2018 Film Challenge: 15. 9 Songs

This is another of Jamie’s reject DVDs, plus one I kinda wish I hadn’t bothered taking! I won’t be keeping it, that’s for sure, plus apologies in advance to whichever charity shop ends up with it. The fact that he never suggested watching it whilst we were together should probably have tipped me off to it not being that great.

It’s just over an hour, so at least it passes relatively quickly, though it still seemed to drag. There’s not much in the way of plot – it’s basically a guy reflecting on a past relationship, though in the most superficial way possible – by focusing on all the sex. Like, seriously, how sexist an opening piece of dialogue is this?:

“When I remember Lisa I don’t think about her clothes, or her work, or where she was from, or even what she said. I think about her smell, her taste, her skin touching mine.”

The film then consists of alternating scenes of live music (with the characters in attendance at the gig) and snippets of their personal life (which, like I said, is mostly the sex). I feel like this could work as a concept, if done well, but in this case it really didn’t. You don’t get any proper insight into the characters, plus what you do see of them makes them seem awful. The small amount of dialogue seems really stilted and unnatural, plus I didn’t even enjoy a lot of the gig footage as it’s filmed in a way that makes you feel quite distant from it. In general it’s got a bit of a home video type feel to it, which works in some ways, as it does give it an intimate, almost voyeuristic quality, but then the awkward dialogue instantly pulls you out of that.

It’s mostly known for its unsimulated sex scenes, which might make you think it’s quite erotic, but I didn’t personally find it to be. Some of the early scenes, particularly, I found really cringey to watch, but wondered if that was intentional. You know that episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel watch their sex tape and it suddenly gets unpleasant to watch? ‘That’s not pretty.’ It felt like that. It had a realism that made it really unerotic. But then the later scenes did seem more deliberately erotic, and a bit less realistic, so I’m not really sure what the intention was. It’s like it fell short of both art and porn. Sad times. Although the most unbelievable part of the film for me was the notion that the male lead was meant to be some kind of scientific researcher! Like, what? In my notes I described him as having a Resting Arrogance Face. Alas, that’s the extent of my notes that you’re going to be treated to, as my phone decided to rebel against the film and instead of saving the note I’d drafted, it pretended I’d never written it. I don’t blame it, like, I kinda wish I could pretend I hadn’t seen it.

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2018 Film Challenge: 14. Stuck In Love

I downloaded this after perusing Kristen Bell’s filmography on IMDB. It sounded decent so I thought I’d check it out. Kristen’s not actually in it that much, but I enjoyed it. There’s nothing particularly stand-out about it, but it’s a good watch and flew by. I’m more than happy with a film that focuses on love and writing. I felt a degree of kinship with Josh Boone (the writer) and not just because he likes Bright Eyes and Elliott Smith!

The thoughts I had whilst watching:

  • Spying on your ex wife is pretty creepy
  • I’d forgotten Jennifer Connelly was in this
  • Yes! I’m with you dude. I write stuff in order to not have to say it out loud.
  • I’m not convinced that I’d write better if I was slutty
  • This relationship’s reminding me a bit of (500) Days Of Summer (or at least my vague memory of it)
  • Liking the hat
  • That’s a very seasonal seduction line
  • Please don’t choose a laptop based on the colour of it
  • Good album choice (Bright Eyes)
  • Nice song choice now! (Between The Bars)
  • I like that you’re actually seeing couples getting to know each other – sharing their favourite things etc. This is too often missing from romantic films – they’ll just suddenly be in love and you don’t get why.
  • That’s still creepy, dude.
  • Don’t go spying in drawers when the door’s open, ya muppet
  • You shouldn’t spring public speaking on people. That’s just evil.
  • I could just eat a Chinese takeaway
  • I like it when my drink matches what they’re drinking on TV (red wine in this case)
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2018 Film Challenge: 13. Secretary

Another film I acquired during my ex’s mass cull of belongings. I was always quite intrigued by it, plus I like Maggie Gyllenhaal, so figured why not? I was a little nervous prior to watching it, as just knew it was about a boss and his secretary being engaged in some form of S&M type relationship. The potential for it to be sexist and an awkward watch seemed quite high. Thankfully it’s a lot more nuanced and interesting than I’d expected. There are still plenty of times in which it’s an awkward watch, but deliberately so. I enjoyed it. Here are the thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • The film’s only just started and I’m already thinking about her as Belinda Blumenthal (I’d like to add that this comparison didn’t last long – as soon as you jump back in time, it’s clear that it’s not going to be the pure tittilation (pun intended) it might have been)
  • Hey, it’s whatshisname from Lost
  • HR would have a lot of issues with this interview
  • She opened the water bottle before putting it on the dispenser! Rookie office error.
  • His surname’s Grey? Oh man.
  • I’m pleased none of my admin jobs have involved dumpster diving
  • Are they having a date in a launderette? Is that a thing in America?
  • I hope she gets to spank him good. Or just knee him in the balls or something.
  • Awwwww, I love silly little dogs
  • Is the sexy going to happen?
  • Ow! Also, those are quite some knickers.
  • It’s another film with a monkey in!
  • That’s a weird level of dominance. Prescriptive peas.
  • Worms equal spanking? I was unaware of this.
  • Oh, no, not spanking… Well, kinda, but not in the way I’d thought. Ugh.
  • Kick him in the balls!
  • Oh god, what’s she doing?
  • This is weird
  • Ha ha, what the hell?
  • That was surprisingly sweet
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2018 Film Challenge: 12. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

