I have a day off today and I thought I would go to the cinema this morning but then it struck me how there is absolutely nothing of any merit playing on one of the many, many screens at the local multiplex.
I know I’m not the only one who thinks this and even genre actors such as Simon Pegg have questioned why we as adults are living in such a stylised immature culture.
I’ve always had gripes with brain-dead Hollywood style blockbusters. They all seem to be very generic which of course they are because the studios don’t want to change a winning-formula and are happy with staid stories and steady incomes rather than take the chance of creating more interesting and unique films that may sometimes take more money in receipts though often of course less.
It’s the age old creative dilemma whether one should make something special, perhaps even a work of art and sell very little or make something the creators think will sell at least to a segment of the population, time after time.
But what about us who aren’t in that admittedly large but still minority of the population? The current cinema set-up is very much a monopoly. The multiplex chains often have strong links or are directly owned by Hollywood studios who will happily show whatever drivel is on offer so long as it comes from their studios rather than something a little more interesting.
There was once a study that showed that foods like popcorn are more profitable than drugs, weapons and even Afghanistan narcotics. They have a profitability factor of many hundreds of percent and of course the people who watch the latest Marvel drivel are much more likely to buy this junk food in comparison to someone who wants to watch an interesting drama in a film with no special effects.
Junk food is quite apt in this comparison as the modern cinema is very much the McDonalds of the arts world. Over priced, generic, simple, overly commercialised and the same, time after the time. It’s output seemingly stuck at a level that even above-average 8 year olds would think was too immature.
Even the movie trailers are a real turn-off. They all have the same gravelly toned voice-over man with heavily special effects laden images of either Washington, New York or London under threat. There appears to be no story-line whatsoever and no dialogue of interest, in fact everything has to be full of catch-phrases and evil-loud music and explosions. Nothing that I can relate to in any way and I certainly don’t have any interest in them. Also everything has to be filmed in a hyper-realistic way with a soundtrack to match.
I wonder even why some people even think some of the films would sell? Even discounting the ever-green superhero type films, there are plenty of films that not only appear to be stinkers from the adverts but do indeed totally tank and deservedly so.
Despite not really having NFL or Baseball or graduation days for High School or many other things, we still get these banal films that have no relevance to us at all and they generally do very badly here but the cinemas still show them rather than take a chance with something more different but more relatable to us.
Finally, well not really finally as there are so many bad things I object to with mainstream cinema, so many of the characters in these films aren’t just card board cut-out types but awfully immature too. They are populated by middle-aged people ‘acting’ in circumstances that bear nothing to reality. Behaving as if they were teenagers or had teenage problems but in a way teenagers would have never acted when I was a teenager. Not having any sense of identity or work ethic, bad-mouthing their parents or friends and just generally being the very epitome of being a LOSER.
I’ve copied in below the movies currently playing on the VUE Watford cinema just 10 minutes walk from my house. It isn’t a holiday period… as if that means we should all be subjected to brain-numbing rubbish. This is what we, working, educated adults are thought to be interested in enough to pay quite a hefty entrance fee.
Captain America: Civil War
When politicians propose that a governing body should oversee the actions of the Avengers, it divides the team into two opposing factions, one led by Captain America, the other by Iron Man.
Running time:147mins. (moderate violence)
Just the trailer alone put me off. So terribly generic. I don’t know who the Avengers are. I don’t care who Captain America is. The only Iron Man I know of is from the classic Ted Hughes childrens story. I just don’t care about any one of these ‘franchises’ let alone one with them all combined. It’s just rubbish.
The Jungle Book
Mowgli the man-cub must fight for his place in the jungle when he learns a fearsome tiger named Shere Khan has sinister plans for him.
I haven’t seen the original Jungle Book, cartoons weren’t really my thing even when I was little but I understand it is a classic. So why they have to revamp it again is beyond me. Why it is on several times a day when children are at school is also a mystery.
The Angry Birds Movie
A group of mysterious green piggies interrupt an island paradise, and a certain group of birds are really quite angry about it…
Running time:97mins. (very mild bad language, comic slapstick, innuendo, toilet humour)
Sounds very bland and a total waste of time to me. A film, based on a pretty basic computer game. Even the official ratings give it all away. Typical Hollywood child-friendly banality.
X-Men: Apocalypse (moderate violence, threat, bloody images, infrequent strong language)Disenchanted with the modern world in which he awakes after several millennia, Apocalypse, the most powerful mutant from the X-Men universe, sets out to destroy the world as we know it in order to build it again from scratch.
Disenchanted with the modern world in which he awakes after several millennia, Apocalypse, the most powerful mutant from the X-Men universe, sets out to destroy the world as we know it in order to build it again from scratch.
Running time:143mins. (moderate violence, threat, bloody images, infrequent strong language)
Oh no, how many X-Men films have their been? How many of them have even been ‘good’? It’s just a conveyor belt of schlock. Who gives a ?????
Bad Neighbours 2 (strong language, sex references, drug misuse)
As they prepare to sell their family home and move on, Mac and Kelly discover there’s only one thing worse than living next door to a frat house… living next door to a sorority.
