The Italian’s choice, making up for his snafu with The Grey.
29. Certain Women (2016)
‘The lives of three women intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing a trail.‘
I know nothing about Montana, aside from knowing Robert Redford has his Sundance Ranch there (and I’m not even 100% about that).
This little curio is based on three short stories all taking place there, and man alive it’s beautiful but the settings are bleak, although the Rocky Mountain backdrop is stunning. We’re watching workaday lives that are slow and sometimes monotonous and full of frustration.
I don’t know how it made me feel, if I’m honest. Technically it’s incredibly good (even though I think Kristen Stewart is too mannered and self-conscious, it hauls you right out of the narrative) and the short stories are lovely little gems. I think I felt a bit wistful afterwards and I’m not sure why. 8/10.
Over 2 weeks in. But what I realised yesterday is that I’m watching all these films, and half of them aren’t on any best of lists, they weren’t even on my radar till I started trawling Netflix. So after finally finishing Making a Murderer (more of that later), I looked for something that I’d been meaning to watch for ages.
January 17, 2016
15. Cobain: Montage of Heck, 2015
On April 6 1994 my sister woke me up with the words ‘Kurt Cobain’s dead’. Grief over a personal hero’s death has been a theme this week, so I thought it was probably a good time to watch this documentary about the enigmatic Nirvana frontman. It’s a very interesting watch, strangely voyeuristic, and the home videos of his life with Courtney and Frances are almost heartbreaking, but ultimately I don’t feel like it told me much about him that hadn’t already been said. Cracking soundtrack and animation though. 4/5.
16. Disconnect, 2012
This was by no means something I planned to watch, but it was on iplayer and looked intriguing: 3 interlinked stories looking at the effect of the internet and social media on our lives. It’s pretty bleak: human beings are awful, after all, but there are some beautiful and compelling set pieces: there’s a section at the end that’s totally stylised, but took my breath away. 3/5
By this point in the day I was aching to watch a comedy, but thought fuck it – I may as well go for full-on misery.
17. Dallas Buyers Club, 2014
I’d actually been actively avoiding this one: I was very worried that it would be more about the spectacle of two actors transforming themselves than about the tragic reality of what AIDS patients went through in the 80s. Happy to admit that I was wrong though: there were definitely a couple of Give-Me-My-Oscar-Dammit moments, but on the whole it never tipped into melodrama. Great perfomances from the supporting cast as well, who were overshadowed by McConaughey and Leto in all the hype. 3/5
I am so behind with this challenge. I’ve been caught up watching Making a Murderer, late nights at work, feeling like I’d never enjoy a movie again. So Saturday night, I deliberately chose a movie my friends love, one I really ‘ought’ to have seen.
January 16, 2016
14. Clue, 1985
Oh but I loved this! So silly, so clever, so funny, and I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before. Based on the board game and with a cast of some of the finest comedy actors (Tim Curry, Michael McKean, Lesley Ann Warren, Eileen Brennan) I laughed out loud several times, and kept laughing after the credits rolled. 5/5 and will watch again, because I’m sure I missed loads.
This week has been fucking dreadful: David Bowie on Monday and then the loss of Alan Rickman yesterday – the arts world really is taking a hit. More about Rickman in another post.
Last night, after 3 movie-free days (I haven’t even watched Labyrinth yet, it’s technically part of the rules not to rewatch movies however I think under the circumstances it’s OK), I looked on Netflix to see what Alan Rickman movies were on there. A Little Chaos, I’d already seen (and loved), so the only other option was…
January 14, 2016
13. Gambit, 2012
Oh I don’t know. This was OK, but so British it hurt. Colin Firth was basically playing Hugh Grant, Cameron Diaz was doing…. something…., Alan Rickman was very very funny (Look, I’m not going to say a bloody word against him, OK?) and god only knows how they got Cloris Leachman involved. There was a fart joke that really made me laugh though. 2/5
I was losing hope of ever enjoying a movie again. Feeling properly Sunday night I hit the Netflix ‘Comedy’ section from the comfort of my bed… and happened across this little gem…
January 10, 2016
12. Thanks For Sharing, 2012
I really liked this – it’s sold on being a movie about sex addiction (which it mostly is), but it also has a lot to say about addiction as a generic disease. Great casting, engaging narrative, and if you close your eyes when Josh Gad is talking about compulsive masturbation it’ll ruin Olaf’s warm hugs in Frozen for you forever. 4/5
Time to start ticking off those classics. It’s a rainy Sunday, the cold has turned into bronchitis, and I want a black and white comedy.
January 10, 2016
11. The Apartment, 1960
Office worker rents out his apartment to bullying colleagues so they can carry on their extramarital affairs. You couldnt make this film today. I’m not sure they should have made it then. Lovely performance from Jack Lemmon though, and engaging enough to while away the afternoon. 3/5
So one film led to another today….damn you Netflix, with your suggested titles.
January 9, 2016
9. The Choir, 2014 (aka Boychoir)
OK, check out this motherfudging cast: Hoffman! Bates! Izzard! Artie from Glee! – my hopes were high for The Choir. Boy from the wrong side of the tracks triumphs over adversity with the help of a wise mentor- what’s not to love? It’s like Footloose, if Footloose was set in an elite boys school where they all sing at pitches only dogs can hear. It’s OK, but it’s the kind of film my mother would love (and yes, I mean this pejoratively). It’s even got Josh fucking Groban singing at the end. 3/5 (would been a 2, but I’ve given it an extra point for some risible dialogue clearly nicked from a sports film, spoken by James Spader trapped in a 12 year old’s body).
10. The English Teacher, 2013
How many Oscars d’you get for this, Julianne? 1/5