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 Cold War (2018) at Home last week, Pawel Pawlikowski’s latest movie, an epic love story in the Casablanca (1943) mould about a musician in Communist Poland engaged in the sort of classical, passionate relationship with one of his singers that shrieks mutually assured destruction from the very outset.
Lukasz Zal’s cinematography is astonishing and perfectly evokes the stark nature of the folksy Polish landscape, as well as the freewheeling night time exuberance of jazz era Paris once the story moves to France.
Viewed as a tragic love story come musical anthology minus the schmaltzy Broadway staging we’ve come to expect from the manufactured likes of The Greatest Showman (2018), which clearly valued box office receipts over actual musical honesty, Cold War is a triumph. Worth mentioning the two leads at this point, Joanna Kulig as Zula and Tomasz Got as Wiktor, who deliver captivating performances for the duration of the runtime.
Binge watched the final two thirds of the inaugural season of Z Nation on Netflix, which turned out to be a properly B inflected mess of a TV show with all the initial coherency of a Jackson Pollock painting. Plenty of comedy, not all of it funny, and plenty of gore, though an occasional over reliance on CG blood spatter irritates.
I used to question how the lawns got mowed in The Walking Dead following the end of the world, but Z Nation is giddily unconcerned with such frivolities. The female cast have some of the best dental work in post apocalyptic entertainment and somebody in the team clearly has a hairdressing qualification since nobody encounters any difficulty getting their coiffures sorted as they trek across America, with Murphy the walking talking zombie vaccine, in a bid to get him to safety. That said, Z Nation proved the perfect antidote to The Walking Dead’s endlessly nihilistic invariability. With it’s budgeted production design and occasionally ropy dialogue/acting, it served as welcome relief from the recent glut of philosophical person-centred horror TV.
Started watching Luke Cage series 2, and was immediately drawn back into Cage’s Blaxploitation inflected Harlem shenanigans. A show that displayed a good deal of promise in its first season, the second season delivers on that promise exceptionally well. Violent, funny, prescient and no end of fun, I don’t see how it will be long before I’ve completed the series and am moving on to series 2 of the least commendable Netflix Marvel offering, Iron Fist, which hopefully will have upped its game in the second series.
Watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) with the kids for movie night, which is no longer dad and lad movie night as now everyone watches, even if the girl does fall asleep halfway through. Nobody fell asleep during this. Everyone really enjoyed it. All the actors involved were on fine form and a good job too since the comedy carries the film as opposed to the effects or scripting. There will be a sequel by all accounts, it may even have gone into production as I write this, and if they can tidy the effects up a bit and keep the comedy quota filled, there’s no reason it can’t be as good if not better than this one. Directed by Jake Kasdan. Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, and Bobby Cannavale.
Watched the The Lego Ninjago Movie(2017) with my son who loved it. Personally I found it neither as charming nor as funny as previous Lego features though the animation was exemplary and there was some good voiceover work by the actors involved.
An unanticipated bonus was that I was able to introduce my son to the limitless delights of Jackie Chan’s back catalogue. As a potential gateway movie to some of the legendary Chan’s more acrobatic Hong Kong output from the 80’s, of which there are many fine examples, the film proved a success, and got us talking about the likes of The Armour of God (1986) and Project A (1983) with me coming off oddly passionate about dubbed VHS era JC rentals, the aesthetic excitement of independent video shops and fight choreography gone feral. Going to compile a list of the best and start to purchase them as a matter of urgency. Directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan.
Luke Cage Season 2 has been playing at Chez Ayling recently and I am enjoying it as much for the action and story development as I am for the cool soundtrack and strong leading man. About halfway through and I feel this is a more muscular season than the first, due to the fact that Cage’s flaws are elaborated and more readily discussed and the bad guy Mustafa Shakir’s hard as nails Bushmaster, is intense.
Hopefully the back end of the series will see a further improvement in what is fast becoming my personal favourite of all of the Netflix Marvel shows.
Watched Darkman (1990) to write a review for VHS Revival. The Sam Raimi movie is still as flat out crazy and disjointed as I recall and I had a blast scribbling my notes whilst basking in the insanity of it.
Finished Luke Cage Series 2, which for whatever reason, floundered off into Godfather territory at its conclusion setting up what I presume will be a third season composed of a drift toward the dark side and some heavy duty psycho-social moralising. It was a great series though with plenty of cool action and humour to recommend it.
Spent my 40th birthday weekend eating and drinking whisky in a variety of settings. It was a brilliant weekend and I must thank The Lampshade Maker since she pretty much organised the whole of it including a brilliant night at Wood Restaurant in Manchester for the tasting menu. Lovely, although my new Doc Martens ripped holes in my ankles and I could hardly walk on the way back home. Haven’t watched anything all week. Had a sinus infection. Hopefully a trip to Home later this week and some late night home movie watching will make up for being housebound for long stretches during the week.