Ideal Home (2018)

I knew nothing about this film. Never saw it marketed, which considering how marketable a name Paul Rudd is right now (Particularly because of Ant-Man) I found that puzzling. Almost like this film was one that was shuffled out embarrassingly by the studios. Add to the fact it’s a story about a gay couple, which is a story cinema still has issues with telling in some of the more oppressive and backward parts of the world (Iran, Saudi Arabia, America. Yeah I said it, come fight me bro), left me with a big cause for concern. I was particularly worried that this film would just be full of gay stereotypes, that the leads would be doing the kind of performance that is best left in the awful and horribly dark days of the 90’s. There are moments where Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd to go a bit too stereotypical, but those moments are fleeting, other than that the characters are pretty much just like every other character the two of them play. They actually have surprisingly good chemistry, to the point where I really want to see Steve Coogan in a Marvel film (him as a villain in the next Ant-Man movie would be incredible to see).

That’s not the only way this film subverts expectations. There’s not that much homophobia in it. It’s a film where a gay couple look after a troubled youth. It would be expected for there to be a moment where another character says “those guys are dirty fags” and the kid gets annoyed and punches them in defence of his new dads. The closest you get to that is another kid saying to him “you have two dads?” “I guess so”. There’s a moment where Steve Coogan visits his son in prison (the kid they’re looking after is his Grandson from his straight phase). It’s shown they have an incredibly strained relationship, and the son has a history of awful behaviour (drugs, stealing from prostitutes etc) and has a foul mouth. So when Coogan’s character says “Paul is my male companion, and has been for 10 years. Do you have a problem with that?”, you expect tension. But nope, the son just says “no” and that’s it. It’s beautiful how nothing that moment is.

This isn’t really a film about sexuality, it’s a film about parenting. And a pretty damn sweet one. I knew I was hooked when the kid was handed back to his dad, and the dad was drink driving and nearly falling asleep with the kid in the car. When that part happened I messaged someone “this film better not go where I think it’s going”. I was genuinely invested in these characters.

So I would recommend seeing this. Maybe don’t buy it on day of release, but if you get a chance to watch it, take it. You won’t regret it. I mean, it gave us this quote:

45452584_10161070958020125_8550834257709236224_o (1)

Advertisements

The Best Single-Location Films

Free-Fire was released to UK cinemas this week, seemingly two-hundred millennia after the preview screenings (ok it was actually like a month, but still). Been excited for it since I first saw the trailer, and more so since I heard that it is like the trailer suggests, and is all in one location. I like when films do that, it’s a sign of good writing and acting if it holds your attention like that. Oddly enough I don’t think I’ve seen one that didn’t work, probably because it’s such a hard thing to pull off that studios will only risk it if they’re absolutely certain it would work, these films have to be better than average as if they’re anything less people will be highly critical. So with that in mind, here’s a list of my favourites. Let’s start some ground rules

  1. Has to mainly (at least 95%) take place in one location.
  2. Location has to be relatively confined (otherwise some smart-ass will be like: “what about this film? It all takes place in one location; earth”)
  3. I have to have seen it (like most of these blogs, this is the biggest hurdle as it counts out Rope and Rear Window, which I was tempted to put in purely on the basis they’re Hitchcock so I’m sure are brilliant)

So, let’s do this.

5. Locke

Yeah, I’m surprised this is the first one I’m mentioning too. I’d have guessed it would be top three, but then I saw what else is on this list, and as much as I do love Locke (and I do) this has to come 5th. I know quite a few people don’t like this, and it’s easy to see why, the “one person cast” kind of films are not for everyone, and that’s okay. Actually I feel that point needs to be made more often; it’s not essential to like a film. It is possible to recognise a film is very well crafted, and still not like it. The whole “if you don’t like x then you’re obviously not smart enough, or you don’t get it, or (and this is the worst) I’m going to explain to you why you’re wrong, using spreadsheets and citations from people” It’s that kind of attitude which puts people off film discussion. The film that made me realise exactly how good Tom Hardy is. This film is unique on this list as the entire film takes place in a car, driving down the motorway. As such you don’t even really get the sense of claustrophobia that these type of films provide. However the fact Hardy’s character is in a moving location does provide a unique feeling to it, despite him being the driver of the car he very much is a passenger of his own film, being driven by fate to a conclusion he’s desperately trying to avoid.

