For the last 18-ish months, I’ve enjoyed writing this blog, and talking about the stories- be they movies, television, comics, musicals or what have you- that influence me and inspire me and speak to me. It’s great to not only fully grasp what art really connects with me (and see what those can teach me about my own creative pursuits) but to articulate that to others and hopefully help them enjoy these stories in new ways.
However, there are times where putting together material for this blog feels more like homework than fun, which is the last thing that I want to see happen. This particularly holds true for any sort of regular column I’ve tried to write here, most so for anything regarding regular television watching. Previously, I’ve tried to do weekly recaps of The Strain and Agent Carter, neither of which I ever finished (not to mention my defunct Movie of the Week posts; the tradition continues, but the posts do not). Last week I began what was meant to be a regular recounting of my experiences watching Star Trek for the first time, and while I have continued to watch the show over this past week, the task of putting together another post about it felt wearisome. Besides distracting me from the show that I’m enjoying very much, putting together such a large post every week takes potential time away from more creative writing pursuits, something that I really can’t afford.
The blog will absolutely continue, and I will continue to write about whatever bit of art inspires a reaction worth capturing. As far as Star Trek goes, I’m sure I’ll end up writing one huge postmortem on the show once I’ve finished it, probably by the summertime. But the scheduled, regular columns will be going by the wayside, perhaps permanently. While I’m sure there aren’t many regular readers at all that will miss these posts too much, I hope this is enough explanation for their absence. In the meantime, who knows what will demand my attention and analysis next; I certainly don’t, and that’s probably for the best.
Last year saw a sharp increase in the amount of clever, independent horror films in my diet, with both Starry Eyes and Housebound particularly standing out and almost making the cut for my Favorite Films list. It Follows is a great continuation of this new trend, an exciting piece of work both in concept and execution. While Starry Eyes felt very much like a throwback piece of smart schlock, and Housebound was just a good ol’ fun romp, It Follows is a masterclass in tension and dread, and sets a high bar for intensity that few films could claim to match. My second-favorite film of this still-young year, and one of the better horror films I can recall in my narrow experience with genre, It Follows is one to watch, and now.
Star Trek has always generally been in my pop culture orbit, even though it never fully came home for me. I’ve seen most of the movies and caught a few episodes of one series or another, and even had one or two books when I was a kid, but it never took hold of my imagination the way that Star Wars and Firefly did. But now, with the death of Leonard Nimoy fresh in my mind and the 50th anniversary of the franchise on the horizon, I’ve decided enough is enough and it’s time to take the Starship Enterprise out for a ride. I will hopefully be doing this column each week, covering about four episodes of the series at a time, to chronicle my first impressions of Captain Kirk and company on their five-year mission. So without further ado, let’s get started and see what Gene Roddenberry has in store.
Kimmy Schmidt (both the character and the show) reminds me very much of comedian Kyle Kinane: a metric ton of bleak and horrifying non sequiturs falling under an overarching sense of optimism and hope. While I would probably never under any other circumstances associate the underappreciated Kinane with Tina Fey or Ellie Kemper, in this situation it seems appropriate. In their new Netflix-not-NBC series, Fey and Kemper (along with co-creator Robert Carlock and a great collection of collaborators) have built a show that is both sweetly optimistic and empowering and also aggressively dark with its humor, often in such quick bursts that you get whiplash trying to keep up with it. A great follow-up to 30 Rock from Fey, and a perfect starring vehicle for Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt might be my new favorite sitcom.
With Chappie apparently being a major disappointment this weekend, and Unfinished Business looking DOA, this weekend seems like a good reminder that the film industry is still more than capable of putting out bloated, poorly-thought-out crap. But this time of year can also serve as a great window into alternative filmmaking, the independent films and more offbeat studio efforts that come from a more complete artistic vision and more focused talent. While this certainly applies to some of the films released in theaters, for this post I’m talking more about a film that’s yet to be, but could be soon with your help.
For awhile now, March has always been an interesting month on the calendar, full of movies that fall just outside Hollywood’s pre-established categories. This time of year you usually get blockbusters that are too geeky, dramas that are too off-putting to be awards contenders, and comedies for niche audiences. But this year, there seems to have been a marked shift, with almost every enticing movie being a small-scale indie film. I guess it’s not too surprising; the sorts of blockbusters that would usually come out in March either got released in February (Jupiter Ascending, Kingsmen) or they’re being treated as major summer releases in this increasingly geek-friendly environment. Not that I’m complaining though, because that just means that some of these smaller films get a better chance to shine. Even though the majority of the releases this month fall under the category of “curiosity” more than anything else, I’m still excited to see such an eclectic mix of styles and stories on display.