Don’t Look Up

December 31, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Adam McKay) (2021, Netflix) It’s a mongoloid meld of Melancholia with some David Attenborough tableaux and the arrayed stupidity of Burn After Reading. Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) discovers a comet. Her enthusiasm, and that of her colleague, Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo Di Caprio), wane when they figure out it will collide with the Earth in about six months. These boffins are babes in the wood, and when a NASA man (Rob Morgan) arranges for them to brief the White House, their deep concerns are brushed off by a distracted and chaotic administration. So the scientists do the next…

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Two For the Road

April 6, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Stanley Donen) (1967) Boy meets girl; boy detests girl (“If there’s one thing I really despise, it’s an indispensable woman”); boy changes his mind; they fall in love and then spoil it all by getting married. Then they compound the error by having a kid (breaking Philip Larkin’s dictum in This Be the Verse). Two For the Road, for all its self-conscious charm, relentless male chauvinism and fey hipness, is something of a breakthrough – a love story that deconstructs what happens when the love fades, or more accurately, transforms from its first flushes into a more mature…

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Good Marxists Are Anarchists

November 26, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM |

The Marx Brothers: Trotsky hated anarchists. Anarchists do not belong in the corridors of power (which they seek to explode), or dark and dusty back rooms of evil-looking pubs, or marching in the streets, or in any organized gathering, in fact. “The anarchists have suffered as much as any minority from the historian’s cult of success. They never made a successful revolution. Their political theories are full of logical flaws and mistaken assumptions. The sympathy which one type of anarchist doctrine might have won has been lost by the ruthless and senseless violence and terrorism which was characteristic of another…

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Brian Pern: A Life in Rock

November 12, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, Documentary, FILM, MUSIC, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

BBC TV (2014 – 2016) These 3 series, following, in semi-documentary style, the musical wanderings of Stowe-educated prog rock mystic and pain-in-the-neck Brian Pern, is one of the most hilarious things on TV, a worthy descendant of This is Spinal Tap, only better because it is not so loosely based on Peter Gabriel. The [Genesis/Thotch] pastoral schoolboy silliness of the early seventies gives way to the Great schism of 1977, allowing Brian Pern to pursue both solo career and role of secular saint and activist, where his insane lack of sense of linear time drives record producers, his former band,…

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How to Lose Interest in 15 minutes

September 18, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

He's just not that into her

“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (Directed by Donald Petrie) (2003) At a cottage in the Barossa Valley, The Varnished Culture found 4 Rom-Coms to watch, and chose this one, largely based on the likeability of the two leads (and Kate was in a decent film about magazine writers once). We liked them less after 15 minutes: they’re too old for these shenanigans, and too old to, seriously, strike job-on-the-line wagers to win, woo / spurn a partner in record time. She has to start a romance and dump him; he has to win her.  She conducts herself…

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