locke
Tom Hardy with his beard of gloom (not pictured; Welsh accent of sadness)

4. Tape

Merging two film gimmicks in one; not only is it all in one location, it also takes place in real time. Unpopular opinion; is probably my favourite Linklater film. I like what it says about people, and the dynamics that occur in certain friendship groups. Very minimalist cast; the entire film is Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard in a room discussing awkward things, then being joined by Uma Thurman for the home stretch. Was originally written as a play by Stephen Belber, only found that out whilst writing this but it’s fairly obvious that was the case whilst watching it. Is the kind of writing that’s perfect for drama students to use for auditions. Unlike most Linklater films this one is often mentioned as something amazing, which is a shame as it is truly something unique and I’d recommend everybody watch it.

3. Moon

Is this a one location film? Apparently so, I don’t remember it being so but apparently it is, and I do love this film so it earns its place. The debut film by Duncan Jones, who has since moved onto direct Source Code and Warcraft, but to me this will always be his best (at least until Mute comes out this year; a sci-fi mystery film starring Alexander Skarsgard as a mute bartender alongside Paul Rudd and Sam Rockwell? I’m sold). This film is one of the best sci-fi films I’ve seen, visually stunning (especially on a relatively low budget). Sam Rockwell is mindblowingly good in this, playing not only the main character, but also his clone. Yeah it’s a weird film, but well worth checking out. And it features the voice of Kevin Spacey, what more do you want from this film?

apollo_18_01
It’s also much much better than this, which is a good concept poorly written

2. Breakfast Club

Truth be told, I didn’t even realise this was a single location film until doing research for this. That’s how good this film is. Although let’s face it, part of that might be because has such a large cast compared to the others. Possibly one of the most 80’s films that exists, this defined the genre. Yes, Sixteen Candles was the first of these films, the one that paved the path, but it was Breakfast Club that lit the way so others could follow in their footsteps. Anybody wanting to break into filmmaking should watch this, this is the closest cinema gets to the attitude of punk. One of the main things about punk music was that anybody could do it, you didn’t need to have elaborate sets on stage, you didn’t need the knowledge to play 10 minute guitar solos, you could just pick up instruments and play. This is the film equivalent; there’s absolutely nothing here you can’t do yourself, the locations are all within reach, there’s nothing unachievable here. This would actually be perfect way to showcase skills on a film course; you hand someone the script for this and say “make a scene from this”, and see how they do it.

brians-essay-from-the-breakfast-club

1. Buried

This had to be number one really, and not only because of how much I love Ryan Reynolds (that’s only part of it). I hate to say that I didn’t watch this film because I found the concept interesting, or I read the reviews; I watched this film for one reason and one reason only: Ryan Reynolds. Now if you like Ryan Reynolds, you will love this film, as he is the only person in it. The entire film is him trapped in a box. When I first heard about it i thought that that couldn’t possibly work. Surely they have flashback scenes? Or he gets out about half hour into the film and suddenly it turns into an action film? But no, it’s just one guy, in a box for the entire film. And it is a remarkably effective piece of filmmaking. The singular location means the audience feels just as trapped and claustrophobic as the character. If the film had any cutaway scenes it would only serve to break up the tension. So I’ve established it makes you feel trapped, but is it a good film? The answer; yes it’s fucking good, hence why it’s my number one. I recommend that everybody see this film at least once. But only once, any more like that and you do risk suicide.

buried
It’s this, for an hour and a half. And it’s glorious

Special Mentions (a.k.a; films I’ve heard are good but haven’t watched yet)

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

Reservoir Dogs

12 Angry Men

Das Boot

Symbol

My Dinner With Andre

 

Yes, I apologise for never having seen some of those, I’m a terrible person.

