Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Poor Joe: on Angels in America's lost character

For Nathaniel’s interactive Hit Me With Your Best Feature this week he’s chosen Mike Nichols’ HBO adaptation of the Tony Award winning play Angels in America. The behemoth miniseries based on the play (titled Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes) examines homosexuality and the AIDS crisis in the eighties, in the U.S.

With such a gargantuan reach its to his credit that Angels in America (the play, and the miniseries) is so generally adept in getting its message across without feeling like it's doing too much. It’s an undoubtedly important work and so outstanding and yet I do not completely love it, even a it moves me. Of course, I like that I am not completely in love with the text which encourages discussion so as it frustrates, confounds and enchants me I credit Nichols for generally adapting Kushner’s multifaceted play so well.

Kusher wrote the script for the film so even though I know the miniseries is not the play I can’t help but think of them as a single entity, it’s why I love this delightful shot which takes on meta significance for me.
The Angel here is akin Mike Nichols and the book is the original text. Sure, it opens up the play, and robs it of some of the more overt sentiment which makes the text work but Angels in America really does exist in glorious deference to its source.

And on the journey to my best shot in the series I cannot help but turn to its best performance – Patrick Wilson as Joe Pitt. I am never certain if Wilson is truly a boon or a crutch to the fil adaptation. How does Tony Kushner feel about Joe Pitt? More importantly….how does he want us to feel about Joe?

Joe is the closeted, Mormon, Republican. He is unfaithful to his wife, Harper. He is the protege of the terrible Roy Cohn and becomes the lover Louis, a self-flagellating Jewish man who left his ex-lover (Prior when) he become HIV positive. As much as the story's ideology is one of acceptance and hope, Angels in America always leaves me feeling discomfited for Joe Pitt related reasons. In the epilogue of the story, Nurse Belize, a healed Prior, a repented Louis and a transformed Hannah Pitt (Joe's mother) sit on the Bethesda Fountain and look ahead at the world and the Great Work to be done. It’s an epilogue that turns the story into something even more fantastical in a beautiful way. How glorious that Kushner does not root this tale of suffering in the desultory but so deliberately presents the light, and yet…I am never able to truly acquiesce to the epilogue because I’m left thinking about Joe.

It reminds me of my personal inclination to focus on the conventionally "villainous" characters in art, something I remember my mother being beffudled about when I was younger. We went to see a play, I could not have been more than 6, and at the end the villain was getting flouted by the hero and I remember sobbing because I felt bad for him. It'If my life were a bildungsroman it would be a key scene in shaping my idelogy, because I always find myself looking on the fringes for characters to sympathiase with with that the story itself does not care for. And I deliberately think of that moment when considering Joe Pitt who I feel the play wants to villainise but cannot quite. Instead, Kushner opts not to expressly villainaise Joe but to abruptly cast him out from the narrative when he expends his use.

Angels in America on screen manages to, somewhat, marginally improve on Part 2 and my issues with the Joe's arc, even as it still insists on othering him runs through. Of course, it’s obvious why Joe cannot be in the epilogue and why he must remain an “other” in the story – he is still, mostly, closeted, he is a reminder for Louis of his transgressions and he is at odds with the hope of the ending and still it does not sit right with me. Joe (maybe unintentionally) becomes the film’s (unintentional) tragic antihero who is not even given the dignity of a proper exit.

But, let me get to the actual purpose of finding a a best shot.

Nathaniel gave us three options, pick a shot from one half, pick one shot from each chapter or pick one overall shot. If time permitted I would have gone for one from each chapter but instead focused on Part Two, with my three favourite shots from each hour. It's my lesser favourite of the two parts, but each of the three chapters in this part have significant shots for me.

Like this shot.
It’s simple, almost prosaic but a shot I love (and abhor) for reasons that zero in on my relationship with the drama. First, it seems to be a parallel to this shot below, endorsing my belief that the play (and the adaptation) projects Joe as the antisis to Prior.

This much is obvious when in their first sexual encounter Joe’s orgasm cuts directly to Prior moaning (not in desire) in bed. And if Prior is our Messianic character on the journey, who is Joe but the symbol of the devil (he is literary a descendant of the devilish) Roy. Joe is caught in the dark shadows, in black against Prior’s white. They're both in shadows, but notice how Prior's is almost ethereal and warm instead of being encroached in darkness like Joe? Notice how Prior looks straight ahead, without fear, unlike Joe who cannot face himself? A key aspect of Joe post his affair with Louis is the way he becomes unshorned, here he’s out of his usual business attire, his collar is twisted, he looks impossibly childlike, dishevelled and wrong. He’s not even looking forward making him look shifty and ill-at-ease.
Like this shot where he looks especially untrustworthy as Louis, and the story, begins to lose interest in Joe as a person and he becomes a hurdle for the story to scale - specially Harper and Louis.

