My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 4

The start of the year is now a distant memory, as life continues to move forward and I continue to not watch as many films as I’d like to. Who does? I’m not the only person to write this sort of weekly update, and I really feel like my watch history pales in comparison to pretty much everyone else. I genuinely don’t know how others find the time to run a blog, manage a podcast, have adequate relationships with actual real life people, work a full time job and still find the time to watch a load of movies too. I suppose it doesn’t help that I seem to be in a constant state of “doing up the house” which eats away at the weekend like nothing else. Ah well, at least I watched some stuff.

Predestination (2015)
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I watched my very first official screener this week, with this Australian time travel movie courtesy of Blueprint: Review. I’ll have a full review posted over there in a week or two, a little nearer to the film’s UK release date, but for now I can say that I really liked this film, and it wasn’t at all what I expected. The performances are stellar, particularly from relative newcomer Sarah Snook, who has a hell of a performance to pull off, and story-wise I can say that this is definitely unique. Consider this a hearty recommendation, and a very real threat to my Top 20 movies come the end of the year, maybe even my Top 10. In comparison to 2014, I’d consider this to be 2015’s Locke.
Choose Film 8/10
Lists: None

Hard Eight (1996)
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This weekend I’ll be recording a Lambcast episode devoted to the works of Paul Thomas Anderson, so I’d hoped this would be the first of many of the man’s films on this update. Alas, my hectic/disorganised schedule allowed only one viewing, but it’s of a film I’d not seen before, but which was recorded on the TiVo. Hard Eight, following Philip Baker Hall’s seasoned gambler and his protégé, John C. Reilly, wasn’t up to the standard I was expecting, but for a debut Anderson could have done a lot worse. Also, early roles for Samuel L. Jackson and a one-scene steal from Philip Seymour Hoffman. If I hope to watch all of PTA’s movies before the podcast (there’s only two more that I’ve never seen, but I’d like to re-watch most of them) then I’ll be having a very busy week.
Choose Film 7/10
Lists: TiVo

Megamind (2010)
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Aisha put this on whilst I was tapping away on the laptop during the week, which is a nasty habit she’s got because I’m a sucker for animation, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to get sucked into films like this. It still annoys me how much more attention Despicable Me gets over this far superior film. Yes they both look at superhero stories from the villain’s perspective, but this oen does it with a great deal more comedy, better characters and a much better cast too. David Cross as the fish-headed, fake-gorilla-bodied Minion is my favourite, closely followed by Will Ferrell’s Marlon Brando impression.
Choose Film 7/10
Lists: None

Mulan (1998)
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Another attempt from Aisha to derail my priorities, this was less successful by virtue of me editing last week’s Lambcast at the time, so my headphones were on for the most point. Also, Mulan isn’t as good as Megamind. There’s a clear attempt to try and strike lightning twice by casting Eddie Murphy in the Robin Williams fast-talking comedian who seems to be in a different movie role, which is less successful here than in Aladdin. Still, this is a serviceable movie, which only really suffers from a seen-it-before story and a weak climax.
Choose Film 6/10
Lists: None

John Carter (2012)
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If there’s one film from the last few years which has a really horrible reputation, it’s John Carter. It’s box office floppery has become the stuff of legend, so I’m not even sure why I recorded this almost a year ago, but record it I did, so watch it I had to. As it turned out, it wasn’t utterly terrible, it just suffers from a highly influential story that has since been paid homage to in pretty much every science fiction movie ever made, so a lot of what is being shown feels like I’ve seen it before, despite the source material technically doing it first. Also, there’s a LOT of exposition. Loads. And it’s all with regard to lots of made-up words, species, planets, prophecies, legends and laws that, if you weren’t paying close enough attention, you’d soon lose track of. Great cast though, with Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Haden Church, Willem Dafoe, Emily Morton, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Mark Strong and Bryan Cranston all in there. Plus, lots of Lynn Collins walking around not wearing an awful lot.
Choose Life 6/10
Lists: TiVo

