It’s January, aka Awards Season, aka the period when Boyf and I milk our Cineworld Unlimited cards for all they’re worth. Whether it’s just one or all four, make sure you check out these…
I might as well start with the movie of the moment, particularly as this poor film may have suffered death by over-hype before it’s even begun. I say poor, it’s tied for the most ever Oscar nominations BUT there is a definite question over whether or not it has met the huge expectations it generated – and could it ever have?
First and foremost – I really liked it. It brought me JOY. I loved the colourful cinematography, the catchy tunes, and I’m a firm fan of both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, who delivered great performances as two young people falling in love and trying to achieve their big Hollywood dreams.
Was it the best film I’ve ever seen? No. Does that matter to me? No. If you go in expecting it to be a perfect film with no flaws whatsoever, you will be disappointed. If you don’t like musicals, there is very much singing from the off, so don’t bother. What I will say is that Boyf generally sits on the fence with musicals – he enjoyed Book of Mormon and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, didn’t like Wicked at all (a test of my love admittedly, but we made it through), but he did like La La Land.
What I will rave about now is the soundtrack. I’ve pretty much had it on a loop for the last five days. My commute has been transformed. Imagine walking to the station and nearly getting knocked off one’s feet by an oblivious cyclist / particularly aggressive jogger. Plug in “Another Day in the Sun” and you’ll go from this:
Nervous about a big presentation? No problem-o my friend! Just look at it as an opportunity – someone in the crowd could take you where you wanna go!
Ok gifs over.
At the end of the day, 2016 was a trying time, so perhaps the reason this film has been hyped up to this extent is because we just needed the joy. Any joy. Give me JOY. Whatever your feelings about the film overall, this is one thing that La La Land definitely delivers.
Ok. So remember a second ago when I was all “go see La La Land, you won’t come out thinking it’s the best ever but go anyway”. This one is the one. The. One. The Still-Raving-About-It-Two-Days-Later One. Yeah that one.
I should caveat at this point that it’s not the film itself per se. It’s just Her. Portman aka Jackie aka WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!
As much as I am loving all of the very deserving leading ladies in this year’s Best Actress category, if Portman doesn’t win, it will be a TRAVESTY of proportions I don’t think even the La La Land soundtrack could remedy.
Let’s wind back. This is a film about Jackie Kennedy, later known as Jackie O, in the few days following the assassination of JFK. We all know about JFK right? One of the most famous assassinations in history, who doesn’t know about JFK? But how many of us actually stopped to think about that moment? In a millisecond, Jackie Kennedy goes from the elegant, glamorous First Lady of the United States, to widow of a murdered husband (who is now lying dead in her lap). Shortly after, Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the next president – because you can’t not have a president? And yet there is Jackie, standing next to him as he is taking the oath, still wearing clothes stained with her husband’s blood, no longer First Lady, no longer wife to a living husband. It’s horrific, traumatic, words cannot do it justice, yet somehow Portman delivers the performance of a lifetime and absolutely frigging smashes it.
It is a very intense film for that reason, and it’s relatively short length is a blessing in that you do get to the last 10-15 minutes thinking “ok, this needs to be over now”. We are not talking about a cheery film. But we are talking about an important film, a period of a very famous woman’s life when she was not Jackie O, but Jackie, widow of a murdered president. It is not the film as a whole that is the reason you should go to see this, it is worth seeing just for Portman’s performance alone. I can’t say it’s a film I would watch more than once, but it is one I won’t forget any time soon.
This is another serious movie. In fairness if you want a light-hearted movie the only thing I have for you is La La Land so you might as well stop reading now. This is a bittersweet tale of a man who is given guardianship of his teenage nephew following the death of his brother. Reviews have called it a study of male grief, which I find to be pretty accurate. It’s not over-the-top drama, but quite understated, moving and sometimes funny.
My only issue with this movie relates to the picture above. Michelle Williams is BARELY IN IT. The conversation being had in the above snapshot is a relative peak in the drama (I won’t spoil), but the poster and the trailer definitely gave the impression she would be in it more! Casey Affleck gives a very convincing performance, as does his co-star Lucas Hedges. Definitely worth a watch, though don’t expect to come out of it feeling particularly cheerful.
I was lucky enough to catch an advanced screening of Lion before Christmas, and it’s a story that’s really stuck with me. Frankly, using the phrase “based on true events” at the start is usually an indication I’ll finish the film a sobbing mess (see Theory of Everything, The Impossible, The Imitation Game…I have a history ok?), and this film was no exception. It’s the text at the end about how the story ended for the real people GETS ME EVERY TIME. Jeez. I’m a sucker for an emotional rollercoaster.
This is the story of Saroo, a young boy from India who loses his family and is adopted by an Australian couple. Dev Patel plays adult Saroo who begins to remember his past and decides to try and search for his lost family. The star of the show is really Sunny Pawar, the young Saroo, who is effectively this year’s Jacob Tremblay in the OMG HE’S SO CUTE category.
Okay I know I’ve just given you a fourth one that’s not exactly cheery…I feel like this one has more emotional highs than Manchester By the Sea and Jackie…in addition to the lows…the heart-wrenching lows. Oh whatever, just pull yourself together and watch it.
The next few films I’ll be checking out are Sing, Moonlight and Hidden Figures, I have high hopes for all and will get back to you on whether or not they deliver! In the meantime, let me know what you’ve been watching and any recommendations I’ve missed.