Please please share your thoughts on Wonder Woman? Thank you! :)
ANYONE WHO WATCHED WONDER WOMAN (2017) DIR. PATTY JENKINS AND WASN’T COMPLETELY IN LOVE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED
So we all knew it was going to be emotional to FINALLY have a female superhero movie, but the movie exceeded those expectations. The fight scenes were incredible and so focused on Diana and what she was capable of – the men basically weren’t even there. The fuckin no man’s land scene SAVED MY LIFE. Superhero movies are known for being heavy handed and this one didn’t escape that for sure (the love speech at the end was….a lot), but that scene was so well done…they didn’t have to stoop to some Éowyn knock off line of “I am no man,” we were allowed to just see her do what real women do - step up and do it. Even though that wasn’t the first time we’ve seen her in full Wonder Woman costume on screen, it felt like it was, like it was the first time I’d EVER seen ANY hero before and it took my breath away. By far the best Superhero Reveal Moment I’ve ever seen. My girl taking out bullets right and left, drawing fire from the entire German army!! Fuck me up!!!
You can’t talk about this film without talking about gender role reversals. Chris Pine was So Perfect and I think they really couldn’t have pulled the movie off if they’d cast any other white boy in the role. He was funny but genuine, capable but never arrogant, charming but not entitled about it. He learned quickly what Diana was capable of and respected her for it, always moving to the sideline during the fight scenes (the shield moment with the bell tower comes to mind - who needs a sniper when you can fuckin launch a god at the shooter??), knowing that these were her fights and never trying to mansplain her out of them. He wanted to protect her, but didn’t underestimate her - all the things that a typical female romantic interest does in these kind of movies. It was amazingly well balanced, so much so that I didn’t even mind the romantic sub plot. Plus he was almost entirely naked there, way to play to the audience my dudes!!!!
The historical context did the movie such a great service. The outward displays of sexism became so ridiculous when faced with Diana, who genuinely had never had to deal with the patriarchy’s bullshit before. It didn’t just make the men in London look pathetic and mean, it cast a large shadow over the way that women are treated today.
The Dark DC Gradient™ on all the shots isn’t my favorite but it did Chris Pine’s fuckin bright blue eyes a huge favor
Gal Gadot was so fuckin good??? Not only was she beautiful, like really really distractingly beautiful, like I kept having to force myself to pay attention to the dialogue cause I, like Steve Trevor, could not stop looking at her (and she’s standing next to Genuine Stud Chris Pine and still?? SHE’S SO BEAUTIFUL). But she was way more then that, her performance was spot on. Diana was naive, commanding, strong, compassionate - while never being reduced down to just a one note version of these things. She felt so real to me, in a genre that spends very little time on character development. Even in the sappiest parts of the script, she sold it. She absolutely sparkled.
Some of the best dialogue was the back and forth between Diana and Steve when she’s asking questions about mankind/London - it was cute and funny without being too overdone or obvious, which it easily could have been
The villains weren’t much to write home about, but they didn’t need to be. The movie was so laser focused on Diana and Steve that they really didn’t matter, you could self insert whatever you wanted to there
Themyscira is the ideal for I too want to hang out on the beach and never see a man again
Also that lesbian line, and how stupid male reviewers blindly did not understand it!!! Fuckin drag em
But also the fight scenes on Themyscira were INCREDIBLE. I wish that first section had been a bit longer just because I was enjoying it so much, but it was so refreshing to see all women on screen - women who fought and loved and supported each other. Incredible.
I haven’t enjoyed, really enjoyed, to the point of not having to think about the message or the structure or how much fuckin time I’ve wasted listening to some male superhero talk about honor or some equally boring garbage, since The Avengers came out in 2012. Even then, Wonder Woman felt like something else entirely. It leaned on many of the same tropes and sequences, but there was enough reinvention in between (particularly the characters, who I felt were much more fleshed out then any superhero movie I’ve seen before) to make it feel fresh and exciting. This so easily could have been a throw away movie, a chance for movie execs to point and say, hey we tried with women that one time!! But Patty Jenkins, and Gal Gadot, and all the other women who worked on this incredible production, knew what was at stake, and weren’t going to let that happen. Every time I see a little girl dressed up as Diana Prince, on her way to the theater, my heart fills more and more. During the film, I found myself on the verge of tears five or six times - sometimes because it was so beautiful, to see a woman who felt so real being strong and vulnerable and saving the damn world, but other times because the plot itself genuinely moved me. Wonder Woman is revolutionary for the industry, sure, but more importantly, it’s just a damn good movie.
In the second film, Yondu’s role is vastly expanded. We discover that the real reason he didn’t bring Quill to his father, Ego, wasn’t actually because Quill was a child and therefore small enough to gain access to places grown men couldn’t reach.
The reasons weren’t selfish at all.
Instead, Yondu was protecting Peter from a capricious deity with a murderous intent. “He may have been your father, Quill,” Yondu says of Ego as he rescues Star-Lord, “but he wasn’t your daddy.”
We crash headlong into the revelation: This dangerous man with his crazy whistle-arrow-of-death and crew of thieves and ne’erdowells is in fact one of the bravest people we’ve ever encountered in the MCU films, going up against a diabolical Celestial to save a little boy’s life.
