still, variety, I suppose.

June 22nd, 2022

I think the main point this doco tried to make (repeatedly) over its 78 minute runtime was: The English are Pricks. The really, really rich ones specifically. If you're interested in learning more about what they do, and how they do it - look elsewhere.

June 26th, 2022

Lots of the design ideas were interesting and that ALMOST got me to see past the infuriating elements of the show (for example, who the hell refurbishes a shop in 2 days with a budget of £3k?!).  Overwhelmingly though I just found myself increasingly grinding my teeth about all the campness.  Is it REALLY necessary?  Reality TV's become quite the industry though - there are production companies out there who are utterly adept at manufacturing hate figures.

June 26th, 2022

This was a film I saw.

June 27th, 2022

I really think Ewan McGregor was giving this all he had, but it's not possible to overcome the laziness of the Star Wars franchise and its 21st Century architects.  A patronising parade of fan-appeasing lip-service stretched over a jeopardy-free plot, punctuated with plenty of "REALLY?" eye-roll moments.  The one interesting character avenue that the story brought (the hunters) wasn't explored nearly enough for my liking.  I don't know why I keep watching Star Wars universe stuff. 👎


July 1st, 2022

This has been on my list to get around to watching since I was a teenager. And now, having finally seen it, I think the best thing I can say is "Well, that's that done". Wank. 👎

July 12th, 2022

This show.  My god, this show.  I found myself describing in breathlessly to a workmate and realised that I absolutely love it.  Flawed characters... flawed SUPERHEROES... and the set pieces - even after 2 eye-popping seasons, they can *still* pull surprises out of the bag. And, of course, there's the delicious swearing.  Proper compelling TV. Sublime! 👍👍

July 15th, 2022

Holy crap, having been massive fans of Borgen since day 1 and finding Birgitte Nyborg's floundering around in latter seasons a bit less satisfying, we were delighted that this instalment was a blistering return to excellence. In Borgen Power & Glory we not only saw the gritty innards of coalition politics (and the uneasy alliances and compromises that entails), but also the rise of in-party factionalism, alongside macropolitical wranglings and posturing: Nyborg not always in the driver's seat, but very much a player in the game. AND, add to that corporate/professional strain in the media with Katrine Fonsmark & team, AND Nyborg's personal life as well... THIS was gripping, quality drama. 👍👍

July 21st, 2022

Utterly compelling and well-referenced techno/political thriller featuring Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance in supporting roles. I loved the visual metaphors employed for computer hacking (clear fantasy extensions, as opposed to furious typing & bystander peering), and also that they'd gone to the trouble of having realistic Tech Stuff on the screens (as opposed to the usual thing of directory listings or someone running the top command).  Plus, that aside, it was a decent drama!

July 29th, 2022

Newsroom drama set in 1980s Australia, hinging on the Lindy Chamberlain story - once again I find myself surprised at still being surprised to see Anna Torv acting with her native accent. Did we do 1950s Australiana on TV in the 80s? The look and attitudes of the time were very well-captured, although I wondered if the treatment of some of the issues raised had been given a more 2020's treatment.


August 17th, 2022

The quasi-biopic of Presedential Candidate Dwayne Johnson continues - bringing in a little adversity and a few lessons but maintaining the ludicrous tone and cartoonish charm. What a way to mythologise a backstory! I feel like in this season his Dad, Rocky Johnson, is starting to get away less-easily with being a self-absorbed dickpiece. 👍👍


September 6th, 2022

Digital restoration release on the big screen - another chance to revisit a film of childhood in definition far greater than I'd ever seen, and in this case than the film producers had probably ever intended.  I'd forgotten about how fractious the whole Star Trek film franchise was following the polished high-budget turd that the first film was.  This sequel rescued it somewhat, but isn't without its total nonsequiturs and profoundly silly early-80s visions of the future (realised through the provision of contemporary hairstyles).

September 17th, 2022

Comedic-but-tackling-the-real-life-issues series with protagonist Neil Patrick Harris being left by his long-term boyfriend unexpectedly, and the completely relatable stories that unfold for someone who's a high-end property agent, existing in the New York gay society scene.  This is DEFINITELY not The Wire.  Clearly we've become a lot more comfortable with gay men on TV since Will & Grace first aired, because it definitely pulls no punches.

