So I was fairly happy with the response to my first blog, I guess I was just pleased that I got a recommendation, so imagine how happy I was when this recommendation turned out to be incredibly good!
Maybe one day I’ll fill this opening bit with something along the line of ‘Moving Pictures is a semi regular blog etc.’ but I feel like I should decide upon a proper name first and a way to name each version. For now I’m happy just writing about movie’s that I have seen recently.
So I decided to watch this after having it recommended to me by two users here on screened.com and I’m glad they did because I really enjoyed it. While it might follow the traditional pattern of ‘boy meets girl, they fall in love, they fall out of love, they fall back in love, the end’ it has some interesting flairs along the way. I really enjoyed Ryan Reynolds as Mike Connell, maybe it was just me but despite the fact that this guy was bedding up with James’ (Jesse Eisenberg) girl, he wasn’t dislikeable. Maybe it was the fact that he was in a troubled relationship or that he was rarely ever a dick, but he doesn’t ever come across as an antagonist despite his role in the story. I always like Eisenberg too, he seems to play this kind of role that I can only describe as an ‘every-student’ in nearly every film I see him in, but he does it well and I struggle to think of anyone else who can do it like him. Kristen Stewart was also surprisingly good, I guess that’s because I only know her as Twilight girl, but she managed to seem likeable and believable throughout. Reading this again, I guess I really enjoyed what I would see as the three central performances, but it was really well written and made me really laugh in spots. Adventureland delivers in being smart and sweet in equal measures.
Despite loving all of Ricky Gervais’ work I had never seen any of his films, due to their often lukewarm to bad critical reception and uninteresting premises, but Ghost Town was on late at night and I had nothing better to do. I remember hearing Alex say on a podcast that he found it most difficult to write about films that he neither hated nor loved, and I guess that’s how I feel about Ghost Town. It’s almost completely forgettable from start to finish except for a few awkward moments between Gervais and the female lead, Gwen (Tea Leoni). I should point out that I mean awkward in the best sense, with Gervais’ Pincus coming across as an asshole and Gwen seeming incredibly creeped out, but these scenes only serve to make the later scenes in which the pair become closer friends more unbelievable as the shift in their relationship is so immediate. Over the course of a shared elevator journey Pincus goes from being someone Gwen routinely avoids to helping her with her work and a show she is putting on. It is these kinds of strange tonal shifts, along with forgettable performances and characters that make Ghost Town somewhat hard to watch, or at least hard to enjoy.
For those who don’t know, Battle Royale imagines that society collapsed in the 21 century, and with it went the education system. For some reason the Japanese authorities saw fit to send schoolchildren to an island on which they would battle to the death for 3 days; I really can’t explain the premise any more than that. Battle Royale is essentially a live action anime with its overblown emotion, children being head over heels in love and completely straight treatment of its unbelievable premise. I think that it is actually helped by its almost complete lack of self-awareness; I guess that teenagers killing each other so earnestly is kind of entertaining if you just go with it. I was also surprised by the presence of Takeshi Kitano having only ever seen him in Zatoichi, but he was perfectly competent here as a teacher called Kitano (for reasons I do not understand). The only thing that I found incredibly annoying was the way quotes from characters (often their last words) would flash up on screen as if these were mantras by which one should try to live their life, but this kind of self-seriousness is pretty hilarious, unintentional as it may be.
I got a Kurosawa Samurai collection the other day so maybe that will ruin my plan of trying to keep a good variation in film choices, or maybe I’ll just watch them all and give my thoughts on all of them for one of my future blogs, who knows really?
Once again I’d appreciate any recommendations, and thanks for reading!