Week 7 – 18th February

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This week has been a definite learning experience. My inclination has become that I should watch more films I haven’t seen before. As much as I enjoy a good film on repeat viewings, this project is partly about expanding my experience.

Sadly trying to watch new films has meant I’ve watched some real dross this week. It might just be happenstance that I’ve picked bad films when I’ve seen the blurb, but I was aiming for films that I had some sort of passing interest in – a movie of a beloved series, an actor or writer I liked, that kind of thing. I’m afraid this week is going to be more negative than normal because there are some really not good films watched!

So I’m going to try to go for a slightly more curated effort in future. I’ve added to my watchlist on Amazon (and Letterboxd) so that I can have films available more readily. The downside is that the films are likely to be more intense and need more attention, so I won’t be able to have them on in the background. There’s probably a happy medium, maybe 2018 will help me find it.

Absolutely Fabulous: the Movie

And starting off with a film that wasn’t just bad, it would have been bad had they made it at the time the series was popular. But that was 20-25 years ago, so this film was incredibly out of place. What moments of good comedy existed were too sporadic to be noteworthy.

The Cable Guy

This is the only film I had seen before this week. After hearing it discussed on the Movie Crush podcast I wanted to give it another go, having not enjoyed it previously. Like Crouching Tiger and Rogue One, it hasn’t improved.

Violet & Daisy

Young female assassins, and James Gandolfini, in a dark comedy. But there was little humour, the plot barely held together, and it was too scatter gun with the world it was trying to create.

The Rock

I watched this for Pop Culturally Deprived and expected to enjoy it. But this is not a good film. It takes itself way too seriously, doesn’t get the best from its leading actors, and takes half the film to get to what should have been the main point of it all. Fuller thoughts on the podcast, as we did have a really good and in depth discussion about it.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza go a very long way with me. But this twist lacks the charm of Wedding Crashers, going for gross, violent, or loud humour wherever possible. A few moments are rescued by some good performances, but largely those are shouted offscreen by an ensemble that do not give each other room to perform.

Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys

For a lot of this documentary it does exactly what I’d like it to do – give an insight into the companies that developed Star Wars toys, show us the very rare items, and demonstrate what was done to aid the longevity of the series. But there was also an element of ogling the very nerdy guys who collected them, reminiscent of the way Trekkies almost shamed some of its subjects by finding the ‘most extreme’. What could have been a celebration at times turned cringe-worthy.

Little Evil

Adam Scott dealing with a step-son that might be the devil sounds like a good setup. But this film did very little that we’ve not seen elsewhere, Scott himself didn’t get much to do other than react. Evangaline Lily was as good as ever at least.

Baywatch

Knowing that I’ve watched some bad films this week, you might expect this to be on that side of things. I did. But I was utterly surprised. For the most part this film knew exactly what it was doing, made fun of itself, and had characters that were treated better than you might expect (generally). At times I got the impression the movie didn’t quite know what to do with itself, particularly in the last third where it forgot to do comedy and just dealt with the plot, but other than that I had a lot of fun watching it.

Hidden Figures

Fortunately the week as a whole was rescued by a superb film. I was interested in seeing Hidden Figures from the first time I heard about it, and was not let down. The tale is well told, and points where I expected terrible things to happen generally surprised me. Reading up on it afterwards I’m a little disappointed how much was changed to add drama, but that is often the way of things.

Recommendation

Easily this is Hidden Figures – some terrific performances and a story that is just a snippet in a much larger piece, but I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Episode 59: Parks and Recreation Season Five

Meanwhile, in Pawnee, season five of Parks and Recreation focusses on everyone having a relationship and major changes. Except Donna.

 

Show Notes:

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We’re also on Patreon! Eloquent Gushing is 100% supported by listeners like you. If you’d like access to exclusive content, please visit us on Patreon.

Get in touch! If you have thoughts about the episode or want to suggest something for a future episode, you can comment on this post at eloquentgushing.com, you can email us at podcast@eloquentgushing.com or find us on Twitter.

Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts!

Bonus – Constantine (eps 6-7)

This week we discuss episodes 6-7 of the Constantine TV series.

If you want to send us your thoughts use #ATAV on Twitter, find us on Twitter, or email podcast@eloquentgushing.com.

Eloquent Gushing is 100% supported by listeners like you. If you’d like access to exclusive content, please visit us on Patreon.

You can subscribe to the show using RSS, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Tune In Radio, or Stitcher Radio.

Theme music – The Child, Chris Nash

Week 6 – 11th February

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I spent some time in the last week logging films in Letterboxd that I’d seen before 2018. So far I’m up to about 1100. The main reason was to fill out some of the notable lists they advertise, but in doing so I’ve noticed a number of significant movies or pop culture items that I think I’d be expected to watch. Films like Citizen Kane, Rashomon, and Vertigo that I know because of their importance and the number of references to them, but have never seen. I’d like to see them, so I think that will be another way to fill out the 365 films this year.

There are pop culture films that are ‘must see’ but I’m not planning on watching. Singing in the Rain, The Sound of Music, and Shakespeare in Love are films I probably should see, but for one reason or another I find myself lacking the desire to do so. Maybe eventually.

And I’ve noticed this week I’ve seen a number of films with punctuation in the titles. I don’t think it means anything, it just feels like an oddity.

The Cloverfield Paradox

What a treat to wake up on a Monday morning and find a new movie available to watch that hasn’t even been advertised before, and in a genre I’m very fond of. The anthology structure of Cloverfield films is a really interesting take, and I feel like I can’t judge it too much until we’ve had a lot more understanding of what’s going on. So taking this film on its own merits… it’s only okay. There are some interesting things but I’d recommend something like Event Horizon before this. I’m not even sure this is going to be useful as a reference to the wider Cloverfield pieces other than a note about their origin.

War Dogs

I was recommended to this by my friend Dave. The trailer had looked interesting but a little Jonah Hill goes a long way, so I wasn’t sure. I’m glad I did watch it – the story was incredibly well told, with some terrific moments and a good insight into the world of FedBizOpps.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

My reaction when this came out was somewhat muted, I was prepared to love something new in the Star Wars universe and ultimately felt let down by a not great movie. I wanted to watch it again to see if my feelings changed or I could react differently, but sadly not. The film introduces too many new characters and locations too quickly and with not enough detail on motivations and relationships. Some of the plotting of the set pieces is baffling (why do they need to be told the location of the data file and use arms to get it out then take it to another location to transmit it?), as is the use of the Death Star. Probably this means Star Wars films are no longer made for someone like me to enjoy as a one off experience, but for people who want to read info about characters online, see the snippets and other small details on action figures, video games etc.

Power Rangers

Another recommendation, this from Caitlin on Twitter (@caitlingss), having discussed an enjoyment of large mecha and family of choice for Pacific Rim a while back. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the film. It’s not doing anything particularly unexpected, but part of that stems from younger viewers being the target audience for this, so they won’t have the experience with action films of this type. The fights were good, the team bonding was well done, and Elizabeth Banks clearly relishing her opportunity to ham it up as the villain.

Oh Lucy!

I actually saw this at a cinema, as part of the Japan Foundation’s film series in London. What I had expected from the title and blurb was a quirky comedy about a Japanese woman following her English teacher to the USA. What I got was something very dark and almost told with the intention of giving the saddest ending possible. There is probably a lot of truth in the stories told of the titular Lucy, her family, and the other characters, but definitely the film is mistitled at the very least. As much as there was a lot to discuss on our journey home, I find myself unable to recommend this film as it’s so bleak and with no characters to support or root for.

