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First Half Of 2018 Film Round Up

On starting this post I was pleasantly surprised; I’d made my usual January film resolution to watch more films – with all the vagueness that implies – got through some films and then promptly put the big screen on the back-burner; I did better than I thought.

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Annie (USA, 2014) – Wasn’t feeling it; the casting was fine but the old songs were barely used and I love the original too much for that to work for me.

The Lady Vanishes (UK, 1938) – Loved this. A simple plot so well executed and the comic duo were a lot of fun with their cricket obsession.

The Last Jedi (USA, 2017) – The family thought this was better than The Force Awakens. I didn’t, but it’s still a very good film.

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Nut Job (USA/South Korea, 2014) – Quite good, but not as much as other CGI family films in recent years. The jokes very rarely worked.

Pretty Woman (USA, 1990) – Really enjoyed this; I’d actually grown up thinking Pretty Woman had the story of The Runaway Bride so it was good to put the real thing in perspective. I think I’d now better watch that second film.

Trainwreck (USA, 2015) – It took a (long) while of over the top swearing and not-funny funny stuff to show what this film was all about, and that’s a bit of a pity, because what it tries to do – reverse the stereotype of dating and relationships so that it’s the man that wants commitment – is interesting.

Well, Amazon’s put Bollywood on UK screens at a good time, which is about time. And there are some random New Zealand productions I’m interested in. But, most helpful of all, my mother’s had a DVD clear out so I picked up a few older classics. I may finally see The Shawshank Redemption…

What films have you recently seen and loved?

 
Second Half Of 2017 Film Round Up

In late November, I found out that Channel 5 was showing (and then, crucially, putting online) a large number of TV Christmas films. In addition to my decision to take advantage of that I thought it time I get out my Audrey Hepburn box set, which I’d been saving for that mythical perfect moment. Due to the number of Christmas films – admittedly not nearly as many as Channel 5 had available because I soon realised quality had nothing to do with their selection – I’ve split the films into two categories.

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Get Smart (USA, 2008) – A fun and silly spy movie.

Great Expectations (UK, 2012) – Lacking some of the book’s humour, but not bad overall.

He’s Just Not That Into You (USA, 2009) – I’d seen the so-so ratings but I’d wanted to see this for a few years and found it didn’t disappoint. Were the endings predictable and sometimes too sweet? Yes. But I liked the overall execution and the little things included, like the way the camera panned out from Bradley Cooper and Scarlet Johansson and they were standing on different sides of the line of a parking space.

Leap Year (USA/Ireland, 2010) – I was surprised to find out this is credited as half Irish because it felt very much like Ireland through Hollywood’s eyes.

Madagascar (USA, 2005) – Good.

Roman Holiday (USA, 1953) – Loved this. I wrote about it in November, so I’ve keep it short here.

Sabrina (USA, 1954) – That age difference and the lack of character development…

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Christmas Under Wraps (USA, 2014) – One of those average, overly sweet, films to have on in the background to help you feel festive.

A Prince For Christmas (USA, 2015) – Although this is what you expect – sickly sweet – the two leads are particularly good to the extent that it’s not a bad film at all. And the lack of any royal trappings, whilst almost certainly due to budget constraints, means it seems more realistic.

Family For Christmas (USA, 2015) – The makers of this film would like you to note that having children is better than a career in all circumstances. They also want to tell you that a woman who has had children must remain at home forever, and that if (spoiler following) you get a second chance with your ex-boyfriend, quitting your awesome job before the first date, so that you’re completely ready for the horse and carriage, is a very good idea. It’ll make the date incredibly awkward, but we’ll not mention that.

Cinderella Christmas (USA, 2016) – An interesting spin on the story, but there’s a lot of angst.

Four Christmases (USA, 2008) – Horrendous.

With 3 films on January’s list already and a couple I’m looking forward to, the new year is going well so far.

Do you like to watch holiday-themed films?

 
First Half Of 2017 Film Round-Up

These past months, I’ve spent most of my screen time watching TV shows, or, rather, one TV show. I’m loving Parks & Recreation but there is a lot of it to get through. The natural casualty has been films – I have been reading a good amount; screen time is pretty low overall. I’m on series 6 now and whilst there are some other shows I’m planning to watch they’re a lot shorter and, I expect, not as addictive. I will, however, not be setting any film goals. I’m wondering if saying, at year’s end, that my next year’s film resolution is to ‘watch as many as I comfortably can’, as I have in regards to reading and books, would be best.

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Independence Day: Resurgence (USA, 2016) – Is it really 20 years since Will Smith fought aliens? This follow up is good if technically unnecessary. It’s the only film other than the Hunger Games trilogy/quartet in which I’ve seen Liam Hemsworth, so I might have been watching Gale go after extraterrestrials…

Mirror Mirror (USA, 2011) – The second of the two Snow White movies of 2011; I’d wanted to see both and now have. This one’s a lot lighter than Snow White And The Huntsman, and the first half stays fairly closely to the storyline. It does lose its way in the second half, gets a bit too silly, but the Bollywood-esque item number at the end is awesome.

