Terminator Salvation

For an entirely unplanned weekend, it ended up becoming rather alliteratively full as our title suggests, with two films, two meals out, four friends and a spot of casual world domination. Rav decided that we needed to see Terminator Salvation, a prospect to which I was not wholly averse, while being vocal in my confusion as to why exactly we need another Terminator film. The third, to refresh people’s memories, was a largely neutered teen-friendly product with the sole saving grace of its unexpected ending in which, despite the protagonists’ best efforts, Judgement Day occurs anyway. This time around we rejoin John Connor in the middle of his near-future war against the machines in what would prove to be an even more unnecessary film than the third. It has virtually no plot to speak of, nor does it advance the overarching mythos or universe. What it does do is throw up a series of amusingly careless gaffes — the apparently recoil-free shotgun which a teenager can fire one-handed with perfect accuracy or the inexplicably redundant glassy touch-screen text-based user-interface in the machines’ HQ. Overall the action is competent and the film is perfectly watchable. I’m just not sure what the point was.

Following that, a good curry and a great bottle of Malbec at Indian Moment in Clapham and then back to Rav’s for drinks and warmongering in a protracted mission-based session of Risk. I haven’t played for many years, but if ever a game were designed for me, this is probably high on the list. I was pleased to see I still haven’t lost my ruthless touch. Equally important as martial strategising is the technique of naming any lone soldiers defending remote outposts of the empire. Invaders soon learned to fear the venerable one-man armies of Chuck Norris and Quentin Tarantino. The best defence is a good offence; the second best defence is a good name. Waking late on Sunday we had an early afternoon brunch (I am reliable informed by Maurita that it’s still brunch until 4pm, at which point it becomes brinner) at Aquum.

Synecdoche, New York

Film #2 was Synecdoche, New York from Charlie Kaufman, his first outing as a director as well as writer. Frankly trying to form an opinion on it after a single viewing is almost an exercise in futility. Rav encapsulated it rather well in his first comment, “the decade was nearly over without a Twelve Monkeys.” The difference is that while logic and time are fluid concepts, given free rein Kaufman has produced something overambitious and rather self-indulgent which doesn’t necessarily hang together. There is much to enjoy and appreciate within smaller scenes or sections of the film but it will certainly take repeat viewings to decide whether it is less or more than the sum of its parts. It could be art, it could be bad storytelling without another director to make sense of his script. Time will tell.

And lastly, two great t-shirts from Despair Inc., which seems to be branching out from pessimism into general social commentary.