I’m behind (again!) so it’s time for a quick look at the films I watched over August and September. And unfortunately this was during my redundancy period (AKA: sitting in my pyjamas all day eating cheese) so uncharacteristically there’s quite a few movies. Well, quite a few movies for me.
Once this old thing is out the way we can continue with the important business of Halloween inspired posts and in the grand tradition of 2014 and 2015, I’ll be posting my annual ‘scary picture of Emma’. NOT (contrary to popular belief) a picture taken first thing in the morning.
On with the films:
An Inspector Calls (1954) / The Winslow Boy (1999) / The Entity (1982) re-watch / It Follows (2014) re-watch / Devil (2010) re-watch / David Brent: Life on the Road (2016) / Big (1988) re-watch / Green Room (2015) / Insidious (2010) re-watch / Lights Out (2016) / 21 Jump Street (2012) re-watch / Inside Out (2015) / The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) re-watch / The Visit (2015) re-watch / Smokin’ Aces (2006) re-watch / Touching the Void (2003) re-watch / Run Fatboy Run (2007)
I watched An Inspector Calls and The Winslow Boy with my grandad. I enjoyed both of them but An Inspector Calls was reeeeally good. I was glad to recommend it to MovieRob for one of his Movie’s from the Hat series and even more glad he enjoyed it (read his review here). It’s an atmospheric film, one that draws you in with a great script and air of mystery. Alastair Sim stars as a creepy inspector who arrives unannounced one night at a wealthy family home, investigating the death of a young girl. What’s great is watching the family secrets unfold, each one of them exposed for their wrongdoings in life. The Winslow Boy is based on a true story, another wealthy family but a very different one. The youngest son is accused of stealing money at boarding school but protests his innocence. The story is basically about the case and the damage it did to their family reputation. An interesting, enjoyable film.
Now, The Entity was so much fun to watch! It was also a defining moment in the life of a scaredy-cat who loves horror films but can’t sleep afterwards, because I watched it home alone. I felt like Muhammad I’m Hard Bruce Lee. Plus, when I was a kid this film SHIT ME UP (badly) and subsequently I hadn’t watched it in about twenty years. It’s about a poltergeist raping Barbara Hershey. What more can I say? Supposedly a true story but um…..*whispers* yeah, I don’t believe that. It’s still good though, quite creepy and some great old fashioned effects. Something that stood out was the thumpy score written by Charles Bernstein (he did the music for A Nightmare on Elm Street), which was recently nicked by Tarantino for the first Jew Hunter scene in Inglourious Basterds (2007). Listen to it here.
I proved myself as a hard-arse again by watching Insidious on TV and not going round turning every light on afterwards. I’m obviously growing up! And I know everyone hates M. Night Shyamalan with a plant like passion, but I enjoyed two of his films this month. Devil isn’t perfect but it’s fun viewing if you lean back, enjoy the ride and stop fucking moaning. And it has that cool opener where the city is upside down. And I really liked The Visit, which I watched for the first time. I loved the underlying strangeness, it felt wacky from the beginning and at times downright eeeeewww. And I’m glad the ending – mild irrelevant spoiler – wasn’t anything to do with aliens living down a well (for a moment there I actually thought he was going to do that to us).
Sadly I didn’t enjoy Green Room too much, despite being really excited to watch it. I know, I know – I’m SUCH a loser. To be honest I found it quite garbled, hard to follow in places, anti-climatic and though it was enticing having Patrick Stewart play the lead bad guy, I soon realised it was impossible for me to find him scary. I kept thinking of Bullock from American Dad.
The other first time watches this month were Run Fatboy Run, which, well I don’t want to sound mean but I only watched because it was late and there was nothing else on. I don’t want to sound bitchy but it’s not a film I ever wanted to watch or anticipated I would watch. In the end it wasn’t TOO bad for fluffy, meaningless time wasting. Simon Pegg’s fake fat guy stomach looked dumb but as usual he was likable in his part and helped carry things.
And Inside Out, which most people have seen anyway but in case you haven’t, it’s textbook ‘meaningful Pixar’. For the most part it was okay but I prefer funnier kids films. I don’t mind sentimentality, it’s very lovely when executed well but too much of it and it starts to feel forced. Though I noticed my boyfriend lean over the sofa in an odd fashion towards the end and whilst I’m certain he wasn’t crying (he’s really not that sort of bloke, he had a beard way before the hipsters) there was definitely a moment he had to compose himself. I hope he doesn’t mind me writing that and anyway – we watched Big that same weekend so it’s my turn to admit to being a tad emotional. I cried at the end when he walks towards his house in the giant suit. When haven’t I cried when he walks towards his house in the giant suit. The music! It’s so sad and bittersweet. But let’s end this on a jovial tone.
Another re-watch was Smokin’ Aces which I always enjoy. It’s such fun. Did you know that Chris Pine had to fight really hard for his role as neo-Nazi crackpot Darwin Tremor and I think he shines out the most of everyone (and let’s remind ourselves that Ryan Reynolds WITH DARK HAIR AND A BEARD is also in this). The scene where he’s moving dead Ben Affleck’s mouth around is brilliant, how they didn’t laugh.
Like most people, I loved It Follows (apart from Quentin Tarantino – read his “not just disappointed but almost a little angry” rant here). I re-watched it on Blu-Ray and though it wasn’t as scary or tense the second time around, it was still above par and the soundtrack – which I sometimes drive around at night listening to – stood out even more. Admittedly this is probably because I’ve been driving around at night listening to it (and I do mean when I’m actually going somewhere, I don’t mean I get in my car for a random It Follows music sesh, that would just be creepy). In any case I’ll be reviewing it soon for Halloween and weirdly, it reminded me of The Entity score in places. Both movies use loud music, almost a thudding sound to accentuate some of the scariest scenes. Apart from feeling slightly sorry for my neighbours I did enjoy that a lot.
21 Jump Street and The Wolf of Wall Street I caught on TV having already watched both a while ago. Jonah Hill would be pleased. The latter in particular is a superb film, maybe not a classic as such but utterly irresistible and so damn entertaining. I love the genuine comedy and outlandish situations. And the three hour duration hardly hits home at all, a mark of its high entertainment value.
That’s almost it, sixteen films laid bare but happily I’ve saved the best til last – Touching the Void, one of my favourite films. It’s a documentary, made up of interviews and a reconstruction, telling the story of two climbers who got into trouble whilst climbing Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. It’s a famous story in the mountaineering world and was first published as a book by Joe Simpson, one of the climbers. It’s an exceptional story, both men successfully get to the summit but on the way down Simpson breaks his leg (badly). After struggling down for several hours their situation worsens and his climbing partner Simon Yates makes the controversial decision to cut the rope that connects them, plunging Simpson into a mountain crevasse. Their interviews are frank and the reconstruction is very decent, an incredible story on every level.