Then Yondu dies, saving his boy. It’s just another in a litany of heroics that Yondu never boasts about, never lays claim to. It’s beautiful and sad and by far the best death the MCU has given us. The death and the scene after are among the most riveting in any of these films.
Yondu isn’t Captain America or Iron Man in terms of his importance to the franchise, but he’s not a minor character either. As Paul Tassi points out, he’s the real star of the second Guardians film (or Michael Rooker is, in any case.) He stole the show, sure, but I’d go one further and say that he’s become one of the most significant figures in the MCU period.
- Erik Kain for Forbes: Why ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy 2’ Is The Most Important Marvel Movie In Years
What is your favorite non-Austen period novel? Movie?
Okay I’m gonna do a rundown of all my favourites because making me pick one is just mean. (Also at one point in my notes on the following books and films I just wrote “Bagels” and I can’t for the life of me think what I might have meant or autocorrected that from. Maybe a shopping list started to take form. I don’t know.)
(If the film Miss Austen Regrets and book Longbourn by Jo Baker count as non-Austen then include them.)
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India - 2001 (Sports! High stakes! Sticking it to the Colonial Man!)
Mozart’s Sister - 2010 (Beautiful music! Gorgeous androgyny! GIRLS CAST TO PLAY THEIR ACTUAL AGE AND NOT SOME 20-SOMETHING PRETENDING TO BE FOURTEEN!)
Possession - 2002 (I’ve tried the novel, and A.S. Byatt has some beautiful prose but her structures sometimes do my head in, so never finished it. Ignore Paltrow as best you can and enjoy lush Victorian Gothic mystery and the ending is one of the most poignant things I’ve ever been pleasantly surprised with on film, and it leaves you wondering about many, many things…)
Jodhaa Akbar - 2008 (You could put Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai in the worst commercial ever made and I would watch it. Costumes, scenery, and, as a friend once put it “I’m not sure how they did it, but they just had a sex scene without any sex.” Bravo.)
Water - 2005 (Deepa Mehta is such a fantastic filmmaker and I loved this whole trilogy but Water is my favourite.)
Elizabeth - 1998 & Elizabeth: The Golden Age - 2007 (The costumes! The caMERA ANGLES!!! The compli-fucking-cated mess that is Elizabeth I.)
[Okay Tumblr won’t let me embed any more trailers, but those ones are easy to find, they’re out there.]
Vatel - 2000 (Any foodie who is also a fan of The Sun King and his era will dig this one. A great score, baddie Tim Roth.)
Alternatively, in the same era: A Little Chaos - 2015. Storyline is a little weak, but it’s so beautiful and the cast is great and the M U S I C. Kate Winslet. Alan Rickman. Helen McCrory. STANLEY TUCCI.)
Also: they’re not films, but TV shows - honourable mentions to the Spanish series Gran Hotel. It’s like a good version of Downton Abbey, only sorta on crack and with a tonne more murder mysteries; and while I have some Issues with its so-called hero and some comparatively weirdo plot-points in S3, overall, it’s fantastic and I’m obssessed. Please don’t mix it up with the Italian re-make which looks horrible in every way. Like, main actors dressed in a poorly-sewn-table-cloth-bad.
And shout-out to the new CBC/Netflix series Anne. I will defend this show to the DEATH, alright? They’ve gone bolder and fresher and have managed to involve period realism in a moving way while retaining the sunshine-and-pinafores element that so many people love about L.M. Montgomery’s work. There’s heaps of women with production credits, and I think it shows. Geraldine James is already my favourite Marilla after one episode, and I feel like R.H. Thompson (HEY JASPER DALE HEEEEY!) and Amybeth McNulty are likely going to become my favourite Matthew and Anne, too. People have complained about this series going off-book and in particular some have condemned it sight-unseen because the writers/directors are putting a feminist spin on it and OH GOD THEY SAID FEMINIST QUICK WE GOTTA SET EVERYTHING ON FIRE BECAUSE CHILDHOOD IS RUINED, but honestly it’s just perky and gorgeous and scrappy and nobody can tell me to my face that Kevin Sullivan didn’t go all the fucking way off-book from the very beginning so I am not gonna sit here and insist that the Megan Fallows Anne of Green Gables was perfection which could never be improved upon because that’s just a plain lie. It was nice and it has its place but it’s time for some new blood. (And NOT the telefilms they’ve also come out with recently with Martin Sheen, bless his heart, but they took a brunette child actor and dumped an atrociously stark box of red hair-dye on her before drawing on her freckles and then telling her to please play everything theatrically to the back of the house even though there is a camera ten inches from her face.) I am HERE FOR ANNE. RIDE OR DIE.
AND NOW, FOR BOOKS!
After that you might assume my L.M. Montgomery recommendation would be Anne of Green Gables and sure I won’t say DON’T read them, but for my money the Emily of New Moon trilogy is more my jam and I wish to God and Netflix in all my prayers that there might someday be a decent adaptation of them.
