Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

Second Half Of 2016 Film Round-Up

I did quite well this half of the year. In August I thought, ‘ahh, now, I’m always forgetting to watch films from this point in the year onward’ and made a concerted effort. December rolled around and the fact it was the season, together with with the thought, ‘last month of the year!’, led to more films. Catch-up television is incredibly useful – I owe much of this list to iplayer – as are subscription programmes.

Here are the films I watched for the first time during the second half of 2016. My opinions here are a lot more subjective than my book reviews.

Film image Film image Film image Film image Film image

The Bishop’s Wife (USA, 1947) – Feel good semi-comedy. We could do with Cary Grant in our films today.

The Black Cauldron (USA, 1985) – It’s easy to see why it’s a largely unknown Disney. The voice acting of the lead, the story line – the spark of an idea but not realised. We found out after watching that the film was hack-edited – one of the higher people in the company decided to do it himself, ruining it, and this caused a group of the animators to go and form Pixar.

Carol (USA, 2015) – A very good film. I liked the quietness that fit the situation.

Far From The Madding Crowd (UK, 2015) – Perfect, super, casting. But no development, progression, epic end section rendered average…

Holiday Affair (USA, 1949) – A film of the times (bit of a brash hero) but this turned out to be pretty charming and, in some ways, ahead of its time (very confusing, I know!)

Film image Film image Film image Film image Film image

Into The Woods (USA/UK, 2014) – A few of the lyrics are good and on occasion it’s funny, but it’s mostly a non-event.

The Lady In The Van (UK, 2015) – You can’t really go wrong with Maggie Smith, nor Alan Bennett.

The Lego Movie (USA, 2014) – Fantastic; barmy and hilarious.

Snow White And The Huntsman (UK, 2012) – Pretty good, very much ‘based’ on the story rather than following it.

Miss Potter (UK, 2006) – Found the animation a bit silly but otherwise it’s a lovely film.

What films did you watch for the first time in 2016?

 
First Half Of 2016 Film Round-Up

Not much going on here. I started well; I saw a new film on New Year’s Day and visited the cinema a couple more times that month but my watching petered out as spring started. Family events ensured I watch a few more films than I might have otherwise and I tried another of those ‘watch one every evening’ goals I first attempted a few years ago; at the end of the day I don’t think I’ll ever get over the ironic feeling I have that a couple of hours spent on a film isn’t worth much even though I can spend several hours on an average book and deem it very worth it. I guess film bloggers feel this in reverse!

Film image Film image Film image Film image Film image

Bridge of Spies (USA, 2015) – I didn’t catch as much of the humour as did those I saw it with but it wasn’t bad.

Cheerful Weather For The Wedding (UK, 2012) – Strictly okay. Sorely lacking in the humour that made the book so good and the poignant ending wasn’t well done.

Cinderella (UK, 2015) – Apart from the way the actors all seem cut out of another piece of film (I suspect too much green screen) this is an excellent production. Very, very funny, in an adult humour way, and in this case the sections that are overly romanticised and cute are clearly to placate the kids who want the princess fairytale. The step-family weren’t as awful as I’d been led to believe – they’re more bog-standard Cinderella – but the focus on that aspect of the story is given more time.

The Danish Girl (Multiple countries, 2015) – The actors were good and worked well together, the music was great, cinematography… I’m just a bit confused as to why they chose to adapt a fictionalisation rather than the true story.

Ella Enchanted (USA, 2004) – Very silly, perhaps too silly, but entertaining enough.

Film image Film image Film image Film image Film image

Joy (USA, 2015) – A good story but film was the wrong medium for it. Wait for the book (not that it’s on its way).

Man Of The Year (USA, 2006) – Eternally relevant.

Philomena (UK, 2013)– Hard hitting and whilst not quite true to life, very good.

Spectre (UK, 2015) – Not bad at all. Liked the characterisation of the Bond Girl.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (USA, 2015) – As a Star Wars film? Not so much. As a film in itself? Awesome. I am loving Rey so far though I could do without Darth Vader’s Anger-Management-Course-Required grandson. Bit too samey.

