:: Buzzwords Archive: December 2009. Click here for the latest posts.
A 3:AM Xmas: Burroughs (published 16/12/2009)
ampere’s and (published 14/12/2009)
Today’s quick lit [& alt.cult] links from around the web:
& Robert Birnbaum on Will Self‘s preoccupation for body parts
& Tao Lin‘s 2009 for It’s Nice That
& Roland Kelts‘ new column for Paper Sky magazine [in Japanese]
& 25 films by Akira Kurosawa
& Andy Serkis as Ian Dury
[Image: Jeremy Brooks]
The Missing Links (published 13/12/2009)
The beginning of William H Gass. * You can’t keep him out of shops that are closing down. * Simon Reynolds wonders if everybody is “drifting further apart from everybody else?” * A big welcome to Hand + Star. * An interview with Richard Hawley. * London Shop Fronts. * The Lines. * Peeping Tom, a new French arts magazine. * Shopping around. * Page 64 of Steven Hall‘s work in progress. * Vegas, baby! * Middlebrow isn’t the solution. * Existentialism for beginners.
3:AM Reloaded (published )
What you (may have) missed on 3:AM recently:
Non-fiction: Danny Hogan spends ‘Saturday Night at the Movies’ with The Descent: Part 2
Interviewed: Alan Kelly puts five questions to original Riot Grrrl Katiejane Garside
Reviewed: Pádraig Ó Méalóid on Harvey Pekar’s The Beats: A Graphic History:
As a group of people, the Beat writers seem, by-and-large, to have been a particularly obnoxious bunch. In a lot of cases, being on the road seems to have just been an opportunity to have run away from their responsibilities to family and friends. Any number of them were alcoholics, drug addicts, homophobic (in at least one case whilst being homosexual themselves), racist, and appallingly misogynistic. Whatever their achievements as writers, they certainly seemed to have been hideously bad at being human beings. Burroughs in particular is remarkable for his severe drug problems, his predilection for sex with young boys, and for shooting his wife dead whilst allegedly trying to recreate a scene from the legend of William Tell. And I found I just couldn’t get beyond that: rather than finding a desire to perhaps go and read any of their work, I find I feel quite the opposite. Any likelihood there was that I might have picked up On the Road or Naked Lunch is now gone, although I might still go have a look at Ginsberg’s Howl. His worst trait seems to have been his propensity to take his clothes off in public regularly, hardly worth mentioning, in the context of what some of the rest got up to.
Another reason I found I never warmed to this book was that the writing and art often seemed terribly static and undynamic. Harvey Pekar is an absolute maverick superstar in the field of comics, having self-published his wonderful autobiographical comic American Splendor for many years. However, while he seems to have the ability to make even the most mundane aspects of his own life interesting in American Splendor, his writing here seems to largely consist of a list of someone’s achievements, and generally there was just a lack of any sense of movement, of any sort of narrative. He is obviously enormously knowledgeable on, and enthusiastic about, his subject, but for whatever reason I just never felt that this translated out of the page. A certain amount of this seems to be down to Ed Piskor’s art.
Saturday Night at the Movies (published 12/12/2009)
By Danny Hogan.
The Descent 2 starts pretty much where the first one ended. Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) is the only known survivor of an all-girl team who went caving and ended up getting into hot water at the hands of some fruity looking creatures. She is dragged from her hospital bed by an overzealous old copper called Vaines (Gavan O’Herlihy) and press-ganged into a search party to try and find Juno (Natalie Mendoza), as she is the niece of a local senator. Why two members of the search party are Australian is never explained and seems at odds considering that the film is set in the Appalachian Mountains, US of A.
Sarah, is too traumatised to express the horrors they face and before long the team ends up in the cramped uncharted and unstable caves, screaming themselves hoarse, trapped, lost, separated and more.
So many of today’s films, particularly horror, are sequels in name only, and only have a tenuous link to the first film while they basically rehash the plot or add strange, disjointed factors. Not so Descent 2. It is coupled so well with its predecessor that I would recommend that horror fans watch the two back-to-back when it comes out on DVD.
The characters, for the most part, seem to be picked off at random regardless of their skills and apparent importance, which I suppose is how it would be in reality. Unfortunately, this does not allow for a good portion of the character to develop much depth. However, we do see a relationship build between Sarah and female cop Rios (Krysten Cummings) which becomes explosive when a blast from the past makes a surprise appearance.
One of the real strengths of this film is that the claustrophobic tension is immense, even more so, I would suggest, than the first film. There are points where you feel like you, yourself are choking on cave dust.
The script is fairly good for a sequel though there is one really lame effort:
Q: “What are those things?”
A: “They’re Death.”
Macdonald is brilliant, managing the unenviable task of portraying trauma, rage and survival instincts in the same breath.
Anybody familiar with the first film will know that the creatures are easy to hate. Scuttling around as they do, stark bollocked, thinking they’re hard. Stopping occasionally to sniff the air then squeal like bitches. Most of them are skinny, runt-like things akin to feral emo kids, who have watched too much Twilight, but towards the end we are treated to an alpha male. A big muscle-bound toe rag who would probably get a job working the door of Yates Wine Lodge, if they ever tamed the bastard.
There is a twist at the end which wound the hell up out of me, but I wager that it will appeal to horror fans who have lost their moral compass.
All in all, it was what it set out to be, an enjoyable piece of entertainment and as with the first film portrayed women as equal in ability to men and not scatty Aryans who cry and gibber in the face of danger.