Wednesday 16th January 2019
I watch a lot of films, and no, they are not all Hallmark, though I do love a big dose of schmaltz. Don’t you?
I watch these mainly on Netflix and Prime, also BBC iplayer, but in 2019 I am also planning to go to the pictures more – to see films as they are really intended to be seen, and also to get out more. Sad. Our local cinemas are in Bridgwater and Burnham-on-Sea, and they are both in small (different) independent chains of cinemas. They are both really lovely and I never go to the big picture places anymore. In Bridgwater, it is Scotts and you can have cider. I mean, I don’t as cider is rank but it’s so Somerset.
So, I will pop up a few reviews of things I have seen and wish to share with you or warn you about – and please join in with some banter or your own reviews and recommendations.
I don’t usually watch art-house stuff so don’t expect clever.
First, I saw Mary Poppins Returns on New Year’s Day in Scotts, along with every child/parent combo in Bridgwater. This is a perfect film. Sentimental, gorgeous to look at, faithful to the original, but still a film very much in its own right. I absolutely loved it and I know I could watch it over and over again. Emily Blunt is perfect. I did however get off to a very bad start as they, naturally enough, previewed all the up-and-coming classic Disney re-makes and I began to cry as soon as the Dumbo trailer began. I kept this quiet sniffling up more or less all the way through the main film even though it isn’t really sad. Unusual, I know, I hardly ever cry.
Next, I saw Swimming With Men on Netlix. This is a really odd, quirky and very enjoyable film about an all-male swimming sequence (?) ‘team’. It stars Rob Brydon, who I love and Jane Horrocks and the butler from Downton Abbey. It’s light-weight and made me feel good. It is daft and silly and I will warn you, there are a lot of speedo-shots. It’s such an innocent and old-fashioned film and I really liked it.
Next up: The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society. I watched this on Netflix. I do recall reading the book once for the awful book club I once joined. I didn’t like the book, and I didn’t like the film. In fact, I still have about 15 minutes to watch but I probably won’t bother. It’s thin and contrived.
Finding Your Feet was my next watch, on Prime and free for members. It is a good film, easy, sad and also gently humourous. The fabulous cast really makes it – Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie, Timothy Spall, Joanna Lumley are just a few of the starry line up. It is schmaltzy and daft but also really good for 90 minutes of escapism.
Last weekend I went to The Ritz in Burnham to see The Favourite. Great cinema and £3 a ticket! I was dying to see this, hence the trek (I am very local) to Burnham. I just couldn’t wait for it to come to Bridgy. I adore Olivia Coleman and I think I’d pay to see her read out a shopping list. First, the good bits: the cast, and especially the three leading women actors, is superb. It is so refreshing to see a film with three really strong female leads and they are all very good. Emma Stone’s accent is also impeccable. The film is very good to look at, with great locations and lots of candle-lit bits, but not – as is often the case – so dark that you have no idea of what is happening. And parts of the film, mainly in the first half, are compelling, funny, and brilliantly scripted, shot and acted. I have no issue with the swearing in it, of which there is a lot. It’s hard-core swearage but I think it is appropriate and largely contemporary. Also, I think of swearing as a sort of second language for me and I am fluent as I practice a lot. There is very powerful lesbian or at least female and female sexual content throughout – again, this was not gratuitous and it is essential for the dynamic of the plot, such as it is. But, the film just fizzles out. I was longing for it to end after 90 minutes with 30 still to go. But when it did, the end was just absolute rubbish. That sort of nonsense is not acceptable even if I did only pay £3 for my seat. It was lazy, bizarre and stupid. I hate feeling ripped off by an ending that frankly a media student, or I, could have bettered. And I did feel ripped off. So I am a bit conflicted. Should the end define the whole thing? In this case, probably not because where the content is strong, it is easily good enough to overcome that. But it is the last thing you see and I really think they just didn’t know what to do. So they did a 1970s style dream sequence with dozens of rabbits and a lengthy sexual encounter mainly with Queen Anne’s legs. I would recommend it, I wouldn’t want to watch it again and I wish they had stopped sooner and not mixed up their rabbits and pussies in the ending. In fact – and I was the only one as far as I could tell – the end was so weird I started laughing because I thought it was going to be a joke but the 2 men in front gave me the simultaneous death-glance. So I stopped.
Foot note: food in cinemas. I took some cold chicken dippers because I was hungry. These are a silent food and almost odourless. The couple in front of the men who death-glared me had popcorn, I think. I have had popcorn in the past. But somehow they turned it into a accompanying sound track. Honest to God, they sounded like they were gravelling a path. The scrabbling, the digging, the scratching of nails on cardboard. Oy. So, we’d have Abigail in a gentle scene with Queen Anne – and then a frantic scrabbling and scraping would break out in the front row. Channelling their inner rabbits? I really wanted to walk down, knock the popcorn sharply up and all over them, and calmly return to my seat. But of course, I didn’t. The 2 men behind pop-corn couple were beside themselves, exchanging many, many agitated looks and there was tutting.
Join in! Add your thoughts and recommend things too.
Tomorrow I am going to Scotts to see Stan and Ollie. Next week I am going to Burnham or Scotts, which ever has it first, to watch Glass, I think, though this is not usually my sort of thing.