Well folks - I have only actually seen two more films since my last posting. Our local arts cinema has remained tempting, but we've not really been drawn to anything much - so today I'm going to review the two films I have seen and also offer my thoughts on why I'm really not sure about seeing a third...
As I've mentioned before on this blog our nearest cinema is a small affair that competes with the multiplexes via showing what I refer to as FROMAGE films (French ROad Movies About the Grimness of Existence) - by offering something different it succeeds in regularly filling its seats and gives you an alternative to Hollywood blockbusters, although it increasingly shows more of those as well...
And this year we had a two-for-the-price-of-one ticket that could be used once per month, hence we went to see a couple of films that we would otherwise not have seen.
And a couple of months back now we had to decide between a proper FROMAGE film (complete with subtitles) and the above mentioned effort. In the end Herself was not feeling up to subtitles and as I wasn't really too fussed we chose Hysteria..on reflection it was not a good choice.
So the plot follows a fictionalized version of the events that led Dr Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) to invent the first vibrator, dealing with the treatment of Hyseria - a malady attributed to women for almost any disease or ailment for many years - treatment of which was to induce an orgasm manually, thus reducing tension (believe it or not many of the Doctors did not realise the "treatment" was pleasurable for the women) - but in some cases could effectively lead to women being institutionalized and "spayed"
As a sub-plot to this it also deals with Dr Granville's relationship with Charlotte Dalrymple (Maggie Gyllenhall), the daughter of the Doctor whose practice he works for - Charlotte is a staunch feminist who believes in women's rights at any lengths and actively defies her father in supporting the education and treatment of the poor.
The film goes wrong on several levels really: firstly by trying to treat a very serious point (about the maltreatment of some women) in a film whose tone is largely of a rom-com. This means that opportunities to develop the idea of feminism and of the victorian attitude towards the poor and women are overlooked in favour of opportunities to laugh at revolving feather dusters.
Add to this that the main character is just too wet and...well, a french film about a millionaire in a wheelchair and his helper from the slums suddenly looks like the obvious cinematic choice - subtitles or no.
I'm trying to think back here to the ancient past and define exactly when the last time was that I didn't go to see a new James Bond film at the cinema.
At the very least I saw For Your Eyes Only and everything since that - but I'm sure I must have seen Moonraker and even have a shaky memory that I might have seen Diamonds Are Forever at a matinee - but probably not on its initial release
Which makes going to see a new Bond film on the big screen A Tradition - and we all know that you have to uphold and continue traditions, even after the gobsmackingly awful Tomorrow Never Dies and Quantum Of Can Anyone Explain What Just Happened (also known as Quantum Of Solace)
Daniel Craig has had a mixed career so far as Bond - Casino Royale was a good back-to-basics, cashing in on the Jason Bourne films extravaganza but was arguably 30 minutes too long, but Quantum Of Solace was 2hrs of excrement thrown at the cinema screen by a hoarde of monkeys who had abandoned their typewriters (if anyone knows what Quantum were up to or what that film was actually in aid of please do feel free to tell me)
So Skyfall - and here I have to say that there were clearly those in the audience who were not enthralled as they were constantly checking their text messages during the film (either that or we have lost any attempt at an attention span) and who walked out saying how dull the effort was.
Essentially the plot revolves around a set of documents that are stolen containing lists of agents, for which M gets the blame - and a rogue agent with a grudge to settle.
It starts well and sets a good pace throughout, with Craig delivering a believable Bond and sparring nicely with Judi Dench as M. However as the film carries on it seems to lose a little of that early energy and in an attempt to reflect the changing world that Bond finds himself in it settles for a much more downbeat finale than any Bond before
Still - on the whole, and despite a way-too camp performance from the villain, I thought it was a good return to the form of Casino Royale and continue to feel that Craig is the best Bond for a long while (Connery will always be THE best - let's just be clear on that)
#3: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
So I said at the start that I haven't seen this, and that I'm in two minds as to whether I want to or not. Here are my reasons - if you have seen it and can think of better ones to go then please do give me a review by reply:
1: It's in 3-D.
I object to 3-D on several grounds, mainly that it has been forced upon us by the industry largely because it makes copyright theft in cinemas harder, you have to wear those stupidy glasses (although maybe not for much longer), that films already manage to give you the impression of 3-D without stupidy glasses and, most importantly, a bad film in 3-D is no better for it, it's just a bad film in 3-D.
Can I also add on the subject of 3-D that it encourages directors to put in lots of scenes that are purely there so the audience can go "Wow, 3-D" (see "Avatar") - telling an interesting story would be better as far as i'm concerned
2) Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.
Loved him in The Office as Tim - but his everyman/permanent look of surprise thing would no doubt be very wearing after the first 90 minutes
3) It's three hours long.
90-120 minutes is all that is required in 98% of films - good three hour films that don't drag are extremely rare
4) Not only is it three hours long, but they have made 3x 3hr films
The Hobbit is a much smaller and more lightweight source than The Lord Of The Rings - which means if i go and watch this 3 hour film i will have to go and see two more. The words "self" and "indulgent" spring to mind. Two films might even have been too much, but adding a third so that they can bring to life the Appendicies of Lord Of The Rings well... have you ever read the Appendicies? I know I haven't