A week in film – 2016, week 36

This week has been solidly predictable, right down to the one film I’ve watched. Some weeks are just like that – and, try as I might to change it late in the day, it’s had no real result other than adding a bunch more TV into the mix.

I don’t know what’s happened to me: I think I’m obsessed with The Flash again. Racing through the first series like there’s no tomorrow, it’s getting really difficult to protest convincingly that it isn’t very good. Fact of the matter is, however frustrating I find its writing sometimes, The Flash really has latched onto something special. The characters at its core are often preposterous (they’re sometimes prone to acting in unusual ways, because the screenplay needs them to; Barry’s a friend-zoney pain the arse 50% of the time), but it’s borderline impossible not to care deeply about them. Especially Cisco, who is that show’s beating heart, and Joe, who does a fine line in father-figure speeches (and Barry’s drowning in father figures, so that’s still impressive). The mix of meta-of-the-week and wider story arc does work, even if some of the metas themselves are a bit naff. For the first season, too, that story arc is actually pretty good – the show doesn’t mess about, making the Reverse Flash’s identity clear to the audience before he’s even named and certainly before the team find out who he is. It’s fun, it’s unabashedly hopeful, and it’s full of people you can care about. For DC, it’s an anomaly, but it’s a very welcome one.

The first series of The West Wing also continues to be brilliant, which I’m saying for probably at least the fifth time on this blog. Seriously, I adore The West Wing (does that even need saying any more?) and it’s currently my privilege to be introducing it to someone, which is a WHOLE heap of fun. The first series is one of its finest moments as well, as each character is established pretty firmly from the get-go: and those characters – especially Toby, Josh, Sam and CJ – are the fundamental elements of that show’s success. I’m not going to bang on about it much longer apart from saying that, if you’re out there and you still haven’t watched it yet, binge the HELL out of it. It’s a show that needs to be seen by everyone.

Then there’s the individual TV event of the week in The Great British Bake Off, which was on top innuendo form on Wednesday. Bake Off is the great unifier – I feel like everyone who properly watches it gets sucked into its view of the world at some point. This week, Biscuit Week, doesn’t seem to have been any different. Though it seemed fairly obvious from the beginning who was going to go (and I’m not spoiling it, in case you’re among the few people who haven’t yet seen it and still care enough to do so), there’s still a surprising amount of tension in watching a tent full of people bake three separate types of biscuit (iced, Viennese whirls and a gingerbread scene, incidentally). I still love Bake Off for the characters, but I also love it for the drama, and for the amazing shots of various baked goods. Seriously: if anyone out there is capable of watching Bake Off without snacks, you’re a far stronger person than me.

The one film (I know) I’ve got to report on is Edge of Tomorrow, Doug Liman’s 2014 sci-fi movie. An inventive, somehow not tedious (by its very nature it’s repetitive, but the concept remains fresh), funny film – despite the vast amount of death in it. Part alien invasion, part war movie, part Groundhog Day-esque saga starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, I will never stop loving Edge of Tomorrow – and I still think it hasn’t been seen by enough people. It’s a firm favourite, the go-to for when I’m tired or ill, and I can’t be alone in thinking that.


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