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My 12 for ’18: “Sorry to Bother You” & Getting Used to the Problem

It’s that time of year. I’ll counting down my top twelve films of the year daily on the blog between now and New Year. I’ll also be discussing my top ten on the Scannain podcast. This is number six.

“If you get shown a problem, but don’t see a way you can have control over it, you just decide to get used to the problem.”

2018 and 2017 were chaotic years.

It is almost impossible to fully process everything that has happened. Even just the headlines seem insane. The President of the United States is under investigation. There may be a tape that exists of that man being urinated upon by Russian prostitutes. Children are being locked in cages. Meanwhile, Britain is leaving the United Kingdom. Part of that is down to a campaign organised in consultation with a celebrity hypnotist. Prominent British politicians have threatened to recreate the Great Famine in order to create negotiating leverage.

All of this is just the headlines. It is possible to miss the smaller-scale insanity that is taking place around the fringes of the news. A Republican congressional candidate who is a “devotee” of “Bigfoot erotica.” The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development suggesting that slaves were really “immigrants.” The high volume of democratically elected doctors with frankly insane ideas about medicine. Elon Musk labelled a heroic cave-diver a “paedophile” for rejected his crazy plan involving a submarine. The world is a topsy-turvy place, and nothing makes any real sense.

With that in mind, Sorry to Bother You is one of the movies that perfectly encapsulates the texture and feel of the current moment.

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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2018) #40!

It’s time for the latest Scannain podcast! A somewhat bumper edition this time.

This week, I join Grace Duffy, Luke Dunne from Film in Dublin and Phil Bagnall to discuss the week in film. As usual, we talk about the top ten and the new releases, as well as what we’ve watched this week. In this episode, we all debate Mandy, Grace discusses her rewatch of Arrival, Luke contemplates Bad Times at the El Royale and Phil ruminates upon Wonder Woman.

The bulk of this week’s news coverage is given over to Phil’s trip to the London Film Festival, and he discusses his highlights of the festival; his opinion on the headliners, his hidden gems and his disappointments. In other film news, we discuss the WANDA Feminist Film Festival in Belfast and the Galway Junior Film Fleadh.

The top ten:

  1. Kler (Clergy)
  2. Samson Et Dalila – Met Opera 2018 (Opera)
  3. Hunter Killer
  4. Venom
  5. First Man
  6. Johnny English Strikes Again
  7. Goosebumps II: Haunted Halloween
  8. Smallfoot
  9. Halloween
  10. A Star is Born

New releases:

  • Possum
  • The Guilty
  • Bad Reputation
  • An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn
  • The Hate You Give
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Katie

You can download the episode here, or listen to it below.

Non-Review Review: Sorry to Bother You

Sorry to Bother You is striking, vibrant and vital. And essential.

Boots Riley’s directorial debut is a work of striking confidence, one that emerges almost perfectly formed with the skill and craft of a director much more experienced. Sorry to Bother You knows exactly what it is doing from one moment to the next, without any sense of hesitation of self-doubt. Sorry to Bother You is strikingly self-assured, maintaining an incredible level of high-energy across its runtime. This sustained propulsive dynamism in infectious, as the movie bounces from one big idea to the next.

Dialing up the social commentary.

The most obvious antecedents of Sorry to Bother You are the vibrant science-fiction social satires of the eighties, most notably the work of Paul Verhoeven that used a hyper-stylised aesthetic to depict the grosteque excesses of capitalism. Of course, the true horror of Sorry to Bother You lies in the sense of how the world itself has moved to close the gap over the past three decades. Although Sorry to Bother You unfolds primarily in a lightly fictionalised Oakland, the most unsettling aspect of the film is how close it feels to the modern status quo.

Sorry to Bother You is a work of bold vision.

Few satires are a patch on this.

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