Monday, 30 September 2013

Breaking Bad finale "And I was really—I was alive" (no he wasn't)

I suspected it at the time but am now completely convinced

Walt died in the car. Everything after was a dream.


Inevitably it's disappointing  - perhaps because I'm half asleep, also perhaps because I also watched the Mythbusters Breaking Bad special yesterday so I failed to suspend my disbelief for some of it

Although satisfying on a plot level it felt - lightweight - compared to the previous two episodes, which were absolutely classic tv drama


as I alluded to in previous bog post a literal, satisfying end to such an epic would appear a little dull and I think people will compare it to the
end of The Sopranos for a very long time

and years later I still don't know what to think about the end of that


Perhaps fair to say the end of Breaking Bad would not have happened without the end of The Sopranos

Friday, 27 September 2013

Queens of the Stone Age is the unheard soundtrack to Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad ends on Sunday, I'd like to say how pleased I am that my favourite character

"Don't drink and drive..... but if you do - call me"

is getting a spin off but as this seems to feature in a lot of other comment I'll try and find some fresh things to say.

To follow a theme of recent posts up here one of the most unappreciated parts of Breaking Bad is the music. The cooking montages in particular are beautifully done. The Season 5 episode 3 ("Hazard Pay") cooking montage introduced me to The Peddlers, which despite being from my area and from my part of the world I previously knew nothing about. I've since come to appreciate the Peddlers beyond the ironic and the recent episode of the BBC 6 music freakzone focusing on their classic album, London Suite, is really starting to turn me into a bit of a fan.
The Mariarchi song about Heisenberg at the start of epsiode 7 seasson 2 is pure Breaking Bad, unexpected, funny with an undercurrent of real threat.

One musical artist I've come to associate with Breaking Bad without even actually featuring in the tv show is Queens of the Stone Age. Obviously it must be mostly that Tex Mex setting but the whole lip curling menace of Queens of the Stone Age, and some of their Desert rock 'sister' bands such as Eagles of Death Metal and Mondo Generator (best album "A Drug Problem That Never Existed") could really be pouring right out of Walt's eyes every time becomes Heisenberg.

Favourite images from Breaking Bad?
The head on the tortoise and the teddy in the swimming pool with half it's head missing - a ghostly premonition of the fate of Gus Fring.

Bad guys?
In a series of great bad guys Tuco was still the craziest.

The Ladies
I always hated Skyler. How she made it alive beyond S3 is proof that Walt is a better man than me. In fact the only bearable female character was Jane (way behind Deadwood, The Wire, Mad Men in this regard)

I guess I should thanks to Rob and Odie for forcing me to watch that killer first episode, still one of the best if you've avoided it so far. I struggled through much of first and second seasons and got really sick of seeing Skyler doing the washing up. I and honestly think I've seen better in Deadwood and that bloody Baltimore show everyone is sick of hearing about, but I have to admit it is resolving itself with real power not seen in the others.

Still one episode to go and though it seems Breaking Bad is going out with a serious of classic episodes which tie up everything, I remember thinking the same running up to the end of The Sopranos, which ended in an unexpected manner. Tight, brilliant and literal as BB appears to be leaving us it could make the end of Tony and co even more enigmatic and brilliant in the long term. See the the literal attempts to tie up Lost (awful), Twin Peaks (disappointing), The Wire (anti-climactic) vs. the enigmatic climax of The Prisoner (universally reviled at the time, now considered classic)

Great pic from

Final thought, in penultimate episode Walt is trapped in a cabin in the middle of nowhere - another moment I can relate to - with a DVD copy of this's_Wonder_Emporium
. I saw that on a plane ..
Bloody hell.. Hasn't this man suffered enough by now?

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Blood at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium

Giving blood at the Emirates - the most painful part is having to listen to Heart FM.

It's five years since my last donation, I've really let this get away from me

Monday, 2 September 2013

Well and truly Hammered - Personal notes on BFI monster weekend

Personal notes on BFI monster weekend

I've been sneaking a large hip flask full of whisky into these nights (past a large but friendly police presence) and with some drinking before and after three nights in a row Saturday night it is fair to say I was
well and truly

Id left myself six audio notes by the time I'd got back via the Hemingford Arms and the Cally Road kebab  shop  (Thanks Petra Kebabs!)

