A week in film – 2016, week 33

Another mix of a week. I’m still working hard to add one new film to my own internal library every seven days (it shouldn’t be so tricky to find time to do that), and I have succeeded. But I also haven’t watched much else. I apologise in advance for the Arrow fandom burst you are yet to encounter.

After everyone raved about it a couple of years ago and I wasn’t able to find it in any cinemas near me, Netflix has given me the chance to catch up with What We Do In The Shadows. Now, as this blog will attest, I’m a pretty delicate film-viewer: I’m a complete chicken when it comes to all things, and I usually steer clear of horror even when it’s more heavily influenced by comedy. What We Do In The Shadows is a mix like that: a mockumentary about a group of vampires living in a Wellington flat share. The premise itself sounds funny, but it isn’t enough to make it a great film – that’s down to the script and the performances, which are all brilliant. It’s got a whole bunch of quotable lines I’ll crowbar into future conversations somehow (‘Vampires don’t do the dishes!’). It also contains a series of odd, funny exchanges between vampires, werewolves, and humans – one, where the group bumps into a gang of werewolves after a night out, is properly hilarious. It’s not without its horror – these are vampires, obviously, and they’re often blood-drenched – but it is mostly still tinged with comedy (a newly born vampire goes to the chemist to find some medication for the blood dripping out of his eyes; a murderous fire leads to a police warning about smoke alarms). I loved it, even if I did have to watch some scenes from behind my phone (I’m a BABY, OK?!) – and I can’t wait to see Taika Waititi’s next, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. And Thor: Ragnarok. I’m excited about lots of stuff right now.

Otherwise, though, we’re pretty much left with Arrow. My obsession with the show has reached the point where I’m on my third (read: definitely more than third) complete rewatch and I can’t stop myself. This has escalated to the point of binging, and I’ve made my way through the first series in just over a week – which, as I’m still working all the time, feels like quite a feat. For all the mock derision, the first series of Arrow is pretty great. The weaker start I discussed last week, where the show relies on Oliver Queen’s abs and his broody narration to carry the show, gives way to more characters (and some space for them to develop), a tighter narrative, and occasionally some heart. The introduction of Original Team Arrow is so, so welcome, and the show kicks up two big notches when Diggle and Felicity arrive. By the end of the season, there are scenes between the three of them (OK, and especially Olicity, who I am also obsessed with) which flow so well that it’s hard to remember a time without the three of them together. It’s not all niceness, though, ‘cause that’s never been Arrow’s bag – Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman, having the time of his life) is a nasty piece of work, and the Undertaking arc isn’t pleasant. But the first series is heaps better than I remember it being – which gives me high hopes for another rewatch of the second, which always felt like the best.

Then, obviously it’s also the Olympics at the moment. While I’m not as glued to every single event as I was for London 2012 (I think I took the lack of time difference for granted), constant notifications and a day on the sofa on Saturday convinced me that it was better to be watching the Olympics than not. That day we managed to change the channel at the exact start of Murray’s penultimate (and apparently best) point against Nishikori, and earlier in the week I managed to be in the gym at the exact period where Team GB won three medals in a row. The only things which will potentially slow me down are my emotions. Seriously, I get teary every time there are people on a podium. Regardless of who they are, I am so happy to see them happy that it is just unsafe to watch without contingency plans (i.e. a box of tissues; another person in the room to console/distract me). Maybe I should just watch the events and not the medal ceremonies.

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