nyqistI noted with some sadness last week the passing of Michael Nyqvist, the actor who starred in the film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I rewatched the films awhile ago and  they remain very impressive. Nyqvist, like his Dragon Tattoo co-star Noomi Rapace, went on to some success in Hollywood, notably a fine turn in MI: Ghost Protocol and another in John Wick- in both films he demonstrated a flair for playing villains, which still surprises me considering the down-to-Earth heroism of his part in the Tattoo films. He clearly had some considerable range and I’m sure he had great roles/films ahead of him. He was only 56, which is awfully sad. You just never know, do you? 56. Seems so unfair.

norm1And of course, also last week came the news of the passing of film critic/BBC presenter Barry Norman. Beyond these shores his name likely means little, but to us in the UK -and particularly those of us who grew up in the pre-Sky era and the internet- Barry’s name is held with much affection. He presented the BBC ‘Film…’ series for something like 26 years, and his opinions held considerable weight before the internet came along and flooded us with inferior amateur film criticism (cough). Although I would often be at odds with him whenever he looked down on my favourite blockbusters I always wanted to know what he thought. I recall he was having a break from the show in 1982 when Blade Runner was released, so I never got to see what he thought of it- perhaps that’s just as well.

Barry Norman was to films what Sir Patrick Moore was to astronomy. You don’t realise, until you look back, for how many years we grew up with these people in such programmes, how big a part of our lives they managed to be. I don’t think presenters will ever be associated with such long-running programmes like that ever again, television was wholly different back then when we only had three and later four channels. I used to love that ‘Film…‘ music, and hearing Norman’s voice as he introduced the show and told us the films that would be reviews. Good memories.

Since I’ve just mentioned my favourite movie yet again in this blog… (hey, here’s a drinking game- read my blog and take a drink every time I mention Blade Runner…) ahem, anyway, while you’re still sober, regards Blade Runner, I guess everyone has seen the latest trailer for Blade Runner 2049 and this subsequent behind the scenes featurette. It still looks pretty promising. But thank goodness the film is a sequel and not Blade Runner 2018 or something. Prequels are just too much trouble.  The news that the original directors of the new Han Solo movie that Lucasfilm is making have departed/been sacked, and that the competent hack Ron Howard- oh the horror!- has been brought on board for reshoots, has had me thinking about prequels in general. They don’t really work, do they? Case in point the Alien prequels that Ridley is making. While I don’t hate them as much as some Alien fans do, they clearly add little to the franchise other than spoiling the Lovecraftian mysteries of the original. I fear this new Han Solo movie might do the same for Star Wars. After all, what’s the point? We know who the Corellian smuggler is as soon as we see him in Star Wars, we don’t need to know about his adventures as a young man or how he ended up working for Jabba the Hut etc etc.

Nobody mention Space Jockeys, please…

How tempting it might have been -and for all I know, might yet be- to make a prequel film to Blade Runner detailing Batty and his fellow replicants breakout from an Offworld colony and journey to Earth that led to the original film. Imagine some other actor playing Batty. The pointless plot leading to the inevitable landing near LA and dovetailing into Leon getting a job at the Tyrell pyramid. It almost makes me hope the new film is a flop so no further Blade Runner films are made. Heaven help us if ever the words ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘franchise’ get linked together. Becoming a franchise never really did Alien any good at all.

Much preferred it when films were singular with no prequel/sequel attached. These days you can’t get a blockbuster greenlit, it seems, without a prequel or sequel already set-up. But certainly prequels do seem particularly problematic, and rarely seem to work (I guess Rogue One springs to mind as one of the better ones).

Actually, whilst waxing lyrical on all things Blade Runner as is my wont, a belated note about the film celebrating its 35th anniversary last week. Well, its American anniversary. Far as I’m concerned, it’s 35 years old when we reach September, which is when it reached old blighty. Funny, to think how long it took for films to cross the pond back then (E.T. actually took longer, not released here until December, much to the pleasure of VHS pirates). I first saw Blade Runner on a Saturday afternoon, and I believe it was on the 11th September, to be precise. That’s when it hits 35 in my book. 35 years though. That’s rather scary.

brquadukI was never at all keen on this UK poster for the film. It’s got four Tyrell pyramids for one thing, shockingly inaccurate, but I did always love that headline banner, “A chilling, bold, mesmerizing, futuristic detective thriller”… yeah, that always summed up the film for me. Visually it is such an awful (literal) cut and paste job. The film, of course, was already dead in the water at that point in September, having utterly flopped Stateside. Thinking about it, I guess such long, drawn-out international releases just heightened the pain for film-makers on the receiving end of such failure. Did they bother with a London premier with any of the cast or crew or was it just dumped out there, I wonder? I just imagine a sour-faced Ridley in tuxedo struggling to break into a smile in-front of the press, or the studio deciding to cut its losses and not bother flying Harrison out.

