My American Movie Life: a weekly round-up of stuff I’ve watched, thoughts on my life as a Brit in the U.S., and anything else that seems inappropriate.

Alien Artistry

For all the hype surrounding Under The Skin, I assumed it’d be a pervy skin flick masquerading as art… which it sort of is. The attachment of a big starlet, in this case Scarlett Johansson, granted it a larger audience than it would have had otherwise. Dearie me, I’ve no doubt the Marvel acolytes were rather peeved when instead of being met by the spry Black Widow, we were met with… well, she’s an alien, right?

undertheskin

Sexy alien murderess.

The movie as a whole is an exercise in mood. There’s nowt to be critical about when you’re approaching a filmmaker whose goal is to incite a sense of feeling, as oppose to gripping you to death with dreadful exposition and explosions. The plot was nonexistent, the story however was intriguing. I wasn’t hugely hooked, mainly because as enjoyable as it was watching ScarJo get angry at a piece of carrot cake, I wanted more. More of the sinister warehouse she leads men to in order to harvest their organs. More of her reviled reactions to human banality. Those sequences were pure joy, snatched from Lynch’s unconscious and if there’d have been a greater exploration of those elements, I might now be recommending it to friends.

A Most Wanted Man. Philip Seymour Hoffman is brilliant. Rachel McAdams is equally as captivating. Both of their performances elevate this dry drama thriller moderately so, but I found myself thinking about how I could use up the veg in the crisper when I got home… meaning – it’s a tad slow.

90s

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“Oi, guaglione! You call THIS a pork pie?”

Often times when I’m researching an article, I need to embark on a spot of background investigation. This is usually because while I rarely write an opinion piece on a film I’ve never seen, because I have seen SO many I tend to forget specifics. I’ll recall if I think it’s terrible or brilliant, but not the reasons why. So, this week I re-watched a ton of awesome 90s flicks for my Total Film arteek: 30 Most Underrated 90s Movies. Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead was just as much fun as I remembered. Andy Garcia heads up a misfit bunch of ex-cons to do a job for wheelchair-bound Christopher Walken. It goes awry and the crew deal with the repercussions of letting an idiot take such a prominent position in an elaborate scheme. Garcia is quite simply, brilliant.

Blood and Wine I happened to miss upon release back in 1996, but it’s nowt spesh. Michael Caine and Jack Nicholson border on totally psychotic accomplices thrown together by a heist gone wrong.

Stanley Tucci’s awesome Big Night is still on Netflix I believe, and I highly recommend it. A tale of two Italian brothers transplanted to the US to open a restaurant, it’s funny, insightful and just a damn good watch. I especially enjoyed turning off the subtitles during the Italian scenes just to test myself. Io non ho paura!

The wife and I re-watched Rounders. It’s a compelling yarn purely on the basis of Matt Damon and Edward Norton, who were both at the beginning of their careers at the time. I fell asleep towards the end, leading me to the conclusion that the film ended rather abruptly.