I, Tonya

Another cinema trip, I got a free ticket to a preview as part of the Sky VIP programme. And wow was this a good film. The way the story was built up as it went on was so clever, working towards ‘the incident’ and laying the groundwork for what is to come through the early movements. But more than that the performances were incredible – I’m a big fan of Allison Janney anyway, and Sebastian Stan almost disappeared entirely in his role – and the way the movie was shot and delivered was magnificent. The cinematography through the skating routines was just sublime and felt personal, really in Tonya’s POV, but the way we had interviews, fourth wall breaks, contradicting descriptions, and sequences showing the passage of time just blew me away.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Like with Rogue One, I wanted to watch this to gauge my feelings. When I first saw this film it was on a wave of excess hype and high critical praise. I was sad that I didn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else seemed to, so I wondered if I could appreciate it more now. But I’m still sad. The sequences of action and chasing are exquisite, and beautifully moving with a score that changes the way the images are presented. I really enjoy the drama between some of the characters (Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat in particular), but largely everything else in between them leaves me cold.

Captain Fantastic

Another film I wanted to watch because of critical acclaim. An interesting film, with some good content worthy of discussion and analysis, it seems to be the idea of what if one parenting technique was taken to absolute extremes. There was enough in here that was joyful and heartwarming to make it an enjoyable watch, if somewhat difficult and at times on the cusp of being shocking.

Citizen Kane

As I said before, this was a film I hadn’t seen but was incredibly familiar with, to the extent I knew the reveal of rosebud from an episode of Columbo. Still, sometimes you need to see the origin of something, and this did not disappoint. The style of the film, its combining of genre and technique, as well as the way the central character never actually performs in the story we’re being told in the ‘now’ of the film all delighted me. It’s an incredibly confident piece, which deserves its place in the history of cinema. If I’d come to this before other films I consider favourites (2001, The Godfather) Citizen Kane might be the one I rave about.

Spotlight

I had wanted to watch Spotlight for a while but not had the time to give it proper attention. I’m glad I waited until I could, since the film is so engaging and really benefits from seeing how the story is developed. I had to keep reminding myself it was based on a true story, as I was expecting more revelations or obstacles as it went on. The true strength here is showing how low key everyone, including initially the Spotlight team, treated the allegations and potential cover up until they saw the ramifications. A tremendous watch and deserving of the plaudits it got.

Recommendation

We have a really tricky situation for recommendation this week. On the one hand, Citizen Kane – potentially the greatest film ever made, the spark from which most other great films draw inspiration in some form, but something everyone knows really well. On the other hand, I, Tonya – a newer film that I want to recommend to make sure everyone sees it and can relish the quality of the performances and the production.

I think I have to go I, Tonya, because I want everyone to know it should be seen. I might even go see it a second time because of how much I enjoyed it, and that’s pretty much the best recommendation I can give.

Bonus – Constantine (eps 3-5)

This week we discuss episodes 3-5 of the Constantine TV series.

If you want to send us your thoughts use #ATAV on Twitter, find us on Twitter, or email podcast@eloquentgushing.com.

Eloquent Gushing is 100% supported by listeners like you. If you’d like access to exclusive content, please visit us on Patreon.

You can subscribe to the show using RSS, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Tune In Radio, or Stitcher Radio.

Theme music – The Child, Chris Nash

Episode 57: The Incredibles with Rachel from Wonking Out

In which we talk about The Incredibles, James Bond, Watchmen, X-Men, Arrow, and a heap of other media.

Show Notes:

Leave us a message on Speakpipe!

We’re also on Patreon! Eloquent Gushing is 100% supported by listeners like you. If you’d like access to exclusive content, please visit us on Patreon.

Get in touch! If you have thoughts about the episode or want to suggest something for a future episode, you can comment on this post at eloquentgushing.com, you can email us at podcast@eloquentgushing.com or find us on Twitter.

Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts!

Week 5 – 4th February

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Back up to a high number of films this week, 10 in total. I think I learned the lesson I have been given time and time again – trust your instinct. When I’ve heard of a film and decided not to watch it because it doesn’t look that good, I’m usually right. When I hear of a film and decide to watch it, I’m often pleasantly surprised.

This is not a hard and fast rule, and is probably counteracted by learning too much about a film and spoiling it, or being more prepared to like something when I think about it less.

