Here's a round up of some of my recently watched movies and TV shows.
Some were good, some not so good, and some were pleasantly surprising....
Read on for more.
Reason for Watching: I'm a Richard Linklater fan.
Before Sunrise is one of my all-time favourite movies, so basically anything that has Richard Linklater's name attached to it, I'm there. Also, I love the concept of Boyhood, which, as all the best things often are, is both genius and simple at the same time. In Boyhood, Linklater documents the life of a boy, Mason, over twelve years. Simple. The genius of it, is that this was filmed in 'real time' and so we see the boy, played by Ellar Coltrane, grow up before our eyes. I'm guessing that this was a surreal experience for Coltrane.
I liked Boyhood in parts, but I also found it a little underwhelming, and a lot drawn out. This is a lengthy movie. It contains a lot of strong performances, yes, but it's slow. I should mention that when it comes to movies, I am really, really difficult to please. The third installment in Linklater's 'Before' series, which everybody hailed as a 'masterpiece' and the best of the trilogy, well, it just left me sad and depressed. Like I said, really difficult to please.
Boyhood is definitely worth watching - and I understand why it's already won a whole lot of awards - it's different. And Hollywood, with all it's remakes, reboots and re-tweaks, needs different. And that's why I hope this movie, and its director, win big at the Oscars too.
Reason for Watching: Liked the Trailer.
Uh, yeah, so I liked the trailer, and that's about all I can say for this movie. American Sniper has a great trailer, but as for the rest, it was a miss for me. I will say that I wasn't familiar with the story of Chris Kyle before watching this movie (I know that his story is well known in the US; not so much in Ireland) so I went into this one not really knowing what to expect. I guess this just wasn't my kind of movie, and I guess too that the people depicted in this movie are not my kind of people. At all. Case in point: Bradley Cooper as Kyle turns a gun on his wife (Sienna Miller) with the intention of turning her on. And, guess what, it works! Okaaaayyyy! Also, I'm not sure I can get over that fake plastic baby they used in this movie. Like, really?! Too funny! Oh, and Bradley Cooper, who is Oscar nominated for this, MUMBLES his way through the majority of the movie. Like, I couldn't really understand a word he said.
So, yeah, this was pretty much a total miss for me. American Sniper is breaking box office records all over the place, though, so I'm in the minority here. Or maybe all of those people just really liked that trailer too...
Reason for Watching: Loved the Book.
I'm one of these people who always thinks the book is better than the movie. I'm trying to think of a movie adaptation that I thought was better than the book it was based on - there might be one or two - but right now I'm drawing a blank, so I'll move one. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is one of my all time fave's - love her writing and could not put that book down - and so, for me, this movie had a lot to live up to. It's not that I hated the movie version of Gone Girl at all - it's just that I love the book so much more. Gone Girl the movie looks good - it's very sleek and stylish- and Rosamund Pike kills (ha!) in the role of Amy, but lost in movie translation is the (psychologically) thrilling aspect of the book that made it such a compulsive read. Gone Girl the movie is heavy on satire and watches like a black comedy rather than a thriller.
Also, I spent the majority of the movie picking holes in it. Some of the scenes grossed me out. A few were implausible and far-fetched. I'd love to know what I would have made of this if I hadn't already read the book. I possibly would have enjoyed it more than I did in the end, but I guess I can't go back and un-read the book now...
Reason for Watching: YA Horror FTW!
Ouija has an IMDB rating of 4.4, which is way harsh. Also, unjustified. Ouija is what it is. It's a YA Horror movie that is a whole lot of fun, contains some good performances (Olivia Cooke in particular) and actually has something of a storyline and a couple good twists along the way too. I mean, what more could you ask for? To put it in context, I enjoyed Ouija much more than American Sniper, and it's on a par for me with Gone Girl and Boyhood. How very highbrow of me, right?! Thing is, I love movies where an Ouija Board features as part of the scary. I would never ever ever mess with an Ouija Board. Those things freak me out! And okay, this movie does lose it's way a little at times, but it's a whole lot of fun too. One twist even managed to surprised me (Can't believe I fell for that!)
Ouija may not win any awards, but it'll keep you entertained, and if you like movies such as I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Craft, then this is definitely one for you.
Good scary YA horror fun!
Reason for Watching: They said it was The Killing meets Twin Peaks.
Also, Stanley Tucci.
Have any of you been watching Fortitude on Sky Atlantic? I had high hopes for this show which referenced The Killing and Twin Peaks among its inspirations, but three episodes in, I'm thinking of giving up on this. Three episodes is usually enough for me to know whether or not I'll like a show (I ditched The Americans after two - did I make a mistake with that one? The 80's setting didn't work for me), and while on paper this should work for me, so far it's just not. Apart from the murder, nothing much has happened in this show at all - it's very, very, slow moving (although it looks good!) - and while I know there's a lot going on underneath the surface in Fortitude, it time they made some of this stuff happen, you know what I mean? Because so far, this is so boring.
I should point out that I'm not adverse so slow-moving shows (I love the US version of The Killing which was slow moving at times and I'm a huge fan of Twin Peaks which went round in circles and off on tangents all of the time) but with those shows, I was totally invested in the characters. I haven't clicked with any of the characters in Fortitude yet. I may stick with it for one more episode before I give up, but so far this one is definitely not living up to expectations (or all the hype that Sky piled upon it!)
Have you seen any of these movies or shows?
I'd love to know your thoughts!