June, as usual is all about the Sydney Film Festival. A binge of films for two weeks, followed by a period of very few. I watched a total of 34 films at the Sydney Film Festival. I wrote about them all, to various lengths, in four diary entries. You can read about them all here, as well as full-length reviews, and a festival awards round-up written by Sam and myself. These are not listed below – ended watching 44 films in June + 20 episodes of TV.
I also played a good chunk of Witcher 3. I am so close to the end, after almost a year of intermittent playing. Certainly one of the greatest games I have ever played. I am also very close to finishing A Little Life. A tremendous, life-changing novel that deserves all of the praise and dialogue it has provoked. Perhaps my album of the year (not a surprise for anyone who knows my music tastes) is The Glowing Man by Swans. While it still clocks in at close to two hours it is a much more subdued and penetrable effort than their previous two works. It still evokes the feeling of swimming in a deep, dark ocean, but here Swans offer some flashes of light. I also very much enjoyed Puberty 2 by Mitzki, Bottomless Pit by Death Grips, and Freetown Sound by Blood Orange.
Read beyond for a recap of everything I watched outside of the Sydney Film Festival.
Sing Street – More thoughts to come, but I very much enjoyed this. What an infectiously charming and optimistic stand-up-and-sing opponent to ’80s conservative authoritarianism, parental failings and a pre-destined dreary future with a celebration of brotherhood, and a romantic plot to wholeheartedly get behind (this surprised me, how much I liked this pair). Great performances, especially from Reynor, and that wicked Brit-pop soundtrack. It has some early butterflies, but I was well and truly hooked by the time they were filming that awesome(!) first video. (4/5)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Taika Waititi continues to grow more confident with his filmmaking. This is easily his best looking film, and has maybe (?) the best use of montage this side of Edgar Wright. The performance from Julian Dennison is absolutely hilarious, and the soundtrack is sublime. It also pretty well nails the balance of goofy, dry Kiwi humour with a deceptively dense and moving story. (4/5)
Now You See Me 2 – Here is a film with too many tricks and not enough sleeves. Coherence and logic, that’s the illusion. Still, undeniably watchable because of the cast, who are pretty much paying bills. (2/5)
I also watched The Confirmation but cannot discuss it for professional reasons.
Mustang – Reviewed (4.5/5)
Eye in the Sky – Proved to be far superior than any of the promotional material suggested. The fusion of so many different elements was what continually impressed me. Nail-bitingly stressful, and all-round well performed. The moral/legal/political responsibility cross-checking served as a darkly-comic, but agonising watch. (4/5)
Jane Got a Gun – A project fraught with problems, obviously. But when did Natalie Portman become so dull? (2/5)
Watched on screener prior to the Sydney Film Festival, but don’t have much to say: Tharlo and Lampedusa in Winter.
Johnny Guitar – 4.5/5
The House on Haunted Hill – 3.5/5
The Affair S1 E1-3
The Thick of It Season 4 – 4/5
Casual S1 E4-10 – (Season, 3.5/5)
Bloodline S2 E1
Cleverman S1 E1