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Week 10 - 11th March

By Eloquent Gushing

Matthew's Letterboxd Watchlist Matthew's Letterboxd Diary iTunes RSS Feed Google Play Stitcher Radio TuneIn I had an interesting moment of being very burned out on films on Tuesday this week. I just could not relish the idea of watching a film. I suspect this is to do with the lack of films I was genuinely interested in watching at the time I was looking, but reminded me of a time in 2003 I was very burned out on seeing films at the cinema after a run of particularly average movies (including Star Trek Nemesis). Then I saw a film that I expected little from and absolutely loved. It's amazing how films can absolutely surprise you from out of nowhere! It was also Oscars week. Which is always fun, but only looks at a select set of films considered 'the best' or 'most innovative', especially of Western cinema. Which is worthy and good. But for me part of the point of film is, through different viewpoints and perspectives, to learn and experience things you wouldn't through other circumstances. And enjoyment. Fun isn't necessarily the right word for all films, it is a high motivator for engaging with the content. The Fate of the Furious I don't really engage with the idea of guilty pleasures, but the enjoyment I get from the Fast & Furious franchise might equate to what people mean in that discussion. The last couple of films in the franchise have been particularly strong, with some good action and interesting twists. This film was a disappointment by comparison - they were looking for a way to finally make Vin Diesel the villain, and that was was poorly conceived. Even the driving action felt like something we'd seen before. I'm sure there's going to be a couple more in this series but I'm hoping they do something slightly different with them. The Apartment Sky Cinema launched an Oscars category bringing together lots of previous winners. So I thought I'd watch an older film that I might enjoy. I was surprised how funny this Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine film was, but I shouldn't have been as they're both very capable actors. This is definitely a film you couldn't (or wouldn't) make now - someone letting his bosses have affairs in his apartment to get promoted at work - but I'd be interested if someone did tackle this to modernise the story. The Unseen Sky add a new film every day, and this dark science fiction film came on this week. It had a really nice idea (a hereditary trait causing a man to disappear), but the film itself was pretty dull and listless, where another take on it would have had more drama at its core than some meandering plot about small town drug suppliers. Wanted I didn't mean to watch Wanted. But it was on live TV when I turned something else off, and just starting. And I ended up watching it through. It's still incredibly daft. So very, very daft. And I think that stops me from engaging from with it fully. But at the same time the action feels more CG than most, so perhaps that's it. Which is all a shame because Night Watch is one of my favourite modern fantasy films and books, but this first Western movie from the director tries to be slick but just doesn't hold any characters that I find empathetic or seem to hold any regard for the world outside of these characters. Miss Representation Documentaries on current affairs are hard things. Potentially they become outdated very quickly, especially if they are effective at being part of the message they carry. A lot of this documentary on the representation of women in media is entrenched in the discussion for women's rights. Sadly I think some of this is still necessary as an education on the phraseology and images used about women, especially in advertising and news. The film moved into an interesting discussion on what can be done and how people want to see it changed, and I thoroughly appreciated the larger picture it took in discussing a lot of its examples - rather than be specific it was doing a lot about how this treatment of women is so prevalent you don't even notice it. Julie & Julia I put a vote on Twitter to ask what I should watch next - Julie & Julia, Selma, or Whale Rider. With 100% of the votes this was the pretty overwhelming selection. I thoroughly enjoyed the Meryl Streep elements. She and Stanley Tucci were allowed to be delightful at all times and would have been an interesting story on their own. The Amy Adams elements were generally good, but felt oddly formulaic for a true story. I was particularly reminded of The Devil Wears Prada, with Julie's story feeling very similar to Andy in that story. But it was overall a very enjoyable time, and food is very hard to do well on screen but the enthusiasm of the cast really helped. An aside - this was an odd follow up to Miss Representation. Thinking about the discussion of how women have to be sexy or show skin at all times in films, it was striking to see that Amy Adams was the one taking her top off, or sitting around in just a shirt at times. In a film that I would imagine was not considered one men would want to watch, this felt an unusual choice, except that now I wonder if it was just the way it was done - cast the young actress and have her show skin wherever possible. No way of knowing, but I will be looking at these things differently. Wonder Woman This is still an excellent comic book movie. Gal Gadot is marvellous, and works so well in the role. I could live without the Chris Pine scenes in the bath and on the boat, especially as they delay the introduction of Etta Candy, and probably without the shopping sequence. But I think the way it does the action sequences through the middle were so effective at delivering a character we could relish. I wish it didn't descend into every modern DC trope - massive punching with no damage, bright lights from the sky, and a moment of clarity for the hero - it does a lot so good in the run up that I can forgive it.  Recommendation In a week that has a number of odd or 'not quite great' films, Miss Representation was easily the best thing I watched. This is an excellent documentary that will help to both start and add to discussions of the representation of women in media. It gave me a lot to think about that I'll try to keep into consideration when watching and discussing media in future. 

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