September 19th, 2022

Bit of a pantomime, wasn't it? There was something fundamentally weird about the idea of Tom Cruise (a 60 year old) playing football on a beach with a bunch of 20-somethings, and out-flying them, better-withstanding physical endurance, having better eyesight, AND also witnessing him rekindling a relationship with someone at least closer to his own age. If you ignore the fact that most of the 3rd act is total nonsense, the lip service to the fans of bringing touches of the first film back, AND ignoring how many of the remaining actors wanted nothing to do with it... all that's left is to try not to think of Topper Harley.  Ludicrous.

September 24th, 2022

For a futuristic virtual-world story this one came off as quite fresh & original - I wonder if any of the cracks in the story were papered over by the legion of little pop-culture references buried (and more overtly placed) throughout? I remain baffled as to how in the hell they got Mark Rylance involved in this, though.

September 25th, 2022

Christ, what a turd this was.  Warring divorced parents conspire to ruin high-achieving daughter's wedding to Balinese seaweed farmer, and learn about love on the way & end up together.  To think we paid money in a cinema to watch this shite. 👎👎

September 26th, 2022

Having never read the GRAPHIC NOVELS but heard loads about them over the years I was very keen to watch this, and mostly enjoyed the British emo/stoner vibing lead character. Took me a minute to pick up that as a comic book the pace of it wouldn't necessarily be episodic story arc, but could be distinct stories - some of which were very enjoyable indeed. Overall it was a wonderful escape with great production values and a very rich sense of self. Some bits bored me, and in hindsight given its tone & subject matter it's a very risky proposition of something to try to watch late at night when one's partner has disappeared off to bed.

September 28th, 2022
History, Tech :: Steven Levy

Subtitled “How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives” – an interesting read this, given that it was published in 2011… so, a company biopic from 10 years ago for a company that’s very much continued aggressively evolving to present day. Steven Levy writes candidly and with great insight (and clearly, access) on the origin stories of Larry and Sergey, and the genesis of the company from its roots as a research project from Stanford.

I was very interested to read the internal wrangling over the power of data vs. privacy, the famed “20% time”, and the great Google push into China (up to that point one of the most significant moves they’d made). It blew my mind that Google Glass didn’t feature at all – but then, it was from 2014. So, maybe there’s a 10th Anniversary edition out there? I can’t remember when Marissa Mayer left Google either, but it was interesting how prominently her name featured in this book, given her latter movements.


October 2nd, 2022

I don't know if TV crime shows have ALWAYS been this consciously misleading, or if it's a more recent development - so new am I to the ways of small-screen British drama.  In this one the bloke from Poldark plays a psychologist with some weird stuff going on which sees him become a fugitive from an incredibly small-minded and vindictive senior police officer, trying to clear his name and ultimately save the lives of his family.

October 6th, 2022
Autobiography :: Simon Donald

As autobiographies go, it was fine. The story of the genesis and the quirks/behind-the-scnes stuff of Viz magazine were great, and I suppose in a way it was slightly comforting to be reading the story of a fairly ordinary chap who carved out a career pratting about with his mates – with the warts & all tales of the various cockups along the way… I finished the book thinking that the most notable thing about it, though, was the fact that for some reason my copy came with 3 (identical) dust jackets. Top that, readers!

October 9th, 2022

Powerful film, sure - but totally not what the trailers led us to believe this film was going to be about. It is important to tell stories about (in this case) privileged white guys being confronted about not taking ownership/responsibility for their actions regarding sexual assault/rape. Could've done with more of a headsup that that's what it was going to be about though, when the trailer seemed to suggest more of a horror/thriller story and we weren't really in the right frame of mind for what we ended up watching.

October 12th, 2022
Memoir :: Barry Cryer

This book of memoirs felt like Barry Cryer didn’t really want to write it – but I’m really glad he did, and loved every moment of it. It’s a bit biased – I’d read a shopping list if I knew Baz had written it. The ONLY thing I didn’t love about this book is that he didn’t go into more depth/detail on some of the stories.

