My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 29

Expectations, don’t you just hate them? When you hear a lot of good things about something for a long time, from pretty much everyone, it’s hard not to anticipate good things, if not even great ones. Such is something I’ve dealt with this week, on both sides of the coin. Two films this week have been something of a couple of disappointments in comparison with how great I’d heard they were, whereas elsewhere a film I’d never even heard of turned out to be pretty damn wonderful. Here’s what I watched this week:

Do the Right Thing (1989)
One of the aforementioned disappointments, this was nominated for me to watch by Ryan McNeil of The Matinee, and was my selection for a film set in New York for my FTS USA Road Trip.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Empire’s Top 500, USA Road Trip
Full review here.

Ex Machina (2015)
The other disappointment was this, Alex Garland’s directorial debut after writing, amongst others, 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Dredd. It sees Domhnall Gleeson’s computer coder winning a company lottery to spend a week with his reclusive and secretive boss (Oscar Isaac), and eventually sees him interacting with a form of artificial intelligence, played by Alicia Vikander. It’s not a bad film, in fact for the most part it’s rather good, it just wasn’t the second greatest film released so far this year, as the LAMB’s collective scores would have me believe. The performances are all stellar, particularly Isaac, who I’ve decided I’ll watch in anything – I’ll even watch Drive again if I have to – but I found the whole thing really, really slow. The problem is, this is a film I’d been looking forward to watching. I found myself on a Friday night with nothing I needed to watch urgently, but with Ex Machina available for digital rental. Literally a minute or two after we’d rented it I suddenly felt extremely tired. It had been an exceptionally long and stressful week, and it was the first time I’d sat down all day, and my all-enveloping sofa was doing a wonderful impression of a bed. The sensible decision would have been to stop watching the film and pick it up again the next day, as we’d rented it for two days, except we had a houseguest arriving early Saturday morning and staying for a few days, and she most definitely would not have wanted to watch Ex Machina, so I had to persevere there and then, and the film-watching experience suffered because of it. Therefore my opinions on the film may not be the best in terms of looking for a recommendation or not. Still, I found it to be quite predictable, with not a great deal happening that I wasn’t expecting other than an impromptu dance sequence. I need to watch it again, I’ll be the first to admit that, but other than the performances I didn’t see what all the fuss was about.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Film 7/10

My Man Godfrey (1936)
Nominated for me to watch by Terrence Faulkner from The Focused Filmographer, this was the film I’d never heard of but thought was absolutely terrific.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Full review here.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
We caught the very end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 on TV last weekend, and found ourselves in front of the TV just as Part 2 was starting this weekend. We’re Potter fans in this household, having loved the books and seen every film multiple times (although I still cannot tell you a damn thing that happens in Order of the Phoenix, I swear that film was made to send me to sleep). As I’ve said before, the two halves of the final chapter definitely work better when seen in close proximity to one another, but the second half functions as a film in its own right. There’s genuine emotion to be felt watching the iconic locations from the earlier films being destroyed and some of the beloved characters not making it to the closing credits, and the cast, as always, is phenomenal, with many respectable actors showing up for literally a couple of insert shots looking worried in the background. It gets a bit silly near the end, even for a film about a school for wizards, but I love the opening heist sequence, robbing a goblin vault guarded by an old blind dragon. Old review here.
Lists: None (Already crossed off from Empire’s Top 301)
Choose Film 8/10

The Watch (2012)
And here’s a film that lived up to every expectation I had, in that I’d not heard good things, and it wasn’t a good film. So why did I watch it? Richard Ayoade. I love him. I’ll watch him in anything, and I was curious to see what he did here. He, along with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill start a neighbourhood watch group after one of Stiller’s colleagues is mysteriously killed and the police, led by Will Forte, don’t seem all that interested in doing anything about it other than suspect Stiller himself. Ayoade is easily the best part of a lacklustre, laugh-free film, playing against type as a recently divorced man on the hunt for some ladyfolk to pleasure his nethers. R. Lee Ermey shows up for one scene as a belligerent local, and is then never seen [alive] again, which is a crime against cinema. I’m not sure how this could have been made better other than adding in a lot of jokes (or just some jokes, really) and re-casting at least Hill, who has never been funny, if not all three of the leads who aren’t Ayoade. Make it an all-English cast by replacing them with Steve Coogan as Stiller, Chris O’Dowd as Vaughn and Will Poulter as Hill and you’ve got what could be an amazing film. Either way, The World’s End did something similar far better.
Lists: TiVo Movies
Choose Life 4/10

Close-Up (1990)
Nominated for me to watch by Joel Burman, the LAMB’s shepherd.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Full review here.

Posts you may have missed:
USA Road Trip: New York: Do The Right Thing
FTS in the Movies, Game 2, Round 2
My Man Godfrey
Lambcast #278 Terminator Franchise Lookback: I was joined by Will, Brendan, Kristen and Heather to discuss all five movies in the Terminator franchise, more than half of which are terrible, so there was a lot of ranting and very little raving going on this week.

Goals Update
Aim: Watch all 61 saved TiVo films
Watched: 38
To go: 23
Should be on: 34
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Watch 59 movies released in the UK in 2015
Watched: 25
To go: 34
Should be on: 22
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Review Kate Winslet’s remaining films
Reviewed: 2
To go: 1
Should be on: 2
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Watch 12 “bad” films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 7
To go: 5
Should be on: 7
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Watch 1 nominated film a week from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 29
To go: 23
Should be on: 29
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 49
To go: 26
Should be on: 42
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 31
To go: 46
Should be on: 42
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Finish FTS USA Road Trip
Reviewed: 2
To go: 14
Should be on: 2
On Track: Yes!

3 thoughts on “My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 29

  1. Too bad you didn’t like Do the Right Thing. For me, it’s an absolute masterpiece. My favorite movie of all time. The only other movie I’ve seen here is The Watch. I agree, it’s not a good movie, but I liked it a bit better than you. Glad to see you’re still on track!

  2. Pingback: My Week in Movies, 2016 Week 40 | Life Vs Film

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.