Last week I set myself the target of finding time to watch at least one film a day from that point on, except when circumstances made this impossible, and to my very real surprise I've so far managed it with ease. Well, perhaps ‘with ease' is not the right term, as it has involved a serious shake-up of my limited spare time and the putting off of jobs that I'm still catching it in the ear for not doing. It's also required me to be a little flexible about how I watch the films – sitting in a recliner with a coffee or a glass of wine in my hand is ideal, but if it means watching from the floor as I do my daily stretches or preparing food for dinner or even as I format a news story or two, then so be it.
As I suspected (and kind of hoped), setting that target means that if I don't have a film ready to watch for review or it's too late at night for me to watch whilst making legible notes, then I have to go searching through unwatched (and, by association, un-reviewed) discs or trawl through Netflix in search of a title that might pique my interest. And it's been a surprisingly good week on that front. Some of the films I caught up with for the first time this week include:
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
Site favourite Werner Herzog's enthralling exploration of some of the positive and negative impacts of the internet, one that just about everyone seems to remember for its image of Tibetan monks preoccupied with texting on their mobile phones.
The Big Short
Given my inbuilt animosity towards just about anyone working in high finance and the off-putting premise (a number of stock traders who predict the financial crash of 2008 look to make a shitload of money off the back of it), I had become convinced that I was predisposed not to like this. But it was too smartly written and directed to dismiss, and as the story unfolds, the true impact of the impending crash and the amoral greed and blind stupidity of those who brought it about become increasingly clear.
(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies
A hugely entertaining documentary exploration how and why we lie, one that delivers some fascinating insights into the conditions under which we will and will not do it. Israeli behavioural scientist Dan Ariely is the star of the show here, for his intriguing experiments and his winning presentations.
What begins as a project to document the little-known and frankly bizarre sport of competitive tickling quickly transforms into something more sinister when journalist and co-director David Farrier finds himself the target of personal abuse and legal threats from the competition organiser, the pursuit of whom becomes the focus of the film.
Morgan Spurlock's documentary-as-horror-movie study of our least favourite rodent is seriously one-note, but does have its share of creepy moments and had my putting on shoes for days even to go into the kitchen to get a beer. Animal lovers should steer well clear.
A masked assailant with a crossbow turns up at the isolated home of deaf-mute writer Maddie and proceeds to torment her, but gets more than he bargained for in Oculus director Mike Flanagan's well-constructed thriller. It only really trips up through the perceived need to give Maddie a voice for five minutes so that she can assess her situation in a manner that would have been more effectively communicated in visual terms.
I also watched a number of discs that I or someone like me will be reviewing including Kurosawa Kiyoshi's Creepy (which looks and sounds great on Euerka's Blu-ray), The New Centurions, Vampires and Ghosts of Mars for Indicator, Shinjuku Triad Society for Arrow, and a second viewing of Rintaro's hugely enjoyable anime feature, Metropolis, the review for which I completed this evening and will be posted tomorrow.
On that subject, Blu-ray and DVD coverage has been a little dry over the past couple of weeks while I compiled my picks of this year's films and discs, but a number of reviews are now in the pipeline, and following Metropolis I'll be going full steam on Arrow's Black Society Trilogy and those aforementioned Indicator discs.