Watched Patient Zero (2018)

The strength of talent on offer here is much higher than the film I watched yesterday, Inmate Zero (2020). This film has more pace, a clearer through line, and a better grasp of who and where we are. Characters are given more clarity, chasing their limited wants with a certain vigour. Notions of Darwinian evolution pepper the film. Weak humans trying to protect themselves against a virus, that could be the next stage in human evolution? It leads to another enigmatic ending, or the springboard to a sequel, or even a series.

Watched Patients of a Saint (Inmate Zero) (2020)

There’s a really tight zombie horror in there somewhere. It has some good ideas, and one or two decent jump scares. The monsters are sufficiently gruesome, with enough black blood and jerky movements to make you squirm. Overall the plot feels about fifteen minutes too long, but needs twenty minutes more story? They play fast and inconsistent with the rules of their own story. Typified by the confusion we feel around their physical location, where the people are within the architecture of the prison. It’s just not clear. On the plus side it has a majority female cast, but it does lean heavily on a few zombie horror tropes, forcing some of the the characters to be realised as stereotypes. What this film needed were fewer characters, a clear plan by the lead, basically a much tighter screenplay.

Watched The Last Thing He Wanted (2020)

This feels like a film out of its time. True it’s set in the early 1980’s. But it’s more to do with the way the story unfolds. Anne Hathaway’s character is strong and wilful in the first half, but ends up being strangely passive in the second. There’s a righteous political expose in there somewhere, waiting to take down some corruption, but it gets lost in the poetry of its point of view.

Finished reading the screenplay for Molly’s Game (2017) by Aaron Sorkin

This screenplay feels like a transcript of the film. What’s on the page is so what’s on the screen, it feels like Sorkin made the movie before he wrote it. It’s clear, precise, and most of all readable, in a way some writers don’t manage, and some screenplays aren’t. It flows on the page the way people tell their stories. It jumps around. There are digressions but only to clarify something else. His use of voiceover is a marvel. Best of all it doesn’t feel at odds with the story. It is the story, Molly Bloom’s story, told in her voice. I have long considered voiceover a literary affectation. Screenwriters use it when they want to get the writing of a book, and the voice of the original author, into a film. It’s used as a framing device to make the film feel like a book. Sorkin goes beyond that. In his hands it’s a structural element that holds together the multiple strands of the story. A must read for anyone interested in screenwriting.

Watched Little Joe (2019)

This is a stylish piece of cinema, that walks a line somewhere between Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and Upstream Colour (2013). Bioengineers develop a houseplant that’s able to make you happy by secreting a chemical in its scent. There’s a real menace in the idea. But this isn’t told as some fast paced adventure story. Instead it’s a considered, contemplative piece that haunts your thoughts. Very interesting.