October 15th, 2022

A product of one of my occasional whims to watch something on Netflix that has a 7.0-or-higher IMDB score (if only to stem the incessant flow of shite), and I realised I'd never seen this! GREAT cast working a multi-layered story of 1950s police racketeering amid sleazy LA.  How in the hell did I miss out on this?! 👍👍

October 16th, 2022

I've been a fan of Jean DuJardin's OSS117 films since seeing "Lost in Rio" in 2010 with Hannah & Paul, and it's been a bit of a hard sell to bring other people on this ride with me... but me ol' chum Wazza the Irish fella (who speaks French and lives in I think Portugal?) alerted me to the release of this 3rd instalment last year, and I finally tracked it down on streaming to watch. A new director's brought a different tone to the fundamentally silly yet typically French spy's character, and I've been really struggling with working out what I thought of this film.  Monsieur Bonisseur-de-la-Bath's racist, sexist, oblivious & low-key boorish manner was always portrayed with the most loving frame of irony; but less so in this film, which made a point of highlighting what an anachronism he is - and I found myself wondering whether the film was trying to make a point? Very different from its predecessors, I thought. Or, maybe I'm overthinking it - I suspect a lot of the cultural references are lost on my non-French background, and plus I have to rely on the translations of the subtitles.

October 20th, 2022

Such a rich setting. And ambitious in scale.  Incredible detail.  Really struggles in the way that prequels with known source material do though in that we know this is a story that needs to hit certain beats.  The storytelling's a bit ponderous but why not just relax into the art and go with it? Will definitely be watching this to completion, and, it doesn't suck anywhere near as much as The Hobbit.

October 22nd, 2022

Pretty bullshittish attempt to break Hugh Bonneville's typecasting, by making him a sinister condescending racist kidnapper. A film interesting only for the fact that it's got no good-guy.

October 22nd, 2022

Unfair to write this up as I suspect I slept through a substantive chunk of it. I thought the first 30-45 minutes were an interesting-enough bit of self-reflection about the decreasing returns in endlessly mining a franchise for sequels, and then once the director finished making that point it devolved into Things Happening.  And the trouble with sequelling a trilogy where most people only gave a shit about the first film in the first place is that the backreferencing of characters from the latter 2 instalments leaves an already ambivalent audience thinking, "Who the fuck's THIS guy meant to be?". 👎

October 22nd, 2022

I really struggled watching a semi-dramatisation of the Conservative Government's handling of the COVID-19 crisis that didn't take a harder point of view against Johnson and friends. Central to it was Kenneth Branagh's faultless portrayal - albeit very distracting for over half of it due to the amount of prosthetics involved (and additionally because I'd had a bit of a brainslip and thought it was Gary Oldman in the lead role).  Surely Johnson can't be that annoying in real life, can he? The constant quoting of classics came across as borderline delusional. A really hard watch, as far as recreational TV goes.

October 24th, 2022

OK, so I was ALWAYS gonna be watching this, and will watch it to completion unless it gets really dire.  The world's too rich not to. However, it's worth registering at this point:
  • they're pretty bloody earnest, aren't they? Totally lacks any of the sense of humour of its predecessor.
  • The time elapsing business screwed me about a bit, what with the changing some actors partway in but not all. But I probably shouldn't have been playing games on my phone whilst watching.
  • Overall it was a pretty badass series, but it took until the final 3 episodes to get there.  BIG difference between US and UK TV.
And then there's the whole prequel/prearranged beats thing. And I guess the effect of the overall premise: I really had to go burrowing into nerdy fansites to understand whether or not The Wall existed, because it's barely mentioned in this. Which, as a 700-foot high magical ice wall, you'd think it would be.

October 28th, 2022

What the hell do you say about this masterpiece? It's been a while since I watched this, having latterly fallen more under the thrall of Ash vs the Evil Dead - what struck me was how much Ash has taken the limelight as a character since these early films, where he's really more of a prop to the action.  I saw this as part of the Forbidden Worlds festival at Bristol IMAX, so it was amazing to see this film on this size screen, and in a room packed with likeminded idiots all enjoying it as much as me. Groovy.

