I said I was going to do it, so here I am. This is the start of a new weekly post I’ll be writing, touching on the films and TV I’ve seen in the past week that doesn’t I don’t have a chance to review properly, as well as keeping you folks updated on the progress of my 2015 Movie Goals. This being only half a week, I’m only labelling it as Week Zero for the year, Week One proper will be this coming week.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have not been back to work since Christmas, so these past few days have been spent revelling in movie-land, including three trips to the cinema, which is pretty damn unheard of, if you ask me. So let’s stop dicking around and get on with it, shall we?
The Expendables 3 (2014)
I kicked off 2015 with a regrettable choice for a first film. My Review of 2014 will hopefully go up tomorrow, and spoiler alert but this didn’t place very highly. As in, quite near the bottom. Saddling this film with a 12 rating makes as much sense as classifying the next Smurfs movie with an 18 rating, seeing as everyone going to see The Expendables, or at least anyone who actually knows who the likes of Dolph Lundgren and Wesley Snipes are, generally seem to be over the age of 12, and they want to see these classic action stars kicking ass and taking names, preferably with a little bloodshed along the way. Alas, we get some very tame action, dragging set pieces and a very heavy sense of boredom. Also, very little Terry Crews, when he’s the most fun part of this franchise.
Choose Life 4/10
This year’s first cinema visit was something special. I’d heard nothing but greatness, and it lived up to the hype. I’m expecting this to make it onto the 1001 Movies list as soon as possible. It made my Top 5 of 2014 Lambcast show (recorded yesterday, to be posted soon) and unless this year proves to be utterly amazing, I imagine it’s going to be placed pretty highly come my 2015 Year in Review too.
Choose Film 9/10
I did a cinema double-bill for the first time in almost a year by teaming Birdman up with Paddington. The screening was full of children – you should have heard the ripple of excitement that went up during the Big Hero 6 trailer when “From the makers of FROZEN” came on the screen – and I was sat next to a couple of kids who spent the entire film asking questions, but regardless I loved Paddington. I’d heard good things, but was still a little hesitant, and this turned out to be possibly the best “kids” film I’ve seen since The Lego Movie. It’s fun, has some adult humour that will go straight over the heads of children, and features Hugh Bonneville dressed as a cleaning woman, and Paddington the character is just down right adorable. Also, the scourge that is pigeons in London has finally been fully documented.
Choose Film 8/10
I’m still trying to get my head around this odd little duck of a film. It’s certainly not what the trailers promised – a coming-of-adulthood comedy where one character has chosen to wear a large papier-mâché head. It develops into a study of mental illness, which was entirely unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome. Not sure where this will sit in tomorrow’s post, as I’m still not sure where it is in my head. Great cast though.
Choose Film 7/10
Forrest Gump (1994)
Caught the second half of this (ping pong onwards) whilst finalising a post the other night. When I think of Gump, I seem to stop remembering after he gets off the bus stop and goes to see Jenny. Everything being told in present tense just falls out of my brain, probably because when I see it I fall apart. Elements of the ending half hour are brutally emotional. The bit when Forrest asks Jenny if their son is smart just kills me. I don’t understand why a fair few people have something against this movie.
Choose Film 9/10
Lists: None (already crossed off)
The Theory of Everything (2014)
The third and final screening of the week was my partner’s choice. I had little interest in catching it in the theatres, other than what I’d heard of Eddie Redmayne’s performance. It just looked too depressing to me and, well, it is, but it’s also far funnier than expected, and is less about the maths and science side of Professor Hawking’s life, and more to do with his relationship with his wife, played by Felicity Jones. Redmayne’s performance is spectacular, and he is currently my favourite to win the Oscar this year, although I’ve yet to see Selma. As for the rest of the film, I did find myself drifting off at times, but I’ll put that down to a tiring day, a warm theatre and the insanely comfortable, rocking chairs Empire Cinema has installed. I’m all for comfort, but I need back support which you can’t get from something that wants you to lie down on it.
Choose Film 7/10
Calendar Girls (2003)
The first film crossed off my TiVo to-do list is one I’d heard a lot about, and liked a lot of people in, but never got around to seeing. Calendar Girls tells the story of a village in Yorkshire whose W.I. club decides to raise money for charity by posing nude for a calendar, regardless of the fact that they’re all over 50. It was fun and only occasionally melodramatic when it got bogged down in one character’s ambition versus another’s humanitarianism. Stellar cast of British stalwarts including Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Annette Crosbie, Penelope Wilton, Philip Glenister and Ciarin Hinds, plus the most unexpected cameo ever from Patton Oswalt.
Choose Film 7/10
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Also crossed off the TiVo, this was a bit of a let down. I pretty much hated Mirror Mirror, the other Snow White movie from 2012, so at least this was better than that. Chris Hemsworth was good as the huntsman, although his accent needs either to either be nailed down or thrown out entirely, and the slew of talent on display as the dwarves was spectacularly underused, given the likes of Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Nick Frost, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones and Eddie Marsan are in there. Charlize Theron was a great villain, but alas, and I don’t mean to just hate on her, but Kristen Stewart was quite bland as the titular heroine. In fact, near the end she must give a rousing speech to inspire an army, and I’d have found it very believable for everyone to turn around and go home.
Choose Life 5/10
Game of Thrones (2012)
I’m really behind the times on this, but I’m working my way through. This week I watched Series 2, Episode 5, The Ghost of Harrenhall. So far this series is more than living up to the books, although I don’t like some of the performances. Finn Jones, who plays Loras Tyrell, for example, is quite weak I think, but there’s more than enough greatness to make up for that. You know who doesn’t get enough credit? Jerome “Dancing on the Roof” Flynn as Bronn. Love that guy.
Posts you may have missed:
Life Vs Film in 2015: My movie goals for the next twelve months
Most Anticipated Movies of 2015: Pretty much every film I’m planning on seeing this year
Bob le Flambeur: My review of Melville’s 1950s crime drama
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: as reviewed for French Toast Sunday
Lambcast #250 Whatcha Been Watchin’ Lately: I was joined by Robert Zerbe, Todd Liebenow, Daniel Lackey and Dylan Fields to talk Singin’ in the Rain, Enter the Dragon, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Jingle All The Way and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Aim: Cross off all saved TiVo films, 61 in total
To go: 59
Aim: See 25 films in the cinema
To go: 22
Aim: Review Kate Winslet’s remaining films
To go: 3
Aim: Watch 12 “bad” films from the 1001 List
To go: 12
Aim: Watch 1 nominated film a week from the 1001 List
To go: 52
Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List
To go: 74
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