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Film: February 2011’s Films

I’m still catching up with these, but unless procrastination gets the better of me March’s posts will arrive promptly in April once I’m off work (so probably the 6th onwards). This month the first monthly review post covered gaming (which was last  in January), the second was television and now it’s the turn of February’s films, and we’ll end with the month’s reading.

 

Three images are much easier to fit into the header, so that's a plus of sorts. Can you guess what the films are?

Image sources: Jake, Ray and The Operative.

Yes, just three films this months. That’s daft and I have no excuse, so I’m just going to jump straight into talking about the films themselves:

February 4th - Alpha Dog (BBC iPlayer)

When I saw the trailer for this I decided it was a film I wanted to watch, mostly because it starred Anton Yelchin. Yelchin was one of the stars of the short-lived TV show Huff, which premiered in the UK at the same time as House MD but wasn’t as successful, only lasting two seasons and leaving a bunch of storylines hanging open. Alpha Dog released in 2007 and I only just saw it in February 2011, which shows how little effort I put into making sure I saw it.

A side note: I ultimately ended up watching Alpha Dog because it appeared on the BBC’s online video service, iPlayer, removing any effort that would have been involved in arranging to watch it. I’d like to say that was my primary reason for finally watching it but days before that I also saw an animated GIF of a topless Olivia Wilde from the film, so I don’t know how much that affected my motivation. Which would be stupid, but I’m not ruling it out.

The film is based at least in part on the true story of the 2000 kidnapping of Nicholas Markowitz. Whatever liberties these films take the true story element generally seems to free them a little from Hollywood convention, so the good guys don’t always win, karma doesn’t always catch up to people, and they don’t have to end happy. At least some of that definitely applies to Alpha Dog and I thought it was a good film, perhaps in part because I had no idea what was going to happen, not being familiar with the real events.

Yelchin is great as the kidnap victim, almost impossibly likeable as he warms to his captors (and they to him) and actually has a good time for the most part, and there are good performances from Justin Timberlake and Emile Hirsch as the kidnappers and Ben Foster (who I also praised last month) as the victim’s brother and ultimate cause of the kidnapping.

February 24th - Serenity (DVD)

I talked a bit about Serenity last year for the 30 Movies in 30 Days project so I don’t have much new to say about it. It’s a really great film with lots of pieces of quotable dialogue. In fact it was a quote that prompted me to watch it again in February, thanks to one of The Operative’s lines being used as the title of this blog post. That means Serenity may be now be reaching a similar position to Blade Runner, where reading/hearing a line from the film makes me want to see it again. I’m rather okay with this.

February 28th - In Bruges (DVD)

Scraping in at the end of the month was In Bruges, which is actually another film I’ve already covered on the blog for the 30 Movies in 30 Days project. It made the list as a film I wished more people had seen. That still holds up as it’s a great film, at times funny and almost absurd but mixing in plenty of sad and dark moments as well, neither side undermining the other and all adding up to something I really enjoy.  Everybody involved is fantastic as well, and it might be my favourite Colin Farrell performance (saying the same for Brendan Gleeson is harder because he’s always brilliant).

Upon looking at my 30 Days… entry for the film I noticed that I linked to The Guardian’s list of the top ten movies of 2008, which is where I first heard about In Bruges. I remember deciding I was going to watch every film in that top ten, and while I didn’t manage that I still did pretty well, already having watched two in 2008 before the list came out (No Country For Old Men and WALL-E) and watching another six in the next couple of years. I’m just missing Waltz With Bashir and Gomorrah at this point, but as with Alpha Dog it shows that there’s a long delay between me deciding to do something and actually achieving it, which isn’t necessarily a good sign for when I’m finally caught up on these monthly reviews and start setting some goals.

Speaking of which:

*****

February Verdict

Quality – All the films were good, which is easy to achieve when you watch so few and most of them are films you’ve already watched.

Quantity – The quantity was ridiculously low. I mentioned in one of this month’s other review posts that I only worked twelve days this month, leaving me with sixteen days of free time, yet I only found the time to watch three films (in January it was sixteen working and fifteen off, yet I still watched four more films, itself a little on the low side).

Timeliness – One was a 2005 release, one was from 2007 and the newest was from 2008, so I don’t think I’d get any points for timeliness here.

Newness – Only a third of February’s films were new, which sounds low even if we weren’t only talking about three films total.

Goals – As has already been mentioned I’m way too behind on these to be able to make any goals for next month.

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