December heralds the start of two things: an avalanche of Best Of lists and awards nominations (expect my usual review of the year to appear at the end of December in all its usual multi-faceted glory), and seemingly the first round of promotional material for the onslaught on our senses that cinema of 2015 is shaping up to be. Enjoy the first few months of the year, and the relative originality of offerings like Inherent Vice and Big Hero 6, for once awards season has passed, originality is taking a ten month holiday and you won’t be able to move in your local multiplex foyer for all of the oversized standees boldly proclaiming the umpteenth instalment in that franchise you’d tried to forget about.
From March 20th, when the Divergent sequel converges on us, we’ve got the Fastest, most Furious and possibly most poignant car movie ever made, the maddest Max ever seen in the form of Tom Hardy, another theme park ride-inspired trip to Tomorrowland, the most Insidious horror sequel yet, a Minion-flavoured spin-off, more foul-mouthed bear action with Ted, the end of Marvel’s Phase II with Ant-Man, the origins of Peter Pan, Magic Mike getting XXL, the return of the men from U.N.C.L.E, London going the way of Olympus and falling, the Hungriest Games of all, the most not-actually-impossible Mission and a Peanuts movie. What a nightmare, Charlie Brown! And that’s not even counting a host of other remakes and re-releases.
But I’m not a totally jaded cynic of a blogger; not quite yet, anyways. There are a few marquee names that might still get me excited in 2015, and they’ve been putting their various stakes in the ground over the past couple of weeks. Here’s how excited they’ve managed to make me, expressed as I so often do in the form of a bar graph.
If anybody wants me, I’ll be running around the house with my hands clasped together in a gun shape, running around and bah-bah-BAH-AH-ing the Bond theme as loudly as possible.
Before I start, a word of apology to any regular readers (who I think are coming close to numbering in double figures now; I feel like I should send you all a Christmas card at the very least). Sadly I don’t have the luxury of being a full time blogger – although I do keep buying those lottery tickets, just in case – so at times when work, other obligations, other interests or all of the above call on my time, it’s the blog that has to suffer. We’ll overlook for now the fact that I saw four films last Sunday afternoon and evening and haven’t written any of the reviews yet, I’ll just say I’m sorry I’ve not been around for the last couple of weeks and I hope to make up for it in spades in April. So hopefully the blog won’t end up looking like this:
Anyway, to April, the season of anticipation which traditionally mixes the early blockbuster fodder of the summer with a mix of reasonable quality art house material. That said, it’s been three years since I’ve seen a genuine classic 10/10 film in April – that being 2009’s Let The Right One In – so I go into the month without the highest of expectations. It’s looking to be a pretty decent April this year, given the quality of what’s not made the list, including:
- Sean Penn going all Robert Smith before going on an epic journey across America in This Must Be The Place, which has an unremarkable trailer for such a remarkable transformation
- Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature French film A Cat In Paris, which has trailers available in both English dubbed and subtitled version and so consequently split the vote
- Convention-busting horror movie The Cabin In The Woods, about which you should know as little as possible before going in (apparently – the trailer does feel quite spoilery; I’ll be able to say either way in a few days but I’m taking no chances here)
- Iron Sky, the Nazis on the moon film which you may have heard about, for which it seems based on the reviews that the trailer is better than the film
- Marley, documentarian Kevin McDonald’s latest on the behind the scenes difficulties in bringing the Owen Wilson / Jennifer Aniston / labrador film to the big screen (not really, but that’s the first link I clicked on when looking for the trailer)
- The Cold Light Of Day, which looks to be reaching a new low in terms of action movie effort expended (a moment when a foreign character says – about Madrid, in English – “You’ll never survive in this country, you don’t know the language”) and has Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver dialling in performances
Well, maybe not the last one.
I grew up on the Kent coast, so asylum seekers probably ought to be an emotive issue for me. But now, living out on the Fens, surrounded by fields of vegetables being picked by hard working, honest Polish workers earning money for their agriculture studies, it couldn’t be further from my mind. Regardless of your views on people trying to get into this country, this comedy set in the Normandy town looks delightfully off the wall.
It’s always slightly unnerving when the “From the…” credit starts to become more abstracted from those at the coal face. “From the writer / director of…” seems fair enough, unless it’s the director of Axe Murderers In Hell XIV bringing you the new live action Bambi remake, but I start to get slightly nervy at the “From the producers of…” credit. Were, for example, the producers of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo the same producers of The Girl Who Played With Fire? If so, you’re not filling me with confidence, guys…
Jeff, Who Lives At Home
Maybe it’s just the name, but I always imagined mumblecore would have more actual mumbling, even though I could see that conceit wearing quite thin before the end of the actual film. It seemed like mumblecore was going to break into the mainstream a couple of years ago, but so far the Duplass brothers’ Cyrus remains the most prominent example of the genre. Mark and Jay are back, with a cast even more impressive than that last effort, so maybe this year is going to be the year of the mumblers. (Jason Segel and mumbling though? Just doesn’t seem likely.)
It’s called The Avengers, and any attempts to convince me otherwise will end in failure. When I see this at the cinema, I will be asking for a ticket to The Avengers, and will withhold any attempts to be corrected on that subject. Anyone managing to confuse this with either the Patrick Macnee series or the Ralph Fiennes film deserves to be made to watch the Ralph Fiennes film again, just to teach them a lesson. So to sum up, The Avengers. On general release April 26th across the UK. No assembly required.
It only feels like yesterday since BlogalongaMuppets finished, but one of the few flaws in the triumphant last film The Muppets was the failure to include any Sesame Street Muppets; Big Bird and Oscar’s appearances in the first two Muppet films were both highlights and it’s a shame that contractual obligations put an end to any of them popping up in the 21st century incarnation. So to compensate, this documentary on everyone’s favourite red fluffy Muppet seems the ideal tonic.
Strippers vs Werewolves
Not so much fulfilling the “interesting” brief as being fascinating in the same terrifying way as watching a road traffic accident unfold before your very eyes, this is the kind of trailer normally affixed to the kind of low budget horror films that I favoured as a student, mainly because at the time very few people were making high budget horror films. But don’t worry that it appears to have gathered most of its cast by grabbing them at the stage door of the National Soap Awards and bundling them into a waiting van, it’s got Robert Englund in. You know? Off of A Nightmare On Elm Street, and Wishmaster, and Urban Legend, and Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer, and Zombie Strippers, and oh right.
Life, sadly, can’t revolve entirely around the cinema, much as I would like it to. But there are things that can be almost as rewarding on TV. One of them comes to an end this weekend after six years packed with detail and intrigue, and it’s one that, almost more than anything on TV, I now feel I should have watched but didn’t.
The reason for not getting into Lost when it started, apart from watching ten minutes of the pilot episode and not really engaging with it, was that I’d been burned with previous mythology based stories, most notable The X Files. And I just had this feeling at the time that Lost was going to set up years and years of mythology, and like The X Files wouldn’t know how to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion.