So, the holidays have come and gone, and as we've been out and about and not sat in front of a computer screen, the blog has taken a week or so off. To bring us back up date, I'll do a few catch-up posts, for books and films and so on. First up will be Gone Girl, which we had started to watch a few weeks back only to discover that the disc was faulty, leading to a somewhat frustrating case of interuptted viewing! So if nothing else, it was good to get closure on that!
It's hard to go too much into the plot of Gone Girl without giving away, or hinting ones, some of its increasingly batty twists and turns. The movie starts with the disapperance of a woman from her nice house in a nice neighourhood, and slowly unravels the truth behind her apparently nice marriage, as her apparently nice husbands life crumbles around him. Then, increasingly, it becomes a succession of different films, doing different things. The fact that it manages these transistions seemlessly and elegantly is one of it's greatest triumphs.
Director David Fincher has a strong track record in clever movies that thrum with wit and tension, and this is no exception. The performaces are excellent, the mood is compelling, and the end result is a blisteringly great thriller with a deep and very dark heart.
The movie that seemed to get so much attention around Awards Season, you'd be forgiven for thinking Birdman was a movie in thrall to the idea of Micheal Keaton playing an actor who was, at the height of his career, famous for playing a Superhero. It's certainly the gimmic the film was advertised under. As it happens, it's a neat and well realised idea, but not really at the heart of it. Instead, Birdman ponders on mental illness, stress, obsession and aging, as former superstar Keaton builds up to opening his high-culture broadway play in the face of problematic actors, hostile critics and his own doubts about his own self-worth.
The movie is shot as if it is all one take, the camera weaving around the sets and through doors into changes of scene - one memorable transistion is through a TV screen - lending a dreamlike quality to the proceedings that are only heightend by Keatons avian alter-ego. All the performances, especially Keaton, Ed Norton and Emma Stone, are open and committed. I can see why critics and the industry liked it; it's a pretty insular sort of movie, but that shouldn't detract from how good it is, or your enjoyment.
Shaun the Sheep
And finally, Shaun the Sheep. A 90 minute, silent movie about a bunch of sheep searching for their lost farmer and I really, really liked it. Yes, it's not terribly deep, and very firmly in the kids category, but it's really lovely, very funny, and genuinely a movie for everyone. I can see us watching it again, to be honest. I think that brings us back up to date on the movie front!