Sunday, December 17, 2017

2017 Movie Diary (Part 4 of 4) - which contains a stupendously long rant about my loathing of Bladerunner 2049...


  1. Dougal and the Blue Cat
  2. Brazil - for the second time this year - with daughter Number One this time.
  3. Showgirls - which was even godawfuller than I had been lead to believe. How can anyone make a movie featuring so many naked people so BORING? Basically it's 42nd Street with the songs substituted with wall to wall tits.
  4. The Mummy (1933) - slow, stagy, dreamlike - I loved it!
  5. Bride of the Monster (MST3K) with kids.
  6. The Bride - Sting as Baron Frankenstein...? Who? What? WHY?
  7. The Invisible Man
  8. Ikarie XB1 -
  9. Priest - well that was pretty godawful.
  10. Delicatessen - another knocked off Daughter Number One's 1001 Movies list.
  11. Amazon Women on the Moon
  12. Queen of Outer Space
  13. Le Dernier Combat (The Last Battle 1983) - Black and white, French, nearly dialogue free, post-apocalyptic movie.
  14. Bedazzled (1967) - shared with Number One Daughter. Very funny.
  15. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - lots of CGI with some actors. Lots and lots of CGI. I was bored. The CGI was CGI - whoosh! pow! whoosh! oh look something else flying about where the actors were told to look and crash! look the actors are jumping out of the way of something the director has told them will be there eventually. So fucking what?! When there was less CGI on the screen the actors got to say lines which were, I guess, supposed to build threat and mystery but just induced confused boredom in me. Mainly, I suspect, because there was no point in trying to work out what the mystery was. The solution, to whatever it was that was apparently mysterious, was A: obvious from about 5 minutes in, B:bound to involve an explanation involving a whole chunk of J K Rowling's special brand of previously unmentioned make-it-up-as-we-go-along magical lore and C: solved/resolved using another chunk of Rowling's special brand of previously unmentioned make-it-up-as-we-go-along magical lore AND a shitload of special effects.

    To add insult to injury the film refused to end and just kept on going for a good ten minutes longer than it should have done as all the good guys had their extended happy endings milked dry then turned into hamburgers and wallets (not many deleted scenes from THAT end of the movie).
  16. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) - first time for me on a decent copy and the first time for #1D who loved it
  1. The Fantastic Four (2005) which looks a hell of a lot better than it used to do when held up along side the 2015 version. But that's still not saying a lot.

    For some reason the rest of the family went away for the day leaving #1D and myself alone with the DVD remote so we watched...

  2. Being John Malcovich
  3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  4. Broadcast News
  5. The Man Who Fell to Earth  -

    ...a day well spent.

  6. What Waits Below - a 1984 British film, about the US army and a bunch of anthropologists encountering albino, underground-dwelling 'Lemurians' (aliens?) which was shot in America, and somehow managed to look Italian. Despite the endless, plodding around in very well-lit, unexplored caves, and a superb piece of sustained padding in which the cheapest actor with a speaking part wanders off alone to a horrible fate, there was something oddly watchable about this movie. It was routine pulp movie making but, from time to time, there were glimmers of a better, eerier movie trying to get out. (Moments often sent crashing back to earth by Timothy Bottoms as the over-zealous American General-in-Charge villain turning every line up to eleven after the second or third word.)
  7. Her (2013) - smarter than your average AI/sentience movie in that it totally sidestepped the "Am I sentient?" bit and played with Phase 2. What next?
  8. Interview with a Vampire - for the first time. And which I rather enjoyed. I'd never really realised before how gorgeous Brad Pitt can be when he wants to.
  9. Rogue One - I think I actually made my kids jump with my cry of, "Oh, for Christ's sake!" when R2 and 3PO managed to get themselves shoe-horned into the script. Though, if truth be told (and why shouldn't it?), any hopes I had of anything new, or interesting appearing in the latest Star Wars Annual Marketing Tool had vanished long before. They finally died when the:

    "He doesn't like you."
    "I'm sorry."
    "I don't like you, either."

    guy from "A New Hope" bumps into our heroine on a street, half a galaxy away from where he turns up a few days later in the next movie, to bump into Luke Skywalker. (And how DID he and his pal avoided being vaporised with the rest of the city when the Death Star zaps it a few pages of script later?)

