What I’ve Been Watching: Mar 8 – Mar 14

Hunger

What can I really say about this week? I’ve sat in three job interviews and am starting to feel that things might work out in the next few weeks. I know this is complete speculation which is worth as much as my psuedo-pay cheque that I’m cashing right now (i.e. I don’t have one), but it’s giving me some solace.

Otherwise I’ve finally completed watching House of Cards Season 2; I’m still torn about the second half of the season, why didn’t we keep in with the media stuff…. Also I’ve began my rewatch of Game of Thrones and I’m already 7 episodes in and it reminds how amazing the first season of this show is.

Anyways, here’s my week of film watching to enjoy:

THE HUNGER (1983) – I still prefer Only Lovers Left Alive as my “David Bowie” vampire film…
TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1983) – Loved it… discovered it’s a remake… love it so much
KICKING AND SCREAMING (1995) – Not perfect, but I like the weird humour of it
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (2013) – Acting is top notch, but sometimes hatred is hard to love
PHILOMENA (2013) – This movie is the perfect kind of sappy adorableness that works
DIRTY PRETTY THINGS (2002) – I love me some Chewitel… this movie was ok
UNDEFEATED (2011) – It’s the real life version of Friday Night Lights… and I love Friday Night Lights… so….
PATTON OSWALT: TRAGEDY PLUS COMEDY EQUALS TIME (2014) – Oswalt makes me laugh, but not as much as his previous specials.
VERONICA MARS (2014) – The show was fun dumb mediocre… extending the episode length didn’t help

REWATCHED

THE SEVENTH SEAL“We must make an idol of our fear, and call it god.”
FRANCES HA - “Oh yes, very undateable.”
RESERVOIR DOGS“Hey, why am I Mr. Pink?”
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD“Bread makes you fat?”

My count for the year of 2014 is updated to 71 First time watches (13 from 2014); 34 Rewatches; 105 Total Films

What I’ve Been Watching: June 3rd – June 9th

It’s been a crazy week. I’ve had my family over and spent a lot of time showing them around TT rather than me doing my usual somber solitude moments of just rattling off films. So for it to be a weak week is an understatement:

FIRST TIME VIEWING

TAKE THIS WALTZ (2012) – pretty fantastic relationship film that will make you cry for all the other reasons these movies do.

REWATCHED

THE GODFATHER (1972) - “I believe in America”
ALIEN (1979) - “Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Meaow. Here Jonesy.”
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (2010) - “She’ll geek. She geeks. She has the capacity to geek”
THE AVENGERS (2012) - “That man is playing Galaga. He thought we wouldn’t notice, but we did.”

THE COUNT

89 First time watches (26 from 2012); 57 Rewatches; 146 Total Films

SONG OF THE WEEK

What’ve you been watching?

Discuss: Adaptations vs. Critics

Last weekend The Hunger Games opened in the US (and in many international markets) to the biggest weekend box office of the year so far. Usually I try to avoid discussing a films’ revenue or expenditures because I believe that neither of those elements actually indicate how good a film truly is. As the artistic merits of a film is objective it’s always been defaulted for journalists (especially those who aren’t critics) to rely on the masses reaction to a film by their vote at the box office, hence our obsession with such statistics. Which is why to this day we still talk about Gone With The Wind, Titanic and Avatar (ok maybe I was a bit harsh there with Gone With the Wind).

So, as I was saying, I saw The Hunger Games last week and I was less than please with the film when I posted my full review. Since my blog isn’t very well trafficked I didn’t dread any backlash (bring it on trolls), but some of my followers on twitter came at me for the review. One passionate follower of mine (@Liddles15) decided to respond with some very critical remarks. One of which came down to the idea that one must do his due diligence whenever reviewing a film.

Now since this was in reference to The Hunger Games it was pointing out the fact that I had (like I have with many adaptations) not read the source material. So, the question I have on my mind is whether or not this supposed “due diligence” is required for me to review the film?

