My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 48

This is going to be tough. Tomorrow is the first day of December. 25 days until Christmas, 31 days until the end of the year, and I’ve got a heck of a lot still left to do to meet my goals for the year, and that’s without taking into account everything I need to do in real life for this time of the year. There’s just four weekends left until 2016, and I’ve got four Road Trip posts left to write for FTS, so that’s one a week, no option. The only problem is I haven’t watched any of them yet (we got about 10 minutes into Garden State for New Jersey and had to bail about a week ago, and I’ve been unable to bring myself to turn it back on again since.). Add to that 14 nominated movies, 2 “Bad” movies and a bunch of others I’ve watched but not reviewed yet, and it works out that I need to watch 17 and review 26 all in the next month. Jeez.
On the plus side, however, this week has seen me all but complete another goal, to watch 59 movies released in the UK in 2015. Granted I’m only at 58 as of typing, but I’ve already got my ticket booked for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so this goal is in the bag. That, and San Andreas has just been dispatched from LoveFilm, so I’m going above and beyond with this little chestnut. As for those other as-yet-uncompleted goals? Well I guess I’d better stop prattling on here and get back to writing a review or two. I’m all-to-aware that after Christmas I’ve got three days at home alone whilst my partner is at work, so I’m anticipating a deluge of watching and writing taking place then, but given how poorly past plans have turned out, there’s no guarantee. Here’s what I watched this week:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2015)
I really want to write a piece explaining all my issues with the whole Hunger Games franchise, especially seeing as I’ve still got notes I took on the first two films, and need to review them for some of my lists, so if I find the time (unlikely) I’ll go into this a bit more. I’m not a fan of these films. This was the first I’ve seen in cinemas and, even if the franchise hadn’t come to a close, it would probably be my last. We saw it because my partner is a fan, but also because this past weekend’s Lambcast was on this film in particular, as other people seem to like it and it’s considered a big deal. This one was fine, possibly the best in the series, but it’s still rife with issues. The love triangle drive for the whole series is copped out of and fizzles to nothing, despite being made a bigger deal of here and directly referenced in the script. Jennifer Lawrence remains an unappealing and difficult-to-engage-with lead. Characters I enjoy die, others I dislike survive. If it weren’t for the more mature supporting cast – Harrelson, Moore, Sutherland, Wright, Hoffman, Banks – this whole saga would be floundering, so credit must be given where it’s due. But that denouement? Nauseating.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Life 5/10

Mortdecai (2015)
MO_D09_01671.NEFAs far as I can tell, Mortdecai was actually released at some point. There were a lot of trailers and posters of cast members with silly little moustaches, but then the film was released and nothing was heard of it again. Looking at the pedigree of the cast involved – Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai, the foppish, ineffective, near-bankrupt art expert embroiled in an international affair involving a missing piece of artwork, Paul Bettany as his manservant Jock, Gwyneth Paltrow as Charlie’s understanding yet subtly manipulative wife and Ewan McGregor as the police inspector who both fancies Paltrow and is required to involve Mortdecai in the case, plus supporting roles from the likes of Olivia Munn and Jeff Goldblum I found it hard to believe this film would at least be boring. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what it is, being utterly devoid of almost anything entertaining. Yes the whole cast is game – I think Bettany in particular is pretty great here – but no-one is doing anything. At all. Nothing. It’s like an all-star Adam Sandler comedy with slightly less exotic locations.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Life 2/10

Superbob (2015)
When it came time to make a British superhero movie, of course we did something like this. Bob (Brett Goldstein) is a mild-mannered postman who gets hit by a meteor one day and wakes up with super powers. He can fly, has laser vision, is invulnerable to basically everything, so he’s basically Superman, except everyone knows who he is, and he lives in Peckham. The British government quickly employ him as a super-powered civil servant, but the problem is, Bob is a bit of a dullard, and the general public aren’t big fans of his, so in an effort to give him better public appeal, his manager (Catherine Tate) has arranged for a film crew to follow him on his government-mandated weekly day off. This means this is essentially a found footage film, with all the events taking place through the camera of the crew filming him, including vox pop style man-on-the-street interviews. The problem a lot of people have with found footage films is struggling to believe the characters would continue filming things in extreme situations. Superbob gets around this by not having any. Instead we follow Bob as he argues with his cleaning lady (Natalie Tena, Osha from Game of Thrones/Tonks from Harry Potter), argues with his manager, makes embarrassing speeches at an old peoples’ home and tries to go on a date with an America librarian (Laura Haddock). None of these sub-plots is strong enough to dominate the film and be engaging, leaving nothing compelling to watch. It was a nice idea, showing the even more realistic version of events if a true every-man gained superpowers – he has to get survivors, even children, to fill out forms and provide customer service feedback on being saved – but this could have used a better script, maybe then it might have lasted longer than 80 minutes.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Life 4/10

Inside Out (2015)
So I started writing a usual-length paragraph here, but it kept going and going and going, so this will be a full post tomorrow. I have thoughts on this film, so you’ll just have to wait, sorry.
Lists: 2015 Movies

Spy (2015)
Expectations ran high this week, and almost as high as my Inside Out ones were those for Spy, which was probably a mistake. I’d heard a lot of people exclaiming how great this was, how amazing it was to see Melissa McCarthy playing someone whose predominant characteristic wasn’t her waistline, and how funny Jason Statham was. Well, two out of three ain’t bad I suppose, with Statham making me smile and McCarthy playing an unexpected character type, but sadly the film as a whole fell flat, by virtue of now being funny enough. With these kinds of films I need the humour to be ever-present. In an Edgar Wright film, against which all comedies are ranked in my mind, the joke quotient – or joketient, if you will – is impossibly high, especially in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Here sometimes whole minutes or scenes would go by without so much as me acknowledging something humorous had been attempted, let alone accomplished. This is not McCarthy’s fault, as sometimes I did find her funny, which has never happened before, and I liked the supporting performances from the likes of Jude Law, Alison Janney, Rose Byrne and the aforementioned Stath, but the usually great Peter Serafinowicz and the consistently grating Miranda Hart both brought their scenes crashing down. Also, the film couldn’t seem to work out if it was a James Bond parody, as the dead-serious opening credits would have you believe, or an out-and-out comedy in its own right.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Film 6/10

Posts you may have missed:
King Kong
Trailer Breakdown: Captain America: Civil War
Lambcast #296 Bring A Discussion Topic:
I was joined by Heather Baxendale, Nick Rehak, Nicole Ayers and Dylan Fields for a show in which we talk about random movie-related topics. This time we discussed DVD culture, Pixar’s upcoming sequel-heavy slate, anticipations for Star Wars, genres that may soon resurge or die out, and the wonder that is Shia LaBeouf.

Goals Update
Aim: Watch all 61 saved TiVo films
Watched: 46
To go: 15
Should be on: 56
On Track: No!

Aim: Watch 59 movies released in the UK in 2015
Watched: 58
To go:1
Should be on: 52
On Track: Yes!

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

Aim: Watch 12 “bad” films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 10
To go: 2
Should be on: 11
On Track: No!

Aim: Watch 1 nominated film a week from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 38
To go: 14
Should be on: 48
On Track: No!

Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 72
To go: 3
Should be on: 69
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Finish French Toast Sunday Road Trip series
Reviewed: 12
To go: 4
Should be on: 14
On Track: No!

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