My top 10 (…12) of 2017

As it’s New Year and everyone is all about making the resolutions I figured I should set myself a few realistic ones for 2018. First of all I really need to work harder at this blog, I really love writing about films and talking about films, I’m always that person at events that seems to somehow turn the conversation on to “what did you think of Star Wars?” so I really should embrace my blog more. Not to mention I use it to get press passes and then fail to actually publish any of the stuff I write about the events. So that ends NOW. I am going to set myself the challenge of at least 2 posts a month, talking about either films I see in the cinema, film events I attend or just old favourites I watch at home. Please bare in mind, Santa did very well this year by bringing me the new blu-ray box sets of the MCU phases 1 and 2. So there will be a lot of Marvel heavy content in the posts.
My other resolutions (besides attempting to get a tattoo) are going to be to find a job I love and stick at it, find a new house and most of all GRADUATE! I am so close to the end of 5 years of film studies (with a lengthy gap after the first two) that I cannot wait to say goodbye to education and get on with working on a proper career.

So, the finish of 2017 on my blog I am going to do a brief breakdown of my top 10 films of the year, now this is likely to either change or be extended when I look back over my film journal. But this is just a spontaneous blog post as my parents are having a New Years Eve party that I’ve managed to escape by saying I have “uni work” to do….

So my top 5 films of the first half of the year (Jan 1st – June 2nd) year:

1 – La La Land – It doesn’t feel possible that La La Land was released this year, it feels like a lifetime ago. How could I possible have a post about the best films of 2017 without a mention to this film. Musicals are a huge part of my life so for a film like this to be brought to the big screen and get the recognition is deserved meant that the world still has time for musicals. I don’t necessarily agree with everyone that says its as good as the musicals of the golden age, but it sure is a modern homage to them. It’s a shame it didn’t win the Oscar, I don’t know if it deserved to win it but I definitely would have given it to La La Land over Moonlight.

2 – Manchester by the Sea – Anyone who knows me, knows how much I adore Casey Affleck and this is not the only film starring him that is going to make it on to my top 10 (see “second half of the year”). I have a real issue with connection to my emotions, not just when watching films but also in every day life, I have a slight reputation of being the girl that can’t cry. There is one scene in Manchester by the Sea where Lee Chandler has to deal with the realisation of a heartbreaking situation whilst taking full responsibility for it and Afflecks performance is utterly compelling. He made me feel like I’ve never felt before whilst watching a film – a well deserved Oscar. Kenny Lonergans script and directing effort is both beautiful and effortless. If I could have chosen the winner for best film at this years Academy Awards it would have been this film. I just love it.

 

3 – Hidden Figures – Another worthy Oscar contender, it’s unsuprising that my top 5 films of the first half of the year consist mostly of Oscar nominees because the competition was unbelievably strong. A shout out aswell to Haksaw Ridge which so nearly made the cut, another stunning film.
Hidden Figures for me was everything I wanted to see from an Oscar nominated film, it has an exciting story which centres around some incredible characters and touches on some very important topics. It carries the entire film with controversial issues without making it heavy-going and depressing to watch. It’s an uplifting possitive effort to educate people about real events that took place. The leading performances from Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae are a match made in heaven – three performances that deserve to be celebrated.

4  – Logan – I wasn’t going to compile this list without at least one Marvel film featured and this year it just had to be Logan. I firmly believe Hugh Jackman deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance and finally the super-hero genre would get the recognition it deserves. Jackman had to say goodbye to his beloved Logan/Wolverine in this epic finale to his 9 film run within the X-Men series. Although being a part of that huge franchise Logan really does stand on it’s own two feet as a powerful film with its brilliant story line and powerhouse performances. A long with its amazing lead performances from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, the supporting cast also deserve some praise; Stephen Merchant, an unlikely choice for a superhero film, was absolutely fantastic and Dafne Keens debut was perfect as the role of Laura, Logans unknown daughter. A fantastic cast overall.
I was also lucky enough to see it as Logan Noir – an entire black and white edit of the film at the famous Prince Charles Cinema in London over the summer, it was the perfect film to see stripped back to black and white.

