Mixed media, Friday 8 May 2015

I watched Haywire on my flight to Edinburgh the other week. I had watched the first two episodes of the new Daredevil series on Netflix, and had been blown away by the hallway scene at the end of episode two. JWZ mentioned Haywire when he wrote about the hallway scene. I came away impressed — a nice little action film with an espionage backdrop. Lots of close-in, very personal action scenes rather than big set-piece explosions. Gina Carano makes for a great lead.

I have since watched the rest of the first season of Daredevil, and it is excellent. Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk is the very best thing about it. I’d watch it for him alone. Come for the Daredevil, stay for the Kingpin.

On the Thursday evening of that week I went out for dinner with AlanR and AlanW (gluten-free pizza at Mamma’s, accompanied by a gluten-free beer; not as bad as you might think; not as good as you might hope), and then AlanW and I wandered over to the Cineworld to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. Then when I got back home, we all went out to see it at in IMAX at Pathé Arena on the Saturday morning. My opinion of it didn’t change: too much, spread too thinly. Not great. The big action scenes felt repetitive, and there were just too damn many character story arcs for a single film. I also found the CGI for the opening battle curiously poor, but it wasn’t until the second viewing that I noticed it was all edited together as a single tracking shot. Flashy and unnecessary.

So then I was watching Kick-Ass 2 a couple of evenings ago because I couldn’t sleep, trying to figure out who the actor playing Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass reminded me of (Elijah Wood — something in the eyes), and at the end of it I was watching the credits and I saw “Aaron Taylor-Johnson” and I went “heeyyyyy wait a minute,” I know that name, he plays Pietro frickin’ Maximoff in Avengers, and then I’m all like “what, you didn’t see that coming?” He also played the character Ford Brody in Godzilla last year, who is married to Elle Brody, played by Elizabeth Olsen who then plays his sister Wanda frickin’ Maximoff in Avengers, and now I’m like “whoaaa” but it was 04:30 and I was kind of spacy from lack of sleep.

The highlight of the last couple of weeks was definitely Whiplash, though. It takes the traditional talented youngster/wise old man spurring him on to greatness narrative and digs deep to find out just how abusive that relationship can become. It is not a nice film, but oh my goodness is is gripping. It has more edge-of-your seat tension than most action thrillers. The final drum scene is a battle of wills more suspenseful than just about any fight scene I’ve ever watched. I was holding my breath. Very highly recommended.