My American Movie Life: More Than Marvel

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.

Animated Violenza

Well, Beowulf. I think we were both expecting something fluffy, along the lines of The Polar Express as it was from the same director, Robert Zemeckis. What it actually did was surprise the hell out of me by being a bloody, pervy, nymph-monster romp. Fantastic. Always a sign of a good film if I know I’d have been terrified by it as a child.

Moments before hitting play on 300: Rise Of An Empire, I mentioned that I’d be writing about it briefly in this here column to the wife. A sparkle shot through her eyes as she faux-whispered,  “Honey, we could be like Norbert and Ebert!” I can only assume she meant Kermode and Mayo.

300 rise of an empire eva green sex scene
A historically questionable hate shag.

The sequel to 300 was a disappointment. I say that because we watched it the weekend of Comic-Con and I spent most of the running time on my phone checking Twitter for updates. No, there was nothing on Terminator 5. A sort-of parallel prequel/sequel I was quite taken with one of the most bizarre sex scenes I’ve ever seen on film but apart from that: yawn.

Helena At The Wedding. A load of people struggling with first world problems in a wintry cabin on New Years Eve in the middle of nowhere. I enjoyed most of it, and I’m definitely out of my talkie-indie movie phase that I spent my teenage years mired in, instead of going out and getting arrested for spraypainting the wall behind the chippy.

It also contains quite possibly the worst British accent ever committed to celluloid by Gillian Jacobs. No-one in the film seems bothered so I let it slide.

My Week With Marilyn was more enjoyable than I expected. What I thought would be a drippy, “Aren’t all British people terribly pawsh?” type of drama, became a zesty insight into Marilyn’s demons.

Another classic I had only caught bits of on TV before that we watched all the way through was The Postman Always Rings Twice. The 1981 version with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange. I was puzzled by the absent pair of knobbly knees in cargo shorts, but I think the postman was a metaphor. For penis.

Tilda Swinton. Marvel’s Next Villain.

tilda swinton snowpiercer
Sod Thanos and his Gauntlet. Tilda and the Shoe.

Snowpiercer blew my mind. My friend who I saw it with asked me the next week if I had reviewed it. I didn’t, and I feel now like I should have. It’s a genre-blending gritty dirtball of a movie that delivered a ton of unanticipated action. I had no idea where it was going apart from around a frosty globe repeatedly.

Chris Evans has again proved he’s more than Marvel muscle. And Tilda Swinton. I’d listen to her patronise Mother Teresa in that Yorkshire accent. Absolute genius. I’m glad I got to see it on the big screen.

The second film I saw that day was Guardians Of The Galaxy. Again, another corking summer genre flick. Marvel to me are hit and miss. Scratch that. It’s more… I’m neither moved nor appalled. I want movies to strike at me, to make me emote until I’m so entrenched in opinion I have to write. Marvel movies seldom get this reaction from me. Possibly because they’re constructed to appeal to the entire world, some nuances are glossed over.

Guardians nailed it. Funny, likeable characters. A plot that zips by. No dull expository scenes. No dull scenes full stop. I finally feel like I get what all my Star Wars buddies have been banging on about for all this time. Marvel gave me my space opera.

guardians of the galaxy the collector benicio del toro
Benicio Del Toro as The Collector

Highlight of the film came when The Collector appeared onscreen, and my wife turned to me and hushed excitedly “Honey! It’s Benedict Horatio!”

gem seddon freelance blogger freelance film journalist freelance writer

About the author

Gem is a freelance writer with 11 years of experience in entertainment journalism and movie blogging. She's written for outlets including Digital Spy, TechRadar, Vulture, Total Film, GamesRadar+, Certified Forgotten, and more.

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