April was a great month for rewatches. I watched Toy Story 1, 2 & 3 again, after meaning to for years. I also rewatched Cloud Atlas and Only Lovers Left Alive – two of the best films released in the past 5 years. It’s so satisfying to revisit these films and find that no only do they hold up, but they even get better. On the new release front, it was a mixed bag. I was less keen on The Jungle Book and Captain: America Civil than others seem to be, but I utterly adored Midnight Special.
I watched three new films towards my #52FilmsByWomen challenge, one of them is one of the best so far (and a highlight for this month), while another could possibly be the worst of the 25 films I have seen. April round-up is 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.
Deadpool (Tim Miller, 2016) – This was not good. A leery, super smug film that thinks it is smart and edgy, but is actually sleazy and rather dull.
The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1982) – I can’t believe this was the first time I watched this film. Amazing. So different from anything else Scorsese has made. Di Niro is transcendent. Topically, this film is as relevant as ever.
Four Christmases (Seth Gordon, 2008) – I love an ultra cheesy holiday film, but even I couldn’t find anything positive here.
5 to 7 (Victor Levin, 2015) – I know I watched this film, but I don’t have any recollection of it. Should I be concerned about this memory lapse? Opps
Everything Before Us (Philip Wang & Wesley Chan, 2015) – This film had some really good ideas; thematically it reminded me of The Lobster. I wish the film focused more on the Department of Emotional Integrity and the impact it has – this was by far the film’s strength.
I Could Never Be Your Woman (Amy Heckerling, 2007) – It’s no Clueless but it’s sweet and sassy and contains a hilarious performance from a very young Saoirse Ronan.
The Jungle Book (Jon Favreau, 2016) – Reviewed
Tammy (Ben Falcone, 2014) – Much better than most people made it out to be. This film has a whole lot of heart. I found McCarthy’s character to be enduring, rather than annoying.
Harmontown (Neil Berkeley, 2014) – I haven’t listened to the podcast and I have only watched a few episodes of Community, so this was very much like a window into another world for me. After watching this, I vowed to give Community another try.
The Adderall Diaries (Pamela Romanowsky, 2015) – The idea of memory and how people can remember the same events differently is quite a powerful one to explore, but this film wasted it. The structure was a mess – I have no idea why the court case was included in the film, but it made zero sense.
A View to a Kill (John Glen, 1985) – The first 45 minutes of this film were rather entertaining, but then it settled into a monotonous amble through Bond’s greatest clichés. Moore was so old here, it’s comical.
Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, 2010) – Absolutely stunning. I am kicking myself for not seeing this at the cinema. It took me around 30 minutes to warm to the story, but then I was sucked in completely. The strength of these women, who were at the mercy of their men and the land, was incredible. Michelle Williams <3
Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (Michael Winterbottom, 2005) – So meta. I enjoyed it, but I think [not being familiar with the source material] a good chunk of it went over my head. Easy to see the seeds of The Trip here.
Midnight Special (Jeff Nichols, 2015) – Reviewed
How to be Single (Christian Ditter, 2016) – You can’t be single. You have to have a man and or baby to be truly happy. If you don’t have these, being rich can ease the pain. None of these? Your only option is to Eat Pray Love. When I realised that Dakota Johnson playing the main character, I should have turned this off. I am yet to see anything to convince me she is actually an actor. I was both pleased and sad that Alison Brie had the smallest role.
Captain America: Civil War (Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, 2016) – It was good, not great. Far too long. Pretty much The Avengers without Fury, Thor or Hulk. Chris Evans’ arms the MVP.
Shotgun Stories (Jeff Nichols, 2007) – Wonderful small-town story about family feuds and how grudges can poison the lives of generations. Loved the setting. Michael Shannon was great, but it was the quiet performance from Douglas Ligon that stole my heart.
High-Rise (Ben Wheatley,2015) – Still processing this. One of the best of the year. Like a hurricane.
M. Hulot’s Holiday (Jacques Tati, 1953) – Wonderful moments of slapstick, but the central story/motivations of the titular character were somewhat of a mess. I got a strong Faculty Towers vibe from the guests and staff of the seaside hotel.
Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995) – Rewatching this made me feel like I was a kid again, just for a moment.
Toy Story 2 (John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Ash Brannon, 1999) – I still think this is the weakest of the three films, but it held up much better than I expected it to.
Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, 2010) – It doesn’t pull at my heartstrings quite the way it seems to for other people, but there’s no denying that this is a beautiful film.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Nick Park & Steve Box, 2005) – I had so much fun showing this to Andy for the first time. God, it’s really brilliant. Ralph Fiennes as the voice of Victor Quartermaine had me in hysterics.
The Night Before (Jonathan Levine, 2015) – I adored this when I saw it at the cinema but I needed to rewatch to make sure it was good (also, I may have been slightly intoxicated at the time). I am delighted to say that it’s still a sweet and funny holiday flick.
Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013) – Perfection in the form of a film.
Cloud Atlas (The Wachowskis, 2012) – More perfection. This film is endlessly rewarding. I really, really need to buy the score on vinyl.
The Five-Year Engagement (Nicholas Stoller, 2012) – I enjoy this a lot – it’s one of my go-to feel-good romcoms. Quality cast elevates the film to one of the better ones of the genre.
High-Rise (Ben Wheatley, 2015) – Rewatched this immediately after watching it the first time. Brilliant.
2016 Viewing totals:
New to me: 83
Total includes: 18 films at the cinema
25 films towards my 52 Films by Women pledge
Catastrophe – Season 1 – This show is wonderful. I love how down-to-earth and unglamorous it feels. Such sharp, insightful writing. I cannot wait to watch season 2.
Nashville – Season 1, episode 1 – 9 – I quite like soaps set in the South, but I think this might have too much country singing for my liking.
Transparent – Season 1, episode 6 – 10 & Season 2 – This show got so much better in season 2. The characters stopped being purely poisonous, and actually developed some depth. I want more rabbi (Kathryn Hanh) though.
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story – This was much better than it should have been, but not quite the phenomenal television that many were falling over themselves to proclaim it as. Sarah Paulson!
The Girlfriend Experience – Season 1, episode 1 – Not compelled to go on based on the pilot, but will give it my customary 4 episodes before deciding.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Season 2, episode 1 – 10 – Drunk Tina Fey is the absolute highlight thus far. It’s not quite on par with Season 1 so far, but it’s still entertaining.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 1, episode 9 – 13 – The best comedy show on Network TV? Quite possibly. It just gets better and better,
Community – Season 1, episode 1 – 5 – Giving this another shot after watching the doco Harmontown. Enjoying it a lot more than the first time, purely because I know who all the cast are.
Mad Dogs (US version)- Season 1, episode 1 – Good pilot. I like the setting and the episode did have one hell of an ending. Will watch more
In the Thick of It – Season 1 & Season 2, episodes 1 & 2 – Well fuck me, this is brilliant. So quotable.