Friday, January 12, 2018

Seen in… December 

This is not The Last Jedi. See what I did there? Image via The Movie DB

Finally, a month where staying in and watching TV or going to the movies was not only recommended but commendable. If it had been only slightly warmer I probably would’ve seen more films in the theatre. As it was so cold, I found it easier to burrow beneath a blanket and hit the play button. Cinemas have big screens and big sound but home has pyjamas and cocktails.

Fargo Season 1
This television adaptation of the Coen Brothers crime thriller/dark comedy delivers the same unusual twists and eccentric characters as the feature film. It does not disappoint as we follow a crime spree from one small Minnesotan city to another. The menace of Billy Bob Thornton’s character gets the ball rolling but it’s the very human foibles of the story’s many characters that keep the momentum up.

Creed. Image via The Movie DB

I have to admit that this is a good movie and is expertly sliced into the canon of “Rocky” pictures. Michael B. Jordan is great as Apollo Creed’s namesake and only son with a chip on his shoulder who seeks out an aging Rocky Balboa as a trainer when everyone else has rejected him. It’s Creed’s name that gets him his big fight but it’s his relationship with his father’s greatest opponent that makes him the man he aspires to be. Jordan is clearly a big talent and could cruise through a film on presence alone but whenever his character seems predictable he gives us some real emotion. Likewise, Sly Stallone’s latest reprisal as Balboa is probably his best work since the original Rocky (or Copland perhaps). This isn’t Raging Bull by any stretch but it is much better than the over-the-top melodramas of the Rocky series of films.

Office Christmas Party
I was very desperate to get into the holiday spirit - but not this desperate. Not even a barefooted, one-liner spouting, machine gun touting John McLane could’ve saved this Christmas movie, but it would have been fun to see. I guess this film fits into an overplayed genre of out-of-control parties where the meek become mighty fuelled by alcohol or worse and some purpose comes out of it in the end. The technical solution they peddle as the company’s saviour is ridiculously and badly explained by writers who clearly couldn’t tell a LAN connection from a landline (internet connectivity delivered over electrical cables has been possible for a very long time but you couldn’t… oh why bother).

Lady Bird. Image via The Movie DB

Lady Bird
Another “coming-of-age” film just like all the other coming-of-age films but unlike any coming-of-age films you’ve ever seen before. This is the story of an ambitious young woman, Lady Bird, who wants to study at a school beyond her family’s means but it takes time for her to realize their sacrifices and that despite how it seems, she shouldn’t be embarrassed by their rung on the American class ladder but take pride in their ability to overcome it. Lady Bird represents many teens who want nothing more than to leave home but once they have, then want nothing more than to return. This film is smartly written and directed by a talented young woman, Greta Gerwig and is smartly delivered by her celluloid counterpart, Saoirse Ronan. Laurie Metcalfe, so recognizable from years of television work is a stand out as the frustrated mother who wants her daughter to strive but not get hurt while doing it. Tracy Letts is also quietly great as the father who while struggles with his own issues is the life boat for both mother and daughter.
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