A week in film – 2016, week 7

It’s been the oddest week in film yet for me, which is saying something. Between Monday and Saturday I watched a grand total of nothing. Not ‘nothing’ like I’ve said in the past, which actually meant I’d watched about six episodes of The West Wing and a Marvel movie – proper, empty, boring nothing. This essentially boils down to my needing a bigger desk on which I can balance both my sketchbook (this week’s main pastime) and my laptop, and my attempts to incorporate the gym into my ordinarily lazy routine. Anyway, it’s weird and unusual and I need to get back to my life of films.

Anyway, in the times where I have actually been watching things, I’ve predictably committed fully to Marvel. Agents of SHIELD was a bit of an ordeal. As I sort of predicted (not that it wasn’t enormously foreshadowed), it’s reached the point in the series where they needed to explain what happened to Simmons when she got sucked into that monolith…turns out, unsurprisingly, not a lot of good. Sandstorms. Creepy ghoul-like monsters, creepy astronauts. Weird carnivorous water plants (plants? Eels? Rope?). Even though she did meet a pretty hot guy, but even THAT ended badly (oh poor Will. The man’s been on that sunless planet for fifteen years. He deserves a break). Fitzsimmons devotee though I am, I was actually fairly on board for Gemma and Will turning into a couple, albeit temporarily – if you’ve been on that planet for thousands of hours, I think you probably would fall for literally the only other person in the vicinity. It’s actually nice that Agents of SHIELD, just when I was worrying I’d gotten tired of it again, has the time to do something different – in this case, have one of its central characters suffer, alone, on a hellscape for pretty much half an episode. It worked really well, too – Elizabeth Henstridge is really good in that episode, and Iain de Caestecker is in TWO SCENES (one of which is a repeat from the end of the last series) and managed to break my heart in both. Ugh. I shouldn’t be getting teary over this show on a regular basis!

I’ve also managed to watch not one, but TWO glorious episodes of Agent Carter. I get annoyed when I fall behind and then I’m happy to have two to sustain me through a week. I don’t know what it is about Marvel and me, but I get so insanely emotional about its characters and its stories that it’s basically impossible at this point to react like a normal person. Agent Carter‘s probably the best example of this. My earnest wish for Peggy to be happy, and my real affection for the supporting characters (including Jason Wilkes, who’s only been in three episodes and I’m already a fan), undeniably gets in the way of my will and ability to critique it. I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH. I remember feeling a little as if I wasn’t enjoying the third episode as much as I’d liked the other two, but it had some top-quality Howard Stark comedy in, so it really was a very small feeling. That show’s never going to go too far off the beaten track with regard to my devotion, really.

So Saturday, in a last ditch panicked attempt to actually watch something I could write about (seriously, what has happened this week), was a Three Film Day: Captain America: The First Avenger (because I’m still a walking cliché), Ocean’s Eleven (because I needed something comforting and familiar but not my usual genre), and The Martian (because IT’S FINALLY OUT ON BLU-RAY!). Even though I was cooking my way through The First Avenger it still managed to make me snivelly – such is the power of Marvel. Ocean’s Eleven is one of those films that I’ve always loved although I have no idea how I ended up watching it in the first place: it’s cool, it’s slick, and I manage to forget at least a little bit of how the heist goes down every time I see it, which means there’s always something to keep me invested. The Martian…well, everyone knows how I feel about The Martian. There was an element of fear about rewatching it, like there always is when I’ve left a massive gap between times – what if this is the time when you don’t like it any more? What if you were misremembering and it wasn’t ever very good? Shocker that those concerns turned out to be unfounded. It’s still a brilliant film: a perfect screen representation of that book which I love so much. The casting is perfect, the characters engaging. The cinematography is breath-taking, even on the hundredth (fourth) rewatch. In short, there’s a reason why it was my favourite film of last year. I couldn’t love it much more if I tried.

More things next week, I promise. At least one new film. I’m not doing very well with my one resolution…

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