Uncut Gems Podcast in 2022, so far

I haven’t posted about Uncut Gems Podcast in here in a long while, which is mostly a result of the show finding its permanent new home at its own dedicated website HQ (uncutgemspodcast.com); and I do believe I may have mentioned it before (here) when I was still grappling with massive changes to my schedule (with which I am still grappling, in case you haven’t noticed). However, I thought I might as well going forward re-introduce some form of coverage for the show, especially because working on it has become my main focus this year and – owing to the show still being extremely niche and tiny – any and all coverage could potentially make a difference.

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PIRANHA 2, Italian Horror Movies and the Case of Sequel Superiority

Columbia Pictures

One of the age-old pub quiz questions from the movie trivia pool is the famous “name a sequel better than the original”.

Aliens“, shouts Billy.

T2“, adds Chris.

“I got it, by the way. I got it! The Godfather Part II“, adds Nancy while imitating the smug sense of superiority oozing from Timothy Olyphant’s character of Mickey in Scream 2, from which she just quoted.

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Ambulance (2022)

Universal Pictures

If you were taken into a screening blindfolded and asked to definitively say – in the absence of opening credits – who directed the movie based solely on what it looked like, how many minutes would it take you to identify a Michael Bay movie? One? Two? Under a minute? Fair enough, the jig would be up the minute you saw a car transform, but I think a statistical audience member who doesn’t skip his blockbusters would likely identify a Bay-directed effort rather quickly just by putting together the confluence of hard and fast cuts, the golden hour sheen, canted angles, orbiting shots and era-appropriate pop/rap music blaring through the speakers.  

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X (2022)

A24

Ti West and Rob Zombie are two sides of the same coin. Although superficially their movies do not look alike at all, their connected at the hip because both filmmakers through their work express similar emotions; only differently. And X might be the definitive lynchpin between them.  

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On the lasting (ir)relevance of The Oscars

When I was laying my head to sleep on the eve of the Oscar night (and for clarity it might be useful to note I do not live in the US and the ceremony itself does not kick off until well into the early hours), I was overcome by a feeling of indifference towards this entire affair. For the first time in my adult life, I was not even remotely interested in following the Awards season enough to make my own predictions about who was going to take the top prize, or even to talk to my friends and colleagues about it. Granted, the pandemic, which according to some has come to an end, has successfully eliminated the coffee break and watercooler culture at work where these types of conversations would usually take place, but if I wanted to, I could always take to Twitter and other social media to look for meaningful discussions. But I decided not to.  

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I’m Still Here

I don’t like the idea of writing a personal update. It honestly feels defeatist even as I am typing these words. My brain is actively fighting against me here and all of my inner voices (and there are a few) are screaming in unison that if I have the time to write this pile of verbiage, I definitely have time to write something different. Like a review. Or anything, really.

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Belfast (2021)

There’s more than one Belfast. There’s Belfast you know from history classes or from accruing knowledge about the world in your own capacity. There’s Belfast you find on postcards – “Venice of the North” as Belfast City Council would like you to see it as – brimming with nightlife, greenery and tourist attractions. There’s Belfast you can visit where you will find out that the glitz of tourism exists side-by-side with the vestiges of its troubled and bloody history. There’s Belfast you can move into where you will find truly amazing people full of warmth and candour and who are putting their best foot forward to work through an intergenerational PTSD.  

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Nightmare Alley (2021)

Searchlight Pictures

What is the point of a remake? Even more fundamentally, what is the reason for retelling any story? Well, at the most basic level, the idea of recounting the same stories is probably the most ancient way of record-keeping that predates the invention of writing, so it’s hard to criticize the general concept of reaching back into the vast expanses of pre-existing stories and giving them a do-over.

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