The Punk Singer


A Middle Aged Movie Blog. Being the periodic journal of a film loving middle aged independent science fiction writing father of two and his ongoing adventures in cinema and home video

Watched Black Mass (2015), a well-directed, if ever so slightly derivative gangster movie from helmer Scott Cooper. The film deals with real life Irish hoodlum James “Whitey” Bulger, played with detached malevolence by cinema’s go to weirdo Johnny Depp. The film relates how Bulger hoodwinked the FBI into an alliance whilst using them to further his own nefarious agenda.

An interesting saga, with a fine turn from Depp, the film ably negotiates its subject and is entertainingly dastardly, though I couldn’t shake the feeling I was watching a sequel to Donnie Brasco (1997) for long periods.

Watched the last episode and New Year special of the latest iteration of Dr Who. Watched the series in staggered instalments, mostly since I’ve been off the TV for a bit and sticking to films and writing responsibilities. Chris Chibnall as show runner eschews the convoluted plotting of the Moffatt era. This is an episodic season, which tackles some big issues and makes exceptional use of its diverse cast, to freshen up proceedings. Jodie Whittaker is excellent as a mechanically minded, tangential doctor, though I expected no less given her impressive CV. However, the real stand out is the inspired casting of Bradley Walsh as grieving widower Graham. Graham is the heart of the new show, coming to terms with a bereavement, uncertain about adventure and reluctantly pulled along.

It might not be to everyone’s taste, but then given the surfeit of new directors and writers on the show, it’s not surprising that it looks and sounds different from before. An interestingly assembled array of newly minted villains is a plus point. A quality Dalek episode in the New Year topped the season off magnificently.

Received a copy of Kathleen Hanna doc The Punk Singer (2013) in the post from online fellow film writer and blogger Jimi Fletcher and was heartened to discover it is really rather good.

As a straight up ode to a bygone era of post punk favourites from the early nineties the documentary works well. It works better, however, as a character study of its outspoken feminist icon Kathleen Hanna and her variable musical personas, her struggles with celebrity, feminism, idiotic patronising bloke culture and Lime Disease. I had a peripheral knowledge of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre prior to watching the documentary due to my love of Nirvana, Fugazi, Sonic Youth and other seminal bands from that era. However, having watched the doc, it is now my intention to go away and fill in the blanks. An interesting portrait of an alternative life in music.

RIP Franco Zeffirelli. Many thanks for introducing me to cinematic Shakespeare adaptations such as Hamlet (1990), The Taming of The Shrew (1967) and Romeo and Juliet (1968). Big loss.

Father’s Day haul equalled a bunch of Tin Tin cartoons, Cowboys and Aliens (2011), Super 8 (2011), and All About Eve (1950).

Revisited the BBC extended Anglo-American Dr Who episode/movie, titled simply Doctor Who – The Movie from 1996 with Paul McGann in the role of the titular Time Lord. I lost the vote to watch The Dark Crystal (1982) during the afternoon though I wasn’t too upset as it’s some time (ahem) since I watched this particular Dr in action.

Viewed in retrospect, this San Francisco set face-off between Eric Roberts’ cackling Master and Paul McGann’s youthful jelly-baby munching doc is incredibly fun. The CG effects are atrocious, and it struggles to marry past elements of Dr Who with a more modern interpretation of the character on occasion. Still, in light of the success of the show post 2005, it holds up quite favourably and can be seen as a transitional adventure which allows the doc to shed his older personality in favour of a newer one. Though it wasn’t necessarily successful back in the mid-nineties, the seed it planted would come to fruition 9 years later in the guise of Christopher Eccleston’s 9th incarnation. This of course, was a success for the BBC, since which, the Dr has not been off our screens for close to 15 years. Directed by Geoffrey Sax.

Watched Good Omens on streaming, which was every bit as delightful as I’d hoped it would be. Watched Venom (2018), finally, after much vacillating. Average CG effects, some narrative uncertainty and tonal difficulties. However, the character was well realised. Ruben Fleischer of Zombieland (2009) fame, does well with the comedic aspects of the film. Not the Venom movie I was hoping it would be by any stretch (ahem) of the imagination. Still, not a total train-wreck as I was initially led to believe. Starring Tom Hardy, Michelle

The Punk Singer
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