When I moved here six-and-a-half years ago (and yes, that does still freak me out) I got a Cineworld Unlimited card, so I could see as many films as I wanted to. It’s a decent deal, less than £20 a month, so as long as you see more than one film per month, it’s paid for itself.
Because I’m a geek, I also started listing what I’d seen, with a separate sheet per year.
And it seems like I’m really quite consistent in how many films I see each year – not through any plan or schedule, it’s just the way it’s worked out.
The totals are
- 2012 – 26 films (although that’s in under six months, as I didn’t get the card ’til July/August)
- 2013 – 61 films
- 2014 – 64 films
- 2015 – 64 films
- 2016 – 54 films
- 2017 – 66 films
And so far this year I’m on… 62, with a couple of weeks to go.
Each year I think I’ll up my quality control a bit and see fewer films (when you’re not paying anything to see them, it’s remarkably easy to just say “Yeah, fuck it, I’ll give that a go”) And yet it all ends up being much of a muchness.
It’s odd, but I’m not going to complain. At least I know I’m getting value for money out of my Unlimited card. (It’s an outlay per year of £215 all told – so each film is costing me an average of £3.30, which is one fuck of a lot cheaper than the £10-ish for a single ticket!)
The weekend just gone ended up being a proper weekend “off”, and much needed. The last few weeks (well, months) have been pretty hectic, what with one thing and another. This weekend had been kind-of empty, but that also meant I’d booked stuff in.
I should’ve taken the hint though – a couple of weeks ago I cancelled off my first plan (a restaurant visit) because I just wasn’t feeling it, wasn’t looking forward to it, and where’s the fun in it when every single reaction to it is “blah”? So I sacked that off, and had made other plans, which then fell through a bit. No-one’s fault, just short-notice and other things already booked with the people in question. So I’d made a third plan, a day-trip to Manchester (travelling by train, so it was still semi-sensible, by my standards) which would’ve been fun – I haven’t been back to Manchester in a good eighteen months or so.
And then on Wednesday/Thursday I got an email making me aware that Manchester was going to be full of football stuff, plus a few other events, and I realised that actually I didn’t want that – and I particularly didn’t want that super-packed train home. Not in the mood for the people and the crowds, blah blah.
So I sacked it all off, admitted defeat (not quite the right word, but it’ll do for now) and stayed home. I still did a fair amount – sorted a bundle of domestic stuff, got rid of some things to the local tip, went to the cinema to watch a rubbish and easy-watching film on the Saturday, and then went out with local friends on the Sunday evening.
Basically, it was all enough to appease my brain’s nagging work ethic, but without doing much more than the bare minimum to appease it.
It was good – but also annoying, because I don’t actually feel any better for that quiet weekend. Maybe it’s a lost hope now, but I wanted to sleep, and to feel somewhat refreshed by the end of a peaceable and quiet weekend – but I don’t. I’m still tired, still feeling a bit blah about things, and just trying to figure shit out.
It was needed, but I kind-of wish it felt like I’d had more benefit out of it…
“Detroit” is a new film from Katheryn Bigelow (the director of the original Point Break, Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and many others) about the Detroit (unsurprisingly) 12th Street race riot, and in particular the Algiers Motel incident.
That incident is (yet another) one I didn’t really know anything about until seeing the film. I don’t believe it’s one that has gone into ‘common knowledge’ – while I’m no expert on these things, it’s not one I’ve ever heard even mentioned, and I don’t honestly think it’s even left a large imprint on American history.
Anyway, the film is an interesting one – but (in my opinion) tries too hard, telling too many stories in one film. There could have been a film about the riots themselves, the causes, the people, the effects. There could have been a film about just the Algiers incident – although I suspect that the conclusion of that would’ve been deeply unsatisfactory. And there could’ve been one about the aftermath, the court case(s), the people, and what happened to them afterwards.
But trying to do all of those within the scope of one film – admittedly, a bloody long film at 14o-odd minutes – is difficult, at best. It starts with the riots, and we don’t even really meet any of the “main” characters for a good half an hour. Then we go to the Algiers, which is as bad as it could be – and probably pretty truthful, as one of the people involved was on set every day, advising and providing input. And then for the final half hour or so, we’re in the court case, the details, the results, and the aftermath.