I was really into Cassandra Clark’s Abbess of Meaux mystery series for a time, but then things went a bit pear-shaped in what I think was the fourth(?) book and everything was OOC and honestly I haven’t caught up on the later books after that and they seem to be self-published now but I am a sucker for nuns and mysteries so I’ll probably get back into it when I have time.
The Princess Priscilla’s Fortnight and The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim. Vacation-reads! Beautiful prose, some wry wit, and fun hijinks. If you’ve ever wanted to run away and live in an isolated cottage in the wilderness for a little while, these are for you. [ETA: I recently got my hands on a copy of The Jasmine Farm so THANK YOU to one of you who recommended it I am loving it so far only I don’t see the appeal in Andrew so wtf Terry you can do better.]
Edward Rutherfurd’s geographical history novels–Sarum is the classic to start with, but the others I’ve read are very good, too. (London, New York, and I’m now working my way through a first-edition of Russka.)
Amy Levy. A M Y L E V Y. Criminally under-recognized Jewish Victorian novelist and poet. Novellas Ruben Sachs and The Romance of a Shop. (RS a beautiful and bittersweet story about the conflicts between love, identity, and expectations, and some would say a response to George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda. TRoaS reading a bit like a less treacle-sweet variation on Little Women, where four sisters try to make their way in the world by setting up their own photography studio in late 19th century London.)
The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgkin Burnett. Colonialist racism appears in this one, so be warned. Still the book is a THOUSAND times better than the utterly dreadful adaptation known as The Making of a Lady. Jane is better, Emily is better, Walderhurst is better, pretty much EVERYONE IS BETTER. The pacing is better. The plotting and suspense make actual sense.
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. A classic, and the grand-daddy of every secret-identity superhero.
The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. Like, it makes me MAD how good these books are.
And last but not least, a non-fiction selection in Vere Hodgson’s WWII diaries: Few Eggs and No Oranges. Nothing else has ever brought the experience of living (or trying to) under the shadow of the bombs and the threat of invasion quite like these diaries. Fascinating details, engagingly written, and at times a stark reminder that the Allied victory we take for granted in our history could by no means be counted on by the millions who dwelt in daily uncertainty.
Just rewatched Aki Kaurismaki’s “The Man Without a Past” cos I’m teaching a class on it tomorrow, I forgot what an anarchist film it is (not intentionally, I’m sure)… it has probably the best mutual aid interaction of any film ever: it’s a patch of industrial waste ground just outside of Helsinki where people live in old shipping containers, and the scene opens with a young guy fucking with an electricity pylon with a screwdriver - buzzing electricity - then he’s unrolling cable, hooking up a box to one of the shipping containers. Then the older guy who lives in it has a draw of his roll up and asks: “what do I owe you?”… to which the young guy replies; “If you see me face down in the gutter… roll me onto my back”
I literally just got home from seeing Wonder Woman and I have to say this right now:
This movie. Is. Perfect.
It is the best movie DC has ever made, hands down. In my opinion, it’s better than any Marvel movie, and that’s saying something, as I’m quite a Marvel fan.
Wonder Woman is amazing for so many reasons. It was smart and funny. The score was beautiful. The costumes were fabulous. The casting was spot on. Gal Gadot absolutely killed every scene with both her fierceness and her innocence; she was truly the perfect Diana Prince. Patty Jenkins delivered us a fantastic movie that represented gender, race and sexuality in such powerful ways - I’m still laughing about the ‘men not being needed for pleasure’ scene, but also still a bit shook over the scene where her teammate says, ‘I don’t have a side’ because the Americans have just slaughtered all the Native Americans. Every word of this movie was powerful.
I loved having this story be told from a female perspective - it really made the story ring that much more true for me. Diana was simply Wonder Woman, a kickass superhero, not a hot chick who just happens to wield a sword. I’m not going to lie - there were a couple of times, when the WW theme came on and Diana came out in all her glory, that I teared up. This is what it’s all about. It really is amazing to see a female superhero on the big screen. It’s powerful stuff.
Simply put, this was a great movie. It was epic and enjoyable and I will be seeing it at least a few more times.
And I will be more than happy to fangirl with anyone else about this awesome movie :)
Guardians of the
Galaxy was a fantastic film, a
real masterpiece for just how oddball and different it was from the
rest of the Marvel cinematic universe. It was so different, with such
a great group dynamic, great actors, and plenty of kickass scenes…
this was lightning in a bottle, and there’s no way to catch that
They did it again. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is
every bit as good as the original, and what’s more… I actually
think it’s a bit better. How
is this? HOW COULD YOU TOP THE FIRST? I’ll explain, but be warned:
after the plot synopsis, there’s gonna be a few spoilers, so just
what are the Guardians up to this time? After doing a mission for the
Sovereign race, the Guardians end up pissing them off because Rocket
stole some precious batteries. During their escape attempt, the
Guardians end up being saved by a mysterious stranger… and that
stranger is none other than Peter’s dad, a strange being named Ego.
While Peter, Gamora, and Drax
head off to Ego’s planet, Rocket and Groot get kidnapped by the
ravagers, who mutiny against Yondu. Shit starts going down, and now
the two groups gotta get back together to guard the galaxy yet again,
though this time the threat may be even greater than ever before…
Last year, I made my first video top ten (which you can see here), and while that was fun, as it so happens I’m a bit too busy right now to go through all the trouble of making a video at the moment. So here we are, back to the old way of doing things.
