The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Film

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent: The most Nicolas Cage movie ever?

That’s how they’re billing it and look! I think he’s acting again! Kind of! I can remember when Nicolas Cage used to act in his movies and now he’s doing something that really, really looks like acting again.

It’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and it’s out in April. Who’s in?

Firebite
US TV

What (completely forgettable TV) have you (also) been watching? Including American Auto, Grand Crew and Firebite

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

Well, this is awkward. I’ve just written about all the TV I’ve been watching… and I’ve just remembered I’ve watched three other shows. Oh dear.

So let’s do a quick extra rundown of those utterly unmemorable shows while I can still retain them in my mind. I should also point out that some utterly insane fool at HBO Max commissioned Station Eleven, the first episode of which aired last week:

‘Survivors of a devastating flu attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost.’

Are you f*cking insane, HBO Max?

Continue reading “What (completely forgettable TV) have you (also) been watching? Including American Auto, Grand Crew and Firebite”
Streaming TV

What have you been watching? Including Hawkeye, Hot Zone: Anthrax, Titans and Lost in Space

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

I’ve been goaded. Well, prodded really. There were some actual movie reviews last week, so I guess I’d better do some TV reviews. Apparently, that’s what TMINE’s supposed to be for. Tarnation.

Fortunately, I’ve been watching a decent amount of TV, so I won’t simply be doing shadow puppets for you and pretending that it’s a review for this last WHYBW of 2021.

First up, the return of two regulars, and then after the jump, we can talk about two new shows: Hawkeye (Disney+) and Hot Zone: Anthrax (Disney+)

Lost in Space (season 3) (Netflix)

Lost in Space (Netflix) is back for its third and final season… and I’m confused. Every season more or less is a build up to showing us how the Space Family Robinson got ‘lost in space’ with the evil Doctor Smith (Parker Posey). It then ends with them… ‘lost in space’. And then with the next season, it resets and we have to watch them get lost in space all over again.

Season two ended especially well in that regard. They’re on the spaceship, they’re there with the robot and evil Dr Smith, they don’t know where they are but they are in the middle of space, nowhere near anyone else or a planet that looks a lot like Canada.

Good build-up. Surely they’re not going to reset again are they?

Well, hot damn. Guess what? Season three starts with them all stuck on yet another planet that looks like Canada with all the other kids. Again. What the hell? Even if we hadn’t already had a show that’s almost exactly the same as that (The 100), why are we doing it for the third season in a row for Lost in Space?

I managed to watch about two episodes before I just gave up. I’ve now seen this story twice – I don’t need to see it for a third time. And can’t the whole family actually be in the same place together for so much as an entire episode?

Titans (US: HBO Max; UK: Netflix)

You probably won’t remember this – why would you? – but I made it through the first four episodes of season three of Titans back in September, then gave up as it was so horrid and all the characters I cared about got killed off.

Well, it’s comics, so guess what? One of them came back from the dead, it turned out, something I discovered this weekend, so I figured that as this was now on Netflix in the UK, I’d give it a rewatch from the point from when said character returns.

So… episodes nine through 13 of Titans are bad. Not outright terrible, but pretty close. It’s all meaningless, inconsequential namechecking of comic characters but none of the characters act like either themselves or even slightly coherently thought-out human beings (or aliens). The acting seems to have got a lot worse, too, and the fights don’t have that grittiness to them that they used to. What it does have is trite teen romances and outright sadism.

I would say that if I was looking for positives, seeing (spoiler alert) the Amazons, as well as Donna Troy and Raven again was great, as they were by far the most interesting characters and interpretations of DC lore. But it’s all just so comic-strippy, so lacking in any real depth, and actually downright silly at times that it just felt like I was losing IQ points watching it.

Plus how high-stake are your perils when at least half the cast have died and come back?

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Hawkeye, Hot Zone: Anthrax, Titans and Lost in Space”
Film

The TMINE multiplex: The Wrath of Man (2021) and Большой (Bolshoi) (2017)

In which Nat talks briefly about the movies she’s been watching this week for no particular reason and that probably don’t warrant proper reviews, but hey? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all chatted about them anyway?

I’m back! Yay! I finally managed to find time to write some movie reviews.

Silly, isn’t it? Rob takes me on because he’s too busy to write as much as he used to. “At least one of us will be writing something, even if the other can’t.” But rather than doubling the output, I’ve just doubled the number of people not writing anything. I suck.

I’m hoping that at least this week and next week, I’ll make up for that since although I’ve not been writing anything, I have been watching movies and plan on watching even more. Maybe my new year’s resolution should be try to write more before I forget how to.

I don’t think I’ve got much to add to what I wrote about The Harder They Fall (2021), Red Notice (2021), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) and Маша (Masha) (2021). But here are some trailers this time.

Screens 3-12: Classic movies

My regular weekly movie night has been continuing and I’ve now got such a backlog of old movies that I’ve rewatched to review, there’s no way I can do anything more than bulletpoint them and still go to this afternoon’s Christmas party.

Party comes first, obviously – I don’t want to live down to stereotypes, but there’ll be vodka, and not that scary Polish bison one made with grass that my sister bought me and gives me headaches, so I’ll be going, no matter what.

I’ve linked to the trailers for each one, BTW.