 

Musings On Marvel: Day 12 (Ant-Man)

Director: Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Yes Man)

Budget: $130million

Box Office: $519million

  • “If only you protected Janet with the same ferocity” That line only exists to get along plot details.
  • “I’m not going back, I’ve got a daughter to take care off” the same daughter you had BEFORE you went to prison? Or is it “well, she needed changing then, now she can look after herself”
  • Is he being shamed for working at a Baskin Robbins? Yeah, how dare he have a job to support his family. Shame! Shame! This is a big issue actually, certain jobs are seen as demeaning but people need to do them. People make fun of the server at McDonalds yet go in at 1am demanding that same person provide them with a burger.Jobs need doing, and these jobs need to be done by people. Don’t act all high and mighty like certain jobs aren’t “good enough” for people. You don’t want to do a job because you see it as demeaning? Then starve to f*cking death. Now, tis is different obviously from “this job makes me work 12 hours a day with no breaks and they pay me in stinging nettles”. That’s management being dicks, in which case, yeah, gain superpowers, sneak into manager’s house, pick them up and drop them in an active volcano.
  • Things I’ve spotted in the Baskin Robbins bosses office: an employee of the month sign above the sink, a microwave that isn’t plugged in, a rubber chicken, a wicker ball, a metal bucket.
  • “An Ant-Man” Hey! That’s the title of the movie.
  • Did nobody think to title them “small soldiers”?
  • “the ultimate combat advantage” wouldn’t it be more advantageous to be 10 times larger? There’s no good hitting people if nobody knows what’s hitting them as they won’t quit. You make them larger and entire armies will see it and give up.
  • That bunny is terrifying.
  • “He’s so ugly, I love him” My girlfriend says the exact same thing.
  • “you’re her hero”, how? She’s 5, he’s been in prison 3 years. Even if she could remember him she wouldn’t have enough to build him up to hero status.
  • This guy peed without shutting the bathroom door. He deserves to die.
  • This is a perfectly viable weapon that again is never used. I mean, he has a handheld weapon that can kill someone with no mess. No blood or anything, so no evidence. You literally flush the evidence down the toilet. That alone is a great weapon.
  • I have a feeling this montage of finding out about the “job” seems like one of the parts written by Edgar Wright.
  • This reference to Titanic also seems like Edgar Wright, it also seems exactly like the kind of thing I do: random pop culture references in middle of scenes which have no need for them. I would argue that point but I once put a critique of Love Actually in a scene which was basically a massive argument.
  • That door falling down still created a hell of a lot of noise.
  • If he is the size of an ant, surely that guy would still notice him in the bath? Would you not notice an ant in the bath?
  • This guy who’s entire dialogue is “what the hell” is comedian Garrett Morris who had the first appearance of Ant-Man in Saturday Night Live.
  • “set up a five block perimeter” for a petty theft? Are you kidding? He’s not exactly caused harm to people so that’s not a good use of resources.
  • This escape thing is fine, but you know what else would have made sense? Michael Douglas parking his car nearby with the window open so he could just go in there.
  • I know someone who saw this film and thought “just step on the Bullet Ants, how painful can they be?” Well, to answer that, bullshit. Bullet Ants are terrifying. It’s called a Bullet Ant because its sting feels like being shot. The Schmidt Pain Index is a real thing, and this is really high on it. Also, they shriek at you before attacking, because that’s not scary. Certain tribes use them as an initiation into manhood. They weave sleeves with hundreds of this things in, the stings facing inwards. They then wear them and get stung to holy hell. That’s not an exaggeration, this causes the arms to become useless for a few days, and cause spasms through the entire body. So THAT’S why you don’t just f*cking step on them.
  • So you control ants and make them put sugar in your tea? That’s just lazy.
  • The bald guy from House Of Cards is a dick to tiny sheep
  • “I think we should call the Avengers” So do I! In fact, I’d call them for everything. Changing my light bulbs, fixing my internet, getting the person in the queue in front of me to just MOVE FORWARD ALREADY!
  • “this is not some cute technology like the Iron Man Suit” Unnecessary shot!
  • “Plus they’re too busy dropping cities out of the sky” That was Ultron and you know it, dick.
  • Why ants? I’m serious, it’s never explained why he specifically can converse only with ants? Surely there’s other small things he could talk to, grasshoppers, lice, aphids, spiders. You’ve had this research for decades and figured out how to talk to ants, yet you have no incentive to push it forward to other species? Is it because it was called Ant-Man and you really hate not going with themes?
  • Where are the rest of the Avengers? Have they all gone home for the holidays and left one guy as the security?
  • Ant-Man punches Falcon too much. Literally all he needs to do is get his visual apparatus off, then he won’t be able to see him so he can just sneak in easier.
  • Next time you might want to start with “I got the thing” instead of leaving it until it’s suitably dramatic.
  • “I fought an Avenger and didn’t die”. Well, technically you fought an Avenger. But Falcon’s only an Avenger in the same way as Barcardi Breezers are alcoholic beverages. Technically right, but nobody counts it.
  • “this is the work of gypsies” That’s racist!
  • There is never a good reason to whistle “It’s A Small World”. Ever.
  • Can you even hit an ant with a bullet? Wouldn’t physics push the ant of the way?
  • Are those guys being attacked by Bullet Ants? If so it would be a lot more than “ow, slight pain”, they’d cry.
  • Hank Pym dies whilst I was writing that last one, I think.
  • Oh wait, he’s standing up.
  • Ok this is one of the best uses of music in Marvel movies, plus it’s The Cure.
  • Why is this guy so focused on killing Paul Rudd? Couldn’t he just move on with his life and sell the weapon and still get shit loads of money? This just seems like a distraction.
  • Where did those ants come from?
  • Ah, the old “throwing trains at the enemy trick”. So cliche, you know that’s exactly how the Roundheads beat the Cavaliers in 1651.
  • Can ants survive getting that big? Wouldn’t their exoskeleton collapse or something? It’s like how King Kong wouldn’t be able to run, or barely move.
  • “that’s a messed up looking dog”. Surely you can tell it’s an ant? I mean, it would be weird for us to see an ant that size, but we don’t have superheroes in this world. They do. Everybody could wake up and find their feet have been replaced by Big Macs and it still wouldn’t be the most surprising thing in the universe.
  • Imagine watching this whilst really stoned or under heavy medication. That would make a brilliant blog series actually: Medicated Musings. Exactly like these blogs, but recorded whilst either high or drunk.
  • She’s feeding that thing under the table. Does she want ants? Because that’s how you get ants.
  • And the post credits scene is a teaser for Avengers 3. I mean, Captain America: Civil War.

