My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 52

Happy New Year everybody! I’ve got a lot to get through in this post so I’ll keep the intro brief. This is the wrap-up for 2015’s goals, as well as a run-through of the films I’ve watched in the past week and a half. I’m going to post these weekly updated on Fridays from now on, for no real reason other than I think it’d suit me better. Also, I’ve got goals for 2016, but I’ll get to those in another post. As you’re about to read I’ve had an incredibly busy few days recently, so apologies for the brevity of some of these mini-reviews. Here’s what I watched recently:

The Smiling Madame Beudet (1955)
Bad, but short enough to fit into a lunch break.
Lists: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, “Bad” Movies
Full review here.

The Overnight (2015)
I’d heard a little, and was intrigued. This is a very low-key film starring Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling as a couple who move to L.A. but don’t know anyone there. They meet Jason Schwartzmann and his kid at a park and are invited over that evening for drinks to make friends with him and his wife, Judith Godreche. And then things get weird. They didn’t actually go as far as I thought they might in some areas, but that’s a good thing in my opinion. As micro-budget indies go – it was predominantly filmed at Adam Carolla’s house – you can do a lot worse. Don’t watch if you’re not a fan of male nudity.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Film 7/10

Slow West (2015)
Kodi Smit-McPhee plays a kid searching for his lost love who is assisted by bounty hunter Michael Fassbender, who intends to claim the bounty on the girl’s head. Not a great deal happens in this western right up until a fairly disappointing climax. There are some great character actors – I’ll watch Ben Mendelsohn in anything, especially that fur coat – but this isn’t worth even the 84 minute run-time.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Life 5/10

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
My favourite and go-to Christmas film, we watched this on Christmas day. My partner and her parents were less than thrilled, but I was, as always, grinning the whole way through.
Lists: None
Choose Film 9/10

Pink Flamingos (1972)
Nominated for me to watch by Lindsay Street of French Toast Sunday and also my USA Road Trip pick for Maryland.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, “Bad” Movies, USA Road Trip
Full review here.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
mad max
Still awesome. I need to say no more. Chances are this’ll be appearing fairly high on my upcoming Review of the Year.
Lists: None (already crossed of 2015 Movies)
Choose Film 9/10

The Thin Blue Line (1988)
Nominated for me to watch by Jessica Manzo from French Toast Sunday.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Full review here.

The Croods (2013)
I’ve always been annoyed at The Croods because it, along with Despicable Me 2, prevented Monsters University from getting a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination. That being said, this third or fourth viewing (my partner really enjoys it) had me not hating everything. The creature designs are cool, Belt is still my favourite character, and whilst overall it’s very childish there’s still enough to enjoy.
Lists: None
Choose Film 6/10

Jurassic World (2015)
I still enjoyed this too, although it shouldn’t have made quite so much money. I think I like it just as much as The Lost World, which from me is a big compliment.
Lists: None (already crossed of 2015 Movies)
Choose Film 8/10

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Surprisingly pretty great. This didn’t do too well on release, and I’m guessing that’s due to the lack of mega stars or name recognition, but this deserves to kick off a franchise. Henry Cavill is particularly enjoyable as Napoleon Solo, who seems to be effortlessly cool and suave, but is also a bit of a dick. And you can call it blasphemy, but I’ve not been as impressed with Alicia Vikander as many others have. I’ve still not seen The Danish Girl and need to re-watch Ex Machina with my eyes open this time, so what do I know? Also, I spent ages looking out for David Beckham’s cameo and had to rewind a bit to see it, which left me a little distracted for the whole film. Given how needless it is it seems odd to have done it.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Film 8/10

The Flintstones (1994)
Watched for no reason other than it was on and we were near the TV, but say what you will I’ve always enjoyed this live action adaptation of the classic cartoon. There’s a lot of enjoyable rock-based puns, decent-for-the-time effects, great production design and I feel the actors really got the characters, especially John Goodman and Rick Moranis, two guys I’ll watch in anything. Plus, mid-90s Halle Berry. What more could you want?
Lists: None
Choose Film 7/10

It Happened One Night (1934)
Nominated for me to watch by Chip Lary of Tips From Chip.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Empire’s 5-Star 500, Empire’s Top 500
Full review here.

The Last Seduction (1994)
bridget smoking
Nominated for me to watch by Vern of Vern’s Video Vortex.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Empire’s Top 500
Full review here.

Network (1976)
Nominated for me to watch by Vern of Vern’s Video Vortex.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Empire’s 5-Star 500, Empire’s Top 500, Empire’s Top 301
Full review here.

The Last Metro (1980)
Nominated for me to watch by Pete Conway of Man I Love Films.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Full review here.

