TV and the movies

Life’s been busy, for various reasons. So I haven’t had the chance jot down quite as much as I’d like. But, here are a few things I’ve been watching on different screens.

Anonymous – We are legion

This was an intriguing look at a very controversial group that I don’t know much about. Barely any technical details at all, and not a huge amount of sociological insight. But interesting in how it wove together several individuals narratives. Worth a watch to understand a different piece of history that was being made recently.

My afternoons with Margueritte

I enjoyed this one. It had a very authentic feel to it. The story tells of a middle aged man who’s struggled for most of his life, and is illiterate, as he develops a friendship with retiree who walks in the same park. Together they read, become friends, and help each other.

The story feels bumpy at points – it doesn’t quite follow a neat arc. But that feels part of its charm. In telling something that feels like a real story, it also doesn’t shy away from quite authentic moments. Domestic violence is horrible, and impacts everyone. Parents can be complex mixtures of good and bad. There is no simple solution for an older person who is going blind.

This one’s worth watching.

Kubo and the two strings

This is the story of a young boy, growing up a storyteller with an ill mother. It’s visually stunning, and very promising at the outset. From there, it feels as though the story becomes slightly more chaotic, until it stumbles towards an ending that doesn’t feel at all satisfying. I think partially this is because throughout, Kubo doesn’t really have to make any choices – he is a visitor, rather than a decision maker, in this world. Yes, there is a final choice – but it’s not really one that leaves us in any doubt about the outcome. Worth it if you love good visuals; not for the story.

Allied

I spoke with friends recently who didn’t enjoy Allied. I certainly did. Allied tells the story of two undercover operatives – one French, one Canadian – who, after an operation together in French North Africa, are married in London. It’s only later that the possibility that she’s a German double agent is revealed.

 

Gone Girl, which I read a few years ago (and watched the movie more recently) is very much inspired by the dark places, the blind spots in a marriage or a relationship. What is the other person really thinking? Allied takes a different angle, but is also a delightful, gripping, thrilling exploration of that question. As it explores those questions, Allied is a film, paradoxically, about trust – about spies trusting each other.

Well worth it.

Avengers

Every time I see another unit from the inexorable Marvel armada, sailing forward, crushing everything in its path with its complex, intertwined plots and implausibly shiny and / or gritty view of the world, I’m reminded of an amazing spiel from Community, on the relative merit of the Marvel movies.

The original Avengers is still the best one, and the most fun. It was made when the idea of a multi-decade series of films from the franchise seemed novel and interesting, and didn’t induce  a sickening feeling in your stomach. It’s all down hill after here.

It’s not a bad one, and if you’re going to watch a Marvel movie, this is the one to pick.

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