Monday, 23 May 2016

May Watch List

Again, another quiet month, this time it was TV distracting me but more like I was too tired to go the cinema or it was just bad timing with the films. I've managed to watch 4 films in one weekend (3 here and Cape Fear) which seems low as I normally can get through a heck of a lot more.

The Walk
I have never screamed so much out loud at a film. Ok, that's a lie. But I was very uncomfortable during this film, especially through the eponymous walk. I don't cope well with heights in person or on a screen apparently. The film is narrated by Philippe Petit, who stands on a model of the Statue of Liberty. He addresses the audience and is intercut with the story he relates, about the famous high wire walk between the Twin Towers in 1974. Following on from the brilliant documentary, Man on Wire, the film doesn't quite live up to the amazing story its retelling. Joseph Gorden-Levit seemed like a great choice for Petit but it felt odd once on screen. The film felt like it should have a 'big deal' but I didn't feel it. This might have been due to the fact I saw it on DVD but it is mostly due to the documentary that proceeded it. 3/5

Mr Holmes
The world famous detective Sherlock Holmes is retired and has been living in the countryside for 35 years. Or has he really been hiding? Cut between Holmes, now very old and frail in his home and his bees, his last to Japan to seek out a plant to help restore his memory and his last case 35 years ago. I felt like I was misled with this film. I thought I was going to see a film about Holmes in his twilight years retell a story about his mysterious last case. But what I watched was a very anticlimactic story, that had flow thanks to the continuous jumps. There was no mystery to solve, the trip to Japan was brief and dull. Holmes' life with his bees, housekeeper and her young son was a bit more interesting but it was difficult care when being distracted by Laura Linney's shaky accent. Ian McKellen as Holmes was excellent casting but its a shame we never got to see him in action. 2/5

The words 'this film is important' get thrown around quite frequently but I feel I can say this about Mustang. It's been called a feminist film, which I agree with and it has created buzz as it was the only film directed by a woman to be nominated he Oscars this year. Five sisters who live in a remote Turkish village celebrate the end of the school year by playing the sea with classmates who happen to be boys. When they return home their lives are ruined changed forever. Their strict uncle and naive Grandmother put up bars on the windows, force the girls to wear long brown dresses and practically imprison them at home. They are given 'wife lessons' and are soon set up with arranged marriages one by one. The story is mainly told through the youngest and boldest of the sisters who desperately tries to help them all escape. Each of the sister's fate is different, with only one of them having a happy ending. Although the ending itself is not an end but there is hope. It's an amazing film, most of which I wanted to punch everyone who mistreated the sisters who were superb. I look forward to what directer Deniz Gamze Erguven does next. 5/5

X-Men: Apocalypse
I've read in some places that X-Men never got given the big fanfare that all the Marvel and DC movies had. I've also read that people think the story is outdated and seen before. There have been comments complaining that Apocalypse's costume was dated and that the story and time lines were askew. I would disagree. If we go back in time to 2000 this is sort of the starting point of the superhero film phenomenon. With this in mind, X-Men will always have a fanfare. Even if its yet another Wolverine stand alone adventure. So, its the 80s and Mystique is a hero to mutants everywhere but she doesn't like that title or the responsibility so she works in the shadows saving mutants. Magneto is trying a quiet life with his new family in Poland. Charles and Hank have the school and all seem well until the ancient mutant En Sabah Nur returns from centuries of sleep. Technically you could blame Agent Mac Taggert for causing all this, watch the film and you'll know what I mean. The X-Men band together to save the world from this crazed mutant who believes himself to be a god, but don't expect everyone to make it to the end. The great thing about X-Men is that are so many amazing and interesting mutants as well as the core group. We see the beginnings of some and there is a hope that there will be more films like this, you know, with Bryan Singer doing what he did back in 2000, but there is nothing but a Wolverine film on the horizon. I'd like to point out that Evan Peters' Quicksilver again, steals with the show and is given more to do, its the dream.

As for the things said about the film being outdated and the time line weirdness, the film is set in the 80s right? So it goes as follows as the costume design and story would work in the 80s. Everything fits together. As for the timeline, Days of Future Past thankfully erased The Last Stand nonsense, but X-Men and X2 should be intact as proved by Logan's cameo. There will always be slight changes to things with prequels but when they are this fun, who cares?  4/5

This was said to be something for the cinephiles and oh my it was/is. Having not read the famous book that director regard as a film bible, I thought this was the best approach. The film served as a taster and setting for the book. With a marvelous mixture of interviews with directors who were influenced by the book and by Hitchcock and Truffaut themselves, and with footage from films and snippets from the interview and archive footage, this was a glorious scrapbook of the eyes. I wasn't sure what the fuss was about at first, it was interesting yes but about halfway through it clicked that this meeting sparked something and the book was powerful enough that filmmakers still refer to it. An even better fact was these two, especially Hitchcock had a greatness about them. The only qualm I had was that no female directors or any other creatives were interviewed, this seemed one gender sided to me as I'm sure there are female directors influenced by Hitchcock, I certainly am. 4/5

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
I was dying to see this film at the cinema but now that I finally got to see it, I'm so glad I waited. Based on the very popular novel inspired by Jane Austen's classic and with some added zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. Even though the film has the airs of an American film, even with the added zombies there was something very British about it all. But despite this, the film felt rushed, even after the amazing intro to the story with use of a paper peep show (not the dirty kind, the child friendly kind). I didn't feel the romance between Jane and Bingley, there wasn't even enough time to like then dislike Wickham. The only story, apart from the zombie plot lines and the warrior Bennett sister, was the weird uncomfortable story between Elizabeth and Darcy. Both characters and actors were brilliant alone but their scenes together felt a bit uncomfortable. Sam Riley who was Darcy, gave the impression that he didn't want to be there. In fact when all the characters were delivering lines directly from Austen's book, it felt odd and out of place. The only the element where I had no issue was Matt Smith as Mr Collins, who was simply amazing. Hilarious in fact. It was as if he knew that the whole film was one zombie away from being a bit of a disaster. But I still rather enjoyed it, mostly for Matt Smith. 3/5


  1. I like your watch list. May has also been a quiet movie month for me. I've only seen Captain America this month. I saw London has Fallen at the $1.50 theater, but it was so terrible I don't think I'm going to review that. I'm not too enthused about the next X-Men film. The reviews have been "not so good."

  2. Thanks! I saw Olympus Has Fallen and I think that was enough for me. I know others haven't enjoyed it and even my favourite film magazine, Empire gave it 2/5, I really enjoyed it though, it felt like it was a break from the 'other' Marvel films, which I like too but sometimes its good to step away from it. Its also technically a different universe too so it operates differently. To be honest I can't see what's wrong with it, apart from little things.