Thursday, 16 November 2017

TBT - Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

You may have gathered from my review of Thor Ragnarok on Tuesday that I fucking loved the film. It was the funniest Marvel movie that I've ever seen and was the most enjoyable cinema experience I've had all year. I know that, as a massive fan of the Thunder God, it was inevitable that I was going to adore this film but my love of the most recent film in his series of solo films comes from mostly from the work of director Taika Waititi. Waititi has a habit of making films that are as much fun as saying his name over and over. I remember adoring the delightfully weird Shark vs Eagle way back when and his mockumentary What We Do In the Shadows managed to breathe new life into the genre that Christopher Guest has almost single-handedly wore down to the bones. Waititi, as I suggested on Tuesday, was an incredibly unusual choice to make Marvel's latest big blockbuster. The New Zealand director has preferred to stay away from big productions and has specialised in smaller, quirky comedies. One of which keeps appearing in my Netflix recommendations and catching my eye. I've wanted to watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople for ages but, like everything else I see on Netflix, I kept passing over it in favour of watching Stranger Things or Rick and Morty for the umpteenth time. So, I decided, to fit in with my last review, it was a good opportunity to finally watch it. To me 2016 doesn't really qualify for a TBT post but I think there are times when I can make exceptions. Certain films deserve a loophole or two.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Tuesday's Reviews: Thor Ragnarok (2017)

I have to say , considering the quality of the previous 2 Thor films, it's been pretty difficult to be a fan of Marvel's God of Thunder. He has always been my favourite male superhero in the Marvel comic book world but it's been hard to convince non-comic book fans that he deserves that title. Iron Man is the funny and cool one thanks to RDJ. Captain America has, the best Marvel film, Winter Solider, to make himself look better. But Thor? He's had a pretty poor showing in terms of solo film outings. I say as someone who adores the first Thor film but also understands that it leaves a lot to be desired. I understand the second one is dire but we don't need to go into that again. This back catalogue of frustratingly weak films have meant that a lot of people have overlooked Thor. He hasn't made enough of an impact. His own films are just irritatingly lacking and he tends to get lost in the huge ensembles of the two Avengers movies. Heck, he wasn't even allowed in Civil War. Instead Thor was benched along with the other Avenger that nobody really knows what to do with: the Hulk. The problem is the very concept of the Thunder God. He's so caught up in mythology that there is a tendency to play him straight. Living up in his own realm of the God's means he feels even less realistic than the rest of the line-up and that really is saying something. His roles in these films have left Thor feeling like the weak link in the chain. He's neither the funniest, the most badass, nor the most memorable of the Avengers. Hollywood just doesn't know what to do with him. Or at least they didn't. From the minute the first images of Ragnarok came out I was convinced this would be the film we Thor fans have been waiting for. It had Guardians of the Galaxy style humour, an 80s aesthetic, and a fucking awesome soundtrack. Even before I'd seen it I was sure it was going to be my cup of tea. Of course, the fact that it would also serve as the closest we'd get to a Planet Hulk movie was just an added bonus.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Sunday Rundown - That's What She Read

Yesterday was Remembrance Day and, as usual, we had a 2 minute silence at 11am at work. Except, we weren't given our usual warning before it started and I was so distracted by what I was doing that I didn't realise what time it was and started chatting away whilst everyone else was silent. It was awful. One of those moments where you have an out of body experience and just start shouting at yourself to 'shut the fuck up'. Thankfully, it wasn't for the entire 2 minutes but I can imagine all the customers sitting silently and listening to me gabbing away to myself. I was mortified. I think it's such an important practice so can't think of anything less disrespectful. I recently read somewhere that about a third of young people are refusing to wear poppies because they believe it glorifies war. If it's true and not just journalistic sensationalism then it's absolutely fucking ridiculous. How can you be accused of glorifying conflict by remembering the people who died to bring freedom to persecuted people? Also, the money raised actually helps the armed forces. It's not promoting war but helping people who have been affected by it. I don't whether it's just that I, having read a load of WW1 poetry in my time, have a pretty good grip on the grim reality of the conditions facing soldiers in the 'Great War' but I think wearing a poppy is an important practice. It doesn't mean your buying into the notion that war fixes everything but it means we'll, hopefully, learn from out past. Anyway, I wasn't planning on getting in to this so let's just get down to business.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

TBT - Notting Hill (1999)

