Friday, 14 December 2007

2007 - and now, the end is near....

With the year coming to an end, and the Monkeypipe household closing it’s shutters, making lists, checking them twice and so forth, it seems appropriate to give you the readers my best of’s 2007. In that classic, lazy list journalism that comes purely from the ego (the bastard spastic child of gonzo writing) here we have the BEST OF 2007;

FILM

I feel let down by cinema this year. Film has finally fallen into the hands of the generation of makers whose entire life experiences can be traced back to watching bad films. It started with everyone’s favourite film-making chin, Quentin Tarintino – who funnily enough made one of the more entertaining films of the year – and now we see the ghastliness of films like Hostel and Saw, story ideas that come straight from the juvenile Patrick Bateman school of shocking isn’t it. Only two films that I saw worked well enough to make the list;

1. Zodiac – Fincher’s almost an apology for Se7en serial killer flick managed to marry beautiful camerawork, fantastic storytelling and impeccable performances from most of its cast (most notable Mark Ruffalo). Despite being a film with no resolution, a story from two of the most confusing airport thriller style books I’ve ever read, it grabbed the attention, swerved from fun to human to terrifying to amazing and then yanked the rug from under the ‘Silence of The Lambs’ movie goers. Deserved to be better received than it actually was.

2. Atonement – I’m not jumping on any Golden Globes bandwagons here, Joe Wright proves once again that he is the most complete and adept British director working in film today. There wasn’t a film all year that managed to play with the restrictions and confines of the frame and yet draw it’s audience in so totally. Beautifully crafted from start to finish, a more ‘Cinematic’ film there wasn’t released all year.

MUSIC

Most people who know Monkeypipe will tell you that I am stuck in a groove when it comes to music. Very little new stuff that isn’t from manufactured girl bands actually makes it onto any play-lists of mine. So apart from Girls Aloud – who unfortunately disappointed with anything but Sexy, No, No, No from their latest offering, and Sugababes who presented yet another accomplished and polished album, the only sounds that caught my ears that weren’t classical or classic soul were from Feist’s Album, The Reminder. Nothing new, dazzling or life changing there, just a very good album from a very good singer/song writer.
Music seems to be going through some kind of death rattle – the most insulting of programmes, X-Factor seems intent on killing the industry, talent, creativity, individuality, in weekly instalments which show morons and apes vote for morons and apes to compete against morons and apes for the prize of being recognised as alpha moron/ape. The television equivalent of being sober at a terrible Hen Do.

BOOKS

Monkeypipe’s been working through books this year like Kim Basinger in My Step Mother is an Alien. The Highlights were;

1. The Road, Cormac McCarthy – A book that oxymoron’s were seemingly invented to describe. Depressingly uplifting, bleakly hopeful, touchingly terrifying. Easy to read in format, hard to ingest in story, a modern what-if, part moral tale, part journey of man allegory, part horror, part family drama part sci-fi. A book justifiably hyped.

2. The Damned Utd, David Peace – The schizophrenic ramblings of old Football’s greatest team manager. At times ghastly, at times hilarious fun. It somehow managed to make Brian Clough seem more human and less real at the same time, like the template of every booze addled social outcast cop from every show ever, if they managed a football club – leaving Monkeypipe wanting a sequel, a series, and the ongoing adventures of Brian Clough.

TELEVISION


Horrible, uninventive, turgid, smug. The only shows of note once again came from the US. Sopranos wrapped everything up with the shabbiest of wrapping paper, leaving you wanting to go back and re-watch the entire series on an endless loop – breaking television and embarrassing every bad writer, director and producer out there. The Shield made its way into Monkeypipe’s life, proving to be great fun. Stand out show of the year for me though has been 30 Rock. Why Channel 5 insists on throwing this hilarious show on after Californication at nearly 11pm is beyond me – this is perfect 9pm fodder, the last thing you should watch before you go to bed, leaving you with a smile on your face. The entire cast is fantastic, but special mention to Alec Baldwin. Watch it.

Well. That’s your lot for this year, I guess. Have a happy Christmas, great New Year, and see you all in 2008.

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