    So, Rogue One, same crap different box. I got fed up with counting the number of times our hero-of-the-moment got themselves into a hopeless situation only to be saved by a well aimed laser bolt heralding the sudden arrival of an off-screen rescuer. And I spent a lot of my time wondering why Star Wars universe space ships have to do that rotating 180 degrees thing as they land - AND when they take off. (Maybe it's something to do with winding up the elastic band that powers the motors, who knows?) And I just loved the way everyone helpfully tells each other stuff which is happening on screen in case we don't get it - "That Star Cruiser is disabled!"

    My 8 year old enjoyed it.

    I hope he grows out of Star Wars soon so I don't have to watch any more of this boring drivel.
  10. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - after threatening my Number Two Daughter with this for a couple of weeks since we watched the 2005 and 2015 iterations of the Fantastic Four origin movies I finally got round to inflicting it on her. Her comment? "....people paid money to see that?!"
  11. Foxy Brown - I sort of managed to convince myself - but no one else in my family - that the Pam Greer boxset I bought the other day was for research purposes. I'm writing a comic strip about a 1970s soul sista superheroine. But, to be honest, I just find Pam Greer as sexy as hell.
  12. Black Mama White Mama (1973) another of the endless number of 'women in prison' films of the 70s and 80s. This time lifting the central premise of The Defiant Ones by having a mixed race pair of escaped convicts learning to cooperate and respect each other. And throwing in a revolutionary army, a Patty Hearst type rich girl joining 'The Cause' (two years before Patty Hearst was kidnapped) and all the usual WIP tropes ticked off one by one (Shower scene? Check!... Predatory lesbian warder? Check!... Solitary confinement sequence? Check!... Catfight? Check!) until a violent bloodbath (including some audacious freeze frames) in which lots of Filipino stuntmen run around firing guns. I think all the bad guys got deaded and some of our hero guys got away but as everyone was wearing near identical casual clothing and near identical 1070 moustaches it was a bit hard to work out which side all the footsoldiers were on.
  13. Coffy - last of the Pam Grierathon. I liked this one less than the other two.
  14. Guy X - meh!
  15. Factory Girl - with Andy Warhol geek, Number One Daughter. Isn't Guy Pierce a really good actor? Everything I see him in I like him more and more. (Ignore The Time Machine - that didn't happen.)
  16. Funny Bones - a favourite film of mine that just gets better every time I see it.
  17. Thor - Yet another Marvel movie that ends in a climactic fist fight between two white men. But I really quite enjoyed this one. (The movie, not the fist fight.) There was some nicely observed acting going on and, for once, I felt the CGI actually served the story rather than the other way around.
  18. Snowpiercer - Another comic book movie. 2013 English-language South Korean-Czech science fiction / action film based on a French graphic novel. To add to the confusion the DVD copy I watched was on a Spanish disc with subtitles in Italian, Catalan, and Castilian. It did have the original soundtrack, which was mostly in English, but as several of the characters speak Korean throughout I had to puzzle out what they were saying from the Castilian subtitles. The first three quarters of the film were pretty good - including an utterly bonkers turn from Tilda Swinton which was worth the price of admission alone - but it all went a bit ho hum towards the end. Though, to be fair, there wasn't anywhere it really could go. The film-makers get bonus points though (SPOILER AHEAD) for having the courage to kill off the entire human race by the end of the film (bar two, but, as they are face to face with a, presumably, very hungry polar bear in the final frames, I doubt if they survived past the closing credits).
  1. The Twins Effect - a 2003 Hong Kong Buffy / Twighlight / Wire fu/ rom com/horror/comedy that didn't work on ANY level. And wasted Jackie Chan's talents. I fell asleep.
  2. Bladerunner 2049 - Just came back from watching this with my daughters at the cinema and, quite honestly, I was bored shitless.

