Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Not A Doctor Who Reference In Sight

When I first pondered about what I'd watched over Christmas, I was kind of ashamed. Months of bitching about being too skint to go to the pictures finally paid off, and I got my unlimited Cineworld pass in the mail a week or so ago. Excitedly, and more than a little proudly, I put it in my purse vowing to make 2010 my Year of Cinema. Sadly, this clashed with my other plan to work as much as possible over the holidays, and said card is still dwindling in my purse, unused. STILL... the more I thought about it, I actually watched alot more than I thought- and even briefly flirted with BBC iPlayer, something I'd never used before.

Alot of the stuff I'd watched at the start of the holidays was downloads on the laptop (I didn't download them... honest..!). I think because of this it didn't really feel like I'd sat down properly to watch a movie- I'd just set up the laptop in front of me and opened Windows Media. Not quite the same, really... Probably why I'd never bothered to watch anything on iPlayer or 40D before- it's not the same experience, although it is handy for programmes I've maybe started watching in the middle of a series.
The Boy was taking full advantage of unlimited downloads over the holidays and as a result there was a plethora of movies at my disposal- ones I'd maybe sort of thought about seeing, but not been fussed enough to want to spend the money. First, I caught up with the latest installment of gut-wrenching horror porn and tuned into Saw 6.

Yeeessss, the franchise has been wrung out for every penny it's worth, but it's twisty and turny enough to make it seem pseudo-intellectual. Truth is, the endless plot twists and shovel-loads of new characters make it a bit of a headache, but the directors always include a "Previously On..." in the build up to the climax. I lost the plot somewhere between the 4th and 5th films but this latest installment was actually quite good- it tied together alot of the backstory of Jigsaw and the 'big reveals' weren't signposted along the way. I really love the first Saw film, and it probably should have been killed off after that. Still, they're gonna keep making money therefore they'll keep getting made- and this isn't the worst one of the lot.

I also FINALLY saw District 9, after hearing sooo much about it. I found it very, very strange, but fantastic- alot of it stayed with me long after the film had finished. Its allegorical anti-apartheid message is heavy handed but not in a soapbox way. Everything about the film is played down, whether it's the astonishingly accomplished effects, documentary-style or leading man Wikus's entirely improvised dialogue. There's not a huge amount of originality with the components of the film and the supporting characters aren't given alot to play with- alien protagonist 'Christopher Johnson' is given a bigger role despite his language being restricted to clicks and whistles. Bizarre, thought-provoking, stylish (in a grimy sort of way) and thoroughly recommended!

I also watched Planet 51 (yeeeees, I know it's a kid's film). Bizarrely, it was kind of similar to District 9- a human crashes on an alien planet, only to discover that- dun dun DUUUNNN!- HE'S the alien!! OMG. Not bad, pretty amusing...but the problem with most CGI kid's films is that Pixar have perfected the medium so much that anything else is going to look half-baked in comparison. Thanks to them we've come to expect nothing less than cinematic perfection, and other studios just can't seem to compete- not even Shrek had the same charm as Nemo or Wall-E!

Zombieland and 2012 followed soon after. I generally don't like big budget shouty explosion-y action films. I even fell asleep during The Day After Tomorrow. 2012 was no different- I didn't even see the end. Woody Harrelson's turn as a conspiracy-obsessed pirate DJ was hilarious though, as was his turn as zombie-killer extrordinaire in Zombieland. The latter was a gun toting redneck who loves big cars, teamed up with nerdy, neurotic Jewfro'd Jesse Eisenberg to drive cross-country to find family. I've got so much more to write about this film as I really enjoyed it- it shall feature in a later blog once I've read more of Max Brooks' opinions on the subject.

I ran out of steam thinking of DVDs for Christmas this year and so film-wise all I got was Inglourious Basterds, Batman Begins and Public Enemies- the latter two I'd seen before so I knew what I was getting. In fact, I got Public Enemies before Christmas because I was flu-ish and bemoaning my lack of new films to watch. In any case, any serious sit-down-and-concentrate watching of these movies was eclipsed by one present in particular.............

..............THE COMPLETE X-FILES BOX SET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yes, that's every episode of all 9 seasons, plus the first movie. (OH! I watched the second film over the holidays too. It was shite. Long and drawn out, not even a good filler-episode plot and the 'psychic' paedophile priest wasn't even that great a psychic). I'd already watched the first two, and have just finished the third. I just missed out on the X-Files phenomenon when I was younger- it was a bit too grown up for me, and that little bit too late in the TV schedules. In the last year I've rediscovered it and am completely obsessed. It's smart, intriguing, engaging, the lurching story arc keeps you hooked throughout the mire of filler episodes and it's sharply written. I've also become about 78% more paranoid since beginning my X-Files quest began, and 100% more in love with Fox Mulder. I even bought his "I Want To Believe" poster for The Boy for Christmas. And then was sad that I didn't have it. Ah, well!

Hmm... What else... aaahh! I watched every episode of Dead Set on DVD and Being Human on the BBC iPlayer. Dead Set was good; a satirical swipe at reality TV based in the Big Brother house itself, and featuring a zombified Davina McCall. "Thank God!", thought I, "maybe now we'll be spared her SHOUTING=GOOD style of presenting". The characters were convincing in that they were really, really, really irritating and I wanted to see them all evicted/de-brained... I was impressed by the effects and how much the makers managed to get away with, considering BB was a huge part of Channel 4/ E4's scheduling.

Over on the Beeb, I followed up on the pilot of Being Human we'd watched in Adam's class by watching every other episode over 2 days. And then the first episode of series 2 last night. It's a different class of supernatural comedy than Dead Set- it doesn't take itself quite so seriously, it's not as gritty but it still deals with similar themes- survival, relationships, the undead... I prefer it because it's a running series, whereas Dead Set is only 5 episodes long. Although I did get kind of bored halfway through Dead Set and couldn't remember which episode we were watching... It all got a bit samey.

Hmm... OK, so maybe I watched alot more than I thought I had. I can think of more already but I think I'm starting to run out of room. And steam. SO, I shall wrap it up here and go do some more work on my script for Richard... dramatic sigh! If only I'd blogged more over the holidays...

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