The GardenDespatches from The Satyrs’ Forest

The increasingly irregular monthly recap, “Fuck you, it’s February!” edition

Keanu Reeves as Neo stares into the Wordle Dimension

Hello. I’ve done some things in the past month and a half. They were alright.

Films watched

  • Miranda July’s Kajillionaire: watched on a whim as part of my local art-house cinema’s “best of 2020” programme. A soppy gay kiss and a solitary touching scene can’t save this film from its own worst tendencies, with irritatingly quirky characters, jokes so dry they don’t deserve to be called “humour”, and a flat, unemotional lead. (D)
  • Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (2003): Man sure does like his feet. (A)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021): I can’t be a cynic about this — it’s just plain fun from start to finish. Willem Dafoe and Andrew Garfield absolutely steal the show, almost making up for the former’s goofy mask and the latter’s abysmal Spider-flicks. Some of that CGI was a bit dodgy, though, wasn’t it? (B+)
  • The Wachowskis’ The Matrix Reloaded (2003): I’m going to say it: i enjoyed it more than the first one! Is it a better film? I don’t know about that. But it takes itself so seriously while being so unabashedly goofy that i can’t help but fall in love with it. Where else can you find PS2 Keanu fighting hundreds of Hugo Weavings in the same film as a monologue about the meaning of free will? (A-)
  • The Wachowskis’ The Matrix Revolutions (2003): This one, on the other hand, did the worst thing a film can do. It bored me — which you’d think wouldn’t be possible given its massive scale. (D+)
  • Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix Resurrections (2021): Finally, the film i binge-watched the other three to see. I appreciate what it was trying to do, and some of the worldbuilding was fascinating, but as much as i want to like it, it just falls flat on its face everywhere else. Hugo Weaving’s tech-bro replacement is a poor fit for the job. The action is just plain awful, and the dialogue isn’t much better (Lana, please log off). The best part about it was the cut-ins from the original film. Sorry, Ms Wachowski, but i think i’ll be taking the blue pill. (C-)
  • Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021): It’s a cynical cash-grab any way you slice it, sure. It’s less of a sequel to the original film and more a sequel to a parallel, schmaltzier Spielbergian version of it which never existed. There’s a character called “Podcast.” But… i enjoyed it! It recaptures the spark of those classic eighties kids’ films — The Goonies, E.T., &c. — in a way that’s been sorely missing for the last decade. (B)

    Not sure how i feel about the ethics of CGI Harold Ramis, mind…

Things which are not films

  • 📺 Adult Swim’s Smiling Friends (2021): I have no idea what this absolutely deranged cartoon is, but i would like three more seasons and a movie greenlit immediately, thank you very much. (A)
  • 📺 The BBC’s Around the World in 80 Days (2021): Just not my thing, i’m afraid. (E)
  • 🎮 Josh Wardle’s Wordle (2021): A nice way to unpick my brain at the start of the day. (C+)
  • 📚 Mary Roach’s Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003): I was very much enjoying my copy, which i had received as a Christmas gift, until i misplaced it… somewhere? It is, one presumes, now in the same dimension where all the socks and pens go.
  • 💿 Talking Heads’ Speaking in Tongues (1983): Picked this classic up at Beatdown. “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” may just be the greatest song ever written. (A)
  • 🏞️ Gæa’s Ouseburn (4.5 billion BCE), with assistance from Lord Armstrong and T. Dan Smith: The finest place for a walk in Newcastle, if i do say so myself. I’ve been working on a post for ages about all the nuances of it, but, alas, the heavy writer’s block sits unmoving on my keyboard. (A+)

Other recent minutiæ

  • Your author’s pinky finger was recently intimately acquainted with the inside of an antiseptic wipe dispenser, and she had to go to A&E to get it fixed.i Not my proudest moment.
  • Home-made flatbread. Need i say more?
  • Gods bless whoever’s been sticking up all those anti-anti-vax stickers. They’re fighting the good fight! “It’s not Covid-1984.”
A shop in a crowded market: Nil Living / Zero Waste and Refill Shop / Newcastle-upon-Tyne
I don’t mean to be a cynic, but something about the concept of a “zero-waste shop” does strike me as a little oxymoronic… and if not that, then at least a bad business model.
A beach fades into the distance under cloudy skies
Newbiggin-by-the-Sea: it’s okay™!

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