A week in film: week 1

It’s the start of a new year, and as I’ve finished off my essays (for now) and have a few days left before I have to head back to university, I’ve been having a think about how else I want to spend my spare time over the rest of term. Taking advantage of a final semester in and around my university town? Probably a good call. Actually thinking about life after graduation? When I’ve psyched myself up for it. Spending time ensconced indoors writing for this blog? Obviously. I’ve been enjoying writing as many reviews as I can, and let’s face it, talking about the MCU far more than strictly necessary, but I’ve decided to set myself a challenge for 2015. The challenge is, quite simply, to write one post per week for the whole year about what I’ve been watching in that week. It doesn’t matter if it’s film or TV, or whether I saw it on demand, on DVD, or in the cinema. It doesn’t even matter if I loved it or I hated it. The point is that I’ll be talking about all the random things that cross my radar within the course of a week. Some weeks will inevitably be a little more interesting than others, but that’s part of the fun of it. So, for the sake of getting at least one post (I’m still planning on writing reviews!) done on a regular schedule, I’m setting myself this challenge.

Because I’m going to go by calendar weeks (well, posting on Sundays), this week is actually slightly a cheat as 2015 only started on Thursday. This being said, because I’m still at home and taking full advantage of some free time/cinema-going parents/the HMV sale, I actually have a surprising amount to talk about. Starting with the big stuff, I will say that I’ve been to the cinema twice in the past few days: once to see a film I’ve already seen and loved, Paddington, and another time to see The Theory of Everything. I’ve been remembering Paddington affectionately since the first time I saw it back at the beginning of December, but nothing quite compares to seeing it in a Saturday morning screening surrounded by giggling kids. I continue to love it, and think it’s set to be a classic for many years to come. If you haven’t managed to see it yet, I’d encourage you to go as soon as possible (as I think there’s a strong argument to be made for it being a Christmas film). The Theory of Everything is a marked contrast, but still worth anyone’s time. Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking is amazing, and I can honestly say that after a while I forgot that it was a performance. Felicity Jones as his wife Jane was no less remarkable, in a different kind of role that I really hope does not go forgotten come awards season. It may not have had the same narrative drive I tend to prefer in films (I think if I had to choose I’d see something like The Imitation Game again instead), but I still thought it was a fantastic piece of cinema.

Two cinema trips in one week is the kind of thing that only happens to me during the holidays, much like film days with my best friend. A significant portion of our New Year’s Day was spent watching How To Train Your Dragon and its sequel, which I’ve never managed to watch as a double bill before. The advances in animation are huge in the relatively short amount of time between the two, and I think the second one’s really a step up in terms of its emotional impact too. Both of them are Dreamworks’ masterpieces, though. They are probably high up in my list of favourite films of all time. On the same day I also managed to catch a bit of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which aside from all the uncanny valley issues (I find performance-referenced Tintin oddly creepy) is really good, and makes me wish I’d recorded it so I could watch it in full again. I also went on a bit of a binge in HMV because, well, I’d resisted for so long, and returned home from the cinema on Friday night to get into bed and watch X-Men: Days of Future Past. It was quite late by the time I started to watch it so by the time the final showdown rolled around I was too busy making snarky comments about Magneto’s asymmetric cape (to myself) to pay much attention. It’s still a lot of fun, though, and probably my favourite X-Men film to date.

TV-wise? My parents are rewatching my boxed set of The West Wing and they just so happen to be on series four right now. In my opinion, series four is The West Wing’s greatest series. It starts with ’20 Hours in America’, for God’s sakes. SOME OF THE BEST ONES. So, really, nothing compares to watching that on TV. It’s been a while since I last watched it, too, so it’s been really nice to suddenly remember things as I’m watching the episodes again. “There’s bicycles and goats in my office!” being a particular highlight. I haven’t forgotten about Arrow yet, though, seeing as I only binged the entirety of it in the past few weeks, but I still watched an episode or two (the ones where Barry Allen turns up, pre-Flash, because it seemed as good a place to revisit as any). Well, I’m easing myself out of the addiction…

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