My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 15

I’ve spent a lot of time this past week watching TV, and movies that have nothing to do with anything I need to review. That’s partially down to podcasting purposes, but let’s not rule out my usual lack of self-motivation and drive. TV-wise this past week has seen me start and get half way through both Game of Thrones Season 4 and True Detective Season 1, both of which are as amazing as I’d hoped – I’ve literally just watched the long shot at the end of episode 4 of True Detective, and there’s a strong chance that after I write this I’ll go back and watch it again, I love that shit. However, this 9 hours of solid TV has detracted away from anything resembling useful movie watching, or reviewing for that matter, so as such I’m getting even further behind on everything apart from one goal. Let’s have a look at what I saw this week:
Furious 7 (2015)
I watched this for a Lambcast episode we recorded yesterday, which should be dropping in a couple of days. Were we not recording a Lambcast on (Fast and) Furious 7, I probably never would have seen it, because I hated Furious 6, and had written off the rest of the franchise as being “not for me”. However, this wasn’t half bad. As in, I kind of enjoyed it. It helped that it wasn’t quite as stupid as part 6 – although this is a long way from being anything close to reality, the plot is far too labyrinthine, it falls too often into the rap-video ethos of ogling at bikinis for too long and the soundtrack is atrocious, but I enjoyed this film. I go into more detail on the podcast, but I’m happily eating my words as to dismissing these films before. I’ll let slip the main reason I enjoyed it though – Jason Mutha-fuckin’ Statham. Had there been more of him – he gets sidelined a little as there’s a bit too much plot going on – then this would have had a better score all round. Oh, and just because I liked this one, doesn’t mean I’ll be going back and watching the rest of the franchise.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Film 6/10

Fast Five (2011)
Oh, no, wait, yes it does. At least, this one. I hear mixed things about parts 1-4, so I’ll be steering clear of those, but I had this recorded with the intention of watching it prior to number seven, but ended up watching it a few days later because of life. I’d say Fast Five is marginally better than Furious Seven, if only because it has a bit more of a heist feel to it, and it really used the location of Rio de Janeiro well, particularly in a rooftop chase sequence. Also, I can only assume The Rock’s character wasn’t in part seven as much because they had to cut the budget for his arm butter.
Lists: TiVo Movies
Choose Film 6/10

The Guest (2014)
No lists, but watched because I’d heard a lot of good things about this thriller from last year. And they’re all true. This was awesome. Had I seen this before year-end, this would have been sitting pretty in my Top 10 of 2014. Dan Stevens is phenomenal as a creepy-charming soldier returning from the war to visit the family of a fallen comrade. He seems like he’s going to help. He does, and then he doesn’t. Story-wise it’s nothing particularly ground-breaking, but performance-wise and atmospherically this is off the chain. I particularly enjoyed the almost meta climax, which goes all out horror movie by setting it somewhere intentionally scary, and having a lot of fun making it even more so. I don’t normally opt for anything remotely horror-like, but this was action-heavy and thrilling enough to keep me engrossed without terrifying me, so congratulations all round.
Lists: None
Choose Film 9/10

Inkheart (2008)
I like Last Action Hero. There, I said it. It’s not a masterpiece, it has its flaws, but it’s fun, full of game performances and I like Charles Dance in this before he was cool. Inkheart, on the other hand, is drivel. It follows a similar premise – Brendan Fraser is one of very few people who, by reading a story aloud, can bring characters and elements of that story into the real world – but doesn’t do enough with it. For starters it’s inconsistent – when something comes out of the book into the real world, someone in the real world gets sent into the book in their place, but this only happens when the plot requires, and is a concept that’s all but forgotten around the halfway point. The rules of the universe are never fully realised – because they need to change as the film goes on, and redefining them would be annoying – and characters are as thin as the pages they’re written on. It’s a shame, because there’s a stellar cast – Helen Mirren, Paul Bettany, Andy Serkis, Matt King, Jim Broadbent, John Thomson, Stephen Graham – but not enough is done with them. And the method by which everything is resolved at the end could have been used many, many times to resolve every single predicament in the film. It’s like the time turner from Prisoner of Azkaban. It can solve literally any problem, but gets used only once. Infuriating. If you can’t write around such a plot device, don’t write it in. I never thought I’d hate a film that features Helen Mirren riding a unicorn.
Lists: TiVo Movies
Choose Life 4/10

