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

The Pianist

The film, The Pianist, was released in 2002 by Polish-French filmmaker Roman Polanski, I chose to watch this one today as in 2 days’ time it is the highly anticipated 88th Academy Awards and to celebrate I decided to only watch Oscar Winning films and this is one I hadn’t seen until now.

It tells the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, played by Adrian Brody, a Jewish Polish pianist who gets caught up in the German empowerment of Walsall, Poland in the Second World War. The first half of the film tells the story of him and his family loosing there home, lives, jobs and dignity to the evil of the Nazi government. Due to his friendship with a Jewish officer, Szpilman manages to escape the one way trip to the concentration camps and manages to hide. The second half follows him through the trials and tribulations of Nazi Poland.

This film is utterly stunning, there is no fault with the production, the script and the acting is virtually flawless. Having not seen this film up until now I am ashamed to call myself a film fan. The Pianist should be at the top of every single persons “to watch” film. It’s elegant and beautiful and yet utterly brutal and very hard to watch in parts. I have a great interest in the events of the Second World War, especially when they are portrayed through one person’s story. Brody does such a magnificent job, he is pure brilliance and the passion you feel in his acting is second to none. He transforms from a strong man with the ability to look after his entire family to this small, vulnerable man who needs protection from anyone who is willing to give it.

I highly recommend this film to anyone who believes in telling the truth through film, I have never seen such a true performance from anyone.

The Pianist