I feel like I’ve lost a year somewhere along the way. After reviewing If Beale Street Could Talk last week I decided it was a good excuse to revisit Moonlight. In my head it was only last year that Barry Jenkins and his team went through the trauma of hearing the wrong film named Best Picture. Turns out 2018 happened at some point and that momentous occasion was 2 years ago. It’s weird because I loved so many films from last year that I don’t know why I can’t remember them. I guess it’s probably just old age and an awful reminder that I’m no longer the 16-year-old I continue to believe that I am. Really, I need to stop watching films like Moonlight and Boyhood because it is impossible not to feel all introspective. And we know that that’s a dodgy road to walk down. So, let’s get onto the reason we’re here. I never review Moonlight on this blog when it came out so it seems as though the time was right to rectify that.
One of the arguments about Captain Marvel that I’ve seen recently is that it doesn’t try to introduce the new superhero so much as it tries to tie up any loose ends in the MCU. That it is more about Fury’s origin than it is Carol’s. And I kind of get that because, yes, this film goes back to a time before anything else. It shows us a time before S.H.I.E.L.D. knew anything about superheroes or other worlds. It inevitably acts as an intro to the MCU. But, at the same time, those arguments also really do a disservice to the film itself. I like the idea that her presence on Earth kick-started the Avengers programme. I like that it was her who introduced Nick to the wider world. It makes that pager scene in Infinity War all the more tragic. He finally has an emergency that requires her help but he is disintegrated before they can reunite. Imagine how Carol’s going to feel when she finds out she didn’t get here in time to save him? Horrible! But let’s not think about the future because watching Captain Marvel last weekend has put me in a reflective mood. The final moments of the film when Fury realises he needs to put something in place to protect the Earth the defining moment in the MCU. It’s the reason we’re all here. It’s the reason that, in 2008, Phil Coulson turned up on Tony Stark’s doorstop asking questions. So, why not go back to the start this week? See where it all began.
The other day I saw a post on Instagram that made me feel super old. And, considering I turned 31 on Tuesday, that’s saying something. Turns out that Cruel Intentions turns 20 years old this week. I don’t remember how old I was but I do recall first watching this film at a sleepover. And I’m pretty certain I wasn’t a teenager yet but, with my memory for this kind of thing, I’ve no way of knowing for sure. What I do remember is that my twin sister became kind of obsessed with the band Counting Crows afterwards. For years she would play the piano part for the song ‘Colorblind’ on repeat. Our piano lives in the room directly underneath my childhood bedroom so, it’s safe to say, that I quickly became sick of that song. But. obviously, it always reminded me of this film. Cruel Intentions is one of those films you probably first watched at a young and impressionable age. As such, it has the effect of seeming really sexy and dark. The Sarah Michelle Gellar/Selma Blair kiss was much talked about at the time for being either controversial or groundbreaking. At whatever age I first watched it, I can say that it felt like a very grown-up film. So, would rewatching it 20 years after its release change things? I already know younger me was massively embarrassing so I’m expecting this to go badly.
Whenever anyone asked me what I thought of Vice in the last few weeks my go to answer would always be “it wasn’t as good as The Big Short“. It’s something I said because I truly thought it was my opinion. But when I looked back at my review of Adam McKay’s previous Oscar nominated film, I discovered that I’d been more scathing of it than my memory lead me to believe. I guess I do remember feeling a bit weird at the end of it because the people who gained from so much misery were being portrayed as heroic. Still, I decided it was important to rewatch The Big Short to really answer the question “is it better than Vice?” Or have I just been lying to everyone for ages? I don’t know why I’m pretending there’s any suspense here because you can see from my above rating that, yes, I preferred this film to Vice. But, why?
As you may know, I’ve been trying to go back and watch the films that I’ve already reviewed for 2019’s TBT section. Last week aside, I’ve been going through them in chronological order. Then I went rogue and watched a film that I wanted to. And the floodgates opened. There is no more order and the rule book is out the window. Maybe it’s because I know the next film coming up is one I’ve watched recently and don’t really want to go there again? Or maybe I’ve just got tired of setting myself these parameters for no reason? Either way, this week I had a craving to watch something random and I went through the films available on Prime and ended up here. Drawn in by Ewan McGregor’s face because, let’s be honest, the early 2000s were the peak time for his face. One year before Attack of the Clones and four years before the beardy goodness of Revenge of the Sith: Moulin Rouge is classic Ewan McGregor beauty. And he’s singing. I don’t know whether it’s the amount of Disney films I watched growing up but, for some reason, I’ve brought myself round to the idea that the ideal romantic partner is one who is an amazing singer. I feel like most people don’t see this as a vital ingredient to love but it is. It definitely is. So, let’s jump in.