The Good Dinosaur (2015)
My most anticipated film of the year became one of my biggest disappointments. This felt lazy, and from Pixar that’s unforgivable. With the story of a lost apatosaur named Arlo and his man-dog named Spot trying to make their way back to Arlo’s home after being washed down the river I was expecting Finding Nemo with dinosaurs, which sounds like the best film ever, but this tries nothing new and fails to be fun at almost every point. Where Nemo had a seemingly endless array of colourful characters for Marlin and Dory to interact with, not to mention the back-at-the-ranch style shenanigans of the fish tank, The Good Dinosaur keeps all the focus on the somewhat bland duo of Arlo and Spot and only gives them a small handful of obstacles and characters, very few of whom are entertaining. The T-Rex scene, with Sam Elliott as a grizzled old cowboy rex was a lot of fun, but that’s it. The animation of the environments is staggering – it’s easily one of the prettiest films from the year – but the main character design let the film down in comparison, with Arlo being a mis-shapen green blob against the works of art he walks through. Plus, this film borrows so heavily from The Lion King that Arlo’s Dad may as well have been voiced by James Earl Jones instead of Jeffrey Wright. Currently this is at a tie with Cars as being my second worst Pixar film (Cars 2 is bottom, duh), and that’s something I never thought I’d say.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Life 6/10

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
It’s a bad idea to watch a film you only kind of liked first time around so many times in a short period, but my partner loves it, so this was my 3rd viewing of 2015, and it gets worse each time. I don’t even enjoy the riff-off any more because of how often she plays the soundtrack. Also, it frustrated me when sequels make the same mistakes as their originals. Spoiler warning. In Pitch Perfect, the all-girl Bellas are shown to be at a disadvantage to the male TrebleMakers because of their lack of vocal range, and eventually defeat the Trebles when one of their group develops the ability to sing lower, thereby making the whole lets-prove-women-can-be-great thing irrelevant, as they can only beat the boys when they can sing like them. Here, the Bellas are inferior to German collective Das Sound Machine because they have so many people, so the Bellas defeat them by recruiting all the former Bellas and severely outnumber DSM instead. So they’re not proving the underdog can win, they’re proving that the underdog can become the overdog. Or whatever. I don’t care any more. Less Rebel Wilson please, she’s not funny.
Lists: None (already crossed of 2015 Movies)
Choose Life 4/10

Brazil (1985)
Nominated for me to watch by Bubbawheat from Flights, Tights and Movie Nights.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 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 here.

Come Drink With Me (1966)
Nominated for me to watch by Elwood Jones of From The Depths Of DVD Hell.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Full review here.

Shaft (1971)
Nominated for me to watch by Nolahn from Your Face!.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Full review here.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Nominated for me to watch by Dan Heaton from Public Transportation Snob.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Full review here.

Rashomon (1950)
Nominated for me to watch by Nick Jobe from Your Face!.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Empire’s Top 500
Full review here.

Interstellar (2014)
We saw in the New Year with Interstellar, taking a break at midnight to watch the fireworks on the TV before getting back into the film. Yeah, we’re super-cool. This was my second favourite film from 2014 and I still stand by loving it. The effects are amazing, the story has me gripped and the performances are all top notch, and I’ve never had an issue with the score. It didn’t make me cry this time though, which I consider an improvement.
Lists: None
Choose Film 9/10

Posts you may have missed:
Garden State
The Smiling Madame Beudet
The Conversation
The Thin Blue Line
Pink Flamingos
It Happened One Night
The Last Seduction
The Last Metro
Come Drink With Me
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Lambcast #301 Star Wars The Force Awakens:
I was joined by David Brook, Heather Baxendale, Todd Liebenow, Kristen Lopez, DJ Valentine and Daniel Lackey to discuss the new Star Wars movie you might have heard about.
Lambcast #302 Whatcha Been Watchin’ Lately:
I was joined by Todd Liebenow, Nick Rehak and Nicole Ayers to discuss some films we watched recently. We talked about The Big Short, Million Dollar Baby, Rock of Ages and Pink Flamingos.

Goals Update
Aim: Watch all 61 saved TiVo films: FAILED!
I bailed on this one a while ago, and don’t mind I failed it. It was the most inconsequential of my goals, adding nothing to any of my lists. In fact, I’ve gone through and deleted a bunch of my saved TiVo films that I don’t think I’ll ever watch anyway. I watched 48, which isn’t bad. Just 13 short of the target.

Aim: Watch 59 movies released in the UK in 2015: COMPLETED! (I watched: 67! Go me!)

