The GardenDespatches from The Satyrs’ Forest

The July media catchup

I’ve missed, erm, quite a lot of “monthly updates”, so here’s me catching you up on everything i’ve watched, listened to, and otherwise done since February.

(I should note that from here on out i’ll be using numeric ratings instead of letters — i find it much easier to figure out whether something’s a 7 or an 8 than whether it’s an A or a B.)

🎥 Films on the big screen

Michelle Yeoh with a googly eye on her face in an office
  • There are few films i would recommend unconditionally to anyone and everyone, but by Gods, Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) is one of them. It’s belly-laugh funny, has brilliant action, and features some of the most truly ridiculous scenes ever put to film, but all without ever losing its sincere, heartfelt core. Just go watch it.a (9)
  • The Northman (2021) is Robert Eggers’ first attempt at a big blockbuster film — and probably his last, looking at the box office. Which is a shame — this weird, grim, beautiful, gory Pagan epic just tickled me in all of the right places, and very well might be in my top 3 films ever made. I loved how it struck the balance of “maybe it’s magic, maybe it’s mundane”; Björk and Willem Dafoe absolutely steal the show in their brief appearances. (10-)
  • Top Gun: Maverick is everything a blockbuster should be. It’s so, so refreshing to watch something so grounded in the real world after what feels like decades of fantastical superhero CGI fluff dominating the box office. Yes, it’s a recruitment ad for the US Navy and probably the Sea Org, but who gives a shit? It had me glued to my seat start to finish.b (8)
  • The same, alas, cannot be said of its predecessor, which i tried to watch to bring me up to speed. Tried is the operative word there: homoerotic beach volleyball and extreme Dad Movie energy can only go so far to prop up flat characters and stakeless action; i ended up turning it off halfway through. I can’t recommend it to anyone who’s not a Dad Who Likes Planes. (2)
  • Sam Raimi takes the wheel at the newest Marvel theme park ride, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Mr Raimi’s hectic style shines through in some glorious, fleeting moments, but most of it is just another by-the-numbers intellectual property orgy which left me sorely disappointed. I considered walking out of the screen several times. (5-)
  • The Batman is a very good adaptation of a story we all know by now. I loved, loved, loved Paul Dano’s weird incel version of the Riddler, the Pat-man’s eyeshadow, and that one part where he flubs the landing with his cool flying squirrel suit. (7+)
  • I watched Morbius in the cinema. Dear god, why did i watch Morbius in the cinema? Why did i do that to myself? Don’t believe the memes. Excepting one truly glorious scene with Matt Smith, this isn’t the funny kind of bad. It’s just plain bad. (2+)
  • Moonfall, on the other hand… now that’s a good bad movie. I swear my IQ dropped several points after walking out of the cinema. (5) Here are some things that actually happen in this actual movie that was actually released into actual cinemas across several actual countries and made millions of actual dollars:
    • The government successfully covers up the fact that the moon is falling, and not a single person notices except for a crazed conspiracy theorist.
    • Said conspiracy theorist is inexplicably British.
    • The characters take the Space Shuttle out of a museum because their other rocket broke, and it still works just as well as the day it was put in there. Also, someone graffiti’d it with the words “fuck the moon”.
    • The day is saved by superior Chinese technology, because of course it is.
    • On that note — there is a character in here whose sole purpose, i’m pretty sure, is to just stand there, say some lines now and then, and be Chinese for the Chinese audience. You could cut her out of the film and literally nothing would change.
    • You can guess what the department of defence wants to do to the moon. That’s right, they try to nuke it!
    • But they don’t because a five-star general knows his ex-wife is up there.
    • There is a shot of the moon falling on New York City in which, i shit you not, every building except the World Trade Centre gets absolutely blown to smithereens.
    • Someone’s brain is uploaded to the moon.
    • One of the main characters’ friends owns a Lexus™ dealership. All of the characters drive Lexus™ cars, and they escape oxygen thieves(??) by activating Turbo Mode on their Lexus™ automobile.
    • The Space Shuttle is vaguely “secured” by the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, who, just weeks after my screening, got sanctioned by the EU in the wake of the special peacekeeping operation™.
    • A main character gets trapped underneath a log and he escapes because the moon’s gravity pulls it off of the ground! This really happens! I am not making this up! Someone says “Sonny, the moon will help us!”
    • “I know; that’s why we lost the house.” — a seven-year-old

💿 Music

  • Sigur Rós’ () — I may now have a new favourite album. At the very least, it’s my favourite album where none of the tracks have titles and my favourite album where every song is sung in asemic gibberish. Check out the opening track. (9)
  • John Grant’s Queen of Denmark — A surprise gift from my papa. A really lovely piano record — check out the title track. (7+)
  • Spinvis’ Spinvis — Hallelujah, Dutch-language music that doesn’t suck donkey dick! Check uit „Voor ik vergeet”. (7-)
  • After acquiring it on black plastic, i thought i’d give Green Day’s American Idiot a spin — last time around i gave it a C+, but it’s much better when you’re able to properly appreciate each track on its own merits. You know the hits, so check out “Letterbomb”. (8)
  • Charli XCX’s Crash is pretty good, but anchored too firmly in the mainstream for my liking. Check out the hyperpop-inflected “Lightning”. (7)
  • Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood’s new side gig, The Smile, released their debut album A Light for Attracting Attention, and it could easily pass for a tenth Radiohead album. Check out Pablo Honey 2 “You Will Never Work in Television Again” and “Skrting on the Surface”. (8)

🌍 Everything else!

  • 📺 Apple TV+’s Severance is some of the best bloody television i’ve ever seen. I pray to the heavens above that they don’t fuck up that cliffhanger. (9+)
  • 📺 Netflix’s animated Inside Job has a wonky start, with an abundance of forced pop-cultural references, but really finds its footing by the end of the season. Here’s hoping they don’t cancel it — i can’t wait to see where it goes next! (7)
  • 🖥️ On the Youtube side of things, Captain KRB is a fantastic and underrated (only 40 thousand subs) videomaker who you should consider giving a shot. Check out his video about The Stairway to Stardom, an obscure public access show. (6+)
  • 🖥️ Kane Parsons continues to breathe new life into a worn-out e-horror setting with his Backrooms series. (7)
  • ⛰️ I am, as of last month, an official sponsor of the otters at Northumberland Country Zoo. My only regret is that i’m not allowed to hug them. (cute/10)
Three Asian small-clawed otters resting on a log
Cat tax. Otter tax?

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