This shot, gets it best, though. There is no Joe, really, just a shadow of a man for Louis to be measured against in perspective.
Best Shot: Episode Six
I feel like I'm being hard on the story which is such an important text in the American canon and especially in the LGBT canon but in its assertion of there being no wrong way to be gay, its unwillingness to reach out to Joe feels unfortunate, the recurring motif of the second part is Joe alone and this shot below gets it in a beautiful way.
Best shot: Episode Five

Not that Joe in the story could come to a happy ending (he's too uncertain, and sad, and embarrassed) but as the film goes on it feels so decidedly disinterested in him making the earnest sincerity with which Wilson performs that much more unusual. Joe's fate makes me think of questions like who deserves redemption? And at what cost? Is Joe's transgression more heinous than Louis, for example? Or Hannah's? What is the unforgivable aspect of Joe? His unwillingness to evolve? Being closeted? Being a Republic? These questions cannot really be answered but Wilson's dexterous handling of an almost impossible character really is a marvel. (It is also a woeful reminder that he's never been given an opportunity to do anything as great on the big screen).

This is such a terribly doldrum piece for such a hopeful film I had to include a few runner-up shots that are not about Poor Joe. Like this fantastic shot of Belize turning up at Prior’s hospital bed.
It’s so ostentatious and over-the-top and delightful. I think Belize works more in theory than he does in reality. His conversations with Louis, in particular, are great but Angels in America isn’t very vivid on race even as Wright is projecting a lot of subtleties the text does not actually address. Still, it's not really a shortcoming for the play or Kushner who would ten years later write one of the best black characters of musical theatre in Caroline Tibedow in Caroline, or Change.
 Then Emma, my second favourite performance of the film playing the illusory persons, her angel is beatific, off-beat and excellent and she’s invol. The role’s theatricality could have been expertly done by any number of performers, you might argue, but what makes the performance especially vivid is Emma’s use of her face (it nails the bathos of the piece more than any performer), she gets that she’s not playing straight drama or true comedy but a swirling mix of something in between so this other shot of her heralding the book is not majestic but almost hilariously ridiculously in its ostentatiousness.

I’ll admit, though, sentimental me avoids the purely bathetic and approaches this one:
Best Shot: Episode Four
Why? It’s flipping of the gender roles in gorgeous way. I would not exactly call Angels in America an actressexual delight (but for Emma, the quartet of Wilson, Shenkman, Wright and Kirk are so superior to the women – although the entire cast is excellent) but from its Wizard of Oz intertexuality, to its – Angels in America cares about women and femininity, and about the relationship between gay men and its women. Moreover, on a purely technical level I love how the shot hides its intent – what is the Angel doing to Prior? Is she carrying a dead body? Resuscitating him? About to kiss him? Its an ambiguity that, at its best, the film and its source give over to that even when the story frustrates it enchants for what is great art if it does not leave you unsettled in some way?

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Lady’s Got Potential: on Spy’s multifaceted heroine, and her sidekicks

director: Paul Feig; screenplay: Paul Feig

starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney and Jude Law    

The thing that most immediately surprised me about the most recent Paul Feig Melissa McCarthy collaboration (the third after Bridesmaids and The Heat) is how much it lives up to its indicated genre. Spy is billed as an action comedy and it is the rare one of its kind that is legitimately invested in both the comedy and action aspects of that paradigm. The second most surprising aspect is how earnest the entire affair is. Susan Cooper is a CIA analyst devoted to guiding her partner, active agent, Bradley Fine (deliberately named like something out of a William Wycherley Restoration comedy) while on a mission in Bulgaria. The especially dapper Fine is the object of Susan’s attraction, something he blindly seems not to realise. Things come to head when a follow up to the Bulgaria missions sees Bradley making a fatal error, ending up indisposed. With the secrecy of all field agents compromised, formerly desk-bound Susan makes her foray into the world of active spying, and the film launches into its central arc – Susan Cooper in a series of ridiculous get-up trying to prove her reliability as a spy as she tries to avenge her co-worker.

