You know summer’s over when the television choices here in the UK start getting better. It all began with BBC One’s Bodyguard which eased us away from the garden and closer to the sofa. ITV followed suit with Vanity Fair and the Beeb pumped even more out which included Wanderlust starring the brilliant Toni Collette.
I’ve been away these past few weeks. Don’t be too jealous. My skin is peeling from the heat blasts, the monsoon season was starting to rear its little head and I was scared I hadn’t had my full rabies vaccination (what a panicker). Just kidding, it was glorious. But of course, with a holiday comes a lot of catching up to be done on the box. That said, I still managed to fit a bit in…
On the plane flying out, I watched The Boy Downstairs, a film starring Zosia Mamet of HBO Girls‘s fame. It tells the story of a young writer who moves into a new NYC apartment only to discover that her ex boyfriend is living directly below her. I really enjoyed it. But then again I love these types of mumblecore productions where young artists meander through the streets of America, trying to achieve their dreams and soul searching in the process (Russler, I know what you’re like with your action films so I reckon this would be your idea of a nightmare). My only criticism however was that I just didn’t believe the actor who starred opposite Mamet as her ex. To me, there was nothing going on behind the eyes and I wanted him to do more. That’s the last un-nice thing I’ll say. Promise.
I also watched The Rider after a strong recommendation from my fellow film buff friend Tom who said it’s the best film he’s seen this year. It’s a gentle and (in my eyes) harrowing movie about family struggles, identity and masculinity. I appreciate that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I thought it was beautiful.
During my trip, thanks to Mr Monsoon, we did actually get rained in a couple of times and so I downloaded Maniac on Netflix. We made it through the first three episodes before becoming well confused. It stars the brilliant Emma Stone and her previous co-star in Superbad (we watched that too), Jonah Hill. I just couldn’t help but feel that it’s trying to be like Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. The difference being that BM entertains you through bite-sized stand-alone episodes. And this production stretches the story (with some unnecessary twists and turns) through a whole series. I haven’t finished it yet though, so maybe it turns more Eastenders and i’ll have to eat my words.
On the flight home I selected American Animals on the In Flight Entertainment through weary eyes – a true story directed by Bart Layton about four young American boys who, bored of their privileged lives, decide to stage a heist. By weaving in interviews from the real-life heist guys (now in their twenties after each serving seven years behind bars) Layton drives home how shocking this crime was. And how fresh-faced and not-seeming-to-be-your-average-criminals the guys were. Parts of the heist itself took a sinister turn when a librarian was injured and it’s interesting to hear the men having to recount this. It’s slightly jarring when you think that this movie is being put out as entertainment and there’s a real woman who said she suffered for many years after this. (But looking at it from an entertainment perspective, the actors and story line is pretty bloody entertaining). Speaking of heist films, I recently saw King of Thieves with my dad. Slightly different age target and not as watertight a script but worth taking your old man if you fancy it.
And now that I’m back, I’m all caught up on new series Killing Eve starring Jodie Comer and my favourite Grey’s Anatomy actor, Cristina Yang (it’s like two worlds colliding). Another show that has taken the country by storm. My only criticism, as they pointed out on podcast The High Low, was that the main character played by Comer should really have been played by a Russian actor. But I’ll let it slide as Comer is pretty darn good. I won’t bore you with the synopsis because I’m sure you’re already well versed in it. Watch it, watch it, watch it. As my friend Amber said, it’s refreshing to see complicated females put at the forefront.
The night before I left the country, I watched Crazy Rich Asians with my friend Rach. I think it’s my favourite film of the year – it’s the most I’ve laughed at a movie in months. And I couldn’t have picked a better person to go with. Rach and I are often in hysterics at the same things and appreciate the same shows (apart from Gilmore Girls – I never could get into that….). I loved how the film wasn’t afraid to be self-deprecating or silly. I thought it was utterly utterly brilliant and this is probably my biggest recommendation so far. (Oooh, look at me getting all intense).
And soon the BFI Film Festival will be upon us and I can send you all my news of what I’m watching and enjoying, in the hopes that you might too. Enjoy the rest of the week and if you haven’t already, have a little read of my previous post where I interview stunt coordinator Andy Bennett who worked on the show Bodyguard.
Over and out,