Pleasant Nonsense

We’re a little late to the party but after seeing a cheap bundle of all three films we’ve watched all three John Wick movies and delighted in their glorious B-Movie schlock while trying to identify all the well-known faces that pepper the assault course. The relentless drive from brutal set piece to frantically kinetic set piece was exhausting at times, but the quiet world building also impressed with its shorthand approach. Once you accept the world’s premise of ridiculously stylised seedy riches, glamour and violence, the deadpan charcoal black humour positively sparkles.

If you’ve been hesitant about trying them, take this as the nudge off the sidewalk you were waiting for.

Wonder Women

I curled up on the sofa with my partners last night to watch Professor Marston and the Wonder Women – based (a little loosely) on the creators of Wonder Woman.

The film is of particular interest to us both for the comic book history link and due to the polyamorous relationship between the title characters.

As a spoiler-free review, we were very pleasantly surprised by the film. We’d had no small degree of trepidation about the depiction of their relationship but instead we found a gem of a film full of heart.

There were plenty of moments that resonated with us as a triad, and from our own experiences, that were in turn humourous and heartbreaking. We were so glad to have taken a chance on it, having heard varied reviews.

Ladies S and M both remarked that what they liked was that most of the focus was on the relationship between the two women as a driver, rather than it being male-led or salacious in how it was presented.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but treat it as a love story and the levels of dramatisation as a necessary evil overwriting the strictest historical accuracy and it’ll wash over you and leave a lovely glow.

It’s definitely a film to curl up with on the sofa rather than a big blockbuster, and as such it’s a good contrast to our usual fare.

At Last, The Weekend

It’s a Bank Holiday – a chance for a long weekend. Well, it would be but I worked on Saturday so today is the first real day of my break. 

A nice slow wake-up, with neither myself or Lady M needing to rush anywhere, was a good start. Body Balance class is done now, and the house is resounding to the sounds of combat in Assassin’s Creed 3 as Lady M continues her rampage through the whole game series.
This evening we’re meeting the Charleesi and the ex-Lady M to go see Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2, and on any given weekend that would be a brilliant day in its own right

But then neither Lady M or I are working tomorrow either! How civilised.

Go See Rogue One

I have just watched what one friend has described to be as the perfect roleplay game session set in the Star Wars franchise. I enjoyed it almost because it wasn’t a classic Star Wars film.

What it is, is a war film, set in a familiar setting that throws out references to the rest of the films without depending on them. If you know the films, you’ll smile or nod, but if you don’t it’s just detail, or a quip.

The film is dark. It’s practically a Shakespearean tragedy – that’s all the spoiler you’ll get here – and then there’s hope.

If I’m nitpicking, there’s maybe one small section that I felt wasn’t needed, but the rest of it barrels along.

Go see it, even if you’re not a Star Wars fan. There’s some fascinating character moments and cinematography, and when one piece of familiar music wells up, it’s both foreboding and as welcome as an old friend.

Four out of Five Exploding X-Wings

Double Date Film Night

There’s some film about dinosaurs getting all uppity about being Disney-fied or something doing the rounds. It’s been out a couple of weekends, seems to be a bit popular? Yeah, Lady M and I hadn’t seen it due to budget; and the pulchritudinous Lady P, being a bit keen on said creatures, has seen it a few times.

“We should go see that” she texted the other day, and so with payday having finally arrived, we’ve merrily trooped off, booked a prime set of seats and just finished watching Jurassic World. Yeah… Now I see why that’s had the biggest opening weekend ever and seems likely to carry on trampling over everything else in its path.

The great success, for me, is how the special effects and CGI weren’t obviously driving the scenes, but were there to enhance the scenes and progress the story. The dinosaur body languages were similar to creatures we’ve all seen in natural history programmes (or in the wild if we’re lucky), and that just helped ground the fantasy enough to allow the wilder flights of fancy.

Nods to classic scenes and dialogue from the earlier films came thick and fast, but didn’t seem to overwhelm the film in simple fan service. It’s a film of wonder, black humour, wry winks and at least one wrinkle I didn’t see until a good couple of seconds before it happened.

So yes, a lovely evening in good company, and we all ended up with velociraptors on our drink cups – not so much birds of a feather that flock together, as a pack with big toothy grins. I think film night will start happening more regularly.

Hollywood Reboots

The big bold trailer for the Robocop reboot is currently dominating my social media feeds, along with people complaining about how there’s no originality in Hollywood any more.

The trailer does it’s job in terms of making me intrigued enough to want to see it, but then so did the trailers for Total Recall, Evil Dead, and Dredd, all of which had some sumptuous set piece and visual designs.

I’ll come back to Dredd in a minute, but what Total Recall and the trailer for Robocop both seem to have in common is a feel of style over substance, which ends up feeling hollow. With horror remakes it is worse, with gore often replacing chills and suspense.

My worry is that the satirical edge of the original film is getting lost in the gloss and the almost pathological need to remove the masks from lead characters, a trend you see here in Robocop, both Spider-Man treatments, Captain America/The Avengers, and Wolverine/X-Men to pick a few examples. Robocop here is definitely a man inside a machine, as opposed to the machine with humanity stretched across it that struggles to re-ignite that humanity.

My gripe is that the slew of disappointing remakes means that we are missing good films like Dredd, which was a good reboot of a dreadful (yes, that pun is intentional) original. Dredd has it’s flaws, but it’s a stripped down action film that entertains.

Perhaps we should be begging Hollywood to reboot the disappointing genre originals to see what unexpected gems appear. Rebooting classics only means they’re starting off being compared to superior originals before they even get started..!