The Month that was.. ah fuck.

So February turned out to be a disaster then. Despite what it looks like I did watch some films during the last month. Just nowhere near as many as I should have. Nor have I bothered writing about them yet. I really am making this hard for myself and will need to put aside a few days for some movie marathons.

Why have I failed so miserably during the last month? I mainly blame the TV. So many shows currently on stealing film watching time. Sky Atlantic you utter bastard. Then of course there’s the major time-stealers such as my Xbox and the Internet that take up so much of my “spare time” (though all my time is basically “spare time”).

It’s not looking good for the year’s target. But I reckon I still have a chance of completing the challenge. Mibs.

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Bring me a Dream!

So, the last film I watched during the month of January was Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream.

Set in Brooklyn the film charts four seasons in the lives of four characters; Sara Goldfarb, her son Harry (played by Jared Leto), his girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly) and Harry’s friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans). The film deals with each characters’ addictions to drugs which takeover and destroy their lives in different ways.

The film could be described as a long “Drugs are bad” commercial filmed in an artsy, perhaps even pretentious, style. Though it would be harsh on the film to do so. Each of the cast are great in their roles and their stories are moving and often depressing.

I really liked the way the film was edited together and the soundtrack is amazing. The plot is stomach-punchingly raw and bleak. I mean, I didn’t cry or anything. But once the end credits started rolling I found myself just sitting there feeling a little bit shocked and very much depressed.

Some people claim it’s all style and no substance and it wouldn’t get the praise it receives if it was filmed in a more traditional sense. I’m not sure about that. I’m not sure if you can say it’s an enjoyable film given the subject matter and how it pans out, but it’s one of the best and most devastating films I’ve ever seen and I rate it very highly.

9.5/10

(Highest rated film I watched during January)

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Don’t threaten me with a dead fish.

Ah Christ. How have I fallen so far behind. Right, time to try to catch up with this. First up is Withnail and I, which I watched all the way back in January now. I saw this was on the TV so decided to watch it after someone I know always went on about how good it was.

For those that don’t know the film (such as myself prior to watching it) it’s a British black comedy film from 1986 starring Richard E. Grant (“Withnail”) and Paul McGann (“I”). They play a couple of poor unemployed actors living in a London during the late 1960s. Fed up of their squalid Camden flat the pair decide to escape to the Lake District for a holiday at Withnail’s flamboyantly gay uncle’s country cottage.

It wouldn’t be much of a film if their idyllic went to plan, and needless to say it doesn’t. It rains constantly, they find themselves without food, scared of a local poacher and then have Monty turn up to stay with them.

Watching this I can see why it’s become such a highly regarded cult classic. At first I couldn’t decide if I liked the character Withnail (and the film itself) but as the film continued my mind was made up for me. Richard E. Grant brilliantly played the eccentric Withnail.

The film managed to often be hilarious, while also dark and quite thought-provoking. I have to say though the scenes with Uncle Monty making moves on Paul McGann’s character made me feel rather uncomfortable. Despite this quite disturbing moment the film was enjoyable, well written and had a host of quotable lines.

I feel I need to view it several more times before I can truly appreciate the film, but I’m struggling as it is to watch films so that will have to wait.

7.5/10

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The Month that was January

Christ, it’s February already? So that means, theoretically, I should have watched at least 31 films by now. When in fact I’ve only watched 21 (and only posted reviews of 19). Gonna need to sort that out, though the launch of Sky Atlantic is likely to affect my viewing plans.

Looking at the films I have watched this month it would appear “Thank You For Smoking” and The Host were my joint highest rated films I watched during January. Though one of the 2 films I’ve yet to write reviews for could join, or even better, them once I get around to adding them.

The lowest rating so far was Wilderness with a 5/10. Which isn’t bad really. Have yet to watch anything too terrible.

I have plenty of films recorded on the Sky+ box, as well as my DVD collection, so hopefully I’ll watch more the 21 films in February.

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Whatcha gonna do, when they come for you?

Time for another film I vaguely remember seeing as a young ‘un. This time it’s Michael Bay’s directorial debut; Bad Boys. As well as being Bay’s first film it appears to be both Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s first starring role movie.

Smith and Lawrence play best friends, and police detectives, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. Working for the Miami narcotics division the pair are tasked with protecting a murder witness (played by Téa Leoni) while at the same time they investigate the robbery of $100 million worth of seized heroin from the police vault.

Bad Boys is a comedic buddy-cop movie coupled with the large dosage of action  you’d expect from a Michael Bay film. The two leads work well together and you get a feeling that the characters are genuinely old friends with plenty of history between the them.

But being a Bay film stuff like the plot or character development is never going to be its strong point. It’s about the explosions and intense action scenes. Luckily the film gives us plenty in these areas. The films climatic battle being a prime example.

Sure the film is dumb, shallow and pretty forgettable. It’s not the best action or buddy cop movie but it provides some (cheap) laughs and plenty of entertaining brainless action.

6.5/10

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We three kings be stealin’ the gold!

Three Kings is a film I had never been interested in watching. I can’t say why that was, just happened to be that way. I noticed it was on TV so thought I’d give it a chance. Once again I’m both glad I did and annoyed that I didn’t sooner.

It’s a war film with more than a hint of comedy about it. The film stars George Clooney, Marky Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze as four soldiers attempting to steal Saddam’s gold (originally stolen from Kuwait) in the aftermath of the first Persian Gulf War. Along the way they run into Iraqi rebels that wish to leave the country for Iran.

The combination of comedy and hard-hitting drama works surprisingly well. One minute you’ll be laughing and then the next feeling pretty shocked or upset about what’s happening. Furthermore the film gets you questioning the morality of soldiers and the film doesn’t paint the US army as the almighty honest heroes that Hollywood usually tends to do. Well, not to the same degree as other films at least.

I enjoyed this film. It delivered much more than what I expected. It has plenty of thrills and action, dark humour and a good group of characters you can root for.

8/10

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It’s Magic.

Time for another British film that I had never heard of before. This time it’s “Under the Mud” which I caught on BBC One. Based in an area of Liverpool, the film follows the events of one family on the day of the youngest daughter’s first Holy Communion. It’s a low-budget comedy film that is rather surreal at times.

What marks this film out is the fact it was written by a group of young people, with no prior screenwriting experience, from around the Liverpool area. This gives the film a more genuine and realistic feeling when dealing with the young characters of the film.

The relatively unknown cast all put in great performances especially Lenny Wood who plays the main character Magic.

The film didn’t receive a theatrical release and very little in the way of promotion. This is a real shame as I enjoyed the film and believe it deserves to be seen by more people. It’s funny, uplifting and charming. It’s a bit like a toned down Shameless. And all the better for it. Well worth seeing.

7/10

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