    Daughter Number One (aka 'D#1' who, like me, thought Arrival was brilliant) was equally bored, and Daughter Number Two just fell asleep. The highlight of the evening, apart from me nearly losing it to an attack of the giggles (hysteria would have followed) when the police chief - with not a hint of post-modern irony anywhere in sight - told our hero cop - that he had to turn in his gun and badge and he had...all together now...! "Forty-eight hours..." was when the call girl turned up at our hero's apt and the AI GF stepped into her and shared her experience making love to the hero. D#1 and I had a brief - "Didn't we already watch this scene?" moment before we identified that the identical situation had been played out in Spike Jonzes' Her which we'd watched a few weeks ago*.

    And why was everything so ponderously SLOW? I'm in my late 50s. I'm irritated by modern ADHD rapid cutting styles that don't allow the audience time to savour the imagery or give the actors time to do any acting. I like Tarkovsky's films. I watch three hour French movies in which nothing much happens (though I will stick my hand up to being bored witless by La Belle Noiseuse). I am used to long slow films. I like long slow films. What I don't like is short-scripted, routinely-plotted, action movies played out as if they were slow, philosophicaly inclined, art-house, character pieces. And it was all needless. Everyone took ages to get anywhere. Every room had to be walked across slowly. Every conversation had to have long ponderous pauses between ---------------- phrases. ---------------- And ---------------- sometimes.

    between --------------- --------------- --------------- every

    ---------------- ----------------

    Apart from anything else, it must be a bugger to act. I swear I could see panic in the actors' eyes from time to time as they desperately tried to remember whether the sentence they were half-way through was a question or not and whether they should be inflecting upwards - or was it already too late?

    Every possible moment was stretched out as far as it could go and then a bit more just for luck. “Okay that was great, we'll do another this time remember, Don't play it for real until it becomes real... but either way you get there, could you slow it down so we can see it.” I really do suspect that every single foot of film that went through the camera ended up on the screen. The movie looked like a first assembly cut with all the Special Effects already in place. There was no reason for any of it. Long slow shots of actors doing 'thinking acting' while the rest of us wait for him to catch up with the only plot point within living memory got wearing after a couple of hours.

    Daughter Number One (not a fan) is of the opinion (and is very convincing) that Jared Leto's character was made blind because Jared Leto (the actor) has, "no idea where to put his face" and by shoving contacts in him, and letting him just wave his head about all over the auction they saved weeks of rehearsal and shooting time.

    "No, Jared.... Cut! Jared, Harrison's over there. Jared? Jared? See the man in the chair? Could you look at him when you're talking to him.... Please? Just once? Okay.... take seventeen.... and action! ... Oh Jesus! Where's he going NOW!?..."

    We also at one point had a guessing game going as to which character was going to cry next. They all did. Apart from Jared Leto's character. But then he probably did, but was almost certainly facing the wrong way at the time so we didn't get to see.

    [Next morning] Thinking about it, I have come to the conclusion I am am even more disappointed in it than I was. I love the original book which I first read back in the 1970s, And I adore the original film which I saw in the cinema back at the time of its release. (When it had a voiceover.)

    The book was very funny - the opening chapter makes me laugh out loud with its absurdity. I think people forget how funny Dick can be.

    There is an economy and society in the book - crumbling and decaying albeit - but there. The original film is a stylistic treat and has hustle and bustle. There is an underlying society. We might not know what all these people are doing, rushing around from here to there in the street, but it looks like some kind of reality underscores the action. People have jobs. People buy and sell things. People eat. People don't just stand around on stairwells, or stand about outside robordellos**, or stand about behind desks like they do in 2049.

    It's long been an annoyance to me that in any Hollywood historical film (especially those featuring a castle) you never see any fields. You might see the odd chicken running around - no, forget that. You ALWAYS see the odd chicken running around - but you never see any fields. Never see (even in the background) that there is any husbandry going on. That the people in the world we are being shown actually DO anything other than be dramatic, or serve as cannon fodder. I often just watch movies and wonder what do these people DO all day when there's not a war on, or a plot to be foiled? What do they eat?

