Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Films I Watched: March 2018

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), dir. Martin McDonagh

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri follows Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), seven months on from the horrific rape and murder of her teenage daughter. She's still grieving and struggling to accept what has happened and feels like the police did nothing to catch the culprit. As a result of this, she decides to rent three billboards on the outskirts of her hometown, stating how they failed to catch the killer and bring justice for her daughter, which starts a war between herself and the local police force. As time goes by, it starts to beg the question, just how far will she go to seek her revenge?

During Oscar season, I try and watch as many Academy-nominated films as possible. One that seemed like a firm favourite from a lot of people was Three Billboards; but I had also heard a lot of mixed reviews about it, with people saying it's a very cold film, with no heart, which initially made me extremely apprehensive to watch it, but I still made sure I did before Oscar night and they couldn't have been more wrong, in my opinion. It's incredible and such a beautiful film. I saw someone online say that it's this year's Manchester by the Sea (2016) and I very much agree with that comment.

It's a film that not only shows love, but it also shows pain. A lot of pain; which is a feeling that we all usually experience after loving something or someone so incredibly hard and then losing it or them. Maybe I connected with this film more because someone I loved died under horrible circumstances and I understand feeling so sad and so angry about it. Sometimes, it almost feels like you'll succumb to the pain; until you put all that anger into something which could result in change. This film completely tugged at my heartstrings and I cried quite a bit throughout and although, it wasn't received that well from a lot of people, I still really enjoyed it and highly recommend! Another thing I absolutely adored about this film was the score, definitely one of the best from the Oscar-nominated films I watched and it's still something I listen to now and then. 

"Hey baby... Yup, still no arrests. How come I wonder? 'Cause there ain't no God and the whole world's empty, and it doesn't matter what we do to each other? I hope not."

I, Tonya (2017), dir. Craig Gillespie

I, Tonya is a biographical film that follows the life of US figure skater, Tonya Harding (played by Margot Robbie). The film begins with a four-year-old Tonya, at the start of her skating career, as she's trying to pave her way through life, whilst living in a very toxic environment. We embark on the journey with her, witnessing her fall in love, leave home and get married. In 1991, all her hard work finally pays off as she becomes the first American woman to complete a triple axel during a competition, but her happiness is short-lived and in 1994, her entire world comes crashing down around her, when her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) conspires to injure Nancy Kerrigan, Harding's Olympic rival, in the hopes that it will give Tonya the advantage. As a result of the attack, Nancy has no choice but to withdraw from the championship and Tonya Harding's name, life and legacy became tarnished forever, with a life-ban from all figure skating competitions. Still, to this day, it's one of the most infamous scandals in sporting history. 

There were two reasons behind my watching of this film. Firstly, it was another Oscar-nominated film on my list that I wanted to watch before the big day and secondly, Margot Robbie is the lead and I adore her so much. I used to watch her in Neighbours in '09 and I wanted to BE HER and not much has changed since; she's a babe. 

I, Tonya is a great film, which actually leaves you sympathising with Harding for the first time, ever. I love that it was based on actual interviews from the individuals represented in the film and they portrayed that by doing mockumentary-style interviews themselves and breaking the fourth wall. I also really loved the soundtrack and I'm STILL listening to it now. The only real problem I had with this film was the child-abuse subplot. I understand why it was there...because they're showing an accurate representation of her life, but as someone who has been through similar things in my own life, I found it extremely triggering to watch and for that reason, it's probably not a film I'd re-watch in a hurry. 

 "I mean, it was… totally the most awesomest thing. 'Cause leading up to it you're like, “I can't do it. I can't. I can't.” And, then, bam! I can! And all those people who said I couldn't make it, well, fuck you… I did. I proved everyone wrong."

Downsizing (2017), dir. Alexander Payne

follows Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig) after scientists discover a way to shrink humans to five inches tall, as an attempt to tackle the overpopulation problem.  Once downsized, you're promised an improved quality of life and the value of your money, increased, which means that even those struggling financially can lead a life of luxury. Paul and Audrey decide to undergo the irreversible downsizing process so they can finally put their money worries behind them, but after Paul recovers from the surgery, he discovers that Audrey has changed her mind so he must learn to come to terms with the results of his choices, all by himself...