5 – Their Finest – Although to some people this might have been a forgettable film, it was one of the few films I gave 5 stars to this year. The film tells the story of a female film maker who has been appointed to make propaganda films during World War II. Filled with laughter and heartbreak this film really meant something to me, the story of Catrin Cole (played wonderfully by Gemma Arterton) is one of bravery and creativity and is incredibly moving. I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t already seen it, I really did love it. Who wouldn’t love a film starring Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy and Gemma Arterton?

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Ok, this isn’t going to make it on to the top 5 of the start of the year, because it’s not by any means the best of the series BUT it does deserve a mention. After the fall of ‘On Stranger Tides’ Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg pulled the franchise back perfectly with ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ (or ‘Salazars Revenge’ here in the UK) with the use of classic Pirates humour and a fantastic new cast, with the return of a few favourites. The Pirates series of films will always hold a special place in my life and I firmly believe “the more Pirates films, the better”.

And my top 5 (which has turned into my top 7) films of the last 6 months (June 3rd – Dec 31st) of the year:

6 – A Ghost Story – The second of Casey Afflecks films to make my list. The story of C, an introvert composer who has a sentimental attachment to the house that him and his wife live in. Killed tragically in a car accident at the start of the film, C returns to the house as a ghost to watch over his wife. One his wife has moved on and decides to leave the house behind C is left behind with the house and stays there whilst other families come and go.
It’s an absolutely stunning film that leaves you racking your brains to understand the movement of time. Two incredible leading performances from Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.

7 – My Life as a Courgette – It’s surprising that there’s an animated film on my list that isn’t a Disney or Disney/Pixar film but really I couldn’t not feature this one. My Life as a Courgette is a story set in rural France about a young boy called Courgette whos parents both pass away and he moves to an orphanage. Its a beautiful story told through the use of stop motion animation which I am a huge fan of. The colours and production design is stunning. I watched it with the British dub but I hope to see it in the original language soon.
I look forward to seeing it, hopefully, get a best animated feature nomination at the Oscars which is definitely deserves.

8 – War for the Planet of the Apes – I wasn’t sure if this would make the cut but the more I think about it the more I remember parts of it which I absolutely loved. One of my favourite things to see on screen is Woody Harrelson playing a villain and one of my favourite performances from him is in Out of the Furnace (2013) where he played one of the best on screen villains I’ve ever seen. His performance in the final installment of the Apes trilogy is brutal, he comes across as a true villain with self righteous intentions.
The new Planet of the Apes trilogy has showcased some of the greatest special effects ever seen on screen and that is mostly down to the outstanding performance from Andy Serkis in the lead role of Ceaser the ape. Throughout the trilogy we’re told the heartbreaking story of Ceaser and his tribe and this film just adds to that heartbreak but told in a beautiful way that, although the story is far-fetched, it somehow seems relevant.

9 – Dunkirk – Obviously Christopher Nolans’ World War II epic was going to make the list, in fact this is my number 1 film of the year. I find it hard to describe things like this that I love so much without just saying “it’s amazing, it’s brilliant, it’s perfect” but really this film is all of those things. From the intensely thrilling sound design with the use of a ticking clock to build the tension throughout the film to the painfully silent dialogue. One of my favourite things about it is the use of time, almost as it’s very own character, you’re thrown around all different time sequences as the film goes on, each character has it’s own timeline which crosses over with the other characters. It’s fascinating and genius, Christopher Nolan is a visionary and I for one am so excited to see what he comes up with next.
One of the things, that I always comment on, is the casting. I (along with a lot of people) was very unsure of the use of Harry Styles, former boyband member, in a film such as Dunkirk, but actually he surprised me and his character was so interesting. I think he actually did a great job. Mark Rylance was the screen stealer for me though, his calm exterior and typically British character made him relatable and interesting to watch. The rest of the cast were also fantastic, newcomer Fionn Whitehead and Tom Glynn-Carney were both brilliant as were the greats Kenneth Brannagh, James D’Arcy, Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy.
I can’t say enough good things about this masterpiece.

