Watching - July 2022

The Proposal (2009)
As predictable as the sun rising, but nice with it. Sandra Bullock is as convincing as she can be, given the somewhat preposterous plot, as a career woman who rediscovers her emotions and falls in love with both Ryan Reynolds and his family. What he sees in her is less obvious, unless he's always secretly been in love with her and just needs to accidentally see her naked to push him over the edge. Still, Reynolds is as engaging as you'd expect, albeit more convincing when he's being a smart-ass than when he's doing sincere. An acceptable way to spend a couple of hours one afternoon.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
I must have watched this originally on TV (and we had a copy that was recorded off TV), as now I watch on DVD there are significant chunks that I do not remember at all - and fairly important parts too. The plot's decent, and if the special effects look a bit clunky now, well, that's because it's over thirty years old!
Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995)
I remember going to see this with C in High Wycombe Odeon when it was released. We'd decided we wanted to watch something fairly undemanding but "with some big bangs" - which, if you know the start of this film, certainly matches up! It's aged reasonably well, although I think the sandwich board incident at the beginning would almost certainly not get included these days, and you'd hope they'd manage at least one or two better female roles. Preposterous but good clean fun.
My Life as a Rolling Stone (2022)
High School Musical (2006)
Slightly unexpectedly, High School Musical is probably our favourite film as a family. It's a combination of engaging characters, cheesy plot and songs that are much better than they have a right to be. We can watch it and make fun of it while still enjoying it.
Rock Family Trees: The Rise of Cool Britannia (2022)
Notwithstanding the title, this was a programme about Suede and how they started Britpop and then grew out of it. (Do they have a new album out soon, by any chance?) It wasn't really a proper rock family tree - of the claimed "three biggest bands of the 90s", only Suede and Elastica are linked and all that makes is a flat shrub, rather than a tree - and it only featured a few of the players of the time: no Bernard Butler, none of Blur, Pulp, Oasis or other more minor players. I was also irritated by the programme's lazy characterisation of prime Britpop as some sort of cheeky, end-of-pier, Carry On style of music. Sure, you had songs like "Parklife" and Supergrass's "Alright", but you didn't have to go far beyond the singles to find more depth, even on the same albums (try "This is a Low" or "She's So Loose"), let alone later ones. I guess it suits Suede to position themselves as perennial outsiders. Still, it was fun to relive the times (I recall Suede's first single launch gig in the basement of Rough Trade in Neil's Yard with much fondness) and Justine Frischman was a great interviewee, unlike Brett Anderson and Matt Osman who looked awkward and self-conscious. I suspect that might be because she has nothing to sell and no image to maintain.
Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)
Enjoyable outing with the family to a Sunday matinee showing at the cinema (now much more affordable, thanks to Vue's pricing). The film isn't going to win any prizes for plot or subtlety, but it has many very funny moments and a great soundtrack (thanks to Jack Antonoff of Bleachers, who I am going to see in September).
Hello Quo (2012)
Status Quo is a band I knew little about, bar the obvious singles, until a Fretboard forum listening party for Blue For You (1976). The album's not bad at all and a lot more varied than I expected. So I was interested to see this history of the band. I loved finding out that their future direction was set in the late 60s by seeing The Doors performing "Roadhouse Blues" live - as soon as Francis Rossi mentioned it, I could hear the link between them exactly. There's plenty of footage here (and all over YouTube) to show how tight and effective they were as a band, something that's harder than you'd think. Unpretentious music, workmanlike sometimes but at its best a real rock force (and as an aside, this picture of them, from the mid-70s, is superb)
The Martian (2015)
Having read the book, I had to watch the film. It skips some details but is marvellously visualised. The main character isn't quite such a smart-arse as in the book, which is a shame as this was the characteristic I found most attractive. There's a few film cliché moments inserted into the plot and an unnecessary coda, but otherwise it's surprisingly true to the source material. Very enjoyable.

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