400 And Counting: Week 14 (Once More With Feeling)

January 30, 2015

This has been a pretty quiet film week for me. I did get to do some fun non-movie things. I saw Neil Gaiman at the Athenaeum Theatre, where he read some stories, including a longer piece, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, which had live music and pictures by Eddie Campbell (the artist of From Hell by Alan Moore). It was an epic night, with some great stories, some funny jokes and some great music.

Naturally, on Australia Day, I got drunk and listened to that song on Triple J; you know the one, it’s about to be on all the car ads.

Starship Troopers (1997)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
2:09:00 (Completed)

This is one of my favourite movies of all time, and boy did it look pretty on Blu-ray.

It’s the story of a war torn, futuristic human race who do battle with an alien race of bugs. Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) is a high school jock, who after graduation enlists in the military. We get the classic army boot camp scenes here while exploring some of the political aspects of this Earth. Throw in some great one liners, some sweet action, a fascist government and some 90s heartthrobs and you have a general idea of what the film’s about.

Some of the effects are dated, but I can’t overstate how much of a classic action film this is. It has lines like “Come on you apes! You want to love forever?” I just have so much fun every time I watch this movie, which to be honest, isn’t often enough.

(Postscript: I didn’t know until I IMDBed this that they made an animated TV show called Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, which I must watch right now)
(Postscript plus: Okay, I just watched a trailer, it’s late-90s 3D animation. It has not aged well. I might not be in such a rush any more.)

St Vincent (2014)
Director: Theodore Melfi
1:42:00 (Completed)

Bill Murray stars as grumpy, drunk, old man Bill Murray. He plays the role well. His new neighbour, Maggie (Melissa McCarthy, who is actually acting for once, as opposed to just being loud) moves in with her young son Oliver (played by Jaeden Lieberher, who is not annoying — a tall ask for a child actor). Oliver is a weird kid and soon finds himself taken under Bill Murray’s wing.

It’s a bit of the old ‘odd couple’ type routine but it works. The film has some touching moments that were really very effective, to the point where my eyes may have watered just a tad.

Calvary (2014)
Director: John Michael McDonagh
1:42:00 (Completed)

This is John Michael McDonagh’s second feature film, the first being The Guard (which I watched in Week Zero of the blog, many moons ago). Calvary is in many ways different, while still feeling similar. It is the story of a Father James (Brendan Gleeson, in an outstanding performance), a priest (a good one) who, in an incredible opening scene, is told he will be killed on the following Sunday. Over the course of the week we learn more about Father James, his past, his family and the town he lives and serves in.

The script is great and McDonagh has a bunch of quality actors to work with, including Chris O’Dowd, Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones’ Littlefinger) and Dylan Moran. Despite its serious subject matter, it still manages to have a few laughs and some great character moments.

I did spend at least half the movie trying to figure out if this was a sequel to The Guard, as both characters are played by Gleeson and both their backstories kind of matched up. Sequel or no, Calvary was really good film that would be pick of the week…if I hadn’t have watched Starship Troopers.

Paper Planes (2014)
Director: Robert Connolly
1:36:00 (Completed)

We Australians love to make films about the underdog. Paper Planes is no exception.

Dylan (Ed Oxenbould) is a young loner who finds an escape from his miserable home life (a dead mother and a depressed father) in paper plane competitions. The story follows some pretty standard beats, with setbacks and disappointments that get in Dylan’s way. There were a couple of moving scenes that really grabbed me and had me invested, but most other times I glanced at my phone in boredom.

This isn’t a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, it just wasn’t very good.

Draft Day (2014)
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
1:50:00 (Completed)

I enjoy sportsball movies more than I enjoy sportsball in general. Draft Day is a movie about the inner workings of a struggling NFL team during the Draft. Day. Kevin Costner stars as general manager Sonny Weaver, whose family and backstory all bubble to the surface on this very busy day.

The film features a heap of phone calls as deals are being set up between teams but are done in a cool split screen that makes them engaging and interesting; much more so than if they just cut back and forth between two people talking. The wheeling and dealing is cool, the sports stuff is well done and there are just enough personal clashes and relationship stuff happening to keep you interested.

So, yes, another disappointing week numbers wise, but shut up, I was doing important stuff like drinking and listening to Neil Gaiman. I still have a bunch of Blu-rays I need to get stuck into, and we (by that I mean myself and my editor Don) have some interesting ideas for the blog, including theme weeks. All suggestions will be considered, so suggest away.

Also, the Starship Troopers Blu-ray looks so far beyond the trailer below, but it gives you an idea of the film.

Film of the week: Starship Troopers
Movies watched this week: 4
Did Not Finish (DNF) this week: 0
Time spent this week: 7:17:00
Total movies watched: 72/400
Total DNF: 2
Total time: 135:58:32

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