10 – Three Billboards (outside Ebbing, Missouri) – The summer of 2017 brought some really exciting new films into my life, mostly because I was lucky enough to get a press pass for the BFI London Film Festival which meant endless new films from all sorts of fascinating filmmakers, Malcolm McDonagh is one of them. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri was one I wasn’t sure about before going to see it, it was the closing film of the festival for press pass holders and for that reason I didn’t want to miss it. I was utterly blown away.
A heartbreaking story about a mother (Francis McDormand) who’s daughter was raped and killed, but the local police department lead by the respected Chief of Police (Woody Harrelson) did nothing to find the culprit. She takes extreme measures by leaving controversial messages for the police department to draw attention to there mistakes.
The script is compelling, a darkly comedic film full of whit and charm a long with an incredibly powerful monologue from McDormands character, Mildred.
I can’t recommend this film enough to everyone I talk to about it, it’s stunning and is likely to receive multiple well deserved Oscar nominations.

11 – Call Me By Your Name – Another film I wasn’t sure about before going to see it however, I absolutely loved it. A stunning love story between two unexpected companions who fall in love over a summer spent in the beautiful backdrop of the Italian Riviera. Two stand out performances from the leads Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet both tell their own personal stories with truth and honesty. I don’t want to say too much as it’s a fairy new film and I know a lot of people may not have seen it yet, but it really is stunning and worthy of a watch. Fingers crossed for some best actor nominations.

12 – The Greatest Showman – Start the year with a musical and end the year with a musical. That’s how I roll. The Greatest Showman tells the illustrious story of the founder of the great travelling circus, P. T. Barnum. Hugh Jackman appears to have made my list twice, a long with Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson.
The Greatest Showman is a musical theatre spectacular, if you don’t enjoy films where the characters are half way through a conversation and dramatically burst into song then this isn’t for you. But if you enjoy spectacular dance routines, unbelievable costumes, love stories, music, animals and just all round great entertainment then this is your film. It’s fabulous, really, truly, fabulous and what a great way to go out of the year. With a bang.

So that’s it! My top 10 (…12) of 2017. I have loved going to the cinema as much as I have (82 times to be precise) and attending multiple premieres, festivals, conventions and special screenings. Lets see if we can make the round 100 in 2018. Bring it on.

 

Films I am looking forward to on 2018:
– The Posts
– Ready Player One
– Maze Runner: The Death Cure
– Black Panther
– Avengers: Infinity War
– Early Man
– Sherlock Gnomes
– The Incredibles 2
– Coco
– The Crimes of Grindlewald
– Solo: A Star Wars Story
– Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
– A Wrinkle in Time
– Mary Poppins Returns
– Wreck it Ralph 2
– Isle of Dogs
– Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

And I’m sure there will be many, many more!

Advertisements
My top 10 (…12) of 2017

20 films in to 2017

It’s now March 14th, I have just seen my 21st film of the year. Kong: Skull Island. I have actually been keeping a hand-written film diary which seemed like a great idea at the start of the year but apparently it means I write a lot less on here.

There’s already been some incredibly successful, high-budget, blockbusters this year that I have thoroughly enjoyed, things like; Logan, Passengers, Kong, The Great Wall (despite Matt Damons dodgy Irish accent, I still love him) and Hacksaw Ridge and we still have so many to come, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor: Ragnarok and Power Rangers to name a few. I have also just started hearing a bit more about the new Charlie Hunnam hit, The Lost City of Z, which at first I thought looked boring and ridiculous but actually after reading some reviews and watching some trailers for it I’m actually very interested in seeing this film. It looks like it could be something great.

I also followed all of the Oscar nominees like a hawk, I managed to see all the Best Picture contenders before the awards took place, my favourite from the day dot was Arrival, I also loved Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion and Hell or High Water. I was disappointed in Moonlight and Fences, which unfortunately Moonlight went on to win Best Picture, in my opinion it didn’t deserve it, it was a film made for all the wrong reason, political drivel that was made with one intention, to win the BP Award at the Oscars, props to them – they did what they set out to do. But I truly believe Hidden Figures should have won, it was a beautifully told important story. (I’m aware this is a controversial opinion, I don’t think I need to worry about the half a dozen people that actually read this blog, but it is my opinion and I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, I just didn’t like it.)

