The fallout from my holiday is still being felt on two fronts: First, I'm generally more relaxed than normal while facing the ongoing chaos of my daily schedule. Second, my daily schedule is that much more chaotic since I have additional deadlines, writing to catch up on, and a bit more madness since I am going away again (this time on a working trip) for two weeks soon.
But never mind, my first film-filled week back from holiday was an intriguing one, with a couple of summer blockbusters that were actually good for a change. Namely, The Dark Knight, which Christopher Nolan continues to spin into a thinking-person's action movie, with bleak situations and seriously complex characters. The other nice surprise was Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which Guillermo Del Toro pushes a whole lot further than the first film, with even more outrageous displays of pure imagination underscored by strong characters and lots of dry humour.
I also caught up with the disturbing, thought-provoking German drama The Wave; the not great but impossible to criticise documentary Blindsight, about blind Tibetan children climbing one of the Himalayas; the beautifully filmed but still lacklustre new version of Brideshead Revisited; and the only for extreme skiing fans doc Steep. On my own time, I also managed to watch two classic love stories on video, which come from polar extremes of the movie spectrum: David Lean's 1945 masterpiece Brief Encounter and Judd Apatow's 2007 crowd-pleaser Knocked Up.
This week is a much rougher ride, I suspect, with a vast array of dodgy comedies: Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder, Mike Myers' The Love Guru, Adam Sandler's You Don't Mess With the Zohan, Will Ferrell's Step Brothers and Emma Roberts' Wild Child. To provide a sense of balance and restore my faith in cinema, I have some acclaimed little films: Steve McQueen's Hunger, Mark Herman's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Ari Folman's Waltz With Bashir and Sarah Silverman's Jesus Is Magic.