I’m not a total film geek and I don’t get to watch as many as I’d like (6 in a day is my record I think…) and I rarely get to the cinema anymore but I do like to try and watch films as often as I can thanks largely to Sky Movies and Lovefilm (and would have Netflix if they had a Samsung TV app…) – work, family etc permitting. I had the luxury (?) of several hours on a plane to and from Dubai recently for work and luckily Emirates have over 300 films to choose form on their in-flight entertainment system.
So, going out to Dubai I managed to watch, accompanied by a couple of G & Ts:
Elysium – Matt Damon and Jodie Foster do a dystopian vision of the future where all the rich folk live on spaceship-thing just outside Earth, whilst normal/poor folk have to do shitty jobs, have no healthcare and live in slums. I really enjoyed this and Matt Damon just seems to get better with age. The Director Neill Blomkamp also directed District 9 (refugee camps for aliens) which is also excellent.
The Way Way Back – had been on the lookout for this and absolutely loved it. A coming of age story but beautifully shot and with a fantastic cast including Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette and Alison Janney. I admittedly have a bit of thing for Steve Carell but he does a great job of being a right sleazebag in this film. Sam Rockwell is a delight to watch and hugely touching.
Started to watch Pacific Rim – big dumb futuristic robot things fighting manga-esque creatures from the sea. Decided to save it for a Saturday night with wine and pizza. Also knew my other half would want to watch it.
Also started to watch The Heat – Sandra Bullock and token Hollywood fat girl Melissa McCarthy. The ‘amended’ language (ie: all the swearing was badly dubbed over) I found hugely distracting – I mean, I can’t lip-read but I can tell when someone is saying ‘fuck’ or ‘vagina’ rather than ‘funk’ or ‘ass’ so gave up and decided to save it for home, knowing it was on my Lovefilm list. Shouldn’t have bothered as it’s awful. Watched it Saturday night and lasted 15 minutes.
Also watched most of Enough Said – a middle-aged relationship/family comedy-drama (which I know sounds awful) with the late James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener (who I love) and Toni Collette (again). The flight system stopped before I could watch the end – though I did this on the return fight. This actually turned out to be a cracking little film – really understated but realistic characters. Nice to see normal looking actors of similar ages in a relationship-based film, rather than 20-something Hollywood blondes, with blokes a decade+ older than them.
On the return flight, this time with some super-potent Stump Jump wine, I watched the end of Enough Said, then Blue Jasmine, in which Cate Blanchett is quite excellent as an alcoholic rich bitch down on her luck, realising she does actually need the support of her more ‘ordinary’ sister but continues to totally fuck up the relationship. No wonder she’s the bookies favourite to win an Oscar for Best Actress this year.
Next up was The Great Gatsby. As much as I’m a fan of Baz Luhrmann, I’m more a fan of the original F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and of the 1974 film version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, so I have avoided this for some time. As expected, it’s visually stunning but I felt it was overlong and tried to explain far too much. The novel is deliberately vague in considering the why’s of the events occurring, and the 1974 film too, plays it cool. Too much emoting here from Di Caprio, though Carey Mulligan is pretty good as Daisy.
Started another couple of films but wasn’t quite in the mood for them: in the wake of the fantastically bad Sharknado comes a revival of some easily-missed B movies, and Emirates had a good selection of these. I started Mega-Shark V Giant Octopus (with Debbie Gibson – 80’s pop fans!) but decided it was definitely one for a Saturday night.
Also started It’s a Disaster, mostly because Julia Stiles was in it, but it was a let down as I hated everyone within the first minute and decided to watch some piss-taking of hipsters with a few episodes of Comedy sketch show Portlandia, written by and starring Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live and Carrie Brownstein singer/guitarist with Sleater Kinney (who are a great band btw). I loved this and will be purchasing the box-sets come pay day.
Also watched a couple of episodes of Under The Dome, which I hadn’t heard of but is based on a Stephen King novel and has been shown on Channel 5 (who watches Channel 5??). I was dozing through it but it was easy to watch and a friend has ‘acquired’ this for me to watch on dvd which I will.
Back home, I’ve since watched 15 minutes of The Heat (see above, War and Peace (saved me reading the book but it is still very long…) and The Bling Ring. I love Sophia Coppola and she can do no wrong for me. I love the fact that Paris Hilton actually let them film in her house.
We also watched Vinyl – new to Sky Movies Premiere this week – starring Phil Daniels and Keith Allen – washed up rockers make up a teen-rock moniker to get their stuff played on radio. It was ok but I fell asleep.
Speaking of Sky Movies, if you have Sky, do watch Spring Breakers if you haven’t already. James ‘Look at all my shiiiittttt!!’ Franco is superb and despite what the film posters might suggest, those girls in bikini’s are no-ones bitches or ho’s. A thrilling film and all the teen-guff about finding yourself on holiday will make you chuckle to yourself.