As promised, here’s the second part of the catch-up to what’s been going on in the world of the Diary while we were away. Stick close for some interesting musings on the next eleven titles in the series. And then we can get back to the new proper weekly format!
Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more…
For anyone who missed it, here’s the skinny. Basically, what I’m presenting here is my attempt to chart a whole year’s worth of film-watching – something I have wanted to do for some time now. The aim is to post frequently, chronicling every film I watch this year – both offering reviews and setting myself the ultimate goal of watching (and writing about) as many films as humanly possible…
Film #26 The Town
Film #27 Going The Distance
Film #28 The Reef
Film #29 Groundhog Day
Read exactly how long I think that Phil Connors spent trapped reliving Groundhog Day here.
Got to love the film- it came during a boom period for Bill Murray, and features a typically dry performance from the king of the barbed quip. Naturally I watched this in preparation for the mammoth article linked above, but I make it a habit to watch it at least once a year anyway.
Film #30 Hot Shots Part Deux
Utter silliness. But crucially, Hot Shots and this sequel never went as far as abandoning all intellect in the Date Movie, Epic Movie, Vampires Suck style of spoofery. Far closer to the Airplane model for irreverent and enthusiastic parody, rather than the destructive mockery of those heinous recent additions to the sub-genre (it leaves a bad taste in the mouth to even consider them in the same breath). Charlie Sheen is great as bumbling hero Topper Harley, and thankfully is never just the butt of the joke (take note Messrs Friedberg and Seltzer), which might not exactly be the most clever of all time but which hit the spot almost without fail.
Film #31 Jackass Number Two
Excellent and touching documentary , chronicalling the tragedy of mental illness and ADHD in uneducated American 20-somethings. Watch as they batter themselves hilariously in the name of entertainment. But seriously, Johnny, Bam, Steve-O and gang’s return to the big screen after the painfully funny first filmic offering is self-exploitation at its grim best. Quite a lot of the stunts are repeated from the Dirty Sanchez movie (which was a lot more “hardcore” in the correct parlance), but there is something joyous about watching the now-grown-up Jackass boys putting themselves through the kind of pain and humiliation you’d expect from fraternity house initiation ceremonies. It’s definitely moron humour, but I maintain that the funniest thing in the world is the sight of someone falling over, and on some level all Jackass do is take that idea to its most ridiculously stretched conclusion. Still great fun.
Film #32 Charlie St Cloud
Film #33 True Grit (1969)
Film #34 Black Swan
American Psycho in a tutu. Natalie Portman will probably walk away with the best actress nod at the end of this month, and rightly so- this is probably the first time I’ve seen her on screen living up to the enormous potential she showed in Leon way back when she still sported a severe bob. Back then she was the best thing to be about to happen to cinema in a long time, and while she has made some good films in the meantime, none have really dazzled (the closest would probably have to be Closer ironically). And the plaudits have to go to Darren Aronofsky for that potential being realised in such a devastatingly effective manner- it is often quite difficult to see a director’s effect on an actor so visibly but Aronofsky has now achieved it twice (Scorsese does it for Leo of course as well). Both Portman’s performance here and Mickey Rourke’s in The Wrestler undeniably bore the marks of the director’s moulding- if there is one thing the man knows, it is man management. But of course there are more than one thing- the atmospheric work on Black Swan, and the hugely impressive camera work are also testament to his genius, and I couldn’t be more thrilled at the prospect of his Wolverine 2.
Film #35 Road Trip
A brainless way to end the week after the relative taxation of Black Swan. Aside from Seann William Scott playing Stiffler for what seems like the hundredth time, Road Trip is pretty good fun. This was before the late-teen (although who are they kidding, all of these college kids are at least 30) so it isn’t quite as disgustingly immature and puerile as it could be (although the old-man/boner incident is best left forgotten) and there are a few laughs in there. Sadly, there aren’t enough: while you might smile and roll your eyes in places (like I did), the genuine laughs are few and far between, and the trump card of including Tom Green was exactly as much of a limp disaster as it sounds on paper (though he does make for a reasonable narrator between the buffoonery).
So, that’s us almost up to date (the next installment will land soon) Keep on truckin’!