HUD (TV, Martin Ritt, 1963) Enjoyed, bit reminiscent of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (although obviously made much earlier), good if slightly obvious study of old vs new, tradition vs modern society etc. One particularly impressive scene between Newman and the family maid/aka maternal role model character brimming with sexual tension, when they are flirting in her room - shows how much you can convey whilst doing so little!
SKELETONS (DVD, Nick Whitfield, 2010)
Interesting, oddball film – very British, very unusual, similar-ish vein to WITHNAIL AND I (although still very different – hard to find something close for comparison). Definitely worth a watch as an interesting new example of British cinema.
13 ASSASSINS (CINEMA, Takashi Miike, 2010)
Enjoyed this very much, rip-roaring Samurai – although I think I enjoyed the ‘serious’ first half of the film, with the story and build-up to the fight more than the gigantic action sequence itself. Very good and well-executed but this it would have been better without the ‘Boars on fire’ and a couple of the more far-fetched elements, although the element of surprise (for the audience as well as the group’s enemies) was good fun.
TRADING PLACES (TV, John Landis, 1983)
I enjoyed rewatching this (seen SO many times before but not for a number of years) a slightly embarrassing amount, and chortled out loud, even though I knew what was coming. Main guilty pleasure – the whole train costume party scene + gorilla gags towards the end *grin*.
MARY AND MAX (TV, Adam Elliot, 2009)
Wonderfully simple and touching – and made me cry a couple of times. A surprising amount of background references to bodily functions and sexual connotations which, in a story about a pen-friendship between a young girl and a much older man, odd that this isn’t addressed more directly in places. I guess it shows that even though they ARE just friends, that question isn’t entirely out of the filmmakers’ minds, although some references feel a bit inappropriate, unnecessary or misplaced in what is essentially a story of platonic innocence.
THE DENTIST (TV, Brian Yuzna, 1996)
Surprised I haven’t seen this before! Proper old school horror, very amusing, with some very of of-its-time uncomfortable sexual violations, plenty of boobies for the boys. Has dated quickly – a very young Mark Ruffalo in there for good measure, a genuinely nasty psychotic dentist played by Corbin Bernsen. A *shudder* at the thought of him suggests job well done in this film! Now I need to see THE DENTIST 2!
WIN WIN (CINEMA, Thomas McCarthy, 2011)
I actually had higher hopes for this – enjoyed it but hoped for more of an unusual indie film rather than what played out as a fairly obvious made-for-TV-esque redemption drama. Alex Shaffer was the best cast with a well-understated performance. Normally love Paul Giamatti, but felt this was a bit by-the-numbers for him, and supporting characters (esp. the best friend Bobby Cannavale) felt very like very two dimensional caricatures.
ATTACK THE BLOCK (CINEMA, JOE CORNISH, 2011)
Respectable fun horror! It was interesting – good use of the council estate setting and ‘yoof’ perspective – gang felt very ‘lived in’ and believable – just a couple of qualms – a few bits of rather cringeworthy dialogue in places (“This is too much madness for just one text!”) – the film would have been much better I think if they’d just played the whole thing straight rather than trying to inject too many moments of comedy here and there, as it just fell a bit flat for me in some places. A refreshing British attempt at horror though, lots of fun, will survive re-watches easily – also I think an 18 rating would have been better than a 15. Much better if they’d just gone for it whole hog as full-on horror.
Quick note re: TV – has anyone else been watching THE NIGHT SHIFT Icelandic ‘sitcom’ of sorts, on BBC4? Bloody marvellous.