Which is pretty much why I avoid trailers and other information for films I want to see. Which is a complete switch from where it used to be – Attack of the Clones and Star Trek Nemesis I’d actually read the script before seeing them. But at some point you realise that sort of insight can ruin the enjoyment rather than heighten the expectation.

The World’s End

I enjoyed Shaun of the Dead, much more so on TV than in the cinema. Hot Fuzz I love anywhere, it’s a great take on small village living with a fun twist. Whilst this tries the same thing it fails because so little time is given to the village, so much time is given to the leads who are either awful or uninteresting, and the twist is poorly conceived and delivered. So I should have trusted my instinct that has stopped me from watching it until now.

Operator

Another film I was recommended to by Netflix based on previous content. A socially awkward man uses his wife’s voice and personality to create a digital assistant for a healthcare company, and the lines between which he cares more for become unclear, impacting their relationship. This film is everything I wanted Her to be, a good use of technology to tell a human story. There is not a person in this film I didn’t care about, and I was thoroughly engaged by the story. A really good watch.

Killing Reagan

Letterboxd lists this as the ‘most obscure’ film I’ve watched so far. I wanted to see it after hearing the actor Tim Matheson, who plays Reagan on The West Wing Weekly podcast. It’s a nice telling of the event and the personalities involved, but a little lacking in drama, which is often hard with a historically truthful tale.

Burying The Ex

Truth be told I was only watching this because it has Anton Yelchin in it. Sadly that wasn’t enough to rescue a very ordinary film that has a really nice idea at the core of it, but doesn’t make it work. Reminiscent of the movie ‘Life After Beth’ in many many ways, but at least that had Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza to shore it up.

The Thomas Crown Affair (remake)

You can hear my thoughts on this in detail on a future Pop Culturally Deprived, but this is still a good heist movie that uses its lead actors very very well and has an incredibly sharp script behind it.

The Thomas Crown Affair (original)

Which is to say that the writing on the original is less good. The leads are excellent but this is clearly a film of its time – the number of changes that they made for the 1999 film shows how this wasn’t quite as good as it wanted to be.

Ghost In The Shell (Live-action remake)

I love the original GITS (and will be watching that soon), and was very excited to see this when it was announced. As it got closer to release I was less and less enthused by it, so ended up not catching this at the cinema. Again, good instincts because it was lacking in a number of ways. They tried to use the live action nature in some ways that don’t work as well in animation (showing emotion, doing a more personal element of the story), but they kept in all the set pieces which were much better in the original. It left me questioning really why this was made.

Death Note (2017)

I have to admit I do not know Death Note other than by the references I see on t-shirts, comics, merchandise etc. Netflix offered me the trailer and I was grabbed within a few seconds. Again, my instinct paid off. I was riveted by the whole thing. The idea is good, the implementation is good, the escalation is good. There’s a lot about this to enjoy, and it might be the best thing I’ve seen so far.

Now You See Me

My instinct on this was to not see it at the cinema, but that it would be enjoyable when I did catch it. And that was on point up to the last 10 minutes. The whole way through we felt like the movie was lying to us, or holding something back, and when it came it was almost flippantly given away in a manner that actually lessened the whole. This is definitely a film that goes for style over substance, and doesn’t show you the best bits of the story (the development of the illusions, the magicians together).

Now You See Me 2

Fortunately the sequel does give you those things. Unfortunately it likes style even more than the first. There’s a sequence in here where they’re flipping a card between them whilst being frisked. It looks great. It has no purpose. I genuinely do not understand why they did that. And a lot of the tricks shown were much more about CG and visual effects than they were genuine magic tricks. I enjoyed this more than the first because we spent more time with the magicians at its core, but still not really impressed.

Recommendation

I would love to recommend Death Note as I enjoyed it so much, but reading the critical reception I think I’m on the wrong side of that one (my lack of knowledge of the source material is probably to blame). Operator however was a terrific film that told an excellent story in a gripping manner, so everyone should definitely seek that out.

