A week in film – 2016, week 3

Starting off quickly and predictably this week – I’ve watched a bunch of episodes of The West Wing. From series four and one from series six, bizarrely, which has thrown me out of sync. The differences between the Sorkin series and the post-Sorkin years are pretty marked, but I do still like series six – mainly for Donna, who gets a bit more to do. Realising now that I’ve caught up with when I watched some with my parents over Christmas, I’m going to have to either jump forward to series five or find something new. Jury’s still out on that one.

Also to the surprise of no-one, I fell head first into watching the opening two episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which was an excellent choice. I love Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I’m not sure I need to say a lot more than that, seeing as I’ve stated that about a hundred times by now. I’ve still not caught up with the episode which actually aired this week, though, because I’m only just remembering I was supposed to do that as I’m writing this post. Useful.

Another US show returning to E4 is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which has (surprisingly) made its way to a third series. Yeah, I know Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has undoubtedly been Marvel’s weakest screen outing – but if there was ever a bright, shining light through the general dimness it was Fitzsimmons. Most of the scenes between the two of them – particularly that scene at the end of the first series where they’re stuck in their stupid and upsetting underwater prison, which still makes me want to cry – are great, and my only real complaint about them is that the writers don’t seem to realise how great they are. I’m only faintly interested in all the stuff with the Inhumans, and I’m even less engaged in that story with that sort of half-wolf half-porcupine-like guy on the hunt for them. I like Hunter and Bobbi, both individually and separately, so I’ll happily watch scenes with them. As ever, though, I spent the whole episode crying out for more Fitz, who got at least one great, if horrifying and pain-filled, scene right at the end. Let’s be honest – Iain De Caestecker is quite a lot better than that show.

In terms of the other slightly disappointing and painful superhero TV shows on right now, I inexplicably decided to watch Arrow‘s ‘The Climb’, which for some reason I find really upsetting…and only slightly because series three isn’t that good. I’ve been craving a brief return to Arrow for a while, but I inadvertently put myself off with my weird choice of episodes. If I’d only picked it up a few episodes later I would have been set.

And two episodes of Parks and Rec. ‘The Possum’ and ‘Harvest Festival’. Because it had been too long.

Film-wise, it’s been a great week for actually doing what this series set out to do and watching some things I’ve never seen before. I mean, these things were Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Step Up, but still. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, watched in honour of Alan Rickman, is really dreadful – and I don’t even know if I mean enjoyably dreadful – apart from every scene Rickman’s in, which he steals and dances off with cackling with glee. Worth watching just for him, really (and some definitely-enjoyably-dreadful English geography).

Step Up we watched because it was Saturday afternoon and, even though dance movies are appropriate for almost all times, Saturday afternoon is ideal – and apparently Saturdays in our house are now reserved for Channing Tatum movies. There wasn’t a lot of plot, but then again I’m not sure a movie like that is crying out for one (even if it was so close – I feel like if most of the scenes in the first half had been slightly longer, and had had a few more lines, it would have got there). The dancing was great, and I was surprisingly emotional about the Sad Event towards the end. Plus the dancing. Seriously, I cannot overstate how much I love a movie with dancing in.

I also started watching The Adjustment Bureau, which I saw just enough of to remember how great I think it is before something came up and I stopped – I’m pretty sure it’ll make an appearance on next week’s post, though. The other rewatch came from Man Up, which is quickly becoming one of those films on which I can rely for a laugh and a bit of a warmth. I really, really like Man Up – Lake Bell is brilliant, and the script is sharp and funny. It’s nice to have at least one rom-com in my dependable archive, and I’m glad that it’s a snarky one.

This is also the week that I noticed I’d been writing every date as ‘2015’ on my accompanying year in film list. I’m still not sure if noticing means I’ll now mentally acknowledge that it is 2016 and get on with posting about the films I’m looking forward to or not.

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