My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 50

All I can think about right now is Star Wars. I’ve been trying not to get my hopes up for The Force Awakens, but it’s now just three days away, so I’m getting more than a little excited. Today I picked up my pre-booked tickets in an effort to avoid queues come Thursday evening (I was tempted with the one-minute-past-midnight showings, but they didn’t have assigned seating and I don’t want to have to queue up for hours and fight for a decent view for the sake of a few hours), and now the day is almost upon us. That’s the next Lambcast episode as well, and if there’s one thing I’m looking forward to more than finally seeing the film is discussing it with some other like-minded nerds, that’s where the real fun will begin.
star
Oh, and speaking of Star Wars, to celebrate the release of The Force Awakens the guys over at Simplistic Reviews have created some re-enactments of how some scenes from Star Wars maybe should have played out, and I participated by recording some suitably degrading intros and outros for each show. They’re all hilarious (especially my bits) and you can find links on their site here, or at the bottom of this very page. Anyway, here’s what I watched this week:

San Andreas (2015)
san andreas
Perhaps the least surprising and most derivative film I’ve seen in a long time that was still somewhat enjoyable. Dwayne “He’ll Always Be The Rock” Johnson plays a fire-and-rescue helicopter pilot who has just received divorce papers from his wife, Carla Gugino, who is moving in with her new boyfriend architect Ioan Gruffudd. Gugino and Johnson have a daughter, played by Alexandra Daddario. There’s a few other minor characters – a couple of brothers Daddario runs into and some tech/geologist guys in CalTech led by Paul Giamatti, but this mainly follows Johnson and Daddario as they struggle to reconnect with one another during some massive earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault (not that I’m looking to lay blame). At times it feels like this film was written along the guidelines of the Hays Code from the 1930s, in that evil people must get their comeuppance, good people must survive, kisses must be no longer than such and such, so literally everything you’d expect from this film happens at the exact moment you positively know it will. There were occasions when I was quoting the script along with the film, despite this being my first viewing, that’s how many of these films I’ve seen. If you’re at all familiar with Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, Titanic and Deep Impact, then just imagine those four films wrapped into one and try not to think of 2012. This is fun, but far from essential.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Life 6/10

Absolutely Anything (2015)
abs
I had such high hopes. This was supposed to be a new Monty Python movie. It’s directed by Terry Jones, who co-wrote the screenplay, and had voice cameos from Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and John Cleese. Not only that, but it stars Simon Pegg and Kate Beckinsale and features supporting roles from actors I like such as Sanjeev Bhaskar, Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley and a voice role from Robin Williams, in what will be his final released feature. Also, it’s a sub-genre I’m not averse to, being about an ordinary man imbued with magical powers to make his life easier but which inevitably send it tits up – I enjoy the likes of Bruce Almighty and Click (Also starring Kate Beckinsale, who is becoming the equivalent of Rachel McAdams always dating time travellers). But, sad to say, this is terrible. Few things irk me as much as a film that forgets its own premise, yet this film in which Simon Pegg’s mild-mannered schoolteacher is given the power to do literally anything just by announcing it vocally and waving his right hand conveniently forgets just how limitless the boundaries are at every given opportunity. It established how far he can go – he tries to undo a mistake by resurrecting those that died in it, but accidentally brings back every person that has ever died ever – but later on someone’s death is held as a threat to him, despite the ability to easily bring them back moments later if necessary. Frustrating, unimaginative and, worst of all, rarely funny. Rob Riggle continues to drain any and all likeability from every scene he’s in with the same old confident macho-guy schtick that wasn’t funny the first time and has gotten less so ever since.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Life 3/10

The Rocketeer (1991)
rock
Watched in preparation for listening to AlcoHollywood’s recent episode on it, this was a superhero film I’d heard much about but never gotten around to until today. It’s enjoyable and different, keeping the traditional superhero template – ordinary down-on-his-luck guys gains some kind of powers (in this case a jetpack) and, with the help of an older mentor (Alan Arkin in Geppetto cosplay) uses them to save the day but mainly his girl (Jennifer Connelly, very evidently before her breast reduction surgery) from the European-accented villain (Timothy Dalton as an Errol Flynn-type swashbuckling actor). I loved the aesthetic and the setting, the supporting cast is full of great actors (Jon Polito, Paul Sorvino, Ed Lauter, Terry O’Quinn) and whilst the plot wasn’t as thrilling and compelling as I’d have liked, I still had a great time with it.
Lists: TiVo Movies
Choose Film 7/10

Posts you may have missed:
Lambcast #298 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
– I was joined by Lindsay, Jess, Tony and Lackey to discuss the Hunger Games franchise as a whole, but mainly focussing on the hopefully final part.
Lambcast #299 Movie of the Month: Gremlins & Gremlins 2: The New Batch – I was joined by Todd, Jess, Nick and newcomer Mario to discuss both Gremlins movies for our annual holiday edition.
Simplistic Theatre Episode I: Star Wars – The Phantom Menace
Simplistic Theatre Episode II: Star Wars – Attack of the Clones
Simplistic Theatre Episode III: Star Wars – Revenge of the Sith

Goals Update
Aim: Watch all 61 saved TiVo films
Watched: 47
To go: 14
Should be on: 59
On Track: No!

Aim: Watch 59 movies released in the UK in 2015
Watched: 61
To go: 0
Should be on: 56
On Track: COMPLETED!

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

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

Aim: Watch 1 nominated film a week from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 38
To go: 14
Should be on: 50
On Track: No!

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

Aim: Finish French Toast Sunday Road Trip series
Reviewed: 12
To go: 4
Should be on: 15
On Track: No!

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6 thoughts on “My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 50

  1. It’s a shame about Absolutely Anything, that could have been a great film but it did feel a bit squandered. If you want to see a better successor to Monty Python check out Bill when it finds its way onto LoveFilm. Incredibly silly, filled with so bad they’re brilliant puns (a band called Mortal Coil leave a place by shuffling off) and a good mix of historical gags and daft slapstick

      • This is the earliest I’ve seen Connelly in (can’t remember Labyrinth, but she was a child then anyway) so yeah, this came as a bit of a shock. I might have to check out a few more of her early 90s movies…

        • She was 15 when Labyrinth came out…and so was I. So I have no problem crushing on Labyrinth era JCon. I always say that movie was custom made for me: directed by Jim Henson and full of puppets, produced by George Lucas, written by Terry Jones of Monty Python, and starring my ultimate teen actress crush of the 80’s.

          Of course, I have a soft spot for Career Opportunities. I admit, not a great entry in the John Hughes filmography, but it has some interesting moments. I’d also recommend The Hot Spot, an interesting little neo noir directed by Dennis Hopper.

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