On an interesting side note, I found an unintentional theme in my list this year. Many of my films are in some way about the creation of art, as well as the price paid to be a great artist. Also, many of these movies could be seen as “coming-of-age” films. Once again I find myself astonished at how many great films came out in a single year (and I haven even seen all of them yet). So as usual, you can find my long list of “honorable mentions” at the end.
Like always, this is just my personal top ten films of the year. Even if we share the same tastes, I guarantee you that my list would be different than yours. It’s just too subjective.
So starting at number ten and counting down… here we go!
10. Mr. Turner
As far as pure craftsmanship goes, “Mr. Turner” is perhaps the most well made film of the year. Mick Leigh is a master, and every shot is purposeful and completely stunning. The film itself looks like an old beautiful painting. Timothy Spall sinks deep into his role as J.M.W. Turner, and it’s probably his best performance to date. The deliberate pacing and lack of traditional structure might turn away some viewers, but “Mr. Turner” is nevertheless a great work of art, and a portrait of a fascinating man.
I knew very little about this film before seeing it, and I think that’s a good thing. From the opening scene, I instantly fell in love with this darkly funny film. At it’s core, there’s some rather deep subject mater, and yet “Frank” cleverly offsets this with some truly hilarious moments that keep the film entertaining throughout. Domhnall Gleeson is outstanding here, but of course, the real star of the show is Michael Fassbender, who gives an incredibly expressive performance despite the fact that we can’t see his face. I enjoyed nearly every moment of this picture, and it’s definitely one that you need to see.
Some films just belong in the Critrion Collection. Ida is one such film. It’s haunting and artful and features the best black and white photography I’ve seen in years. The sharpness and contrast of every shot is remarkable. The narrative is beautifully simplistic. In fact, the minimalistic nature of the film as a whole is part of what makes it so special. “Ida” is sparse, gorgeous, and masterful. Certainly one of the best foreign films of the year.
7. Only Lovers Left Alive
Vampires are cool, but Tom Hiddleston and Tida Swinton bring it to a whole new level. These old lovers have seen it all, and while they still appreciate art, science, and philosophy, they’ve grown tired and indifferent while mankind continues to make the same mistakes. Jim Jarmusch’s film is a special kind of vampire story, because it may be the first one to really capture just how lonely, dangerous, and exhausting being immortal really is (or would be). "Only Lovers Left Alive" has a deliberate pacing that glides slowly along with it’s characters. Along the way, we learn how they live and what they’ve grown to appreciate, and it’s all quiet fascinating. It’s my opinion that “Only Lovers Left Alive” ranks as one of the very best vampire films ever made.
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel
A Wes Anderson film can always put a smile on my face. His last few films have been some of his best, and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is certainly no exception. This film is so beautifully stylized, and so hilariously funny, I find it hard to believe that there’s anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this film. The cast is fantastically entertaining (especially Ralph Fiennes), the colors are vibrant, the humor is clever, and the filmmaking is flawless. When I saw “Moonrise Kingdom”, I said it might be Wes Anderson’s best film yet…. when I saw “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, I said the same thing.
5. The Duke of Burgundy
Captivating and visually arresting, Peter Strickland’s “The Duke of Burgundy” is one of the most compelling films I saw all year. It’s beautifully shot, colored, and textured with elegant pacing and precise direction - I really can’t say enough positive things about this film. It’s surreal and challenging while retaining a soft and gentle nuance of love and tenderness. “The Duke of Burgundy” certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it extraordinary and deeply inspiring.
I know many cinephiles will probably place “Boyhood” as their number one film of the year, and I wouldn’t fault them for that. Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” is one of the most innovative and uniquely profound films ever made. Shot over the course of 12 years, we literally watch Mason grow up before our eyes. It’s a remarkable experience unparalleled by any comparisons I could make. We owe it to Linklater for having the guts to push our medium forward in such a beautiful way. This will probably win Best Picture at the Oscars, and it’s easy to see why.
3. Birdman: (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Simply one of my favorite cinematic experiences in a very long time. In the first scene, I made a mental note that we were in a long take, but to my wonder and astonishment, that long take never ended. There are, of course, cuts and interludes (this isn’t a “Russain Ark” situation) but the effect is very much thatAlejandro Iñárritu’s film is one singular shot. It’s remarkable, but could be called nothing more than an impressive gimmick if the film itself wasn’t so strong.
This is the best cast ensemble of the year, and the cinematography is gorgeous (made more impressive again by the long takes). But “Birdman” also has some interesting things to say about the creation of art, as well as the criticism that always accompanies it. It’s an intriguing film, and one with something to say. I loved every minute of it.
2. Vi är Bäst!
Every year, there are films that just seem to come out of nowhere and surprise me. Before it was released, I knew nothing of “We Are the Best”, nor was I familiar with Lukas Moodysson’s previous work. However, this film was perhaps the most enjoyable film I saw all year.
