Apr 022016

Peter Sarsgaard plays social scientist Stanley Milgram in Experimenter. </em

I had a much quieter month of viewing in March – 20 films, and 20 episodes of television. Thankfully most of what I watched was pretty decent, which was a nice change from February’s film mediocrity. I also passed my reviewing goal in March. One per week.

I finished several substantial novels, including ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ and ‘The Goldfinch’, the latter which has been sitting unfinished on my shelf for a long time. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. One of the most extraordinary novels I have ever read. I have also, rather foolishly, embarked on a quest to read all 62 of the classic Goosebumps books (in order). I have missed a few so far, but I read 22 of them in March. At the conclusion, if I make it, I will be writing about my experiences.

I also got addicted to the ‘Uncharted’ series on PS4. I am deep into ‘Uncharted 2’, which is living up to the widespread ‘Greatest Game Ever’ acclaim. I look forward to continuing the series in April. While I did cull back TV, I did regretfully miss a few theatrical releases I was keen to see: 10 Cloverfield Lane, Eye in the Sky and Kung-Fu Panda 3. I hope I will be able to still catch them in the coming weeks.

My thoughts on all of my fresh film viewing in March after the jump:


Theatrical Screenings

Zootopia What’s the bet this will be Disney’s best film of the year? Seriously good fun. Knew nothing going in, but what a treat. Visually it is incredibly inventive and detailed, with a meaty procedural plot with a timely pro tolerance/equality message. More likely to keep the adults gripped than kids, but so colourful and funny that it will surely be a hit there too. The voice casting is…perfect. I’m actually still in awe this film exists. (4/5)

Son of Saul Reviewed (4/5)

The Witch Reviewed (4/5)

Sherpa Reviewed (4/5)

Spear – Unlike anything I have seen. Breathtaking sensory experience – traditional indigenous dance and powerful music. Aaron Pedersen is incredible. Didn’t make a lot of the connections between the visuals and their implied meaning, but what an interesting way to tell modern indigenous stories(3.5/5)

A Bigger Splash Reviewed (2.5/5)

The DaughterCome on, really? I found this SFF15 favourite a predictable and mostly implausible family DRAMA (*with capitals*), which was a shame because some of the acting – Sam Neill and Ewen Leslie especially – is very good. (2/5)

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – Catastrophically busy, dull, ugly and mind-numbingly incomprehensible Christopher Nolan-dark+ destruction exercise. Possibly the worst representation of Batman on film ever. Wonder Woman is a mere blip, but the obvious highlight. Hated the 3D – what an awful experience. There is no fun to be had anywhere in this film. Die hard comic fans ‘might’ get a kick out of the fleeting fan service, but it is just so joyless that I even find that hard to believe. (1.5/5)



The Interview (1998)Wow, it is pretty rare that a film can make me appreciate one of my favourite films less, but this achieves it. Possesses shocking confidence in style and the maintenance of ambiguity, features exemplary performances from Hugo Weaving and Tony Martin, and has a haunting now-famous ending that has genuinely stumped me since I saw it. (4.5/5)

ExperimenterHere’s a biopic that throws out the rule book – formally, it is very interesting – and addresses some still contemporarily relevant issues about human nature, and even modern spectatorship. Social psychologist Stanley Milgram’s (Peter Sarsgaard) controversial ‘obedience experiments’ with Yale University – which observed the responses of ordinary people when asked to send harmful electrical shocks to a stranger – are the core of this film’s analysis. Saasgard does a very good job of conveying Milgram’s professional torment and megalomaniacal drive. (4/5)

The Pearl ButtonChilean documentarian Patricio Guzman’s mesmerising essay film has cosmic ambitions, and comes from a very personal place. He delves into his country’s violent history, exploring the culture and lifestyle of the Patagonian Indigenous people and their spiritual connection to the vast Archipelago and the extensive coastline, and how that connection has been eroded under dictatorships and through heinous Genocide. Incredibly beautiful visually, and undeniably powerful in its revelations. (4/5)

A Royal Night Out – Utterly charming and fun. What surprised me the most was the exceptional production; the rejoicing street mob and the extravagant parties. Also, a powerful merging of class – VE Day offered an enlightening experience for a young Princess, Elizabeth, who has since gone to become the longest serving Monarch in history. And, Sarah Gadon is wonderful. (4/5)

About TimeI don’t know why it took me so long to watch this, but it was rather lovely, and fit in nicely with my recent membership into the Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy Appreciation Society. (3.5/5)

The WalkWAY better than I was expecting. JGL’s outlandish accent is easy to ignore as soon as you realise that this isn’t just much about one man’s dream and the crazy caper, but the instance of an entire city captivated with a feat of magic, one that will never again be replicated in the same way. The final act is gripping – and I am sorry I didn’t see it in the cinema – but the risky direct-to-camera narration approach works perfectly, somehow. Anyone who has seen Man on Wire will know that Philippe Petit likes to tell a story with flair. (3.5/5)

Man UpI really like Lake Bell, and she’s terrific in this breezy rom-com. Though lean in length, it does have a protracted middle, but the Bell and Simon Pegg pairing earns genuine laughs. The blind date mix-up has enough raunchy role-playing to maintain its momentum. (3/5)

Are You HereAny resemblance to Mad Men is only through director Matthew Weiner, but this surprisingly poor effort is populated by unsympathetic characters and is full of existential philosophising. It is only Zach Galifainakas’ sensitive work that keeps it from disappearing up its own arse. (2/5)

The LoftDumb, but for a while this actually offers an intriguing whodunit mystery. The chemistry between the cast (including Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Matthias Schoenaerts, Rachel Taylor) never fires, and it is encumbered with flashbacks. (2/5)

MisconductGlimpses of inspiration here, but this was very silly. Alice Eve’s performance is so awful, and you have to wonder what Pacino and Hopkins are doing here. (1.5/5)



Groundhog Day – (5/5)

Miami Vice (2006) – (4.5/5)



State of Play S1 Complete – (4.5/5)

Louie S5 Complete – (4/5)

11.22.63 S1 E3-6

The Night Manager S1 E1-2