On watch

Warrior Nun: I watched the entire first series when I couldn’t sleep, which probably heightened the sense of the ridiculousness in this. The casting gets my approval. The actors, especially those playing the nuns have great chemistry and are committed to the premise. Some of the historical positioning was problematic while a few of the subplots were too obvious.  The science / child subplot needed more oomph. Also, I get it’s yet another ‘chosen one’ saga so it looks like EU Buffy for Catholics and/or religious architecture fans.  And no one is watching this for theology or history lessons. However, it somehow works as the main character is as incredulous as the rest of us as she navigates multiple worlds that are completely new to her, while being pop culture savvy through internal monologues and quick takes.  I’m interested in where the second season will go.  

Extraction: Very violent. Overt redemption arc. Escapist fare. I took issue with yet another typical use of the designated Bad Place yellow filter of doom, used on such Hollywood approved Bad Place locations as Mexico, every country in Africa, and the entire Middle East, as well as in this case Bangladesh and India. Please, Hollywood, can you not? Northern Australia, in this film, did not get the yellow filter treatment. Seems like a tiny hint at the end of a sequel.

Knives Out: Good old fashioned film fun, with pointed (pun intended) allusions to issues and social phenomena in the contemporary world. Very clever and entertaining. Daniel Craig and the entire ensemble were captivating. Would watch again. I want an unrelated sequel…with similar cleverness, and perhaps the same investigator.

6 Underground: Ridiculous. Bloody. Explosive. Terrible and yet good while being problematic. A fun (dangerous) game would be drinking every time a brand name is spotted. Yes everything explodes in the excessive Michael Bay way, but the chase scenes, comedy, the movie quotes, and the tech were exactly as expected. More than six months later on from seeing this and I don’t remember a single thing about this film, except…I think a yacht exploded and was Ryan Reynolds in it?

Shutter Island: this was a rewatch. It was the first time since I saw this in the cinema. I’d forgotten the artistic flourishes but remembered the taut plot, and high stakes, and still appreciate the suitably wild setting. I’d also forgotten this was also a reflection on the damage war inflicts on the psyche too. Now I’m imagining Michael Bay artistically exploring the long term psychological damage violence does and…I can’t.

Ladybird: Remember the hype over this ‘indie’ film? I do, but I wish I’d kept resisting the urge to watch it. In a word: boring. The cast, including Saoirse Ronan, were ok. I get the ‘message’ but I don’t understand why anyone bothered writing a whole film to get there.

Prefer watching this ladybird to the film.

Atomic Blonde: Trickier than most Bond films. Full of action and the kind of violence that looks painful, while being desperate, twisty and so overly 80s I winced. It subverts all the obvious expectations, and kinda doesn’t at the same time.

Jupiter Ascending: Visually appealing with intriguing world building, then I got distracted and stopped watching. Never went back to finish it. There were old X Files episodes to watch.

Prospect: Big SF movies get attention with their famous actors and huge budgets (like Passengers), but grittier films with even smaller casts are gems. This is world building. Detailed, high stakes, and unexpected. I did not get bored. 

Anon: Again, another interesting conceit, set in a detailed if Matrix-coloured world, but written to be exploitative in the most obviously ‘male gaze’ way possible. As a commentary on ‘big data’ and privacy and cinema it made points I guess, but most people will miss the points for the wood.

Annihilation: Oh this was good. Weird, compelling and mysterious with just enough tension. Bleak, as well as visually arresting. Skip Anon and watch this instead. Be wowed by the beauty…

The Last Duchess: I enjoyed this, for what it was. Went in without expectations and discovered tragedy, ornate costumes, and infuriating double standards and dramatic behaviour. Of historical interest for some by reason of British royal family fan reasons. For a comedy version of this type of film set in another country watch The Great, which is hilarious, painful, and sometimes suspiciously close to historically accurate.

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