3 small films and a little rant about that petition (R-079)

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Pet is the story of a lonely young man called Seth played by Dominic Monaghan (instantly recognisable as Merry from The Lord of the Rings films) who works at a dog shelter. He bumps into an old high school crush Holly Garling played by Ksenia Solo (from TV shows Lost Girl and Orphan Black) and won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. He stalks her and holds her captive in the deserted basement of the shelter. Then we begin to learn the full story of Holly’s past.

Merry, I mean Seth, has picked the wrong girl to kidnap and the despite the fact that Holly is the one trapped in a cage, the captor/captive relationship flips. And that’s where writer Jeremy Slater (who wrote the floppy Fantastic Four reboot) seems to lose his way a little. It’s difficult not to think that the end was tweaked after an initial round of screenings, but I won’t spoil it for you. It’s worth seeing just to see Monaghan play something other than a hobbit. I was interested to learn that he’s cast in the next Star Wars film, so if he’s not covered in prosthetics, I’ll keep an eye out for him.

A debut cowritten and directed by Manchester-based Mark Gill, England is Mine is a biopic of the early life of Morrissey, played by Jack Lowden (Dunkirk), before he became lead singer of The Smiths. And therein lies the problem. For me no amount of good acting (and there’s plenty) or thoughtful subtle nods to some of the songs of the seminal Manchester band (an underpass, cemetery gates, a girlfriend in hospital) detracts from the fact that the most interesting part of Morrissey’s life where those years when he was in The Smiths, not before.

Its kind of cute that the film ends with Morrissey standing outside guitarist Johnny Marr’s front door after years of angst in a wilderness of despair and mediocrity, but it’s also bloody frustrating. This is perhaps only a film for fans of the band, and even then do not expect to hear any of The Smiths’ music in the film.

Anomalisa is a stop motion animation aimed at adults featuring middle-aged angst about what it means to be human, drinking and sex. Voiced by David Thewlis (Wonder Woman, Harry Potter) as customer service theory author Michael Stone visiting a city to do a talk, Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight, Single White Female) as Lisa Hesselman a woman staying at the same hotel who has come with her friend to see the talk, and Tom Noonan (Twelve Moneys TV show, RoboCop 2) who very oddly does the voices of everyone else, including the women.

The most obvious thing, apart from the voices of most characters all being identical, is the strange horizontal line across the characters’ faces. I took this as a bi-product of how they did the animation and thought ‘oh I should just ignore that’. I was happy doing that, until in a very weird scene Stone kind of flips out in the bathroom after a few drinks from the minibar of his hotel room and almost pulls off the lower half of his face. This implies to me that everyone in the film is a robot and it also kinda helps explain why most characters have the same voice.

What at first appearances seems to be a rather urbane story of a man going through the breakup of his marriage trying to rekindle a past relationship and then reaching out to the nearest woman, Lisa, for a consolation fuck, begins to morphs into something more intriguing. Is this more like Vanilla Sky than a badly scripted attempt at an animated Woody Allen film? While the animation is great, the problem for me is that there is no clear resolution and so many unanswered questions…

Unanswered questions is certainly something that the makers of Game of Thrones seem to be at pains not to leave behind them as they kill off character after character seemingly as quickly as possible in a well-scored series of lengthy episodes short on dialogue and full of action one week and then the opposite the next. Some of the episodes could easily play out like a ‘silent movie’ with just the score to help the drama along.

At the time of writing this there’s one episode to go and perhaps the main question that has yet to be answered is who will sit on the iron throne. My money is on John Snow who I hope will get some help from Bran in controlling Daenerys Targaryen’s last dragon.

I’m not one of those entitled snowflakes who feels the need to sign a petition to get the final season rewritten. It’s a sign of the times that anyone would feel so self-involved to even consider setting up the petition in the first place never mind sign it. Like Star Wars, there are so many fans with so many theories that no-one is ever going to be 100% happy with the outcome, and so far the writers have, in my opinion, coped admirably in tying up the biggest sprawl of plot and characters ever seen on TV. Give them a fucking break, at least they finished telling the story. Unlike a certain Mr Martin.

Those that are unsatisfied after this final season might take solace in George R R Martin pulling his finger out and maybe finishing the books and taking the story along a different path. Maybe. But the way things are going, even if he did, they’d probably drum up another petition to complain about how he did it.

For those people, I’d say try writing your own multi-award winning film or book series and see how you get on. And yes I have just kind of slagged off three films, but I’m not asking anyone to agree with me or sign a petition!

I’m super-happy to learn that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the writers of Game of Thrones, are writing and producing a new trilogy of Star Wars films. This will be separate from the soon to be wrapped-up Skywalker saga and the trilogy being developed by Rian Johnson, writer-director of The Last Jedi – also the subject of a fan-based petition. Don’t get me started again!

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