Films Worth Seeing from 2015: The other genres

Action/adventure/thriller
(or everything else)

Sicario

The best kind of thriller; nailbiting, bleak, and full of characters you actually give a shit about. The director of the amazing Prisoners and Enemy solidifies his place in the Western filmmaking world with this all-star thrill-ride. Hosting an Oscar worthy Emily Blunt, a shit-ya-pants Benicio del Toro, asicario_ver8_xlgnd an oddly chilled out Josh Brolin who adds the much needed levity between all the torture and mutilation. Directed with a Finchian level of detail and pristine, it follows by the books SWAT officer Emily Blunt as she is submerged into the murky work of the War on Drugs, and is tasked along with the mysterious Benicio del Toro to bring down the head of the Mexican Cartel. Sticking well clear of action tropes this isn’t a glorious, FUCK-Yah-‘Merica tale of beating the bad guy, this is a twisted, gritty, and dark morality tale that tells us that rarely the right thing to do, is the best thing to do.

 

 

The Martian

17vZ0fzI know this is basically a comedy, but it is also an intense Sci-fi thriller and if I didn’t put it here this section would be pretty spare. Ridley Scott’s best film in years (though I think I’m the only guy with a soft spot for The Counsellor), is a beautifully shot adventure following a marooned astronaut on Mars and his optimistic fight for survival. Now I don’t think there’s much more I can say about this, its just a damn good film, Matt Damon reminds us why he’s a superstar, and “Science the shit out of this” is destined to become an obnoxious over used phrase. But what allot of people I think fail to mention, is just how damn fun the Earth team is. Yeah the focus is on Damon, but maxresdefaultJeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor and their team on Earth are just as engaging to watch as they have to ‘Science the shit out of it’ there end, to work out how to get to Damon before he dies. If you haven’t caught it already, it’s more than worth the two hour plus run time.

