Because I haven’t worked in a month and this country is a cesspit full of panic buying morons & politicians way out of their depth, there’s been plenty of time for me to watch films. Hear my thoughts below!
What better film to be watching in these times of self isolation (that every clown is gleefully ignoring if the amount of people on my usually quiet street is anything to go by), than the tale of two grizzled men trapped working on an island for a month+ with nought but each others company? From the writer/director of The VVitch, which is a film that also ruled hard.
- Willem Dafoe is one of the greatest living actors, and i’ll fight you on the hill over that. I got full confidence in Pattinson too, seeing as he’s on the same road Harry Poffer is, acting their arses off in weird indie films because they don’t need the money. Fair play to them. Anyway, Dafoe is essentially the Sea Captain off The Simpsons if he was a disgusting old bastard, and Pattinson’s there because it’s pretty obvious he’s on the run and not because he likes shovelling coal. Cue the tale of two men going stir crazy.
- Shot in the grittiest black & white, in a square format that will have you reaching to see if your telly’s fucking with you, I would hate to be working in a video shop (if they still existed) and people were renting this out. To wit, when I worked at Blockbusters we had to put a note on the cover box of The General* telling customers it is intentionally shot in black & white as 80% of renters were bringing it back saying the tape’s fucked. Bear in mind this was also a store where people would routinely be back within the hour if the film they rented had subtitles too. I quit and went back to serving angry drunks in pubs rather than having to deal with angry sober people whinging about why they can’t rent East is East**.
- Sound design on this film is amazing, adding all kinds of discomfort in the background. Klaxons, industrial clanking, squawking birds; within 5 minutes of this film you’re all ‘this is not a place I want to spend any amount of time on’.
- Fuck you seagulls!
- Not going into spoilers but some of this film is incredibly difficult, yet at the same time absolutely fucking hilarious to watch. I didn’t think I’d be seeing sparkly Twilight man doing some of the wretched shit he is here, put it that way.
- Doesn’t quite stick the landing on the reality of the situation and what’s actually happening. Which I’m sure is intentional, I just felt it missed a few shots.
Should I watch this?
It’s not going to be for everyone, put it like that. Of course I’m saying yes but there again two great character actors eyeballing each other while yelling like bonkers salty sea dogs is always going to have been my jam. I have a Black Phillip tattoo, I’m biased. Bodes fairly well for Pattinson being the new Batman in whatever the Hell they’re doing with that this time. Hope I get to see his parents shot for the 8th time on film!
*a film that also owns with the ever reliable Brendan Gleeson. Check it out.
**Other fun escapades there: Being constantly threatened by irate morons or gangs of kids because they realised you’re absolutely on your own after 6pm, robbery, ridiculous internal demands on staff from head office after consulting think tanks that have never once worked retail in their privileged pissant lives. I’m glad the fuckers went bust.
I’d heard decent word of mouth on this but assumed it was an 80s style throwback horror film. It’s not, but it is decent. Main thrust – a driving instructor can see ghosts, people seek her help.
- Know when you put something on (this is on Netflix far as I know) and aren’t expecting anything of it, and it turns out to be thoroughly entertaining? That’s this film.
- Only person you’ll vaguely recognise here is Will Forte, doing his best ‘satisfying leftover ham recipes to make that extra ham anything but boring!’ schtick, the lead actress didn’t even have a picture on IMDB last I looked. She absolutely smashes this though. I thoroughly enjoy films where the premise is competent people thrust into wacky situations and sorting it out.
- ‘Ginger werewolf’
- Making the best out of low budgets in the FX department always scores massive points on the ginormous film scoreboard in my living room. Because I’m people what knows people, it’s actually the 1980s Family Fortunes board repurposed for this very task I got on the cheap. If I watch Adam Sandler films it goes EH-UHHH. You know that sound.
- Cribs a bit too hard from Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace at times, but not really anything to worry about.
Should I watch this?
Yes, immediately. Far better than it has any right to be.
The Grudge (the new one)
Remake of a remake, because everything repeats and the film industry decided it’s time to chug from the 90s Japanese horror well once more. Thrust: someone brings back a ghost from Tokyo, shenanigans ensue.
- Solid block of character actors all up in here – Andrea Riseborough has always been decent, Demián Bichir, Betty Gilpin, John Cho and horror stalwart Lin Shaye all giving this more gravitas than it deserves.
