Monday, March 19, 2018

Films I Watched: February 2018

Recently I've been going through a pretty hard time and the one thing that has kind of saved me is cinema. I never used to go and watch films at the cinema that much, I'd always just think I'd wait until they came out instead but now I've realised that it's such a great form of escapism and it really does help me. I leave there feeling so inspired and motivated and like I could take on the world, I love that feeling. I wish it would stay.  Here are all the films I watched in February, at home and in cinema... 

01. Get Out (2017), dir. Jordan Peele

If, like me, you've been putting off watching Get Out because it's a horror film; STOP RIGHT NOW, THANK YOU VERY MUCH (5000 points if you got the Spice Girls reference) It may come as a surprise, but not all horror films will terrify you and I promise you, that this is one that won't make you feel like you need to hide behind a cushion for the whole duration. And if you do find it scary, you don't watch the news enough, my friend. 

Get Out follows Chris Washinton (Daniel Kaluuya) an aspiring photographer, as he meets his girlfriend's family for the first time. There's only one slight problem, even though Rose (Allison Williams) thinks it'll be okay, she hasn't actually told her parents (Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford) that her new boyfriend is black. Chris suggests that it may be a good idea to ring ahead and warn them but Rose is adamant that he doesn't need to worry. Once they arrive, the parents seem welcoming and accepting enough, and it isn't long until Chris finally starts to feel at ease, but then he suddenly gets the feeling that things just aren't as they seem...

There's so much I could say about this film, which means I'll probably end up writing a whole other separate post about it someday soon, but what I will say for now is how much it actually gave me Funny Games (1997) vibes. Both are marketed as horror films, but they are so much more than that. They are essentially a subtle commentary on American culture, through subtle references and metaphors. Funny Games makes statements on violence in the media and how our modern society is majorly desensitised to this. Get Out follows a similar thought pattern but focuses on racism and how it's still a huge issue. I think sometimes we forget just how much of a huge problem it still is because we constantly surround ourselves with like-minded people. This film reminds us how we need to keep stamping out problematic behaviour until it's gone forever. An incredible film that will leave you thinking about it for a very long time after. I highly recommend, even if you're not usually a fan of horror or thriller films. 

"You know what I say? I say one down, a couple hundred thousand to go. I don't mean to get on my high horse, but I'm telling you, I do not like the deer. I'm sick of it; they're taking over. They're like rats. They're destroying the ecosystem. I see a dead deer on the side of the road and I think, that's a start."

02. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), dir. 
Michel Gondry

You have to watch Eternal Sunshine on Valentine's Day, right? It's like an unwritten rule, RIGHT??? 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind follows Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) as they try and overcome the grief of their breakup. Clementine is impulsive and decides that the only way she'll ever be okay is if she undergoes a procedure to have all her memories of Joel and their relationship erased. Joel is heartbroken when he realises what she did and decides to have the procedure done too.

The film mostly takes place inside Joel's head as he undergoes the procedure and we see flashback, after flashback of all the important memories of his broken relationship; the day they first met on Montauk beach, the times when he realised how much he loved her and the times when she irritated him beyond belief. But as every memory starts to slip away, he realises just how much he loves her and how important these memories are to him. Before he was so focused on how painful the end of the relationship was, all he wanted to do was forget and to stop feeling the pain, that he didn't realise just how important all the memories were to him but it's too late, there's nothing he can do to save them.

This is probably my favourite film ever, even though it can be a really sad one to watch. I used to think about this concept a lot and if I would go through with it or not. I think it would be a great quick fix but our memories and experiences are what makes us who we really are and I think that's really lovely. If you have never seen this, please watch it soon! 

"I'm erasing you and I'm happy. You did it to me first. I can't believe you did this to me. By morning you'll be gone! You hear me? You'll be gone! A perfect ending to this piece of shit story!"

03. The Lobster (2015), dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

Also on Valentine's Day, Film4 played The Lobster and I decided that I'd watch it for the second time.

The Lobster is set in a dystopian future and according to the laws of 'The City', everyone that is single must be taken to 'The Hotel' where you have to fall in love and find a partner within 45 days or you'll be turned into an animal of your own choosing. The story follows David (Colin Farrell) on his mission to find someone in time. 