 

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Screw the next film on this list, THIS was the funnest action film of the Kingsman_The_Secret_Service_posteryear. Essentially a spy flick parody with a real plot and its gun barrel firmly planted in its cheek; it’s bloody, stylish, and with a perfect twee British sense of humour. It’s like if the Pythons directed a James Bond flick, but not without some studio supervision. Taron Egerton proves himself a bankable action lead and rising star in Hollywood, and I can’t wait to see where he goes next; while Colin Firth does a clean 180 and flawlessly reinvents himself as a very convincing action star without losing an of his preppy Britishness we’ve come to love and treasure. The bad rep this seems to be getting from some critics should be completely ignored as high-brow snobbery and the last thing I’ll say is go in expecting something silly but amazing, and be ready for some ultra-violence

mad-max-fury-road
Mad Max: Fury Road

Because it Mad Max fucking Fury Road. The action is kinetic, Charlize Theron is jaw dropping, and it tells us more about it’s world with barely any dialogue than three Star Wars prequels could. What else needs to be said?

 

 

 

Ex Machina

Ex-Machina

God damn I love me some good old Sci-fi mind fuckary, and I love Oscar Isaac. This was his other big Sci-Fi film of the year, you know apart from…you-know-what, and in my opinion it’s the stronger of the two. In almost every way a closed box thriller, Domhnall Gleeson plays a dweeby programmer brought to an underground house by his eccentric bro-y boss to perform a turing test on a Female robot he’s created, and work out if she really can feel. And from that it breaks out into a tense psychological game of cat and mouse and fox, and I won’t ruin who gets eaten.

 

 

Ant-Man

Ant-Man-Comic-Con-PosterWho knew the best super-hero film of 2015 would be Ant-Man. Plagued with production issues for years, worst of all being the walk out of geek god Edgar Wright from directing, but despite all that Ant-Man STILL came out kicking. Helped by a great cast led by an always loveable Paul Rudd and an enjoyably cranky Michael Douglas, Ant-Man found its strength by keeping the comedy present throughout, in character scenes, exposition scenes, and action scenes, it always stays funny. Which makes it’s few moments of seriousness hit that much harder, him shrinking to the quantum realm was truly amazing, and gave the film the weight it needed. Is it perfect? Far from it; but it was a fun ride, with good action, and a much needed breath of fresh air for the quickly staling Marvel verse.

 

482955It Follows
Easily the best horror film of the year. A real 80’s throw back to the likes of Halloween and Nnightmare on elm street, you can practically see Wes Craven’s fingerprints. With a focus on building atmosphere and tension over moderns mindless jumpscares, an actually likeable cast, and an intriguing story, It Follows will leave you glancing over your shoulder and watching off into the mid-distance.

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrowland

tl_busshelter_frank_v3_lgDoes this have problems? Yes. Are all of them made up for by pure retro-charm and heart? YES. I don’t know what people went in expecting with this film; some epic Sci-Fi drama that would change the world itself? Who knows? But if you went in just looking for entertainment, you got it in space-spades. A glories throwback to science fiction films of the 1940-50’s when the future was still fun, Tomorrowland may be slow to launch, but when it does it rockets through so many awesome set pieces, ideas, and so much enjoyable pseudoscience and alternate history bollocks , you can’t help but be charmed. Britt Robertson proves herself to be more than Jennifer Lawrence light, George Clooney shows he can wear the old curmudgeonanigif_optimized-19156-1425927260-1 hat with panache, and Raffey Cassidy is becoming one of the most unique child stars acting today. Is it a perfect film, no, but not everything has to be! We seem to be living in a world where if something isn’t ‘#tHeBeSTThInG_EVEEER’ then it’s terrible…No. Not everything has to be perfect in every aspect if it wasn’t trying to be. This film wanted to be nothing more than a fun family adventure with a good message, and it was hung because that’s all it was.

 

 

Oh and like Star Wars happened I guess. It was pretty good.2015-12-16-1450300622-8118374-Star_Wars.png