Normally around this time of year I’d be desperately attempting to hoover up as many unseen Oscar nominees as possible in anticipation of the forthcoming Academy Awards ceremony that, more likely than not, I won’t actually watch given it finishes here at roughly 5am on a Monday morning (would it kill them to move it to Saturday night, really?). However this year I find myself somewhat unmotivated to do so, given how little interest I have in many of the films in contention. Of the 8 nominees for Best Picture I’ve so far seen just three (The Martian, Mad Max: Fury Road and Bridge of Spies). I’d quite happily see the likes of The Big Short, Room and Spotlight, but none of them strike me as films that are only suited to the big screen, so I feel almost obliged to simply wait them out until I can see them much more inexpensively within the comfort of my own home, especially given my recent reading of the novel Room upon which the film is based, which is very good and comes highly recommended from me, but with the story so fresh in my mind I just don’t think the film would have the required effect. The only film nominated for much that I’ve any real interest in seeing is The Revenant, as I’m certain that won’t be quite as effective back home, but thus far my attempts to seek it out have resulted in a faulty projector, a refunded ticket and a wasted half day’s holiday taken from work.
So as late February approaches I find myself caring increasingly less about what films and film-makers will be awarded much of anything come the big night. Amongst the other major categories the likes of Carol, Brooklyn, Trumbo and The Danish Girl all look very worthy but ultimately dull, and with the over-rated Inside Out seeming to lead the chase for Best Animated Feature (the only other contender being Anomalisa, which isn’t released here for another month) I can’t even get excited about that. But hey, in spite of all that I (just about) caught up on all my goals for January, but predictably that last minute dash burned me out a little so I’m now behind again just a few days later. When will I learn?
Also this week I finally got around to seeing the 12 Angry Men episode of Inside Amy Schumer. I’m pretty sure this show never made it to the UK which, having seen a few of the sketches on YouTube, I wasn’t all that upset about, but when I saw an online trailer for this particular episode I knew I had to watch it, because a) 12 Angry Men is one of my favourite films, and b) it features the likes of Paul Giamatti, John Hawkes, Vincent Kartheiser (Pete from Mad Men), Kumail Nanjiani, a bunch of other know-the-face guys and the almighty Jeff Freakin’ Goldblum. Having watched it I was not disappointed. For fans of the film there are a lot of references that pretty much all work, but the bit that had me dying was Juror #2 (Chris Gethard) saying “Oh bother” during an intense situation, because Juror #2 from the original movie (John Fiedler) voiced Piglet.
Here’s what I watched this week:
Small Soldiers (1998)
Small Soldiers is on TV pretty much every other weekend, all praise ITV2. It’s a film I watched a bunch as a kid, but these days only really seem to catch in passing, but last Saturday it started just as we sat down to lunch, so we left it on and ended up not kind of moving for it’s entire duration. It’s a film I don’t pay a lot of regard to, but it’s actually really decent. Imagine if the first Transformers movie had worse special effect but seemed to actually care about its characters and you’ve got some idea of what’s going on here. It basically sees a bunch of army toys, the Commando Elite, being released with military microchips inside them that essentially make them alive and programmed to wipe out their enemies, the far more docile and programmed to hide Gorgons. The animation is pretty dated, especially on the Commando Elite, but I really like the puppetry effects on the close-ups, and the voice cast is amazing. For the Commando Elite you’ve got Tommy Lee Jones in the lead, supported by Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Bruce Dern and the great George Kennedy, and for the Gorgons Frank Langella is their leader, Archer, with the rest of the crew voiced by all three of Spinal Tap, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer. Plus Sarah Michelle Gellar and Christina Ricci both voice Barbie-style Gwendy dolls. The adult cast is amazing too, with David Cross, Jay Mohr, Kevin Dunn, Denis Leary and Dick Miller, plus Phil Hartman in his final role. Seriously, I think I love this movie.
Choose Film 8/10
Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995)
A viewing of one of my first ever favourite films (alongside Stallone’s Daylight) accompanied a Saturday night of assembling some Ikea flat-pack furniture, making it a pretty damn amazing evening, if you ask me. Widely regarded as the second-best Die Hard movie (and I’m inclined to agree) this will still remain my favourite because of the nostalgia value. It’s as quotable as the first, but a little more sprawling in terms of covering large portions of New York City rather than just one tower building, and the ending goes a little off the rails by moving to a different location completely, but there’s still a lot to have fun with, particularly Samuel L. Jackson as Willis’ angry sidekick, and Kevin Chamberlin as Charlie, the NY police’s bomb expert.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Watched this for the first time since the theatres, and it was Aisha’s first time ever. Turned out to be a pretty fantastic pick for a Friday night movie.
Lists: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Empire’s Top 301, Film-Makers Lists, Quentin Tarantino Movies
Full review coming soon.
Posts you may have missed:
Lambcast #306 Rotten Movies Draft: I was joined by Tony Cogan, Darren Lucas, Will Slater and Robert Zerbe to each pick a team of movies all ranked as “Rotten” over on Rotten Tomatoes.
Heaven and Earth Magic
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
The Hateful Eight
A Little Chaos
Breakfast At Tiffany’s
The Breakfast Club
January 2016 Update
Aim: Review 8 or 9 1001 List movies each month
Should be on: 10
On Track: No!
Aim: Review 1 “Bad” movie each month
Should be on: 1
On Track: Yes!
Aim: Review 1 “Blind Spot” movie each month
Should be on: 1
On Track: Yes!
Aim: Review 2 “Film-Makers” movies each month
Should be on: 3
On Track: No!