Film & TV Weekly Round-Up (1/8/14)

And we’re back to normal. It’s strange, in a week where I’ve been working so hard on getting this new twitter account going (@FilmTVPost), I have strangely had more time to watch films and TV. I think it probably has something to do with maybe making a better use of time, and when you do that you tend to treat your spare time more carefully. Anyways, let’s go…

At the beginning of the week, at some point (I really can’t remember when) I finished watching ‘True Detective’. I had been so looking forward to see it. But, honestly, I wasn’t knocked down by it. It took me a while to get into it and it wasn’t until after episode three that it began to hold my interest. To be fair, it has a lot going for it. They avoid southern stereotypes and Rust is certainly not your stereotypical detective. But then there are lots of other stereotypes and predictable stories, so it doesn’t feel so special. In fact, I didn’t really care who the murderer was in the end, I liked watching Rust and that was about it. To be fair I’m not a great lover of crime drama, so this probably wasn’t for me. A great protagonist is usually what pulls me into watching something like this, and Rust is great. But, overall, it just felt sort of dull and dry. I’m not going to say it was bad, it just didn’t do anything for me.

On Saturday afternoon I watched ‘Now, Voyager’. It’s one of those classics I’d always meant to watch. The problem is with classics is that they are a consensus of opinion, the films themselves might not actually be for you. And this, well, it was probably for me, it just wasn’t much good. It was very melodramatic, and I didn’t really feel the love between Davis and Henreid. It was okay, but it wasn’t the ‘great classic’ and ‘great romance’ it purports to be. You can always tell when a film has done zero to impress or agitate me because the paragraph will be very short.

On Saturday night I watched the remake of ‘Red Dawn’. Now, people have knocked this quite a bit. It didn’t do itself any favours at the cinema by putting off its release date (in order to do some CG magic and make the film’s enemy look a little less like China), where it really could have made some money off the back of Hemsworth as Thor and Hutcherson in ‘The Hunger Games’. Overall it was a bit of dud as a commercial success, and because of this it has been overlooked by a lot of people. And the people who have seen it just piss all over it. I have to say my hopes were not very high, but I was majorly impressed. It’s an entertaining action film. Yeah, Josh Peck is kind of awful in it, but Hemsworth and Hutcherson are fantastic. Yeah, it’s not going to set the world on fire with its character development, but it was entertaining. So I’m happy.

On Sunday afternoon I watched the original adaptation of ‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’, and I almost fell asleep. It was just all sort of wrong. The fantasy sequences weren’t really as dramatic and over-the-top as they could have been, and really only served to slow the pace of the main storyline. The reality scenes themselves were strangely over-the-top, with Kaye sort of over-acting everything (which he should have been doing in the fantasy sequences). Then there were these unnecessary musical numbers, which had been crow-barred in to show off Kaye’s skills, but were actually really boring. All in all it made sense as a film, with its scenes, and its dialogue, but it was just too sedate, which resulted in it being very boring.

For the first Monday night in this series I remembered to watch ‘True Blood’ (I often forget, and watch on demand). I like this show, I always have. It’s not amazing and unmissable, but it’s always been entertaining and has followed a very strong story arc. This is its last season, and it is time for it go, but it’s been nice. I look forward to whatever Alan Ball does next. I tried watching a documentary about the obesity epidemic afterwards, but there were so many crazy scaremongers trying to make the audience believe things like, that aspartame caused problems with your vision, I gave up on it. I won’t even bother giving you the title.

On Tuesday afternoon I went to see ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ in 3D. Firstly, I have to say, wow! What a film. It’s fun, funny, and the direction was some of the best I’ve ever seen in an animation. But it was also really dark as well, and I feel like at some points it lost the intensity of the story. So all in all I just feel kind of empty, or depressed about the whole thing. I think it is a great film, but yeah, I’m sad even thinking about it now. And I don’t want to talk about it anymore 😦

Tuesday night was awesome ‘Hannibal’ finale and ‘Last Week Tonight’ night. I know I bang on a lot about how much I love these shows, but I do. The finale to ‘Hannibal’ was incredibly well written and the visual design was really spectacular. ‘Last Week Tonight’ was, as usual, funny, but somehow seriously informative at the same time. Both shows are available on SkyOnDemand if you have it.

On Thursday afternoon I felt a bit ill for some reason, so did what I do whenever I feel poorly and watched a film. I watched ‘Stormbreaker’, which I’d Sky+’d. (I must admit I felt compelled to watch it because some guy on twitter (who doesn’t even follow @FilmTVPost) was slightly mocking of my recommending it. :-/) But you know what? It’s actually not bad, if you ignore Pettyfer. Alex Pettyfer is just Mr Anti-Charisma. But there are a whole heap of great British actors in it and the action scenes are pretty great. If you watch it for what it is, a fun action film about a teenager who becomes a spy, you’ll like it. If you expect it to be some great film you’ll be bitterly disappointed… I bet kids love it.

Last night I watched ‘Sharknado 2: The Second One’. I’d watched the first one and despite everyone going on about how it was so bad it was good, I just mostly thought it was awful. But the second one is brilliant! Honestly! Packed with stupidity and boasting a host of cameos, I haven’t laughed so hard in a while. I think they just went all out, intentionally, to be bad, to see how funny it could be. Come to think of it, I think it’s the most fun I’ve had watching a film this week. People like to patronise films like this, or like them ironically, but films are all about doing something for us; making us cry, making us laugh, giving us hope. And this film made me laugh, a lot! So how is that bad?

I suppose that brings me to a point I have, and have always stuck by, that films are made for particular people or particular moments in life. I meet people all the time, who say they love film. But they have so many caveats you wonder how they can say that. There are ignorant people who won’t give a film the time of day because it’s in black & white or because it has subtitles, and there are arrogant people who think box office fare is stupid and for the masses. And every critic seems to think their opinion absolute when, the fact is, that film might not have been made for them. Sure, I execute my own opinion and by doing this new twitter project I’ve been questioning why I recommend some films and not others. The fact is that, yeah, I’m going to look down on some films. I try not to, I try to be democratic, but ultimately I’m going to watch what I find entertaining. So maybe in this blog, in my twitter project, and in my life I’m not as inclusive as I would like to be. But, y’know what? I’m a damn sight more democratic than most of the people I’ve ever met. And I feel like that’s a step in the right direction.

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