In September we took our now annual trip to Scotland, which was wonderful despite the best efforts of Stanley, my mother-in-law’s satanic spaniel who did his best to ruin every waking moment of the trip. Fortunately he failed, and we had a wonderful trip that I’d love to tell you more about but frankly there’s just no time! Instead, here’s the relatively few films I watched that month:
Here’s what I watched in September:
Vacation Friends (2021)
A fun comedy that delivers on enough laughs to make it worth watching. It hasn’t really stayed with me, but I remember enjoying it at the time.
Choose Film 6/10
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
A solid, entertaining MCU origin film that follows much of the proven template but with enough action and creativity to stand out from the rest. In particular the bus fight and scaffolding set piece are amongst my action highlights of the year. I haven’t had the chance to rewatch it yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so soon.
Choose Film 8/10
Watched for Deep Blue Sea: The Podcast, because it’s directed by Renny Harlin. I knew very little going in, and was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this mystery thriller about aspiring FBI profilers trying to ascertain which of their number may be a killer. There are some truly inventive and utterly horrific death sequences (when people die in the film, they D.I.E.) and it led to a very entertaining podcast about it, which you can listen to here.
Choose Film 7/10
Shark Night 3D (2011)
Watched for Deep Blue Sea: The Podcast, because it features sharks. This was supposed to be the last film Mark was on to talk about before taking his podcasting paternity leave, but things didn’t go to plan and he had to leave early, meaning Nick Rehak and I discussed this film that neither of us had seen before, and which we both really did not enjoy. It’s a typical college students go to a lake, get picked off one by one kind of movie, but with terrible characters, pretty standard death scenes and some truly horrendous ogling of women in their underwear, which is exacerbated when villainous characters then make a point of ogling said women! Just awful. And I’ve recently discovered there’s a music video associated with the film and, wow. Just wow. I’d say there are no words, but there absolutely are, and they’ll be heard on an upcoming bonus podcast episode once we find the time and motivation to record it.
Choose Life 3/10
A gruelling, all too realistic and all too recent depiction of life in a care home during the ongoing pandemic. Jodie Comer plays a new care assistant at a home, with Stephen Graham’s Trevor one of the residents with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. This is an excellently made, phenomenally acted TV-movie that was perhaps the worst possible way to start our vacation, watching it in a hotel room halfway up our road trip. It’s powerful, depressing, gut-punching and really shines a light on where this pandemic has hit the worst. Everyone should watch it, especially the government, just don’t expect to be in a good mood or able to have a conversation about anything else afterwards.
Choose Film 9/10
Bottle Rocket (1996)
There’s no Star Trek film this month, but we watched one of the other DVDs I’d planned to get through instead. Bottle Rocket was the only Wes Anderson film I’d never seen, and now I understand why it’s rarely discussed. It was a real slog to get through and none of us enjoyed it at all. That being said, for some reason whenever I watch a film with my wife’s parents (as was the case here) the added sense of communal enjoyment pressure can make me dislike a film, especially when everyone else does, so it’s quite possible that on a rewatch I would enjoy this more. The same thing happened with Guardians of the Galaxy.
Choose Life 5/10
A solid action movie with a plot that’s somehow both overly complicated and entirely predictable. I’ve been a fan of Mary Elizabeth Winstead since Final Destination 3, so seeing her finally getting some meaty, starring roles is wonderful, and she’s quite good here as a doggedly determined assassin with a day left to live and track down her own killer. Not essential, but a good way to pass the time.
Choose Life 6/10
Free Guy (2021)
More fun than it has any right to be. Once you buy into the concept of a video game NPC gaining agency within their own open world sandbox action game, there’s a lot to enjoy. Ryan Reynolds isn’t doing much new other than playing a nicer, less snarky version of his usual schtick, but I’ve always enjoyed his comedy so there’s no problems for me. The supporting cast and cameos and all great, and some unexpected last act reveals left me giddy, I just wish I’d watched fewer trailers leading up to it.
Choose Film 8/10
Watched for Deep Blue Sea: The Podcast, because it’s directed by Renny Harlin. This might be one of the most entertaining films we’ve covered on the podcast so far, and easily one of the more entertaining episodes (with DJ Valentine as a guest, that’s practically a guarantee). Yeah, it’s Die Hard on a mountain, but with John Lithgow as the villain and Michael Rooker in the sidekick role! Cliffhanger is wonderful, I’m annoyed it took me so long to see it. Listen to the podcast episode here.
Choose Film 9/10