Film & TV Weekly Round-Up (25/7/14)

Okay, okay, I know it’s actually been a fortnight. This is the last time I do this I promise. July was a busy month for me. I say all this, no one is actually out there… are they? *walks to door, calls out, voice echoes into the distance, shuts door, returns to computer* Didn’t think so.

So, a couple of weeks ago: Saturday, my mum was watching ‘Australia’ on Film4. Now, I don’t like ‘Australia’ but my mum does, so I sat down, hoping I would find something in it that I didn’t see before. I didn’t. The main problem with this film is that Luhrmann has gone to town on spectacle, as usual, but hasn’t really put a great deal into a structured narrative. You’re never quite sure which character to focus on, and there are false endings all over the place. It’s as though he visualised all these great but small ideas then tried to link them together. I don’t think I’m going to watch it again, it’s sort of long and useless.

Later that night I was very happy because we got a new smart Blu-Ray player that returned to me my TV connection with Netflix (our Wii had broken, and watching films on a laptop is just… no!). I was even happier to discover ‘A.C.O.D.’ on Netflix (you leave Netflix for a while and you find lots of lovely surprises when you return). Then I was less happy. ‘A.C.O.D’ is an independent film, starring Adam Scott, which I had wanted to see for ages. But! It hadn’t got a proper cinema release, it had bypassed DVD, and gone straight to Netflix, oh boy was that troubling. I was right to be troubled. Although the narrative was solid (the story of a grown up man and how he dealt with my parents’ divorce, which took place 20 years earlier) the characterisation just wasn’t there. There were many characters, played by great actors, but they were all types, and so underwritten they never developed past their clichéd storylines. The direction was also off. Some things should have been funny, but they just weren’t. And the main romantic storyline was just stupid, did Carter really love his girlfriend? I don’t know. He was underdeveloped as a protagonist and I found it really hard to sympathise with him. I think many tricks were missed in the making of this film, which is a disappointing waste of a stellar cast. Don’t watch it, while it isn’t awful, it’ll be a waste of your time.

There came a week of not much, as I shuffled up to Reading for my birthday celebrations. What I’ve seen for the past week or so has been backed up on the Sky+ box. Which brings me to.. I have to have my ‘Hannibal’ moment. It’s just excellent, why aren’t you watching it? You should be watching it. And also, ‘Last Week Tonight’. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so excited about a TV show. It’s on Tuesday nights on Sky Atlantic, please give it a try. Satire was never this wonderfully informative whilst also being funny. The new season of ‘Veep’ kicked off last week and although it isn’t my favourite comedy I do sort of like it. I think it’s the dialogue. Although, I think I am starting to lose interest.

On Tuesday I went to see ‘Begin Again’ at the cinema, and my god, did it make me happy? I’d been following the production of this film for two years. When I first heard about it, it was called ‘Can A Song Save Your Life?’ (terrible, terrible title). Something about Judd Apatow producing a John Carney film starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, James Corden & Adam Levine (I admit it, when I first heard about this film I had a big Levine crush… not anymore though) was just so exciting. And y’know? I did have a lot of expectations. I was delighted to see the film wasn’t what I expected, but was still brilliant. Sure, I could have done without the clichés of the music producer and rock star boyfriend, but I don’t think they mattered but because Gretta (Keira Knightley) is really the thing about this film. She is interesting. Confident but sensitive, talented but not a show off, and just wonderful to watch. Carney has made a beautiful thing here. Yeah, maybe I would have liked some characters to have been a little better developed, but with the time of a film to make such a lovely story I think he could be forgiven. I think people will try and pass this off as a romance, but it’s not. It’s about emptiness and loneliness and about turning to something you love to do in order to get yourself through the pain. Carney does an excellent job, his dialogue is perfect and his feel for people, music and atmosphere is something very special. I look forward to seeing it again.

I was on a little bit of a ‘isn’t Keira lovely’ moment so I decided to watch ‘Pride & Prejudice’ again. It’s just such a lovely film. I didn’t pay it much heed when it came out in the cinema, but I came across the DVD in a charity shop and have warmed it, slowly but surely. I now even watch it when they put it on ITV2. It’s a really lovely, vibrant take on the original novel. Joe Wright did an amazing job in his direction, there’s just something about it that makes the characters seem very real and believable. As much as I love the BBC TV series, it’s just to clean, and clinical and perfect. Whereas, this, is… punchy. Plus, Keira is unbelievable as Lizzie. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance, and we’ve all forgotten. Because this film will always bask in the shadow of the BBC series, which is a great shame. Please watch it… a couple of times.

I’m watching ‘True Detective’ at the moment, but I’m only just getting into it so I will wait to pass judgement. Where as, literally, I’m typing while ‘Wall-E’ plays in the background. I love this film. A great story of loneliness and the importance of a good heart. I’m hoping you’ve seen it already, if not, what are you waiting for? You’re not one of those people who think computer animations are just for kids are you? ‘Cause that doesn’t fly with me. Go and watch it, now!… Thank you.

I’ve finally started a twitter account just for reviews and recommendations, and it makes a lot more sense than these blogs (which I enjoy, and will continue doing). If you want to follow me you can find me at @FilmTVPost.

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