Sunday, 28 February 2016

February Watch List

This month I seem to going through old hollywood and it all started with Trumbo. I had read about the film and I had briefly studied the Black List in college but I didn't know the extent of it all. Dalton Trumbo was a force of nature in writing and in his politics. It was a fascinating look at the man, his family, his friends and mostly his work ethic. I was bold over with the amount of work he produced, he was like a machine. The Black Listing and the story of the Hollywood Ten is also covered, dealt with in a heartfelt way. It's disgusting to how everyone was treated, provoking the right reaction that I wanted to punch the so called House Committee on Un-American Activities in the face. It's a brilliant film that I don't believe was given enough credit. I don't believe its just because I like films about old Hollywood, especially notorious characters, but I think that a film about a screenwriter is rare and because its not about an actor or director or musician, the film isn't looked at with much favour. I was so inspired by Trumbo, I went out after the film and bought the book the film is based on so I could brush up on this man. Truely great film. 4/5

Started with Trumbo, on to The Palm Beach Story, The Odd Couple, The Last of Robin Hood and on to Hail, Caesar!

Band of Robbers
Intrigued by the trailer I thought this looked like an amuisng twist of some classic literature characters. Huck Fin, newly released from prison after taking the fall for his long time friend, Tom Sawyer, his friends welcome him back into the fold, where they are all just getting along with their lives. Tom, now a police officer, feels looked down upon and wants to make something of himself and be remembered. He convinces his friends to help him rob a pawn shop which he believes has a clue to some treasure that he and Huck have been looking for since they were small. Of course everything that could go wrong does. Things take a unexpected violent turn in this indie comedy and actually quite serious. Tom Swayer is a terrible person and most people see it except himself. Poor Huck could and would be so much better off having his own adventures, which he sort of does by the end. Great film if a bit odd with the pacing. 3/5

We all remember how Deadpool ended up in Wolverine: Origins or whatever it was called. Reading about Deadpool's journey to the screen with Ryan Reynolds was a great piece, I think I read it in Empire, and that was when I was geared up for the film. I hated that Wolverine film. My friend who loves Deadpool also got me geared up and filled me on how he operates, talking to the screen, lots of violence that sort of thing. I noticed that cinemas has put up signs saying that Deadpool was not a superhero movie for children. FINALLY - NO KIDS IN THE CINEMA! I loved the film, I couldn't stop laughing at most of it. But I knew I'd love it from the opening and truthful credits. The digs at Wolverine and the whole X-Men franchise in general was superb. Loud mouth Wade Wilson is basically a gun/muscle for hire who falls in love with his perfect partner, also a loud mouth, 'escort' Vanessa. But he's diagnosed with cancer and contacts a shady looking company as a last resort after they seek him out. He's transformed into Deadpool, with many abilities but completely scarred all over his body. Deadpool seeks revenge on who did this to him to get them to change his appearance back and along the way he meets a couple X-Men. Everything was pitch was pitch perfect, except for the fact that Colossus was CGI the entire time, that annoyed me as he didn't need to be. Absolutely loved the film, cannot say that enough. 4/5

The Palm Beach Story
I had planned to this Preston Sturges film at the BFI but I was ill and missed it. But luckily I found it to rent on itunes. It's a brilliant film, funny, ridiculous and all round entertaining too. The married couple with money problems are Tom and Gerry (Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert), who are perfect for each other but in order to get the money the Tom needs for his project, Gerry runs away on the search for a millionaire to marry. There's a scene with a trigger happy hunting party and an over the top good night serenade plus some wonderful outfits. The Coen brothers were influenced by Preston Sturges films and I can definitely see why and how. 4/5

The Scorch Trials
I was actually looking forward to watching this film. The Maze Runner had the potential to be the next big thing (Divergent is just too boring and complicated) since The Hunger Games but in its sequel the story lost its way. The second book (I'm reading them, yes) is over complicated but I could see an easy path a film could take but the filmmakers just scraped the book entirely, only using a few names here and there. The 'shady organisation' WICKED or whatever its called is brought into the light but then we are told there are still some more unanswered questions. The cliff hanger isn't that inspiring either. Really disappointed. I think where these new YA dystopian franchises are going wrong is the aliens factor (The 5th Wave) and the over bearing technology fcator along with the barren wasteland, mixed with the unknown outside controllers, which both Divergent and The Maze Runner series suffer from. Also, its silly the studio have named the film The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials. There is no maze anymore! 1/5

Triple 9
This was a film that crept up on me. I had seen a trailer months ago (at least it felt like it had) and suddenley the film was released among the Oscar films. Directed by John Hillcoat who directed Lawless, so I had a inkling that this crime thriller would be exactly what I wanted to see. Ex-military now criminals and a couple of corrupt cops take on jobs from the Russian mafia, headed by the boss' wife while he is in prison. But when the group is asked to rob a goverment building they are left with one choice for a distraction, to kill a cop, this way the entire police force is occupied. It's an intense thriller where everyone is awful, including the drunken major crimes detective who is putting together who the team is that keeps pulling these high profile robberies. There is one redeeming character, the cop the group intend to kill, he has almost no idea whats happening, almost. The cast are absolutely brilliant, such a great ensemble. I particularly enjoyed watching Kate Winslett as the Russian mob boss, it suited her.  4/5

Hitman Agent 47
I wasn't too sure why I even watched this film. It has the makings of a blockbuster but it felt like an action B movie. Its another stab at the video game to film 'possible' franchise after the luke warm reception to the 2007 film. This time, Agent 47's target is the creator of the Agent programe and his daughter who has a special set of skills of her own. Another shady organisation called, what for it, Syndicate International, are trying to find the creator to re-boot the programme as they want their own set of hitmen.The story is predictable and the cast do their best to walk through the motions and at times typical action thriller dialogue, but there are a few good fight scenes. Rupert Friend seems to fit the bald barcoded head better than Timothy Olyphant did. Can't see this reigniting much but it served its purpose. I felt like an action movie one evening, one that I hadn't seen before and this was it.  2/5

I remembered when these stories broke. After so many of these stories came out, I got fed up with hearing them and then the continued Catholic bashing. I was brought up Catholic but I stopped going to church when I didn't have to. My parents said that my sister and I didn't have to go after we had our Confirmations. We went back once or twice at Christmas, Midnight Mass, but it didn't feel right so we never went back again. Watching this film was eye opening in a terrible but intriguing way. The film starts from when the Spotlight team at the Boston Globe is asked to look into a case about a priest molesering a child and the case is swept under the carpet. From there they find out there are more priests doing this and the chuch knows. They meet victims, lawyers involved in the cases, a psychotherapist who worked at a 'treatment centre' for the priests and they even get to speak to one priest. The film is brilliant and hard to hear. What shocked me was the endless list of places where other priests and cases had been dug up all over the world.  4/5


  1. moviesandsongs3653 March 2016 at 15:12

    Of those, I've only seen Spotlight. Yeah, that end scene with the list is disturbing. An important film, and I admire the journalists for going the extra mile, although to me Spotlight is not as powerful as Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012) -which shook me to the core

  2. Hi Chris, thanks for reading & commenting! I had a look at the Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God trailer, I'd like to see the film, it seems even more hard hitting. I think I would have liked a documentary about the Spotlight story too, something about it felt like a documentary could shed more light on everything.