Of course I'm anti-censorship but I find it highly amusing that The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) has been banned in the UK for being "unacceptable".
I've seen lots of films over the last week:
X Men First Class ***
Not a particularly good film but by far my favourite of the franchise (that I've seen. I think I saw the first two?) because James McAvoy is the most delicious. I love Stephanie Zacharek's observation that his "lips always manage to look just-bitten". Hilary and I found it hilariously gay - I whispered to her halfway through that I kept expecting them to kiss and she was all, "That would be awesome" - but mostly I just love McAvoy. (Fassbender is great too but the only time I've ever been attracted to him was in Fish Tank - which, if you loved him in X Men, you should go watch IMMEDIATELY).
It's Complicated ***
I enjoyed this because of Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep, and definitely not because of the subject matter, or Steve Martin.
Letters to Juliet ****
I won't front, I loved this a lot. Amanda Seyfried is adorable, Vanessa Redgrave is astounding, and the story is absurdly romantic. I cried, like, a bunch of times.
The Adjustment Bureau ****
Crazy and romantic and very entertaining indeed.
Pure masturbation. But I wasn't bored for a second. I think my favourite thing about the film, though, was reading Andrew O'Hehir's assessment of Bradley Cooper:
There's a further problem with this movie's attempt to turn Bradley Cooper into a movie star, which I'll try to put delicately: He kind of looks like a dick.
Absolutely gorgeous. Enjoyed this way more than I thought I would.
Daydream Nation ****
A smart indie film about teenagers having sex and taking drugs? I'M SO THERE. Also Kat Dennings is sexy as fuck. Mostly, though, this film made up for all the horrible teacher/student romance plots I've had to endure over the past year, all thanks to a gloriously shameless (and very funny) performance by Josh Lucas as the teacher. I won't tell you any more than that, but I will say it was an extremely gratifying story for me in almost every way.
TELEVISION: NURSE JACKIE AND UNITED STATES OF TARA
If I watch a show and Alan Sepinwall reviews it, I read his reviews straight after watching an episode. He's an excellent critic, but like with any writer you read regularly, disagreements happen, and regularly. For instance, there's this thing he's been harping on about over the past year: that Nurse Jackie sucks because it doesn't progress or change at all, particularly not compared with United States of Tara, which has taken way more risks with its storytelling, and therefore it is infuriating that USoT got cancelled while NJ got renewed.
But like... NJ is a really good show in its own right so why be annoyed that it got renewed? Be sad that USoT got cancelled, sure, but don't be a dick about a perfectly good show not getting cancelled. Know what I mean? Don't be a dick.
Nurse Jackie, 3.10: Fuck the Lemurs
Both shows were amazing this week and I would first like to refute Sepinwall's insane declaration that NJ is too formulaic. Is he watching the same show as the rest of us? Jackie is now off the drugs and the closest people to her know she's an addict. One thing I love and appreciate about NJ is that it's a show about a drug addict that isn't especially melodramatic. It's not Breaking Bad, it's not House, and it's not USoT, but the show takes Jackie's problem seriously and it does so without all those After School Special moments that make so much drug-focused drama infuriating viewing for recreational drug users like myself. Jackie is a high functioning addict - it is totally believable that she knows exactly how to hide her addiction and that she's been doing it successfully for years. She's a gifted liar, always the smartest person in the room, and she knows how to get away with shit. Sepinwall goes on about her not suffering any consequences for her actions, but ... that's all this show is about. I fear the kind of consequences he would like Jackie to suffer are precisely the kind that make much drama about drug use (and infidelity) an eye-rolly bunch of bullshit for savvy viewers who prefer their stories without histrionics. The great supporting cast are icing on the cake, but the serious drama (and this show is 70% serious, 30% comedy) is mostly the consequences of Jackie being a high functioning drug addict.
In "Fuck the Lemur", for instance, Jackie is clean. She's clean for the first time in years (probably decades) and not only that she's been banned from administering meds. She's totally fucked but in a more hopeful place than she's been since the show started: her job and reputation are on the line; but she's clean.
In conclusion, NJ is well written, well acted, funny, serious, dark, moving, intelligent and entertaining. It changes and develops and doesn't stick with any formula. Why be annoyed it didn't get cancelled?
United States of Tara, 3.10: Train Wreck
USoT is brave and entertaining as well, but also way less relatable, because while many of us have experience with drugs or some knowledge about what drugs do and mean for other people, very few of us have a dangerously insane mother/wife/sister/friend. I like the show a lot but I don't think it's better than NJ just because it's more outlandish.
At this point the only happy ending for me would be if Tara were committed. She is absolutely incapable of living in society because she is dangerous. New alter Brice nearly killed someone, stole a baby, is sexually abusive... Tara needs to be locked up, there's just no way around it. A happy ending would be for the Gregson family to all visit her regularly at a mental institution. I genuinely think I'll be disappointed/annoyed/horrified if the show doesn't end like that.
And for a tv show to generate that particular reaction? Is a great achievement. It's been an audacious, engrossing season of television - its strongest yet in my opinion (Eddie Izzard was a major highlight) - and while I'm sorry it's been cancelled, I believe Tara's story is ending at the right time.