Comics Creators

What are you watching? 2018 edition


Mark Kermode was looking at the list and used the logic that divisive movies never win Oscars so 3 Billboards is out. His tip was Lady Bird


And so I placed a bet on Lady Bird. Let’s see, eh?


I was talking to friend who was Sundance last year and ‘Mudbound’ was getting huge buzz at the festival. Everyone was predicting Oscar wins in 2018.

Now, with the Oscars almost here, it’s only nominated in four categories and unlikely to win any of them.

A year is a long time of course, but it was bought by Netflix and only got a limited theatrical release.


Yeah, I can’t really figure out how that became the convention or why its expected. I seem to see it less - especially in television series - but I don’t know why speaking English with a detailed trained Russian accent matters when you are really supposed to be speaking Russian. Nowadays when I’m confronted with it, it doesn’t entirely take me out of the movie, but it is unintentionally comic - especially if it’s a bad accent.

I think more films and television shows are taking more thoughtful approaches. DEATH OF STALIN had almost no Russian accents (except for a Ukrainian actor who really toned down her accent to sound more transatlantic) but instead had American and English accents that matched the class and tone of their characters.

On the other hand, that approach also has drawbacks like Oliver Stone’s Alexander.

However, out of all the new films RED SPARROW is the one that interests me the most so far. I’ve generally liked Francis Lawrence movies.


Was that the area of town we met up in Wednesday?


I loved Song of the Sea and The Book of Kells. So I really want to see this.


New Street station is next to the Bullring on one side, but we came out of the station on the other side.

The Bullring was redeveloped as a more modern shopping centre around 15 years ago, but the old original rotunda tower is still there.

If we had exited the station on the other side, we would have come out here (where you can see the rotunda, and then the shopping centre on the right).


Ronnie went to Birmingham!


Christel wanted to see Red Sparrow so we went.

That was a boring and predictable movie. Jennifer Lawrence and the entire cast were pretty much charisma voids.

After watching The Americans for the past five years (final season starting in a few weeks!) and the first season of Counterpart, I’m very spoiled when it comes to the Cold War style spy thriller. RS was just weak.


It’s on Netflix US.


Noice! Thanks, Paul.


I enjoyed Red Sparrow. Too long, and the plot’s a bit convoluted, but it mostly worked for me. I think the trailers made it out to be too much of an action movie, which it’s not at all.

I’ve read the books, so I knew most of the twists (they changed a bunch of stuff, mostly with the Mary-Louise Parker character, but most of it’s fairly similar). Edgerton was better than I expected; I’ve not liked him in much in the past. Jeremy Irons does pretty much exactly what you hire Jeremy Irons to do, and he’s good at it.

I don’t really see any need to do the sequels. I enjoyed the books, but they’re fairly repetitive. The only real weird part is that Vladimir Putin becomes a major supporting character. The third book features a very lurid sex scene beteen Dominika and Putin. It’s kind of hilarious.


I can’t say I’ve never enjoyed a zombie movie but the massive popularity of zombie stuff at Army/Navy stores and gun shops tips the hand about who these movies are made to appeal to.


The Martian. It’s not the book - the ratio of events on Mars and Earth is changed quite considerably, there’s a lot less of the science, and there’s less of the constant sense of out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire that there was in the novel.

But it faithfully translates maybe the most important element of the book: its charm. There’s the same sense of playfulness and general optimism that there is in the book, and Damon captures Watney’s personality perfectly. Plus, the supporting cast are all really solid, and bring the events on Earth to life in a compelling way.

With adaptations there is always material that you miss, but those kinds of cuts are inevitable. What matters is capturing the same spirit, and The Martian is a very enjoyable film in all the same ways as the book.

Plus, being Ridley Scott it looks great.


The Martian is a pretty simple movie, but it might also be the best movie of the last few years. It’s the successor of Apollo 13, and both are of that excellent quality that represents the very best of Hollywood. It’s a movie you can see lasting 50 years from now, when most current movies are long forgotten.

It wouldn’t appear in my top 100 movies, but I still think it’s the best movie in recent times.


We enjoyed it as well, but I agree that it is a bit too long. At the same time, it felt like several scenes were cut out. I think that it might not have felt so long if they had actually left in a few things that would’ve linked the scenes better.


I think that’s mostly just an effect of translating a pretty long book into a movie.


Yeah, it felt like they must’ve decided some scenes were important but the scenes setting up those scenes weren’t.

In general, I understood the important turns of the plot, but I can see how people would get exasperated keeping up with it.


Last night we watched “I, Tonya” - it was an enjoyable film that’s packed with great performances. There are few bits where they go for humour in a very forced way, and they spend less time on the class discrimination than I would have preferred, but the two hours or so zipped by.

Margot Robbie is really impressive, her accent and scratchy voice sounding pretty natural to me (maybe USA folks don’t agree), the period details were well done, and the use of music was usually on point.

Odd that it’s not nominated for best picture; seems tailor made for it but not in a staid way like The Post or Darkest Hour (I haven’t seen either, mind).

Surprisingly little has been made locally of the fact that the director is an Australian too - there’s usually a bunch of back-slapping over one of ours “making it” (even though his previous film was Lars and the Real Girl, which seemed to have a fair bit of buzz - I was completely unaware that that was directed by an Australian).


I really thought the stand-out performance was Sebastian Shaw in the movie. Is he Australian?