Some Like It Hot (USA, 1959) – One of the two remaining ‘big’ Monroe movies I had yet to see (the other is The Prince And The Showgirl). It was a hit with my family many moons ago so I’d seen various bits and pieces over the years but far from the whole thing. One I enjoyed – not a favourite, but a fun couple of hours.

So, no goals.

Which films have you seen recently that you’d recommend?

 
Second Half Of 2016 Film Round-Up

I did quite well this half of the year. In August I thought, ‘ahh, now, I’m always forgetting to watch films from this point in the year onward’ and made a concerted effort. December rolled around and the fact it was the season, together with with the thought, ‘last month of the year!’, led to more films. Catch-up television is incredibly useful – I owe much of this list to iplayer – as are subscription programmes.

Here are the films I watched for the first time during the second half of 2016. My opinions here are a lot more subjective than my book reviews.

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The Bishop’s Wife (USA, 1947) – Feel good semi-comedy. We could do with Cary Grant in our films today.

The Black Cauldron (USA, 1985) – It’s easy to see why it’s a largely unknown Disney. The voice acting of the lead, the story line – the spark of an idea but not realised. We found out after watching that the film was hack-edited – one of the higher people in the company decided to do it himself, ruining it, and this caused a group of the animators to go and form Pixar.

Carol (USA, 2015) – A very good film. I liked the quietness that fit the situation.

Far From The Madding Crowd (UK, 2015) – Perfect, super, casting. But no development, progression, epic end section rendered average…

Holiday Affair (USA, 1949) – A film of the times (bit of a brash hero) but this turned out to be pretty charming and, in some ways, ahead of its time (very confusing, I know!)

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Into The Woods (USA/UK, 2014) – A few of the lyrics are good and on occasion it’s funny, but it’s mostly a non-event.

The Lady In The Van (UK, 2015) – You can’t really go wrong with Maggie Smith, nor Alan Bennett.

The Lego Movie (USA, 2014) – Fantastic; barmy and hilarious.

Snow White And The Huntsman (UK, 2012) – Pretty good, very much ‘based’ on the story rather than following it.

Miss Potter (UK, 2006) – Found the animation a bit silly but otherwise it’s a lovely film.

What films did you watch for the first time in 2016?

 
First Half Of 2016 Film Round-Up

Not much going on here. I started well; I saw a new film on New Year’s Day and visited the cinema a couple more times that month but my watching petered out as spring started. Family events ensured I watch a few more films than I might have otherwise and I tried another of those ‘watch one every evening’ goals I first attempted a few years ago; at the end of the day I don’t think I’ll ever get over the ironic feeling I have that a couple of hours spent on a film isn’t worth much even though I can spend several hours on an average book and deem it very worth it. I guess film bloggers feel this in reverse!

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Bridge of Spies (USA, 2015) – I didn’t catch as much of the humour as did those I saw it with but it wasn’t bad.

Cheerful Weather For The Wedding (UK, 2012) – Strictly okay. Sorely lacking in the humour that made the book so good and the poignant ending wasn’t well done.

Cinderella (UK, 2015) – Apart from the way the actors all seem cut out of another piece of film (I suspect too much green screen) this is an excellent production. Very, very funny, in an adult humour way, and in this case the sections that are overly romanticised and cute are clearly to placate the kids who want the princess fairytale. The step-family weren’t as awful as I’d been led to believe – they’re more bog-standard Cinderella – but the focus on that aspect of the story is given more time.

The Danish Girl (Multiple countries, 2015) – The actors were good and worked well together, the music was great, cinematography… I’m just a bit confused as to why they chose to adapt a fictionalisation rather than the true story.

Ella Enchanted (USA, 2004) – Very silly, perhaps too silly, but entertaining enough.

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Joy (USA, 2015) – A good story but film was the wrong medium for it. Wait for the book (not that it’s on its way).

Man Of The Year (USA, 2006) – Eternally relevant.

Philomena (UK, 2013)– Hard hitting and whilst not quite true to life, very good.

Spectre (UK, 2015) – Not bad at all. Liked the characterisation of the Bond Girl.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (USA, 2015) – As a Star Wars film? Not so much. As a film in itself? Awesome. I am loving Rey so far though I could do without Darth Vader’s Anger-Management-Course-Required grandson. Bit too samey.

Goal for the next six months? Honestly, I think saying I’d like to have watched two films is a good idea. I have read a fair number of books – they’re making up for the slack.

Which films have you seen recently and would you recommend them?

 

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