Jun 302014



Well Sydney Film Festival has been and gone and thus so has my busiest film watching month of the year. I saw 33 films on the big screen in June which was made up of: one 0.5 star film, three 5 star films and a whole lot of everything which falls in between. It was certainly not boring, well at least the bits when I wasn’t watching certain parts of The Rover, HTTYD2 and Under the Skin weren’t. My June round-up is after the jump.

Screenings: refers to anything I have seen at the cinema/on the big screen.
New at home: encompasses new-to-me, first-time viewings on DVD/Blu-ray/VOD/Screeners
Rewatches: are [obviously] things I’ve seen before , which I’m viewing again at home
Best viewing: my favourite viewing in each of the categories listed above

Apart from the ‘Best Viewing’, films are listed in the order they were viewed in. Films reviewed this month are linked – click to read the review.



Best viewing: Mommy

Under the Skin
Tom at the Farm
Miss Violence
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Love is Strange
Happy Christmas
Jodorowsky’s Dune
20,000 Days on Earth
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
Two Days, One Night
Black Coal, Thin Ice
In Order of Disappearance
Fish & Cat
Double Play
The Rover
Winter Sleep
The Skeleton Twins
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Of Horses and Men
Starred Up
What We Do in the Shadows
22 Jump Street
The Lunchbox
Tim’s Vermeer


New at home

Best viewing: Nashville

Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?
Glory Daze
Human Capital
The Last Impresario



Best viewing: The Ghost Writer

School of Rock
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

What can I even begin to say about that bunch of films? Let’s just say it’s the film equivalent of a child being loose in a candy store. I have been spoiled beyond my wildest belief with a bounty of interesting and incredible films. For those playing along at home my three 5 star films are, Xavier Dolan’s Mommy, Studio Ghibli documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness and Kiwi comedy What We Do in the Shadows. Now I don’t “curate” my lists so that the 5 star films are spread across different types of films, but looking at these three films you might think that was the case. I love that I can love and appreciate such different films and I’m not pigeonholed into certain genres/types of film. I don’t think the Sam of five years ago would have been so open, so I’m glad that I’m growing.

The single 0.5 star film was Miss Violence from Greece. This film is about a mostly closed off family ruled over by a terrifying patriarch. This is a common trope in Greek films of late, but what distinguishes this is the levels which it stoops to for shock. It’s revolting and crossed a line I cannot move beyond. It’s incredibly lazy filmmaking and I have no respect for anyone who does that. Avoid it like the plague.

One film from the incredibly long list I want to mention is Ida, which is one I actually saw on regular release and not at the festival. This film is exquisite – there is actually no other suitable word to describe how breathtakingly beautiful it is. Every frame is a work of art – from the lighting, to the composition and the setting, it really is quite extraordinary. Couple this with a moving story and two fantastic lead performances and you have an utterly memorable film. This is one of the best cinema releases of the year without question.

While it’s not a film, I have to give a quick shout out to the season two of Orange is the New Black. I just finished watching the final episode and I think I’m still in shock. How good was that final few minutes? I am seriously grinning like a maniac. I love how much time this show puts into developing all of the supporting characters and some of the backstories this season were incredibly moving. I liked how this was less Piper’s story and more of the prison’s as a whole. It’s such a fascinating show with a suite of interesting characters and I’m all for sharing the focus around. Bring on season three!

Coming in July? I’ve been lucky enough to be given some screeners for the inaugural Scandinavian Film Festival, so I am very much looking forward to getting stuck into those. The big film of the month will be Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which I get to see next week. We rewatched ROTPOTA over the weekend and I have to say that it was even better than I remembered it. The CGI is mind-boggling and the story is terrifically engaging. Here’s hoping Dawn  is just as good. Other than Dawn it’s going to be a pretty quiet month at the cinema. I’m sure we’ll find something to watch.

2014 totals

Screenings: 80
New at Home: 61
Rewatches: 29

Total:  170

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