Film & TV Weekly Round-Up (29/8/14)

Last Saturday saw the first outing of Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. I was really looking forward to it because, unlike a lot of mean-spirited people, I really like Peter. I’m absolutely never ridiculously attached to just one actor playing The Doctor. What is wrong with some people? Honestly? I’m pretty sure they just have crushes on David Tennant or Matt Smith, and are not actually fans of The Doctor himself. Anyway, I digress. The episode had a bit of a slow start, and I was on the brink of being bored for a bit. But then The Doctor sprang into life (I suppose you have to excuse him, regeneration must be quite tiring), and Capaldi was incredible. He was sort of serious, then strange, then strangely brilliant. I saw a Guardian article that talked about how Capaldi’s development as The Doctor was a slow burn, as opposed to Tennant & Smith, who came jumping out of the Tardis, and how this was more preferable. Preferable because it made him appear more real, in a way, more serious, and hence easier to understand and sympathise with. This is how I felt, like Capaldi had grown the character so much in just one episode. I really look forward to what he does next. The only problem we have now, is Clara. I never really liked Clara much before. I thought she was too confident, not very interesting and (as my sister puts it so well) kind of smug. And now, next to Capaldi, the character (along with Jenna’s performance) seems very two-dimensional and transparent. I think Steven Moffat might even be aware of this, as he pointed to her dislike (and in some way, the fans dislike) of an older, more serious man. I’m glad Jenna has decided to leave, I think the show will be better off without her (and Clara)… Sorry Jenna.

For most of the weekend, and into this week, I have been watching ‘Scandal’. I feel I am a bit in love with it. For those who don’t know it… There is a Olivia Pope, the Washington lawyer/fixer who, along with her team, will make all your problems go away (they usually seem to deal with the reputations of philandering senators). But Olivia was also part of the team that got President Fitz Grant into the Whitehouse, and… Her and Fitz are in love. So you have what feels like a normal US crime drama, but with a really powerful central female character, political corruption, and a sexy forbidden romance. It’s very cool, and a lot of fun. I’m up-to-date now; season three is playing on SkyLiving at the moment. The only bone I have to pick with it now is that Fitz keeps going to sacrifice everything for Olivia, and she keeps putting the genie back in the bottle. This happens a good few times in the first couple of seasons; off-on, on-off, off-on… it gets a bit annoying. But don’t let that put you off. I love it. 😀

On Sunday night I discovered Richard Attenborough had died. What made it especially painful is that there was a hoax circulating, and it hadn’t been announced, so when some tweets popped up I was upset, then calmed down, then upset all over again as I realised he had actually died. I’m writing another post about him and Robin Williams. For now, I’ll just say that on the Monday afternoon I watched ‘The Great Escape’. It’s such a great movie, well thought out, and really gripping. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to.

On Tuesday afternoon I went to see ‘What If?’ in the cinema, and it really pleased me. I mean I love Daniel Radcliffe & Zoe Kazan anyway, but the script and direction was also pretty great. And not just great, but unusual, and interesting. The story, if you didn’t know, is that Wallace is in love with Chantry, but she has a boyfriend, Ben. Seems pretty typical as a story right? But this was something else. Something better. Part of me kept thinking that there wasn’t enough romance. But that was the whole point, they weren’t allowed to have the romance, so they kept each other at arm’s length. This was so much better than films where one person is taken, but there are still lots of ‘cuddles’ and long-held looks, basically things that are akin to cheating on your partner. I’m glad the filmmakers didn’t take ‘that step’, because Chantry isn’t that kind of girl. I also like that Wallace doesn’t try to break them up, or that the filmmakers don’t try to get us to believe that Chantry might like Wallace more than Ben. It’s all a lot more complicated than that. I think it’s more about Chantry’s comfortable life with Ben, and her unwillingness to take risks. It’s a pretty great film.

I bought ‘Now You See Me’ for £5 in Asda. I ‘d watched it in the cinema and liked it very much, and was just waiting for a cheap DVD copy. And why did I not just buy it when it came out? Well, I like, I like it very much, but… The story is great, as is the script, and I love the cast, but there feels like there’s something missing. The characters are never properly fleshed out, so you never really warm to them. And a lot of the magic tricks are done with special effects so you’re never really amazed by them. It feels like a bit of a cheat by the filmmakers, to be honest. I do like it a lot, but there are a lot of parts missing. I do think you should watch it, it’s just a shame it didn’t live up to its potential.

On Wednesday evening I decided to sit down to ‘Blue Jasmine’. I’d been sort of wanting to see it for a while, and maybe never would have seen it if it hadn’t been for the fact that I found a 50p copy in a charity shop. I thought that was quite strange, but after watching it I can see why someone dumped it. It’s really an okay film, and Cate Blanchett is great in it. But it’s sort of meandering, and doesn’t really have a great point to make. Plus, there are a lot of grabby men in it. I hate, ABSOLUTELY HATE, films where the female characters get grabbed my men and they make no real effort to fight them out. It’s as though the filmmaker (in this case, Woody Allen) has decided that that is the kind of thing women don’t do. If men grab them and try to kiss them, they just squirm a little. When in reality you would jump away; push them away. To act like this is what usually happens just pisses me off, and it makes me not like your movie Mr. Allen. I mean, what is this? Fucking ‘Chinatown’? Grab her, throw her, slap her, kiss her hard and make her like it? What bullshit. It’s an okay film, but it irritated me.

I quelled my annoyance with ‘Blue Jasmine’ by watching another of my Asda finds; ‘The Woman In Black’. I really liked this in the cinema, and it was just as nerve-shredding watching it by myself (late at night, in the dark, as you should). Such a well-crafted film, Daniel Radcliffe is pretty great, but the direction is really the thing. James Watkins does a great job; it’s properly terrifying. There are different makers for the sequel: ‘Woman In Black: Angel Of Death’, but I’m still looking forward to it. 🙂

And then, on Wednesday night there was ‘The Great British Bake Off’. What an event. Diana left Iain’s ice cream out of the freezer. To be honest I was a bit miffed on his behalf, but thought he could have handled it better. But the internet has gone a bit mental; branding Diana a bitch, and crying sabotage! And apparently Diana left after that episode was filmed, leading people who don’t understand that it was filmed back in May to think that she has left in shame. People are really making too much of it now, because it’s easier to go crazy angry about something like this. Something which can be talked about ad infinitum, as opposed to say the situation in Ferguson, or the Gaza Strip. You would just get confused and depressed if you discussed those matters for too long. People can get passionate about what ever they want to, but to be so mean about Diana, that’s taking it a bit to far. Hopefully, after next week, we will have all forgotten about it.

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