Monthly Round-up: December 2016 Viewing [Andy]

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Jan 022017

I spent a lot of this month catching up on a few 2016 releases I had missed, and making sure I caught all the essential theatrical releases in December. The result was surprising: only a few of these viewings left an impression on me. I remember last year seeing The Revenant, The Big Short, Carol and Spotlight in December. This year Jackie, Your Name and The Edge of Seventeen stood out, but I still have a number of the Oscar candidates to see – Moonlight, Manchester By the Sea, Hidden Figures, Silence, Lion and Fences. At this point last year I had seen all eventual Best Picture nominees save for Room. 

The absolute highlight of this month’s viewing was the tremendous Westworld. I was hooked after one episode, and for me this is a demonstration of the rarely-met potentials of TV. Layers upon layers of interconnected story arcs and thought-provoking ideas that utilise the 10+ hours. The intrigue is never relinquished here – the twists are shocking – and the writing, acting and production values are all exceptional.

2017 goals = unknown. With a baby on the way, I have no idea what kind of time I can dedicate to movies, TV, books and games. I expect I’ll still probably see in the vicinity of 200 films throughout the year, but very few will be at the cinema. Most will likely be on VOD catch-up. I have set a reading goal at 20 novels for 2017. This year I hit 40, so I think this is realistic.

After the jump is a listing of everything I watched in December. I needed 36 films to hit 365 films for the year. I wasn’t trying for this number, it just happened. I didn’t make it anyway, ending with 27.

Oh, and if you missed my 25 Favourite Films of 2016, be sure to check it out.

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Monthly Round-up: September 2016 Viewing [Andy]

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Oct 032016


I watched a total of 24 films in September, which was well down on previous months, but I made up for that with TV viewing. I watched 45 episodes of TV. I found viewing in small-bites more relaxing this month, often finding myself unable to commit to a film. But, in finding shows I liked, there was motivation to binge. September was also a bit of a dead month – both theatrically and on home entertainment. Missing Sully was unfortunate, but there wasn’t too much else I was sorry to miss, and most of the home entertainment releases I had already seen. October offers some exciting releases in The Neon Demon, Elle and Hell or High Water and hopefully the chances to see Arrival and American Honey. 

I spent the first three weeks of September working through the epic 2013 Man Booker Prize winner, The Luminaries, which is right up there with A Little Life as the book of the year for me.

On the music front, it was also a weak month. I did enjoy Angel Olsen’s My Woman and Young Thug’s Jeffery, but I struggled to get into Frank Ocean’s highly-anticipated Blonde.

TV was the hero of September. I seemed to enjoy watching other people struggling with life – most specifically in regards to relationships, parenthood and professions. Joe Swanberg’s Easy featured brilliant writing, Catastrophe followed up its hilarious first season with some very unexpected dark turns in its second, while Love was pure addiction. I haven’t yet discovered the pinnacle of Bojack Horseman, but I look forward to working through seasons two & three during October.

Brief thoughts on some of my viewing in September after the jump:

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Monthly Round-up: July 2016 [Sam]

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Aug 092016


July was the month that I decided to take a step back from cinema. It’s not that I love movies any less, it’s just that after 4+ years of regularly attending screenings/festivals and writing about movies, I really need a break. I am still watching films, but only those films I really want to (no obligation viewings for me), but I am not really writing at the moment. I have to admit it’s kind of freeing, particularly considering how sub-par this blockbuster season has been. I suspect Spring and the increase of indies at the cinema might just get my writing juices flowing again. My round-up of my July viewing is after the jump.

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Monthly Round-up: June 2016 [Sam]

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Jul 052016


June was crammed packed with amazing films thanks to Sydney Film Festival. It’s a weird feeling when the festival is done – on one hand I don’t want to see a cinema for a little while, but on the other hand I mourn the end of the fabulous array of films and wonderful people who visit Sydney to see them. I haven’t written about the festival films in my round-up this month, I think I said enough online, in our festival awards post, and in my various reviews. Brief thoughts of everything else I watched, including two of the year’s best, are after the jump.

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Monthly Round-up: May 2016 Viewing [Andy]

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Jun 012016


Though it was a quieter month at the cinema – just four trips – I got through a heap of viewing at home. Some of this viewing was in preparation for Sydney Film Festival. Some of it was catching up on films I missed at the cinema, on digital platforms. I ended up watching 29 films and 15 episodes of TV. But, more importantly, I finished two projects I had been working on for months. The first: Bond. I watched all 24 James Bond films and ranked them here. The second: Goosebumps. In one of the most ambitious and foolish things I have ever attempted, I re-read all 62 of the original Goosebumps novel series, and ranked and wrote about each one. The idea, to spark some nostalgia and to take once R.L. Stine fans through each novel and give the experience of re-living them. Also, it serves as a guide on which ones to never ever read again.

In addition to all this I recently began reading Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. Tremendous work, but deeply scarring. I have read over 400 pages in a short amount of time, and am struggling to emotionally process some of this beautiful, but distressing story. On the TV front I have been addicted to The Thick of It, a perfect tonic to a long tough day at the office, but haven’t really given much time to anything else. Albums of the month go to Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool and James Blake’s The Colour in Everything. 

Coming up in June: Sydney Film Festival. Check back in regularly for reviews and a series of diary entries. Some thoughts on fresh watches after the jump:

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Monthly Round-up: May 2016 [Sam]

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May 312016


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.

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Monthly Round-up: April 2016 [Sam]

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May 032016


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.

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Monthly Round-up: March 2016 Viewing [Andy]

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Apr 022016

Peter Sarsgaard plays social scientist Stanley Milgram in Experimenter. </em

I had a much quieter month of viewing in March – 20 films, and 20 episodes of television. Thankfully most of what I watched was pretty decent, which was a nice change from February’s film mediocrity. I also passed my reviewing goal in March. One per week.

I finished several substantial novels, including ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ and ‘The Goldfinch’, the latter which has been sitting unfinished on my shelf for a long time. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. One of the most extraordinary novels I have ever read. I have also, rather foolishly, embarked on a quest to read all 62 of the classic Goosebumps books (in order). I have missed a few so far, but I read 22 of them in March. At the conclusion, if I make it, I will be writing about my experiences.

I also got addicted to the ‘Uncharted’ series on PS4. I am deep into ‘Uncharted 2’, which is living up to the widespread ‘Greatest Game Ever’ acclaim. I look forward to continuing the series in April. While I did cull back TV, I did regretfully miss a few theatrical releases I was keen to see: 10 Cloverfield Lane, Eye in the Sky and Kung-Fu Panda 3. I hope I will be able to still catch them in the coming weeks.

My thoughts on all of my fresh film viewing in March after the jump: Continue reading »