I’ve always had the belief that a film is a film and a book is a book. A film can be great, a book horrendous, and the opposite also be a possibility. If that stands to reason then why does the strength of the source material matter in the resulting product? Sometimes the fact that a film is “based on” a book (or any other sort of source material) becomes so thinly veiled an idea that it barely deserves bothering to even mention the source and just enjoy the film (or hate on it) for what it is.

I guess to answer one of my own questions: the source does matter at times. It’s easy for a bad source to generate a horrendous final product, but at times difficult for a great source to produce a bad film (even though it’s been accomplished time and time again). So when I leave a film based on a beloved book and all I get in my ear is about how it took the book and made it so well and I find myself left with a deep seated feeling that glaring gaps were left out of the plot that I received then I don’t know how people can be upset with me whenever I ask questions they decide that content from the source that wasn’t properly translated into the film wasn’t there and they wrap up their thoughts with a nice tidy “it’s for the fans” comment. As if to say that they’re some form of an elite squad of geek that is only allowed to enjoy this commodity.

While I’m not against niche groups of fans and finding ways of being able to point out a true fan by seeing those people who just “get it” whenever it comes to certain genre-bending cinema, that doesn’t make me better than those who end up standing out in the rain looking at the warm fireplace that me and my film geek friends are curling around telling tales of how the first rule of …

One of my favourite examples to deal with great adaptations of the last few years has to be Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (yes I like books with lots of pictures). While Edgar Wright wrote the script before the series was actually complete he found a way to grab the tone of the books and convey the points and themes across so well that the changes and omissions didn’t even phase me, no matter how hardcore a fan I was.

When you’re given a source which is 300+ pages long (I don’t know how long The Hunger Games is) and have to condense that all into a two hour long film things are going to go missing. A more popular choice is to have characters amalgamate so as to try and keep getting points important to the story come across somewhat organically. The silent rebellion was quietly executed in the film in a way that was continually disrupted by the sloppy action and romance and the film truly never recovered from that for me, but who am I but just another guy with a keyboard handy.

But then again, stepping back from this instance, the question still remains.

Do critics need to have consumed a film’s source material in order to properly review the film?

What I’ve Been Watching: Feb 19th – Feb 25th

It’s been a pretty heavy work for me with films that I saw and work on hand. Well here’s the count for the week:

You can also follow me on LetterBoxd where I keep a log of all the films I watch and such (feel free to to ask for an invite I still have a few)

FIRST TIME VIEWINGS

THE IRON LADY (2011) – A film which decided to tell two stories poorly instead of one very well.
MARGIN CALL (2011) – the acting… the ACTING!!! It’s brilliant. I just wish it said a lot more about what really caused it, or at least referred people to INSIDE JOB which gives them that information.
THE INTERRUPTERS (2011) – a documentary with something to say, but presented in a way that I believe isn’t conducive to non-believers of it’s message
TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY (2011) - everything I could’ve ever wanted from a tomas alfredson follow up. Sherlock FTW
SAFE HOUSE (2012) - wow how lazy an action movie can you make
YOUNG ADULT (2011) - a darkly awesome brand of writing. Nominations all around were necessarry.

REWATCHED

¡THREE AMIGOS! (1986)“Excuse us, we’re not Mexicans. We’re from out of town”
DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)“Too long! Too long. Now for the life of me, I haven’t been able to figger this out. Either dem Koreans are geniuses or we Blacks are dumb.”
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (2010)“Kick her in the balls!”

THE COUNT

30 First time watches (2 from 2012); 19 Rewatches; 49 Total Films

SONG OF THE WEEK

What have you been watching?

Favourite Shots of 2010

With the Oscars coming up I’ve been rethinking a lot about the Cinematography of 2010 and there’re so many brilliant shots in films I love. Here are some of my favourite:

A few of the screenshots aren’t the exact moments in the films, but you get the gist I hope.

Thanks to Hatter from The Dark of the Matinee for the suggestion. Go see his favourite shots of the year here.

What’s your favourite shot of 2010?