Films I saw in 2015

I like to start the first post of the year with a look at some of the films I watched over the previous year.
I saw the Marvel films “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Ant Man” and “The Avengers – Age of Ultron”. All very entertaining. Parts of the last named film (the fight between Hulk and Tony Stark in the hulkbuster suit) were shot in Johannesburg and Cape Town. What pleased me is that they didn’t just use South Africa as background. It was really cool when a convoy of Wolf APCs (the standard APC of the South African National Defence Force) pulled up.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” was fun. It was lighthearted, amusing and gentle.
“Ant Man” was also interesting, in a good way.
If anyone wants evidence that sequels are frequently just cynical attempts to cash in on the popularity of an original film, this year provided solid proof.
“Minions” was a film about the little yellow creatures that helped Gru in the two “Despicable Me” films. It felt contrived, silly, and not very entertaining.
For me, the absolute worst film of the year and perhaps the worst I’ve ever seen was “Pitch Perfect 2”.
The film starts with a performance by the Barden Bellas for President Obama going wrong in a stupid way. I wanted to say “ridiculous”, but that might mislead you into thinking that it was amusing. Instead, it felt contrived and forced.
John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks return as the ICCA commentators and Administrators, but this time around their comments come across less as witty and more as mean-spirited. The Barden Bellas are suspended from US competition over the mishap. This was not convincing or believable in the least. It came across as an attempt to return the Bellas to an underdog role. MAD Magazine commented on this aspect of sequels years ago in their parody of Ghostbusters II.
After being suspended, the Bellas are replaced on their tour by a German a cappela group named “Das Sound Machine”. Cue all sorts of national and ethnic stereotypes about Germans. I didn’t find them even remotely amusing, just tedious. The Bellas are alarmed by just how good they are.
The Bellas have been banned from taking any new members, but allow Emily Junk to join because she asks. They also decide to compete in an international championship as they haven’t been barred from that.
At their first meeting, the Bellas decide to emulate their German opponents. Emily is unhappy, and says that the Bellas should instead play to their own strengths.
And that’s when I decided enough was enough and walked out the cinema. That is the first and so far only time I’ve ever done that.
I realised exactly how the plot was going to unfold at that point. The Bellas would first try to beat Das Sound Machine at their own game, only to lose badly. They would then regroup, realise that they should have played to their strengths all along, and do so, emerging victorious. I’ve seen this plotline plenty of times before, but it doesn’t matter as long as the film is done in an entertaining way. “Pitch Perfect 2” wasn’t.
As well as perhaps the worst film I’ve ever seen, 2015 produced one of the funniest films, if not the funniest, I’ve ever seen. “Spy”.
Melissa McCarthy stars as a backroom assistant to a CIA field agent played by Jude Law. But when Law’s character is murdered and the data revealing the identities of every field agent gets into enemy hands, McCarthy’s character has to go undercover. The result is utterly hilarious. I laughed throughout.
“Spy” is a parody of the spy films genre, particularly the James Bond films, and it follows a crucial rule about parody.
In order to work, parodies have to understand and make use of the tropes and conventions of what they are parodying. In fact, a good parody will actually work as an example of the genre it’s parodying, and Spy meets this standard. Not only is it a fantastic comedy, it is also a pretty good spy film.
Finally, and on a sadder note, RIP to David Bowie, Alan Rickman and voice actor Brian Bedford. All three died of cancer.

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About autismjungle

I am a Software Test Analyst. Shortly before I turned 21 I was officially diagnosed, although I had long suspected I was autistic. Welcome to my blog
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