The trailer for Downsizing came on TV when I was staying at my Dad's house and we both agreed how much of an amazing concept it was and although, it's not the type of genre I usually watch, I was pretty excited to see it but sadly, it was so poorly executed. The plot really got lost along the way and the multiple time-jumps made it become extremely disjointed; and to make matters worse, some of the parts of the trailer that I thought looked super cool weren't even in the film!! The first half and the second half of the film were like watching two entirely different films and it almost felt like they became bored with the small-people premise halfway through and so they went in a completely different direction. It was kind of marketed as a comedy but it just wasn't funny at all. Instead of quick, witty, sharp writing, they relied on stereotypes and most of the "jokes" were just a characters broken English, which felt incredibly wrong to me. One of my biggest pet peeves with writing is when they create a romance, just because they can. If it's not needed, don't do it. Just don't. It just made for very uncomfortable viewing. 

Overall, I was just completely disappointed. I expected a Honey I Shrunk the Kids vibe but it wasn't like that at all. It's a film that asks a lot of questions but doesn't answer them and we didn't even get a satisfying ending, with any real closure. I also don't feel like they were even that clear on the science behind the whole downsizing thing. I get it was more of a commentary on science, materialism and how we're slowly destroying our planet, but I don't know. I just expected more. I hope one day someone else picks this concept up again and actually does it justice. 

" Get up and open your eyes. This small world is filled with things to see."

Annihilation (2018), dir. Alex Garland

Annihilation follows Lena (Natalie Portman), a biology professor at Johns Hopkins, who's mourning the loss of her military husband, Kane (Oscar Isaac) who never returned from a top secret mission. A year on from his strange disappearance, he returns home, but something is very different about him; he doesn't remember anything about the mission he underwent and then he starts coughing up blood... It isn't long until they're both taken to Area X and Lena learns that Kane has been inside the 'Shimmer' - a visually beautiful, translucent dome that formed around a lighthouse three years ago. Scientists are eager to discover what's inside but anyone that's attempted to find out, never returns - that is, apart from Kane. In the hopes of finding out what has happened to her husband and maybe even cure him, Lena volunteers to join Josie (Tessa Thompson), Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Anya (Gina Rodriguez) and Sheppard (Tuva Novotny) on the all-female expedition into "The Shimmer".

I already wrote a whole post on how much I loved Annihilation, which you can view: here

"I think you're confusing suicide with self-destruction, and they're very different. Almost none of us commit suicide, whereas almost all of us self-destruct. Somehow. In some part of our lives."

500 Days of Summer (2009), dir. Marc Webb

(500) Days of Summer 
follows Tom (
Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a greetings card writer who's trying to come to terms with his recent breakup, with his "girlfriend", Summer (Zooey Deschanel). We witness as he assesses the whole relationship and tries to spot the first signs of trouble and maybe even try and find a way of getting her back.

500 Days of Summer used to be one of my all-time favourite films and I'd watch it SO DAMN MUCH. I absolutely adored Zoe and even copied her hair and everything in 2009, what a TIME.  It also has one of the best soundtracks I've ever seen from a film. Watching it as an adult was a much different experience though and really makes you think of who you are and how you've acted in relationships. The film is a brutally honest representation of what relationships can really be like and leaves a message on how we shouldn't romanticise people and put them on pedestals. Sometimes we romanticise a person so much, that, the one we love, doesn't even really exist. It's difficult for both sides and a very painful experience and  I really do not recommend watching this after a breakup, watch something happy, don't do it to yourself, PLS. 

"Look, I know you think she was the one, but I don't. Now, I think you're just remembering the good stuff. Next time you look back, I, uh, I really think you should look again."

