Shopping

The non-essential shops and businesses are open in the UK — bizarrely, the pandemic is less rampant here than on the European mainland right now — so I got my first haircut in a year and hit the charity shops. Amazing what you can find.

My sister, who works in a lab, says now is the best time to go out and do stuff if you’re going to. Later will be more dangerous, probably.

I’ve never see S*P*I*E*S, the failed attempt to reunite the leads of M*A*S*H and I don’t expect it to be any damn good but I bought it for £2 because I’m curious what fresh new flavour of awful it may provide. I think C*I*A would have been a better title — calling up the asterisks of the earlier film but actually making sense. And if your satirical purpose was to do for the intelligence community what you did for the Korean War, you have at least the beginnings of a satirical line of attack, something I doubt this movie possesses. This is directed by Irvin Kershner, specialist in following up other people’s movies. But I’m a Vladek Sheybal completist, as you know.

I’ve seen RED ANGEL, Yasuzo Masumura’s own answer to M*A*S*H, kinda — well, it does deal with medicine in wartime. I found it incredible as cinema and deeply problematic in its attitudes to what it’s showing. The overheated and desperate atmosphere of it was so impressive I’m willing to see it again, and I wanted to own it because I am on some level horribly acquisitive.

Fiona liked Matteo Garrone’s TALE OF TALES more than I did, but it was certainly great-looking.

CEX, the dopily-named second-hand store was open too, but they know how to price the things I want high enough for me not to want them anymore. But I bought THE ‘BURBS on Blu-ray because I couldn’t resist all those extras and I wanted to see the original cut. And A CLOCKWORK ORANGE was actually pretty cheap.

Back to the charity shops — I hit the main clusters, in Leith, Morningside and Stockbridge. My favourite, the St Columba’s Bookshop, is kind of in the middle of nowhere but that’s on the walk between here and Stockbridge so I picked up some comics — The Steel Claw! — and books — The Genius of the System! — and DVDs.

I got Robert Wise’s HELEN OF TROY on a whim because it was only a pound — terrible film, but I don’t think I’ve ever see a good copy — maybe it’ll grown on me — Neil Jordan’s BYZANTIUM was equally cheap — don’t usually like his stuff but he has some ambition at least — MUDER AHOY with Margaret Rutherford was 50p so now I want all her Marple films — JSA: JOINT SECURITY AREA “from the director of OLDBOY” seemed worth a punt at 50p — and THE ROYAL HUNT OF THE SUN even though we just watched it, and SHORTBUS because we’ve never seen it. GHOSTBUSTERS I&II — I’ve only seen one of them. I’ll probably never watch the other.

Can you look forward to reading about these films on Shadowplay? Oh, probably not. I have too many films, and too many ways of getting more. But if there are any you really want to hear more about, tell me.

13 Responses to “Shopping”

  1. Matthew Clark Says:

    Joint Security Area is pretty good. A thriller set on the border between the two Koreas, and a rivalry between army officers from each side. With a couple of really tricky camera shots.

  2. mndean Says:

    Take this for what you will, but I’d leave S*P*I*E*S until you’re doddering.

  3. Simon Kane Says:

    Oo, I remember loving Shortbus. I just bought JCSuperStar today. For the commentary.

  4. I bet S*P*I*E*S gets watched first. I have very erratic viewing habits.

  5. David Ehrenstein Says:

    The other “Ghostbusters” is really really good. Kate McKinnon steals ot — as she does everything that isn’t nailed down. She’s the funniest lesbian since Holland Taylor.

  6. I was a kid when saw HELEN OF TROY on a double bill with LAND OF THE PHARAOHS and even then I knewWise made a stinker and Hawks’ film stuck with me, maybe not perfect but fascinating.

  7. Yeah, with Hawks you might sometimes wonder what he was thinking, but with the Wise you wonder if anybody was thinking much at all. Still, on framegrabbing from it I found it more visually pleasing than I remembered, so… maybe, for the early Scope?

  8. Neil Snowdon Says:

    Re Ghostbusters, do you mean the original sequel with Ackroyd and co? I still really enjoy it I have to say. JSA is a solid film well worth your time. Byzantium was genuinely good I thought. One of Jordan’s best. And the Rutherford Marple movies are always a delight. Perfect comfort food I find. :-)

  9. Yes, Ghostbusters II. I’m not a fan of the original. I like the stop motion, the miniature city, some of the cinematography and I think it has about four funny lines, three of which were in the trailer.

    I’m kind of interested in how the belated sequel managed to sink the franchise, but I dunno if I’m interested enough to actually look at it.

  10. Not revolutionary, but I honestly think it’s a better structured better made film, even if it the basic beats are riffing on the original. I have more fun with it every time though. Peter MacNicoll’s accent is a particular joy.

  11. Well the first film’s a mess! The sheer tokenism of Ernie Hudson getting shoehorned in halfway through. Insulting.

  12. That’s what I notice as an adult. Enjoyed as a kid, but so much of the film is clearly put together in editing it’s a surprise that it works at all. If it’s worth anything Pauline Kael also thought favourably of the sequel having not so enjoyed the original.

  13. Another memory of the original: in it’s first TV airing here, three out of four of the funny lines were censored, despite them all having been in the trailer.

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