That brings us to the least surprising aspect of Spy – Melissa McCarthy is fantastic in it.

For all the twists which the final quarter of the film launches into, Spy is a very straightforward story. There is no B plot here to complement the main plot. The main plot is responsible for the action and the comedy which sees undervalued Susan trying to prove to her superiors that she can fulfil the mission. It’s a credit to Feig’s writing skills that the comedy manages to eke out naturally from the action status quo. The earnestness of the CIA focus in the film becomes curious when one considers how the CIA has been progressively demystified both by news media and the general entertainment landscape recently with shows like Showtime’s Homeland and FX’s The Americans.
In fact, Spy’s pro bureaucracy tone makes it almost a curio from a decade gone by. But like James Bond’s spy politics, Spy’s political ideology is, at best, delightfully imaginary. Henchmen from Eastern European countries with deliberately untraceable accents, a world terrorism plot, America as the centre of the world with access to every nook and cranny in Europe. Still, this is the sort of hand-waving you allow for an action film, and even more for one that works like Spy does. The opening is such a fine microcosm of a bond film; it feels less a parody and more a celebration. It’s also one of the most confident set pieces of the film. Film enthusiasts might recall after Pierce Brosnan’s Bond-retirement Jude was one of the umpteen names tossed around as potential replacements*. That never happened, Spy presents us with the closes thing we have to that alternate universe. If we get too little of Law in the film (his opening chemistry with McCarthy is wonderful), it is impossible to complain when it is replaced with an even superior pairing – that of Byrne and McCarthy, a wonderfully capable female duo.

Byrne plays the diva daughter of a deceased crime lord whose camp Susan infiltrates for revenge. Byrne’s impressively subtle work is a key to the film. The role in reality is particularly bizarre and outlandish but she opts for piquant instead of aggressive in her delivery. It’s indicative of intelligent comedic timing that she purrs her already funny lines in a way that makes the audience wait for it. She knows she’s holding a winning hand, so there is no need to overplay it. Quickly showing herself to be one of the more versatile comedic performers right now. The film increases its moment when she arrives on scene opposite McCarthy. It's the first of the Feig/McCarthy partnerships which sees her playing the roundest character and with the fullness that a truly realised character like Susan Cooper provides, there are immediately less bust-a-gut-a-laugh-out-loud moments. It would be misguided to equate the less ostensibly funny role with a step down for McCarthy. She is the film's centre. Spy offers her a role more worthy of her talents than the one-note-foul-mouthed-harridan popular audiences might equate her with. True, much of her work here is reactionary. But, this is excellent reaction mixed with excellent timing. Anyone familiar with her from her almost decade long work on Gilmore Girls would need no proof that McCarthy can do nuance, but Spy proves it on a big screen and a larger scale. More importantly, with a nuanced McCarthy at its centre Spy accomplishes his dream of making a female action comedy. It’s not just Byrne and McCarthy, but with bit parts from Alison Janney, Moren Baccarrin and Miranda Hart Spy has its women on its mind. (Jason Statham’s is hilariously overstated as a particularly irate field agent, Bobby Cannavale is less so as a European terrorist).

Spy skids along in some moments, but the whole is an impressively confident piece. It feels like a victory for the summer box-office for women and for McCarthy. It does not skimp on the action to deliver a hilarious comedy, and it does not try to negate its own feminist merits to present a film that’s legitimately interesting in its action mode. Feig’s films still have a tendency to come off as shaggy dogs, a bit too unformed to be perfect, and always ten minutes longer than they ought to be but Spy works. As a comedy, as an entertaining action romp, and as a star vehicle for McCarthy. It’s easily the best film vehicle she has been given. Now, maybe a writer/director other than Feig can realise this an give her the platform she deserves.
*How would a Jude Law Bond have affected the universe?

Friday, 24 July 2015

Postcolonial Cinema: The Harder They Come

Masculinity and postcolonial are already two difficult to explain concepts, putting them together makes for an even more gnarly situation. I deliberately decided to open this series with a discussion as dense as masculinity in a Postcolonial context, though. It's one I'll probably end up returning to. What is Postcolonial in the first place? To even consider Postcolonial we must turn to another “concept” – colonialism, implicit in any discussion on class issues, and of course “imperialism”. I would prefer not to end up chasing phrases here, so a general understanding of imperialism and colonialism as “part of the same idea of a country extending its power and influence through colonisation, use of military force, or other means” works well enough. Finally, the knottier term “masculinity” must be effectively considered if one is to address the construction of the fact of maleness in The Harder They Come as measured against a backdrop of colonialism/imperialism à postcolonialism. A good starting ground is The Oxford English Dictionary’s simple but not unhelpful definition of masculinity as “possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men”.

