10 years ago today, Edgar Wright’s film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was released in the US. The final volume of the comics, written by Canadian author and artist Bryan Lee O’Malley, had only just been released before the film came out. Although, when Wright was originally approached to make the film in 2004, which was just after the first book had been published. It took 6 years for the film to come together and, though didn’t do so well at the cinema, it has become a much-loved cult classic. As somebody who loves the source material and the film, I wanted to dedicate today’s TBT post to the film’s 10th anniversary. What I hadn’t remembered was that I’d already written a review of this film. So, now I don’t really know what to do. I haven’t got time to watch something else and I haven’t watched anything old recently. Or at least nothing memorable enough to review. Well, what’s the worst that can happen?
Anybody who has ever read the name of this blog will probably be able to guess that I bloody love Die Hard. It’s not only a great Christmas film but it is still one of the greatest action movies of all time. It is peak Bruce Willis and it introduced Hollywood to the talents of Alan Rickman. Die Hard is a legendary film that I watch at least once every year. I look forward to watching it before Christmas and I feel like I’d be missing out if I didn’t. What I’ve never done, is read the book it was based on. I’ve had a copy of it for years but never dared read it. As book lovers, we expect the novel to better but, as I’ve said before, there are plenty of contradictions out there. Reading Jaws after seeing the film is crazy but at least that has something going for it. And I love Jaws but it’s doesn’t hold as dear a place in my heart as John McClane’s skyscraper adventure. This year, I decided to be brave and opened the pages. That was at the start of December. It took me until last night to finish it. That should give you enough of an indication about my views on it.
With the release of every new Quentin Tarantino fims there comes the same old gender discussion. Is he a massive sexist who refuses to give women ay real place in his films? This time it all kicked off when people started complaining about Margot Robbie being given so few lines in Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood. Does Robbie get short shrift? Yeah. But it’s not as if the film was even from Sharon Tate’s perspective anyway. It was a film about a male friendship that skirted around the star’s tragic death. It wasn’t supposed to explore Tate’s life but give an image of her as a person. It was a fairy tale where she was the kind, sweet, and promising young woman who didn’t deserve to have her life taken from her so brutally. Robbie and Tarantino manage to prove who Tate was without words. I’m not here to say whether Tarantino’s treatment of women is positive or negative but, in this case, it seems like a needless argument. Besides, since when is the only indication of a strong female character the number of lines they speak? As someone who has trouble speaking up at times, I’d say silence isn’t necessarily an indication of weakness.
I kind of forgot that there had been a load of backlash to Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla when it first came out. I think, by the time I saw it, I was just so relieved that it wasn’t dreadful that it was elevated in my memory. Even reading back my review of it left me realising that I was looking back with rose-tinted glasses. I think it also helps that it’s not been long since I saw the new film. Let’s be honest, that would have made a lot of things look like masterpieces. Even if there are some people out there who would strongly disagree. I was looking at the Guardian’s review of Godzilla: King of the Monsters the other day and one guy kept commenting on everyone else’s comments that’s all the critics were wrong and the new film was the greatest. It was weird and, quite frankly, utterly baffling. Yes, if all you’re looking for in a film is mindless monster-fighting then good for you. God, I bet he fucking loved the newest Hellboy film.
Not knowing a great deal about manga, I definitely could have gone without seeing Alita: Battle Angel. However, a friend of mine was desperate to see it so I decided to be a pal and go with her. I mean we’re talking Robert Rodriguez directing, James Cameron producing, and starring Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali. There was so much going for this film that I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. And, as I have the tastes of a 12-year-old boy, I do love a film about fighting cyborgs. Especially when those fighting cyborgs are being directed by someone like Rodriguez. So, I was all set to enjoy this film despite my initial hesitation. But, considering the lukewarm reception is received from critics, could this film really live up to the expectations it set for itself? Was this another case of harsh critics or easy to please fans? I had to find out for myself.
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.
This may seem like history repeating itself because I’ve already reviewed Die Hard on this blog. But, considering it was the inspiration for the title of my blog, there was no real alternative to end my Throwback Thirty series. Not only is it one of the best films of 1988 but it is one of the most loved films of all time. Seriously, you mention Die Hard to pretty much everyone and they’ll respond positively. Plus, it’s kind of timely considering this year the whole “is Die Hard a Christmas film?” debate started raging again. “And is it?” I hear you cry? I don’t really care. Officially, I did put it on my list of ‘Essential Christmas films’ but I’d watch this film at any time of year and be happy. That’s not something I could say about the majority of other films on that list. In my heart, it doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I’ve watched Bruce Willis run around in a dirty tank top but it’s only real link to Christmas is the setting. But, I say again, who gives a shit?
This week I decided to let fate decide which 1988 film I was going to watch. It happened to be shown on TV last Saturday so, for the sake of convenience and laziness, I just watched it then. I can’t say that I was really relishing the idea of having to watch the third film in the Rambo series. It’s hardly a franchise that has ever regained the height it reached with its first film. First Blood is a classic action movie and, though it falls apart when you think about it too much, is carried well thanks to it’s main star. I can’t say that I’m a massive Stallone fan but I defy anyone not to find him a little intriguing. He’s had some great and career defining roles. Yes, I can’t say I’ve been queuing up to see his films from the past decade or so but there’ll always be a place for him in the annals of film history. We know that, deep down, I have the same taste in films as a 12-year old boy, so his films do speak to me on some level. Anything with enough guns and explosions is going to keep me somewhat happy. However, I also need there to be something deeper. Something I’m not sure Stallone has always been capable of.
I can’t say that I ever really paid much attention to Dwayne Johnson’s acting career over the years. I just always assumed that his kind of mindless action movies were the kind of stuff I wanted to spend my time watching. I’ve never even seen a Fast and Furious movie. Over the years I’ve heard people tell me that aren’t all bad but I still just can’t be arsed. There’s so many these days. It’s exhausting. However, I can’t deny that there is something about him as an actor that I enjoy. He’s done some pretty funny things and I’ve started to see him in a different light. It’s like when I suddenly realised that Channing Tatum was a very clever performer. In both cases I realised that I’d been negatively judging them both based on my own small insight. So, I’ve decided to give Dwayne the benefit of the doubt and not be so quick to dismiss his films. That said, Skyscraper always seemed one step too far. No matter how often my co-worker tried to convince me that it was super original because he had a prosthetic leg.
I didn’t know anything about Proud Mary when I watched it this week. I genuinely don’t think I’ve heard anything about it but it sounded like the kind of thing that could be quite fun. As much as I’d like to use my cinema viewing as a chance to make a stand against gun violence given the current climate in American, I’m a bit of a sucker for a good action movie. My inner 12-year-old boy comes out every time there’s a decent gunfight or car chase. It’s the only reason I continue to watch all of the godawful Transformers movies. Robots, check; guns, check; fast cars, check. It’s got it all but a decent script and a good cast. In spite of everything, there will always be a part of me that thinks that movie characters who are super handy with a gun are cool. It’s like smoking. On screen it looks totally badass but, in reality, it’s really harmful and awful. Gun control is a real issue and I do believe that Hollywood has a need to be careful with how they portray guns but, at the same time, I really love a good gunfight. Which is the very reason that I actually watched Proud Mary despite knowing nothing about it. Well, that and the fact that Taraji P. Henson is an absolute legend.