What I’ve been watching in January

La La Land

1Although I’ll happily acknowledge its faults, I was still taken in by La La Land, like so many others. I was almost put off in the first scene by some dizzying and relentless camerawork which actually made me feel a bit queasy. Thankfully, things calmed down and, although the whirling long shots returned on occasion, I was able to sit back and enjoy the songs.

I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for days – I love all the songs and the beautiful instrumental themes, made all the more impressive by the fact Ryan Gosling learnt jazz piano for the film. He and Emma Stone are wonderful together, yet again, and though the story can be rather bittersweet it is a totally joyful ride. I’d happily watch this again very soon.

Passengers

I went to see Passengers with the same high expectations as La La Land, but came away feeling very different.

I heard things like ‘it’s Titanic in space’. Sadly, I wasn’t bothered by the romance, parts of it were extremely slow, and it was just a bit ridiculous. Even Chris Pratt didn’t really save it for me. I loved Martin Sheen as a robot though.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

hunt_for_the_wilderpeople_posterThis is just charming. With a feel of Wes Anderson, plus Taiki Waititi’s unique charm which is now getting a wide audience (he’s about to release Thor: Ragnarok), it’s something totally special.

Following a troubled boy who is put into foster care on a remote New Zealand farm, it descends into anarchy as he and his new ‘uncle’ end up running from the cops and social services through a huge area of bushland. It’s clever, delightful, fun and thoughtful too.

The Crown

the-crown-season-1-posterDespite my reservations about it feeling a bit strange/bizarre/disrespectful to release this while the Queen and Prince Philip are still alive, there’s something very compelling about this peek behind-the-scenes at the royal household.

Not every episode is all that gripping – the coronation one felt pretty bland to me, simply following this big ceremony without as much of the human drama we see elsewhere. But any glimpse into the relationships of Elizabeth and Philip, both played with great nuance and fragility by Claire Foy and Matt Smith respectively, was totally gripping – as was the arc following the love life of Princess Margaret.

There’s more than enough here to hold the interest of anyone, not just royal enthusiasts. Although when I went on Google after episode 10 for more details on Princess Margaret’s story, I was disappointed to see how different from real life the plot actually appeared to be.

Flaked

flaked-posterI rewatched Flaked on Netflix recently; it’s a short series and I had fond memories of it, but I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much the second time round.

Possibly it’s because I read reviews after my first viewing and they were generally quite critical. It’s also perhaps down to the fact I already knew all the twists and secrets. Still, Will Arnett was a joy to watch, as ever.

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