Aside from all of that, one of the films from this year that seems to have stuck with me from the first moment I watched it was Manchester by the Sea (again, controversial, I like it for the film and the talent, not the actors themselves). It was one of the most visually beautiful films, New England is such a beautiful place and it’s nice to see the scenic shots on the big screen. Casey Afflecks portrayal of a man dealing with guilt, grief and trauma is so compelling, you felt every single word he said and it was the first film, in a long time, that I actually managed to have some empathy for the characters. I am now currently reading the screenplay and have downloaded the soundtrack because I just can’t get enough of it. Kenny Lonergan is an absolute genius and his words are so soothing yet heartbreaking at the same time. I true visionary. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

So 2017 seems to be going off with a bang, we’re now into the third month of the year, second of the film year, and I’m excited to see what the rest of the year brings.

I am still working on my challenge to see every Oscar Best Picture winning film, I think I might have ticked a few more off the list since I last wrote. I watched Million Dollar Baby the other night and found it extremely dull. I’m surprised it won as much as it did, but that’s just me.

What’s next? I’m not sure, the dreaded remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is being released world wide on Friday so maybe I’ll drag myself kicking and screaming to see that at some point and I want to see Ben Wheatleys Free Fire once that’s released, see if it’s any better and less pretentious than High Rise. But until then, I’ll just stay sat on the sofa working my way through my ever-growing DVD collection.

MTFBWY

20 films in to 2017

2017 …so far

Yep, as always, I’ve left it ages since writing here but I guess that’s mostly because I don’t think anyone reads it haha! So what’s the point?

2017 has begun with a bang for me in the film world, I’m loving almost everything I see at the cinema at the moment. That time of year is here again, awards season, I live for this period of the film calendar! There’s so much to be excited about and so much I’ve already enjoyed.

My top film for 2016 was Arrival, the script, the acting, the production design, the direction, the narrative was all phenomenal. I loved love loved it. And having Jeremy Renner to look at for the duration of the film was also a nice treat. I really do love that man! I was luck enough to get a glimpse of him and Amy Adams at the Arrival premiere back during the BFI Film Festival here in London. Another highlight of the last 6 months for me, unfortunately I didn’t get to view any films at the festival but I went to a lot of the red carpet events and it was so much fun! I saw some real idols and had the chance to be involved in the celebration of the industry I know and love so much. It was great!

So back to the present, 2017, what a year so far and we’re only 31 days in! I am keeping a handwritten journal of all the films I’ve seen at the cinema this year so I can have a final headcount of how many I watch because I have no idea how many I watched last year and I would be so interested. I’m looking forward to looking back over it this time next year to reminisce on some of the films I’d forgotten about.

So, I’ve seen 6 of the 9 best picture nominations for this years Academy Awards. Arrival being the highlight but, saying that, I’ve loved them all. La La Land is beautiful and wonderful and deserves all the recognition it gets, it’s so exciting to see the old art form from the Golden Age back on the big screen where it belongs. Emma Stone is a sure win for the leading actress category. Hacksaw Ridge, although a tough watch, a very tough watch, I really did love it. I have a lot of love for war films anyway and Andrew Garfields performance was great. He’s really growing into a serious actor. It’s very exciting to see. Manchester by the Sea, I really don’t know how I can put into words how much I loved this film. Casey Affleck is just incomprehensible, his performance was chilling yet beautiful, cold yet so warming, hard to watch yet addictive. I don’t know how else to say it, I really don’t. I can see him picking up the golden man on February 28th. Lion, also amazing, held together wonderfully by Dev Patel and his wonderful youngerself Sunny Pawar, a brilliant young actor who we can only expect great things from in the future. It was a beautifully heartwarming true story and I really loved it. (I’ve said that a lot so far, I told you, I have loved everything so far this year!)
So what have I got left? Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Fences. All award favourites so far this year and I’m really looking forward to seeing them all. Bring it on!