October 28th, 2022

William Castle's 1959 Vincent Price horror, at the IMAX as part of the festival.  I realised during this I've only seen one Vincent Price film (Bloodbath at the House of Death), so this was a bit of a treat and I realised almost immediately how much his voice influenced Maurice LaMarche in coming up with The Brain... which was distracting. Not that this was a film that took too much concentration - a spine-dwelling centipede called The Tingler strengthens through fear and is strong enough to shatter bone, but is diminished by the host releasing their fear through screaming. So all Price needs to do is find a host who cannot scream... In this screening a tribute to Castle's film trademarks was screaming audients, a fainting woman & medics in white coats, and a 6-foot latex Tingler inching its way across the auditorium. Sublime.

October 30th, 2022

I watched this film. I'll be honest, I'm hard-pressed to tell you wtf it was about. A Hong Kong gangster gets rescued from thugs by an apparition. The gangster's brother (a boxer) gets paralysed in a match with a Thai champ.  The gangster goes to Thailand to avenge him, and is summoned to a temple by the apparition - who turns out to be the elevated form of a monk, who's been poisoned by a sorcerer. The monk says the gangster (also a boxer) has to defeat the sorcerer or they'll both die (because they were twins in a past life). There's lots of magic, fights, gizzards, eating of gizzards, and generally wack shit going down.  And apparently for those in the know this is an exemplar of the genre, so, that's nice. Oh and 1000-year-old mushroom-juice.  And a naked woman who hatches out of a dead crocodile, who gives birth to 3 clingwrapped sorcerers.  No, those last sentences didn't help.


November 11th, 2022

I watched Seinfeld. All of it.  All 9 seasons. Starting at the end of January, and finishing in November. Snatching 2 or 3 episodes in an evening when I could after Liz had gone to bed (she haaaaaates Seinfeld).  I'd never seen it all despite it having been CONSTANTLY on TV - from its actual run (1989-1998), and then the everpresent reruns. You know all the main characters, many of the catchphrases, and maybe even the origins. There was a definite change across the seasons in the extremeness of the main cast: mostly starting out as normal folk (well, with the exception of Kramer) and slowly losing much of any third-dimension... but at the same time getting more complex and extreme in their various neuroses. I'd never spotted Jerry's casual string of girlfriends who'd never pass a Bechdel test, or wondered why he wouldn't just change the locks or call the cops on Kramer & his constant home-invasion. They make George seem like the most normal one of the group. Go figure.

November 12th, 2022
Humour, Memoir :: Mark Steel

Not so much a series of short stories, as a collection of recollections between 1 and 4 pages long – from the author the then-slightly-successful South London comedian, Mark Steel. In the nearly 30 years since the book’s publication he’s continued ploughing his comedic furrow but stayed true enough to his roots that these stories are unmistakeably by him. I’d be intrigued to see how he’d tell them differently today. Always political, and usually hilarious. And that says nothing useful about the book, does it?

November 13th, 2022

David Tennant's vicar and Stanley Tucci's death-row-not-at-all-like-Hannibal-Lecter psychologist are the tentpoles for this 4-part crime drama where the mild-mannered vicar just keeps on making the wrong decision, culminating in a VERY bizarre final episode. Some pretty wildly unrealistic police characters in this also. But it's only a story and it was interesting enough. I'd call it a win for both writer Steven Moffatt, and for the UK's 4-episode drama format.

November 22nd, 2022

Holy crap. THIS is good Star Wars Universe content. As my colleague put it, "It doesn't have space wizards" - what it DOES have is intrigue, politics, characters you give a shit about, and storyline that it's foregone conclusion EVEN THOUGH it's prequel to other universe properties. And all done lovingly and accurately using the visual language of the world.  Loved this. 👍👍

November 23rd, 2022

DEFINITELY seen this before but somehow it doesn't appear in any of my media roundups. Hey ho! I rewatched following finishing the excellent TV series Andor, due to the presence of the title character in this film.  I've got vague recollections of being ambivalent about the film previously, but having now gotten a better sense of the retrofit backstory of this character I weirdly had a lot more time for this film (even if it was trying to shove humour a little too overtly into a Star Wars movie for my liking).  Goes to show what a difference it makes to build rapport for the characters with your audience!


