Friday, 22 August 2014

What I've Been Watching In: August

Insidious (2010)
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye
As a big fan of The Conjuring (which I will be reviewing in a special Halloween edition of 'What I've Been Watching' in October) I thought I would check out Insidious, considering the two share a lot of similarities. When I say similarities both The Conjuring and Insidious were directed by James Wan, both revolve around the notion of possession and of course both star Patrick Wilson. I just watched the Patrick Wilson episode of Girls, you know the one, "One Man's Trash" and subsequently I'm rather besotted with him at the moment.
I did prefer The Conjuring but that certainly doesn't mean that Insidious is a bad horror movie at all. Tumblr had ruined the biggest fright of the entire movie for me though. Hehe. But there are still plenty of scares to be had in Insidious and I'm definitely looking forward to watching Insidious: Chapter 2 very soon to see where the story goes from here. It's not the worst horror movie that I've ever seen by quite a long shot, so I would say give it a watch, especially if you've always wanted to see it.

Blue Jasmine (2013)
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard
When Cate Blanchett swept the board at every single awards ceremony at the start of the year, I knew that I would need to see this performance for myself. After watching this, I completely understand why Cate Blanchett received the amount of acclaim and awards that she did. Cate plays Jasmine, a formerly wealthy New York socialite, who ends up having to move in with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) after her life completely falls apart in front of her. The lifestyle she has become accustomed to is no longer a reality when she ends up penniless and homeless.
This has an incredible cast of secondary characters made up of some of the most interesting actors you could think of. Alec Baldwin is the perfect fit as Jasmine's embezzling husband, Hal and when you throw actors such as Peter Sarsgaard and Louis C.K. into the mix it's easy to appreciate why this movie was on everyone's lips during the last awards season. Sally Hawkins plays Jasmine's younger sister Ginger brilliantly. So brilliantly that I was actually rather surprised that I hadn't heard more praise for her performance at those same award ceremonies, to be honest. Bobby Canavale is also excellent as Ginger's boyfriend Chilli. I would certainly recommend giving Blue Jasmine a watch.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah
After watching Buried, which I have reviewed below, I instantly felt an urge to watch the Kill Bill movies. Despite being a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino's, I've only watched Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 a couple of times, the last time being well over five years ago.
When "The Bride" (Uma Thurman) is assailed on her wedding day and her entire bridal party is slaughtered by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (of which "The Bride" was a former member of) she seeks her revenge. There are five names on her 'Kill List' which comprise of the the five members of the aforementioned Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. 
I actually forgot how much I adored this and how visually stunning this movie is. As soon as you watch it I have a feeling you'll feel the need to watch Vol. 2 almost immediately. When you consider that Tarantino had originally intended for the two movies to run as one, it's no real surprise. I already have Vol. 2 set up on Netflix, ready to watch next. If you're a fan of Tarantino I have a feeling you will probably have already seen this but if you've not then it's exactly what you would expect from the masterful Quentin Tarantino.

The Internship (2013)
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Max Minghella
Now I hadn't exactly heard the greatest of reviews when it came to The Internship but I was willing to give it a try due to the fact that Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson were starring in it. Both actors have been in so many of my favourite movies; Owen in The Royal Tenenbaums, Midnight in Paris and Meet The Parents and Vince in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Watch and Old Schoolto name just a few. But for me, when it comes to this duo, Wedding Crashers is the real highlight. It's one of my favourite comedies by quite some margin and it's also the reason I gave this movie a chance. I in no way expected it to be anywhere near as good as Wedding Crashers but it wasn't a total flop either. It does kind of feel like a two hour advert for Google though, as Vaughn and Wilson begin an internship (as the name would imply) at Google HQ in California. If you can look past that then it's an okay movie to stick on in the background when there's nothing else on.

Buried (2010)
Starring: Ryan Reynolds
Oh Ryan Reynolds, my second favourite acting Ryan (right after Ryan Gosling of course). Was anyone else a huge fan of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode where Nick was buried alive? The episode entitled Grave Danger, directed by Quentin Tarantino, was so unlike anything that I had ever seen on television before and for that reason it quickly became an episode that I would never forget. Tarantino's not only dabbled with the concept of being buried alive during his stint directing CSIThe Bride (Uma Thurman) in Kill Bill Vol. 2 is also buried alive, escaping using her one-inch punch technique. So as soon as I saw the first advertisement for Buried all those years ago I was instantly reminded of Tarantino's scenes. (I think it might be the reason why I felt the need to re-watch Kill Bill Vol. 1 this month too). There was nothing on TV a few weeks back so I stuck on Buried.
Firstly, this entire movie is set within the confines of the coffin that Paul (Ryan Reynolds) is buried in. He's an American truck driver in Iraq who has been kidnapped following an ambush. I really didn't mind this movie at all. Considering this was a movie starring Ryan Reynolds I had a feeling it would end in a particular way, which it didn't. It's very rare to get to the end of a movie these days and be surprised, so that's something Buried certainly has in it's favour. It's no Kill Bill Vol. 2 or Grave Danger but it's not as bad as I thought it would be.

View From The Top (2003)
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Christina Applegate, Mark Ruffalo, Candice Bergen
This was one of those movies that I had always wanted to see in my teens. I actually remember picking this up in the video shop in preparation for a sleepover (oh yeah, this movie goes that far back!) but I think I put it back on the shelf in favour of a Hilary Duff movie. Remember when we actually had to go to the video shop to rent new movies? I feel older than I should right now. Hehe. Streaming this on Netflix could not be further from the video shop experience when it comes to technology.
All I can say is I definitely made the right decision to choose the Hilary Duff movie all those years ago instead. I could easily guess the plot twists literally as they were happening, instead of about 45 minutes later when they were eventually revealed. You can certainly find much better chick-flick movies from the early 2000's (my picks being; Clueless (obviously), A Cinderella Story and of course the Charlie's Angels movies). But if you want to see a young Mark Ruffalo (and who wouldn't?) then maybe you might want to skip to his parts in this, just maybe.

What have you been watching this month? Do you have any recommendations? Have you seen any of these? If so, what did you think of them?


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