As always, June was a big month. It’s Sydney Film Fest time and the peak my annual viewing. Apart from 3 films, every film watched in June was at the cinema. I saw 28 at the festival and a few more on general release. My one and only rewatch for June was the glorious documentary, Winnebago Man, a film I rate as one of the best documentaries of this century thus far. I also watched a fair amount of TV, including two and a half seasons of one particular TV show. My full 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
Best viewing: Victoria
Arabian Nights: Volume 3, The Enchanted One
Arabian Nights: Volume 2, The Desolate One
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Seymour: An Introduction
Arabian Nights: Volume 1, The Restless One
54 – The Director’s Cut
Some Kind of Love
Only The Dead
Welcome to Leith
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Eisenstein in Guanajuato
The Summer of Sangaile
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
The Hunting Ground
Beats of the Antonov
New at Home
Best viewing: The Russian Woodpecker
Welcome to Me
Best (and only) viewing: Winnebago Man
I reviewed quite a few of the titles I saw at Sydney Film Festival, so head here if you’re interesting in checking them out. My pick of the festival was Victoria, a film which was incredibly shot in a single take and yet isn’t a gimmick. At 2 hours 20 minutes, the fact this is a single take is astounding. Add in the fact there are multiple location changes, scenes involving people other than our core group, and even a shoot out – it’s nothing short of jaw-dropping. What the single take construction serves to do, is to make you feel like the unnamed extra person in the core group. You are there for everything and it’s all in real-time. This was an incredibly immersive cinema experience and I beg of you, if you get the chance to see it on the big screen, you have to take that chance.
If you had told me at the start of the year that I would have enjoyed Terminator Genisys more than Jurassic World, I would have laughed at you – and yet, here we are. I was incredibly bored by Jurassic World and really didn’t find the sense of fun that I crave in these large-scale blockbusters. Not even Pratt’s charm could save it for me. Aside from being bored, I also found the CGI quite terrible, the children dull, the product placement outrageous, and I hated that the scientists were now the villains. For me, Genisys had the sense of fun that the take-itself-all-too-seriously Jurassic World lacked. Arnie was so funny and all of his stupid gags completely worked on me. I thought Emilia Clarke was a fantastic Sarah Conner and more than held her own in the action scenes. Don’t get me wrong, it has major problems (plot holes, silly dialogue, time travel rule breaking(?), product placement), but not being fun ain’t one of them. I still don’t get Jai Courtney though – he is an enigma.
Coming up in July? I am looking forward to catching Minions (hehehe *bottom*) and Amy this week, as well as Sydney Film Festival opener, Ruben Guthrie. I suspect this will be the last month for a while that I can watch any near the number of films I usually watch in a month, as from the end of July I’ll be a student again. That’s right, along with working full-time, writing about film, and having a life, I’ll be studying postgraduate law. I think I am certifiably crazy.
2015 viewing totals
New at Home: 54
Grace & Frankie – Season 1
Gilmore Girls – Seasons 4-5, Season 6, episodes 1-14
Sense8 – Season 1
Can we take a moment to talk about what a great character Kirk is in Gilmore Girls. Friend, critic, and Gilmore Girls fan Cam Williams told me what a great character Kirk becomes, and I really saw that in these latter seasons. Has someone compiled a list of every job that Kirk has had? I want to read it, it must run for pages. Sean Gunn has an amazing ability to deliver the most ridiculous lines, completely deadpan. It’s a marvel. Can we also talk about how rough the first third of season 6 is? I was in utter emotional turmoil. I guess it had to come at some point, but for most mother and daughters it’s during the teenage years, not into the twenties. I am so glad the characters have begun to move on from that.
I quite enjoyed the first seasons of two Netflix original series, Grace & Frankie and Sense8. Grace & Frankie was easy watching charm and I whizzed through it in a few days. It’s refreshing to see a show about people in this age group and I look forward to seeing the trouble Tomlin and Fonda’s hilarious characters get up to in season 2. Sense8 was like a gift from the gods. I am a huge Wachowski fan (yes, even Jupiter Ascending), and this series is like a 12 hour Wachowski film. It explores themes common to their films and they use almost all of their usual film crew, including Tom Tykwer who scored the series, and directed two episodes. The series has issues, notably some hammy/laughable dialogue that is meant to be “profound” and some poorly conceived and acted supporting characters; but overall I really enjoyed it. The core eight are all interesting and the way the series slowly introduces the characters to each other and intertwines their lives is excellent.