My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 6

I feel like this has been a wasted week. You see, like a lot of my fellow movie bloggers, I have a partner who doesn’t quite share my affinity for cinema. She likes films, sure, but not necessarily the same ones I do, so whenever she goes away for a few days I like to catch up on some foreign, old, horror or just plain weird movies that she might not necessarily appreciate. This past week Aisha went away for a couple of nights, and I most certainly did not make good use of these days of freedom this time alone. One night was spent editing a particularly long episode of the Lambcast, devoted to the work of Paul Thomas Anderson (link below, it clocked in at a little over two hours despite no Rants/Raves/game) and Thursday was a particularly stressful day at work, so I needed a decompression evening, which was spent in the kitchen making cannelloni and marshmallows (not mixed together, that sounds vile). Both dishes turned out quite well (I’m told, I don’t actually like marshmallows myself, they were for the aforementioned departed partner), but it meant a whole two evenings were spent without watching any films or writing any reviews. So damn. Also, I flat out failed my solid week of Paul Thomas Anderson reviews, only managing to write three, and with three more still to go. Damn again. If it helps at all, I’ve got posts for There Will Be Blood, The Master and Inherent Vice saved in draft, with all the images, I’ve just not written more than a sentence between them. Maybe this week, ey?

The ‘Burbs (1989)
The ‘Burbs is a film I’d heard a little about, but not a great deal. I knew it as one of the lesser early Tom Hanks films, and being a Tom Hanks fan I considered it a must-see at some point. I really liked it, particularly how silly it was. Bruce Dern is goofy as a military-minded borderline-crazy guy with an inexplicably hot wife, Hanks is good as the exasperated suburban man caught up in a paranoid belief that his new neighbours are a little off, and overall I thought this was a lot of fun. Granted, my initially low expectations may have tempered my eventual enjoyment, but the fact is I had a good time with the film. I’m also pretty sure that the TV-recorded version I saw had a few bits cut out, as looking for images I saw a still that was most definitely not in my version, involving a character with an axe buried in their head, from a dream sequence. Shame, I hate when films do that.
Lists: TiVo
Choose Film 8/10

The King’s Speech (2010)
I can’t understand why people have a problem with The King’s Speech. I think it’s a solidly made, interesting and well-crafted film, telling a story few people knew much about before its release. Granted, many people may be irked by it being awarded the Best Picture Academy Award over the likes of Black Swan or The Social Network (personally I’d have given it to Inception or Toy Story 3, but what do I know), but given the kinds of films the Academy usually awards, no-one can really blame them for following their own trend and sticking to this kind of presitge pick.
Lists: None
Choose Film 8/10

The Goonies (1985)
The Goonies won the Movie of the Month poll for the Lambcast this month, so I finally saw it for the first proper time. The show will be posted later this week, but for now all I’ll say is it didn’t quite live up to the hype.
 Empire Top 500, Empire Top 301
Review coming soon.

The Boxtrolls (2014)
One of the surprise nominations for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Oscars was The Boxtrolls, a film I’d been looking forward to regardless of any impending awards recognition. I can say with absolute certainty that the latest Laika picture isn’t going to win, but it is worthy of a place amongst the nominees. I’m a sucker for stop-motion animation, purely because of how much effort and time is required, and when the end result is this polished it’s absolutely phenomenal. The titular boxtrolls were a little too strange, but I was sold on the basis of the human characters, particularly the henchmen, pictured above. Voiced by Richard Ayoade, Nick Frost and, um, Tracey Morgan, they were the highlight for me. Ayoade and Frost’s characters spend most of the film trying to work out if they’re actually henchmen or not, and they have one of the best pre-credit extra scenes I’ve ever seen. Worth tracking down, but don’t expect to be blown away. And no, it’s not better than The Lego Movie. Just don’t.
Choose Film 7/10

Splendor in the Grass (2010)
This is my selection for Kansas for my Road Trip series at French Toast Sunday. It starts off terribly, but takes some interesting directions along the way. Expect a review soon.
 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, French Toast Sunday Road Trip
Review coming soon.

Luther (2010)
Series 2, Episode 1, 2: Aisha, the girlfriend I mentioned earlier, is not great with scary stuff. I’m not a fan of horror, but she can’t even watch thrillers in fear of getting bad dreams. She couldn’t even take Breaking Bad beyond season one. I know. A while ago, before ever watching an episode of Luther, we were flicking around the TV channels and stumbled across a random, tense-looking scene. It involved a character searching around a room, finding no-one and leaving, before some strange individual climbs out from under the bed. This one little moment terrified Aisha, hence why it took us so long for me to convince her to actually watch the show with me. I also said earlier that she went away this week, to London to stay in a hotel for a few days for work. She was adamant that the episode we watched the night before she went would be the one with the guy under the bed, so she’d be absolutely terrified when it came to sleep alone in a strange hotel. There was a scene where someone was searching a house for someone, and I think someone even mentioned checking under the bed, so we were all but certain this was gonna be the moment. Nope. Worse. Freaky clown-mask guy appearing as if by magic in the back seat of a car. Fucking terrifying. God I love this show.

Posts you may have missed:
Hard Eight
Punch-Drunk Love
Lambcast #255 Paul Thomas Anderson Director Retrospective: I was joined by my co-host Robert, Lindsay, Courtney and Lambcast newcomer Brendan to talk about all seven of PTA’s movies. Just like the films, it was a long show (though mercifully shorter than Magnolia) but there’s some really good, in-depth discussion on the movies, plus my usual inane ramblings.
French Toast Sunday have collaborated to give the world our Top lists of 2014. I didn’t write on all these posts, but my votes were taken into account, so here they are:
2014 in Review: FTS’ Top 5 Characters of 2014
2014 in Review: FTS’ Top 5 Female Performances of 2014
2014 in Review: FTS’ Top 5 Male Performances of 2014
2014 in Review: FTS’ Top 5 Scenes of 2014
2014 in Review: FTS’ Top 10 Movies of 2014

Goals Update
Aim: Cross off all saved TiVo films
Watched: 7
To go: 54
Should be on: 7
On Track: Yes!

Aim: See 25 films in the cinema
Watched: 4
To go: 21
Should be on: 3
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: 50
Should be on: 6
On Track: No!

Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 7
To go: 69
Should be on: 9
On Track: No!

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