I didn’t watch a large number of films this month, but most of what I watched was pretty decent. I saw some films in advance of Sydney Film Festival that were wonderful; and I watched five great films towards my #52FilmsByWomen challenge. I also watched a heck of a lot of good TV, with In the Thick of It and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend giving me reason to get though the day. I only visited the cinema 3 times this month, but this paltry number should increase by at least 35 in June, with Sydney Film Festival only one week away! My May 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.
New to Me
Special Correspondents (Ricky Gervais, 2016) – This is one of the worst films I have seen this year. It’s the sort of film that would have been a passable direct-to-home release comedy in the 90s, but in 2016 it just feels incredible stale.
The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet, 2010) – This was my favourite first-time viewing for May. What a beautiful film. I was both charmed and slightly bruised by it.
Bad Neighbours 2 (Nicholas Stoller, 2016) – I enjoyed this more than the first film, largely thanks to the reduced dude-bro factor. Rose Byrne is so incredibly funny in this and she alone makes it worth watching.
Grimsby (Louis Leterrier, 2016) – I have to give Chris Elena credit for really pushing me to watch this, because I had zero interest in doing so. This film is funny, clever, and surprisingly loving in its depiction of the sort of people who live in places like Grimsby. Sure it pushes it too far a couple of times, but it wouldn’t be a Baron Cohen film if it didn’t.
Girl in Progress (Patricia Riggen, 2012) – A teenage girl thinks she can help her struggling single mother out by speeding up her ascent to adulthood. This film is very sweet. I think the literary twist to the traditional coming-of-age story is very fun.
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (Mary Dore, 2014) – A frustrating documentary to watch because so many of the issues these amazing women protested about so many years ago, are still issues now.
Girl Asleep (Rosemary Myers, 2015) – Screens at Sydney Film Festival 2016. Thoughts to come.
Morris From America (Chad Hartigan, 2016) – Screens at Sydney Film Festival 2016. Thoughts to come.
Sonita (Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, 2015) – Screens at Sydney Film Festival 2016. Thoughts to come.
In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman, 2015) – Screens at Sydney Film Festival 2016. Thoughts to come.
Alice Through the Looking Glass (James Bobin, 2016) – Reviewed.
The Nice Guys (Shane Black, 2016) – This lessens for me the further I get away from it. A little bit Inherent Vice lite, but for the mainstream. Gosling is enjoyable here, and I did enjoy the chemistry he had with the more steadfast Crowe.
Patton Oswalt: Talking For Clapping (2016) – I quite enjoy Oswalt as an actor and as a personality on social media, but I didn’t find this particularly compelling.
Under the Sun (Vitaly Mansky, 2015) – Screens at Sydney Film Festival 2016. Thoughts to come.
The Meddler (Lorene Scafaria, 2015) – One of the best films I have seen at the cinema this year (thus far). These characters felt like people I know, dealing with grief in a way that is completely grounded in reality. Bonus points for having JK Simmons playing a stud muffin with a blonde stache and a Harley.
Life Off Grid (Jonathan Taggart, 2016) – Every time I watch a doco like this, half of me wants to abandon the city and live a slower paced life (which is more in touch with nature), and the other half of me realises that I couldn’t hack the work required to maintain the so-called simple life.
In the Loop (Armando Iannucci, 2009) – “Y’know, I’ve come across a lot of psychos, but none as fucking boring as you. You are a real boring fuck. Sorry, sorry, I know you disapprove of swearing so I’ll sort that out. You are a boring F, star, star, C–T!”
Spectre (Sam Mendes, 2015) – This was a little better on rewatch. Still had the same issues with Waltz, length & Bellucci scene, but the action set pieces are so fantastic. That opening = phwoah!
2016 Viewing totals:
New to me: 99
Total includes: 21 films at the cinema
30 films towards my 52 Films by Women pledge
In the Thick of It – Season 2, Episode 3 – Season 4, Episode 1 – Brilliant, brilliant TV. A Malcolm Tucker rant is like balm to my soul at the end of a work day.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Season 2, Episode 11 & 12 – A fine end to a good, but not great, season of TV. I enjoyed Jacqueline’s arch this season, and she had a great final episode.
Grace & Frankie – Season 2 – This is such a charming show. I loved how the characters developed considerably more depth this season, as did Grace and Frankie’s relationship. The show tackles some quite serious issues in a really kind, thoughtful manner.
Rick and Morty – Season 1, Episode 1 & 2 – People rave about this show, but based on the first 2 episodes I am not sure that it is for me.
Community – Season 1, Episode 7-9 – I promised myself that I would watch some of season 2 this time around, but I am struggling. I am enjoying it more this time, largely due to the fact that I know most of the cast now, but I am still finding it more miss than hit.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Season 1, Episode 14-18 – The finest writing on network television. I have so much to say about how wonderful this show is. I love how the show wrapped up – it dips and dives but always remains true to who Rachel really is.
Masterchef Australia – The one show I actually watch on TV. I have so much fun watching this.
Love, Nina – BBC miniseries, Episode 1 – This first episode was very charming. Will continue.
Lady Dynamite – Season 1, Episode 1 – What an odd show – very interesting structure. It didn’t grab me though, and I am not sure if I will watch any more.