Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Recently Watched #2

Okay so here's the second edition of my 'Recently Watched' segment. I've watched a fair few things since the last time I posted one of these pieces so I'll just leap right in...

Game of Thrones - Series 1

Released: 2011     Starring: Sean Bean, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Mark Addy,   Charles Dance, Peter Dinklage

To say I'm behind the curve with this epic, everybody's-talking-about-it TV show would be an understatement but there are some very good reasons for my tardiness. Firstly, I don't have anything other than standard terrestrial TV. Secondly, I'm not a thief who will download or stream TV from the internet if I don't have the right channels. Thirdly - and most importantly - I wanted to get the books read before I leapt into the television adaptation of Gearge R.R Martin's most fantastic fantasy world. So did the first series live up to my expectations? Well, I certainly made the boxset (how I've come to hate that word in recent years!) last due to simply not having the time to binge it so it took me a long time to watch every episode. I'd formed an opinion that I stayed true during the very first episode however and that was a positive one.

Naturally, the TV version loses all of the description and inner monologues that make the books such a rich feast of fiction and certain scenes do indeed feel rushed through just to get to the next main event. This was my one big gripe to be honest but even then, I had been expecting it after years of watching book > film adaptations. Thankfully I really feel like they nailed the look of most of the characters and the visuals in general i.e. the architecture, battles, armour were all excellent and clearly developed to a meticulous degree. There was a lot of sex and gratuitous use of bare breasts but this is also in line with the books and is does suit the sort of brutal, medievil tone of the fictional world that Game of Thrones describes.

As with the books, there are certain character segments that I'm not particularly excited for (John Snow/the Wall and Bran to name two) but even those are still interesting. Oh and I know everybody finished talking about her a long time ago but wow, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen is ridiculously beautiful (hence the choice of accompanying image for this part of the post!). Her story is another that I don't go mad for but I will gladly have it just so that Dany is on-screen!

Overall, very impressive and I'm looking forward to getting Series 2 on when I can (I've already bought it).


Peter Kay's Car Share

Released: 2015     Starring: Peter Kay, Sian Gibson

This one is a re-watch as I've already seen the six episodes that make up this excellent BBC comedy numerous times before. It's a real feel-good comedy that can be watched over and over again and I seem to remember that I put it on again a short while ago and binged it over two days following some shitty real-life stuff going down.

Peter Kay - like most comedians - is somebody that you either find hilarious or completely unfunny. Me, I love the northern dialect and his 'everyman' persona so I've always enjoyed watching his material. Car Share follows Kay's supermarket management character (John Redmond) and his car share 'buddy' Kayleigh Kitson (played by Sian Gibson) as they are forced together by their employer's new car share scheme. The majority of the show takes place inside John's car and focuses on the banter between the two characters. There are so many funny moments and a little character development along the way. The humorous radio advertisements are entertaining and the footage of their car motoring around the likes of Manchester, Bolton and Swinton (three of many filming locations) gives the show a relatable element as does the frequent work-related supermarket topics that the two discuss/bicker over. It's just a very homely comedy that everybody should give a chance. Sadly there are only six episodes but a second series has been commissioned which is great news indeed.

Reservoir Dogs

Released: 1992    Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney

There's little to say about Tarantino's break-out movie that hasn't already been said so I'll keep this short (it was another re-watch anyway). I first watched this after discovering and seriously enjoying some of Tarantino's later movies (Kill Bill for example). I ended up seeking out all of his older work that I'd missed including Reservoir Dogs. This is a film that pretty much sums up what Tarantino 'does' for me. Movies based around a load of people talking should be boring as hell but thanks to the scripts, perfect casting choices and inspired cinematography, films like Reservoir Dogs are captivating, memorable and achingly cool.

True Romance

Released: 1993     Starring: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken

Another of my all-time favourites that I felt compelled to see again recently. Tarantino only did the script for True Romance but even so, there's a definite Tarantino flavour in this Tony Scott-directed film. Christian Slater is a cooky loner into his movies and comic books and Patricia Arquette is a call girl secretly hired by his boss to help him celebrate his birthday. The secret is out by the end of the night though and both characters immediately declare that they love each other and so begins a madcap film where the two drive across America with an enormous amount of accidentally stolen drugs that they want to sell off so that they can live happily ever after together. There's violence, humour and that trademark Tarantino 'talky' stuff that never fails to captivate. I really love this film for the characters and the raw, honesty of their love. The final action scene is amazing and the supporting cast are just as likable (I especially liked Christopher Walken's Italian gangster). Recommended.

Gravity

Released: 2013     Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

This film was actually a first-time watch and I have mixed thoughts on it. Clearly, the selling point of Gravity is its awesome visuals and realistic physics and it was worth seeing once for these alone. Unfortunately, I thought that the rest of the movie was just really boring and formulaic...basically not something I think I'd ever watch again. From an aesthetic point of view however, it's definitely worth seeing and I reckon I would have really liked to have viewed it on the big screen at a cinema.

Last Action Hero

Released: 1993     Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austin 'O Brien, Charles Dance, Bridgette Wilson


This is another of my favourite films and one I can watch over and over, especially if I need cheering up! Apparently, a lot of people think this film is naff and their view is - unfortunately - backed-up by a poor box office showing for the Governator's 1993 comic/action film. Well I say: what is wrong with these people?!? Last Action Hero has everything going for it: Shwarzenegger bad-assery and one-liners, explosions, shoot-outs, that awesome early-90's 'feel', a hot girl (Bridgette Wilson), excellent actors (Charles Dance for example) and loads more.

The film is about a movie-obsessed kid named Danny Madigan (O' Brien) who is given a golden cinema ticket that allows him to (unwittingly) enter a movie. While watching a super-special private screening of the new Jack Slater film, he falls into the movie and finds himself paired up with Mr.Slater a.k.a Arnie, a cop completely oblivious to his existence as a movie star. The film has a lot of humour going for it and pokes fun at cinema cliches while featuring plenty of cameos relevant to its 1993 release period such as Robert Patrick as the T-1000 (just randomly passing by) and a Terminator 2 poster with Sylvester Stallone in Schwarzenegger's place (since he is Jack Slater in the movie and not Arnie as we know him).

I think it's just a really fun film that has a lot going for it. If you like Arnie's classic movies then Last Action Hero is a definite must-see. Better than all the constant remakes and the onslaught of superhero movies that Hollywood keeps shitting out today anyway.

Robocop

Released: 1987   Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Daniel 'O Herlihy

Is this a film I really even need to talk about? Robocop is a stone-cold classic set in a bleak, dystopian world where crime is rife and corporations are in control. Peter Weller's cop character gets brutally killed by a vicious gang and so becomes the test subject for the Robocop project, being resurrected as the titular character. This was originally a budget film in the 80's but you'd never know it aside from a few outdated effects (specifically the animation of the ED-209 robot). It is satisfyingly violent in a darkly comical manner and full of classic one-liners such as "Dead or alive, you're coming with me" and "Your move, creep". Robocop is right up there with the likes of the Terminator as far as I am concerned and it's a shame that the sequels are not meant to be as good. As for the reboot, I really cannot be arsed to watch it! It symbolises everything that is wrong with the current movie industry but I won't slate it too much since I haven't seen it...

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