I mean, I say June – July, but I hardly saw anything in June. Sometimes there are just dry months.
Adult Life Skills (2016 – Rachel Tunnard)
It had been a while…and I was desperate to see something. So I saw this twee British nonsense. And it is exactly that. Highly affected performances portraying behaviour that is unlike any human being ever. Twinkly-winkly music on the soundtrack. Characters who are emotionally retarded. We’ve seen these films a thousand and one times and they are what pass for independent filmmaking in the modern world.
You have to decide whether to give these films a pass or not. In that moment, I gave it a pass. Now, a month or so later, I see it for the mindless waste of time it was.
Seen at Picturehouse Central. Large screen in a small auditorium. Ticket cost £15.
Nasty Baby (2015 – Sebastian Silva)
Which I can barely remember a moment of! That’s bad isn’t it? Must have watched it whilst drawing or had it on in the background after being at work all day. That’s how we watch some films though? We appreciate that music can be listened to both as intently and dedicatedly at home or in concert or as background noise whilst walking to work. Why can’t films be the same?
It’s a kind of mumbly-American-independent film (see above). But it gets a bit more interesting by having violence intrude onto the action. Still, it’d be nice if it was a bit more memorable though.
The Neon Demon (2016 – Nicolas Winding Refn)
Written about here: https://asidesteps.com/2016/07/10/the-neon-demon-2016-nicolas-winding-refn/
Star Trek Beyond (2016 – Justin Lin)
Remember when Star Trek (2009) came along and everything felt like a breath of fresh air. Those days seem like a lifetime ago. The films are once again as staid and as stolid as those later Next Generation era films.
Karl Urban steals the show. Simon Pegg attempts to do the same, but fails. Idris Elba is incoherent underneath layers and layers of prosthesis. The 3D meant that some scenes were so dark it was hard to work out what was going on.
But mainly, either through the fault of the writers or the four editors, the scenes were intercut nonsensically. Action would start and stop. Sentences would end mid-thought. And this was no attempt to inflict pace upon what is generally a relatively tranquil franchise. This meant tension was never held…it would be built and then forgotten. Time for another reboot…?
Seen at Bluewater Showcase for £8.95 (inc. 3D surcharge, and god I wish I hadn’t paid for that ‘privilege’. Decent sized screen.
Maggie’s Plan (2016 – Rebecca Miller)
I think there’s a whole sub-genre of movies which are sub-Woody Allen films but not made by a problematic filmmaker. But when you don’t particularly care whether a filmmaker is ‘problematic’ or not, you’re left with the film. Maggie’s Plan is not a bad film, it demonstrates just how good an actress Greta Gerwig is and isn’t ashamed to say that a lot of the pressure we put on ourselves (marriage, happiness, artistic worth) are just meaningless constructs. But…it’s not Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) is it? It’s barely better than Cassandra’s Dream (2007)!
Seen on screen 3 (relatively small) at the Panton St. Odeon. Ticket cost £6!!!
Jason Bourne (2016 – Paul Greengrass)
I think Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon thought the appeal of their Bourne films was the moments when actors sat around and looked at computer screens, because Jesus Christ, that is what half this film was about. Greengrass and Damon have obviously justified this exercise of returning to a franchise that they swore they’d never come back to by imbibing the film with a sense of social justice. Numerous references to Edward Snowden, protests in Greece, social media and online privacy lurk into scenes with all the clunkiness of a bore at a party. And Julia Stiles is killed in a manner which can only be off-putting.
And then, just at the end, there is an excellent car chase and a half-decent fight. It was just enough to redeem the dull screen saver I had just watched for two hours.
Seen at Bluewater Showcase. Huge screen for £8.95.