Films not books

julie-julia

In the past week and a half I’ve watched an awful lot of films. Usually I’m more of a TV series person, though we do have a film night most weeks, but sometimes only a film will hit the spot – maybe it’s the beginning, middle and end all wrapped up in a two-hour package that makes it so good.

When I was feeling unwell last week I binged on gentle comedies. There was Chalet Girl, in which Felicity Jones plays a working glass girl who falls for a posh boy and tries to win a skateboarding competition. It’s better than its predictable cliched plot thanks to a decent script and great actors, including Bill Bailey as a deadbeat dad. I followed that with Nine Months, which is pretty awful and even a small supporting role from Robin Williams couldn’t save. Then there was Julie and Julia, which I wasn’t expecting much of until the opening credits reminded me that it was screenwritten and directed by Nora Ephron, and it lived up to her high standards despite my having zero interest in historical or current TV chefs or French cooking in general (Japanese cooking, on the other hand…). And then I started watching 84 Charing Cross Road, based on the wonderful book by Helene Hanff and starring Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft, and frankly I was bored silly. That story just doesn’t make sense anywhere but on paper for me.

As I had been unwell, Tim and I enjoyed not just one but two quiet nights in with DVDs and Netflix. We watched Django Unchained, which somehow I hadn’t seen before (I think that means I have now seen everything Quentin Tarantino except shorts). Having watched Hateful Eight at the cinema recently, Django made an interesting pairing. I really like Tarantino and I think both these period pieces are great films but they just don’t stand out as classics the way Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction do. We followed that up with Injustice (also called Puncture), which we were hoping would be a bit lighter than the very serious true story we were served up about a tiny law firm stumbling onto a huge healthcare scandal. It’s a perfectly good film but doesn’t include a whole lot of levity.

Pride-movie-posterFor our second film night we watched Pride, about the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. It’s a brilliant, brilliant film. Uplifting, tear-jerking and thoroughly steeped in the Britain of my childhood. Can’t recommend it enough. We followed that with a rewatch of the third Cornetto film, World’s End, which I still find funny but not as funny as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz.

Finally, last night we went with friends to the Watershed to see Hail, Caesar!, the new Coen Brothers film. I really really enjoyed it. There are so many little details that I’m sure I’ll also fail to spot on rewatches and references to golden age Hollywood that I didn’t always get, but I still loved it. Lots of laughs, but lots to ponder on as well. I’m surprised that it didn’t do well at the US box office and hope it fares better over here, but as Tim pointed out, it looks like it had a lot of money spent on it, so it will be a tough job earning that back. It’s silly fun with a lorra lot of famous faces and an eclectic jumble of storylines tumbled together. I could feel the goofy grin on my face throughout.

What films have you watched recently? Have you seen any of the above?

2 thoughts on “Films not books

  1. looloolooweez March 10, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I haven’t really watched any new films lately (working my way through Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) but I did see Julie & Julia a couple of years ago — and then tried to read the book it’s based on, and it turns out that this is one of those cases where the movie is way better than the book!

    • Kate Gardner March 16, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      I can’t say I’m surprised. The film was based on Julia Child’s books as much as Julie Powell’s and didn’t portray her as a great writer.

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