    BR2049 was totally lacking in humour. Nada. Nothing. Not an intentional smile in the whole thing. [EDIT: Apart from the bit with the dog.] And there was no underlying reality. How, for instance, did the vast Dickensian orphanage work? I mean how? How did 'customers' get there when the place was surrounded by scavenger types capable of, and happy to, harpoon and bring down police cruisers? (Notice how our hero suddenly has no compunction about killing to death anyone who threatens him - despite his, 'I have never killed anything that was born' moment a while before.) What did all those kids EAT? There weren't even any chickens - even synthetic ones - running around.

    If 'real wood' was so rare and expensive that a small wooden horse made our hero 'a rich man' why was the dead tree at the farm - surely worth several gazziliion times more - just ignored. "Holy crap!" says slicked-back hair police chief. "A whole tree! Well that's my department's budget problems solved for the next twenty years."

    It looked pretty in places though. A bit like flipping through a big coffee table book. Ohhh Ahhhh - but it echoed. It was hollow.
  3. Silent Running - Now that was an interesting experience. I've seen Silent Running six or seven times since I first saw it in the cinema where it was running as a second feature to the newly-released American Graffiti.

    It's an OK film. Not one of the greatest SF film ever but a good example of the genre from the mini golden age that Hollywood enjoyed before Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas buggered it all up by making films that made more money than sense.

    At no time during any of the watchings of it have I ever felt the need to cry. At times I remember feeling slightly embarrassed by the near mawkish sentimentality on show. Tonight I snivelled like a baby and had tears streaming down my face at the end of it. How? Why?

    This time I was watching it with my two daughters. Daughter Number One (aged 15) had never seen it before and had chosen it as her turn in our turn-and-turn-about family film night. Daughter Number Two (aged 13) HAD seen it before... and fell asleep.

    The way our chairs were arranged as we watched the film meant I could not see my daughters. At the end of the film Daughter Number One was in tears. Real, big, wet-faced, trembling lips greeting. Somehow, silently, without being able to see her, I had picked up on the depth of feeling the story had induced in her and joined her. I've always known that watching a film with an audience (rather than on your own) intensifies the experience but I had never felt it so strongly and strangely as tonight. I really do doubt that telepathy exists but this was the nearest thing I have ever felt that came close to it.

    Her explanation? Pheremones. She reckons I smelled the sadness coming of her.
  4. The Spanish Prisoner - in which I discover a new rule of movie watching. It's been a long held theory of mine that you come out of a good movie (i.e. one that you have engaged with - not some critically lauded piece of art that had you stroking your chin all the way through) that you come out of a good movie moving differently. You'll come out of an swashbuckling adventure film, swaggering and leaping about like Errol Flynn on steroids, out of a Hong Kong chop socky, hyper-actively jerky. I'd never noticed that a good film affected the way I talk before. After 90 minutes in the company of David Mammet's characters it took Number One Daughter and I a good couple of hours before we were able to complete a sentence without...?"
    "Over lapping..."
    "...completing each other's..."
    "We did that
    "We did."
    "We did, didn't we?"
    "We did."
    "A lot."
  5. Metropolis (1927) D#1 and I watched Fritz Lang's fully as restored (as it will ever be) 1927 Metropolis. (The version that includes the rediscovered South American footage with Fritz Rasp's part restored.) Me for the umpteenth time (in various versions), her for the first time.

    Damn! but it was an ambitious and beautiful film. 15 minutes shorter than Bladerunner 2049 but felt half that.
  6. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me - D#1 and I finish off our mammoth watching of Twin Peaks, series one and two, with the prequel movie. One the whole I felt the movie was more than a bit of a wasted opportunity and didn't add anything much of anything after the first 20 minutes or so when we get past the guest star heavy prelude and arrive in Twin Peaks itself.
  7. The Aristocrats - various 'comics' (some of whom I had actually heard of) tell a filthy joke for 90 minutes. Parts of it were actually quite funny but it was over-long.
  8. Get Shorty - meh.

* I can recommend Her . It has smarts. Much more than this turd.
* * 'Robordello n. A knocking shop staffed by androids. A word I have (as far as I know) just made up and am extremely chuffed with.

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