Friday, 3 January 2014

what i saw - film and moving pictures 2014

i'd like to tell you that my film watching suffered because of the hours i spent on the bike or reading books but that wouldn't really be true. i watched just as many films this year as i usually do but maybe it was because i was tired after everything else that meant aside for all the usual suspects this has to have been one of the poorest years for film in recent memory.

one of the reasons? no documentaries as such on tv and certainly not on cinema screens around these parts. i'm almost certain that the act of killing would have been up there in this year's top 5 given what i've seen of it
so far. i most likely would've liked blackfish also but i couldn't watch that with t and i was working when i could've got to it myself.

we did watch a bunch of popcorn movies. t, more than me, thought that the lone ranger was laugh out loud funny. i'm not certain it was meant to be unless you include johnny depp becoming more and more of a parody of himself. who remembers gilbert grape now? we both loved star trek. benedict cumberbatch but in the baddie of the year turn and more than did the source material justice. but it's still a remake of sorts.

somewhere some academic type should be writing something about the end of consumerist fears of the western movie making establishment in the form of popcorn destruction movies. star trek was a thinly, and poorly, disguised 9/11 allegory, and not a good one. and then there's the superhero movies which seem to me more and more a meditation on powerless in the face of unassailable power.

giant robots and giant lizards? we were made for pacific rim and both of us share the love for idris elba. unfairly slated - even guillermo del toro said it was a popcorn movie - this ticked all the boxes except maybe that he should've ignored the american market altogether. it's slick and beatuful but after a while i found myself wistful for the big rubber man in a suit godzilla style battling of the old days. obviously both of us are choking over the forthcoming godzilla remake which, at first glance, seems to understand this.

man of steel was a surprise like. maybe it was the kryptonian costume design that got me into it (too much wire work for me this last wee while not to notice) but the first two thirds of the film was actually interesting. i liked the colour palette, the sound track was acceptable but mostly it was the fact that the film focused around the fact kalel was an alien. almost lost in the last third when all the fighting and destruction kicks off is the question of what to do with the invulnerable man. in this superman humanity suffers. but just to make sure we don;t dwell on it man of steel has just about the most awful finishing minutes of the year. and i saw the internship.

a special word for that. i could say illness made us watch it. but really it was stupidity. easily the worst film i've seen in years. an insult to all those involved but particularly the viewer. the best thing about it? that it ended.

and that was about it. i've high hopes for nebraska but i haven't seen it yet. intouchables is worth a view but i've seen far too many disabled people in the real world to be really beguiled by a tale of how the very rich manage. jason statham of all people has a go at actual acting in hummingbird but blows it all in the second most lamentable ending of the year. surprise too in that genre as tom cruise wasn't half bad in jack reacher, a movie that has an actual plot and doesn't disappear up the cruiser. the same couldn't be said of oblivion. looked great. but shit. cruiser i'm looking at you. not a 2013 made film but easily the best film of this ilk was the guard. you'd need to ask an actual irish person just how offensive to them this film is but me and t loved it. brendan gleeson and don cheadle are great as the odd couple but the ever under-rated mark strong steals the shows as the baddie with the existential crisis.

and then to the tv. we've watched less tv this year than we ever have. if ever there was an argument for getting rid of the bbc it's the bbc. why are they so obsessed with dr who? and fair what drama you like is the drama you like but then there's the documentary. constant repetition, no bar too low to patronise its audience, the bbc's output these days is lamentable. horrible music at every opportunity, woeful limitations on actual explication and, if you can, the presenter's (brian cox i'm thinking of you) gurning face at every conceivable moment. there was loads of stuff that could've been interesting btu five minutes in at leats one fo us was shouting and we retired to read an actual book.

and that's before the news. and while the radio is, and has been for years, better you have to suspect that there's a special layer of middle class hell where you have to listen to mariella frostup's droning voice oozing into your ears forever.

on the upside. house of cards. great central performances from kevin spacey and robin penn and only a couple of shonky episodes and/or plot lines. loved it from beginning to end and can't wait for the next series.

so in terms of the moving image for 2013 there is no best film because there wasn't anything i saw, outside of entertainment, that even approached making me want to like it. so house of cards it is. and american autumn, or at least the trailer here because you can't actually see the whole film anywhere. my favourite thing this year.

American Autumn on

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