December 5th, 2022

Iconic, and part of the culture - no idea how I got this far in the UK without having consumed this. I paid for a compilation on Amazin that claimed to be the whole of The Fast Show - no idea if it was complete, but I got a great sense of the initial innovation & guerilla nature of it, right through to the final tiresome sunset. Interesting how people describe the decline of a comedy movement as being to changes in public taste - but when you watch the whole Fast Show end-to-end like this you can actually see the change in attitude of the performers, getting smugger and more complacent. Still, funny though. Nice.

December 5th, 2022

We're pretty close to present day now, and you've got to wonder how pleased the monarchy are with these dramatisations. Imelda Staunton makes a feasible Elizabeth (amazing the power of an iconic hairstyle on a quality actor), but the real issue is the PAGES of dialogue - obviously invented, and QUITE some licence taken. The finale was a bit of a lowpoint but I daresay we'll be sticking with it.

December 6th, 2022

I enjoyed this doco about rock legend backup singers, and marvelled at the idea that Darlene Love worked with so many cornerstone acts and appeared on SO MANY singles, but I'd never heard of her. I liked that this got the plaudits it did, and I loved that the singers got to tell their stories - even though I didn't rate *all* of the stories that highly. Although, that MAY have been the sleep deprivation of newborn parenthood talking.

December 6th, 2022

Made the mistake of thinking this'd be interesting... One wonders whether the ppl who put this together did any research before crowdfunding its production: my guess is, they didn't. It's largely the fairly sad story of a film hasbeen, trying to celebrate his moments of triumph and venerate his stories from back in the day - but ultimately showing more sadness than happiness.  Thankfully they realised they needed more topic matter to pad out the whole thing and secured some time with some of Britain's premier stage/screen weirdos.  And then, inexplicably, there's a middle section where they're talking to Brian May. Bloody strange.

December 6th, 2022

I know that Domhnall Gleeson is a fine actor - I just can't get past the fact that he looks like he's 14 years old half the time. Don't get me wrong - he gave a lovely Henry Beard (perpetually pipe-smoking weirdo)... I just got a bit caught up (repeatedly) in the fact it looked like the age difference between him & Doug Kenney was Not Insignificant. Supporting cast of characters was lovingly played and well-executed, but as much as I love the subject matter I don't think I'd recommend crossing the street to see this.

December 8th, 2022

This was a film I was convinced I'd watched loads of times, but gave it another watch because I tried REALLY hard to remember what it was about, and couldn't. It later occurred to me that I never actually watched it - I just used to watch the opening credits Over and Over and Over again because I was trying to learn to play Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" on the piano at the time. Yes, this was made in 1973 and YES times have changed a lot.  I really liked this though: the film had a certain wink and swagger to it that was cheeky and charming, without lapsing (too much) into sexism. You could probably see the ending approaching from a mile off, but it did make me smile. Seemed like a LOT of effort to go to for $500,000 though. 👍

December 10th, 2022

Feels like I kinda took this one on face value really: probably a casualty of trying to watch late at night on newborn/sleep dep conditions. To get the most out of this you'd probably have needed to understand what Manhattan used to be like (with its famously high crime rate) rather than the comparatively sanitised mecca that it is now... I just remember thinking that Snake Plissken was possibly the worst name for a leading character I'd ever come across.

December 12th, 2022

Nice bit of fairly mindless vampire action nonsense here, with a suitably arcane backstory - albeit somewhat odd to think of Bill Nighy as an ancient vampiric lord once you've seen About Time. I think my subconscious interest in this came about from reading that it was on this film Kate Beckinsale met Michael Sheen (& hence they hooked up), but even knowing this I did a MASSIVE doubletake once I realised which one was Michael Sheen. HE'S changed a lot between Underworld and Staged.