I don’t really know what a frat house is or what a sorority is? I went to University to study not to join weird clubs with strange Greek lettering in the titles. Nothing in the first film gave any indication that the formula would get better at the second attempt. Again, ‘adults’ acting in a way that would demean drunk 3 year olds in a nursery.
Florence Foster Jenkins
Florence Foster Jenkins obsessively pursues her dream of being a famous opera star all the way to a performance at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall. But there’s just one problem, she can’t sing. (mild bad language, mild sex reference)
This sounds really, really lame and has all the hallmarks of being a by-the-numbers film. I don’t want to watch a film about someone who can’t sing? Who would? Let’s actually have real opera that might actually improve and educate people a little rather than pay money to watch an unrealistic portrayal of a loser who can sing less convincingly that I can.
Everybody Wants Some
Take a trip back to the 1980s and follow the hedonistic lives of a group of college baseball players in Richard Linklater’s latest coming-of-age movie, dubbed as ‘‘the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused.’’
Running time:117mins. (strong language, sex references, drug use)
Could not care less is my basic feeling. Not bothered about hedonism. No-one here watches baseball. Coming of age movies are without exception awful. Never heard of Dazed and Confused but it sounds pathetic and I’m not interested in a spiritual sequel.
Our Kind of Traitor (very strong language, strong sex, violence, drug use, sexual violence)
A couple become embroiled in a case of international espionage, after a chance meeting with a charismatic Russian oligarch at a Marrakech party.
Running time:108mins. (very strong language, strong sex, violence, drug use, sexual violence)
My word! Is this an adult film? It actually sounds promising but it is only on in the afternoon and evening. Nightmare!
Green Room (strong bloody violence, gore)
When a budding punk rock band witness a horrific murder, they find themselves stalked by the vicious perpetrators who are desperate to eliminate any evidence of their attack.
Running time:95mins. (strong bloody violence, gore)
Sounds really bad but I like horror and maybe the trailer might convince me to see it.
Ratchet and Clank (mild comic violence, very mild bad language)
Everyone’s favourite Lombax and his robotic pal are kicking some asteroid on the big screen, attempting to stop Chairman Drek from destroying the Solana Galaxy.
Running time:94mins. (mild comic violence, very mild bad language)
What the hell is this? Why is this even being given the time of day? No wonder our society is turning into such a mess. Just because a film is for children, it doesn’t have to be lame.
Eye In The Sky
A mission to take down terrorists planning a large-scale bomb attack in Kenya becomes problematic when an innocent nine year old girl steps into the kill zone.
Running time:102mins. (infrequent bloody moments, infrequent strong language)
I actually wanted to see this. An adult film dealing with a contemporary topic in a seemingly realistic way. Sadly it’s only on once a day and not at a convenient time.
The first bunny police officer must work side-by-side with a scam-artist fox to crack a case in the sprawling city of Zootropolis.
Running time:108mins. (mild threat)
Oh go away!
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Two of the most powerful heroes of all time face off in this long-awaited and thrilling spectacle.
Running time:151mins. (moderate violence, threat)
Sounds bad on so many levels. I have not once thought who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman and I’ve never been in a conversation where anyone has even mentioned it. A total non-event hyped up in a very Hollywood way.
Kung Fu Panda 3
The third installment in the franchise sees Po reunite with his biological father and head to a secret panda sanctuary, only for an ancient spirit to terrorize the nation.
Running time:95mins. (mild martial arts action)
ARGGGHHHH MY HEAD HURTS
A unique biopic of the life and musical career of New York jazz trumpeter, Miles Davis.
Running time:100mins. (strong language, drug use, sexualised nudity)
This at least seems like it is a mature film. Sadly I don’t particularly like jazz nor do I really know anything of or want to learn more about Miles Davis though on artistic merit alone this must surely be more worth seeing than every other film on the list.
3DX-Men: Apocalypse Triple Bill 3D New release (moderate violence, threat, bloody images, infrequent strong language)
Why would anyone pay more money to see an already artistically styled dark screen to be darkened even more through the use of dark glasses? This goes doubly when the original film seems so dire.
It doesn’t have to be this way though. Below are just some of the offerings from the local Curzon cinema. An independent cinema chain which amazingly seems to have no clunkers airing whatsoever.
I’m not against American films, only bland and brain-dead Hollywood films. Tom Hanks can always be relied on to be in a good film. I haven’t see the trailers for any of the films above but surely each of them has to be more interesting, challenging and for those of us who aren’t into mainstream films, more entertaining than the other films above. Sadly the nearest Curzon to me is a good hour away in central London and the vested interests of the big cinema chains mean these won’t get a look-in where I live.
John Le Carre can always be relied on for good stories as the recent BBC hit The Night Manager shows. High quality, rave reviews and something lots of people watched. It shows that entertaining doesn’t have to cater to the lowest common denominator but the fact that such a programme is comparatively rare shows that television suffers almost as bad as the cinema and that would take up a whole other blog post.