Thursday 14 October 2021

Rob's Movie Night Roundup - S (Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, A Star Is Born)

At the beginning of the year, my wife and I decided that we'd like to watch more movies. There are 52 weeks in a year, 2 of us, and 26 letters in the alphabet. What better way to choose some movies than to go alphabetically? The only rule: Where possible, it should be a movie that one or more of us had never seen before. Oh, and ideally it should be part of one of the copious online streaming services we're already subscribed to, because why bother paying for a rental when we're not short of options?

Incidentally, if anyone from the big online streaming service providers is reading this (your Notfluxes or your Prims, for example), please make it easier to search for/sort movies alphabetically. Thanks.

Also, fair warning: There may well be movies that appear on this list that you'll find hard to believe I haven't seen before. It happens.

Previous letters are here: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R


Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Stars: Shameik Moore(voice), Jake Johnson(voice), Hailee Steinfeld(voice)

Synopsis via IMDB: Teen Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his universe, and must join with five spider-powered individuals from other dimensions to stop a threat for all realities.

I'm actually quite relieved to have come to this one later. On a number of occasions over the course of my life, I have gone into a film with nothing but hype and hyperbole ringing in my ears. Into The Spiderverse got an incredible amount of plaudits on release, and so it would have been very easy for me to get swept up in that. As it is, I've gone into it a couple of years on, and had a chance to just look at it without that stuff surrounding me.

Overall, I thought it was really well done. A lot of attention was given to the visuals and animation at the time of release, and its nomination and subsequent win at the Academy Awards of 2019 were for many a foregone conclusion. Certainly, this film looks stunning in motion and from looking at the nominees for that year it's a very worthy winner. The animation is colourful, clean and crisp and genuinely made me wonder whether the 4k Blu-Ray purchase would be worthwhile. I have yet to decide.

In every other respect, the movie is good but I wonder if perhaps things like the story and characters got pumped up by the positivity surrounding the movie at the time of release. There's nothing wrong with them, by any stretch, but there's nothing especially exceptional about them either. They're good.

In short, I liked this one very much but I'm actually kind of relieved that I could come to it a bit later and go in with expectations a bit more normalised.

Director: Bradley Cooper
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott

Synopsis via IMDB: A musician helps a young singer find fame as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Hollywood really likes movies about broken unsympathetic people doesn't it?

By the end of this movie, I couldn't find anyone to root for but Sam Elliott (probably not the first time I've found a film that does that, in truth). Ally (Lady Gaga) comes off as an ungrateful sellout, and Jack (Bradley Cooper) comes off as a stubborn and cowardly trainwreck. There are redeeming moments for the characters, but they're so few and far between that the cast becomes hard to root for. There's a minor pace problem but nothing too serious,

I'm by no means looking to crap on this movie, so I'll say a few things I liked. The movie was well directed on the whole. The songs were really good, and the moment in the movie where Ally first gets up in front of a crowd gave me a good kind of shivers. If you like movies with musical aspects, there are some really good bits in this film.

The performances were very good, too. Bradley Cooper has done a good job in everything I've seen him in, so no great surprise there. Lady Gaga, considering this is her first feature film role (to my knowledge at least), does a great job as the young brash singer turned megastar Ally. There's also a good showing from the supporting cast including a showing from comedy legend Dave Chappelle and...

Wow, that was Andrew Dice Clay. I hadn't even put that together until I looked at the cast list on IMDB.

S was a pretty good letter, all things considered. Of the two, Into The Spiderverse was the favourite. I kind of figured that would be the case going in, but I didn't hate A Star Is Born. Don't expect to see it too high on my overall list should one materialise (and I think at this point it's likely), but it won't be near the bottom given some of the stuff I've watched in 2021.

I've been reflecting a lot on this alphabet format, and if I run this sort of thing again in 2022 don't expect it to be so rigid. Beyond that I'm still mulling.

Did you enjoy the roundup? Let me know! If you have thoughts on the movies chosen and their respective writeups above, you know where to find me. Maybe you don't, but there are buttons everywhere to make that happen. Comments, Twitter, you name it. Moreover, if you want to make use of this movie night format, bearing in mind you're a few weeks in and might have to double up to get up to speed, feel free to do the same - I'd love to know what you chose too!

Rob Wade

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus has always been on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media.

Rob is the editor of Emotionally14, and showrunner of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train", "The E14 Gamecast" and "Talk Star Wars", as well as the host and guest of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel over the years.

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