December 12th, 2022

Now, watching this came about by accident cos I thought Netflix had restarted Underworld, whereas I knew I had 40 mins til the end. So I pressed play, fast-forwarded through to the -40m mark, and then rewound back through again cos I didn't recognise anything... only to find I'd clicked on this sequel instead of the first film! So then I watched this next. You can almost see the negotiation with Kate Beckinsale's agent, as film 1 focused on her being badass in a black leather catsuit. Whereas the sequel upped the ante and demanded a nude/sex scene (it'll advance the plot, honest) - and all the limbs/angles are strategic so you don't see any of her rude bits, other than a very focused lingering shot on her belly. Vampires, again.

December 13th, 2022

Once I'd gotten past the eeriness of a younger Alec Guinness being very reminiscent of the face of Kevin Spacey, I really enjoyed this little larcenous romp. Also deligthed to recognise the bloke from My Fair Lady as well (although then got further distracted by humming the songs every time he came on screen). I feel like there's an interesting comparison about film storylines here - this wasn't worthy or intricate, but it was great! 👍

December 13th, 2022

In the wee small feeding hours it suddenly hit me that I hadn't seen the original film, only the (smash hit) musical. Zero Mostel is a conundrum of charisma: seemingly having none whatsoever, but having LOADS at the same time. What a wonderfully ludicrous romp.

December 15th, 2022

WHY would any sensible person tackle a Gilliam-esque French semi-surreal film when affected by sleep deprivation!? That said, I loved it! The quirkiness called to mind Amelie - and then a big facepalm as I read in Wikipedia that it was the same director! I really enjoyed the cartoonish sinister-ness of the butcher on the ground floor, as well as the Brazil-like hoses & wetsuits aesthetic of Les Troglodistes. 👍

December 15th, 2022

The Orville's now almost totally shed its comedy roots and transmorphed into a late-90s space scifi serial. Season 3 was a "replatforming", that saw a new titlecard (The Orville - New Horizons), and longer episode lengths - which made for slightly more self-indulgent plotlines. As well as this, the writers leant into reincorporation/revisiting of story elements from previous series. Mostly, still wonderful. I struggle a bit with the idea that the Federation's completely forgiven the Kaylon for trying to brutally wipe them out, given that it was all based on a misunderstanding.

December 15th, 2022

Why do stories set in 80s suburbia always immediately conjure up the idea that some of them might be swingers? I know fashion's a fleeting and ephemeral thing, but even having grown up there it's impossible to believe that people ever thought any of the 80s (early 80s, specifically) was a good look. Also there's an actress who really, really reminds me of Megan Mullally in this (but isn't).

December 16th, 2022

I'd feel a lot better/smugger about having engaged with this - purportedly, the greatest film ever made - if I'd managed to stay awake for more of it.  Hey ho, that's newborn-induced sleep deprivation for you...  It's not exactly The Hitman's Bodyguard, is it?  To get this film, I'm gonna need to watch it again, aren't I.

December 16th, 2022

My favourite cooking show. Judged by my favourite chef. What's not to love? The skills tests this year were pretty brutal, and the departure of Monica Galletti was ably covered by Anna Haugh, who's forged a formidable place for herself in the lineup. This year's contestants all seemed pretty green (although notable to see how confident Marcus was from the outset about the eventual winner), but as the field was whittled down some real culinary talents shone. This is reality television done right, and a celebration of the UK's finest young talent.

December 17th, 2022

Rewatched this purely because I don't sleep any more and have an infant to supervise. Deadpool continues to be the only Marvel property I give a monkey's about.  Just a sweary, sarcastic joy to behold.

December 18th, 2022

It was a long night - but once you rewatch Deadpool it's foolish not to play on. Not sure if the streamed version of this was different to the last one I watched, or whether my recollections differ due to sleep deprivation. At the same time as saying that though.... "shirtcockin' it" is still a phrase that someone in this film minted.  What else do you want?