If you know nothing of this film, it’s the director’s adaptation of his wife’s graphic novel “Never Goodnight” (by Coco Moodysson). It centers around three young teenage girls living in 1980s Stockholm who start a punk band - despite two of them not knowing how to play an instrument. While the band plays an important role in the film, some of the most interesting scenes are when the girls are simply hanging out. The performances from these three young ladies are perhaps the most natural I’ve ever witnessed from anyone their age. At times, it seems that they’re not even acting at all, as if the cameras just happened to be there to catch these authentic moments. These girls are so funny, enduring, and most importantly, real. This film understands what it really means to be a hardcore punk. And that is a rare thing. I really can’t say enough good things about “We are the Best”. You just need to see it.
And my number one film of the year is…
This is not the most ambitious film of 2014. It’s not a space epic. It wasn’t shot over twelve years. It doesn’t give the illusion of being one continuous shot. It’s not even by a famous director. Yet, “Whiplash” was the single most thrilling piece of cinematic art I saw all year.
“Whiplash” tells the story of a young ambitious drummer who dreams of being one of the great jazz musicians of our time. He soon finds himself under the mentorship of a cutthroat teacher who is willing to do whatever it takes to push his students to the limit. The film shows painful abuse and heartache, but then just when you think the film will find contentment in an obvious solution, it aggressively charges forward into the single most intense, passionate, raw, violent, and beautiful final scene of the year. A scene that made my heart race until it finally cut to black, and the credits rolled. Then, and only then, did I finally catch my breath. This film bleeds with a passion that’s visible in every aspect, from its photography, to its editing, to the stellar performances. Enough can’t be said about Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. They both give 100% to their roles, and it’s both beautiful and heartbreaking to watch.
I found “Whiplash” to be painfully relatable at times… and I’m sure that contributed to my fondness for the film itself. Nevertheless, I think everyone should see this amazing work of art. Damien Chazelle has crafted a challanging look at what it truly means to be a young artist with high ambitions. The road to greatness is filled with suffering, pain, loss, frustration, blood, sweat, and tears… and it seems the filmmakers here understand the price that is paid.
So there you have it - My top ten films of 2014. Please let me know what your favorite films were! Now, some of you may have noticed that a certain favorite director of mine not on this list…. so please see my honorable mentions below.
Inherent Vice - I know! I know! I can’t believe it either. P.T. Anderson is my favorite director, and I do love this film…. it just didn’t move me like his other work as done in the past. “Inherent Vice” is great. I just like 10 other films more.
Gone Girl - Yet another one of my favorite directors. David Fincher is to the point where he really doesn’t make bad films anymore. The craftsmanship is just too good.
Calvary - This is a touching and somewhat heartbreaking portrait of a priest genuinely trying to live a good life. A thankless job to be sure. It’s bleak but Brandon Glesson gives a wonderfully tender performance.
The Babadook - Rich with metaphor, this is easily one of the best horror films in years. Love it so much, and you really need to see it.
Under the Skin - Who could forget this surreal work of art from Jonathan Glazer? Scarlett Johansson does wonderful work here.
Jeune & Jolie - “Young & Beautiful” was an underrated French film from François Ozon. I really loved it a lot, though I might be in the minority.
Snowpiercer - Joon-ho Bong is a crazy good director, and “Snowpiercer” is a thrilling sci-fi action movie far more worthy of your time than most summer blockbusters.
Top Five - Chris Rock made an excellent film with a deep Woody Allen influence. I really hope he will continue this style into future projects.
Foxcatcher - A remarkable film. Bennett Miller is on a roll. There’s really nothing to complain about with this film. See it.
The One I Love - A fantastic little gem from Charlie McDowell. Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss are great.
The Imitation Game - A very sharp screenplay, and a brilliant performance from Benedict Cumberbatch.
A Most Wanted Man - The last leading performance from my favorite actor.
Guardians of the Galaxy - Finally, Marvel made their finest MCU film yet. It’s fun and fast and a really great watch.
Unfortunately I did not get the chance to see “A Most Violent Year”, “Winter Sleep”, “Goodbye to Language 3D”, “Leviathan” and serval other foreign films. I’m sure they all could have made my list if I had seen them.
And here’s my list of the most anticipated films of 2017! There are loads of really exciting films coming out this year, and while my most anticipated film is a no-brainer I hope you find the rest of the list interesting.
Honourable mentions: The Handmaiden, Okja, Mute, Beauty and the Beast, Manchester by the Sea, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Moonlight, Wonder Woman, Kong: Skull Island, Baby Driver, Split, The Book of Henry and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
n.b. I’m in the UK, so several of the films I include here have already has a release in the US. We’re always playing catch-up!
1. Star Wars Episode VIII
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher
Plot: Having taken her first steps into a larger world, Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.
Why be excited? I could just write ‘because it’s Star Wars’, but since I believe in putting effort into these things I’ll try to be somewhat more articulate. I really adored The Force Awakens, and it filled me with a sense of wonder and joy I hadn’t experienced in the cinema for a long, long time. I loved the new characters it introduced (particularly Rey, Kylo and Finn) even more than the stalwarts of old, so the promise of seeing their stories continued in the next episode is thrilling in the extreme. I also happen to be a huge admirer of Rian Johnson’s work (I particularly love The Brothers Bloom), so I’m incredibly excited to see Rian’s “weird thing” (imo, the weirder the better!)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, Issey Ogata, Tadanobu Asano
Plot: The young Portuguese Jesuit Sebastião Rodrigues is sent to Japan to succor the local Church and investigate reports that his mentor, a Jesuit priest in Japan named Ferreira, based on Cristóvão Ferreira, has committed apostasy.
