D4D

Like handing a monkey a sledgehammer and letting it loose in a bomb factory

Archive for the category “Films”

King Arthur, Legend of the Sword

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.

Changeable

The last couple of weeks – and the coming one – have been… chaotic, to say the least.  I’m used to this in general, but it’s felt like it’s been even more frenetic than usual this month, and there’ve been a lot of contributory factors that have all conspired to make it so.

Work-wise, I’ve been ending up on-site at least twice a week, rather than the usual one day a week, and that’s just disturbed things a bit. Usually I can take my work laptop on-site on a Monday, and then leave it in my own office for the rest of the week, rather than constantly lugging it around.  This month though it’s been on-site, in-office, on-site, in-office etc. etc.

Around the work stuff, there’s been a lot of other bits going on, with stuff in London on some evenings, as well as other social stuff and going to the cinema.  And it all adds up.

For example, this week has involved…

  • Monday – on site
  • Tuesday – working from home, then going to London to Mere in the evening.
  • Wednesday – in office
  • Thursday – on site, then seeing Kong: Skull Island in the evening
  • Friday – in office
  • And then just my usual idiocy in the coming weekend, another trip to London to see friends, and a social-and-food even locally on Sunday

Next week is no different really, including two London trips to the theatre, as well as all the usual work. I’m vaguely hopeful that I won’t be on-site more than once, but I’ll only find that out during the week.

Once next week is done, I’m hoping that things will be a bit quieter again. That’s certainly the plan – if nothing else, I need some downtime – but we’ll see how it goes.  In fairness, I can handle the multiple days on-site or I can handle the other stuff – it’s just when it’s both things at once that it gets somewhat harder to deal with.

Logan

As expected (and hoped-for), Logan turned out to be bloody good – and succeeded in all the aims that the writers and director had gone for.

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.

X-23

Tonight, I’m off out seeing a preview of the new X-men film, “Logan“, which is apparently the last of the X-Men films to have Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

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.

Oscar-sight

One of the stories of the weekend was the cockup at the Oscars on Sunday night, with La La Land initally being declared as “Best Film”, when it was actually Moonlight.

Ooooops

(Supposedly, the auditors/organisers had “mistakenly given the wrong category envelope to the presenters”)

What I loved though, was the speed that companies like Specsavers got in on the act…

Wicking Away

So yes, last night I went to see John Wick Chapter 2 at the cinema. If nothing else, it amused me that they were putting on the preview release of this on Valentine’s Day, as it’s just about the absolute antithesis of a romantic film.

I really liked the first John Wick film, which was a bit of a sneak hit that people hadn’t really been expecting.  It’s exceptionally violent – as you’d kind of expect from the basic premise of “a retired killer comes back to avenge the death of those important to him” – but also highly stylised and stylish, with stuff shown in ways that hadn’t really been done before.  It was also helped by the fact that the directors ( Chad Stahelski and David Leitch ) are both ex-stuntmen, who know what works and what looks good. They brought that experience and energy to the original, and continue to do so for the second chapter.  It also made a decent amount of money ($86m from a $20m budget) so a sequel was always likely to happen.

Wick 2 is written and directed by the same primary people (although no David Leitch this time) and managed to keep all the same primary cast, while also adding in some pretty high-powered names along the way.

Happily, it is just as insane and violent as its predecessor – if you’re not into that type of film, just don’t even contemplate going. I have no idea how it got away with being a 15 certificate, but it did, so there we go.

Again, it’s also hyper-stylised, with an individual style and look, as well as building up an ample mythology that will (I suspect) take it into a third (and probably fourth) film with ease. It also looks like it’ll do better than the original – at the time of writing it’s already made $44m on a $40m budget, and that’s before the UK release. Indeed, it only came out in the US on 30th January, so it’s had two weeks there, and made its money back already. Not bad going.

So yeah, worth seeing, assuming you like the same sort of ridiculous rubbish as I appear to…

 

Valentinage

And here we are, once again, on February 14th, Valentine’s Day – one of the most pointless ‘special occasions’ known to man.

In a break with tradition, I’m being good this year.  The last few years, I’ve been an absolute dickhead, but not this year.

What I have been doing is booking a table for two at a restaurant for the evening of Feb 14th, and then going on my own.  It really messes with people, to be there, looking sad and abandoned on Valentine’s Day.

If I’m in a particularly cruel mood, I’ve also taken along a ring-box, putting it on the table.  That really gets to people.

 

This year though, I’m not doing it.  Instead, I’m off to see John Wick 2. Which will be mental, ridiculous, and hugely entertaining.

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