  1. Fight Club (1999)🌪: David Fincher at his finest, with an adaptation that’s better than the book and ultimately sends up silly ideas of revolution and anti-capitalism. I thoroughly enjoyed rewatching because every single scene plays two different ways, once you know what’s going on, and Helena Bonham-Carter’s character suddenly becomes completely sympathetic, once you realise she’s being dicked around by a guy.
  2. The Princess Bride (1987): Always delightful, even if it takes forever for the Dread Pirate Roberts to show up.
  3. The Sixth Sense (1999)🌪: Still M Night Shyamalan’s and Bruce Willis’ best work. Thoroughly engrossing and beautiful to watch. In common with Helena Bonham-Carter, Olivia Williams’ character does a complete U-turn by the end, which is fascinating to watch.
  4. Unbreakable (2000)🌪: M Night Shyamalan’s and Bruce Willis’ second best work in a movie about comic books that uses its calm, matter-of-factness to camouflage what it’s doing.
  5. The Game (1997)🌪: David Fincher on a roll after Se7en with a completely implausible but thoroughly entertaining roller-coaster where every theory you have about what’s going on is flipped by the next scene, with only the ending eventually showing what’s truly been going on. You can’t take it literally, of course, only metaphorically and as part of the experience, but it’s still fun trying to believe it could happen.
  6. Se7en (1995)🌪: Still hard-hitting, even if its depiction of New York is so mid-90s and Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey’s stars have dimmed since then. Plus tracking people through their use of the library and what books they borrow? So pre-internet! Whether it’s still the classic the BFI thinks it is, I’m not sure. It’s clearly pitched at people who think they’re intellectuals and are correspondingly cynical and misanthropic, so plays up to that in a slightly obvious way. It’s also a bit misogynistic, too. But David Fincher and Darius Khondji’s direction and cinematography are immaculate, even if streaming can’t really take advantage of Khondji’s silver nitrate retention process.
  7. Planet of the Apes (1968)🌪: As much poetry as science-fiction, this is still a wonderful musing on culture, society, racism, religion and politics. The Jerry Goldsmith music is wonderful discordant, the Gaudi-inspired set designs are amazing and Franklin J Schaffner’s direction manages to make the planet of the apes remarkably alien.
  8. The Mummy (1999): A smart bit of silliness that’s just so much fun to watch. I loved how, while not 100% authentic (perhaps not even 50% authentic), enough efforts had been made to have some real ancient Egyptian qualities to the movie that it feels part of the story, rather than just the background. Plus there’s Brendan Fraser and Oded Fehr.
  9. The Mummy Returns (2001): Almost unwatchably dull sequel to The Mummy. Such an annoying kid and Rachel Weisz isn’t much better.
  10. Field of Dreams (1989)🌪: It’s easy to be snooty about American earnestness and there’s no movie more lacking in cynicism than Field of Dreams. But it works. You’ve a hard heart if you’re not crying by the time Burt Lancaster turns up, and one made of stainless steel if you’re not crying by the end. Yet it’s all about possibly the dullest sport in the world after cricket – baseball! Just lovely and magical.

You’ll notice that all the movies with a 🌪 had a twist at the end, something that wasn’t deliberate on my part but which my friend had no idea about. So it was really fun both trying to hide the fact there was a twist and then seeing his reaction when the twist was revealed! Even Planet of the Apes! It’s actually really gratifying to see not only that they still worked and that classic cinema still has real power, but that memes and popular culture haven’t ruined those classic movies for those who haven’t yet seen them.

This week’s movies, the BFI Player and the Russian Film Festival

After the jump, though, I’ll be talking about one new movie – Guy Ritchie’s The Wrath of Man (2021) – and one of the movies from the BFI Player’s recent Russian film festival, Большой (Bolshoi) (2017). I’d have watched more from that festival already, BTW, if the BFI Player weren’t the worst streaming player yet devised. It’s just awful! It doesn’t even remember your playback position and if you’re watching on an iPad, you have to buy the movie in your web browser (not Safari – it has to be Chrome, too) then it launches a separate player app. Oh, and the BFI Player is separate from the BFI Player channel you can get in Amazon Prime and on your Apple TV, so has different movies and doesn’t share your subscription. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

Incidentally, if you want a bit more detail about the BFI’s Russian film festival, the Girls on Film podcast recently did a great rundown on both Маша (Masha) (2021) and Доктор Лиза (Doctor Lisa) (2020) (the latter of which I’m currently watching, BTW). Hopefully, I’ll be back to talk about that next week!

Continue reading “The TMINE multiplex: The Wrath of Man (2021) and Большой (Bolshoi) (2017)”
Film

Talking Pictures TV now has a streaming movie service, TPTV Encore

If you love old movies, particularly old British movies, then I’ve got some great news for you! TV channel Talking Pictures has just launched a free, online viewing service, TPTV Encore. All you’ve got to do to use it is register.

There is a really amazing range of movies there, some historically important, some culturally important, and some simply a bit of fun!

Obviously, His Girl Friday (1940) should be your first choice, but honestly, there’s so much good stuff on there, including some of the old Saturday morning serials, such as Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe.

There’s also a set of movies only on there for a short time or that are seasonally themed, so get in there quick before they go!

(Nicole Kidman is amazing in To Die For (1995) so watch that ASAP)

It’s browser-only unfortunately, with no app for any other device, but if that’s not a problem for you, please go and watch it! Support Talking Pictures, because they’re doing a fabulous job.