It’s “What did you watch last week?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I watched last week that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.
First, the usual recommendations: Perception and Doctor Who. Not much on, is there?
So here’s a few thoughts on what I have been watching:
- Perception: Not bad, but not great.
- Royal Pains: Meh.
- Hunderby: Julia Davis does Daphne du Maurier but set in Jane Austen’s time. Silly and dark, with some great moments, but ultimately, it feels like one of those obvious parodies you’d write in the sixth form of school in which adding the word ‘bum’ to a classic novel made it somehow inherently more amusing.
- Toast of London: A pilot for a show written by Matt Berry and Arthur Mathews that had more than a few funny moments and embodies a lot of Berry-esque idiosyncrancies and Mathews-esque surrealism, but which I still wouldn’t describe as hilarious.
And in movies, it’s been something of an action movie-fest:
The Expendables 2
Basically a lot of shooting and in-jokes, with not much by way of script. Jet Li gets written of it quickly as does one of the other cast members, so we only get a couple of scenes with them. But it seems a shame to assemble the likes of Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and Chuck Norris and not to actually do much by way of martial arts, which is something the first movie excelled at. But Bruce and Arnie got more to do this time, which is a bonus.
JCVD does Die Hard in an ice rink. Dreadful.
JCVD’s one undeniably good movie.
Jean Claude plays a version of himself who mistakenly gets accused of robbing a post office. Very meta, but not much by way of action. Big revelation is the Jean-Claude can act pretty well in French.
A dreadful load of old bobbins by a former X-Files writer in which Jet Li has to fight a parallel universe version of himself. A couple of good fight scenes and it’s amusing to see Jason Statham with some hair, but largely silly and way too much wire work.
A masterpiece compared the Stallone version, and a really good movie in its own right – essentially The Raid but with guns instead of martial arts as Judges Dredd and Anderson ascend a tower block looking for the source of a new drug. Less futuristic than the comic, it is nevertheless a decent attempt to capture the spirit of 2000 AD, albeit without the satire, and South Africa doubles very nicely for Megacity 1. Hampered by a slightly low budget, it benefits from a good, intelligent script, a good cast (Karl Urban as Dredd, Olivia Thirby as Judge Anderson, here on probation and getting a lot to do, thankfully, and, for once, Lena Headey, embracing the not-pretty look for all it’s worth) and some surprisingly beautiful direction. Definitely worth seeing if you can handle a bit of violence.
If you’ve seen both Blade Runner and the first Total Recall, there is literally no point watching this remake. Colin Farrell makes a better protagonist than Arnie and the writers have realised that the best thing about the original was Sharon Stone’s character, who wasn’t actually in it much, so combined her and Michael Ironside’s character together. But it’s ludicrous bobbins, in which there’s a lift through the centre of the Earth that allows everyone to commute from Australia to the UK and back every day (full gravity until the middle, kiddies…), and most of the clever touches have been removed (although to be fair, so have the crap bits). It also downplays the best part of the original, which was that you really didn’t know if the whole movie was a dream or not. Serviceable, Kate Beckinsale is great (although not Sharon Stone great), but that’s about it.
And here’s the original trailer. Watch that instead.
“What did you watch last week?” is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?