Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Filmdog Weekly #1 (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Bad Teacher)

Happy New Year! Welcome to my weekly film review where once again I'll be letting you know my thoughts on the latest cinema releases plus whatever I've caught on TV including tv shows and box sets that can be viewed on demand. Thanks to those of you who read my 2013 Film Blog. It took a lot of effort and I'm glad to have that monkey off my back. This year I'm going to post weekly in order to make it more manageable. So let's begin...

Sunday 5th January
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (O2 Greenwich) 
My first trip to the cinema in 2014 was to watch this quirky feel-good film directed by and starring Ben Stiller. Walter's a shy and sensitive photo developer for 'Life' magazine, smitten by his colleague (Kristen Wiig) and prone to bouts of daydreaming in which he imagines a life more extraordinary. His dreams are about to become reality after he's forced to track down an elusive photographer (Sean Penn) in order to save himself from being fired by his asshole new boss. He journeys to Greenland and Iceland, rediscovering his inner sense of adventure and reclaiming a little of his lost youth. It's nothing special but it's the kind of film I enjoy, where the happy ending stays happy and makes you feel inspired to get outdoors and do something different. I went running the day after watching this and found myself thinking about it a lot as I pounded the streets of South East London. It's stupid, but I definitely think I pushed myself a little harder because of Walter Mitty. Good soundtrack too.
* * *

Bad Teacher (Sky Movies) 
Cameron Diaz should be given more roles like this. It's a perfect vehicle for her comedy talent and it's nice to see her given a break from bullshit rom-coms. Elizabeth Halsey is shallow, crass, and desperate to find a rich guy so she doesn't have to spend another day in the classroom. She drinks, swears, smokes weed and has no patience for the kids in her class or the kooky members of the school faculty. Her problem is that she's broke, she's the wrong side of 30 and thinks that the only way to snare a suitably rich guy is to buy herself a new pair of $10K breast implants. Teaching takes a backseat as she sets out to raise the necessary money by bribing parents into paying extra tuition, blackmailing state officials and embezzling of school funds. When a suitable candidate does show up in the shape of wealthy dork Scott (Justin Timberlake) she faces competition for his affections from mildly psychotic super-teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch). I've seen this a couple of times now and I think it's hilarious. The supporting cast (some of tv's best comedy actors including John Michael Higgins, Phyllis Smith and Eric Stonestreet) all get their fair share of gags but Diaz steals the show with a series of great put-downs. Bad Teacher scores well in my test.
* * * * 

No comments:

Post a Comment