My Week in Movies, 2016 Week 18

Wait, is it Friday already? Has it actually been an entire week since the last one of these was (supposed to be) posted? I refuse to believe this. 2016 is rolling past way faster than it should be, and that’s the only reason I can think of for why I’m behind on everything. There’s no possible way that seven whole mornings, days, evenings and nights have just happened. Nope. Something is seriously wrong here.

Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
lethal weapon 3
Seeing as I need to review the first Lethal Weapon anyway, I might expand that review into a feature on all four films. No promises though. In the meantime, part three was the obvious nadir of the series for me. It’s massively lacking in anything resembling fun or entertainment, the plot is overly complicated and dull (a former policeman is releasing impounded weapons onto the street in an attempt to boost the value of his new out-of-town residential properties) and the franchise seemed to forget what made it good in the first place. The inclusion of a decent female character and love interest for Riggs in the form of Rene Russo’s Internal Affairs agent Lorna Cole was good, and the relationship she has with Riggs is good, but not enough to save the film. It’s been less than a week and I’ve already forgotten most of this movie.
Lists: None
Choose Life 4/10

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
lethal weapon 4
Nowhere near the best in the series, but perhaps the most so-ridiculous-it’s-fun. This is the Gremlins 2 of Lethal Weapon films, in which it seems no idea was deemed too silly to make it in. Riggs convincing Murtaugh his new son-in-law has the hots for him? Check. A scene where they all get high on a dentist’s nitrous oxide? Yep. Leo and Roger fighting a shark? Uh-huh. Psychic powers?!?! You betcha. It’s absolute nonsense for the most part, as the two guys – both on the brink of having a new baby in their lives in the form of Roger’s first grandchild and Martin’s first child in general – find themselves embroiled in a Chinese counterfeiting and people-smuggling operation, exacerbated when Roger opts to take one of the refugee families in at his home. Jet Li makes for an interesting and different-for-the-franchise villain, but this isn’t a film that can be watched seriously. I had a lot of fun with it though.
Lists: None
Choose Life 6/10

Bridge of Spies (2015)
hanks rylance 2
Aisha wanted to see it, so I saw it again after having first seen it on the way to China back in January. Something that didn’t click with me then was that I watched this on a plane, yet there’s a scene in it in which a plane is shot down. That scene was definitely present on my first watch, which perhaps could be an oversight on the plane’s part. Anyway, this time around I took full notes and am planning to review it soon, as it’s a Spielberg movie.
Lists: 2015 Movies, Steven Spielberg Movies
Full review coming soon.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
civil war 2
One of this year’s most anticipated movies, made all the more so by all the rave reviews from early screenings, yet I left the theatre a little disappointed. It’s not a bad film, far from it, and I’d definitely recommend watching it, especially if you’re a superhero movie fan and have seen all the previous Marvel movies, but superhero fatigue is setting in heavy with me. I’ve been feeling it for a while – The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron all left me underwhelmed – yet I’d heard that Civil War would be the film to break that spell. Sadly it felt largely like just another Marvel movie, progressing the story a little but still hinting at a neverending franchise, something I find deeply unsatisfying. It’s the reason I don’t like Richard Linklater’s Before movies. There’s no sign they’ll ever end, so what’s the point? Well the point here, it seems, is to contrive a scenario that sees most of out favourite superheroes attempt to bash one another’s heads in. After some superpowered shit goes down poorly, a contract is drawn up to establish the Avengers as a force controlled and sanctioned by the United Nations. They would be used at will, but forbidden to act outside of their orders. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are for this idea, recruiting newcomers Spiderman (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) to their cause too, with Captain America (Chris Evans), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) being against the notion. The first half of the film feels like a monumental build-up to the inevitable clash seen in every trailer (the marketing for this film has been relentless, and didn’t help my enjoyment with a great deal of the best moments being shown many times already, leaving just one or two surprises in the whole dame film) only for the eponymous clash to be somewhat underwhelming, given how little damage most of the fighters want to cause to their opponents. The sheer volume of characters was very well handled (along with those twelve there’s also Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), Agent Sharon (Emily van Camp), Crossbones (Frank Grillo), General Ross (William Hurt), his son Everett (Martin Freeman), Spiderman’s Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), Black Panther’s father King T’Chaka (John Kani) and Tony Stark’s parents (John Slattery and Hope Davis), plus a few cameos here and there, and no-one felt underserved or there just for the sake of it, which is a tremendous achievement on this scale. Directors the Russo brothers are also helming the upcoming Infinity War parts 1 & 2, and have reported on having over 60 characters all with something to do and being integral to the plot in some way, so I wish them the best of luck for wrangling all that together, but I’m really feeling these films are trying to do far too much in their allotted timespan. I’d have appreciated a slightly narrower focus (although looking primarily at Cap’s perspective with a little of Iron Man’s was probably the best way to go with this particular story), with just a few fewer characters. Maybe excise Spiderman and Ant-Man for this go around, even though the two of them had many of my favourite moments, both being the nervous or unprepared newcomers on their respective sides, but handling the situations very differently. This is supposed to be a short review, so I’ll stop there (there’ll be an upcoming Lambcast on this anyway, so I’ll get more into it then I’m sure). Either way, I don’t want to dissuade fans from seeing it, but anyone out there who is getting tired of these films, know you’re not alone. At this stage I’m planning on giving Thor: Ragnarok a break at least until it hits DVD. Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange look different enough to keep me intrigued though.
Lists: 2016 Movies
Choose Film 7/10