On a personal note, I have set myself the task (with my best friend, whom I will be attending the BAFTA red carpet with in 12 days!) to watch every film that’s ever won the “Best Picture” gong at the Academy Awards, it’s a heck of a challenge with 89 films to watch, one a year since 1928. I have watched 18, so I have quite a way to go. But I will start a new thread and keep you all (ha ha) updated with my progress.

So, until then, I bid thee a farewell.

May the force be with you, always.

2017 …so far

X-Men: Apocalypse

This is a slightly different review, as well as going to see the film on opening night I went to the red carpet of the European Fan Screening at the Southbank BFI IMAX on Monday 9th May.

We arrived at the BFI at approx 7am to collect wristbands as we had been informed to do by the BFI staff the day before. We were in line for about an hour and then managed to get good numbers (64-70). They were only giving out up to 200 numbers so we were very happy with those.
After getting the wristbands we all decided to go home to sleep and shower before returning at 12 to get into the pens (I know, we sound like animals)
We luckily got to the front barriers and with bags of food and drink in tow the wait began. We waited for about 5 hours before the stars started to arrive and the heavens opened. We got soaked. The carpet was no longer a beautiful shade of blue but a wet, dirty mess. I felt sorry for the stars tottering around in 6 inch stilettos.  (Although I didn’t really)

The event itself was alright, it was amazing seeing some of my favourite actors; the likes of James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence and Oscar Isaac. But the absolute highlight for me was meeting Tye Sheridan, he is one of the best under 20’s actors around at the moment and I managed to get my copy of Jeff Nicholls Mud signed by him which he seemed very flattered by.
Aside from being nearly crushed by the crazy sellers behind us we had a really great day. We got to see some of our favourites and I managed to get a few autographs.
Thanks to the BFI for a great event.

As for the film itself, it was absolutely phenomenal. Better than Days of Futures Past but not quite as good as First Class.
The casting was perfect, I loved Oscar Isaac in a villainous role. He’s a very talented actor.
I think one of the best things that has been brought to the MCU is Evan Peters’ Quicksilver. He is such a funny, witty, likeable character who’s back story develops more and more with each film.
The audience loves him and again Brian Singers direction included a brilliant slow motion sequence where Quicksilver manages to save just about all the students in the school.
For me Tye Sheridan was the best newcomer to the series and of course McAvoy and Fassbender work so perfectly together.
Very very impressed. I loved it.

X-Men: Apocalypse

The Jungle Book

Jon Favreau is slowly becoming one of my favourite directors, his latest film The Jungle Book has convinced me even more. There were absolutely no faults whatsoever with the production of this film, the visuals were completely stunning, to the point where I had to remind myself that Kaa was not a real giant snake. The cinematography from Bill Pope was so clever, the way the camera followed the characters and caught every single emotion was genius.
The casting was probably 99% accurate for me, I have to admit (and this is hopefully going to be the only time I will ever say this) I didn’t like Idris Elba. I think for the character in question, Sher Khan, needed a much more menacing voice, he needed to be intimidating and passionate but also with a hint of crazy and unfortunately, for me, I think Idris’ voice is too smooth and velvety for that particular role.
I really loved all the other characters, I think Bagera is my favourite, Sir Ben Kingsley did a wonderful job in capturing the wisdom and age that comes with that character. Also, King Louis was fabulous, I loved the size they made him, I think that helped with making him seem like the secondary villain, which is how he is supposed to be. Christopher Walken was fantastic. The only thing I didn’t like about that particular scene was when he burst into song, yes ok I get that the audience wanted to hear the original songs from the original film which is fine (I too wanted to hear some links to the animated classic) however, I feel when the song started it took away from the seriousness of the scene and made it too comical which didn’t seem to flow. I think that song should have been kept for the credits to add a bit of comic relief to the end of the film.
I did, however, love when Baloo and Mowgli sang The Bare Necessities, that was beautiful and warming and funny, just like Baloo’s character.
Neel Sethi played a fantastic Mowgli, his childish behaviour and rawness was so clear and enjoyable to watch.