The way masculinity shows itself across class boundaries is a fascinating idea in itself, to add race issues, regional issues and film to the narrative provides even more room for discussion. In considering the construction of masculinity in The Harder They Come the “hero” at the centre, aspiring singer turned criminal Ivanhoe, is the major (but not complete) focus of the way postcolonial masculinities are constructed. In choosing this film for the first in this series, though, the question is how concepts of colonialism and imperialism shape the masculinity of the film. The Harder They Come is a Caribbean film which is marked as one of the beacons of cinema in the region with a steadfast focus on black culture, but in examining aspects of the masculinity of its protagonist the question persists whether the construction of masculinity within the film adheres to “conventional” postcolonial ideals. Considering the effect of the West on countries which have experienced colonialism, it's obvious that the construction of how to be a man would be a latent effect of the colonisers' relationship with the formerly colonised. So, at what point (if any) our Jamaican hero represent an authentic construction of Caribbean masculinity vs Western ideals of masculinity?

An the conflict arises when one notes than in the film, Rhone and Henzell (writer and director) do not treat criminal Ivan as a villain or essentially unsavoury character. This bears particular significance in considering how the film addresses criminal Ivan when the construction of his postcolonial masculinity is not especially constructive, and of course becomes something of larger consequence when one thinks of how masculinity is portrayed in Black cinema (Caribbean and non Caribbean).

The Harder They Come premiered at Venice Film Festival in 1972. It was a big hit in Jamaica and a modest hit outside, the Jamaican patois requiring subtitles for most non Caribbean audiences. It tells the story of Ivan, a poor jobless hopeful musician who eventually becomes a criminal. A simple plot, and also a familiar one. Its place in the Caribbean cinematic oeuvre (and its easy deftness in delivering its theme) make it more than just another good guy turns bad (or bad-adjacent) film, though. Its popularity and reach does make its ruminations on “masculinity” intriguing. Masculinity, of course, is an almost entirely sociological construction which is not gendered but emanates from social practice which changes when things like race and class enter the equation. Ivan is not specifically significant as a man but as a black, poor, Caribbean man.

One of Ivan’s immediate character crises is his love for the virginal Elsa who is a ward of the village preacher. The symbolism is….not subtle. In an early scene while Ivanhoe has a confrontation with an irate Preacher two of the church women observe, “Preacher is a man of the lord, but he is a man all the same” implicitly suggesting that Preacher has noticed Elsa’s development as a sexual being and the existence of Ivan as a potential foil for him in his quest for her (i.e. Elsa’s) affection. When the two ladies observe that Preacher is “a man all the same” they have unreservedly pointed out one of the (presumed, at least) main aspects of construction of the fact of maleness within the Jamaican society – sexual awareness with a significant attention to a great sexual libido. It is not incidental, that the rejoining words to the observation that “Preacher is a man all the same” is “And the lord said, ‘Go ye forth and multiply’” essentially hitting the nail on the head of the (Jamaican) man’s masculinity being marked in his proclivity, desire and perhaps ability to multiply, i.e. procreate specifically through sexual contact. It is telling that this is one of the few conversations about sex in the film, and one of the two only ones in the first two thirds of the film. The two women here give the impression that sexual appetite is an inherent part of (Jamaican) masculinity and yet, even as we may confer that Preacher has a sexual thirst for Elsa – merely through circumstantial evidence – Ivan as the main protagonist and his relationship with Elsa do not rest on the sexual or the sexualised.

