Films, books and other media consumed since the last list on 25th January. As ever, hat tip to the Galactic Suburbia podcast for the idea. BTW: they are back from their Christmas holidays hiatus. A new episode was posted on 4th February. Go listen 🙂
Dimension of Miracles – Robert Sheckley. I read this as it was mentioned in Jem Roberts excellent Douglas Adams biography and account of the production of the HHGTTG and Dirk Gently books. Dimension of Miracles started off well. But ultimately I found it a bit unsatisfying. Seemed to be a series of unconnected vignettes rather than a coherent novel. Entertaining, and contains some good philosophising on the nature of things. But not as good as HHGTTG.
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Continuing my recent Jennifer Lawrence movie trend. This was okay. Standard fare blockbuster stuff. Entertaining, but not a film I’d watch multiple times.
Kingsman: The Secret Service – This was a surprise. The trailers looked good. They don’t do it justice. A tongue in cheek spy story. With a suitable over the top villain, brilliantly played by Samuel L. Jackson, who has an outlandish plan for the world. And a secret lair in a mountain. What more could you ask for. The story is good. The actors are good. Plus the plot twists in surprising ways. Cartoon violent. With lots of Matrix like bullet time action. I loved it.
Winter’s Bone – Dark. Bleak. Harrowing. And that’s just the backdrop upon which this story is told. Set in a poor white American mountain community. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as Ree, it tells of her searching for her missing father in and around the community. He is a minor criminal who is out on bail. His bail bond was the house and land that Ree, her mother and two younger siblings live in. If the father doesn’t turn up for a court hearing, they lose the land and house. To say I enjoyed this would be to use the wrong verb. It’s harrowing in places, and certainly not a light film. Jennifer Lawrence was Oscar nominated for her role as Ree. She is literally in every scene of the film. I think this performance is a better one than the one she won the Oscar for in Silver Linings Playbook.
Jupiter Ascending – I managed to avoid all the early release reviews of Jupiter Ascending. I couldn’t avoid the general sense that leaked out, from those who had seen it, that it was not very good. So as I sat in the cinema I wondering what I was in for. I’ve only ever considered walking out early from two films. The Constant Gardener and Interstellar. Would Jupiter Ascending join that list? No. The film is fine. It’s bombastic, wide, space opera. With homages to lots of other films. Only one bit I’d cut out. A very Brazil or HHGTTG like section. Also I’d shorten fight and action scenes. The music is fabulous. I’ll be buying the soundtrack album. The acting is good. The visuals are stunning. Story as good as many other big Sci-fi films. I enjoyed it. I felt good after watching it. Can’t ask for more that that from a film. It’s getting very mixed reviews. And indeed some heavy handed slating. To paraphrase Freddie Mercury from the 1982 Milton Keynes Bowl concert (I was there!) talking about the Hot Space album: ‘It’s only a bloody film. People get so excited about these things’. Go see Jupiter Ascending. Let it wash over you. Enjoy 🙂
Zombieland – I’ve never really been into the whole Zombie thing. Obviously I like Shaun of the Dead. Who doesn’t! But the wider Zombie thing has passed me by. Mostly by choice. Zombieland was on Film 4 in UK last week and I recorded it. Watched it on Saturday. It was fun. Basically a road trip movie with killing zombies as a backdrop. I liked it. Bill Murray’s cameo was good.