Category Archives: Film

Film of the Week: Zombieland

ZOMBIELAND
FILM 4, Thurs 5th February, 11.10pm

Credit: Deadline

I find myself picking a lot of comedies for FOTW. I’ll take a guess and say that while I love dramatic films, the ones I’ll put on repeat are the ones that make me laugh. This one definitely does the trick; it’s just one of those movies I can watch over and over again. It’s just smart enough, silly enough and crazy enough that it doesn’t get at all boring on repeat viewings, while also managing to be very, very funny. Warning though: contains gore (in a funny way).

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Can someone in a summer blockbuster die please?

Spoilers for The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Book Thief, Avengers Assemble, Edge of Tomorrow, Frozen, How To Train Your Dragon 2… Basically if it’s a summer blockbuster you haven’t seen, it may be spoiled ahead.

Last summer I went to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the cinema with my friends. Not convinced by the first Captain America film I didn’t hold high hopes for this one either, but I went to see it nonetheless, at least in part because of the great reviews it was getting. And it was good. Oh, it was so entertaining! When Nick Fury was shot – and then dead – I kept thinking, “Oh my God, no. They can’t kill him. They can’t.”

Turns out, they couldn’t. And this ended up putting a sour note on the whole film.

I’m so tired of going to the cinema and seeing people die, only to know that they’ll be alive again, you just have to give it half an hour or so. To be fair to The Winter Soldier, I had started to think that Fury was actually dead, so while my disappointment at seeing him alive was higher I wasn’t completely apathetic to the trick yet – it did elicit some emotion rather than boredom. With Guardians of the Galaxy, however, it was so obvious that Root was going to reappear that it just irritated me. What was even the point? His death had caused such emotion turmoil (on screen) only for all that action to be rendered essentially hollow by the end where he’s dancing (admittedly, humourously) on the table. Even Avengers Assemble, which I had thought had actually done the impossible for second there and killed off Agent Coulson, lost it’s emotional weight somewhat when he turns out to be alive in the Agents of Shield TV series.

Marvel isn’t alone. Summer blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow had me hooked until the end where – you guessed it – everyone’s alive and well. Even darker movies such as The Dark Knight Rises had deaths-that-weren’t-really-deaths.

I didn’t mind it so much for TDKR (though that film had many other problems for me) but in Edge of Tomorrow, The Winter Soldier, it all felt like cheating. Why was it that Harry Potter had such an emotional impact? JK Rowling wasn’t afraid of killing off main characters who we loved and cared about. The book The Book Thief hurt you, but the deaths resulted in a novel that stayed with you long after you read the last page. The same for Star Wars – what sort of films would they be if Obi Wan Knobi had lived? And The Dark Knight. After Rachel died I had exactly the same mental shock that I had at seeing Nick Fury ‘die’ – the “They can’t kill her” moment. Glued to my seat, I sat,repeating, “They can’t kill her, she must be alive.” They could, and she wasn’t, and the film was all the better for it.

Even children’s films feel braver than Hollywood at the moment. In the past you had The Lion King and Bambi, but even recently there were the deaths of Elsa and Anna’s parents in Frozen and Hiccup’s dad in How to Train Your Dragon 2. Why is it that movie producers think that children can accept death and adults can’t? Or that adults will be okay with having their emotions toyed with, feeling the sense of loss only for the emotion to be considered void? I understand that children won’t go to see a film because Gerard Butler is voicing Stoick in the same way that an adult may see The Avengers because they like Samuel L. Jackson, but there has got to be a better way to play with emotions than just killing off characters only to bring them back to life again.

It feels as if Hollywood is stuck in a rut. They don’t want to alienate anyone, make anyone too sad. Instead they look scared – they avoid going to the dark place that is killing off a character, and it results in far less memorable films than would otherwise be possible. Imagine an ending to Edge of Tomorrow where all the characters died. Yes, it would be depressing, but it would also be different and so much more memorable. Instead, we got the standard Hollywood ending. Yes, the film was good, but it wasn’t great, and that ending was a main problem in that for me.

I’m wary to see the new Avengers film because I think a character will die only to be resurrected. I hope I’m wrong – I want an actual emotional element to a film, not a half-done, manipulating set of scenes – but I don’t think I am. We’ll see, I guess. I’ll see the movie anyway, so I suppose I’m just fueling the situation, aren’t I?

Film of the Week: The Day of the Jackal

THE DAY OF THE JACKAL
ITV4, Mon 26th January 11.00pm

Credit: Wikipedia

I’ll be honest; I never saw the end of The Day of the Jackal. I was watching it in a lecture at university – the lecture ended, the film didn’t, and I never followed it up to see the end despite being gripped while I was watching it. Here is where I make that up. I am abroad, but Sky+ is going to record this for me – I hope the end is as enjoyable as the beginning.

Film of the Week: Anchorman – The Legend of Ron Burgundy

ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY
BBC3, Thurs 1st January (New Years Day) 9.00pm

Credit: Empire

Before seeing this film I thought for sure that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. It is, after all, a film that everyone says you should see, and that it’s amazing, and that it’s hilarious, etc. And I just wasn’t sold; in fact, I thought I wasn’t going to like it at all.

I was wrong.

All those quotable lines – they’re quotable for a reason. You should see it. It is amazing. It is hilarious. It may not be my favourite comedy, but it is a film I would watch again and again, especially on New Years, because it just makes me feel good.

Film of the Week: Dad’s Army

DAD’S ARMY
BBC2, Sat 27th December 5.55pm

Credit: Mirror

A classic Christmas film. In fact, a classic Christmas series. Who at Christmas doesn’t do a bit of a binge on Dad’s Army, Only Fools and Horses and Fawlty Towers? The film version of this BBC series may in fact be my favourite helping of the series. If you are unfamiliar with the show (if you are British, I ask how?) it follows a regiment of the ‘Dad’s Army’, a group of men during the Second World War either too old or injured to fight overseas, and they take their job very seriously. If you missed the announcement, they’re about to do a remake with an excellent cast, which can only hope to be as funny as the original. It’s hilarious, and a must see film this Christmas week.

Film of the Week: Good Will Hunting

GOOD WILL HUNTING
Film 4, Sun 14th December 9.00pm

Credit: Miramax

This is my brother’s favourite film, and so he would be severely disappointed with me if I didn’t put it as the FOTW. It’s not my favourite movie ever made, but I would be lying if I said it was a bad film, or that it wasn’t enjoyable, or that I don’t watch it every time it’s on. It is also a film that you should just see, like The Godfather or The Dark Knight. It adds something to the movie business that other films don’t have, at least for me, even if I’m not entirely sure what that is. Plus Robin Williams is phenomenal in it. The whole cast is great. And the plot is good. And it won Oscars.

Essentially, just watch it.

Film of the Week: An Inspector Calls

AN INSPECTOR CALLS
More 4, Fri 5th December 11.50am

Credit: The Lowry

I may be in the Alps, but I still can get TVGuide.com to tell me what’s coming up this week on British telly. This week is the mysterious An Inspector Calls. Unlike most people I know who have seen this film, I didn’t see as a part of my GCSEs, instead I saw it two years ago randomly when we had a bit of time at work and stuck on the DVD. It’s a lot more mysterious than I was expecting it to be, and Alastair Sim is great as the inspector. Well worth a watch.