I have had to go to the cinema so many times recently because there has been so many films that I wanted to see! I find myself perpetually saying I should really get an Unlimited membership for Cineworld but then never do it because I guess that when I do, there will no longer be things I want to see – but oh how I wish I had done it when I said I should in this blog post a few months ago. Over the last month or so I’ve been to the cinema a whopping 7 times and none of them have been regretful trips which is such a win! This is a bumper pack of a lot of little film reviews, so here you are:
Stan & Ollie
A biopic about the legendary Laurel & Hardy, which is actually about what happened after the height of their popularity – the struggles with most of their films not being contracted to give them proceeds with each showing, getting older, being forced to tour even as their relationship and health has deteriorated. A fun fact about this film, actually, is that it was directed by Jon S Baird who is from Peterhead (my home town!). I enjoyed this film, it was very sweet and actually more emotional than I had expected it to be. Not sure I’d be in a rush to see it again any time soon though.
Mary, Queen of Scots
I was very excited to see this one – an epic period of history, some legendary queens, and a brilliant cast with Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie – plus a lot of the Scottish countryside where they filmed is also from my neck of the woods in Aberdeenshire. It is a good film that definitely explains a lot of the history, including some facts I didn’t know (or forgot), it really makes you sympathise for the sexism these queens had to face, which for some reason I never really considered because they were such fierce rulers, but naturally they were still shafted by the patriarchy. I think the film itself is weirdly paced and some scenes really drag – at times I felt myself getting bored and wondering how much longer we had to go which is a shame, but I did still like it, just not as much as I thought I would.
A film about a french countrygirl who marries a writer from Paris and then goes through her whole cultural transformation, along the way her husband convinces her to write novels (which she is way better at than him) and her books are crazy popular except they’re published under his name because of that pesky sexism crap again. She demands recognition, which she eventually has to grab for herself amidst relationship troubles and some lovely affairs with other women. This was a nice watch, you really root for Keira Knightly as a bad-ass, old school feminist and just generally a compelling story.
This one is about the sneaky backstage political plays of Dick Cheney (VP to George W Bush) – it shows how he took advantage of Bush’s lack of experience to basically rule the country as a Vice President, he broke barriers as to the level of control that a VP could make and this also landed into the avoidance of human rights laws such as torture by this thing called executive power. As a result America was able to torture people in the middle east and get away with it by basically calling it something else – which is so wrong. The film in general gave me big concerns for how screwed up America is (as if we need reminding) but I also found myself sympathising for the man despite all the snakey things he did to get his way. The film depicts a lot of his family and personal life which us humans can relate to a lot better than torture and politics. Vice is also filmed in an interesting way, the narrator being the donator of his heart transplant, who is connected to Cheney but separate enough to throw judgement. Worth a watch.
This one probably is my favourite of all the films I’ve seen. I had very little expectations before I came into it because I didn’t know really what it was about other than seeing their wee Graham Norton interview and loving the cast. From my limited knowledge I expected a very standard period drama with a farcical comedy about it but I found myself watching something that was genuinely, and dryly, hilarious. The film follows the love triangle between Queen Anne and her ladies in waiting, amidst all the political manipulation. There were so many incredible performances and amongst all the cracking one liners, there was also some serious empathy going on for the circumstances the characters found themselves in. A trio of women trapped in different ways, trying to find some sense of happiness and security amongst power and feelings getting in the way. What a cracking film – and well chuffed for all of Olivia Coleman’s successes this awards season.
This is such a gem of a film. Again I came into this one knowing absolutely nothing other than it has award noms and my pal Grace liked it. This one shows the journey of a black classic pianist, who despite being a critically acclaimed prodigy, faces the probs of racism back in 60s America. He decides to depart on a tour in the deep south and finds a driver and bodyguard in a Italian New York bouncer. Their relationship is obviously about growth and both come away with a greater view of the world and a good new pal. It is such a human film considering a lot of feelings we can all relate to and also has some great moments of comedy. Really heart warming.
Beautiful Boy is a really lovely film with brilliant performances from Timothée Chalomet and Steve Carrell. It’s about their father-son relationship throughout the struggle of the son’s drug addiction. Addiction is an illness and takes a long process to overcome, filled with frustration. I didn’t know if I would be able to take Steve Carrell seriously because The Office and all I hear is Gru from Despicable Me but he gave a great portrayal of a caring and exasperated father so doesn’t know how to help. As always Chalomet was a dream. The pacing of this film is quite slow but feels right because if feels natural, and like life is. Praise the lord for good, caring parents! This films reminded me to be grateful for the ones I have.
Thanks to all the peeps who made these cracking films, and to all the cracking people who accompanied me to see them all. I still want to see Can You Ever Forgive Me? and On The Basis Of Sex but life has suddenly got increasingly busy so we’ll see how that goes. What have you enjoyed? What films are you looking forward to?