Why be excited? I’ve long admired Scorsese and shamelessly stan his editor Thelma Schoonmaker, so am thrilled to see them collaborating on a film that tackles such an obscure and fascinating period of history. The cast is top flight, and the magnificent trailer does a fantastic job of evoking the tension of the scenario. Silence is also Scorsese’s passion project (he’s been trying to get it made since the 1980s), and suffice to say I happen to find passion positively infectious.
3. La La Land
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons
Plot: The story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts.
Why be excited?Whiplash hit me like a ton of bricks when I caught it on blu-ray last year, and it easily has one of the best endings of any film I’ve ever scene. The quality of Chazelle’s previous offering alone would have been enough to get me hyped for this, but it’s also a musical that honours the golden age of Hollywood. That, combined with the stellar reviews, makes this unmissable for me.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Ed Harris, Brian Gleeson
Plot: Mother concerns a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence
Why be excited? This will be Aronofsky’s first film since the batshit crazy biblical film that is Noah, and I’m fascinated to find out what the hell Mother even is (seriously - we know much more about Episode VIII than we know about this). All I know is that I will follow Aronofsky’s career for as long as he continues to make movies.
5. The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Doug Jones
A Cold War-era fairytale about a mute woman who falls for an amphibious man.
Why be excited? Much like Mother, we know very little about The Shape of Water. I’m very excited for this film for the same reason that I’m excited for Mother - I love del Toro’s work, from The Devil’s Backbone right through to Crimson Peak. Del Toro is fantastic at melding fantasy with real-world struggles (see: The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth), so I’m extremely intrigued to see him returning to a theme that he’s handled with aplomb before. The delightfully surreal synopsis only compounds my excitement.
paper: what kind of book would you write? it would be the Gayest, most sapphic thing you’d ever see in your life. probably lots of magic bc im always a slut for magic. and in my fake make believe world, no one gives a rats ass what you are or aren’t attracted to bc who needs that shit
tape: tell me about your longest friendship. it’s with ally!!! @murdered-with-daisies!!!! somehow we found each other in the bandoms of 2012 tumblr and became friends???? it’s baffling but she’s still my best friend even tho i am The Worst and remembering to text you rip im sorry ally i love you!!!!!!!!
calculator: list fifteen things that make you happy
Ok, just for a sec, forget about all these conspiracies. Now, why would they cut out a scene that was so important and emotional that Martin wanted to do it alone, so that he could do his absolute best acting ever??
Also, why did they talk about this when they knew that this scene wasn’t even included in the episodes?
Nothing of this makes any sense and they wonder why we are getting more and more crazy.
I thought it was OK. If I was to rate it, I would give a score of 5/10. It had some decent scenes, the Batman cameos were good and the soundtrack was not too bad. However, the writing was poor, the overall film did flow well and I was disappointed in Jared Leto’s performance (which is too bad because he is capable of better).
It was not the worst movie I have ever seen. Too often these days, a film is either the best thing ever, or the worst POS to hit the screen. Suicide Squad is not great by any means, but to say it’s the worst film ever is sensationalist nonsense. Leonard Part 6 - now that’s a 1/10 film that can be called the worst movie.
Note: Considering how old and well known this story is, I figured putting out a spoiler warning is pretty useless. Nevertheless, I don’t go into detail about plot points specific to this particular adaptation, so this review is spoiler free!
“Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky, And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back; For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack” - The Law of the Jungle, by Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling’s original 1894 magnum opus is truly one of Literature’s greatest works. Drawing upon his experiences growing up and working in Colonial India, Kipling created a vivid series of stories about the Indian Jungle that enraptured generations of readers. A masterful wordsmith, he created a Jungle that was both terrifyingly dangerous and intoxicatingly inviting. He populated this world with anthropomorphic animals in order to teach children lessons in respect and morality, with memorable characters like Bagheera, Baloo, Shere Khan, Raksha, Kaa and of course, Mowgli, the Man-Cub. Like many, I fondly remember having it read to me as a child, and to this day it’s one of my all-time favourite books.
And also like many, I loved Disney’s animated 1967 take on the original story. It was an almost completely different beast from the original story, but it was a wonderful movie that, while lacking much of a plot, was nevertheless charming with it’s humour and its songs, and holds a special place in the hearts of millions of children and those like me who are children at heart.
And now here we are, almost half a century on from Disney’s initial animated effort, and once again, after some slightly less than memorable live action remakes in the 90s, the Mouse House has unleashed upon the world yet another. But this one delivers. Guys, this one meets the hype. It’s freaking phenomenal.
With game-changing, spectacular, photorealistic CGI and an impeccably picked cast, Jon Favreau delivers a marvelous adaptation of The Jungle Book for this generation - one that pays homage to it’s animated predecessor, draws thematic inspiration from its source material, all the while creating a compelling narrative of it’s own accord - which could very well be the definitive adaptation of Kipling’s timeless tale.
