What I am watching now

It’s time to try to keep a record of all the films I watch. So, on as near as possible to a weekly basis, it begins now.

How I Live Now

Tightly wound American teen Daisy is sent to spend some time in Britain with her aunt and eccentric cousins. It could be any tale of self discovery in an idyllic countryside setting, but there are hints of darkness from the off. An excessive number of soldiers patrol the airport, and the aunt is off to Geneva to a desperate sounding peace conference.

Soon, a nuclear device going off in London leaves the youngsters without adult supervision, having to fend for themselves. Love blossoms between Daisy and her hunky cousin. However, their brief, glorious freedom is curtailed by army intervention, and the boys and girls are separated.

Daisy and her cousin Piper escape the militarised suburb they’re held in, and begin a trek back to the farm. This section- discovering the heart of darkness in a suddenly threatening English countryside- was hard going, being unrelentingly grim. Somehow, however, the ending was able to redeem all the pain without being twee. Bittersweet and holding some hope as life settled into a new kind of normal.

Planting the horrors of a civil war in familiar locations is an interesting exercise. It’s never explained what’s going on, the characters threatened by events they can’t begin to understand.

Barely Lethal

The old high-school-is-a-battlefield and cute-teen-is-a-trained-killer tropes meet up and have a little fun. I’m sure it’s not the first time.

Highly trained assassin Number 83 fakes her death after a mission, and sets off to have a normal life. Calling herself Megan and posing as a Canadian exchange student, she finds herself a surrogate family and heads to the US. Obviously, her training makes fitting in tricky, and her old boss- and others- are after her.

It’s a fun film, but seems to be lacking something- the last bit of energy, or a final polish- to be a stand out. Samuel L. Jackson is his usual gruff presence, Jessica Alba is a sexually ambiguous baddy who doesn’t get enough time to develop into a plausible threat, and Sophie Turner as Number 84 makes you wish Sansa Stark wasn’t such a flat character.

Taken 3

Bryan Mills uses his particular set of skills to find out who killed his ex-wife and framed him for the murder. Fun to watch for the action scenes, which, by the law of sequels, are required to be bigger and more ludicrous than in the previous films. There’s a twist at the end that’s been coming since the first Taken, but it doesn’t really mean much. The expanded roles for Bryan’s black-ops friends were nice, though.


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