Tag Archives: Training Day

2017 in Review – February

deadshot

“Y’all jokers must be crazy.”

February. Awards month. This second diary entry starts with a list of Oscar nominated films I would love to get through before the awards ceremony on the last Sunday of the month. Try as I might, I don’t have the time nor energy to travel up and down the country to obscure little picturehouses to watch three hour French films about the government’s war on Brussels sprouts (I don’t know what any of these films are about. Call that an educated guess) so that pipe dream was never going to be doable.

Maybe that’s a tick list for next year. One challenge at a time. Maybe next year will be the year I watch every single nominated film. For now, it’s all about these 365 films I have to watch. So…


the martian 2015Week One

The first week felt pretty busy when it came to films. More blind luck than organisation, the month started by knocking another film of the blu-ray pile of shame; The Martian‘s extended cut burned through our evening on day one. I honestly forgot how good that film was.

The three year old’s journey through the MCU continued with Iron Man 2 on the same night we bought foreign film Oscar nom A Man Called Ove. The Saturday of the Failed Critics Pubcast gave me train time for a first watch of 1984’s Bad Taste and a repeat visit to Luc Besson’s Lucy. A family trip for the excellent Lego Batman Movie, followed by the pretty rubbish Gold was how that Sunday started. Rounded it off with the traditional yearly watch of Any Given Sunday.

Early February ended a bit of a mixed bag. The hopefully final but surprisingly fun Resident Evil movie was certainly better than the first Schumacher Batman that I somehow ended up watching. But with the last films of the week being the great Hidden Figures and the sublime Gone Baby Gone, things were looking up.


mad-max-chromeWeek Two

In my misguided attempt to watch all the Oscar nominated films, I forced myself through a couple of horrendous films to start week two. Michael Bay’s Stars and Stripes masturbatory fantasy that is 13 Hours may be one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Followed by the promising, but overall sleep inducing Passengers felt like the worst way to continue this challenge. Luckily, the newly released “Definitive Directors Cut” of Heat was enough to cleanse the palette.

The next few days was a mix of first watches and old favourites. John Wick and Training Day filling the quota of films we’d seen before; while new films were covered by The Girl With All The Gifts and Fences. All superb choices, if I do say so myself. The bizarre documentary Beware the Slenderman was our Saturday night viewing this week. Four films on the Sunday filled in my numbers nicely, I finished off the weekend with the beautiful, boner inducing “Black and Chrome” cut of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Luckily, work was quiet as this week carried on. An empty office and a stack of paperwork meant iTunes films to pass the time. A couple of films at work, the original Jungle Book with the kid when I got home and I ended the week with an early contender for film of the year, John Wick: Chapter 2.


DEADPOOLWeek Three

More films at work mean that by the time we are watching Leon that evening – another from the Pile of Shame – I’ve added three more to the list. Revisiting last year’s War on Everyone, along with an impromptu Paranorman watch and rewatching Antoine Fuqua’s Shooter meant my list had a diverse selection being added.

Excellent espionage thriller/comic book film Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Founder clocked in at numbers 98 and 99 on my spreadsheet. Leaving space for something special for the next milestone. Film 100 was the first watch of this year, the seventeenth since the film came out almost a year ago to the day. Film 100 was the one, the only, Deadpool.

A couple of animated films, that included the surreal but fun A Cat in Paris brought up the rear for the most part this week. I also managed to get my sticky hands on a review screener for the latest film from one of my favourite directors to end this week. If you ever get the chance, you should definitely watch James Cullen Bressack’s Bethany.


nuns-with-gunsWeek Four

The month begins to come to a close. The original cut of Mad Max: Fury Road kicks things off (yes, a different cut is a different film. My challenge, my rules). Peter Berg’s Patriots Day and Gore Verbinski’s A Cure For Wellness meant the week had an up and down middle section. You can hear me wax lyrical about both on the Oscar fallout podcast. This week also saw us dig into one of the worst films we have ever seen; Nude Nuns with Big Guns is just as award worthy as you think it is.

Loads of films with the kid this week, too. On request, we saw three, THREE, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. The two recent ones and the original 1990 version. Creepy, rapey Michelangelo aside, they ain’t the worst movies in the world. And she loved them, that’s all that matters. It’s the same reason I sat through the Angry Birds Movie again! Luckily, she didn’t watch our final one of that weekend, we watched the dug in to The Greasy Strangler. Just… wow.

Finally, after weeks of joking around about how ridiculous it is that we could live in a world where Suicide Squad won an academy award, it actually happened. So a rewatch of the film I loved that everyone else despised; the Oscar winning Suicide Squad. Then, as I write this, I’m in my seat at the local IMAX waiting for the premiere of Logan to begin. And thanks to Fox’s brilliant marketing ploy to show it at 10.23pm, it still counts as a February film. And much like last month, the second I turn this in, it’s onto writing the review.

This is getting tiring. But at this point, I’ve done more than half of the number I totalled last year. That can’t be bad.

Two months in the bag. Only ten to go.

Films seen this month: 54

Current count, as of 28th of February: 114 of 365.

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Best Films on TV: 15 – 21 July

Our picks this week have been chosen by Owen Hughes, who managed to peel his eyes off the TV screen for 10 minutes to tell you what you should be watching.

watchmenMonday 15th July – Watchmen (Film4, 23.10)

Zack Snyder‘s best film is our best film on TV for today. Pretty much a direct adaptation of Alan Moore‘s most notable work, the graphic novel ‘Watchmen’, only with more slow-motion fight sequences à la 300, an absolutely incredible opening titles sequence and a slightly altered ending. It’s long (the run time, not Dr Manhattan’s .. private parts) but worth it. A slick, cool and entertaining crime-drama-come-action-sci-fi-film.