Aim: Review 3 of Kate Winslet’s remaining films: COMPLETED!
I still didn’t get around to reviewing Little Children – not sure why I can’t bring myself to re-watch it, seeing how great I thought it was first time around – but I did review three films, crossing off 2015’s Insurgent. I’ve got a review of A Little Chaos pending that I need to finish some time soon too.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Aim: Watch 12 “bad” films from the 1001 List: COMPLETED!
Meet The Parents
Andrei Rublev
The Cloud-Capped Star
The Kingdom
The Kid With A Bike
El Topo
Sans Soleil
The Smiling Madame Beudet
Pink Flamingos

Aim: Watch 1 nominated film a week from the 1001 List: COMPLETED!
Nominated by Elwood Jones from the Mad Bad and Downright Strange Showcase, TV Good Sleep Bad and From the Depths of DVD Hell:
Come Drink With Me
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Nominated by Joel Burman from Joel Burman and the LAMB:
Andrei Rublev
Nominated by Lindsay Street of French Toast Sunday:
Wake In Fright
Pink Flamingos
Nominated by Daniel Lackey of The Nightmare Gallery and TV Good Sleep Bad:
Picnic At Hanging Rock
A Hard Day’s Night
Nominated by Vern from Vern’s Video Vortex, the As You Watch podcast and the Film Pasture:
The Last Seduction
Nominated by DJ Valentine from Simplistic Reviews:
Nominated by Kristen Lopez from Journeys in Classic Film, Awards Circuit and Walt Sent Me:
A Star Is Born
Wuthering Heights
Nominated by Mette Kowalski from French Toast Sunday and Across the Universe:
In The Mood For Love
The Tree Of Life
Nominated by Nick Jobe from Your Face!:
Nominated by Todd Liebenow from Forgotten Films, the Forgotten Filmcast and Walt Sent Me:
The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin
Nominated by Nolahn from Your Face! and the Lair of the Unwanted:
The Incredible Shrinking Man
Nominated by Nick Rehak from French Toast Sunday:
The Outlaw Josey Wales
The Earrings of Madame De…
Nominated by Robert Zerbe from French Toast Sunday and To The Escape Hatch:
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Nominated by Dylan Fields, founder of the LAMB, the Lambcast and Man I Love Films:
Let The Right One In
Wall Street
Nominated by David Brook of Blueprint: Review:
King Kong
The Conversation
Nominated by Will Slater from Exploding Helicopter:
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
The Night Of The Hunter
Nominated by Ryan McNeil from the Matinee:
Do The Right Thing
Nominated by Bubbawheat from Flights, Tights and Movie Nights and FilmWhys:
Princess Mononoke
Nominated by Thomas Sorenson from T Sorenson 1001 Movie Blog:
Whisky Galore!
The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre
Nominated by Terrence Faulkner from The Focused Filmographer:
Mrs. Miniver
My Man Godfrey
Nominated by JD Duran from Insession Film:
Schindler’s List
Blue Is The Warmest Color
Nominated by Jason Soto from Your Face! and The Lair Of The Unwanted:
Enter The Dragon
Nominated by Chip Lary of Tips From Chip:
The Wages Of Fear
It Happened One Night
Nominated by Jessica Manzo from French Toast Sunday:
The Thin Blue Line
Nominated by Dan Heaton from Public Transportation Snob:
Ace In The Hole
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Nominated by Pete Conway from Man I Love Films and the Rambling Ramblers Movie Podcast:
The Grand Illusion
The Last Metro

Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List: COMPLETED!
With the slew of reviews I’ve written in the past few days I hit a total of 89 this year, which I’m OK with. 2016 is gonna be better though, trust me.

Aim: Finish French Toast Sunday Road Trip series: COMPLETED!

Aim: Finish HitchcOctober: FAILED!
October was a busy-ass month and HitchcOctober was the main casualty. Only two Hitchcock films were reviewed all year, and only one of those was in October. Ah well, there’s always next year.
Dial M For Murder

Aim: Visit the cinema 25 times FAILED! 18
Another challenge I bailed on early, I’m surprised I got up to 18.

Aim: Meet other bloggers: COMPLETED!
The main one I wanted to do, this was one of my highlights of the year, attending (and kind of planning but not really) the first official UK LAMB meet-up. I had an amazing time meeting everyone, and you can read more about it here.

So that’s it for 2015. Thanks everyone for reading or just showing up to download pictures from The Life Of David Gale. Seriously, that’s consistently my most popular piece. Whatever. Come back soon to see my plans for 2016, and to see what my favourite films of 2015 were!

6 thoughts on “My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 52

  1. I’d love to nominate a movie or two for you if you’re going to take nominations for next year. I’m happy to either give you something off the 1001 List I think you’ll like or one that you should get done with so you’re no longer dreading it.

  2. Great job actually completing most of the tasks you set for yourself. And man, you have been busy these last few days. That’s an impressive haul. Quick note on Pitch Perfect 2. It made the same mistakes as its predecessor because it’s the exact same movie! We’ll have to agree to disagree on Rebel Wilson, but still I didn’t much care for PP2. Can’t wait to keep reading these through 2016.

  3. Great job almost completing everything! I think it’s very impressive what you were able to do, especially in that last week mad dash.

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