I’ve never really understood birthdays. Call me an old curmudgeon if you like, but I’ve somehow missed the point that our arbitrary calendar system, based on the distance round the giant glowy thing that our damp ball of rock has travelled, requires us to mark each revolution with some significance. Same applies to New Year – we have an odd and occasionally unhealthy fascination with running out of days in a particular year that requires us to spend ridiculous amounts of money to get drunk in public or stand around in the early hours of the morning singing a song that no one actually understands a word of. I’m not averse to a party, I can just think of better reasons.
Now lists, on the other hand, that’s something I can relate to. The need to obsessively collate and rank things in some sense of order, for no real point other than the satisfaction of having done it? Fantastic. I’m also absurdly competitive – get me in a pub with a pool cue or a set of darts in my hand and the demons appear from inside me and take over my brain. So if we have to mark the passing of the year, then I can think of no better way of doing it that with a purely arbitrary collection of a competitive nature, based around another damp-rock-glowy-thing-orbit.
Another Friday rolls around, and normally at this point I’d be attempting to cajole you, dear reader, into a trip to the cinema at some point in the coming week, for as we all know that is the place where movies must be watched for the fullest effect. But this week, with snow on the ground and the country grinding to a halt, I find it harder than ever to suggest that those of you living in a winter wonderland should trek out and find something to watch. (And it’s not even winter yet – an autumn wonderland?)
But there is something that is worth making the trek for this week, and it’s from a British director who’s marked himself out as a real talent to watch, Gareth Edwards. His first feature film is a labour of love, and has the look of a movie ten times its budget. But there’s something lurking in this Monster’s closet; the marketing campaign.
There’s a number of different cuts of the trailer around, and some of them err on the side of suggesting this is another District 9, a monster mash with the emphasis on the monsters. I attempted to draw the distinction in my review that this isn’t just about the monsters by drawing out the differences, and if anything the title itself may be misleading. It’s a hard movie to pin down, being part road movie, part love story and part giant monster movie, but it’s absolutely not a thrill-a-minute action ride, so try to go in without expectations, and just let Monsters grab hold of you. I hope you’ll be as enraptured as I was.
It’s finally here. After months of secrecy, speculation and salivation (not to mention alliteration), the saviour of the summer blockbuster is finally upon us. And anticipation in my head is reaching levels not seen since the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phanton Menace, when, despite having a ticket, I queued for an hour outside the screening to get the best possible seat. (Despite the movie being satisfactory rather than spectacular, my flatmate and I still bought lightsabers and fought with them until the early hours. I was 25 at the time.)
The risk here is that I have built this movie (and Toy Story 3 to a lesser extent) up in my mind to such an extent that it can never deliver on that expectation. Christopher Nolan has succeeded in pulling together possibly the best cast for a major Hollywood release known to man (and the best ensemble I can think of since Heat), filmed in seven countries on four continents, spent a huge amount of money on realistic stunts that avoid too much CGI, but has one thing which makes it stand out above pretty much anything else I’m likely to see this year – Christopher Nolan.
There are a few directors whose movies I would go and see if I had been kept in a hermetically sealed bubble until the day of release and knew nothing of the movie itself; they include David Fincher, the Coen brothers, Michael Haneke, Brad Bird and David Cronenberg. But if every other rational human being had dismissed his latest opus, I would still give Nolan a chance.
I could sit and write a lengthy dissertation for this (because, being a blogger, I love nothing more than the sound of my own voice reading my own posts back in my head). It occurred to me, though, that it might be easier just to share with you, my readers (hello, both of you), my top 50 movies of the previous decade. I originally wrote this for my Facebook at the back end of last year, as a summary of my movie-going obsession of that decade; reading it through gives some clear indication of my Nolan-love and why my expectations are vertigo-inducingly high for this one.
My wife went to see Sex and the City 2 with friends instead of me. I love her very much.
This is her review, edited purely for punctuation by me, because I am that obsessive compulsive.
The Review: I loved Sex and the City as a teenager and even until my early 20s it was still daring and provocative. Not any more. In the same way as you don’t want to imagine your parents having sex, the idea of Samantha still being a sleep-around kinda gal is repulsive. Charlotte appears unable to cope with two children despite having a nanny, which again makes all sympathy disappear. Oh my god Carrie and Mr Big are happy, oh no their not, oh yes they are etc, really who cares?? The only character which seems to have it together is Miranda and she really isn’t on screen enough; her dry sarcasm could have been a redeeming feature but sadly it wasn’t. Oh, and they went to Abu Dhabi had a few ‘girlie’ moments, all the above character flaws continued ad nauseum, then they went home and had a happy ending.
I wish I could be more positive but really I’m now old enough to know better and so are they. This won’t appeal to the early 20s market as they have no connection to 40+ year olds sleeping around and the viewing 30+ year old who require a nostalgia fest should watch the reruns on Comedy Central, not this dross.
Why see it at the cinema: The clothes are pretty and the scenery spectacular. Oh and Liza Minnelli singing Beyonce is worth the entrance fee alone in my book. But that’s about it.
The Score: A well below expectations 5 /10
I now love her even more for saving me from this.