Film & TV Weekly Round-Up (September)

What can I say? Real life suddenly got in the way for a month or so and everything slid down the list of priorities. I’ve barely even had time to watch some films in the past week or two. Having to find a real job (what do you do with a postgraduate education in film?), managing my new film twitter, and errands for a family wedding have all started moving in on my time. But I think I’ve got myself sorted now. And to make things easier on myself I decided to wait until the end of this month to put this blog together. As you will notice, after week 1, not much happened.

Week 1

I finally watched ‘Upstream Colour’. I’d been wanting to watch it for ages, as I’m a big fan of Shane Carruth’s ‘Primer’, but when the disc arrived from LoveFilm it just sort of sat there… for a long time. Then one night I was listening to an episode of Film Fandango (a film review podcast, which happened to be reviewing the ‘Upstream Colour’) and decided to watch it the next afternoon, and it was… jaw-droppingly brilliant. I’m not going to lie, it is a very odd story, and you have to be perceptive to follow it and understand it. And I think I did. The whole thing, I decided, was a metaphor for depression. A metaphor for losing a part of yourself, and the part loved ones pay in trying to ‘bring you back’. I don’t think I can even write that much about how much I loved it. Because I didn’t think about it, I just felt it. And it felt fantastic.

That night I watched ‘The Wall’. It was this German film on late one night on Channel 4 and the synopsis looked fascinating so I decided to Sky+ it and give it a go, and again it was a brilliant film. But really depressing. The synopsis, simply, is that a woman is staying at a cabin (in the Alps, I think) and an invisible wall appears, separating her from the outside world. It’s an incredible story. You watch her as she bonds with her friend’s dog, and the other animals isolated in the same bubble. But yes, oh my god, is it depressing. I think this was another metaphor for depression but, unlike ‘Upstream Colour’, it didn’t have an uplifting ending. But I would highly recommend both films, both were majestically intense and beautiful, and were two of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.

On the Saturday night I decided to watch this film I’d added to my Netflix list, and hadn’t got around to. A recommendation from my sister made me pursue it. The film was ‘Jeff, Who Lives At Home’. It’s an extraordinarily sweet film. An indie film made by the Duplass brothers, it stars Jason Segel & Ed Helms. And it’s just a film about a guy, in his early thirties, who lives at home. One day he goes out on an errand for his mother and he falls into a series of unpredictable events. In true Indie-style this all leads to some great cosmic meaning. It’s a thoroughly entertaining film, so glad I got around to watching it

And what happened after those three brilliant, lovely films? Well, on Sunday afternoon I watched ‘Reign Of Fire’. I’d always been curious about, and it has a good cast. Just a shame it’s a pile of hooey-crap. Seriously, it was completely pointless. What a waste of time. There was a story but it didn’t have any drive, and there were no strong bonds between the characters, or much development of character full stop. It was just one big waste of time and resources.

On Monday night it was the finale… Actually, wait, no. At some point in the last month it was the finale of ‘True Blood’. And unlike many TV show endings it didn’t disappoint, but it didn’t impress either, it just sort of whimpered off into the night. Shame, really. But I suppose at least, this way, none of us are really going to miss it. In that last season it was like Alan Ball was slowly letting us down, so we wouldn’t be terribly disappointed when it finished. I didn’t love it that much, but they could have put in a greater amount of effort for the fans. Never mind, Alan Ball is free now. Let’s see what he does next.

Week 2

I went to see ‘The Guest’ in the cinema that week. Actually, it was the ONLY film I watched that week. Man, I must have been busy. And, fucking hell! was it awesome. From the first moment I saw the trailer I was enthralled. Little Dan Stevens? Little ‘Downton Abbey’, Booker-prize judging, editor of The Junket Dan Stevens… was hot! I’m not usually a girl who gives into distraction like this. But damn was I distracted. I’d had a little crush on Dan since I saw him in the Andrew Davies’ adaptation of ‘Sense & Sensibility’, but this… was something else. Of course, I had to see it. I was drawn in by Dan but also by the strangely cheesy 70s vibe they were going for. And it, IN NO WAY, disappointed me! It was brilliant. The style they went for was pure 70s horror/thriller parody, and Dan really took it seriously. Because of this it was so entertaining, so much fun, and so incredibly funny. There is a one scene, in a bar, where I actually put my hands behind my head, kicked up my feet, and leaned back in my chair, because I was having a physical response to incredibly enjoyable it was. That reaction, to that scene, will stick with me forever. Credit to Dan, the writer; Simon Barrett, and the director; Adam Wingard. I am astounded and impressed by this film. 🙂

Week 3

And then the next weekend, I watched ‘The Eagle Has Landed’. Which was shit… I turned it off after 30 minutes. The accents were shit, the acting was crap, and it felt like it was going nowhere fast. I knew what the story was but without any real tension or drive to it, it actually started to make not much sense. Then I put on ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ for a bit of lighthearted fun. That got turned off after 15 minutes. It just didn’t seem to have a point. The next day I watched ‘Anchorman 2’. Now, I like ‘Anchorman’. I’m not a huge fan but I really like the cast, Steve Carell especially. But the first half of this sequel just seemed so boring, and obvious, and didn’t really seem to be going anywhere. I think we were just supposed to be enjoying the set pieces. I loved Brick, of course I did, Steve Carell is incredible. But even when, after an hour, it did perk up, it just didn’t really have any drive to it. It all seemed a bit okay, and kind of pointless. So that was that weekend. :-/

Week 4

This week I had a crack at ‘Top Of The Lake’, since the series is now on Netflix. But I’m not sure about it, seems kind of tense, without really caring to have a point. But I think I’ll return to it and see how it goes. I also started watching ‘Orphan Black’ last night, which seems kind of cool. I’ll reserve judgement for now though.

In Other News

‘Masters Of Sex’ is back on, which is great. The series has been up and down, but I still like it. They seem to moving about a lot and trying to stick too many things in this series. I think that’s why the episode where it’s just Bill & Virginia in the hotel room is so great, the writers really had time to draw things out of the characters and let Michael Sheen & Lizzy Caplan really own it. But they better buck up their ideas. We’ve already seen this second series be moved from Channel 4 to More 4, we don’t want to lose it completely.

‘The Great British Bake-Off’ is fun as always. It’s getting down to the wire now, and Martha has just left. I really liked her, even if I didn’t think she was going to win. My money has been on Louis or Richard for quite a while now. Looks like Richard will take it.

And I love ‘Last Week Tonight’ as per usual. 😛

Strictly starts tonight. In half an hour actually. Then maybe I’ll watch this week’s ‘Scandal’. I think this might be the best season of ‘Scandal’ so far. Or it might just be because I’m still on a high after watching the first two seasons in quick succession?

I’ll see you back here at the regular time next week. Whoever you may be.


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