I'm not going to lie to you guys, my schedule has gone a little awry this week. I didn't watch anything for today's post yesterday as I intended so had to quickly find something appropriate whilst browsing Netflix as soon as I got home from work. It's the end of my working week so I'm pretty tired and just picked the first film that seemed like an easy watch. It certainly doesn't link to my review of 6 Days from earlier this week. I do prefer it when there seems to be some method to my madness but that definitely isn't the case. However, I'm a consummate professional so should be able to come up with a logical reason if you'll give me a moments thought. Ahem. I opened Tuesday's post talking about how Jamie Bell will always be Billy Elliot in my eyes, which links to the star of today's film I guess. To me and most people in the world, Hugh Grant is, and forever will be, the bumbling, floppy haired idiot who starred in loads of Richard Curtis romantic comedies. I don't think I'll ever be able to take him seriously in anything and have just come to believe that any Hugh Grant film I see will basically just be Notting Hill 2 or something. Which is fine, I guess, as I don't exactly go rushing out to see Hugh Grant movies any more. This isn't the 90s for fuck's sake. However, it is late on a Thursday night and, having to be up early to get shit done tomorrow, Notting Hill seemed like a fairly adequate choice for my viewing pleasure. It's actually been ages since I saw it.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Book Review: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I'm supposed to be reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead at the moment. I started in October and got about halfway before I decided it was time to read some more appropriate reading for the scariest month of the year. It might not be the first choice for a Halloween read but I decided it was about time to reread And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I always find it a bit weird to reread a crime novel because it has a completely different feel when you know whodunit. It's not necessarily a bad thing to know because you start to pick up on things that you didn't the first time. I guess a more pedantic person might try and pick apart the plot knowing what you know but, for me, I think it's just worth reading a classic Agatha Christie novel whenever you can. She is still the Queen of Crime for good reason. Something that I find worth celebrating as we reach the 100th anniversary of the publication of her first novel. I've tried to read contemporary crime fiction but, to be honest, I'm fucking bored of psychological thrillers with unreliable narrators and super dark themes. Every other week we're being introduced to 'the new Gone Girl' which would be fine if I'd actually felt that Gone Girl was actually worth finishing. I found it tired and predictable. It was obvious we were being played with but it wasn't a good enough book for me to let myself be taken along for the ride. These days, it always seems like crime writers are just trying to one-up the last big sensation and it's getting too out of control. Girl on the Train was not worth my time and every book I've read that tried to build off that was abandoned early on. I know classic novels like Agatha Christie's seem tame in comparison but they are based on well-crafted narratives and not cliched plots. If you call yourself a fan of thrillers and you haven't read anything by her then you're really doing this reading thing wrong.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - 6 Days (2017)

The problem with an actor playing an iconic role early on in their career means that they are forever carrying that character around on their shoulders. Look at Daniel Radcliffe who, despite seeming to take every random opportunity that comes his way, is finding it difficult to come out of the shadow of the Boy Who Lived. As much as I want to watch every new film he stars in as a new Daniel Radcliffe film I can't help but see Harry Potter everywhere. Similarly, I have often had problems separating Jamie Bell from Billy Elliot. As such, every role that I've watched Bell play has just seemed more childish than it should have done. He's tried to do plenty of serious stuff over the years but all I see is that young ballet dancer pretending to be a grown-up. Which is a massive shame because I really like Jamie Bell. He just hasn't ever quite found that one role that changed the way people, or at least I, perceive him. For the last few years he's done a variety of different thigns that have had varying degrees of success. He was perfect as the title character in The Adventures of Tintin but was recently in the reboot of Fantastic Four that never really worked. I admit that I was
unconvinced after seeing that he was going to star in a film as a member of the SAS. Would I ever be able to see anything other than Billy Elliot with a gun?

Sunday, 5 November 2017


Remember, remember the fifth of November, 
Gunpowder treason and plot. We see no reason Why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot! 

As I write, I'm surrounded by the sound of fireworks going off in every direction. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about Bonfire Night. I enjoy fireworks as much as the next person but, as someone who loves being indoors, I am slightly apposed to the idea of being stood in the dark and cold for a long period of time. Still, despite having only had about 4 hours sleep on Friday night, I dragged myself out of the house to watch our local display. It was pretty fun and I'm glad I went. Even if I still find it weird that we all happily celebrate the attempted murder and subsequent torture of a load of people in 1605. Like, "oh yeah, Catholics had it so bad that they were driven to try to blow people up before they were found and violently killed. Let's all stand around having a great time." Anyway, I've discussed this issue enough today so let's get on with the rundown.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

TBT - The 'Burbs (1989)

Without being too mean, my neighbours are weird. Well, the mother is super weird. She has this incredible obsession with her garden, which causes her to lose her mind every so often. At the end of October it was fucking windy as Storm Brian passed over the UK. Overnight the weather went mental and blew over a few of her plants. The wind didn't really let up for the entire weekend but that didn't stop my insane neighbour wrestling with her trees to get them to stand up. It was quite a sight. It's not the first nor will it be the last time she goes on a crazy gardening rampage. She's the kind of woman who, when you accidentally cut your hedge too short, will start having an emotional breakdown in the garden because she doesn't like it. But, hey, we've all been there, right? Am I scared that one day her intense love of horticulture will lead to more violent pursuits? Sure. You might say I'm being paranoid but it's probably got more to do with the fact that I've just watched The 'Burbs. But you have never seen my neighbour. If you told me she had a big collection of bones hidden under her house then I probably wouldn't be shocked.