The Theory of Everything (2014), dir. James Marsh

The Theory of Everything is a film that gives us a glimpse of the life of the incredible Stephen Hawking, played by Eddie Redmayne. We see university life, him getting married and how his condition affected his life and relationships, and how he overcame it all and achieved more than he could have ever imagined.

March marked the month that we lost Stephen Hawking and so watching The Theory of Everything was a must. I really adore this film, it has some super pretty cinematography and the most magical score, which is probably one of my all-time favourites. The only niggle I have is that the film definitely focuses more so on his personal life and relationships than it does on his scientific achievements, which I found pretty disappointing because the love story is pretty bland in my opinion. Still a great film though, that I'd definitely recommend! 

"There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there's life, there is hope."

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), dir. Wes Anderson

Fantastic Mr. Fox is based on the classic book by Roald Dahl and follows Mr. Fox as he breaks a vital promise to his wife and finally gives in to his animal instincts. Every night he raids the farms of his human neighbours; Boggis, Bunce and Bean, stealing their chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and cider...But will his gluttonous actions have severe consequences for his friends and family? 

Do you know what? I bloody love Wes Anderson and his films make my heart so happy. The only thing is, I haven't actually seen a whole lot of them and so I thought I'd try and watch as many as I can before I see the Isle of Dogs, and I cannot believe I hadn't seen this before now. It's sharp, funny, vibrant and obviously, it has that beautiful Wes Anderson quirky style to it. Also, if you know me, you'll know how much I adore stop-motion films and this was no exception, absolutely beautiful!

 "I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice."

 The Greatest Showman (2017), dir. Michael Gracey

The Greatest Showman tells the story of a poor, but ambitious man, P.T. Barnum and his mission for fame and his attempt at creating the greatest show on earth.

Don't hate me, but wow, this has been the most over-hyped film in a HOT MINUTE...and people actually believe this is BETTER than La La Land (2016)???? O k. Firstly, the story is pretty weak and is also historically inaccurate(!!!!!) Rewriting the stars is one thing, but rewriting history is a no from me, soz. However, I will say, it is visually beautiful and heartwarming, I cried pretty much the whole way through, but I'm an emotional wreck so that shouldn't count for much, let's be REAL. I also really did enjoy the music, but I think the music had more of an impact on me than the film did and I don't think that's a good thing at all. The music I will go back and listen to from time to time, will I rewatch the film? Probably not. It's also ANOTHER film which sees Michelle Williams disappointed by a man. Ugh, no. I just want my girl to be happy. Seeing Zac Efron in another musical did make my little High School Musical fangirl heart happy though, I won't lie.

“When you’re careless with other people, you bring ruin upon yourself.”

Monte Carlo (2011), dir. Thomas Bezucha

Monte Carlo follows Grace (Selena Gomez) as she takes a trip of a lifetime to Paris with her sister, Meg (Leighton Meester) and her best friend, Emma (Katie Cassidy). The trip was very low-budget and wasn't living up to their expectations, but just as they were all wishing they could just go home, Grace gets mistaken for a spoiled British heiress and before they get the chance to announce their true identities, they all get whisked away to Monte Carlo, to live the life of luxury...but how long will their presence go undetected? 

This is definitely the worst film of the month, but I will quite honestly watch anything which stars Leighton Meester in it. This film is pretty much just Lizzie McGuire but reimagined with Selena Gomez in it instead, doing the MOST HORRENDOUS BRITISH ACCENT. If you thought Troian Bellisario's British accent was bad, you're in for a mighty TREAT! And even though this is packaged as ~Selena's film~ the sub-plot with Leighton Meester completely steals the show, without her, this film is pretty much unwatchable, in my opinion. Ultimately, if I wanted to watch the Lizzie McGuire Movie, I'd just watch that and RAGE at Paolo Valisari and his lies. The plagiarism in this film is just too much. I would not recommend it (unless trashy films are your thing) and I definitely will not be watching again. 

"You must be the change you want to see in the world."

And they're all the films I watched during the month of March! Which films have you been loving recently? 

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