Some film and TV thoughts

Spoilers abound.

The Walking Dead Season 5

1.
The recruitment storyline is one of the daftest things to happen in this show. We’re frequently reminded that the outside world is a dangerous place — full of walkers or untrustworthy people. Yet one man can go wandering around on his own, spying on a group closely enough that he can determine their dynamics? Aaron gives no impression of being handy in combat, yet he’s completely fine traipsing around in the woods to watch Rick etc. Stupid.

2.
Walking Dead is a guilty watch for me. I would’ve given up on it a few seasons ago if my wife didn’t watch it. For the most part I enjoy the action scenes and roll my eyes at any plot or character development. But I was captivated by season five’s finale and, for the first time in years, I’m excited about the show’s return.

3.
I used to have a theory that Walking Dead had a Black Guy Quota. A new black character would arrive on the show and, within a few episodes, another would die. From memory, a black inmate turned up at the prison. Soon after, T-Dog died. Then Tyrese arrived and the prisoner died. I’m sure there were more. Season five kind of ruined my theory by having Tyrese, Bob, Noah, and the priest all co-existing, but maybe I’ll be proven correct in season six

4.
There should be a rule in TV shows where you can’t cast more than one actor from another show. Having Cutty and D’Angelo from The Wire in this show was a distraction, reminding me how good that show was, and that I miss it. And then Carver turned up too. Too much.

5.
Walking Dead continues to make walkers less dangerous, until it suits the show to do otherwise. A few of the characters showed a Spidey-sense instinct for detecting walkers before they arrived. It’s safe to say that instinct will disappear when the show needs it to, and the group will all be surprised by an attack

Mad Max: Fury Road

1.
On paper, Fury Road has no business being as good as it is. It’s basically two long action scenes – a long drive out, and one back (like the design of a bad videogame). Yet it’s tremendous

2.
This film has caused a lot of people like me, with little knowledge of the stage, to struggle to describe it. There’s definitely something operatic, balletic, musical, rhythmic, something to Fury Road. I’ll leave it at that.

3.
A naked woman slides down a rope. That’s got to hurt

The Raid 2

1.
The first Raid film is so good that its sequel can be inferior and still be brilliant . 1 integrated its action scenes into its storytelling. 2 is more a bunch of amazing loosely connected to a story I didn’t really understand. But those scenes are amazing

2.
I still can’t get my head around that long-take fight scene in mud at the prison. It’s one thing to choreograph such a scene, but mud adds such a level of volatility to movement, pulling that scene off is a remarkable achievement

3.
A camera goes in the front window of a moving car, into the back, and out of the opposite window. What?

4.
In the same scene, a man is held by the legs out of the window of a speeding car, and hits his head on the ground. I can’t see how you could film that without the guy actually hitting his head. That doesn’t sound like fun

4.
It was a bold move to bring back Yayan Ruhian (Mad Dog from the first film) in a different role, recognisable as he is. But any screen time he gets is a bonus

Seven Samurai

1.
Seven Samurai is considered by some as one of the best films of all time. I can’t remember the last time I was so bored

2.
There’s so much running in this film, even with people who are only travelling 20 feet. It should’ve been called Farmers Running.

3.
The only redeeming factor was the casting of Takashi Shimura as Kambei, who’s hugely likeable and like a Japanese Morgan Freeman

The Angel’s Share

1.
As a Glaswegian, I’m picky when it comes to films set in Scotland/Glasgow. As soon as Angel’s Share started I looked for a feeling of authenticity. I found little. The film itself is okay, watchable enough, but there’s not much to it that feels genuinely Glaswegian

2.
Scottish films normally have some good banter (#bantz!). But the moments of comedic dialogue were rare. At the start we hear that one character stole a macaw from a pet shop by stuffing it in a plastic bag, the bird’s tail sticking out. So I expected humour. There were further attempts, but few hit the mark

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