Today is Valentine’s Day and, to get in the mood, I was planning on finding some ridiculous romantic-comedy to review. I’ve been getting into the spirit on my Instagram so I might as well do the same here. My plan was to get home from work and watching something disgusting. Probably a Richard Curtis film or something. Instead, I had a dreadful day and really lost my romantic spirit. There’s nothing like your manager unnecessarily calling you a liar to really ruin your entire day. So, I decided I wanted to watch something a little less conventionally romantic this evening. As I was going through my film collection and found this beauty. It seemed to tick every box: romance, mindless violence, humour, Gary Oldman, Patricia Arquette’s boobs… it was all there. I don’t think I’ve ever really made a definitive list of my favourite films ever because it would be too long and ever-changing but, if I did one day, I’m sure this film would be on there somewhere. And I’ve never really talked about it on here before. I think it’s time.
When I looked back on my blog to find out what today’s TBT film was I audibly groaned. I’ve never wanted to see this film again. Especially now I’ve seen the amazing stage production. That was genuinely an emotional triumph and a beautiful adaptation of a (frankly) stupid story. Stupid because, for me, the story of an animal’s journey through World War 1 is never going to compare to that of a human’s in terms of emotional resonance. 2018 was the centenary of the end of World War 1 and Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old was a film experience I’ll never forget. During the run-up to the actual centenary I got annoyed by the knowledge that an animal charity had designed their own purple poppy badge in memory of the animals who died in warfare. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love animals and think remembering their sacrifice is a good thing. BUT I don’t think it’s right to focus on them over the human sacrifice and you know there are people out there who will have only worn a purple poppy. As another example, I was recently witness to someone compare having to have their dog put down to having a child on life-support. As a former dog owner who went through the experience of having to do that, I know how much it hurts but you can’t compare the situations at all. Animals are great but, surely, we can all agree it’s not the same, right?
Just over 7 years ago, I posted my 5th review on this blog. It was the first film I’d reviewed that I was genuinely full of praise for and, as was my style at the time, my post was way too long and rambling. I’d like to think that over the last 7 years I’ve got quite a bit better at writing these things but who actually knows? At the very least, I hope I’ve become a little less hyperbolic and pretentious over time. There are bits of my review that feel a little cringey but it was only due to the fact that I really bloody loved this film. A fact that makes it all the weirder that I haven’t watched it again since. I think I’ve caught bits of it when it’s been on TV but I’ve never actually sat down and watched it from start to finish. And I think it’s because you really need to be invested in the viewing. It’s not as if you can watch it whilst doing something else or if you’re in danger of nodding off. I had to set aside some time today when I had nothing else to do so I could watch it with the focus it deserved. And by “it” I, of course, mean Jean Dujardin’s face.
I wasn’t sure whether to include this film in my new TBT series of revisiting old reviews. It’s one of the few films I’ve rewatched recently so it isn’t exactly a reintroduction to it. It was around the time that Baby Driver had been released when I was on a massive Edgar Wright high. Such is my obsessive love for him, I’d been watching interviews he’d given and, because that’s what you do on YouTube, I got stuck in an endless stream of videos. During this late night binge, I came across an interview he’d given with Steven Moffat and Joe Cornish whilst promoting The Adventures of Tintin in 2011. This interview left me even less keen on Steven Moffat than I was and reminded me of Wright’s involvement with the film. To be honest, I’d kind of forgotten about it since the first time I’d watched it. Well, I always spoke very highly of it cause I remembered enjoying it. But I’d never really had the urge to go back. But I did. And I was fairly disappointed. So, the question remained, how would it fair a third time?
So it had taken me a month between posting my first review to posting the next. Apparently, in order to make up for the deficit, I posted two film reviews on one day. I don’t know what it was about the 25th October 2011 but clearly I was feeling quite motivated that day. Right after I uploaded my review of Fantastic Mr Fox, I also posted a review of that year’s The Three Musketeers remake. I vividly remember going to see that film with some friends because I almost got into an argument with one of them on the way home. I had criticised the film for being bad whilst she tried to give it a positive spin. I had no time for her suggestion that it didn’t matter how good it was if it was fun. Especially as, years later, she took the opposite stance by proclaiming Now You See Me was utterly terrible because it was too stupid. But, we know how bitter and petty I am so let’s leave that for another time. Back to the film in hand. I can’t say I was desperate to see this film but went along to try it out. It turned out to be such a mistake that I couldn’t wait to rant about it online. I would have been happy to never watch this film again but, at the same time, was interested to see if I’d mellowed over the years. After all, I’ve watched some absolutely shocking films last year. Surely, my bar has moved a little lower?