Holiday Movie Challenge

Me and the bidie-in, we’re rubbish movie watchers. We’ve got this huge stack of DVDs by the TV at home and many of them have never made it out of their cellophane. Why? Well we’ve got very poor at setting aside the time to actually sit down and pay attention to something the length of a film. Not keep half an eye on as we fiddle with our phones or footer with our laptops, but actually watch, conctrate on, give our undivided attention to. Which is rubbish really.

So on this year’s holiday we decided to devote the evenings to movies we’ve never got around to watching. The results were, actually, highly enjoyable – even if the movie selection turned out to be…somewhat eccentric. Here’s what we watched.

Wristcutters – a really charming love story and road movie set in the afterlife where suicides go. This one was a recommendation from that old romantic, Hal Duncan, and we loved it.

No Country For Old Men – we had something of a Coen Brothers defecit, and this was the first step to redressing that. Another Duncan recommendation, I found this one compelling and baffling in equal measure. Demands rewatching.

Mic Macs – really wanted to catch this one in the cinema but it slipped by. It has exactly the balance of Parisian charm and oddball humour that you’d expect from Jean-Pierre Jeunet. And it’s a caper movie. Who doesn’t love a caper?

Invisible Ghost – a mercifully short Lugosi flick from the 40s about a well-to-do gentleman who strangles people…by putting his coat over their heads. Much laughter was had.

Watchmen – a slight cheat because I’d seen and enjoyed this in the cinema, but her indoors hadn’t so we stuck it on. To be honest I was disappointed because it was the most straightforward and least interesting of the fornight’s films. Still a good watch, but undemanding.

The Magic Christian – time to turn up the weirdness factor again. Another recommendation, and a brilliant one. Peter Sellars and Ringo Starr in a proper British 60s psycho-satire. And a host of familiar faces. Reminded me of The Bedsitting Room, but funny.

A Serious Man – more Coen catch-up. This was the Coens in gentle mode, following the pressures on a 1960s Jewish physics teacher. Loved this film, thought it had real heart.

The Bad Seed – apparently this 50s melodrama/horror(?) received 4 academy award nominations. WTF? It is the hammiest slice of ham since Porky the pig tookup am-dram. In fact watching it is very similar to the surreal experience of sitting through hideous amateur theatre. Compelling, but awful. At the end a voice over asks the audience not to divulge the “shock ending”. No need to worry, by that time I was laughing so hard I hardly noticed what it was.

Little Shop Of Horrors/Little Shop Of Horrors – another cheat because we’d both seen both movies before, but we thought it’d be interesting to compare them side by side. There’s no comparison. Frank Oz’s musical wins hands down over Roger Corman’s hastily thrown together weekend special.

Scared To Death – Another Lugosi titter-fest from the 40s (can you tell we have a boxed set?). Here’s the blurb: “From a slab in the morgue, a dead young woman tells the bizarre tale of how she got there, through a maze of murder involving a hypnotist, a midget and a mysterious figure in a blue mask.” The blurb is of course better than the film by some considerable margin.

Bunny And The Bull – everything I’d heard about this movie led me to believe that it was fatuous, self-indulgent and ran like an extended episode of The Mighty Boosh. In reality I really enjoyed it: visually lovely (reminiscent of some of Dave McKean’s action/animation work), with a great soundtrack and enough as in the script to keep it rolling along. The story runs out of steam a bit, but it’s well worth watching.

5 thoughts on “Holiday Movie Challenge

  1. Oh, hey and I just remembered we watch The Social Network too. It was okay. Well acted, but in the end there’s not much real story to it.

  2. I loved “The Social Network”.
    I agree. There isn’t much of a plot. But it’s a great film about loneliness and betrayal. It’s more a character study, and very well done. Very sad, too.

    1. I agree that it was well put together, and they did a great job of eliciting just the right amount of sympathy for what was a pretty unlikely character, but for me in the end it was a story of over privileged greedy people screwing each other over for huge sums of money. And I wasn’t really that sympathetic to any of them.

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