I’ve been working from home for at least 4 months at this point and not being able to really go out and see friends and do normal things has started to take a bit of a toll. I’ve been lucky that I’ve had computer games to play and books to read, as well as work letting me keep some structure to my days which has been a definite plus.
That being said I’m starting to get a little bored so I thought I use the time to make the effort t watch some films I’ve had for a while and never gotten round to watching for whatever reason. I thought I’d then write a little bit about what I thought each of them.
Isle of Dogs – This was not the film I was expecting at all, I thought as it used stop motion animation that it’d be a kids film which it very much isn’t. It’s definitely not that and actually much darker than I was expecting, which is somehow made darker by the animation choice and the fact that the human characters are largely not understandable and the overall fact that the dogs have essentially been exiled to a garbage dump. I did very much enjoy it though, it looks awesome, there’s some dark humour sprinkled in and there’s some really sweet story beats so I’d definitely recommend it as one to check out.
Stuber – I remember seeing the trailer for this and wanting to see it as the chemistry between Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani looked to be very amusing. That much holds true but the film overall is a disappointingly generic buddy movie where the everything is largely very predictable and the twist can be seen a mile off. It has a cracking cast but wastes talent like Mira Sorvino, Karen Gillan and Iko Uwais which is a massive shame. It’s definitely watchable but realistically it’s probably a 5 or 6 out of 10 type film.
The Disaster Artist – Based on the story of the making of the film The Room, if even half of what’s in there is accurate then the real story is utterly mental. Directed by James Franco, who also stars as Tommy Wiseau, and co-starring Dave Franco as Greg Sestero it follows Gregs meeting go Tommy and them making the film together. It’s utterly ridiculous and weirdly compelling, it’s made better by the side by side comparison of scenes from this film and The Room so you can see how faithful they’ve tried to be.
The Dead Don’t Die – This was marketed as a horror/comedy starring Bill Murray and Adam Driver, and that was fundamentally enough to get me interested. It was largely a middle amusing distraction, played mostly straight with an appreciation of the ridiculousness of it all. That is up until the last 15 or 20 minutes where it takes an utterly mental change in direction that’s never actually touched on and therefore makes no sense what so ever, to the point where my initial reaction was to wonder what the hell had just happened. It’s definitely worth a watch but I’m genuinely not sure how I feel about the whole thing off the back of that ending segment.
What If – A romantic comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe that I’d never previously heard of but picked up on the cheap. It follows the usual romcom story formula so no real surprises but it does boast some interesting characters which makes the whole thing much more enjoyable. Radcliffe particularly is engaging as the lead and Adam Driver is a lot of fun though somewhat under-utilised. My only real complaint is that there are a number of character relationships that could have been expanded upon or made deeper, such as that of Radcliffe’s character and his sister, that I think would have benefitted things. I did like that the ending didn’t tie things up in a neat little bow but on a hopeful note which is further hinted at in the credit. Overall it was a pleasant little surprise.
Bad Boys 2 – Jesus Christ this was fucking atrocious, I enjoyed the first film as it was at a point when Michael Bay was capable of restraint. This on the other hand has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the bollocks, the Bay trademark mass explosions and quick cuts are on full display backed up with slow mo that is wholly unnecessary. The villains are shit, the dialogue is total wank and the attempts at humour are largely cretinous. When not even Will Smith can make a film even halfway watchable you’ve got a serious problem, this is genuinely one of the worst films I’ve ever sat through and making myself endure it was an act of pure masochism, please for the love of all that’s holy don’t ever watch this shitshow.
True Romance – This is a film where I genuinely don’t know how I’ve never seen it before, especially given how often my mates quite it. You can tell from the ending it was written by Quentin Tarantino, an over the top shoot out where almost everyone dies. It’s a weirdly paced film, it feels like it started out as ideas for a few set pieces that were then stitched together into an entire film. Big name stars such as Gary Oldman aren’t in it as much as you’d expect and Christopher Walken is essentially in one scene, he’s superb in it naturally but then he just vanishes for the rest of the film which is a shame. Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette anchor the film with solid performances and I’d say overall I enjoyed it but it just felt a bit disjointed and oddly paced. Definitely worth watching if nothing else.
Zodiac – This was not the film I was expecting at all, obviously I knew going in that it was a film based on the Zodiac killer though didn’t know more than that so was expecting it to be a true crime film and while the first half is, the second half is more focussed on the obsession of one man to uncover the truth. Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr are all superb, Gyllenhaal in particular is excellent as Robert Graysmith whose book is what the film is based on. It’s a film that is never going to be truly satisfying given that the killer was never actually officially identified though the film end up pointing to the best suspect, though does also point to conflicting evidence there, it also drops some really tense moments in where you get a genuine sense of foreboding as to what’s going to happen next and this never feels cheap, it definitely adds to the story being told. It’s a genuinely fascinating film and it’s got me wanting to read the book it’s based on too.
The Family Fang – The second film to be directed by Jason Bateman, he stars in this alongside Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken. The core of the film is basically about the bond between a brother and sister, played by Bateman and Kidman and how they were raised by their parents who turned everything into a performance, which we get to see glimpses of with flashbacks. It’s understated and bittersweet in essence because of how it deals with the family bond and how parents can fuck you up a little bit. Bateman seems to be the kind of actor and director that’s seriously talented, he can do comedy and serious equally which is solid accomplishment. I’d also recommend checking his first film Bad Words which while having a little pathos running through it but is a straight up comedy definitely worth checking out.
The Godfather – I’ve some how never seen this despite being nagged about it for years so figured I’d give it a go. First impressions were that at just under 3 hours it’d be way too long and to be honest having now watched it I’d stand by that. Too be clear it’s a very good film, Al Pacino is excellent in it as are the rest of the cast. I’m glad I’ve now watched it and I’ll be getting to the sequels at some point but I have one main issue with it which is that it’s very much a slow burner which when coupled with the run time does make it drag a bit in places. It’s well made, aside from some slightly iffy blood effects which I appreciate is me literally just nit picking. I can’t say I was a huge fan overall but I think that’s more down to me not being a huge fan of the genre rather than there being anything wrong with the film itself.
This has been a solid plan so far in terms of finally watching stuff I’ve not gotten round to as yet, sure there’s been some disappointments so far but I’ve also found a couple of gems as well as finally being able to not take shit for not having seen some of these. And to be honest it’s been fun watching stuff that I might not ordinarily have bothered with otherwise as I’d have just kept putting them off indefinitely so this might be something I keep doing as time goes on, even if it’s just to allow me to right bits in small segments over a period of time rather than pressuring myself to do it all in one go.