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
the force awakens
It was Star Wars day this week! And as usual, I didn’t celebrate it on the day, instead waiting for a Friday night viewing of The Force Awakens, which my lovely girlfriend bought me as an out-of-the-blue(-milk) gift. She hadn’t seen it before, and miraculously had avoided any and all spoilers as well. I honestly don’t know how she does it, given how she told me the Game of Thrones spoiler Justin Timberlke posted on Facebook mere hours after the last episode came out. Anyway, now all the expectations and hype have died down, it seems it’s easier to view TFA a bit more rationally, and as such I was a little less high on it than I was this time a few months ago. I still enjoyed it a lot, and think the new cast is almost entirely phenomenal (I’m still not convinced with whatever Andy Serkis is doing as Snoke) and I look forward to seeing whatever they do next within the franchise, especially Poe (Oscar Issac), and I’m very intrigued with what the future holds for Chewie. That being said this didn’t feel all that much like a Star Wars film for me. For starters it seemed too light-hearted. I appreciate that this is the beginning of a new era, and as such needs to entice in a younger audience to become life-long fans, but for me there was just a little too much jocularity from almost everyone, mostly intentional, but occasionally not (I think Domhnall Gleeson is generally terrific, but he was waaaaaaay too intense here compared to everything else). Technically TFA is a better film than the prequels, maybe even better than Return of the Jedi – for the most part the plot makes more sense anyway – but as a Star Wars film I feel it’s amongst the worst in the franchise. It didn’t take many risks, and feels almost bland, whereas the prequels at least tried something new and did a few interesting things that just didn’t pan out exactly as expected. TFA has no scenes I’m dying to re-watch. No lines I think I’ll be quoting for years to come. And other than BB-8 and maybe Kylo Ren, no characters I look forward to eventually owning in Lego form. This may all change once Episode VIII comes along and fills in a few gaps, we’ll see.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Film 7/10

Posts you may have missed:
Lambcast #319: Lethal Weapon Franchise: I was joined by Heather Baxendale, Will Slater, Nick Rehak and Justin Polizzi to discuss all four Lethal Weapon movies, some of which are more than a little nuts.

Goals Update
Aim: Review 8 or 9 1001 List movies each month
Reviewed: 22
Should be on: 35
On Track: No!

Aim: Review 1 “Bad” movie each month
Reviewed: 3
Should be on: 4
On Track: No!

Aim: Review 1 “Blind Spot” movie each month
Reviewed: 4
Should be on: 4
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Review 2 “Film-Makers” movies each month
Reviewed: 6
Should be on: 9
On Track: No!

6 thoughts on “My Week in Movies, 2016 Week 18

  1. I love LW4 precisely because it’s so ridiculous…and because Jet Li is a badass. Might be my fave of the franchise. No matter what, we agree that LW3 is the worst.

    Going to see Civil War tonight, so I skipped that part. Also skipped Bridge of Spies since I still need to see that.

    We’re kind of at odds on TFA. I think it felt more like a Star Wars film than the uber serious prequels. A New Hope and Return of the Jedi are both pretty light-hearted flicks with Empire being the one that’s different in terms of tone. It just so happens that Empire is the best of the franchise. On top of that, a large chunk of TFA is actually a remake of A New Hope. For my money, it’s much better than any of the prequels, both as a movie AND as a Star Wars movie. Only Revenge of the Sith is close. Those other two…um…no.

    • Yeah, LW4 was entertaining nonsense. Can’t say it’s my favourite though, I think the first one just clinches that for maximum Riggs insanity.

      I hope you enjoyed Civil War. Check out Bridge of Spies sometime too.

      I wouldn’t call A New Hope very lighthearted. It has some comedic moments, but nowhere near as many as either Return of the Jedi or The Phantom Menace, or The Force Awakens for that matter. TFA was about 40% comedy, which seemed far too much. That being said, Revenge of the Sith is my least favourite of all the Star Wars films. I’ve never felt any need to go back and revisit it, whereas I’ve seen all the others many times, including Attack of the Clones. I know AotC is bad, terrible even, but it has some scenes I really enjoy, mainly the gladiator sequence.

  2. I just read through a bunch of your posts from the past few weeks because I am so behind in my reader! First off, I would love to hear some JARTTT episodes. Would you discuss Timecop again? Second, goals are terrible and we should just all not have any of them so that we feel ignorantly happy with what we are achieving. Third, I can’t believe you lost the episode that Marc was on. That’s like a once in a blue moon type recording. Fourth, I appreciated that TFA upped the humor. I think that the earlier films attempted to have more humor but it was mostly in the form of C3PO so it just failed because he’s a horrible piece of junk.

    • We only ever did one Lambcast/JARTTT crossover when we did a show on X-Men Days of Future Past. Unfortunately Robert left the Lambcast as co-host before we got to the Terminator franchise. And yeah, Timecop would definitely have come up, and the sequel.

      Goals suck. Stupid goals. OR… Life sucks for getting in the way of my glorious and otherwise totally accomplishable goals. Stupid life.

      I was gutted we lost the show recording. I’ve reinstalled all my Skype recorder software so it shouldn’t happen again, but yeah, terrible. And it was an awesome discussion too! It probably scared him off ever coming back on again!

      It made me so happy that you and Linds hated C3P0. I’ve never liked that guy. I appreciate Anthony Daniels’ physicality (he’s a trained mime) and his willingness to play the character at every given opportunity, but at times he’s more annoying than either Jar-Jar or young Anakin.

  3. Pingback: Domhnall Gleeson, The Irish Ginger With The Acting Chops. – Marnie's Street

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