Have to say at the beginning of this, that I am not the biggest Star Trek fan. I’ve never seen a full episode of any series but I have seen several of the original run of films. Combine this with a few random pieces of trivia, the impression I’ve gotten from photos and the film Galaxy Quest and you get a rough idea of my pool of knowledge. Needless to say, I am not an expert. That being said, I feel confident in saying that Star Trek Beyond is the best film in the current series by some distance. And it’s because it has finally moved on from being obsessed with the original series and its details without forgetting its roots entirely. A tough balancing act to say the least but director Justin Lin does it with style.
So I hadn’t seen E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in about 17 or 18 years before I sat down to watch it for this review, so I can be forgiven for forgetting just how good it is. Yes I know it was directed by Steven Spielberg who with whimsy in one hand and a John Williams score in the other crafted most of our childhoods. I should have known it was going to great, especially given that this movie has one of cinema’s most iconic lines and most iconic scenes. Well this article isn’t about the iconic scenes that everyone remembers. It’s about how the background details that created the mood which enabled those iconic moments. I’m going to put a spoiler warning for this movie in place, so if you that haven’t seen E.T. then I would suggest that you look at yourself in the mirror and reflect on lost wonders. Or just watch the movie. Which ever suits. We’re also going to skip the story section this week because seriously it’s fucking E.T..
So soon into the life of this blog, I must go outside its brief. Instead of doing a new cinema release, this week I’m going to do a spoiler free review of the first season of the new Netflix series Stranger Things. Why you ask? Because the only films in my local cinema that I haven’t seen are Ice Age: Collision Course and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and with all due respect, fuck that. You don’t need me to tell you those movies are bad and that you shouldn’t go see them. I’ve said week in and week out that I don’t want to be constantly giving negative reviews so I have made the conscious decision to talk about something that deserves to be talked about. So with that bring on season one of Stranger Things, a love letter to the 80s genre movie.
The Fundamentals of Caring is a Netflix original movie and is also the third movie discussing the relationship between a carer and a disabled person that I’ve reviewed since I started this blog. To recap, Me Before You had the carer as a crusader, trying to save the disabled person, then muddied the water with a romantic relationship between them. The Intouchables was a film that placed the carer and the disabled person on fairly level pegging in a platonic relationship. The Fundamentals of Caring then has the characters be truly equal, savagely ripping into each others’ vulnerabilities and weaknesses. A wonderful, hilarious film that manages to be incredibly sweet without it feeling contrived.
I’ve given modern comedy a hard time recently. It’s only because I love comedy so much that I get so offended when I think a film maker is being lazy. And to my mind, that is what a lot of modern comedy films are. They’re lazy, not using utilising the scope of what film can achieve when crafting their jokes. This is why I love Edgar Wright’s 2007 film Hot Fuzz. Rather than discussing Hot Fuzz with a specific aspect of the film in mind, I want to use it as an example of how to do basically everything right. Spoiler warning for the film: If you haven’t seen it, do so and come back to me. Spoiler warning for the review: I am going to be preposterously snide throughout. You have been warned.
I didn’t like Ghostbusters. No, it isn’t because they were women. No, it isn’t because they remade a classic film. To tell the truth I think the original Ghostbusters is good not great and nowhere near the untouchable status people seem to afford it. I didn’t like it because it’s the third movie I’ve seen in a month that exhibits all the same problems that the modern comedy possesses, the first two being The Boss and Central Intelligence. The awkward improv, the boring cinematography/blocking, immature humour (there is a fart/queef joke) and the completely weightless action scene climax. If you like modern comedy films then you’ll enjoy this if you don’t then come and join the resistance. We need the numbers. All that being said, this film isn’t deserving of the level of hate it has received.
Harmless. That’s the word I’d use to describe The Secret Life of Pets. But here’s the sentence that word is in when I think about it; Harmless but full of unused of potential. It’s a screwball comedy from Illumination Studios, the company that brought us the minions and who never ever want to let you forget that. Like the Despicable Me movies it’s full of zany characters and the jokes come hard and fast both at the expense of plot. But that’s fine. I like screwball comedy. What I don’t like is a complete disregard for comedic timing and pacing or a total disconnect between set up and the rest of the plot. But that’s just me.