400 And Counting: Week 15 (I Like Your Old Stuff)

February 6, 2015

I’ve come to notice my viewing habits recently, and one of them was in full force this week. After work, or when I’m tired, I’m far more likely to just watch whatever is on TV or nearby, with a preference for films I’ve already seen. I guess being tired means I don’t want to put the effort in to watch a new film when I could re-watch Braveheart.

Spoiler alert: I watched Braveheart this week.

The Trip to Italy (2014)
Director: Michael Winterbottom
1:48:00 (Completed)

This is a sequel to The Trip and is basically the same film. It’s Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan playing ‘themselves’ as they take a trip around Italy going to fancy restaurants and doing a great number of impersonations, all quite amusing.

If you like the idea of watching two comedians have a meal, doing some improv and impersonations with some nice scenery thrown in, you’ll enjoy this. A plus, there is some nice food porn on view. If you don’t like either Rob Brydon or Steve Coogan, this film will feel like it goes forever and it will be the worst. Luckily for me, I found it funny.

You don’t need to have seen the first film, but if you like this, go back and watch it

Ender’s Game (2013)
Director: Gavin Hood
1:54:00 (Completed)

Despite the fact that the only other Gavin Hood directed film I’ve seen is X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I enjoyed Ender’s Game.

It is a sci fi dystopian film about humans trying to stop the invasion of bug-like aliens. Because science, there is a chosen one: Ender, a young child who must go to a series of boot camps and military schools to compete in ever-increasingly difficult wargames in a gravity free dome. This training will allow him to beat the aliens in space! Harrison Ford plays a general when he’s not falling asleep on set, he’s so far from the top of his game in this film its not funny.

I like sci films in general, and I enjoyed this one.

A note: Ender’s Game is based on a series of books by Orson Scott Card, who can be considered a massive homophobic arsehole. Sometimes you have to separate the ‘artist’ from the ‘art’. This is one such example.

The Goonies (1985)
Director: Richard Donner
1:54:00 (completed)

This is one of those classic 80s kids films that I never saw growing up; now seems like the time to correct this mistake.

The Goonies tells the tale of a group of kids trying to find pirate treasure in order to save their town. The first twenty or so minutes left me bored of these over the top kid characters and that maybe I was ten to fifteen years late in watching this.

But as the adventure unfolded and we delve deeper into this world, the more I liked these kids and the film itself. Samwise Gamgee (a.k.a. a very young Sean Astin) plays the lead, and he along with most of the cast is bearable. It’s a lot of fun and a rollicking good time.

Foxcatcher (2014)
Director: Bennett Miller
2:09:00 (Completed)

This film is getting heaps of praise because of the performances of its two leads, Steve Carell and Channing Tatum. What’s most interesting about these performances is how far away from their regular roles they are.

Multi millionaire John E. du Pont (Carell) recruits and sponsors Mark Schultz (Tatum), an Olympic gold medalist wrestler. What follows is a slow descent into the powerful and dangerous influence of greed, paranoia and acceptance. It’s Carell’s character who is most interesting, a man ruled by his mother as he vainly tries to gain acceptance from those he views as his peers and prove he is a man.

This is a character study through and through; it’s not a sports movie and it’s certainly not very fast paced. The characters are however interesting and there’s some great acting by Carell, Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.

Braveheart (1995)
Director: Mel Gibson
2:57:00 (Completed)

This is a classic, epic, action, period war film. It tells the tale of William Wallace (Mel Gibson) a Scottish man who leads a revolt against the oppressive English. It’s a tale of love and vengeance. It’s a tale about class, the peasants and the noble ruling class. It’s a bloody action movie with swords, axes, blood and mud.

Gibson is at his peak as Wallace, the role giving him heaps to do, from playing the lover, the warrior, the conqueror, but it’s the role of director that saw him most honoured; he won the best director Oscar for this film.

This truly is an epic film and a must watch, regardless of how you feel about Gibson these days (the note at the bottom of Ender’s Game still applies).

Jurassic Park (1993)
Director: Steven Spielberg
2:07:00 (Completed)

Another 90s classic rewatch and/or preparation for the reboot/new sequel. While I’m not super excited for Jurassic World, I’m more than interested enough to use it as an excuse to rewatch the first trilogy.

Jurassic Park, for those that haven’t seen it, is about a island with a giant theme park that features cloned dinosaurs as its main attraction. Three scientists (the dashing Sam Neill, the lovely Laura Dern and the snappy Jeff Goldblum) tour the park to ensure it’s safety — naturally, everything starts to go wrong.

It bears all the hallmarks of a big Spielberg blockbuster: Some action, a little romance, special effects and an interesting world, all in a family friendly package ready in time for the holidays.

Despite it’s sequels getting progressively worse, I’m looking forward to watching this series in the coming weeks.

I watched some great films this week, but the title of Film of the Week is going to one that I hadn’t seen before and was a really fun experience. However, it really could have easily gone to about four of this week’s films.

Next week might be the start of the theme weeks. The only way for you to know is to wait and see. You’ll love it!

Film of the week: The Goonies
Movies watched this week: 6
Did Not Finish (DNF) this week: 0
Time spent this week: 12:49:00
Total movies watched: 79/400
Total DNF: 2
Total time: 150:29:32

(So it turns out that last week, my total film count was out. I actually forgot about Calvary when I wrote the blog. When I added it in later, I forgot to update the totals. Silly me.)

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