Watching || Films to See This Weekend – 31st Jan

What feels like the longest January ever is finally over, but there’s still plenty to be seen at your local cinema as we head into February…

Thanks to my Cineworld Unlimited card (not a sponsored post), I’m now up to nine films in thirty days, with another to come tonight. For my thoughts on 1917, Bombshell and Just Mercy head to my previous post; for Little Women, The Gentlemen and Jojo Rabbit, head to the one before that. For my thoughts on what you should be seeing this weekend, keep on reading!

Queen & Slim

 Full disclosure, I actually saw this one last year at an unlimited screening so my memory is a little hazy BUT what I do know is that I would highly recommend this film. A young black couple, Ernest and Angela, meet for a first date that takes a distressing turn as they are pulled over by a police officer – an interaction that results in the officer’s death. They have no choice but to go on the run and the resulting media coverage soon turns them into a symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement across the country.

This film felt like a modern twist on Bonnie & Clyde with all the drama of a crime movie slowed down and overlaid with a real cinematic elegance. It was beautifully shot, beautifully acted by Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith and is a film that stayed with me for several days after. Unsurprisingly it has been overlooked by #OscarsSoWhite so this is a good opportunity to show your support for Black representation in cinema by showing up for this film.

The Personal History of David Copperfield

 

I briefly attempted to read this Dickens tome – an effort that lasted about five minutes when I realised quite how long it was. Luckily Armando Iannucci was on hand to deliver this story in a less arduous package. This is pretty much what it says on the tin – the life of the main character David Copperfield, played wonderfully by Dev Patel. From wealth to poverty and back again, this is a Victorian tale brought to life with colour, chaos and some of Britain’s finest actors including Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie. It’s also an unapologetic throwing out of any argument that historical dramas must be filled with white actors, more like this please.

Is this the best film you’ll see this year? No, but it’s easy watching and full of silliness and light, so it’s still time well spent.

Richard Jewell

 

This is based on the true story of Richard Jewell, a security guard who discovered a bomb in an Atlanta park during the 1996 Olympics, saving many lives in the process. However, his own life is thrown into disarray when the media and the FBI begin to suspect that he may have been the one who planted the bomb. I won’t spoil the ending – you can find out for yourself as it’s obviously a true story, but I didn’t know about it when I watched it and definitely felt the tension!

This is an uncomfortable film to watch. Rightly or wrongly, Jewell is painted as a pathetic character; an unfulfilled desire to become a policeman has lead to an inflated sense of self-importance that made me cringe. This opens the door for suspicion and ridicule and I swung between pity, irritation at his delusions and sympathy for someone whose life had been turned upside down as soon as he had finally achieved the hero status he’d been seeking. I couldn’t help but wonder if the media’s vilification of Jewell had less to do with his perceived guilt and everything to do with the negative stereotyping of an overweight, middle-aged man who still lives with his mother as a ‘loner’ or a ‘loser’ who was, therefore, the ‘obvious’ type of person who would plant a bomb as a means of seeking attention. It’s certainly food for thought on that score.

Paul Walter Hauser looks eerily similar to the real Richard Jewell and plays the role convincingly; Kathy Bate’s turn as his mother has earned her an Oscar nom; but it was Sam Rockwell who stole the show for me and I remembered that he is great in pretty much everything he’s in (another good reason to see Jojo Rabbit). I don’t know if I would actively recommend this film, but it would certainly appeal to fans of mysteries / true crime and Rockwell really elevated it.

Coming up…

February is upon us and there’s still plenty that I hope to be watching over the next couple of weeks:

  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood – Yet ANOTHER true story (but thankfully a much gentler one), this film is inspired by a real-life friendship between the beloved American TV host Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) and journalist Tom Junod (Matthew Rhys). My efforts to see this film may be hampered by it not being on at either of my two closest cinemas (Cineworld has its perks but seems to object to gentle dramas). Out today.
  • The Rhythm Section – Blake Lively as you’ve never seen her before – a young woman avenging the death of her family, apparently by changing her hair multiple times (if the trailer is anything to go by). Also out today.
  • Birds of Prey – Not satisfied with just one major film release in a month, Margot Robbie is back to reprise her role of Harley Quinn, first seen in the rather mediocre Suicide Squad. Admittedly Robbie was one of the best things about that film and I am more than ready for a DC film fronted by an anti-heroine. Move over chaps, you’ve grumbled and grunted at each other long enough (see my issues with DC’s aversion to well-rounded female characters), Wonder Woman has shown that it’s time to let the women take centre stage. Out 7th Feb.

Have you seen any of these films yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below!

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