Jan 6th – Movie Monday

Here at Fraggle Towers we have 2 movie nights a week, Phil’s ‘Grim Movie’ night on a Thursday, mostly consisting of war movies so far, and my ‘Fun Movie’ night on a Saturday, so this year I’m going to tell you what we’ve been watching, and maybe you’ll be inspired to see one, or most probably inspired to miss them!

Last weeks Grim was possibly the grimmest yet that Phil has subjected me to, the title of which is City of Life and Death (2009. It is a chinese production directed by Lu Chuan and is set in 1937, not long after the start of the 2nd Sino-Japanese war. It tells the story of what happened when the Japanese Imperial Army overran Nanking, and the dreadful acts carried out over several weeks by the Japanese on the Chinese civilians, and captured soldiers, historically known as the Nanking Massacre. The only other film I’ve seen about this is another chinese movie, Flowers of War (2011), but that had Christian Bale starring as John Rabe, the priest trying to save chinese refugees in the city, so that it would appeal to western audiences. City of Life and Death does not pander to Hollywood. It is beautifully shot in black and white, and won several awards for the cinematography by Cao Yu. There is no music soundtrack, and it didn’t need one, you can’t set this much awfulness to any score. The acting is far beyond anything I’ve seen in other chinese movies, and the actors and actresses involved invoke emotional responses that touch the depths of the soul. It caused a fair bit of controversy in China when it was released, as part of the movie is told from the perspective of a Japanese soldier, and he is humanised, compassionate even, and conflicted by the events unfolding around him. It was nearly pulled from theatres and the director received online death threats. The movie is both brutal and gentle at times, visceral and sensitive. It is one of the best films I’ve ever seen, and if you can handle it, so worth seeing.

Most of you know I’m a Marvelholic, and for several Saturdays now we’ve been doing the MCU movies starting with Iron Man, and we will eventually end with Spiderman Away From Home. This Saturday we watched the first in the new Spiderman movies, Spiderman Homecoming (2017). Firstly I’m going to have to say Phil is not a Marvelholic, but he has a softspot for Spiderman from when he was a lad and he has mostly enjoyed the movies we’ve done so far. Unfortunately this version of Spiderman in the MCU is really disappointing, and neither of us were sad to see it end. The cast is fine, lovely to see Marisa Tomei as Spidermans Aunt, and Tom Holland as the new Spiderman does a good job with what he’s given, but for us it was all a bit juvenile (I know, he IS a teenager!). Spidermans sidekick Ned is played by Jacob Batalon, and the dialogue between them is annoyingly superfast and hard to follow, and quite asinine , unless you are under the age of 12 when perhaps it sounds cool. It was funny though to see a former Batman, Michael Keaton playing a bad guy in a ridiculous flying wrap around tank. Spiderman Far From Home has had a much better reception, so I am hoping it is a damn site better than this junk. I have seen the earlier Spiderman movies with Andrew Garfield in the 2012 and 2014 versions, much better than the 2017 one, and also the Tobey Maguire 3 movie series which kicked off in 2004, and those are far and away the ones I would recommend.

Back to work today, and the rather droopy plant, (some kind of orchid I think) that I chucked some water on before I left my clinic, has produced a copious amount of flowers whilst I was away, somethings are better left alone it seems. Especially Spiderman. 🙂

27 thoughts on “Jan 6th – Movie Monday

  1. During this span when TV is all reruns, My better half and I have gotten into the “on demand” movies from our cable provider. From stupid comedies to Pompeii. It’s been a refreshing change of pace.

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  2. City of Life and Death is a wonderful film, as far as I am concerned. I have seen Flowers of War, and also the German film about Rabe, called ‘John Rabe’ (2009) I have a DVD called ‘Black Sun’ (1995) which goes completely over the top with some disgusting special-effect representations of the atrocities. It’s hard to watch.
    I won’t comment on the Marvel one, except to say I am sorry you didn’t enjoy that episode in the series.
    The orchid looks good! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be good, it seems he’s going to be part of phase 5 so hopefully they’ll meatify ( Fraggle dictionary) him up and as you say, calm him down. TBH I felt sorry for Phil who being a teenage Spider-Man fan, was really disappointed. Me not so much, I didn’t do this stuff when I was a kid, strangely I got onto marvel in my 50’s 🙄 even so, this was my least favourite MCU movie.

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    1. Agreed. I never watched any war movies until I met my hubby, but find them enlightening and instructional when they are done properly, with sensitivity and finesse. The emotional impact serves well to embiggen the soul. Private Ryan is one of our top movies.

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  3. I watched City of Life and Death on Petes recommendation a few years ago, you capture the feeling of it very well, it is a film that stays with you.
    I did see one of the Spiderman movies recently, no idea which one, but it was animated and surprisingly good fun to watch 🙂
    Nice reviews, I’m looking forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

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