Mar 13, 2016

WIWTW #38

I didn't have a lot of time this week for movies unfortunately which is why I was mostly stuck watching shorter films. In fact, the average runtime for all my movies this week is 68 minutes which isn't too impressive now is it?

It's also pretty amusing how I had a serious Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas week. They starred in two of the movies I saw, that being Keeping Mum and My Old Lady (KM is the better one).

Now on to this week's WIWTW.

But first...
 

Some News (That I Actually Care About)

  • The upcoming Tomb Raider reboot will apparently be inspired by 2013 Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix video game which can only be a good thing. Wasn't a big fan of the Angelina Jolie movies, so let's hope that the new slate gives us a fun female character led action/adventure flick. @blastr
  • Box office report: Yes yes, Zootopia is still on top as box office champ of the weekend with a $50 million second weekend. No surprise there. What's truly impressive however is the success of 10 Cloverfield Lane which took off with $25.2 million, most likely due to a successful marketing campaign. With only $13 million in production costs, it's all green from here on out for Paramount which is some well needed good news for the struggling studio. Despite a memorable appearance at the Academy Awards as Ali G, the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy vehicle The Brothers Grimsby flopped pretty hard with only $3.2 million on a budget of $35 million. Might be time for an Ali G/Borat sequel at this point.
  • Getting back to video game adaptations, J.J. Abrams has confirmed that movies based on Half-Life and Portal are still happening. I guess I should really play Half-Life one of these days. @IGN
  • Next year is quite possibly the year that China will surpass the United States as the world's top market for movies. It's not like studios haven't already started to pander to the Chinese market. @Fortune
  • And here you go, an article about the Russo Brothers starting a film studio in China. @The Hollywood Reporter
  • One Direction's Harry Styles casted in Christopher Nolan's upcoming Dunkirk? OK... @Yahoo!
Video of the week: Here's a compilation of 10 awful CGI moments in big Hollywood blockbuster movies.

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Number of movies watched: 7

Average rating: 5.86
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March 6th

 

Keeping Mum (2005)

Rating: 6.5/10

What is it: A British black comedy that finds Maggie Smith in pleasing comedic form

There can never be enough said about Maggie Smith and that's certainly true when it comes to Keeping Mum. I haven't seen her in too many comedies, but I can safely say now that she knows how to put on a funny performance. Nothing needs to be said about Rowan Atkinson and his talents, but I will say that it's always nice to see the underrated Kristen Scott Thomas ply her trade. Who I could've done without however was Patrick Swayze who plays a boorish, loud American and just clashes with the rest of the cast. That's kind of the point with his character, but Swayze just takes it into overboard territory and it's not pleasant. While KM isn't a perfect comedy, the morbid escapades into violence and murder are well done.

March 7th

 

Oculus: Chapter 3 - The Man with the Plan (2006)

Rating: 6/10

What is it: A 32 minute horror short later adapted into the feature length film Oculus

Oculus was a surprisingly decent addition to the horror genre and I was looking forward to watching Mike Flanagan's original take on the story of a haunted mirror able to do all sorts of funky things to its owners. While it doesn't quite fall into disappointing territory, there's an inescapable sense that this is a low budget short film and it's hard to ignore. Still, Scott Graham does a decent job in the main role and Mike Flanagan demonstrates a clear understanding of what it takes to build tension. O:C3 - TMwtP is creepy, has a very cool concept but it isn't truly scary unfortunately. 

March 8th

 

The Rewrite (2014)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: A romantic comedy centered around a struggling screenwriter

I've usually fallen into the category of people who enjoy High Grant despite him always playing the tried and true "likable cad." Unfortunately, Grant plays an unlikable cad this time and I mean truly unlikable. It's difficult to root for his character just like it was difficult to really find a laugh in the entire 107 minute runtime of this movie. While it's great to see supporting characters filled by actors like J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney, they're not particularly interesting or unique. Even Marisa Tomei is relegated to playing the 40 year-old manic pixie single mother. This is a Hugh Grant flick to skip.

March 9th

 

Justice League: Doom (2012)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: A DC Animated Universe movie that shows the consequences of being too prepared

I've been a bit disappointed with the DC Animation Universe movies I've been watching lately which made Justice League: Doom such a breath of fresh air. There's no question that the short runtime handicaps the story to a fair extent, but there's enough excitement and tension to partially make up for that. Animation is pretty decent and Christopher Drake delivers one of his reliably heroic-sounding scores. There are some surprisingly dark scenes and that helps makes up for the relative disappointment of the climax. Oh yeah, Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman is a treat as always.

March 10th

 

My Old Lady (2014)

Rating: 6/10

What is it: An adaptation of an Israel Horovitz play of the same title

My Old Lady starts off with a pleasing comedy/drama vibe. Mathias Gold (Kevin Kline) discovers that the apartment he inherited in Paris is home to an old woman named Mathilde Girard (Maggie Smith) in an arrangement known as a "viager." The terms of this deal outline that Mathilde gets to live in the apartment and be paid a monthly fee until the day she dies. It's an amusing situation that gives way to some soul-sucking drama that all but eliminates the comedy. At its core, the film is a family drama that features some solid performances. The drastic change in tone doesn't make for an enjoyable watch though. A fair chunk of MOL is comparable to swimming underwater in the pitch black. And about as fun.

March 11th

 

Veggietales: The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's (2007): Worst Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 3/10

What is it: A VeggieTales video that tries its best to ruin everything good in this world

The 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz is one of my all-time favourite movies which is why I've been dreading to watch this particular VeggieTales. It pretty much plays out as I feared, but probably the biggest issue is the song-writing. Besides the fact that the songs are mostly spoofs/rip-offs of the originals, they're very poorly written and Lisa Vischer seems to struggle at times and that's probably because of how badly written these songs are. The same thing goes for the Silly Song segment which sounds like every Silly Songs that have come before it. You got the usual problems associated with VT and it's just a real shame that such a classic had to be used as fodder here. Just watch the original movie people.

March 12th

 

Frank Film (1973): Best Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 7/10

What is it: Winner of Best Animated Short at the 46th Academy Awards

I'd definitely say that Frank Film falls into the experimental film category, but on the more forgiving side of things. To sum it up, director Frank Mouris narrates an autobiography and has a second audio track playing which is him just saying words that start with the letter "f." At the same time, there's a collage of different objects and things being shown that tie into what's being said. It's a lot to take in all at once. FF is the kind of movie you struggle to process for the first two minutes or so, but then it all just seems to click. It's like an animated stream of consciousness if you get my meaning. It won't change your life, but it'll make you think a little bit more than the average Looney Tunes.