Rio (2011)
I like animated movies, but I’m beginning to think that most of the ones I skipped on initial release were skipped for a reason, because Rio is pretty poor. The story is dull – a pet bird (Jesse Eisenberg) who can’t fly, finds himself talon-cuffed to an exotic wild bird of the same species (Anne Hathaway) in a hope to save their kind, but get wrapped up in some kind of smuggling ring, whilst their respective human counterparts try to save them – the jokes are hackneyed and the supporting characters were picked out of the first draft pile from Happy Feet, having been discarded for being too irritating. The worst offenders are the “comedy” double act of Nico and Pedro (above, I don’t even know/care if that shot is from Rio or Rio 2, which I won’t be seeing) as voiced by Jamie Foxx and Will.I.Am (I feel dirty just for typing out that name, I hate it).
Lists: TiVo Movies
Choose Life 5/10

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Now this is how animation should be done. I was all set to write a review last night, and then my partner put my favourite Wes Anderson movie in the player and there was no hope. It’s so charming and whimsical in an enjoyable-even-if-you-hate-Wes-Anderson kind of way. I want to play whack-bat, now.
Lists: None
Choose Film 9/10

Posts you may have missed:
USA Road Trip: West Virginia: The Night of the Hunter
Lambcast Mini: The Really Awful Movies Podcast
: One of the newest members to the Lamb Podcasting Network is the Really Awful Movies Podcast. I sat down with Chris and Jeff from said site/podcast (over Skype, they’re in Canada, I just wish I was) to welcome them to the family and discuss exactly what they do and why they do it, as well as a general discussion of really awful movies in general.
Lambcast #264 Airport Movie Franchise: It’s finally here! I feel like I’ve been talking about the Airport movies for months, but after only a few days of watching them and desperately looking forward to discussing the many levels of insanity, the show somehow exceeded my expectations. I was joined by Robert, Will, Todd and Nick to praise the almighty Joe Patroni and his miraculous feats of masculinity in what proved to be a far better franchise than any of us was expecting. I don’t care if you’ve seen the films or not, I cannot recommend people listen to this show more. We had a lot of fun making it, and I think you’ll have just as much fun listening to it.

Goals Update
Aim: Watch all saved TiVo films
Watched: 20
To go: 42
Should be on: 18
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Watch 59 movies released in the UK in 2015
Watched: 6
To go: 53
Should be on: 8
On Track: No!

Aim: Review Kate Winslet’s remaining films
Reviewed: 0
To go: 3
Should be on: 1
On Track: No!

Aim: Watch 12 “bad” films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 1
To go: 11
Should be on: 3
On Track: No!

Aim: Watch 1 nominated film a week from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 7
To go: 45
Should be on: 15
On Track: No!

Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 15
To go: 60
Should be on: 22
On Track: No!

2 thoughts on “My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 15

  1. For me, Fast Five is the best that franchise has to offer with part 6 being slightly behind. It seems like that’s when the light bulb went on and the filmmakers embraced the idea that these movies are supposed to be ridiculous in every possible way and just ran with it. Fantastic Mr. Fox is great. I’m a little easier on Rio. I did think it was decent, but not great. Still got one “Yes!” up there. Way to go.

    • I’m clinging onto that solitary “Yes!” and not letting it go!

      Having not seen F&F 1-4 I can’t really comment on the change the series took, but from what I’ve heard you’re correct on that one.

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