This Week’s Netflix – This ship *is* England

28 Days Later – §§§ 1/2 and 28 Weeks Later – §§§ – I’m not a fan of horror movies, but I liked both of these movies, probably because neither of them fit neatly into the genre. Even with the blood-crazed, raging zombies, they’re both more post-apocalyptic sci-fi flicks than straight horror movies. I saw the first movie when it came out in the theater, and liked it a lot back then. It stood up pretty well the second time around. It also wins the award for creepiest use of a hymn for an acapella version of “Abide With Me.” Both are set in England, with 28 Weeks Later being almost primarily in London. The extras tell a little bit about what the filmmakers had to do to capture all the shots of a deserted London on a low budget.

The second film suffers a little bit for being a sequel, but this time the story focuses on a family separated by the original infection. Post-infection London is being repopulated 6 months after the last infected person has died in England, but of course the virus isn’t truly dead. An American-led military force is in place to enforce martial law and prevent another outbreak, but it’s not giving away too much of the plot to say that this attempt doesn’t succeed.

28 Weeks Later was also notable for the number of “that guys”, even though not all of them were guys. Stringer Bell, from The Wire is the military commander of the Americans, which is slightly ironic because once again he’s deploying his American accent, this time in London, even though the actor is English. The girl that played the lead role in the F/X series Damages also has a significant role, as well as a guy who played punk rocker Jimmy Quidd, the patient of the week in a recent episode of House M.D. It also leaves the door open for another sequel, perhaps 28 Years Later?

Atonement – §§ – Set in the period around World War II, it’s a love story with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. Has a twist at the end, and it’s one of those movies where you can’t really be sure that what you’re watching is actually true, but ultimately pretty boring.

The Talented Mr. Ripley – §§§ 1/2 – Second time I’ve watched this film. It’s been out for nearly ten years, but I think I enjoyed it more this time than I did originally. Matt Damon is creepy as he plays a twisted, needy young man who is obsessed with the privileged life and ends up doing whatever it takes to get it. You really get drawn into the twists and turns the story takes and it’s set primarily in Italy in the 1950’s, so there’s lots of beautiful scenery. Great cast also includes Jude Law, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett. Right after I returned it, I read that the director passed away.

Edward Scissorhands – §§ – I guess Johnny Depp is good in his role as the product of a mad scientists imagination gone awry, but I thought the story was boring. I imagine it was intended as a critique of a typical suburban lifestyle, but it was pretty heavy-handed.

Empire Records – §§§ 1/2 -Silly, juvenile, but funny. And the I like it for many reasons, not just because one of the main characters is named Lucas who managed to lose nearly ten grand gambling in Atlantic City.

Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World – §§§§ 1/2 – Not a Netflix rental, but I pulled this one off this shelf and enjoyed it again. Russell Crowe is fantastic as Captain Jack, the intrepid sea captain chasing French privateers around the Horn of Africa. The speech he gives to his men below-decks of the HMS Surprise before the climactic battle gets me every time.

“England is under threat of invasion, and though we be on the far side of the world, this ship is our home. This ship *is* England.”

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2 Responses

  1. You have saved me much unnecessary boredom with Atonement. Thanks 🙂

  2. It wasn’t bad, just not something that I’ll likely ever watch again and if I had never seen it I wouldn’t be any worse off.

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