Terms of Endeament (1983)
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I’ve just posted a full review of this over on French Toast Sunday (which will eventually get re-posted over here too). It wasn’t as depressing as it’s inclusion in Season 1 of Dexter led me to believe, and was actually quite funny in places. James L. Brooks, what happened? Where did it all go wrong? You were doing so well.
Choose Film 8/10
Lists: 1001 Movies, FTS Road Trip

Luther (2010)
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Series 1, Episode 1, 2, 3: Whilst I hunt for a cheap Blu-Ray copy of Game of Thrones Season 3, my TV gap is being filled with Luther, a 3-season boxset of which I’ve had sat on the shelf for ages, but have never even checked if the discs were inside. As it turns out, they are, and this show is fantastic. It’s not your average British police drama, despite the lead being a rogue cop who doesn’t play by the rules but dammit, he gets results (played gloriously by Idris Elba). And the reason it’s different is the character of Alice (Ruth Wilson) who, in the first episode, is suspected to have pulled off a murder, but with whom Elba’s DCI Luther starts a Lecter/Starling-like relationship. I’ve never seen that kind of interaction play out before, and it’s fascinating. IMDb tells me Alice isn’t going to be around forever in this show, so I hope that’s some kind of mistake.

Posts you may have missed:

Lambcast #253: Most Anticipated Movies of 2015: I was joined by Jess Manzo, Kristen Lopez, Pete Conway and Tony Cogan to talk about our most anticipated movies for the rest of this year. It’s a fun show, with a nice batch of voicemail messages left by some other Lambcast regulars.
Favourite Scene Friday: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?:
Robert Zerbe, my Lambcast co-host has invited me to contribute to his weekly feature highlighting the best scenes in movies, so I’ll hopefully be submitting one of these a month. I’ve started off by discussing the meeting of Jessica Rabbit and Eddie Valiant in Valiant’s office (and subsequently many of my dreams) in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
USA Road Trip: Terms of Endearment: My Road Trip series over at French Toast Sunday has reached its halfway point, 26 posts in (I’m “visiting” all 50 states, plus L.A. and Washington D.C.) with Nebraska, for which I picked a film barely set in Nebraska. It figures.

Goals Update
Aim: Cross off all saved TiVo films
Watched: 6
To go: 55
Should be on: 5
On Track: Yes!

Aim: See 25 films in the cinema
Watched: 3
To go: 22
Should be on: 2
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Review Kate Winslet’s remaining films
Reviewed: 0
To go: 3
Should be on: 0
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Watch 12 “bad” films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 1
To go: 11
Should be on: 1
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Watch 1 nominated film a week from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 2
To go: 51
Should be on: 4
On Track: No!

Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 5
To go: 70
Should be on: 6
On Track: No!

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8 thoughts on “My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 4

  1. I’ll disagree with you re: Megamind and Despicable Me. As a father, I appreciate very much the fact that Gru turns into a dad by the end of the film and that he truly loves his girls. That’s often a rare thing in the world of animated film, and so it raises that film in my estimation by a huge amount.

    For what it’s worth, I grew up reading the John Carter books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I hate what that film did to them.

    • That’s a perspective on Despicable Me I’d not come across before, not being a parent myself. I can see why that would make you sway more towards it, but I look at it purely on an entertainment basis, and I find Megamind to be more entertaining.

      I’ve never read anything from Burroughs (to my shame) but the John Carter books are ones on my ever increasing list that I mean to get to.

  2. I fully agree that Megamind is better than both Despicable Me and Mulan. John Carter wasn’t completely terrible, I thought it was wholly unoriginal. I’m curious what you thought it did first. It felt like a giant rip-off of Avatar with some Star Wars thrown in. Love the scoreboard. Very nice touch.

    • I agree that a lot of what was in Avatar and Star Wars was also in John Carter, which is exactly why I said Carter did it first, because as I understand it most of these elements are present in the books, which came out a long time before movies in general. I could be wrong, but that’s what I’ve been led to believe.

      The scoreboard is more for me than anyone else; it lets me know how poorly I’m doing goal-wise.

  3. John Carter is also lurking unwatched on my DVR. Your review is the worst one I could have possibly have read. For me to watch it, I needed to hear it was actually good or as terrible as everyone said. Average is worst of all possible worlds.

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