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Week 8 - 25th February

By Eloquent Gushing

Matthew's Letterboxd Watchlist Matthew's Letterboxd Diary iTunes RSS Feed Google Play Stitcher Radio TuneIn After talking about wanting to focus on better quality films that I hadn't seen recently I think I'm beginning to achieve that thing. Definitely fewer films watched, but that was mostly because I was travelling and visiting people. Going to the cinema is a great experience though. Especially when the people who work there are very into films and making sure you have a good experience. Devon at Odeon Guildford was thrilled we were seeing a less popular, but still good film, on a night when everyone else was seeing the blockbusters. And the chap on the door at the Picturehouse Bradford (whose name I didn't catch) wanted to make sure we knew our way around if necessary, and then came up to everyone in the audience during the credits to tell us about the post-credit scenes! Room From the marketing material I'd seen I didn't know what to expect of Room. I knew the vague outline of the story (a woman and her son are kept imprisoned in a single room), but the publicity stills made the room look really nice. It turns out I'd seen stills from another part of the film where they're in a nice room (another mystery solved). There were a number of surprising decisions in Room, most notably that it was all told from the POV of the boy. So we got very little exposition and mise en scène that felt lighter and happier than it might have otherwise been. But I was very surprised how the film has a lot more story than it could have - escaping the room would have been a natural conclusion, but it's only the midway point. The film was a good look at people dealing with trauma and how they find ways to deal with any situation. 1941 Another film I felt I should see, since this is Spielberg and a number of comedic actors I enjoy. Some of it was good - Tim Matheson and Nancy Allen especially. Some of it was comedy that hasn't lasted - John Belushi particularly. And some of it was downright problematic - the casually rapist Treat Williams storyline. At least I've seen it now I suppose. Kick-Ass 2 I didn't really enjoy Kick-Ass, but it had enough that I could be tempted by the sequel. Jim Carrey being in it tipped me over to put it on. I should have trusted the thing that had stopped me watching it all these years. Heavy amounts of male gaze, no likeable characters, and a pretty thin plot meant this was lacklustre at best, bad at most other times. The Shape of Water Sometimes you get a little delighted by films doing something different and unexpected. There's no reason for a lot of elements of this film, but the side plot about the elder gay chap, the constant use of musicals, the honourable nature of the Russian scientist... it all added a nice layer to what would have been a good film anyway. The pacing let the film down a few times, and the plot with the General putting pressure on Michael Shannon's villain could have been erased entirely. But I enjoyed it as it was, and I think seeing this in the cinema helped focus on it where at home I would have ended up looking at a phone or tablet when the film meandered. Black Panther Normally I'd see an MCU, Star Wars, DCEU or other 'big release' on opening weekend, but for reasons I couldn't do that here. It was strange not to be part of the conversation for the first 10 days or so - not posting links, making comments, sharing jokes and memes. It didn't detract from the film, although I did know way more about it and the characters than I otherwise would have. But the film itself is terrific. Enjoyable without needing to rely on snarky or anachronistic humour as other MCU properties do, along with some visuals that really set this film apart (a fairly ordinary fight and chase sequence in South Korea notwithstanding). A much more balanced gender representation than normal helped this film immensely, characters that would have been boring and tropey were made much more interesting through their portrayals here. Recommendation Black Panther has to be the recommendation this week - I know you've all seen it already but it was two hours of enjoyment and high quality. More so than perhaps any other film in phase two or three of the MCU this film stood on its own, which is a welcome relief after Civil War. I don't need to see Black Panther again, but when I eventually do I know I'll have a good time with it.

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