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
Recently watched the first season of Twin Peaks again, as I’ve not seen it in years and was astonished by how well it has aged, how funny and surreal it remains and how brilliant the performances are. Kyle McLaughlin as Agent Cooper remains the standout, but the supporting cast is revelatory. All the melodrama and pulp noir beats remain in situ. Antonio Badalamenti’s music is still some of the very best to ever grace a prime-time TV show. Will watch the second season again soon and Fire Walk with Me (1992), both of which were panned at the time of their original release, before moving on to The Return.
Unable to attend the cinema to watch Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (2019) due to a bunch of personal stuff and responsibilities. So, stayed home and watched it on my own on Netflix. The Irishman, turns out, is absolutely excellent. As epic, historical dramas go, it’s a doozy. Take Goodfellas (1990) and Jimmy Hoffa, mix in a splash of existential angst and a bunch of decent tunes, stretch the runtime out to tell the story you want to tell, yank Joe Pesci out of retirement and hand him a decent role, make Robert DeNiro look great again, and splash all over with some revolutionary de-ageing effects, the like of which make Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy (2010) look like a computer game villain from the mid to late nineties and Hey Presto, Cinematic Gold.
Female performances are thin on the ground, which is occasionally frustrating, though Anna Paquin and her younger self Lucy Gallina as Peggy Sheeran deliver quietly watchful and understated performances as the silently judging offspring of Mafia hitman Frank Sheeran. Masterful stuff. Highly recommended.
Watched Phantom Thread (2017) Saturday. Not watched it since its release. I didn’t comment on it previously I don’t think. I probably felt in awe of it and was unsure how best to discuss. A brilliant film. Performances of Daniel Day Lewis and Leslie Manville are absolutely astonishing, the script is sublime, Paul Thomas Anderson’s direction and photography, which he took personal responsibility for in the absence of his usual DP, is exquisite. The score, by Johnny Greenwood is nothing short of perfection. An alternative ghost story in the romantic gothic tradition, elevated by the sorts of performances lesser filmmakers can only dream of. Also, I’ll never look at a piece of toast the same way again, ever.
Hit the pause button on a recent Twin Peaks marathon I’ve been engaging in to watch In the Shadow of The Moon (2019) on streaming. Ultimately, this Jim Mickle time travel thriller about an obsessed cop hunting a serial killer who keeps appearing every nine years to melt people’s brains, is a bit of an oddity. It’s not Mickle’s best work, but neither is it rubbish. There’s some social commentary about race that feels a bit redundant. The plot is all over the place literally and figuratively. That said, it was fun whilst it lasted. Easily dismissible though enjoyable hokum. Starring Boyd Holbrook, Cleopatra Coleman, and Michael C. Hall.
Attended a cinema in Manchester to watch Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) with The Boy which, basically, was much the same movie as the first with a couple of changes to help differentiate it from its predecessor.
In order to mix things up a bit, senior citizens Danny DeVito and Danny Glover are sucked back into the malfunctioning game console of the original, along with some of the kids from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017). All the characters get to switch around and exploit the senior citizen angle though for the most part the laughs tend to come from jokes that worked better in Welcome to the Jungle. Not quite as funny as the first, and the CG still leaves a bit to be desired. However, an enjoyable family adventure that hits more than it misses. Directed by Jake Kasdan.
Woken up at a stupidly early hour to watch Home Alone (1990) with the kids. Mildly resentful, and wanting to crawl back into sleep, but I managed to reach the couch and crashed out with dad blanket and coffee mug gripped firmly in both hands. Ah, December, how I do love thee, sort of, and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without at least one Home Alone movie and a raft of seasonal regulars to backfill free time.
We watched Home Alone (1990), and the kids laughed and cheered for the duration and I smiled at all the Tex Avery styled violence and the John Williams score, which is a classic. I was pleased Macauley Culkin didn’t get on my nerves at any point, which I fully expected him to and happy to find that no matter how many times I see Joe Pesci get his head scorched by a strategically rigged blowtorch, it still has the power to make me chortle every time. Directed by Chris Columbus. Produced and written by John Hughes.