Anyway, apologies again for my lax posting on this blog of late. Just gone through a very busy period at work (actually, I’m still likely stuck in the middle of it) and it’s left me little enough time to do anything at all at home.  I’m afraid this summer is passing me by. I didn’t even have time to write a post regards the anniversary of us losing our pet dog Ben a year ago last week- yeah, it’s been a year already. A very sad weekend, was that. Its dawned on me that I really haven’t yet processed it yet, losing him. I know that sounds bizarre, after all this time, but I really didn’t handle it at all well, when it happened, all the trauma and stress of his illness and everything, and I think I’ve really just avoided dealing with it, over all these months. Losing our first dog Barney was pretty awful but I managed to grieve and deal with it, but Ben? No. I really haven’t, and the anniversary just made me realise it.

But life goes on, even if it seems it’s passing me by of late. Can’t seem to get around to watching many movies.  Anyway, maybe I’ll manage a few of these miscellanea posts in lieu of proper reviews for awhile. I’m still here!




4 thoughts on “Miscellanea

  1. Matthew McKinnon

    I quite like that Blade Runner poster now. It’s more contemporary than any of the painted ones and has a bit more character. It reminds me of Julian House’s contemporary design work, the clunky cut-up photographic montage.

    Fingers crossed for the new Blade Runner. I’m not mightily impressed with what I’ve seen so far – the effects work looks a bit standard and colourless , and I’m still not fully convinced there’s a reason for it to exist – but I have faith enough in Villeneuve that it’ll be OK.
    Certainly looking forward to seeing it at the Empire Leicester Square if it’s on on their Laser IMAX 3D screen, which is an absolute revelation. I am not a fan of 3D, but this system makes it an incredible experience.
    Optiumum viewing conditions for big movies.

    The Star Wars new has made me feel a bit tired. I was genuinely looking forward to a proper Lord & Miller SW movie. Have you seen Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs? Staggering visual imagination, and lightness of Touch ID love to see in a SW movie. But no. It seems Lucasfilm want a specific sort of product, and they’re pretty ruthless about getting it. I’m quite down on seeing any more SW, to be honest. I have a feeling The Last Jedi isn’t going to be as interesting as I’d hoped.

    It will take years to get over your losses, as I know from experience. But you had some good times to look back on, and you have a new friend who’ll make you happy.

  2. Regards Star Wars, yes, Force Awakens was a typical rehash from Jar Jar Abrams – a cynical reboot with insulting stupidity (planet killer shooting at other star systems etc). Rogue One was a return to TESB days for me but sadly it looks like the odd one out- the Skywalker Snorefest, sorry, Saga, is resuming shortly.

    1. Matthew McKinnon

      I didn’t like R1 at all. It was very much like that SW TV show they were always threatening us with: grim and gritty… and boring. So boring. I was actually genuinely bored watching it grind along. From the point where they had that incoherent shootout in Iraq or wherever that town on that desert planet was, I was zoning out.

      I much preferred TFA, even if it was a derivative mash-up. It had actual likeable characters and it looked absolutely great and was often fun. I wouldn’t go out on a limb and say it was actually good, but at least it wasn’t a slog.

      But I’m done investing in SW. And Alien, to be honest. That Pavlovian response that kicks in when yet another sequel to a film you really liked is announced has worn off thoroughly now.

      1. Interesting, your opinion of Rogue One. Guess so many franchises has left you rather jaded. I can sympathise with that- half my problem with the DC movies is a “oh no not another superhero flick”. But I really liked Rogue One, it felt so close to Empire in tone.

        I used to think we’d eventually get some fresh new genre movies but this rut of sequels, remakes and reboots (and films of comics) seems endless. I haven’t been to the cinema for awhile and even when I have, its been, yes, a sequel to another Marvel film and Alien Covenant (largely from loyalty/habit to Ridley Scott).

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