A Middle Aged Movie Blog. Being the periodic journal of a film loving middle aged independent science fiction writing father of two and his ongoing adventures in cinema and home video
Watched Avengers: Endgame (2019), which was pretty good. Not the ground shaking, seminal, game-changing classic I was led to believe going in but still, a wonderfully executed and enjoyable three hour comic book romp that encapsulated the MCU’s cinematic history thus far, tied up a lot of loose ends, full stopped The Avengers Version 1 and paved the way, rather gloriously, for future franchise classics.
It is rather a long film that might have benefited from a short, back and sides to neaten up its run time. The film’s length didn’t necessarily detract from my enjoyment of it, though I suspect I will appreciate it more second time round in the comfort of my living room where I can hit the pause button whenever I need to, to partake of the toilet or coffee making facilities. Directed by The Russo Brothers. Starring almost everyone.
No movies this weekend. No TV shows. No cinema trips. Nada! Played some board games with my kids (Rhino Hero, which came highly recommended by the fine folks at Travelling Man in Manchester where we order our comics from!) No end of fun. For anyone wanting to get young kids away from the PS4 for an hour or two and into something a bit more socially engaging, I would advocate purchasing it. Bought some music (Rare groove and disco stuff mostly!). Read a bit of a Stuart Maconie book called The People’s Songs. Did a spot of cooking. Watched Salford RLFC get beaten in the last minute by the video ref. Visited an old friend and spent a night discussing the relative horrors of toxic Star Wars fans Vs toxic Star Trek fans (The verdict was that Star Trek fans have become a bit more pipe and slippers in their criticism these days, whereas Star Wars fans are rabid and a difficult crowd to please.) Listened to a lot of music. Tidied a bit. And on.
I plan to watch something during the week and am hatching a plan to dump the kids to facilitate a trip to the flicks to watch John Wick 3 (2019). Also, looking forward to another Godzilla movie and the forthcoming Dark Phoenix (2019) both of which look reasonably well mounted.
Into June. Watched Tim Burton’s effort Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016). Not exactly vintage Burton, but an enjoyable way to pass the time. Eva Green is always value for money and especially when she’s playing mild to moderately Gothic characters with eccentric personality quirks. Kudos to the filmmakers for filming the final act of the flick in Blackpool at the circus under the tower. My kids love the circus, which features the oldest permanent circus arena in the world, so it was nice to see it depicted in a movie of this standing. Bonus marks also for featuring a Mars Attacks!(1996) style fight scene with Harryhausen inspired skeletons on Blackpool’s North Pier. Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Keeping with the Burton theme, revisited Beetlejuice (1988), Frankenweenie (2012) and Batman (1989). Beetlejuice continues to make me laugh, Frankenweenie continues to make me sad, and Batman continues to enthral and excite me as much for the set design and Prince soundtrack as Jack Nicholson’s wildly incongruous chemically altered psycho Joker performance. The gothic production stylings are still a big draw along with the film’s dash of noir which sets it apart somewhat from other interpretations. The Danny Elfman score is iconic. Hats off to the Nolan films for advancing the character so much in the wake of Burton’s double creative whammy. However, this will always be ‘my’ Batman, for better or for worse.
I was a bit worried about watching Batman Returns (1992) with my boy as I have vague recollections of vicious nose biting and Danny De Vito’s Penguin having more in common with sewer dwelling b horror inventions, than the waddling monocle-wearer of the Batman 66 show.
Still, what I wasn’t prepared for, is just how deviant the movie is. Catwoman as an S + M fetish wear model. Penguin as a sexually frustrated child killer. Then there’s Christopher Walkens’ Max Schreck, a character so fundamentally loathsome one wonders why they didn’t just make him the central baddy and jettison the rest. The boy loved it of course, kids are way more resilient than we give them credit for a lot of the time. However, he did start to make enquiries about the Joel Schumacher films. I dodged the issue like a parental ninja and dissembled a bit in a bid to throw him off the scent. Naturally, I plan to avoid having to watch those movies for as long as is humanly possible.
Followed this with a screening of The Wolverine (2013) after we flipped a coin (Heads Silent Running from 1972, Tails The Wolverine) and I lost the toss. The Wolverine is streets ahead of X Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), which was literally one half of a movie, backed up with another half a movie cobbled together from bits left over on the cutting room floor.
Ably directed by James Mangold, whose next outing at the helm of a mutant movie would be the far superior noir/western/comic book hybrid Logan, the film features a well-executed scrap on the top of a speeding bullet train and some fun fight gymnastics worthy of attention.
Still, the film’s final act, which you can see coming from about fifteen minutes into the movie feels a tad rushed and it never really delivers, despite some early promise. Not a bad movie, though if you want the full Adamantium effect, I would advocate strongly for Logan (2017) or X-Men 2(2003) instead.
Sunday morning, day in bed vibes. Watched The Dark Knight (2008) on streaming and was pleased to note that Heath Ledger’s Joker remains as unsettling as it was ten plus years ago. A post 9/11 cypher of a villain, whose only reason for engaging in the atrocities he engages in is to alleviate his own boredom at the expense of Gotham’s populace, Ledger’s Joker is the personification of terror. Thankfully the rest of the film doesn’t fall short either. Christopher Nolan’s direction is faultless throughout drawing on the stylised crime antics of Michael Mann outings for inspiration. The joint score between James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer sends shivers down the spine whilst the film’s reliance on practical effects and stunts has ensured key scenes have dated remarkably. Scripted by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight remains a milestone in the history of comic book adaptation. Why So Serious indeed!