Thursday, April 17, 2014

1984 - Django Unchained

Despite it’s terrible subject matter this film is still just a shitload of fun.  I’m not a big fan of violence, but when it’s done in the cartoon style that Tarantino does it, I dig it enough.  This is my first re-watch of it and I have to say that I still might stand by my previous statement that this might be my favourite Tarantino film, or at least the one I find most complete and captivating.  At least the most since Pulp Fiction.  I find he has fewer indulgences here that he can’t rely on pop culture and it works for the best.  It’s a beautiful looking, acted, and written film.  Performances out the whazoo and a lot of stuff that’s just a shit load of fun.

1983 - Olympus Has Fallen

Wanted to watch something mindless in the back ground as I got some work done, and this fit the bill quite nicely.  It wasn’t exactly commanding my full attention - but there seemed to be a whole lot of flash and not a whole lot of substance in terms of the who, what, why, etc… Although is that really what this kind of film is about?  The action sequences move along nicely - but it’s all just set pieces for the sake of it - lots of big explosions with little meaning - so all well and good if you’re into that sort of thing.  Bring me a character story amidst an action film.  This was good old fashioned cowboys and indians.  Didn’t love, nor hate it.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1982 - Peter's Friends

This is one of those gems that I never got around to seeing, and finally dusted off the DVD I'd purchased of it years ago to plop in.  I'm gearing up for a bit of a similar type ensemble, so I'm surrounding myself with these types of films right now to see what parts inspire.
Hugh Laurie looks so amazingly different here.  Emma Thompson reminds me of Kate Hewlett a bit here in a really delightful way.  I was worried a bit that Kenneth Branagh was going to be the same character type all the way through but was happy to see him mature with age.
This is a really charming film with a wonderful cast and an impressive musical soundtrack.  I'm sure it was a low budget flick since it largely took place all in one location, but it never felt that way.
If you haven't seen it, this is a beautiful film about friendship and one that shouldn't be over looked.  I'm glad I have a copy and I'm sure I'll revisit it sooner rather than later.

Monday, April 14, 2014

1981 - The Change-Up

Having had developed a body-swap film for some time it’s a genre I always enjoy - and when you throw a cast like this at it eventually I’ll get around to it!  This time we’ve got Ryan Reynolds a slacker swapping with family man Jason Bateman.  I’ll be honest - I had a hard time buying into Reynolds’ character actually coveting his buddies life - although he does say he was just trying to be nice.  That said, I’ll give a little leeway for the set-up, especially since the rest of the film is so enjoyable.  It’s your pretty typical broad comedy fair, but done pretty well - funny bits, and some nice little performances, especially by Leslie Mann who, despite her CGI nudity, turns in a really sweet performance here.  

You know what kind of film you’re walking into with this one and it absolutely delivers.

1980 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Fuck I love this film.  I always say that Annie Hall is my favourite film but this one might just be a close second.  It’s such a beautiful way to do a love story.  It’s sad, smart, heart-breaking.  I love the scenes that drift between memory and commentary on memory - it’s such a meta device and used so effortlessly and brilliantly.  It’s, in my mind, one of the best screenplays of the last decade or so - but the directed of Gondrey is so perfect and matches so well.  Jim Carrey is phenomenal here and Kate Winslet is magical - the two of them together is such a beautiful thing - the casting of them is inspired, as is everyone else.  If you’ve never seen this film stop everything.  Get on it.  In my opinion it’s required viewing - especially for anyone who loves films about relationships. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

1979 - The Way Way Back

I’d heard lovely things about this film so I was really happy to see it come to netflix.  It’s got an insanely awesome cast and tells the somewhat typical coming of age story of a boy forced to go away for the summer and how he came back a bit more of a man.  Carell plays his mom’s asshole boyfriend.  Toni Collette is the mom in question, and you only need to watch the last scene and shot of the film to know what a force of nature she is as an actor.  She does so much with so little, it’s beautiful.  Sam Rockwell is and will always been a favourite of mine, he’s not doing anything he hasn’t done a million times before here, but he does it well and with charm.  It’s nice to see Amanda Peet, Alison Janney, and Maya Rudolph rounding out the cast, but they’re a tad bit under used here.  If you dig coming of age stories this is a sweet one, and easy to find on Netflix.

