A week in film – 2017, week 14

Once again, this week’s been crazy busy, so I don’t have a lot to show for myself – cinematically-speaking, at least. The fact of the matter is that the next fews weeks are going to be crazy too as some major life changes take place, but I’ll continue to write, and continue to watch as much as I’m able. I’m trying, so please bear with me.

This being said, I do have some things to talk about. Like, I’m up to date on Designated Survivor now, and even more twists and turns are happening with quick, bizarre, half-resolutions. I am really enjoying Designated Survivor. I like that it’s ludicrous, and still somehow tense at the same time. I’ve still got absolutely no inkling about where any of it’s going, though, other than knowing that the conspirators a) have the power to hack into cars to force them off bridges (I mean, not impossible, but it still seemed preposterous in the episode), b) can see through walls (however aware I am that there was probably someone observing the former Chief of Staff before he got into his empty office, the episode still made it feel like the bad’uns had that mystical power) and c) are impossibly far-reaching. Exactly how they’ve got these capabilities remain to be seen – and as we have to be at least halfway through the series by now, and as every time it looks like we’re close to getting answers any hope of progress is (usually) shot down when we’re within close quarters. Is ANY of this going to get resolved? Is Designated Survivor eking this out to fill a second series? Who even knows right now.

Then there’s my second viewing of Doctor Strange in about as many weeks, which wasn’t exactly planned but was a nice, happy coincidence. For starters, I didn’t fall asleep halfway through this time, which meant that I got to watch the whole film in, y’know, the order you’re supposed to. I also enjoyed it immensely – going to show that every time I watch Doctor Strange, I like it more and more. I still maintain that the beginning, after the Kaecilius/Ancient One introduction, is too slow, and I think that its plot is on the pedestrian side. But I still really, really enjoy it. And oh God, those visual effects. Steven’s first experience with the multiverse is a weird, mind-bending, marvel (pun intended). It’s worth watching twice in relatively quick succession for that alone.

My one cinema trip of the week – and actually one new film of the week – comes from a visit to the local World of Cine for Beauty and the Beast. I went mainly because I knew I needed to watch something new, rather than out of any real desire to actually see Beauty and the Beast (I’ve only seen the animation once, when I was in my late teens, and I don’t remember liking it. Don’t @ me). Then I was actually pleasantly surprised. The songs, however many times they’re used to sell things, work so well in context (especially ‘Gaston’, which is ridiculously catchy and deserves to be belted in the way that the magnificent Luke Evans does in this film). I think a detached memory at best of the animation went a long way, too, because however many times I was told that it was a fairly straightforward remake, it felt new enough to me. Dan Stevens is great as the Beast (although his make-up game is never as strong as it is in the opening scene – I appreciate that the prince is cursed because he’s awful, but his eye-shadow is on point). Some of the CG still feels a bit ropey – the wolves in particular seem oddly weightless, which doesn’t seem OK in a post-Jungle Book world – and yeah, it is a bit weird seeing a lifelike clock talking, but on the whole I enjoyed it a whole lot more than I was anticipating. Considering I felt this way about Cinderella too – another Disney animation I’ve got tepid feelings towards – I’m taking this as a sign that I’m one of the target audience members for the live-action-ication of Disney movies. Not just for die-hards after all.

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