My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 43

I’ve been thinking about a couple of things this past week, one of which is density – sorry, I mean destiny. I’m a sceptic about pretty much every aspect of life, so I hold no faith in notions of pre-determined actions and events projecting the routes our lives will follow, yet sometimes so many obstacles will conspire against one particular thing I’m trying to accomplish that I can’t help but have my doubts, especially when that thing at least tangentially relates to otherworldly situations. Yep, I’m still going on about the John Carpenter Lambcast, the one I fought tooth and claw to arrange last weekend, only for just one other person to show up.
carp
Well we re-arranged it for this past weekend, immediately after the normally scheduled show and, as could have been predicted in the Gilliam-esque quest that has been this show, people had to drop out. Firstly was the guy who was there last week, who couldn’t make the new recording time, so I felt really crap about having to let him go when I couldn’t move the time around. Then someone else dropped out a few hours before the show. Cue me scrambling around Twitter and my email contacts, scouting out for anyone who had seen just a handful of his films, enough to have a discussion. Two people replied. Phew. The first show recorded well, albeit with one slightly under the weather guest, and when it came to recording the Carpenter show, one of those last minute replacements didn’t appear, and still hadn’t shown up 30 minutes later. It turned out to be technical difficulties, and from a guest who doesn’t have an Internet phone, so contacting me wasn’t a possibility, and fortunately a replacement was found mid-show, and overall the show recorded well, has been edited and posted (hence why this show is a little later this week, sorry about that), but I can’t help thinking maybe there were so many “signs” that it shouldn’t have taken place. Then again, if that really were the case then the brief period I suffered through yesterday when Internet went down for a few hours (another reason this post is late) would surely have occurred either the night before, when I was trying to post the show, or on Sunday evening itself, when we were recording. No, I think it’s safe to say I’m just being paranoid and melodramatic.
polt
It’s this easily-quashed realist’s approach to the supernatural that makes it so difficult for me to become absorbed into paranormal horror films. I’ve seen a few this past week and as soon as it becomes blatant that something otherworldly is behind the scary situations I instantly check out any possibility of this film scaring me, because I know it isn’t real. Over the next few days you’ll see what I mean a little better, with reviews for the likes of Poltergeist and Halloween heading your way, but for now, here’s what I watched this week:

Let the Right One In (2008)
let
Nominated for me to watch by Dylan Fields, founder of Man I Love Films, the Lambcast and the LAMB. I also discussed it on an upcoming Lambcast episode.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Empire’s 5-Star 500, Empire’s Top 301
Full review coming soon.

They Live (1988)
they
Postponing the Carpenter podcast allowed me a chance to fit this one in, which is a shame because before I re-watched it I remembered it quite fondly. Sadly Roddy Piper is not an engaging screen presence, nor is he a great actor in this role that seemed as though Kurt Russell wasn’t available. Keith David tries his best to rescue all the scenes they share by going full-on angry in comparison to Piper’s laconic daze, but sadly the film couldn’t be saved. I’d also expected a great deal more from the infamous fight the two share, but what I hazily remembered as a near-ten minute epic dust-up was in fact under five minutes and thoroughly disappointing.
Lists: None
Choose Life 5/10

Black Sea (2014)
black
Regular readers may know I have a penchant for movies in which a small group of people are trapped in a limited space and are struggling to survive, which is just what we have here. Jude Law heads up a crew of a submarine, half English, half Russian, one Australian, one American, who after being wrongfully fired and landing on hard times all set out in search of some sunken Nazi gold, but tensions between the different nationalities cause issues between them all. There’s a great supporting cast including Scoot McNairy, Michael Smiley, David Threlfall, Konstantin Khabenskiy and Ben Mendelsohn as a self-confessed psychopath, and whilst there’s a high chance you’ll be able to predict some beats shortly before they occur, overall this was a tense, claustrophobic and gripping watch.
Lists: None
Choose Film 7/10

Tomorrowland: A World Beyond (2015)
tomorrow
I’d heard a lot about Tomorrowland before watching it, and mostly it didn’t sound very good, but I was intrigued enough to see it anyway. Unfortunately, most of what I’d heard turned out to be correct. This is a film that couldn’t live up to its trailers. The previews showed the two great scenes in the film – a home invasion/escape and glimpses of the fabled Tomorrowland in all its glory, but sadly the remaining two hours focus more on why said place is no longer at its peak, and sees our heroes – eager, idealistic Casey (Britt Robertson) and curmudgeon Frank (George Clooney) – trying to get back in. I approved of the overall message – let’s stop complaining about the state of things and instead start trying to, you know, fix ’em – but sadly this just set itself up for a fall. Clooney is his usual engaging self, and Robertson shows a lot of potential for a career that will hopefully eclipse her Nicholas Sparks past. Hugh Laurie was fine if a little underused as the pantomime villain (who got to say “Bollocks”, which I’m more than OK with) and there are some other far too minor supporting roles from people like Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key, but overall this was just a disappointment. Looks amazing though.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Life 6/10

Poltergeist (1982)
Poltergeist
Nominated for me to watch by Jason Soto of Your Face! and The Lair of the Unwanted, it was also discussed on the upcoming Lambcast show. Fuck that clown.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Full review coming soon.

Beetlejuice (1988)
beetle
My pick for Connecticut for my USA Road Trip.
Lists:Empire’s Top 301, USA Road Trip Movies
Full review coming soon.

Halloween (1978)
halloween
Watched for the John Carpenter Director Retrospective Lambcast show.
Lists: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Empire’s 5-Star 500, Empire’s Top 500, Empire’s Top 301, Total Film’s Top 100
Full review coming soon (next Saturday, if I can schedule anything correctly).

Posts you may have missed:
USA Road Trip: North Carolina: Carrie
John Wick
Lambcast #292 John Carpenter Director Retrospective

Goals Update
Aim: Watch all 61 saved TiVo films
Watched: 44
To go: 17
Should be on: 50
On Track: No!

Aim: Watch 59 movies released in the UK in 2015
Watched: 46
To go: 13
Should be on: 43
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Review Kate Winslet’s remaining films
Reviewed: 3
To go: 2
Should be on: 2
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Watch 12 “bad” films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 8
To go: 4
Should be on: 10
On Track: No!

Aim: Watch 1 nominated film a week from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 34
To go: 18
Should be on: 43
On Track: No!

Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 62
To go: 13
Should be on: 62
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Finish French Toast Sunday Road Trip series
Reviewed: 9
To go: 7
Should be on: 11
On Track: No!

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