1978 - Call the Midwife: season one

My wife is a sucker for babies, and we’re a fan of midwives, so it was a no brainer that we’d check this out.  It’s a bit too cute for my general liking, I don’t dislike it.  It’s sweet and tells some interesting stories.  I don’t think I’d continue to watch if it weren’t for the enjoyment of my wife, but I definitely think there’s an audience for this series - it’s the kind of thing that I think is best viewed on a rainy afternoon - it’s got that comfort food feel to it.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

1977 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

It's quite something to take a character that's uninteresting on paper as Captain America, and have him be one of the better film franchise's in the Marvel universe.  I was surprised how much I liked this first one, and I have to say this newest entry blew my mind a little.  First, it's just a solid film - it's funny, it's smart, and it's got some kick-ass action sequences going on inside of here.  But secondly, and this is a MASSIVE SPOILER.  I couldn't help but watch the whole time thinking "Man, are they just destroying the world of their new TV series with where they're going with this story???".

What I love about the Marvel universe is how each film builds upon the last.  It's smart from a branding position because you feel like you can't miss anything (though I have to admit I'm not big on the series - I'll check in now that I see how they cross-over.).  The series working how it does is almost like a huge budget TV series in a way - where you've for Scarlet Johanson playing support in several different films, building upon previous outings.  I love it.  I for one am super excited to see where this team takes us next.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Walking Dead (Vol 20): All Out War (part one)

In my recent nerdy googling I realize that I had missed the most recent TBP of the comic coming out (though not by much).  As per usual - SPOILERs ahead…

So this has been brewing for some time, and like Rick mentions early in the story - they’re heading into war and there will be casualties.  Although no one really major dies here (I guess my definition of major includes people that have been around for half the series or more at this point) we still feel the devastation to come.  I love Rick’s plan for taking down Negan, I love that we see Negan scrambling a bit.  Because of the twists and turns that this book takes in general you don’t feel overly confident that everything will turn out for her heroes in the end - that’s the beauty of this story - devastation happens.  Part of me would like to think that the Negan storyline won’t be this short-lived.  I’ve said this before but what I love about Negan is that he’s practical.  He’s crazy, sure, but he understands that people need to work together - his only problem is insisting that he’s the head rooster, and the things that he does to other people.  His counter-attach using Holly was brilliant and smart.  I’m excited to see how the rest of this story arc plays out.  It’s going to be a bloody end…

Monday, March 31, 2014

1976 - The Walking Dead: season four - part 2

It should go without saying, but read this at your own risk of SPOILERS.  Walking Dead is a funny show for me.  There are few I anticipate watching as much as this when it comes to new episodes - but it’s also the kind of show where once I’ve seen it, I don’t really feel the need to revisit.  It’s very much popcorn and guilty pleasure for me.  I like that it’s nuanced in areas, but again - I get everything out of it the first time.  This isn’t a terrible thing - and I imagine once it’s completely over I’ll go back and marathon the entire thing, but outside of a few touchstone episodes, I haven’t done that.
So this half-season was a different feel than what we’ve seen before but I think it worked well.  We’re dealing with the aftermath of their major battle, and we needed time with each of these characters to regroup.  If the first half of the season was about “Can we come back from what we’ve done.” the second half answers it by asking “Can we come to terms with who we are now given what we’ve had to do?”
I love how this show adapts the comics for their own, often richer, purposes.  Having the young girls and Carol get the murder storyline that belonged to the twins and Carl in the comics worked quite well here.  Having the group that attacks Rick and Carl on the road be the ones Daryl finds himself with was clever as well.  And I can only assume that the folks at Terminus are the series version of The Hunters.  I imagine that’ll be the entire focus of the first half of the next season - I’d be surprised if they milked it any longer.  

I think this is the kind of show that gets better the longer it goes - and what’s really fun is now that we’ve lived in this post-zombie world for a while we’re starting to come across other people and filling in their history and stories is equally interesting.  I can’t wait to see what Terminus is all about.  Fall can’t come some enough…