There were numerous ways they could’ve screwed this one up. This film is the latest in a long line of live action remakes that Disney is recently producing of it’s animated classics. Some have been better than others. Maleficent, for example, despite a stellar performance from Angelina Jolie, was so obsessed with putting a contemporary spin on a well-known antagonist, and rewriting events in order to make the titular villain more sympathetic, that it was utterly devoid of the original Sleeping Beauty’s charm. The outrageous amount of CGI didn’t help matters either, and it ended up looking like a fake mess. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland remake, meanwhile had issues with a meandering plot. Last year’s Cinderella, however, was a breath of fresh air. In deciding to make a faithful adaptation of the animated classic, Kenneth Branagh’s movie was received well by both critics and audiences.
It’s thus that adapting the Jungle Book posed a tricky situation for Jon Favreau, and screenwriter Justin Marks. Had this movie been overly faithful to the 1967 animation, modern audiences would probably scoff at it. However nostalgically people remember talking animals singing about the Bare Necessities of life, a whimsical, live action musical with a lack of threat probably wouldn’t cut it. Too faithful to Kipling’s original text, and it would be considered too “dark and gritty” (as is all the rage today in Hollywood) for the typical Disney demographic. It would also probably lose the trademark Disney charm that people so fondly remember the original with. So what did they do? They combined the best of both worlds, of course, to great success. While setting a new bar for the standards of CGI in movies today.
As charming as the 1967 version was, it had a very basic plot and lacked a good deal of narrative heft. As befitting the works of Walt Disney, it was very child-friendly, which it ought to have been. But as a result, stakes were significantly lowered. Shere Khan ran away from fire after being distracted by those Beatles vultures. Again, very cute and child friendly - which isn’t to say Favreau’s version isn’t for kids, because it certainly is. Show this to any child and I bet they’d be totally enraptured by what’s unfolding on-screen. But Justin Marks, using themes from Kipling’s novels, lends a great deal of gravitas to the screenplay, and gives more depth to characters like Shere Khan and make them genuinely evil. There’s nothing particularly horrifying, but certain sequences may have especially young children, under 10 perhaps, holding their parents hands. It’s totally fine though - using more “mature” themes allows the audience to feel a real sense of danger, as well as a more clear, concise, and centralized journey for Mowgli to undertake from the start of the film to the end, especially in comparison to the animated movie. The wolf mantra heard repetitively throughout the movie is taken from one of Kipling’s original poems from the books, and allows to solidify the movie’s messages of the strength in both individuality as well as companionship.
Marks’ screenplay at different times changes the tonality of the movie from a humorous comedy, heartfelt emotional drama, to a thrilling revenge story, with the lush jungle as a backdrop. But remarkably, just like Kipling’s original story, these shifts in tonality don’t seem jarring at all. Scenes and sequences move smoothly from one to the other, and even the songs (the film includes “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wan’na be Like You” from the original - it would be sacrilegious if they didn’t). which some people found to feel a little odd from the rest of the movie - I thought were spontaneous and added beautifully to the film.
The CGI in this movie, truly, is breathtaking, and arguably the best in any movie I’ve ever seen. It’s ridiculous to believe that every tree, every leaf, every drop of water, every strand of hair on the animals’ body, was created on a computer. “Location shooting” wasn’t the vast Jungles of India. It was a studio in LA. It’s clear to see how painstaking the process must have been to the animators, but their hard work definitely paid off. I don’t think we’ve seen such a leap in CGI technology since Avatar in 2009 or Life of Pi in 2012. At times it definitely felt like I was watching a nature documentary, as opposed to a fictional fantasy story. There are even some shots where water would splash upon the camera lens, adding a great depth of depth and immersion to the cinematic experience.
The cast was, as I previously mentioned, was impeccably picked. Ben Kingsley is wonderful as the stern but loving fatherly Bagheera, complete with his RP accent. Bill Murray is just perfect as the laid back and easy-going Baloo. There’s not many people who could’ve held a candle to Phil Harris and his original version of the “Bare Necessities”, but Murray rendition is just as brilliant. His role as Baloo is probably his best work in ages. Likewise is Christopher Walken’s King Louie, now a Gigantopithecus ape, since Louis Prima’s orangutan wasn’t native to India. And his cover of “I Wan’na Be Like You” is just perfect. His voice and accent fit the song so well. Lupita Nyong’o brings a warmth and motherly love to Raksha, and the seductive, dulcet tones of Scarlett Johansson’s Kaa really give you chills. As for the antagonist, the great Shere Khan, Idris Elba brings a menacing East London-accented gravitas to the iconic tiger. He’s a genuinely terrifying villain, and his interplay with Mowgli and delivery of lines has to be commended. There’s absolutely nothing to complain about the voice talent on display here.
