A week in film – 2017, week 3

OK, so, full disclosure: I slept through at least part of all of the films I saw last weekend: so much so that I can’t even count most of them among the things I’ve watched. For instance, I woke up from a nap (it’s hard being in your twenties and having no plans at the weekend) and my boyfriend was half an hour into watching 12 Angry Men, which I’ve wanted to see for ages, so instead of setting myself up to only see part of the film I just fell back to sleep (what I did see, though, I loved, so I’m getting back to that as soon as I can). I saw most of Star Trek Beyond – good, entertaining, top-end 2016 blockbuster fun – up until the final act, which I must have completely zoned out for. While I’ve got big plans for actually making the most out of the four hours a week of train journeys I do as one half of a long-distance relationship, last week didn’t put any of them into motion.

That said, commutes and travels did catch me up on the fourth series of Sherlock. I didn’t exactly have a glowing opinion of its first episode, but I’ve committed years to this show by now, and I was determined to stick it out. Or not that determined, as I made it about five minutes into ‘The Lying Detective’ before I had to stop. This wasn’t so much an indicator of poor quality as it was of good – Toby Jones’ Culverton Smith was so profoundly unsettling that I couldn’t quite face it. Unsettling seems to have been the theme of Sherlock this year, more so than I can remember it being before, with elaborate (and often downright distracting) editing and frequent examinations of dangerous psychosis. This works well in ‘The Lying Detective’, which I did eventually finish, as it balances the pervasive creepiness with, y’know, other stuff: Una Stubbs’ Mrs Hudson is a continual joy. But ‘The Final Problem’ is eye-wateringly pretentious, even as it’s overwhelmingly depressing. Maybe it’s time to come to terms with the fact that Sherlock just isn’t the show it once was. This is going to work for some people – the people who like the characters more than the mysteries – but it wasn’t going to work for me.

I’m going to gloss over the seventh series Gilmore Girls continuation aside (I’m not proud of it) in favour of tackling some Agent Carter, which is NEVER anything to be ashamed of. The opening two-parter of Agent Carter is a fantastic introduction to Hayley Atwell’s character as a lead, with humour and action and plenty of solid Peggy/Jarvis banter (by far the show’s greatest accomplishment).

To mitigate the failures of the weekend, I took a midweek chill evening to watch In A World…, Lake Bell’s 2013 comedy about a vocal coach, Carol Solomon, who wants to become a voiceover artist in an industry not exactly inclined to use female voices. I remember really wanting to see In A World… when it came out (it was right at the start of my obsession with movie reviews) but I’d never gotten around to it – Netflix, like it can often do, saved the day. I’m so glad I finally sat down to watch it. Aside from the fact that it’s a feminist take-down of the movie industry, and the pressures put on women to sound a particular way for a particular purpose (like, I’m going to love that kind of movie), In A World… also works as a family comedy drama about difficult and interesting relationships, as a sort-of rom-com (there’s only really a tiny bit of romance, which is a refreshing change of pace), and is subtly but frequently funny. Basically, with this and Man Up, I’m now really, really on board for Lake Bell movies.

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