There is one moment in Waves where I let out a quiet “Oh Shit” (You’ll know when you watch it). This non-compliance with the usual BFI’s morally coded audience thankfully wasn’t disapproved as I wasn’t the only “Shit”-ter. There were many audible gasps and ooh’s and one woman who shouted “OH FUCK!”. If a film-snob-cinema audience is releasing that sort of reaction, then the film is certainly doing something right in it’s experimentation of sight and sound.
Waves primarily follows black middle class teenager Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) and his perfect life. He’s doing great as the wrestling jock. He has a stable family and is in a happy relationship. However, things soon start to go wrong. His relationship with his father (Sterling K. Brown) is straining as he is being pushed too much. This happens alongside his shoulder joint becoming worn down meaning his wrestling days may be over. His girlfriend (Alexa Demie) is also worried she is pregnant. This perfect cocktail see’s him take a spiralling journey into madness.
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Within the first minute of the film, Jojo Rabbit gives you the “Oh” moment. With a German cover of I want to hold to hold your hand in the background, Johannes (Roman Griffin Davis) and his camp imaginary friend Hitler (Taika Watiti) are practising their Heil Hitlers in the mirror, before he runs down the street in excitement as today is his first day in the Hitler Youth. His joyous face and childish motion in this silly scenario along with the upbeat music may lead you to crack a smile. However, this is interlinked with Nazi propoganda videos of smiling crowds. This is when having being swept away with Jojo’s commotion, you realise “Hold on a minute. Why am I going along so happily with this?” This smart ploy is one of cleverest scenes in the film as you recompose yourself and remember that you’re in 1940’s Austria.
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When a film is over 3 hours, it needs to do two things. Firstly it needs to justify its length of time. Secondly. it needs to look after the audience. At 186 minutes long (22 minutes longer than 2001: A Space Odyssey), So Long, My Son does pack in a lot of content.
The film starts with the major pivot. Xingxing and Haohao are two young best friends who were born on the same day. At a young age, Haohao suggests they play in the reservoir. Xingxing is nervous, and doesn’t really want to go. We fast forward and see that Xingxing has died from drowning here, but we’re not sure what events lead to this.
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We are back for 2020. Although, I do admit I saw this film in 2019, I’ve just been much too busy to sit down and witter about my feelings around a film. Nonetheless, I have finally found half an hour free and intend to discuss a rather good film which made my top twenty of the year. So without further ado, lets talk Little Women.
Based on the book by Louisa Alcott (which I have yet to read), Little Women follows the story of four sisters in two different time periods. Jo (Saoirse Ronan) is a writer who never plans to fall in love. She wants to be successful, but her writings aren’t interesting enough according to the publisher who requires women to be married or dead by the end. Meg (Emma Watson) would rather fall in love than be rich. Amy (Florence Pugh), however, believes that marriage is merely good for money and wants nothing more than riches as she becomes a painter. Beth (Eliza Scanlen) is the innocent one of the group and a talented pianist. They are looked after by Marmee (Laura Dern) while their dad is fighting the civil war. They just about get by, nonetheless acting with generosity and kindness to one another and their community. Meanwhile, their aunt Marge (Meryl Streep) enjoys living in wealth albeit in a cold frame of mind. Next door is rich kid Laurie (Timothee Chalamet) who takes a liking to Jo.
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We are getting to that time, new years day, where one puts together their list of films. While I’m no Barack Obama, this list should provide a good indicator of what one could have watched and could look for upon a DVD release. Apologies to some films I didn’t see yet Fighting with My Family, Sorry I missed You, The Souvenier, Pain and Glory, The Two Popes and Ford vs Ferrari amongst many others which may have gone into the list had I had the time, but that doesn’t make the twenty any less worthy.
All twenty are from all over the world and provide a variety of genres, so hopefully there is something which takes your fancy. Each one is a brilliant piece of work which gave me enormous satisfaction. There were other good ones which weren’t included. Just because a film is at 17/18/19/20 doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. It just means there were others which I also enjoyed more or in a different way. Apologies in advance to Marvel fanboys and here is to 2020.
Eight of these films are on Prime/Netflix UK so there is no excuse to not watch them. Enjoy!
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A purrfect Film?
As I’m leaving the cinema
Have I lost my memory?
The CGI, leaves me withered as I look at my feet
And the Joe begins to moan
If you go to the cinema and enjoy a film that I didn’t, then I am happy for you. My view is not all encompassing and sacreligious. Not all films are my cup of tea. If you enjoyed the latest blockbuster that I found boring, great. I really am pleased for you. If you didn’t enjoy the weird indie flick I liked, that’s fine as well. I’m sad you didn’t enjoy what you spent time and money on, but have no resentment over your film taste. Despite your prior beliefs, this blog is not gospel and I mention this before I review Knives Out as I find it leaves me in an awkward place. I can see why others liked this film a lot, but I really struggled to connect with it.
Knives out is written as a comedy/murder mystery. On crime writer Harlan Thrombey’s (Christopher Plummer) birthday party, he appears to commits suicide, however all is not as it seems *shock* as an anonymous donor has paid for private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to investigate. The primary focus of the story is Marta (Ana De Armas), Harlan’s carer, who clearly knows more than she is letting on. She os accompanied by a top cast of Thrombey’s sinister family members including Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon and Toni Colette, to name a few. Similarly to death in paradise it attempts to somewhat split the comedy from the story, however this really fails in Craig’s dreadful attempt at an American accent. Every time he spoke, my immersion into the film was ruined, whether a suspenseful, emotional or funny part, he just couldn’t shake the accent off.
Twist The Knife