March was a pretty average month overall on the film front, but damn there was some fine TV. From the 28 films I watched, I would classify quite a few as ‘meh’ or just okay. Thankfully films like Sherpa, Zootopia, and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure ensured there was still some good viewing had. Film highlights included the three aforementioned films, along with thrilling bunker adventure and a couple of princesses out of the town. On the TV front, two BBC miniseries and the 5th season of an American comedy series topped. Check out my March monthly round-up after the jump.
Films viewed at the cinema are underlined. Films directed or co-directed by women are in green. Note: for the purpose of the 52 Films by Women pledge, I am only counting first-time views of films directed or co-directed by women, but I want to highlight all the films by women that I watch. Films are listed in the order they were viewed.
New to me
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Stephen Herek, 1989) – This was one of the best things I watched in March. So funny, so eighties. It was great to finally see some of the well-known lines from the film in context.
The Words (Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal, 2012) – Really liked all of the stuff about the author, the old man, and the book. Features a great performance from Jeremy Irons. Didn’t like story-line with Olivia Wilde as the inquisitive student – it was clichéd and took away from the compelling central story.
Finding Vivian Maier (John Maloof, Charlie Siskel, 2013) – Very beautiful. Sad, but beautiful. I wonder if she had the life she wanted? We’re lucky to have her work now.
Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush, 2016) – Reviewed.
The Walk (Robert Zemeckis, 2015) – I wish I had made the effort to see this in 3D, as I imagine it would have been quite something. I enjoyed it for the most part, but I sometimes found it really hard to move past Gordon-Levitt’s French accent
Friends with Money (Nicole Holofcener, 2006) – Such screwed-up, interesting characters.
10 Cloverfield Lane (Dan Trachtenberg, 2016) – Reviewed.
Paris-Manhattan (Sophie Lellouche, 2012) – Quite a cute idea, but it didn’t work for me. It was very charming in parts though.
A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino, 2015) – Worth seeing for Ralph Fienne’s absolutely electric performance. I won’t shake the imagine of him dancing to the Stones anytime soon. I was extremely distracted by the cinematography and editing, although I have read some great writing which praises these aspects of the film.
A Royal Night Out (Julian Jarrold, 2015) – I have to admit I was surprised by this film – it was a whole lot of fun. Energetic, entertaining, and well-meaning, without being too sentimental. Super performances from both Sarah Gadon and Bel Powley.
Spear (Stephen Page, 2015) – Much of this film went over my head, but there were some very powerful images that have stuck with me. Some of the dance numbers didn’t really translate to the screen, but everything with Aaron Pederson was excellent.
The Daughter (Simon Stone, 2015) – Features two wonderful performances and an interesting setting (we don’t see many rural Australian stories that aren’t about the Outback), but I struggle to understand why this predictable, hyper-dramatic film was so highly praised at the 2015 Sydney Film Festival.
Sunshine Cleaning (Christine Jeffs, 2009) – Well this was an odd little film. Amy Adams was so good in this. She’s great when she’s given more to do than be rescued…
Sherpa (Jennifer Peedom, 2015) – The best documentary I have seen this year (thus far). An important, powerful film. Very evenhanded in showing the many facets to the complicated situation which is commercial climbing on Everest. Warning: will cause moments of rage.
Man Up (Ben Palmer, 2015) – Lake Bell in everything!!! Sweet, amusing film that gets a little stupid in the later stages.
The Jammed (Dee McLachlan, 2007) – I liked the rawness of this film – it didn’t try to make the sex industry look sexy or appealing in any way. Harrowing viewing at times.
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (John Lee, 2016) – I was a big fan of Pee-wee Herman as a kid, but I must admit that I found the humour very patchy here. I did enjoy every scene with Joe Manganiello though…*wipes brown*.
A Matter of Taste (Sally Rowe, 2007) – It was interesting to see the career progression of such a talented young chef, but this documentary was very much by the numbers.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Zack Snyder, 2016) – Reviewed.
Sleeping with Other People (Leslye Headland, 2015) – I have to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what this film was going for. Sure I laughed at moments, but the tone was all over the place.
The Farmer and The Chef (Michael Whalen, 2014) – Not much to like here. More like an episode of local TV than a documentary.
Are You Here (Matthew Weiner, 2013) – Oh boy, what a mess.
Into the Night (John Landis, 1985) – I enjoyed this, although it was little drawn out. 80s David Bowie and Jeff Goldblum sharing the screen is just about the most wonderful thing ever. I wish I could work a red leather jacket like Michelle Pfeiffer does here. Pumping 80s score.
Intolerable Cruelty (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2003) – This is better than I remember it being, but I still think it is a very weak film by Coen standards.
Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993) – So good. It’s the little moments which make this so wonderful.
Tangled (Nathan Greno, Byron Howard, 2010) – An extremely underrated film. The physical humour is fantastic.
About Time (Richard Curtis, 2013) – I cried. Again. Damn you Bill Nighy.
Red (Robert Schwentke, 2010) – I didn’t realise until over an hour into the film that I had seen it before. Opps. Average action fare with a few amusing moments.
2016 Viewing totals:
New to me: 64
Total includes: 14 films at the cinema
22 films towards my 52 Films by Women pledge
House of Cards – Season 4 – Love that the series has embraced it’s soapy heart and run with it. There’s an episode that turns the tide in this season, and from then onwards it is utterly compelling viewing.
The Grand Hotel – Season 1, Episode 1-5 – Amazing telenova trash. Worth watching just to hear the over-the-top score.
The Night Manager – BBC Miniseries, Episode 2-6 – Tom Hiddleston is great, but it’s Hugh Laurie as an ever-so-smooth baddie that steals the show. Another handsome production from the BBC.
State of Play – BBC Miniseries (2003) – Every word out of Bill Nighy’s mouth was witty and wonderful. A great miniseries with twists and turns aplenty. Amusing performance from a baby-faced James McAvoy.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Season 1, Episode 5-8 – Still loving this show. “I give good parent” could be my favourite music number thus far.
Louie – Season 5 – Louis CK is a genius. This show is so funny, so awkward, and so utterly unpredictable.
Transparent – Season 1, Episode 1-5 – It’s too soon for me to decide how I feel about this show. I find the characters rather unlikable. The mall bathroom scene in episode 4 almost had me in tears.