- I remember the first remake with Sarah Michelle Gellar sucking pretty hard so good job they just throw all that shit in the bin and start from scratch. To be fair Buffy being in it and some weird blue child spirit killing folk are the only things I remember so it might be the same plot. I’m arsed rewatching it.
- Only reason I can think of for the time setting (we’re jumping from 04-06) is so we can get some ‘ghosts on scratchy video’ fun up in here. Cool, if clichéd.
- Some pretty crunchy deaths going on. Some pretty stupid ones too but that’s par for the course with these things.
- As stylistic choices go, drenching everything in a piss yellow haze isn’t something I want to sit through for an hour and a half. Find something better than Jaundice-O-Vision, shit was giving me a headache.
- We’re timeline jumping all over the shop here, and they start losing their place about halfway through. It’s pretty easy to grasp where you are, I’d expect more from the continuity people though. Especially by the end it didn’t even need to be structured that way, and don’t insult my intelligence film, I can remember the events of the previous 45 minutes.
- Is the evil from Tokyo using the people it killed in the house as kind of avatars, or are they coming back themselves as harsh ghosts? It keeps jumping between, and dropping in everyone’s favourite J-Horror trope the evil child. And if it is the normal folk, what’s their fucking problem? Consistency!
- Riseboroughs son only becomes important when the plot demands it, as in until he’s dragged into all this, I didn’t even clock she had one.
- Welcome addition to any film, Bill Sadler, keeps saying ‘The house is grudge‘. I don’t even know how to parse that.
Should I watch this?
It’s not that bad. You can drive buses through the plot holes but at least it seems like everyone involved put some effort in. Except continuity, fuck those guys.
Birds Of Prey
(I’m not typing the extended title, the Harley Quinn film)
Solo shout for the only thing anyone liked about Suicide Squad.
- Margot Robbie coasting on that goodwill. I was expecting to find the Harley schtick excruciating over an entire ~2 hours but she’s toned the wackiness down considerably.
- Extremely well done fight cinematography/choreography from the same team that do John Wick. It’s all gymnastic arsekickery primarily aimed at bad guys nutsacks and it fucking rocks.
- Emancipation is pretty accurate a title though, every Bird of Prey lead has had some arsehole or other standing on her neck for too long which they cure through extreme violence. Always got time for ‘well, I was going to solve this problem practically but now it comes down to brass tacks? It’s easier to simply kick your head in.’
- Doesn’t do bad on the comedy side. I like the cartoon introductions and the confusion over Huntress is a nice touch.
- Only the slightest mentions of ‘Mr J’, and in cartoon form. Probably cos I can imagine Jared Leto being an immense tugboat about image rights and sticking his oar into this where it’s not wanted.
- In another astonishing movie fact that’ll blow your socks off, Victor Zsasz, the main henchman here was also a character in Batman Begins. Played by none other than Tim Booth off James.
- Much as he’s enjoying himself here, Ewan MacGregor cannot sell it as a villain, because even when he’s going all psycho I just want to give him a friendly chest bump and ask if he wants a pint. No idea why he bothers with the mask either, but those pimp suits he wears are rude.
- I’m not that up on DC continuity either, do these films just exist outside everything else, including the TV shows? I’m reliably informed there’s been three Black Canaries in the Arrow show. Does anyone really care? Batman gets a mention but no idea which iteration of him it’s supposed to be either.
- Probably more of a personal choice but the 1st person narrative trick of ‘oh, we shouldn’t start there, let’s go back further to catch you up because I’m some flavour of insane’ got played out with Fight Club, a film that is 21 years old. A linear timeline would’ve worked fine.
- CGI blood looks terrible, they’ve been doing it for years and it never seems to improve.
- Much like Suicide Squad, the musical choices here are old and busted, like a couch in a layby. Black Betty needs to be put to sleep as backdrop fight music.
Should I watch this?
Way better than I was expecting, uplifting message of some sort that women with guns get things done. Give it a go.
As both a Freelancer and a Renter whose trade has completely dried up in the last month, I’m in a pickle. If you like my writing and art while donating to a good cause (Motor Neurone Disease Carers) check out my instagram or Twitter for details on how to buy prints or commission some art. Or you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Peace.