12th January – Battlestar Galactica : The Plan. I watched this on the back of re-watching the whole TV show over Christmas. As a companion to the series it works well, and I really enjoyed it, but as a stand alone piece it is somewhat lacking. It’s set at various points throughout the series, but contains spoilers that mean it should only be watched after everything else. I guess it’s the Battlestar Galactica equivalent of Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me, and if it is considered as such then I suppose it works.
16th February – Angels and Demons. This was watched on holiday, and very much has the feel of a holiday read. It’s perfectly enjoyable, but doesn’t really compel me to think or write about it, which means it fails on some levels I suppose.
28th March – Kill Bill : Part 1 & 2. I’ve not watched these for what is probably the best part of 10 years. I watched them back to back, and I definitely think they work well as one single piece. This is in no way the sort of film I usually rave about, but I think they are well made, very visually stimulating, and they use music excellently to set the mood. I also realised that parts of them are not in English, and I didn’t rip subtitles when I digitised the DVD. Oh well.
29th March – Antichrist . I had been meaning to watch some of Lars von Trier’s films for a while, after reading an article about him. I found two on Netflix this weekend, and started with this because it’s the older of the two. I found it beautiful and disturbing in equal parts, and it pretty much sent shivers down my spine from the first few seconds. William Defoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg both give really strong performances, with what must have been very difficult material to film, and although I found a lot of it quite uncomfortable, I am certainly glad I watched it. I should also probably point out that this film is triggering in quite a few ways, in that it centres around the death of a child, and is also graphically sexual and violent. It may not be to everyone’s taste, and it is something I would recommend watching alone and in a darkened room, if you watch it at all.
30th March – Melancholia. Following straight on from Antichrist I watched another Lars von Trier film, which again starred Charlotte Gainsbourg, along with Kirstin Dunst (who was particularly outstanding) and Kiefer Sutherland (who was about as wooden as he usually is). I’d read a fair bit about this film before watching it, and so I knew it was literally and metaphorically about depression, with a side order of end-of-the-world science fiction. None of this does it justice though, and it’s actually one of the best made, most moving, and most visually stunning films I’ve seen for a long time. The two female leads are outstanding, the dialogue is great, and the opening section of the film is one of the most emotive pieces of cinema I’ve seen for a while. I may not see a better film than this in 2014, and I would actually be fine with that.
It’s probably worth mentioning I also watched the whole 10 parts of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Dekalog during February and March 2014. It’s technically a TV series, but certainly warrants a mention at this point, because it’s something else I enjoyed a great deal, and would recommend to anyone who can get over the fact that it’s in Polish and was made on a very low budget.