This isn’t the sort of film I’d have generally perceived to be my kind of film. The only reason I ended up with it on my external hard drive is because my ex downloaded it. It’s got a high Metacritic score, so that was potentially his motivation for wanting to see it. We watched a trailer for it and it looked quite good, so I was happy for it to join our ever-expanding collection of downloaded films. A few times we came close to watching it, but never actually managed it. I then had a bit of a hard-drive spring clean after we split up, where I deleted a few films that I knew I’d probably never watch, but this is one I decided to keep for some reason – I think partly the impressive cast list, partly the high Metacritic score and partly because the trailer made it sound quite exciting. If I’ve learned nothing else from watching this film, it’s that I should ignore the critics and trust my gut instincts. It was very much not a Chantal kind of film. I genuinely don’t understand what anyone has enjoyed about it. A slow film is fine if you’re still getting something from it – if there’s more of a focus on character exploration than on plot and action, I’m all on board with that – however, this film was slow and yet also devoid of characterisation. After 2 hours I didn’t feel like I knew any of the characters at all, plus really didn’t care about them – they mostly seemed like dicks. The only one I felt any vague affection for was Benedict Cumberbatch’s character.

So yes, not for me.

Here are the thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • Awwww, John Hurt
  • Budapest! I’m going back there in July.
  • Are there meant to be subtitles on this bit, or is it intentional that I don’t know what’s going on?
  • The number of famous people in this is pretty amazing
  • Everything looks grey
  • Toby Jones always looks quite suspicious
  • I love that Kathy Burke has a posh accent but still manages to be filthy
  • Finding this a bit dull so far. Hopefully it picks up.
  • Poor owl. What if it was David Bowie?
  • ‘He was your typical Russian’. I think the name Boris covered that, to be honest.
  • Don’t blind her!
  • You can tell that a man wrote this
  • Poor Cumberbatch. He’s the only character I’ve actually taken to in this film. Even with the silly hair.
  • They’re in a Wimpy!
  • There’s intrigue but I don’t really care about it
  • This is surely meant to be reaching a climax, but I’m still bored
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2018 Film Challenge: 11. Interstellar

A friend of mine kept telling me  I should watch this, so I’m pleased I’ve finally gotten round to it. Especially as I really enjoyed it. It took a little while to get going, plus I had some audio issues early on (the speech was really quiet and the sound effects were really loud!), but after some fiddling with my TV’s settings, I thankfully got that sorted. It’s quite a long film (almost 3 hours), but doesn’t feel as long as that, thankfully.

The notes I made whilst watching it:

  • This doesn’t seem like a fun place to live
  • This girl’s kinda awesome
  • That’s one weird robot
  • OK, this is getting quite intriguing now
  • I’m feeling slightly dizzy just watching that
  • Those stasis pod things look terrifying!
  • I’ve never seen the appeal of being an astronaut
  • This reminds me a bit of Flight Of The Navigator, when they go back in time
  • Seriously, who designed that robot thing? It doesn’t seem very ergonomic.
  • OK, I take it back – I didn’t realise it could do that cartwheel thing
  • This is like the craziest ever log flume
  • I just realised I mixed this film up with Arrival in my head!
  • Ooh, I was expecting him to be much older for some reason. And not Matt Damon.
  • WTF?
  • Ugh Casey Affleck
  • Noooo
  • Come on, Murph, save the day! Show these men how it’s done.
  • Sass from the robot
  • Oh, that’s not good
  • None of this looks fun
  • Woah!!!
  • I’d have had a heart attack by now. OK, long before now.
  • Woah, OK, didn’t see that coming.
  • Who’s getting a bit emotional? I don’t know what you mean…
  • I kinda love the robot now
  • I might have cried a bit
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2018 Film Challenge: 10. Memories of Murder

This was another film recommended to me by my office-mate (the previous one of which was The Handmaiden, which I loved, so I had quite high expectations for it). I watched it last night and I really don’t know what I thought of it or whether I enjoyed it or not. I was expecting it to be a dramatic murder mystery, as it’s based on some real-life murders, but it has an odd comedy element that threw me. I spent a lot of the first hour being completely baffled by the tone of it – it’s quite possible there’s some degree of culture clash / lost in translation type element at play there. The last 45 minutes or so was definitely the most enjoyable part of the film for me – it had less of the comedy and became more focused on the actual murder mystery. I’ve found myself thinking about it today, which is generally a good sign – it definitely had some qualities to recommend it, but I wouldn’t say you should rush out and watch it.

Unsurprisingly, due to my general bafflement throughout a lot of the film, I made quite a few notes (which it’s quite difficult to do whilst also reading subtitles!):

  • OK, that’s enough bugs already
  • I’m not feeling entirely confident in this police department’s abilities
  • Is she cleaning his ears out?
  • What was that thigh twanging?
  • This film’s a lot weirder than I’d expected
  • Woah, those beaded car seat things! Flashbacks to my hair always getting stuck in the ones my Step-Dad had.
  • Dude, I’d head back to Seoul and away from this mad place
  • What the hell?!
  • I’m pleased one guy’s the voice of reason
  • We beat you up but here are some knock-off trainers
  • They actually have standard procedures?
  • WTF?
  • I so don’t know what to make of this film
  • How did it just manage to get weirder?
  • That guy loves his flying kick
  • Is he the killer? He definitely has some issues.
  • Uh oh, this looks ominous.
  • Documents don’t lie!
  • Are they actually going to find the killer?
  • Why’s he walking into a train tunnel?
  • Where’s this going?
  • I don’t really know what I thought of all that
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