My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 51

This past weekend I decided to stop moaning and worrying about how many of my goals I’m going to miss and instead just get on with doing what I can. It’s unlikely – very unlikely – that I’ll complete at least two of them, but let’s try anyway, right?

Here’s what I’ve been watching this week:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
It’s the most anticipated movie of the year. It’s broken box office records left and right. The marketing leading up to the release has been comparable to a biblical plague. But did it live up to the expectations? I consider myself a Star Wars fan in that I have a few t-shirts and knick-knacks (to be fair, most of them are Lego Star Wars if anything) and I know the character names down to the level of Malakili the Rancor keeper and the Dianoga living in the trash compactor, but I’m not at the level of some people. Yes I saw this opening night, but I didn’t dress up. I didn’t have my photo taken with the stormtroopers and wookiees in attendance. I didn’t expect this to rock my world, I just hoped for an enjoyable movie, and that’s what I got. It’s far too early to say how this will impact the world in comparison to the original trilogy, but I can fully understand the franchise garnering a few new younger fans based of its back. The new additions worked well, particularly Oscar Isaac as my favourite character, badass-yet-fun pilot Poe Dameron. John Boyega as Finn the reformed-stormtrooper was a lot of fun too, and Adam Driver makes a terrific villain as essentially a slightly more immature Darth Vader wannabe Kylo Ren. I remember initially having some issues with Daisy Ridley as Rey, but frankly I can’t remember what my problem was, and by the end I liked her just fine. Any issues I do have come in the plot, which is just far too familiar for my liking. There are a great deal of nods and plot points lifted directly from the original trilogy, from the ranking and relationships between the villains (Dowhnall Gleeson and Andy Serkis making up the rest of the triumvirate) to the design of their weapon of choice, the fate of an older character and the locations used, with planet environments being identical or at least similar to the main ones we’re used to already, taking place amidst either sand, ice or forestry. I’m shocked there wasn’t a fourth location up in the clouds. Also, some of the supporting cast were criminally underused, most notable the likes of Gwendoline Christie (who is becoming something of an underused lucky charm this season), Max von Sydow, Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian from The Raid. All that being said, this was a highly entertaining film that may well become an iconic classic once the rest of its trilogy has been laid out. For now it doesn’t have much of the original trilogy’s stand-out moments (granted, most of which have become so by virtue of multiple viewings and parodies), and nor does it have the more memorably terrible aspects of the prequels, but it has provided a very solid and stable platform from which this third era of the Star Wars franchise can take off.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Film 8/10

Lolita (1962)
My pick for New Hampshire for my USA Road Trip over at French Toast Sunday turned out to not have a great deal of New Hampshire in it, specifically because it was filmed in England. I’d love if it was filmed in the original Hampshire, where I’m actually from, but I doubt it. Ah well, still counts for the criteria.
Lists: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, FTS Road Trip Movies
Full review here.

Amy (2015)
I feel bad for reviewing this. I didn’t want to watch Amy, for many reasons most of which were I didn’t think I’d like it. For starters I’m not much of a documentary guy. I’ve found most of the ones I’ve watched incredibly boring, and that didn’t change for this one. I’m also not a music guy, at all. Most of my listening time is spent with podcasts, and when I want music it’s normally something I’m very used to. Other than soundtracks I don’t think I have many albums from the past decade, certainly not the past 5 years. Thirdly, the music of Amy Winehouse can be found deeply rooted within that realm of stuff I don’t listen to. It’s not that I don’t like it, I’m just not drawn to it. I can safely say that I’ve never sat down and sought out a song of hers to listen to. I’ve never heard any of her albums and the only song I’ve had much memorable interaction with is the Mark Ronson version of The Zutons’ Valerie, which is on the radio a great deal, even to this day. Of course I’ve heard Rehab on the radio too, but I never found it compelling enough to actively listen to. Yes I’m a musical philistine. This is far more my problem than anyone else’s. Also, I knew next to nothing about Winehouse’s story, as I prefer not to get into the tabloid stuff, and also because frankly I didn’t care all that much. Callous and bastard-y? Yep, that’s me. Finally, and the main reason why I shouldn’t review this even in mini format, is that I was so bored in this that I fell asleep for a heft portion in about the third quarter. My partner continued to watch it, as she should have, and I didn’t feel compelled enough to go back. Thus, ignore any thoughts I have on this. So what did I actually think? Well, I started out with pretty much no opinion of Amy Winehouse other than she has a decent voice. I left this film disliking her intently. There’s something about how uncouth and “gobby” she is that just puts me off. There’s also the combination of the lip stud, the silly mascara stripes, the hair and all the tattoos, plus the extensive and unforgivable drug use that made me know for sure that if I’d ever met her in real life I’d have instantly disliked her and been bitter about any success she had, regardless of her talent. She seemed to me to be a thoroughly dislikeable person. My partner came out of this feeling nothing but pity and empathy towards her, which goes to show how broken I am as a person, as does an early audition Amy has in which she sings a song that my partner was almost blown away by, but I thought was pretty bad, and that we were going to see how she improved from there on out. If anything I’m now even less likely to seek out any of Amy’s other work now I know more about her. Like I said, this wasn’t for me, sorry. As a documentary I’ve not got much else to compare it to, but on the grounds of whether it told a compelling story well, the fact that I drifted off would tell me it didn’t. Then again that could be because in my opinion it was a poor choice for a documentary to begin with, but once again that’s probably more down to my lack of interest in the subject matter than anything else. Lots of other people seemed to like it, so if I were you I’d go with their opinions rather than mine, as usual.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Life 3/10

Spellbound (1945)
My pick for Vermont for the FTS USA Road Trip again doesn’t stay in that state for the whole time, but again I don’t care. I’ll be reviewing this next weekend. Also, I’ve crossed off another Hitchcock, hurrah!
Lists: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Hitchcock Movies, FTS Road Trip, TiVo Movies
Full review coming soon.

The Conversation (1974)
The Conversation was nominated for me to watch by David Brook of Blueprint: Review. Expect a review soon.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Empire’s 5-Star 500, Empire’s Top 500
Full review coming soon.

Posts you may have missed:
The Wages of Fear

FTS Road Trip: New Jersey: Garden State
FTS Road Trip: New Hampshire: Lolita
Simplistic Theatre Episode IV: Star Wars: A New Hope
Simplistic Theatre Episode V: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Simplistic Theatre Episode VI: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Simplistic Theatre Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Lambcast #300: 300th Super Lambpardy Champions Special: For the Lambcast’s 300th episode we celebrated with a giant game of show-staple Lambpardy!, with all the former champions competing for the title. The contestants were Kai Parker, Rachel Thuro, Dylan Fields, Nick Powell, Robert Zerbe, Todd Liebenow and Aaron Neuwirth. It’s one of the most fun shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of recording.

Goals Update
Aim: Watch all 61 saved TiVo films
Watched: 48
To go: 13
Should be on: 60
On Track: No!

Aim: Watch 59 movies released in the UK in 2015
Watched: 63
To go: 0
Should be on: 58

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: 12
On Track: No!

Aim: Watch 1 nominated film a week from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 40
To go: 12
Should be on: 51
On Track: No!

Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List
Reviewed: 74
To go: 1
Should be on: 74
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Finish French Toast Sunday Road Trip series
Reviewed: 14
To go: 2
Should be on: 15
On Track: No!

2 thoughts on “My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 51

  1. Pingback: The Thin Blue Line | Life Vs Film

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

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