If the film had been longer, it might’ve gelled better, become a whole story. As it is, it feels overly-edited, almost like a ‘greatest hits’ rather than a full story. It’s still a good film, and a story that should be told. It’s just that the story deserves to be properly told, not in a hodge-podge of setpieces.
Last night, I went to see the new Guy Ritchie film, “King Arthur – Legend of the Sword“. It is, to be charitable, a bit of a mess.
I wasn’t expecting high-art, or a high-brow version of the Arthurian Legends – it’s a Guy Ritchie film, so anyone expecting that would be sorely disappointed anyway. But I was expecting a Guy Ritchie film – a significant portion of silliness, snappy and smart dialogue, and some impressive visuals/shots. This is the man who brought us “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”, “Snatch”, “Sherlock Holmes” (and its sequel) and “The Man From Uncle” – all of which qualify on all those things, and all of which I like.
But this one… well.
It’s got silliness – but in this case it veers more towards the ridiculous. Yes, ridiculous even within the pantheon of Arthurian stuff. The mage-driven war-elephants larger than mountains were a particular “high” point in this. But at least they were visually impressive. Which leads me to…
Visuals – it’s got some gloriously shot scenes and set-pieces. But the rest is a mess. Even some of those setpieces, there’s just too much going on for it to make sense. It needs to convey the speed and fury and chaos of battle – and in some ways I guess it does that, as no-one has any fucking clue what’s going on. But it’s also a film, and you should be able to at least see what’s happening. There are bits that are visually brilliant, but then the rest just detracts from those pieces.
Dialogue – it’s got it. But again, like the silliness, it feels forced, and it doesn’t fit with the characters, or the time. There are a couple of larger pieces that are definitely meant to be “Lock, Stock and Broadsword”, but they simply don’t work, even with snappy camerawork to accompany them.
Some of it may also be down to the cast – I like Charlie Hunnam in most things, but he does come across as being more of a supporter than a star. So having him as the main character doesn’t necessarily help things – but it does seem far more like the script is a complete dog-egg, and they’ve all just done what they can with it. And if that’s the case, then it’s really Guy Ritchie who’s primarily responsible, as he’s the writer of the original screenplay too.
All told, the nicest I can say is that it’s a mess. Not one I’d go and see again, it’s fair to say.
It’s a superhero/comic-book film that doesn’t work to the normal stereotypes. Most importantly, it’s one where you don’t need to have seen any of the other X-Men or Wolverine films before seeing Logan. It’s more a stand-alone film that just happens to occupy the same space as some of those movies.
In many ways it’s actually more of a Western than a superhero film, and that’s no bad thing in my book. They make a lot of connections with Shane, but it could just as easily have been Unforgiven. There’s a kind of bitterness to the whole film, both an anger at getting old, and an acknowledgement that it’s happened – and also a huge sadness about it.
In the case of both of the major characters, age is hitting the things they’re most valued by – Charles Xavier, always valued for his intelligence/genius, is suffering from dementia (among other things), and Logan’s regenerative ability is fading, leaving him sore, scarred, and hurting in ways he’s never had to get used to.
The next generation is ably served by Laura (AKA X-23), played by Dafne Keen, who is frankly awesome. She doesn’t speak for the greater part of the film, but the emotion and feeling she conveys in a glare and an eyebrow is nothing short of stunning.
Obviously, if you hate superhero and comic-book films, Logan won’t change your opinion. If you’re open to them, it’s one that is well worth seeing.
It’ll be interesting, as pretty much all the films starring Wolverine have been rotten, but I’m still willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt- it’s being sold as more of an independent film, looking at how these heroes have aged, how they’ve been treated by time, and the like. So yeah, I’ll be interested to see how it works out.
On a geekier note, the preview starts at 22:23, which is amusing. Why? Because it works out as 10:23(pm) , which works out as X:23 (we’re being geeky, so one roman numeral will have to do) because the X23 programme is the programme/code for one of the successors to Wolverine
I’ll probably write more about it in the next couple of days.