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
Feeling really run down and full of cold so sat on the couch and watched Godzilla (1954) again. Fell asleep briefly and had to rewind the movie to where I nodded off. Spent most of the film blowing my nose and berating my children for not showing sympathy. Godzilla remains a radioactive cinematic touchstone, whose influence can be seen everywhere in the modern world, from Pacific Rim (2013) to the recent Godzilla remakes. Still a strong and striking monster yarn. Impressive viewing, and unsettling in all the best ways. Directed by Ishirō Honda.
Meant to be going to Home today to watch Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu The Vampyre (1979). Alas, too ill to be bothered so spending the day writing and working and generally bemoaning the fact that despite having taken every pill known to man, I still don’t feel even the slightest bit better.
Still ill so I plumped for a bit of science fiction which is my comfort zone cinematically speaking, and wound up watching Predestination (2014) adapted from the Robert A. Heinlein short story – All You Zombies – .
A science fiction B masquerading as A List with Ethan Hawke in the lead, the film commences with some guff about a bomber blowing stuff up and the time traveling temporal agency out to stop him from causing carnage. A lengthy set up follows, which is ambitiously pitched. If you can get on board with the pitch then the film proves an impressively constructed artifice, albeit one that’s a little too clever for its own good. Worth a watch. However, it may lose the casual viewer en route to its conclusion. Directed by The Spierig Brothers. Starring Ethan Hawke, Noah Taylor, and Sarah Snook.
Chez Ayling family viewing of Into the Woods (2014) from director Rob Marshall. The kids mostly enjoyed it, but unfortunately it felt a little forced to me. Less a cinematic experience than a filmed theatrical production, the songs are periodically annoying, which is unexpected given its a Stephen Sondheim musical, and the performances wildly variable. The only real standout is Chris Pine as a Prince Charming cut out, who plays it for camp laughs and whose duet with Billy Magnussen on comedy song Agony, is the highlight of the flick. Messy, stagey and tonally unstable. Johnny Depp cameoing as a predatory wolf is less annoying than James Cordon as The Irritating Baker.
As an Into the Woods palate cleanser, decided to watch the BBC documentary The Fear of God, about the making of The Exorcist featuring super cineaste Mark Kermode and a full round up of the creatives involved in the film’s troubled and at times flat out crazy production. It is an incredibly articulate doc with some great talking heads and absolutely essential viewing for any fan of the William Friedkin helmed horror classic.
Recently watched Jeune Femme (2017), a French movie about a young woman whose recent relationship breakdown leads to her winding up having to fend for herself in an uncaring Parisienne landscape awash with crap jobs and hardened blue collar workers. An impressively mounted tragicomedy, with a central character who, though not the most likeable lead, somehow manages to win audience sympathy. Directed by Leonor Serraille. Starring Lætitia Dosch.
Kids in bed, wife at work so decided to catch up with Mom and Dad (2018) on streaming. Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair star as midlife parents at odds with their kids and disappointed with how their lives turned out, sliding towards respective midlife crises and developing an acute distaste for the domesticity they’ve created. Their kids, meanwhile, are typically indifferent, wrapped up in their own lives and 1st world anxieties.
A strange illness starts to take hold of parents in their allotted slice of suburbia, with the result that they commence murdering their own offspring, with blackly comical results. The film is smart, fast, violent and cheeky; an impressively mounted satirical take on mid-life meltdowns. Well shot by DP Daniel Pearl, with some excellent sound design to complement the carnage. Impressively acted, Cage and Blair in particular revel in their increasingly unhinged personas, it won’t be for everyone and I would strongly advise anyone on the cusp of a midlife wobble to give it a miss for a bit. However, I enjoyed it thoroughly, despite being middle aged. Directed by Brian Taylor.
Watched Little Monsters (2019) an Australian zombie-comedy that pitches Alex England’s failed rock musician Dave, Lupita Nyong’o’s kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline, grotesque children’s TV celebrity Teddy McGiggle played by Josh Gad and a bunch of school kids against a ravaging horde of shuffling zombies.
Tasteless, periodically hilarious and suitably bloody on occasion, though lacking any real peril as a result of the kids taking center stage, the film has a massive heart and feel good quality that most zombie movies, even the funny ones, generally lack. Well worth a watch, if for no other reason than it includes a bunch of zombies harmonising. Written and directed by Abe Forsythe.
Finally watched Trey Edward Shult’s gloomy, depressing, paranoid, dread tinged horror flick It Comes at Night (2017). Not an easy watch by any stretch of the imagination. Oppressive, disturbing and absolutely steadfast in its tragic depiction of a future-world experienced through the eyes of a single family holed up in their house following a doomsday event, who allow strangers to enter their home with devastating results for all. Starring Joel Edgerton.
Final film of the day was Lynne Ramsey’s You Were Never Really Here (2017). A story about an ex veteran suffering from PTSD of some kind or another, a hulking, scarred, deeply troubled individual, whose day job involves finding and returning folks stolen for the purposes of human trafficking. The film bears more than a passing resemblance to Taxi Driver (1976) though it delivers a far more empathetic portrayal of its principle lead. Joaquin Rafael Phoenix gives a career best performance. The film’s poetic, intimate and unsettling depiction of fractured psychologies is nothing short of perfection.