December 21st, 2022

This might be the first time I've said this about this show, but I actually enjoyed this season - and this represents a bit of a seachange in that it's become more driven by plot, and seems less about making the viewer seem complicit in witnessing something awful. Of course the architects of Gilead are still all deranged, and the participants all deluded. And June Osborne ain't gonna stay out of that mess.  Have we finally seen the veil lifted from Serena's eyes though?

December 22nd, 2022

I found it hard to assess what I thought of the material of this, so caught up was I in how Armando Ianucci it was - even with everyone in it being American.  While desperately missing Chris Addison and Peter Capaldi, this seemed a solid show and I'm looking forward to cruising through the rest of it!

December 22nd, 2022

Continuing the quality streak from season 31 - some good (coherent) stories, and really watchable.  And we learned that Superindendant Chalmers' first name is Garibaldi. 👍

December 26th, 2022

Chuck Jones was a bona-fide once-in-a-lifetime legend, so this documentary with footage of interviews with him and his contemporaries was pure gold dust. Such a mind, a heart, and an attitude. There's something about listening to people casually describe how they adlibbed/improvised things which went on to become details meticulously obsessed over years later by nerds (like me). Ultimately, there's a reason why in 2022 I'm still fascinated by cartoons from 1953. Quality stuff. 👍

December 27th, 2022

Rob Lowe fronts a documentary sarcastically explaining the concept of "tropes" to people too lazy to look it up for themselves. This is a web page that's been turned into a TV show, so maybe this is where Netflix is getting its cheaper content from now? Harmless/entertaining enough - but any doco which describes "The Car Chase" as a Hollywood trope, but doesn't make reference to The Blues Brothers can go get in the sea.

December 30th, 2022

Timeline-spanning story about 2 best friends, which I was basically put up to watching by Liz. It departs from the usual cliche of these stories of nobody ever having to do any goddamn work despite having seemingly limitless time and resources by virtue of Katherine Heigl's character being a talk TV star (and Sarah Chalke being a producer).  In the 2nd season some of the age-effects have become a bit more noticeable, but it never gets in the way of the storylines - and S2 has paused on a cliffhanger, to be reconvened in May.

December 30th, 2022

Having a tiny baby to feed naturally lends itself to having The Simpsons on in the background, which explains how I mainlined this whole season in 2 weeks.  I'm really, really impressed by these last couple of seasons - given that it's a show that started in 1989, here in 2022 they're turning out interesting and innovative couch-gags (including collabs with other artists), they're turning up quite a lot of musical sequences (often very non-sequitur), and they're tapping into contemporary culture (e.g. a story about the genesis of Krustyburger turned into a Succession pastiche, or Marge & friends got obsessed with a "highbrow British show", which turned out to be a Bridgerton-esque excuse to drink cocktails - "The Earl of Sixpackia").

December 31st, 2022

Basically, if you go on holiday and Jennifer Coolidge turns up in your hotel - GO HOME NOW. I'm really impressed at how this show manages to take an almost entirely new cast, and a new location, and weave a tale every bit as demented and interesting as the last season.  And it was only for the first few episodes that we found ourselves wondering, "Oooh, I wonder which one of them's going to shit in a suitcase this time?".

December 31st, 2022
Biography :: Isabel Oakeshott, Michael Ashcroft

Gripping and comprehensive read about the rise and fall of Cameron – infamously, this was the book that was sensationalised for the appendage/dead pig/mouth story. But more insightfully it detailed a portrait of Cameron being a near-effortlessly talented politician, with the will to ruthlessly get to the top and then no ideas about what to do once he got here. Equally interesting was the appendix which characterised Ashcroft’s opinion polling data, which to my mind painted a much more interesting picture of the sorts of data insights it’s possible to get.

I am a self-facilitating media node (aka you are what you consume)


i I also fell asleep during 2017's sequel, Blade Runner 2049 - though that was an 11pm screening so less surprising...
ii rather embarrassingly, I just spotted in my ticket collection that I'd actually seen The Final Cut of Blade Runner in 2010 at the National Film Theatre, and clearly had no recollection whatsoever of having done so.
iii Somewhat ironically, Sam was also the name of the aforementioned friend in the 1992 story
🌳 Buy me a Tree