This film is really different and unlike anything I have ever watched before, and it was even nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2017 Oscars. I feel like this is almost a parody of how we, as people, feel like we can't be on our own anymore. Every day there seems to be another dating app and another way to meet a partner. This is a completely honest look at human beings and our flaws, especially when it comes to loving other people. We fear ending up alone but I don't think we always consider that being with the wrong person can leave us feeling just as lonely. 

Honestly though, I think if this was ever a reality, I would just take the being turned into an animal thing and be done with relationships! 

"It is more difficult to pretend that you do have feelings when you don't than to pretend you don't have feelings when you do."

04. The Shape of Water (2017), dir. Guillermo del Toro

I took myself on a date to see The Shape of Water and I absolutely adored it, so much so, I wrote a whole post on it which you can read: here. It's such a beautiful film and it's also a Best Picture Oscar winner now!!!! 

"Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere."

05. Singin' in the Rain (1952), dir. Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly.

Singin' in the Rain is one of my all-time favourite films and anytime I see that it's playing on tv, I have to watch it.

Singin' in the Rain is set in 1920's Hollywood; when the film industry first made the change from silent movies to ones with sound. It follows Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) as they have to change their silent romance film "The Duelling Cavalier" into their first film with sound - renamed into a musical "The Dancing Cavalier". There's only one slight problem, Lina has the most shrill sounding voice you've ever they have no choice but to secretly find a chorus girl (Debbie Reynolds) to dub over her speaking and singing parts. Everything is great and it looks like the film will be a success until Lina finds out...

If you're a fan of musicals and haven't yet seen Singin' in the Rain, watch it ASAP, it's such a beautiful film. I just love everything about it, the choreography, the songs, the chemistry between the cast. It's just completely magical. Also, I absolutely adore Debbie Reynolds in this so much, I can't believe she was only 19! 

"Well, we movie stars get the glory. I guess we have to take the little heartaches that go with it. People think we lead lives of glamour and romance, but we're really lonely - terribly lonely."

06. Call Me by Your Name (2017), dir. Luca Guadagnino

And now let's talk about the winner of this year's Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards...

Call Me by Your Name is set in the summer of 1983 and follows Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), as he spends his days with his family, enjoying their beautiful Italian villa. He soon meets his father's research assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer) and a relationship that will change their lives forever, begins to blossom.

I think this is a film that people either love or just don't care for at all. And I do think it sadly fell into that trap of being majorly overhyped; so we were all expecting something life-altering and incredible and as a result, I think we kept looking for something that just wasn't there, which made us feel like something was almost missing. It is what it is and it's beautiful and should be enjoyed, don't ruin that by all the overthinking and expecting too much from it.

I personally adored it. I just loved how much of an honest and beautiful look at first love, loss and heartbreak it was. I recently had my first real earth-shattering heartbreak and I watched this film when I really needed it the most. Mr Perlman's speech on how to keep moving after losing your first love was just spot-on. I almost felt like he was talking to me and I absolutely sobbed my heart out in the cinema.

Call Me by Your Name is such a bittersweet film. It gives you such a unique warming feeling but it's like, you just know it won't last. Almost like those final days of summer when you were a kid. You're having the time of your life, but you know it'll be over soon so you have to try and enjoy every second while you can. Your first love is the best, but the most painful experience and afterwards, you just want to feel nothing at all but we need to realise, to feel nothing would be a waste. We should feel the joy of everything we've experienced because it's amazing that we once found someone that made us feel all those feelings. And even when it ends, we need to appreciate what we once had. The last scene when Vision of Gideon plays makes me cry every single time I see it. It's such a raw look at what the aftermath of heartbreak is really like.

"We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything - what a waste! Remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. And before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now there’s sorrow. Pain. Don’t kill it and with it the joy you’ve felt." 

07. Lady Bird (2017), dir. Greta Gerwig

Lady Bird is a coming of age story that follows Christine aka 'Lady Bird' (Saoirse Ronan), an outspoken, Catholic high school senior student who dreams of leaving Sacramento, California to attend a college in a "city with culture". 

Lady Bird is such a beautiful, beautiful film, and I'm yet to meet anyone that doesn't like it, even my Mum wants to go to the cinema and see it and she doesn't usually watch a whole lot of films. And I think the reason why everyone adores it so much is because it's such an honest and raw coming-of-age film, that all of us can relate to in some sort of way and it will have a different effect on you, depending on your own personal life experiences. And weirdly, the bit that got me the most was when she painted over her pink walls. It just made me feel completely nostalgic. I don't think any of my words will do this film the justice it deserves but I definitely recommend watching this. It'll probably make you want to give your Mum the tightest hug ever after you watch it, I know it did for me. I'm also a huge sucker for nostalgia so I loved the fact that this was set in 2002, the soundtrack made my heart so happy.