Which brings us to basically our only human character in the film, Neel Sethi’s Mowgli. This kid is just brilliant. He portrays Mowgli with just the right amount of naivete, enthusiasm, humor, heart, bravery, and cuteness. We watch or read the Jungle Book through the eyes of a child, and Neel is the perfect audience surrogate, reacting like we would with a child’s amazement and wonder at the extraordinary events happening around him. On the rare occasions that his delivery of lines may slip up, or his eyes are looking in another direction it’s important to keep in mind that he was a) only 10 years old during filming, and b) a kid with hardly any acting experience acting not along with other humans, but literally nothing but green screen and boxes and tennis balls. It’s extraordinary how he managed to carry the whole film by himself, and you can’t help but think that if they cast the wrong kid, the entire movie would’ve probably fallen flat on it’s face. There are seasoned adult actors who act in front of a green screen and come off as utterly wooden and lifeless. Neel knocked it out of the park. An incredibly talented young man, who I’m sure has great things ahead for him.
I was initially hesitant about the idea of a live action remake of the Jungle Book, but safe to say I was more than satisfied with this film. It’s one of those rare movies that I can seriously find no serious fault with. If anything, I only wish we could see those Beatles tribute band Vultures in live action. Apparently Favreau even planned for Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to appear as cameos, but sadly the scheduling didn’t work out.
But the movie as a whole was spectacular - fantastic voice talent, brilliant photorealistic CGI, and a heartfelt, emotional narrative at it’s core. It’s a wonderful story for families, and is just 2 hours full of pure escapism. A massive well done to all the cast and crew.
All thoughts turn now to Andy Serkis and WB’s completely separate adaptation, Jungle Book, now since delayed from next October to October 2018. Set to be closer to the spirit of Kipling’s novel even more than this one, it’s hard not to get excited with talent such as Serkis, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Benedict Cumberbatch behind it. There’s also a sequel planned for this one, with the same creative talent returning, so it’s all the more reason to get excited, especially with the wealth of Kipling’s original stories left to adapt. But those are still a long way away, and for now, we can rest content with what I believe to be the most definitive adaptation of Kipling’s text. A masterpiece.
Nordics' + Prussia's feelings when they watch a romantic film with their s/o?
(Sorry for doing this so late, I’ve been so inactive while trying to get my shit together)
Denmark: He’d get way too into it, and probably end up crying when the two main characters end up together like it’s the best thing that’s ever happened in life. He’d end up shipping supporting characters too. He’d most likely also take in things he’d like to do with you, taking a mental note of all the cheesy romantic acts he could use on you.
Norway: He’d look completely uninterested the whole time, but he’d actually not mind the movie. He might mutter the occasional critique. but he’d really just trying to hide that he’s a lover of the romance. He’d probably leave the room to just screech in the bathroom when the characters finally get together.
Iceland: He’d watch it, but complain the whole time. He wouldn’t hate the movie or anything, he’d just be a little embarrassed about the fact that he actually doesn’t think it’s bad. He’d lowkey be wondering if him and his s/o are just weird and relationships are actually meant to be like the one in the film.
Finland: He’d be 100% down to watch romantic films anytime. There’s no doubt he’d be lowkey freaking out over the cutesy scenes and cheering when the two main characters finally get their happily ever after (if it is that kind of cliche romantic film).
Sweden: He’d look angry while watching it, but he’s actually just getting hit with the feels that all romantic films hit you with. He literally cannot handle the stress during any drama throughout the movie. He just really wants the characters to be together. He’s also the best of the nations to cuddle during romantic films, because he just sits there like a giant pillow, not bothered in the slightest.
Prussia: At first, he’d be claiming he’s only watching the movie for you, and that romantic films bore him, but then he’d get into the plot, and before you know it he’s shedding dramatic tears during emotional parts, and yelling at the screen saying things along the lines of “just make out already” and “go for the booty”. You’ll definitely need to calm him down during or after it.
so with this new trend of making Disney movies into live-action films I think we all know which one should be next
with epic ass battle scenes, legitimately confused sexuality Shang, adorable awkward Mulan saving the whole of China, talking sassy little dragon, probably the best costumes in any movie ever, and most importantly 100% CHINESE CAST BECAUSE THERE IS LITERALLY NO WAY OUT OF THIS ONE
(though if they want to keep Eddie Murphy as the voice of said dragon then that is more than acceptable)
The latest episode of podigious focuses on Revenge of Diaboromon/Diablomon Strikes Back*, my favourite (but hardly the best) Digimon film, and they end up mentioning that infamous scene.
I have a lot of ideas about it, so bear with me. Basically, I think it’s just a badly-conceived scene in a badly-conceived film, and it pains me that it still creates so much controversy in the fandom.
aw jeez, why are folks annoyed that Bucky wasn’t in my film?? come on, Sam even vaguely alluded towards him without naming names at one point and personally I feel that was more than enough screentime for Bocky. it’s not like he was important in any of the events leading up to MY film. what’s that?? Bucko is Steve’s best friend and the only other connection to his old life except Peggy? Steve would have died rather than kill him and has been searching for him ever since?? well, look at Steve in MY film. he’s doing just fine without Binky. Anyway, I didn’t want to give Steve too much personality, y'know, it might have detracted from all those scenes where he gets to stand around and be out of character. hang on, who are we talking about? Bucky Barnes? nah, tbh I don’t even know who that guy is