Is it stupid that I never read plays? I made the decision a long time ago that, even with classic plays, I should wait until I have the chance to actually see them, so as to experience them in the way they were truly meant to be experienced. But, y’know, my life is riddled with these stupid self-imposed guidelines (“full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires” and all that) and a lot of the time I wonder if there’s any sense in them at all. I mean, this play was so enjoyable. The production was maybe a little odd - they had to build a framework around the actual play to explain why the cast are so old - but the writing was excellent. Wilde is brilliant and hilarious and I feel like maybe I should have just absorbed this in whichever way I could years ago.
Written & Directed by: Richard Linklater // Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelai Linklater
I’m not sure I’ve ever envisioned having kids as part of my future, but this movie may have put me off the idea for sure. It’s a tough one. You watch it to reminisce about your own childhood and there are all these moments of great connection. There’s curiosity and discovery and joy and disappointment. It’s life, y’know? There’s beauty. I put myself in the parents’ shoes, though, and what I see mostly is a growing distance. You have this amazing, joyful thing that’s practically a part of you for years, and then, over time, it separates, hardens and you can’t really ever get it back. Doesn’t that sound horrible? I don’t know, man. I guess what I do know is that I enjoyed the movie anyway. As a spectacle it’s pretty special and otherwise it’s still very palpably Linklater, which is a good thing. It definitely stirred me more than most movies, so if you’re some kind of weird masochist who’s into thinking and/or feeling, there’s probably something in it for you.
Directed by: Matt Reeves // Written by: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver // Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Toby Kebell, Gary Oldman
I remember when I first saw the teaser for this I thought, “oh no, they’re going all action, they’re going to lose what made the first one so enjoyable”. Happily that’s not the case. Sure, it’s a bit grander and there’s more action, but the core of what made the first movie good - the focus on treating the apes as equal characters in the story - remains in tact. In fact, considering we’re talking about a $170m movie, it’s pretty admirable how much of the film is told via subtitles in service of that. Where maybe at times the writing itself is not too spectacular, the commitment to the way the story is told impresses nonetheless. Not quite as good as the first, but a decent next chapter.
Directed by: James Bobin // Written by: Nicholas Stoller & James Bobin // Starring: Ricky Gervais, Tiny Fey, Ty Burrell & The Muppets
Based simply on how much I loved the last Muppets movie, I knew I wouldn’t enjoy this in the same way. I was fairly happy with it though. The plot’s probably more trouble than it’s worth and it doesn’t quite have the same heart to it, but it’s still full of all the nice little jokes and references you’d expect from The Muppets, so there are definitely still laughs there. I mean, is there really anyone who wouldn’t want to see Danny Trejo belting out ‘I Hope I Get It’ in an all male, all prisoner performance of A Chorus Line? No, I didn’t think so. So yeah, it’s not amazing, but I’m still very much on board with The Muppets and what they’re all about.
Directed by: James Griffiths // Written by: Jon Brown & Nick Frost // Starring: Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, Rashida Jones, Kayvan Novak, Olivia Colman, Ian McShane
It could barely be any more by-the-numbers, but there’s no part of me that wants to moan about that. I watched it with my family and I think everyone enjoyed it a fair bit. It’s just eminently likeable. Simple underdog story, a strong cast, a few nice lines and a good enough soundtrack to make you wonder for half a moment why you’ve never gotten into Latin music. I liked it.