Leading man, Ivan, is a poor Jamaican man with an attraction to the Preacher’s ward Elsa, the attraction is presented as romantic but not aggressively so, or sexually so. When the Preacher finds out that Elsa has given Ivan her key for him to use as a practice space for her reggae he storms into her room and accuses her of fornicating with Ivan. Like the scene with the church women, it is another – more or less – explicit acknowledgement of sexual urge even as there is no corporeal manifestation of said urge. For, in truth, Preacher is wrong and Elsa and Ivan – from the audience’s vantage point, a deliberate effect from the director – have not engaged in any sexual encounter. Pre-criminal Ivan (to be differentiated as being constructed as a male in a different way from criminal Ivan) does not exist as having his masculinity marked by his virility. This is significant in the construction when one considers how traditionally Caribbean men, or more specifically black men, are considered as creatures of maleness. Frantz Fanon considers the way cultural stereotypes are employed where “in the case of the Jew, one thinks of money and its cognates. In that of the Negro [man], one thinks of sex”.
He continues, conjecturing perhaps but raising points worthy of consideration when Negrophobia in the case of the white father-in-lw being suspicious of his black son-in-law noting that one may “….conclude that the father revolts because in his opinion the Negro will introduce his daughter into a sexual universe for which the father does not have the key, the weapons, or the attributes.” Fanon’s greater point is that the black man is considered as less of a man and more of a body – specifically a penis, pointing to the construction of the black man by non-Blacks as being rested on his virility. It is significant, then, than in representing the image of the struggling black Jamaican man before his descent in crime Rhone and Henzell do not constrict Ivan to the concept of a man by way of his penis, but an artistic (musically), handy (fixing the bicycle) somewhat romantic (his engagements with Elsa) young man.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Real Emotional Girl – Inside Out’s Examination of Emotional Intelligence

director: Pete Docter; screenplay: Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley
starring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling

There is a scene in the recent Inside Out which sees a trio of characters entering danger zone called ‘Abstract Thought’. “You should never go in there,” one of them cautions, “No one understands it.” For adults, it’s an amusing bit of dialogue on-the-nose dialogue; for children, the dialogue is secondary to the visually humorous way the scene unfolds. The moment becomes a key to the film, though, because abstract thought is complex and difficult to understand. That is why Inside Out (the15th feature length film from Pixar, America’s most acclaimed animated studio of the moment) ends up being marvel even before it’s gone very far. For, the characters I mention in the opening are not people but feelings. The film itself is a metaphor which depends on abstract thought.

Inside Out follows the emotions of an eleven year old girl, Riley, where those emotions are sentient beings trying to navigate the usual occurrences of childhood but put under recent pressure. In the human world Riley has moved move from her home in Michigan, to San Francisco with her parents. Moving is such an excellent choice for the film’s ‘crisis’ because it’s a universal harbinger which anyone of any age can identify with but one which a child might find especially discomfiting. Moving signals change. And emotions constantly change, and the film’s extended metaphor depends on that.

There are five emotions which anchor her, Fear, Disgust, Sadness, Anger and the irrepressibly bossy Joy who tries to keep Riley’s life full of happiness. The move becomes too much for the emotions to bear when the odd emotion out, Sadness, begins compromising Riley’s memories. When sadness touches them, key core memories move from joyful memories to ones tinged with sadness. Things hit critical mass when, in trying to prevent Sadness’ domination Joy, along with Sadness and some key memories get expelled from Riley’s conscious brain and the battle begins to return Riley’s emotions to a state of normalcy. Sounds cerebral for an animated film ostensibly for children? Certainly. That’s the film’s strength.

Inside Out has herculean ambitions navigating a film where the characters are concepts (an anthropomorphic animal is one thing, but an anthropomorphic 'feeling' in theory seems difficult to execute) that works for children and adults. It’s an unusual hook, that works. The complex idea of sentient emotions is easily manifested by excellent animation and more than capable voice work. Each emotion has a different colour which the feel teaches the audience to be aware so that significant dramatic potential is rung from knowing that when a memory turns Blue (Sadness’ colour) there is something amiss in the world. It’s a deftness of using animation pragmatically and aesthetically that makes me suspect Inside Out would benefit from multiple watches.

I’ve not always fallen for Pixar’s animation offerings particularly those of Pete Docter (his much ballyhooed Up has never really clicked into place for me). However, Inside Out’s didactic message (and, really, underneath it all Pixar films can’t hide their stripes – in their underlying quest to be ‘children’s films’ they have a yearning desire to teach) is a profound and charming one one, as much pertinent to children as it is to adults. Dare I say more so to adults? Its thesis concept is so rooted in the philosophical a child might miss its more complex ideas but the idea of sharing the information with children even if they don’t quite understand is a welcome thought, and for the adults with children (or those without who realise that there’s not creepy about sitting in a cinema to see an animated film), Inside Out offers an excellent contemplation on emotional intelligence. And I suspect where it manages to come off better from me that Docter's previous Pixar work is that it is emphatically without a "villain". Instead, by navigating in a surreal environment Inside Out does not try to make things more palatable by playing heroes vs villains, but has a sincere interest in examining (most of) its characters.

