I did it! Two weeks in a row with a weekly post! They said it couldn’t be done, but it’s here for you to enjoy. This feels like far too much hubris for what is my third weekly post in six weeks, but screw it, I need to celebrate something. This has been a relatively uneventful week for me; I’ve mostly spent my time being annoyed at my local cinema chain for scheduling the films in such a way that there seems to be no chance I’ll get to see Phantom Thread before it leaves theatres (it seems a spiteful choice to only schedule it at 4:50pm every day, given most people round here finish work at 5:00pm), but hey, I’ll find a way. Speaking of finding a way, why not let your eyes find a way to glance further down this post to check out the films I’ve watched this week:
La Jetee (1961)
Watched as preparation for the Lambcast on Twelve Monkeys.
Lists: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Full review here.
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Twelve Monkeys is the Movie of the Month on the LAMB at the moment, and last week we recorded a Lambcast episode on it. I’m intending to write a full review as it’s on a list, so expect one soon, hopefully.
Lists: Empire’s 5-Star 500, Empire Top 500
Full review coming soon.
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
It’s worrying when a film’s release method garners more discussion than the content of the film itself. The Cloverfield Paradox was released on Netflix this past Sunday, mere hours after a mid-sports event commercial break dropped the first trailer and announced the film would be available after said event was finished. This is unprecedented and, as far as I’m aware, caused many people to alter their post-game plans to incorporate the viewing of the third film in the previously very solid Cloverfield franchise. I watched it on Monday night, but for gimmick’s sake refrained from watching the trailer or reading any reviews, going in as blind as possible. I’m not sure if this improved my enjoyment of the film, as I didn’t overly love it. The bulk takes place in space aboard a ship containing an international crew attempting to solve the global energy crisis with a machine called the Shepard. It hasn’t worked properly for two years, but suddenly it does, but the ramifications are unusual. There’s a great cast on the crew, headed up by Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Hamilton (tragic backstory, British) but also featuring David Oyelowo (captain, American, calm), Daniel Bruhl (scientist, German, sneaky), John Ortiz (medic, Brazilian, religious), Chris O’Dowd (maintenance, Irish, comic relief), Aksel Hennie (tightly-strung, Russian, antagonistic) and Zhang Ziyi (scientist, Chinese, stubborn). I like the overall setup and the cast, but beyond thin characteristics there’s not much done with most of the characters. An additional passenger (Elizabeth Debicki) eventually joins them and she offers a very interesting perspective that isn’t dealt with enough. I approve of everything not being fully explained, but I do think some of the post-Shepard events go a bit too far into the OK-what’s-going-on-here chasm, particularly those involving an arm injury and the worms. Of the three Cloverfield films this is easily the worst, but that’s because the previous two have been excellent. This one isn’t worthy of the utter critical kicking it’s getting elsewhere, but it is a little disappointing. Mbatha-Raw is excellent in the lead though, with some very emotional moments to pull off. The fact that this wasn’t originally supposed to be a Cloverfield film is evident, as the connections are handled almost entirely through exposition. Had this been released in 2017, as originally intended, it probably would have been even more lost against the more high profile but far worse Alien: Covenant and the superior but under-seen Life. This is by no means a must-see, but if you like disaster movies, space movies or just want to see some weird stuff, give it a shot.
Lists: 2018 Movies
Choose Life 5/10
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Apparently I’m on something of a Daniel Bruhl kick at the moment. Black Panther gets released next week, so expect a mini review of that on the site soon, but for now I wanted to refresh my memory of when Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa stepped into the MCU, as I hadn’t seen this since the cinema and my wife had never seen it at all. My word this film is long, and it feels it. At just shy of 2 1/2 hours, at times this is a slog to get through, and often feels like just a whole heap of set-up to get all these characters into the same place for a big ole scrap. Admittedly it’s a fantastic scene, one of the best fights in the MCU, but given it’s the first time many of the twelve characters involved have interacted with each other it was always going to be impressive, it’s just a shame the purpose of the film seems to be moving the playing pieces around the board in preparation for Infinity War later this year. Some of the stand-outs are Boseman as T’Challa, both in and out of the suit (him telling Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye that he doesn’t care who he is might be my favourite moment), Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man being nervous and excited to meet his heroes (“I know you, you’re great!”), and Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, who is very eager to help, but has no idea how to behave during a fight. The banter between Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Sam (Anthony Mackie) is also fun. Robert Downey Jr. continues to give one of the best performances within the franchise, having to deal with some of his darker demons, and Daniel Bruhl is a good but under-utilised villain. My main issue is why this had to be a Captain America film, rather than an Avengers one. Sure it’s missing a couple of the heavy-hitters, with Thor and Hulk notably absent, but titling this as a purely Cap-based story short-changes the likes of Iron Man who have just as much involvement with the plot. In fact, making this Cap-centric and reducing the Iron Man involvement might have made it a better, shorter, tighter film. Regardless there’s still a lot to enjoy here, and it’s required viewing to remaining afloat with the next batch of MCU films.
Lists: 2016 Movies, Empire Top 100
Choose Film 7/10