For me the absolute highlight of the film, what made it as perfect as it was, was the soundtrack. The music was absolutely stunning and the closing scene, when Mowgli is running like a man, not a wolf, has one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.

(Oh – and the wolf cubs are reaaaaaally cute!)

Overall I absolutely loved the film, when the opening credits started I felt myself becoming slightly nervous because I have been anticipating the release of this film for a really long time and I was pleasantly surprised. Disney have done it again, and no matter how much people (myself included) moan about the constant stream of live action remakes, they never fail to impress.
I can’t wait for many more to come!

Thank you Disney for doing what you do best.

The Jungle Book

Zootopia/Zootropolis

I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Disney have done it again!

The film takes place in a large metropolis city which is divided into 4 sections and is inhabited by animals. Walking, talking, working, well dressed animals.
The story centers around a rabbit named Judy Hopps, a new police recruit from a large farming family in the country. She is welcomed into the ZPD in an unfriendly manner as they have never had a rabbit on the force before and think she’s going to be useless (oh how wrong they are!) She expects to be put onto the big important cases but ends up as a traffic warden. Whilst doing this boring job she runs into Nick Wilde, a sly fox who has spent his life dealing on the black market. The story continues to follow Judy and Nick as they end up being left to uncover an enormous crime in only 48 hours.
It’s funny, fast paced and exactly what you want to see from a talking animal animation. The animation itself is absolutely breathtaking, every single animal has different fur or skin and the detail is incredible.
My only problem? Far too many predictable Frozen references, for example the criminal weasel named Duke Weasleton. -_-
However, the wonderful Flash makes up for that.

Other than that, this is an absolute must see.
Released this Easter in cinemas across the country!! Don’t miss it!!

Zootopia/Zootropolis

A new hope

Charlie. (FEMALE!). 24. London.
Disney. Films. TV. Book worm.

I have no idea how to even start talking on this thing, my friends have told me I needed to start writing a blog about my new life because it’s a good way to share everything. I mean, I’ve been writing a diary now for 8 years so I guess I’m getting used to writing about my day but I don’t think it’s very exciting.

My world practically consists of going to work, going to college, sitting on the tube, squeezing on the tube and going to the cinema. The cinema is my way out, my escape, my happy place. I love it more than anything (except Disneyland, but that’s a story for another day) and I go a lot.

Today is actually a very special day in cinema history as it is October 21st 2015, the day Marty McFly traveled to in the future in Back to the Future Part 2. So what better day to start writing a blog about cinema? I was going to go to the cinema tonight to watch the marathon but I have a feeling my bum will go numb and I’ll be too tired so I decided to just watch them all at home, also I want to see Keith Lemmons TV special because my absolute favourite band will be on it, McBusted. I have seen them 20 times in concert and adore them. Obviously McFly is named after Marty and Busted have been very influenced by the BTTF franchise so it’s all magically linked.

I have the day off from college and work today so instead of doing what I should be, which is finishing off my first script and treatment for college, I am sat watching TV shows back-to-back and eating more than necessary. I have just started watching Gossip Girl, which I have a feeling I am going to get very addicted to. And I am now watching the latest Once Upon A Time which has now been on for 32 minutes and I don’t think I’ve really paid attention to more than 10 seconds of it. It’s just not as good as it used to be.

A couple of things about my likes/dislikes in the world of TV/film:
I am a life-long, dedicated Disney fan.
I hate Frozen.
I love most fandoms inc. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Marvel, Star Wars, Maze Runner.
I am crazy about Alfred Hitchcock
My favourite film of all time is The Breakfast Club
I love musicals
My favourite directors are Speilburg and Burton
My favourite producers are Bruckheimer and Heyman
I don’t like Alfonso Curon. He ruined The Prisoner of Azkaban. Gravity is not a good film.

I love soap operas (mainly Eastenders and Corrie)
I love TV specials like Comic Relief, Children In Need
I watch Pointless every day.

I have a huge passion for Christmas and therefor love all Christmas films and TV shows, Christmas Day is not complete without Eastenders.
I don’t like Dr. Who…sorry.

A new hope