Weekly Roundup (6/1/13)

Okay, so this is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I watch a lot of television and movies, and I write a lot about television and the movies…but even so I find there’s a lot I watch that I don’t end up writing about, and a lot that I write that I don’t end up keeping a proper record of. This blog will aim to address both of those problems (through a minimum of one weekly post) that rounds up all those things I’ve been watching and writing, and truthfully it’ll be as much for my benefit as for any potential readers. I had considered creating a bespoke blog to put all this on, but heck I had this lovely blog called The Razzmatazz just sitting there unloved and unused, so I decided to pour some love back into it again. Right then, here we go:

Twin Peaks

It should have been a quiet week to kick off 2013. I was in Tenerife for New Year with only limited internet access, but luckily I took the first season of Twin Peaks with me. I’ll give the show a proper roundup once I’ve worked my way through the second season (and the movie too, most likely), but I do have some thoughts I’d like to splurge out after completing the first season. I’d been meaning to watch the show ever since it was first recommended to me back when I was still enjoying my love affair with Lost, but after watching Blue Velvet for the first time a few months ago and then a work-related trip (which I can’t yet mention, sadly) reminded me about the show, I duly put it on the top of my TV list for the New Year. It should also probably be noted that it was just a happy coincidence that I started watching it the same week as those internet rumours about the show surfaced. 

I thought the feature-length pilot was fantastic. It built upon everything that was great about Blue Velvet, established a compelling mystery, and Kyle MacLachlan was nothing short of superb. McLachlan’s performance actually reminded me a little of Rob Lowe in Parks & Rec, and I wonder whether Lowe took some inspiration from McLachlan when constructing his character who similarly injects some pep into a bizarre, small town. Other things I really enjoyed about it were Angelo Badalamenti’s haunting theme, the ridiculously good-looking young female cast (Madchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle – yowza!), and the perpetually unsettling tone. What I hadn’t expected though, perhaps naively, is just how camp and soapy the whole thing would be, and I’m not quite sure that’s really my bag. The gap in quality between some of the actors is also very, very noticeable, and I can’t imagine how any conclusion to the central mystery will prove satisfactory – I also have to admit that I am aware of the widely held opinion that said conclusion ultimately dooms the show. Anyway, I’ll report back when I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Playing For Keeps

That would have been it for this week had I not arrived back in the country yesterday and earmarked today for a trip to the cinema. First up was the Gerry Butler rom-com dramedy pay-day Playing For Keeps (Cineworld O2, Screen 1), in which Gerry has sex with a handful of soccer moms, but really doesn’t enjoy it. Honest. It’s actually not as bad as it looks, and it’s better than you’d reasonably expect (given that it’s a Gerry Butler comedy (of sorts) and the characters aren’t entirely odious) but it’s probably still a middling 2* affair.

The Impossible 2

Next up was The Impossible (Cineworld O2, Screen 3) which emotionally knocked me for six. The first tears of 2013 were shed, and that makes it twice that J.A. Bayona has elicited that sort of response from me. The film bombards the senses; the visuals are astounding, and the sound mix/design are surely due some major awards attention. Thanks to tremendous performances from Watts, McGregor and young Tom Holland the Anglicisation of the movie didn’t bother me too much, but what did jar a little was the focus on almost exclusively Western families. Despite that slight concern, the combination of Bayona’s supreme technical direction and the emotional truth of the movie have me wondering whether ten better movies can possibly be released during the next 364 days of the year.

Jack Reacher

Last up was a film that hit cinemas on Boxing Day but I was unable to catch before heading to Tenerife. Jack Reacher (Cineworld O2, Sky Superscreen) was a man I knew by reputation only, and by virtue of having not read any of Lee Child’s books about the character I went in remarkably fresh. I know a lot of people have a problem with Tom Cruise in this role, but without any baggage I enjoyed him just as much as I did when he was Ethan Hunt this time last year. Pike, Herzog, Oyelowo and Jenkins are all 27%ers in my book, and their names in the opening credits followed by that brutal opening sequence had me on board from the get-go. Everything that McQuarrie’s film presented about Reacher as a character I liked, enough so that I really want to see more of him on the big screen, and I’m now absolutely going to have to start reading the books too. If James Bond is the man that every man wants to be, then Reacher is surely the man that no man ever wants to meet – and I mean that in the best possible way.

Quartet

Also out this week is Quartet (The Hospital), which I watched last year and have subsequently reviewed for HeyUGuys. On a related note, I also wrote up my interview with Ol Parker (screenwriter of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) this week which went up on the same site. I spoke to Parker just before Christmas about the film’s awards recognition and the mooted sequel, and I have to say he was incredibly charming chap. During the interview Parker jokes that his film has been referenced in the first line of just about every Quartet review thus far, and as you’ll see by clicking on the other above link I thought it would be rude not to also oblige. I might be biased, but I thought what Parker had to say was really interesting, and his thoughts on the critical response to TBEMH and his theory about its subsequent financial success were hilarious. Go on and give it a read why don’t ya.

Hayley Atwell

Each day I write a couple of news pieces for The Playlist, and after a lengthy Christmas break I was back on duty from Wednesday onwards. This week I wrote about The Canyons, Quentin Tarantino’s late editor Sally Menke, The Host 2, Newt concept art, David Cronenberg’s thoughts on the awards season and 48fps, and the sad news that Hayley Atwell won’t be back for Captain America 2. The latter was my favourite, particularly because I was again able to point out that neither Felicity Jones nor Mary Elizabeth Winstead will be the love interest in Cap 2 (which I confirmed in interviews with both of them), despite other movie sites still dropping their names. The Cronenberg piece was also fun, and twitter went mad (relatively) for my repeating of a rather brilliant quote from his original interview with Movieline.

And finally, you can listen to the final episode of Raging Bullshit we recorded in 2012 here. It was supposed to be a review of the year special, but by virtue of two of the three contestants hardly seeing any of last year’s movies it may not have worked out quite as planned. It’s still extremely funny though, and should you want to subscribe to the show on iTunes then click on this link. For those of you who don’t know (and I guess that’s most of you), the podcast is a movie panel show where I (the host) award arbitrary points to contestants for a mixture of insight and humour as they answer the movie-related questions I set them. Please give it a listen, and if you’d like to be a contestant yourself then please get in touch with me on twitter.

And that’s just about it for this week…except to say that I also witnessed the death of television as we know it on Saturday night with the Tom Daley reality show, Splash! You can read my semi-rant about that on my twitter feed if you really want, otherwise I’ll hopefully be back with another roundup like this next week.

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One Comment on “Weekly Roundup (6/1/13)”

  1. pointonfilm January 21, 2013 at 18:17 #

    Twin Peaks is the most tonely bizarre series/ movies I’ve watched, but the contrast of the shit soap melodrama and ominous undertones that make it memberable. But S2 makes the comparison with Lost even more apt in more ways than one.. tis a shame joey, tis a shame…

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