14 days, 14 films

Two weeks ago, I wrote about Film Fortnight, an arguably pointless but extreme exercise in getting the most out of a marketing campaign.

Well, two weeks have now passed, the ironing pile has grown tall, the kitchen cupboards have grown bare and fourteen films have, quite frankly, blurred in to one another. But we made it to the very bitter end. I’m not saying this is the proudest moment of my life, but it is quite an achievement, I think you’ll agree. Sure, there were ups and there were downs and we were late to dinner with @omrrc and @dozylilsis on one occasion because we had to squeeze in a film beforehand (sorry). But we had a goal and we achieved it.

So, what have I learnt from this experience? I’ve learnt that there is direct correlation between the amount of time I spend watching films and the quality of food I eat. I’ve learnt that I find it difficult to look a person in the eye when I rent films from them over fourteen consecutive days. I’ve learnt that Hollywood was right all along and Ryan Gosling really is a star. I’ve learnt the most efficient way of getting in and out of the tricky Blockbuster car park at peak time. I’ve learnt that – Eddie Murphy and Jason Statham vehicles aside – I do love film.

Here’s a quick rundown of our fortnight:

  1. Senna – wonderful, excellently well-made documentary. Moving and exciting. 
  2. Tyrannosaur – bleak and beautiful. Olivia Coleman’s performance is incredible.
  3. Crazy Stupid Love – a quirky, enjoyable romantic comedy, slightly baggy in the middle but Ryan Gosling is ridiculously charming and Emma Stone reinforces her position as my favourite girl in Hollywood. Didn’t see the twist coming.
  4. Tower Heist – not very good at all but Casey Affleck just about kept me watching.
  5. Contagion – awful. Jude Law plays an irritating blogger, whilst Matt Damon loses his wife and step-son to a killer virus and just about manages to looks a bit miffed about it. Not to mention the repeated shots of people touching their faces and door handles and sandwiches and toilet seats and lift buttons and bannisters and YES YES WE GET THE POINT.
  6. The Guard – I don’t really remember what I thought of this. Sorry.
  7. Super 8 – what it lacks in any kind of story, it makes up for in fun, nostalgia and explosions.
  8. Bridemaids – not as funny as you all made out. Chris O’Dowd should be in more films though.
  9. Beginners – ever so slightly too hipster but Christopher Plummer is just wonderful and his character’s story is joyful and inspiring and sad all at once. I loved it.
  10. The Adjustment Bureau – not the worst film I saw. An interesting idea and Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are extremely watchable but it isn’t as clever as it would like to be.
  11. Killer Elite – Chris’s choice. I didn’t watch this, I phoned my mum instead. Unfortunately, this was the only time any of the Blockbuster staff initiated a conversation about the film I’d rented.
  12. The Ides of March – slick, smart political thriller, in which Ryan Gosling is once again brilliant (I know, I’m sold). Slightly abrupt ending. Was extremely disappointed when I realised during the end credits that I’d rented the film on 14th March. Dreadful planning.
  13. Win Win – charming and funny film, with a fantastic performance by Alex Shaffer in his debut and the always-good Paul Giamatti. 
  14. Inglourious Basterds – a second viewing of a film I really enjoyed. Still good and, interestingly, the second Melanie Laurent film of the fortnight.

I might even go back and pay to rent some more films… 

Introducing… Film Fortnight!

Yesterday, I was forced to visit a well-known high street DVD rental store. It’s been a long time since I’ve been inside said store but LoveFilm’s ongoing beef with Universal means that there was really no other (legal) way of watching Senna (other than buying it, which I’m not bothered enough to do, or borrowing it – thanks Rob!).

It turns out I’m not actually a member so I signed up for new membership. Seriously, guys… A *paper* form?! *Requiring* a landline number?!

We’ll forgive them that though, because then they gave me 14 free rentals: one a day for two weeks. Now, I realise that they do this because most people won’t go in every single day for a fortnight to rent a film and fair play to them. Times are tough in the rental market and I’ve now been in the store two days in a row so something has worked. Eventually, I might even buy a bag of Butterkist while I’m in there.

Now, I like nothing more than a challenge (see also: Bus Challenge, Nail Challenge, etc.) and I am absolutely determined to rent and watch a film every day for fourteen days. Chris is on board, we have a list of more than fourteen films that we’d like to watch and we’ve got pretty quick meals planned for weeknights so it’s totally doable.

We’re two days in now and so far we’ve seen Senna and Tyrannosaur (or at least, I’ve seen Tyrannosaur and Chris went to the climbing wall instead). Both are excellent films. Senna is a wonderful piece of documentary making with a gripping story, an incredible feat considering it is made entirely of archive footage. It portrays the same, intriguing will to race as TT3D did (although it does it much, much better) and the inevitable conclusion to the film is genuinely emotional.

Tyrannosaur is a draining experience: bleak and dark and harrowing. But the performances are incredible and there is a wonderful tenderness between the two protagonists between bouts of extreme violence. I haven’t seen The Iron Lady, but I’d bet any amount of money Meryl Streep’s performance in that isn’t as good as Olivia Coleman’s in Tyrannosaur, even if the Best Actress awards suggest otherwise.

Tomorrow, we’re watching something that won’t make me cry…