Bum Boxes very comfy

Lots of characters, lots of young foreigners in audience, what do they make of 1950s British horror movies?

Saw Kim Newman, author of ATL Stoker novel Anno Dracula but as usual was too shy to say anything. I actually see him plenty and  am a big fan - It's depressing and I must get over that kind of thing.
Kim! Anno Dracula was awesome!

Music an important part of at least the opening night as the BFI event program prominently cited Kate Bush sampling Night of the Demon. For every night of the event Hounds of Love got a fresh airing through the gently swaying trees around the museum. Worth the ticket just for that.
I've already mentioned it but the pre-movie music really helped set up a chilled, cool and yet friendly atmosphere pre-movie experience. It could have been Monster Mash and Bau Haus but instead it was very sensible slightly goth New Romantic and New wave with a light touch of Banshees.
Cocteau Twins, Psychelic Furs, Duran Duran and a spine tingling Cities in Dust were the highlights for me.
Thanks to music label Death Waltz for the tunes apparently, it I can get a tracklist off them for the event I'll post it up.

Restored version of The Mummy at British Museum

Hammer's The Mummy Restored

In contrast to last night's Dracula (thanks for the lecture Christopher Frayling) the introductions before The Mummy were very interesting. No less than the Head of British Museum reminds us of late night classic horror double bills on BBC2 on summer Saturday nights. He goes on to list the history of Mummy related  curses and legends in the Museum itself. The British Museum at one time had its own tube stop and the Egyptian residents were thought to be haunting the tube tunnels at night.

One particular Mummy at the BM has its own history of tabloid legends, with a suspicion that the curse around it had had prompted a sale to a New York museum - abandoned when the ship the move it - The Titantic - was lost.

A film writer with a history of Mummy films behind him reminds us that the definitive version is still the restrained 1932 version and that Hammers the Mummy must have been released just a few years after Suez Crisis.  In the UK people must have had an abrupt reminder in taking Egyptians seriously.

On this viewing, and I loved it when shown as part of those infamous late night BBC2 double bills in the Hammer's The Mummy crawls along like a long dead Egyptian thing for a long time. It reminds you that Hollywood can do ancient Egypt a lot better than British film ever has. Though to be fair Hollywood probably does Ancient Egypt it better than the Ancient Egyptians did it themselves.
Hammer's problem is that little rep film studio that only just gets Central Europe in the 1880s right is going to struggle with Ancient Egypt 2000 years ago.

Along with all that Hammer's the lurid hyper reality of colour and music has dated much more than the Universal horrors. They are arguably more influential however, certainly on modern film, as the fast cutting action climaxes (sometimes worked out the actors themselves in the case of Dracula) seem far more contemporary than the rest of the movie. The Mummy ends with some intense shotgun action and some possibly intentional humour as Cushing's explorer fumbles with the keys to a fragile looking glass gun cabinet as Lee's monster bares down on him.

By this point the movie, which had spent 45 minutes dragging it's bandaged leg across the screen, is lurching at  your throat.

Yvonne Furneaux, the female lead, is barely in the film and given little to do but, when Christopher Lee sets eyes upon her and recognises her as his long lost Ananka it is an undeniably powerful moment up there with the best of the studio. It easily justifies the hour or so of wobbly build up and from that moment the tragedy and action blow away the cardboard mystery and the film races to an strong climax. Kudo's to Lee and  Furneaux here, from nowhere they come to steal the movie right away from the rest of the cast.

Yvonne Furneaux not only looks like Ananka but also strongly reminiscent of  Rachel Weisz, playing a much better version of the same character in the more action orientated 1990s version.

This gives me a chance to plug something that needs more attention. If you, like me, are missing Rachel Weisz in a Egyptian setting, and can't even bare to see the third Mummy film because her role was recast..

..which undermined a central part of the narrative for that entire series -  a beauty so immortal ...we'll just get some other actress to play it..

...You should really check out AGORA, because it is a good movie, describing the fate of the Great Library of Alexandria.  And Rachel Weisz is very good in it.