The film smartly portrays emotions as inherently positive (emotional vs logical, nine times out of ten it’s the latter that’s more trumpeted). More impressive is the fact that its ultimate thesis is that despite Joy’s aggressive thrust, Sadness is not only unavoidable but essential to human existence is a profound one. Human nature has dictated, especially in local culture, that there are few things as embarrassing and offensive as sadness (in a particularly moving scene, Riley is angered and disgusted that she begins crying at school). We do not like talking about sadness, we do not like acknowledging it. Inside Out the film adopts a deftly subtle conceit by having Sadness voiced in a deliberately glum tone by Phyllis Smith. The tone is a shroud for piercing voice work and a piercing intent. For the film, like any metaphor, exists on two levels. There is the more obvious warm, family friendly film about a girl adjusting to life but there is also the cerebral and almost existentialist rumination on the way that our emotions (and memories, and subconscious) are so unpredictable and fragile. It is a heavy concept for a ‘children’s film’, but the animated films do not essentially mean for children and even if you disagree there – what a delightful thing for a child to be introduced to concepts like the value of Sadness and emotions in this way.

I do have minor reservations to voice, for example the film opts for expediency to some degree its array of emotions seems limited. Joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust seems like a fair variety but what of worry, nervousness or confusion? Emotions you might consider essential for an eleven year old,. Even with only five emotions to traverse, too, Disgust ends up getting the short end of the stick being relegated to an ancillary player (albeit an amusing one voiced by Mindy Kaling). The particular criticism seems churlish because it’s wrapped up in the attribute of the film that it does what it does so excellently (and sincerely) it’s a shame it was not working with a larger tableau. There are other questions like what it means that Riley’s emotions are a mix of masculine and feminine “thoughts” while her parents have gendered emotions is either a confusing blob on the film’s part or a perceptive observation of how as we grow older our emotions become conditioned by society to be the right one. Am I reading much into this? Of course, but Inside Out encourages instead of stymies such over emphatic consideration

Inside Out represents a critical entry in Pixar’s quest to make us forget the qualifier when we see an animated film. It’s not “good for an animated film”. It is, simply, good by any standards. Entire films rarely come as tightly constructed, and generous in emotions as this one. Inside Out does not buckle under its great ambitions but instead unfolds humorously, sincerely, warmly and thoughtfully.


Stray Thoughts:
  • I kept wondering why Joy's hair was blue through too much of this one. Any guesses?
  • And, as lovely as Inside Out I feel we're forgetting the first film to look inside the human body though animation.
  • Poehler is so great channeling Leslie Knope here but how great would it have been to make this an entire Parks and Recreation crossover? Jerry for Sadness, April for Disgust, Ron for Anger, Tom for Fear?

Saturday, 18 July 2015

(Briefly) On Blogging.

Why do film bloggers write?

I have been horrible to this blog for the last nine months, forsaking it for other responsibilities and occasional writing elsewhere. Why the delay? I'm not quite sure. When I started this blog, with shoddy writing skills, in 2009 it was to be an outlet for my writing when there wasn't any. I also had a great deal of time on my hands. Incidentally, my output was at its highest when I was going through University when you might think I'd be busier, but apparently not.

For much of 2009 the blog turned into too much of an afterthought not for a lack of interest in film (and the occasional television), but the thing about writing about film on the internet is that there are so many persons doing it, it's easy to get disillusioned and wonder if you're actually contributing something particularly significant to the conversation. How many reviews of The Age of Ultron do we really need after all? The convergence, then, with general blogging ennui and work commitment meant the blog took a seat even further backseat as I asked myself why I was blogging, and it wasn't planned but I just ended up not writing here any longer.

I still have not found the answer to the why blog question, the question of what anyone has to offer in their writing in a grander scheme is a bit of unanswerable question anyhow. But, I feel it is time that I make a concerted attempted to return to writing here not just for perfunctory reasons but because there are actual things I want to write about, and because as a space that's actually my own there are things which I can only truly write here. This blog started six years ago is still something I want to hang on to, not out of obligation but actual desire.

I still plan to work through some ideas on what changes might be made, but for the immediate future, I plan to get back to - mostly - regular programming at the beginning of the new week. The most important of which is a series I've been long gestating on looking at cinema through a Postcolonial lens ("traditionally" post-colonial films as well as Western films through a postcolonial context). 

Enough, solipsistic rambling for now

While I work towards returning to this space when the new week begins, I'm going to go check out the months and months of reading I've missed.