One of the things Graham and I miss most from our pre-parent days is the freedom to go to the cinema whenever it takes our fancy. Lately, however, we have managed to squeeze in quite a few visits and have seen some great films. When my parents were visiting recently, we took advantage of their mad baby-sitting skillz and went to the cinema three times in one week. Three times in one week, I repeat! That really was like the very best of the good old days! I'm pretty much of the opinion that almost all films are great when seen in an actual cinema, but some of the films we've seen recently were GREAT.
This week, on my afternoon of no work and no Dulcie, instead of tidying the flat or going to the shops or peeling vegetables like I usually do (insight into my glamorous life, there...) I took myself to an afternoon screening of Richard Ayoade's new film, The Double. My "review" of it to Graham when I got home made it sound like I hadn't enjoyed it at all. Actually, I did really like it, I just didn't like it quite as much as I had expected to, but my expectations were really high, having LOVED Submarine and liked the sound of The Double's concept. So it was good and Mia Whats-a-kowski's dresses (all two of them) were beyond adorable, but the film as a whole was perhaps a bit too pastichey (made-up word) for my liking.
Like The Double, Only Lovers Left Alive starred Mia Whats-a-kowski, had a definite lack of daylight and slightly disappointed me, but only really because of my very high expectations. I was pretty excited by the trailer and was looking forward to a vampire film that wasn't aiming at franchise, if you know what I mean. The film delivered in terms of vampirism, coolness, darkness and humour, but I felt like I was too dumb (or tired) to get many of the cinematic/literary/musical references that were made every 20 seconds or so.
The Grand Budapest Hotel definitely did not disappoint. It gave me everything I look forward to in a Wes-Anderson-at-the-cinema experience and I loved it. So much fun! My friend from work went to see it while she was on holiday in Berlin recently, just because it was in English, but she knew nothing about the film or Wes Anderson before she went in. She said she spent the first half thinking it was the worst film she'd ever seen then all of a sudden she worked out the intended tone and loved it from then on. I think that's a pretty great summing-up of the film, or of Wes Anderson in general. The story and the characters were great and Ralph Fiennes (an actor I've never much appreciated) was brilliant. Like Moonrise Kingdom etc, there was so much attention to detail and lovely things to look at. You could just tell every item was carefully chosen or made. I don't think there was anything not to like. Fun times, fun times. Go see it and be happy.
It was really a fluke that we went to see Under The Skin. I'd been put off by a River City actor featuring quite heavily in the trailer, but was talked into going because it was set in Glasgow, I'd liked other films by the director and, like I said, I am always happy to go to the cinema if we have a baby-sitter on hand. Gah, I'm so glad we went! It was amazing! By all accounts, the book it's based on is pretty naff (I haven't read it myself) so it's even more impressive that the film turned out so magical. It was spidery and dark and quiet and '70s-horror and real and unreal and...just out-and-out amazing. I couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks afterwards. There was one scene that was horrific but so good and cinematic and beautiful and (I already said this) horrific. When the scene finished, Graham turned round and goggled his eyes at me. Afterwards he told me he'd been trying to convey the following: "If the film ends now, I'll be happy because that was one of the best things I've ever seen on a cinema screen." When people have asked me about this film, I've said, "I loved it! It was amazing! But I'm not recommending it!" I can imagine a lot of people wouldn't like it, either because of how slow and quiet and grimy it was, or just because some parts of it were quite upsetting. A couple of people did walk out halfway through the screening we were at. Also, if you're from Glasgow, you'll probably be distracted looking out for people and places you know and, wherever you come from, don't take your mother because I have never seen so many erect penises in a single film before!
And so ends my cinema reviewing, so good you might mistake me for a professional. What can I say? Peter Bradshaw, Mark Kermode, watch your back!
Cinema, cinema, cinema, you're so much fun. I hope we can meet again soon.