Tuesday 16th July – Training Day (ITV4, 23.00)

I was tempted to pick Crank: High Voltage on 5* at 22.00 based on the fact the first film is so good. I’ve not seen High Voltage, therefore I’m defaulting to one of ITV4’s favourite (or, at least, most often played) films, Training Day. Featuring rookie cop Ethan Hawke and more notably the morally ambiguous cop Denzel Washington, who won an Oscar for his performance. Worth a watch if you’ve never seen it before, or a re-watch if you have!

Wednesday 17th July – Planet of the Apes (1967) (Channel 4, 13:05)

Yes you finally made a monkey out of meeeeee!” Unfortunately, there has never been a feature length musical of Monkey Planet. We will have to console ourselves with just this classic instead! The ultimate in sci-fi mystery films, with Charlton Heston leading the way as an astronaut who crashes on a planet overruled with apes, it’s always worth a watch and you can find my thoughts on a few of the sequels in my Decade In Film articles on the 70’s.

Thursday 18th July – Sudden Death (ITV4, 23:45)

I’m not even picking this Die Hard rip-off because it’s a Van Damme film, there genuinely isn’t any better film on TV on Thursday! Knocked Up? Season of the Witch? Waterworld? Come on. At least with Sudden Death you can watch JCVD fighting bodyguards in an ice-hockey rink whilst terrorists try to overtake the … I did mention it was a Die Hard rip off, didn’t I? Same shit, different film.

Friday 19th July – Super (Film4, 22.55)

“Shut up, Crime!” is a pretty good tagline! Director James Gunn’s foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is released next year with highly anticipated space-opera Guardians of the Galaxy. I imagine it will be somewhat lighter in tone than his previous darkly comic vigilante hero film, Super. Featuring “Dwight, from The Office US” (aka Rainn Wilson) as the slightly simple minded loser who just wants to be a hero, Ellen Page as a twisted sidekick, and Kevin Bacon as the smarmy villain, Super is a complex and violent satire. Not quite comedy, not quite drama, it’s a weird mix of genres that shows the potential Gunn has that will hopefully be realised soon.

Saturday 20th July – Taken (Film4, 21.00)

The film that unexpectedly made Liam Neeson into an action star! Written by Luc Besson (Leon, Fifth Element, The Transporter) and directed by Pierre Morel, Taken is an action thriller that sees just how far one man will go to get his daughter back. Kind of like Commando, except for the 00’s rather than the 80’s (ergo it’s darker, it’s gritty and has hardly any one liners or muscle bound Austrians in it at all).

Sunday 21st July – Dumb & Dumber (Channel 5, 22.00)

Best way to round off the weekend is always with a comedy, I think. This classic Jim Carrey vehicle has plenty of gags; it’s consistently funny and memorable with a very simple plot executed to perfection. One of those sorts of films that manages to stay funny no matter how many times you watch it.

Best Films on TV: 8-14 July 2013

This week’s choices of the best free-to-air films on UK TV are brought to you by James Diamond, in the three spare minutes in his day that he found down the back of the sofa.

Source CodeMonday 8th July – Source Code (Film4, 9pm)

Duncan Jones’s (he of the loins of David Bowie) follow-up to the critically acclaimed Moon was never quite going to live up to the hype and expectation. That doesn’t mean that this slice of sci-fi headfuckery isn’t still a great little film in its own right. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the agent sent to find out who planted a bomb on a train by reliving the last eight minutes of the journey over and over. Hard to believe this isn’t based on a Philip K. Dick short story.

Tuesday 9th July – Alfie (Film4, 11.10pm)

Michael Caine at his sixties peak. Part charming geezer, part utter bastard, this is a much darker film than the lightweight Jude Law remake. Alfie’s constant breaking of the fourth wall was pretty revolutionary at the time, and it spawned one of The Divine Comedy’s greatest singles. Say no more.

Wednesday 10th July – The African Queen (Film4, 11am)

Another one of my standard ‘I haven’t watched this yet, but you should’ recommendations. An Oscar-winning performance from Humphrey Bogart as an alcoholic riverboat captain who is persuaded by Katherine Hepburn’s straitlaced missionary to attack an enemy warship.

Thursday 11th July – Training Day (ITV4, 10pm)

Famously the film that ended racism in Hollywood by virtue of its Oscar-winning central performance from Denzel Washington, Training Day actually holds up really well after the hype-backlash-sensible reassessment cycle. It probably helps that I’m quite the fan of Ethan Hawke.

Friday 12th July – The Game (ITV4, 9pm)

As usual, there are a load of great films on tonight, and probably one or two that are better than my pick. But you will have seen those, whereas David Fincher’s The Game is one of those underrated gems that too few people have laid eyes on. Michael Douglas plays a successful but lonely banker, who is given a curious birthday present from his estranged brother (Sean Penn). He is soon drawn into a confusing ‘real life game experience’ where nothing is as it seems.

Saturday 13th July – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (ITV1, 2.25pm)

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is on, but even my wife has seen that, and she hates that kind of thing. Instead I suggest you watch what must have surely been a massive influence on the resurrected Doctor Who series featuring as it does, wibbly wobbly time travel antics that don’t really make much sense, and a host of real life historical characters playing to their stereotypes. The San Dimas Mall montage is one of my favourite scenes from any film growing up.

Sunday 12th July – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (ITV2, 4.10pm)

Although you may have shunned Episode IV yesterday, there’s simply no excuse to miss one of the finest blockbusters ever made. High on action (from the opening scenes on Hoth to the escape from Cloud City), dramatic revelations (that line), and a genuine cliffhanger that left you wanting more. We might give George Lucas hell these days, but we’ll always have ‘Empire’.