May has arrived, and with it warm enough weather for me to be regularly feeling guilty that I’m not doing any gardening and instead spending half my spare time in the cinema. I did spend an afternoon this weekend trimming back a hedge in my garden that hasn’t been touched since I moved in six years ago; hopefully the series of tiny scars on my arms from wrestling overgrown branches into the back of the car to take for recycling have bought me enough time to have a day in the cinema on Bank Holiday Monday, and at least a week of not having to think about doing the same with the hedge on the other side (now leering ominously across the garden as if it’s auditioning for the next Evil Dead remake).
Anyway, before this turns into Gardener’s Question Time, suppose we’d better talk about films. I’ve been keeping detailed records of what I watch since 2008, which enables me to do all manner of pointless analysis on my own cinema habits. For example, the directors who I’ve seen most in the cinema in that time are Steven Soderbergh and Tim Burton (5 films each), followed by Haneke, Hitchcock and the Coen Brothers (4 each). Think that’s pointless? Try this. Here’s a comparison of the average scores I’ve given films in the first four months of each year, compared to their average scores from IMDb users.
What this tells me is I’ve seen more films than I realised this year (only one behind last year, although I do think I’ll struggle to match the 200 I saw in total in 2012), but oddly, while the films have had the best reception with Joe Public of any group I’ve seen in January to April, my enjoyment of them has been significantly less.
Normally May is a big month for blockbusters, and consequently my scores tend to skew lower than popular opinion on the bigger films. With the likes of Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hangover Part III hitting cinemas, both ends of the spectrum could be covered. The material so far for STID hasn’t excited me that much, slightly worrying as I’m a hard core Trekkie; I will not be subjecting myself to another Hangover movie after the last one unless it’s getting 90%+ on Rotten Tomatoes. Let’s hope some of these other May offerings can up the average for the year instead.
Gimme The Loot
Another exciting looking début from a new film maker, and one subject to the curse of London-only release thanks to too many local screens being occupied by summer frippery. Good job I’m working in Norwich and Newcastle this week, then. (D’oh!)
Mike Nichols’ previous film, Take Shelter, was one of my highlights of 2011 and Matthew McConaughey had a great 2012 with the likes of Killer Joe and Magic Mike. Can’t wait to see what the two of them can do together.
I’m easily suggestible: there’s a little part of me that does become excited when a caption comes up telling me that this is from the makers of “Something Else That’s Supposed To Be Good”, even when I haven’t seen that thing. So, looks good.
Ever wondered what the cast of the Fast & Furious films do between films? The Rock has a steady career in films you’ve actually heard of, but apparently the best Paul Walker can get is other films with cars in. This looks like it will play in precisely one cinema in London from next week. (Also, a missed marketing opportunity: surely the caption after “THE FASTER HE GOES” should read “THE MORE FURIOUS HE GETS”?)
Fast & Furious 6
Or, if you prefer, the real thing. Saw six minutes of this (the tank chase scene) at a Cineworld preview in front of Iron Man 3; both ludicrous and exciting, this could be the guilty pleasure of the summer.
Something In The Air
And one final piece of exciting news (exciting for me, anyway): after becoming a regular guest on Cambridge 105’s film show Bums On Seats since last September (see top of page for links to my appearances), all being well I’ll be taking my first turn in the host’s chair at the end of the month. With both Fast 6 and this in contention for the show, should be a chance to test both my high and low brows. Have a good month, I’m off to get started on my script…
So, three weeks into January. Still keeping to those New Year’s resolutions, or have they all fallen by the wayside now? Just like last year and the year before, I’m sure. Setting up unrealistic expectations at the start of the year and then failing to keep to them is a national tradition, and by the beginning of February, chances are that you’ll have even forgotten what it was that you were trying to achieve. All those grand plans to change the world, or at least your waistline, will have gone out of the window for another year and nothing will really change. So how about a resolution that isn’t just for January, is guaranteed to expand your horizons and might just change your life?
Then my recommendation for you is to watch 100 films in a cinema. This year. It might already be past the middle of January, but there’s still plenty of time to get in a century of films before people start singing Auld Lang Syne, and it might be easier than you think. But why 100? Why a year? (If you’re next question is “why films?” or “why in a cinema?” then you’re probably reading the wrong blog, given that my whole point is to try to encourage you to watch films in a cinema.) In terms of a goal, I’ve already suggested a short term target, that you can, if you put your mind to it, watch seven films in one day. But this is the cinematic equivalent of running the 100 metres, and not everyone can cover that distance in ten seconds. So consider this to be your marathon rather than your sprint, and if you put your mind to it, there’s no reason why you can’t be celebrating a cinematic ton by the end of the year.
The other thing it’s worth doing, and this applies to any resolution setting, is to make sure that you’ve set yourself a SMART goal. Now, SMART goals might be taken from the school of business thinking commonly known as Management Bollocks™ but bear with me; these things have prominence in businesses for a reason, mainly that they do actually work. A SMART goal, if you’ve not come across them before, is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound. Seeing 100 films in a cinema in a calendar year is actually all of the above, so allow me to share with you the how, what, where, when and why you should give this challenge a go.