TV and Film Watching (Spoilers Ahead)

Image by Roy Buri from Pixabay

 I thought I'd write something about what I've been watching. Whether I like or dislike something is subjective and I'll try to concentrate on writer-specific thoughts. Spoiler Warning.


Joker

I watched this in Avonmeads - always a good venue to ensure you can get a seat. I was one of three people watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the opening weekend here. I really liked it. It held one plot surprise (genealogy related) for me which my friend, an expert in these matters, remembers from the comics. Having now seen the script, it's set in about 1981 and states it's not related to any of the DC movies. But it's clearly the Joker, due to it being Gotham and his interactions with the Waynes. I felt that many comic savvy screenwriters could have written something along the storyline followed.

The closest I've seen to this type of film was Venom, which worked best when it went into buddy movie territory. I liked the occasional small flashbacks or mind leaps. The resurrection moment couldn't have been any more visual. I would've been happy with the last moments to have been in the asylum with his last words being the line about not know what I'm laughing about (it's not in the script). In terms of completing character arcs, I can see the need for closing off the Wayne's stories but I felt that their final scene, providing another alternative to those we've seen already in film, felt repetitive. However, it did help to enforce the theme, that anyone could rise up and make an impact, however horrific.

Ad Astra

I didn't enjoy this film very much and if it hadn't been for the small cinema/ticket price, I might have walked out. I do have a penchant for tightly plotted stories, so I was always going to struggle with this. As I did with High Life. I suppose I should applaud it for the number of times it wrongfotted me. However, I felt unconvinced by the decisions made by many of the characters. 

Bait

I really enjoyed this film. I thought the fully foleying would grate but within a few minutes you didn't really notice it and I loved the way they played with it, giving extra oomph to things being dropped. The story is fairly simplistic and if you subscribe to the hero's journey as a monomyth, the protagonist lacks some agency. I belive a lot of the actors were untrained and local. This was occasionally noticeable but not offputting. I didn't particularly enjoy the flash forwards but I didn't mind them either. The shots of feet and and hands was a nice artistic them. But overall, Mark Jenkin had a plan and just went for it with complete gusto. His passion and those working on the film, made this film shine. 

The Day Shall Come (plus Q&A)

I managed to get tickets for the film plus a Q&A with Chris Morris. In a packed cinema, laughs were had but not many from me although I did find it funny. Perhaps part of the reason was at the start, I struggled to pick up what they were saying. I didn't find the characters were as clearly defined as in Four Lions. It's a good story with plenty of great comic acting. The Q&A revealed that the story is based on multiple examples of the FBI, coaxing people into nearly committing acts of terror. I felt that this revelation - Chris mentioned one a week are convicted - might have been better dealt with as a documentary. Chris mentioned that it was shot in the Dominicon Republic to avoid any risk of US Government intervention. Also that it probably cost 3-4 times more than if it had been shot in the UK. 

Undone

I've justed started watching Undone. I can see already it's high scores. It's sort of rotoscoped which is a great original choice for this time travel show. As well as the clever use of colourful CGI it also utilises sound in a great way through the protagonist's disability. The flashbacks feel natural and the flash forwards at times scary e.g. the neighbour's son. The interplay in the couple's bedroom is wonderful and the high concept premise (a dead father has to teach his daughter how to time travel to find out who killed him) never feels overpowering. A total surprise to me to find this and I can't wait to watch the next episode. 

In terms of writing, the main character Alma was clear in her wants. She didn't want to be boring. What did she need, reassurance perhaps, to be grateful for what she has. Let's see. The theme's appear to be around living in the moment, loss, doing what you feel is right rather than what you feel others would want you to do. The inciting incident is her sister's engagement which leads to her being even more self-critical, pushing her sister into a risky situation and then falling out with her. A push and a few nudges. Her Dad, Robert John Odenkirk, who's great, provides the carrot to the sticks.