Star Wars: Rogue One

James and I wanted to see this again after seeing at the film theatre last yaer.

The best thing to do would be to read my first review as it all still holds true.

Briefly though, it is a fantastic addition to the Star Wars universe, entertaining from beginning to end, and the short scene of Darth Vader going berzerb with his lightsaber is most excellent.

Date watched: March 31st
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 26

Arrival

This is a film I have been looking forward to watching as I like films about aliens visiting Earth to tell us of their superior ways, or to kill us.

Right from the start to the end this was an excellent story of a woman put in charge of trying to figure out an alien language, and to ask them what it is they want with us inferior beings. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner were both excellent in their roles. And I liked the aliens and their spaceship, I thought they were very well done.

I could complain that the story used the usual idea that the military always gets involved in alien visitations, resulting in them just itching to start shootin’ when they don’t get results quick enough, even though the science boffins think they can communicate with the aliens with more time. But, this whole premise was central to the story, so I am not complaining.

Personally, I am of the opinion that aliens do not visit Earth, and probably never have. The distances they would need to get here are immense, and even if they could travel at the speed of light it would still take a very long time to get here. And don’t get me started on anal probes.

Date watched: March 23rd
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 24

A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE

I last watched this back in 2012, but decided to watch it again as it is a very good documentary about movie-making.

It starts off in the late sixties when films were made big and starred The Kirkster amongst others, then moves onto the seventies when new directors started experimenting and made films that were about real people and real life. By the end of the seventies they were making films like Star Wars and Jaws, pure escapism and more uplifting. It was quite a decade really.

There are interviews with people like Francis Ford Coppola, Bruce Dern, Julie Christie, Roger Corman, Sydney Pollack, Peter Bogdanovich, and Dennis Hopper.

I have seen many of the films mentioned, but there are just as many that I have not seen, so I am going to seek some of them out.

A very good watch if you like a bit of film history.

Date watched: February 8th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 11

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

This is a 208 minute documentary about George and his life before, during, and after The Beatles.

And despite the long running time it is interesting all the way through (although I did watch this in three sessions). There is plenty of archival footage, a lot of which I have never seen before, interviews with several people including Paul, Ringo (very funny at times), Eric Clapton, his wife Olivia, Ravi Shankar, Phil Spector (before he went to prison), Jane Birkin, Patty Boyd, Eric Idle, Tom Petty, and plenty more.

A lot of the film looked at his spiritual beliefs and how it made it’s way into his music. There were various interviews with him and he seemed like a very decent chap, very down to earth, and bit of a rebel in some ways. Just the like the other Beatles he got a bit annoyed with the others towards the end and was just as tired as being a Beatle as the others, although it seems later in life he missed his fab four days.

Nothing was mentioned about his plagiarism problem with “My Sweet Lord” even though they did spend some time on the song. It seems he genuinely did not intentionally copy the original song “He’s So Fine” by The Chiffons, at least not consciously, but the similarities are obvious.

So this is a very worthwhile watch for Gerorge fans, and Beatles fans.

Date watched: January 29th and 30th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 8

Buffalo ’66

This is Vincent Gallo’s first film. He wrote, directed, wrote and performed the music, and starred in this comedy-drama from 1998.

And he did a pretty good job I must say. It was quite funny in places, especially Angelica Huston’s role as a football-obsessed mother of the main character. The cinematography was good, it looked like it was made in the seventies. All of the cast were superb.

Christina Ricci was great in this, but she did not get on well with Vincent on set, so much so that her name was left out of the credits which is not on. Angelica Huston too did not get along with Vincent… it sounds like he is difficult to work with. He is a very good actor however. Mickey Rourke had one scene as a bookie.

The parents of Vincent’s character were apparently based on his own parents which may explain why he is a tad difficult. His father’s singing voice was used in a scene where the character’s father was miming to a Frank Sinatra song, quite the singer he is.

So this was good stuff, well worth a watch, especially if you like indie films.

Date watched: January 13th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 2

Thor: Ragnarok

This is blimmin’ brilliant, Thor the Comedy. Makes perfect sense as Chris Hemsworth is a funny guy, he was the best thing about the recent Ghostbusters reboot. And anything with Jeff Goldblum is always going to be good. Taika Waititi (I still can’t believe he got the job of directing this) has done a grand job of making Thor good again. His cameo as a rock alien thing is pretty damn funny, as is most of the film. And the action bits are good action bits. Top stuff. 

And best use of a Led Zeppelin song in a movie ever.

Date watched: 20th November
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 67

Williams

This is a documentary about Sir Frank Williams and his racing team.

Actually, it is split into three main themes. The first tells the story of Frank and his rise to fame as one of the greatest privateer teams ever in Formula 1. A lot of the story is also devoted to his wife, Ginny, without whom the team probably would not have survived. Then there was the tale of Sir Frank’s car crash which left him a quadriplegic, and his recovery which Ginny had a lot to do with.

While there was plenty of Formula 1 history there were a few blanks including nothing more than a few seconds of Ayrton Senna’s death, and very little about the team’s successes apart from the early eighties. But, the rest of the story was well told and focussed mainly on Sir Frank, Ginny, and their daughter Claire who is now running the team.

Ginny died from cancer in 2013 so there is only archival footage of her. There is some footage though of her talking to a writer friend which reveals a lot about Sir Frank himself. What is clear about him is that he cares for very little except motor racing.

So this is an excellent watch for Formula 1 fans, and the human side to the story may appeal to those who are not. Either way it is a well made and told story, and an excellent start to another year of film watching.

Date watched: January 6th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 1