I like to think that I’m a musical theatre geek but, the truth is, I don’t actually watch a lot of musical theatre. I’m not just talking about during the Pandemic but in general. I know the classics but there are so many modern examples that I know very little about. Aside from Hamilton, I’ve not kept up with contemporary musicals. Add that to the fact that I’d not watched the BBC3 documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 and you can see that I wasn’t really rushing to watch the film adaptation of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. But, I also think it should be celebrated for putting drag culture further into the public domain and, you know, Richard E Grant is everything. So, I settled down this weekend to watch it.
I can’t remember if I’ve ever read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I never spent much of my time reading Middle English poetry. Although, I had an awareness of the story, so I might have briefly touched upon the subject. Now, normally, I don’t think it’s important to know the original text before you see an adaptation but I think this might be a bit different. After all, Middle English poetry isn’t something that many modern cinema audiences are necessarily ready for. Especially when the adaptation is potentially going to be mistaken for an epic fantasy action film. In the age of Game of Thrones, the idea of what fantasy is has become pretty specific and The Green Knight was sure to be that straightforward.
Yesterday, the official teaser trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home was released. It comes after months of speculation about just who would be turning up wearing the spider suit in this film. Are Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield really make an appearance? We’ve known for some time that some of the familiar villains would be returning for this film and the trailer gave us a glimpse of what we’re in for. With obvious references to the Green Goblin and Electro, there is also the possibility that Sandman and Lizard are hiding in there. With so many evil faces returning, it reminds me of the last time that a Spider-Man film tried to cram too many foes into one film. So, I decided to do what many wouldn’t dare and watch the worst Peter Parker film of the lot. Yes folks, I actually went back to watch Spider-Man 3.
When the original Suicide Squad film came out in 2016, I wouldn’t say that I had high hopes exactly but I was looking forward to seeing it. After all, Harley Quinn is one of my favourite DC characters and I thought it would a refreshing change from the usual DC films that had come before it. At the time, I didn’t completely hate it. I mean, I didn’t really enjoy it but I thought bits of it were fine. I watched it again after watching the new one and I regret my initial laidback feeling. It’s just embarrassing and I have no idea what Cara Delevingne was doing the whole time. So much cringe. Blame can’t really be placed at director David Ayer’s door. It’s clear that the studio messed with the film to and absolutely butchered it. Something that has been confirmed recently when pages of the original script were leaked. Not that I want to delve into that right now. What we should talk about is whether my slight change of heart has more to do with how awful Suicide Squad is or with how great the new one is?
Shrek is celebrating its 20th birthday in 2021 and, apparently, not everyone is happy about it. In the Guardian this week, Scott Tobias decided to write a diatribe against the animated film that has captured the attention of millennials and beyond. It’s hard to ignore the fact that the film has achieved cult status and is still a very strong component of meme culture. Yet, according to Tobias, it’s not worth it in the slightest. He seemingly has nothing good to say about it. So, we have to ask, how did everyone get it so wrong? Why is he the only one who can see the DreamWorks animation for what is really is? Or rather, we should be asking, what exactly happened to Scott that means he is so against fun? And what exactly was he expecting from a film about an Ogre that’s based on a fairly crude picture book?
When I review the first book in the Artemis Fowl series, I mentioned that wanted to read it before watching the film. It’s always tricky when it comes to book adaptations that you care about. Especially when you care about it for nostalgic reasons. You obviously want to it be as good as possible, but you also know that there will have to be changes. You can’t get everything into a film version without the runtime being uncomfortably long. Which is why I don’t normally reread books just before I watch a film. Otherwise, you’re too close to it to be objective. But with Artemis Fowl, it had been too long since I’d read the series for me to be happy to watch it. I needed to refamiliarise myself a little more first. But would it be my undoing? I was already going in with low expectations thanks to the criticism the film garnered. Would my recent reread cause even more problems? I had to find out.
It’s not very often that I watch a film adaptation after just reading the book, so I normally don’t get as good a sense of just how much is changed. I mean, yes, I have an idea but it’s never quite as vivid as it was this week. I watched The Remains of the Day the evening after I’d finished reading the book. That’s pretty damn fresh in my mind. As such, I was probably a little more annoyed by the changes made to the original story. Well, after you’ve read something as perfect as Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, how can a film adaptation ever be as good? Still, I knew that I couldn’t let this get in the way too much. I don’t want to be one of those book fans who always pretend the book is massively better than the film.
Have we all seen the Cruella trailer? I have to admit that it’s better than I expected it to be. Although I really wasn’t expecting much. I definitely wasn’t overjoyed when Disney announced that they were giving one of their most heinous villains a solo feature. After all, you can’t exactly do a Maleficent to a woman whose sole mission was to kidnap and skin puppies. I don’t see how you can try and humanise something that like. Are they going to try and convince us that Cruella’s only sin is that she was overlooked in the fashion industry? That she was too daring? Or maybe she’ll have been bitten by a Dalmatian as a child and that’s why she’s so keen to turn them into clothing? What is more likely is that this will be a film similar to Joker which suggests it was merely an issue with mental health treatment that allowed Cruella to become the monster we know her to be. I wasn’t here for Todd Phillips’ nonsense so why would I want Craig Gillespie’s gender swapper version? Also, why is nobody talking about how irritating and bad Emma Stones’ British accent is? I love her but it does not work for this character. How did she get it so right in The Favourite but not here? Shocking.
2020 was a difficult year all around but August brought with it a big blow to the world of cinema when it was announced that Chadwick Boseman had died. The actor had been secretly battling cancer for years and, on August 28th 2020, he died at his home aged 43. I know, in the age of social media, there’s always a huge outpouring of grief when a famous person dies but this felt slightly different. Boseman was a magnificent actor and was a big part of Black representation in the film industry. He had played some key figures in Black history and, as Black Panther, had proudly brought diversity to the MCU. Losing him so young was a shock and so many people felt it. Boseman’s talent will never be forgotten and he has justly been awarded with posthumous nominations for his work n Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. It’s a this time of year that I’d usually be trying to catch up on all of the films with all of the likely Oscar nominated films but I’m all out of sorts thanks to Covid. That wasn’t going to stop me watching this. I had high hopes for this film.
Back in 2018, you couldn’t go anywhere without people talking about this film. Okay, when I say anywhere” I actually mean social media but the fact remains. Not seeing this film when it came out did set me apart from popular opinion. So why didn’t I watch it? To be honest, I just had no interest. I’m not a fan of the whole romantic-comedy thing and this sounded like every other film about two star-crossed lovers. Of course, this one had the added benefit of giving some much needed Asian representation on film. Even though didn’t actually go as smoothly as it should have. Even when we take one step forwards there is always going to be someone who complains about something. As it’s coming up to Valentine’s Day, I decided that I really should watch something of this type and it’s been staring at me every time I search through Prime. It finally felt like the time to do it.