Bonus – Constantine (eps 1-2)

This week we discuss the first two episodes of the Constantine TV series.

If you want to send us your thoughts use #ATAV on Twitter, find us on Twitter, or email podcast@eloquentgushing.com.

Eloquent Gushing is 100% supported by listeners like you. If you’d like access to exclusive content, please visit us on Patreon.

You can subscribe to the show using RSS, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Tune In Radio, or Stitcher Radio.

Theme music – The Child, Chris Nash

Matthew’s Movie Mentions – Week 4 28th January

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I said I wanted to watch an ‘ordinary’ amount of films, and I think I achieved that this week.

It might be worth covering my film library mechanisms, so I can refer back to it if needed. I have four main sources for films – Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky Cinema, and my DVD collection. These are all sources that are effectively instant access. When I know I have to or want to watch something that I don’t own I tend to search the others on a PC or on my phone, and add to the watch list on the relevant service. Very occasionally a film is on a regular TV channel but that sort of happenstance is rare.

Where a film isn’t available from these I turn to my secondary sources – charity shops, CEX, and digital rental. There are a number of charity shops that sell secondhand DVDs in the village I live in, so every so often I wander up one side of the high street and back down the other to seek something out. CEX is a UK secondhand trade in shop that quite often has things very cheap after they’ve been out a couple of years. In terms of digital rental I tend to use Amazon Video or Google Play.

And every so often I actually go to the cinema to watch a film. The next town over has an Odeon cinema which is actually quite nice. There’s an independent cinema in the town my family live in, and a Cineworld nearby that. I used to go to Picturehouse Clapham or Ritzy Brixton, and for special occasions I visit the Electric Cinema in Portobello Road, which is pretty much the best cinema I’ve ever been to.

Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics

I watched this because the DVD of it came free with Batman: Assault on Arkham. It was an okay documentary, narrated by Ryan Reynolds (which must mean it was made around the release of Green Lantern). The insight into the actual creators of the original heroes and DC itself was really good, but when it got into the histories of the characters it was going over information most would know so it felt a little aimless.

The Nice Guys

I enjoy a good noir story, and when Nice Guys tried to do that it worked really well. The odd couple style pairing really did work, and both characters were well crafted. However they also tried to make this funny, but often by delivering an unusual juxtaposition between the situation and the reaction. At those times it worked less well. I could easily see this film having a follow-up which I’d be interested to check out.

The Circle

Netflix recommended this to me because of a previous film, and the stellar cast lured me in to watch it. I recommend anyone else similarly tempted to trust their instinct that questions why they’ve not heard of a film with Tom Hanks, Patton Oswald, Emma Watson, John Boyega (and others). It wanted to be a mysterious tale of a dark possible future, but it never really embraced the darkness or where the plot could go, just looking at it in potentia without delivering. Black Mirror does this better, go watch that instead.

The Incredibles

We’re covering this on PCD, and I’m always happy to watch The Incredibles. Whilst it’s a superhero film which is still such a major genre, it’s stylistically, narratively, and generally done in a more capable fashion than most others.

Get Out

I will admit I have owned this for several months since Sky gave me a free purchase from their store. I was very keen to receive it but then it took an age to come and I never made time once I had it. But that is my error – this is a really good film. Very cleverly creating a sense of tension and oddness to the events, with incredibly confident performances from every member of its cast.

Constantine

We watched this for ATAV so you can check out that podcast now if you want. I loved this film when it came out, which explains why I own it, and

Recommendation

As good as The Incredibles is, I think Get Out might be my recommendation just for something a bit different and with a perspective that works so fully throughout.

Bonus – Constantine (2005 movie)

This week we discuss the 2005 movie Constantine.

If you want to send us your thoughts use #ATAV on Twitter, find us on Twitter, or email podcast@eloquentgushing.com.

Eloquent Gushing is 100% supported by listeners like you. If you’d like access to exclusive content, please visit us on Patreon.

You can subscribe to the show using RSS, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Tune In Radio, or Stitcher Radio.

Theme music – The Child, Chris Nash