"Some people aren't built happy, you know?"

08. Phantom Thread (2017), dir. Paul Thomas Anderson

Phantom Thread it set in post-war, 1950's London and follows Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) a dressmaker who dresses the rich and famous, including the likes of film stars and royalty. He's a man very set in his ways and as a result, women have never been a permanent fixture in his life, preserving his bachelor status. That is until he meets Alama (Vicky Krieps)...

This is such a gorgeous film; with stunning cinematography and costume design, not to mention an incredible score and some great one-liners that I'll remember forever, but for me, I think it's one of those films that I enjoyed watching, but would probably not watch again and I'm not really sure why that is...I guess I just didn't feel the connection that everyone else seems to feel when watching this. 

I don't really love watching films that show toxic masculinity and toxic relationships and don't reflect on how damaging they really are and that you should walk away. I grew up watching films that told me that if a guy treats you badly, it's because he loves you and he'll change if you behave in a certain way. I just hate that. Actress Vicky Krieps even said: “Every relationship when it's good is toxic ... love is when we are most touched by the world we live in, or by nature, or we become nature again and it gets out of our control.” And although I think that statement does ring true, I want to believe you can love someone and not lose your mind and be toxic towards each other. I think we just need to stop romantising toxic behaviour, the end.

"I miss you. I think about you all the time. I hear your voice say my name when I dream and when I wake up, there are tears streaming down my face. I just miss you, it’s as simple as that. I want to tell you everything."

09. The Post (2017), dir. Steven Spielberg

Sometimes when you decide to go to the cinema, you end up watching a film that you wouldn't normally go for and this is what happened with this film...and the fact it was also up for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars definitely helped a smidge. 

The Post follows Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper - The Washington Post as she and her co-worker Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) race with The New York Times to expose government secrets that span over three decades and four U.S. presidents. 

Now, I'm not sure if it was the film or the fact it's just not my thing but I really didn't enjoy this film at all. It could be one that I simply didn't connect to or understand but, I don't know, it just felt pretty lifeless and boring for the most part. In the grand scheme of things, it's just a very forgettable film that I won't be in any hurry to watch again. 

"I always wanted to be part of a small rebellion."

010. The Florida Project (2017), dir. Sean Baker

Every now and again, you watch a film and realise just how incredible cinema is and it's one of the best feelings ever and this was one of those for me!

The Florida Project is set on a commercial strip just outside Disney World in Orlando. It follows six-year-old 
Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite) over a summer break. They live on a week by week basis at a budget motel called "The Magic Castle" managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe). Moonee finds enjoyment from the little things in life, like, going on adventures with her friends but behind the scenes, Halley is really struggling to support herself, let alone also having to provide for her daughter, which leaves her no choice but to make money by any means necessary...

This film is a masterpiece and everything I love in a film. It's brutally honest and raw and poignant and so utterly beautiful. It makes me so incredibly sad how snubbed it was at the Oscars, the cinematography is so beautiful, some of the best I've ever seen and it wasn't even nominated...HOW???? 

It made me feel every single emotion, I was a shell of a person afterwards. It was also so thought-provoking, especially regarding how there are still so many children living in poverty and their parents are struggling to provide them with even a roof over their head and food. Utterly heartbreaking. Director Sean Baker even said that he hopes this film will raise awareness and inspire people to get involved and donate and help as much as they can and I really hope it does because we need change.

The film also made me think so much about children and their parents and how easy it is to rip away their innocence and completely ruin their childhood. I didn't have the best childhood and grew up with very little money and this was a film that really hit home for me. It broke my heart to watch this little girl not receive the love that she so desperately deserved and she was just too innocent to understand. I never thought I'd cry when a child asked why there was no pepperoni on her pizza but here we are. And t
he last scene of Moonee and her best friend, Jancey (Valeria Cotto) was just perfect.

Please, please, if you want something to watch, give this a go because you won't be disappointed!

“You know why this is my favourite tree? Because it tipped over, and it’s still growing.”

Which films have you watched recently?

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