Goal for the next six months? Honestly, I think saying I’d like to have watched two films is a good idea. I have read a fair number of books – they’re making up for the slack.

Which films have you seen recently and would you recommend them?

 
Second Half Of 2015 Film Round-Up

In any given year I seem to forget about the screen somewhere between June and July and that’s it until the next January. This time around I have Christmas to thank – we watched four films and as is often the case, there were some interesting ones on catch-up television.

Here are the films I watched for the first time during the second half of 2015.

Film image

About Time (UK, 2013) – Funny, poignant, and, hey, it’s by Richard Curtis. You do need to suspend reality as the time travel has a lot of holes but the message rings true. And that title is pretty meta.

Film image

The Book Thief (USA/Germany, 2013) – It’s not the same (it was never going to be, so much of the book’s success is in the writing itself) but it’s a great film nonetheless. Best viewed as it’s own creation.

Film image

Jurassic World (USA, 2015) – You have to suspend reality for more than the obvious reason but this is a good film.

Film image

Mockingjay Part I (USA, 2014) – Like the book, this film isn’t as good as the others in the series, but it’s a fair addition and I liked that they went against the books and kept Effie.

Film image

Paddington (UK, 2014) – I had my doubts when we started, but this is a great film and, like Disney, there’s a lot of adult humour, too. I’d never liked Sally Hawkins before this film; everything I’ve seen her in she’s been upset or angry or wicked, but here, well, I really don’t know why more films don’t have her in happy roles; she’s a delight to watch.

Film image

The Princess Bride (USA, 1987) – Finally saw this after hearing so many Americans talk about it. My expectations were a bit too high – take out those and I loved it. Yes, it’s dated, but if you’re expecting that it’s fine.

Film image

Romeo & Juliet (UK/Italy, 2013) – This was rated negatively, mostly due to the butchered dialogue, but I quite liked it. They made a point of showing it’s set in Verona and we actually got to see Rosaline.

So not bad in the end, though it could’ve done with more diversity in all senses of the word.

What films have you enjoyed recently?

 
First Half Of 2015 Film Round-Up

It’s an interesting thing, I’ll watch many films early in the year – January, February – and then, ironically later, think I’ve lots of time to go. Of course in reality I do, but part of the point of these round ups is to get me watching more films and that’s not happening so much when I constantly think I’ve lots of time. For the most part I have enjoyed what I’ve seen. I’ve noted some Bollywood films from 2013 I want to watch (the year I stopped actively following the industry) and plan to get to more classics. I have never seen When Harry Met Sally, for example, which, from what I can ascertain, is quite strange.

Here are the films I have watched so far this year for which it was my first time watching them.

Film image

Becoming Jane (UK, 2007) – About Jane Austen’s early years. Takes some liberties to tell a film-worthy tale, but overall good.

Film image

Bee Movie (USA, 2007) – Excellent. Timely, relevant, very funny. The creators were quite obviously focused on adult enjoyment.

Film image

Bright Days Ahead (Les Beaux Jours) (France, 2013) – I’d wanted to see this at the cinema so was happy to find it on BBC Four. Not as good as I’d expected, but a fair film nonetheless.

Film image

Catching Fire (USA, 2013) – Best book; best film. The new cast members fit wonderfully.

Film image

The Fault In Our Stars (USA, 2014) – There are differences to the book, obviously, but this is a solid effort and a good adaptation overall. It translates differently due to viewpoint, loses a bit of humour, but the emotion is there.

Film image

Guardians Of The Galaxy (USA, 2014) – I can see it being a hit for big Marvel fans, but I prefer the ‘regular’ Marvel movies.

Film image

The History Boys (UK, 2006) – I practically jumped in delight when I saw this on iplayer; I’d wanted to see it for a while after watching the French scene on Live at the National Theatre. The history and literature were of course right up my alley but I think what I loved most about this film was the way they didn’t just not try to hide the fact it was a play, they created a good balance between film and theatre. The acting was mostly theatrical and the ending perfectly staged.

Film image

I Capture The Castle (UK, 2003) – Not as fun as the book, but not bad.

Film image

If I Stay (USA, 2014) – Sickly sweet at times, though as it nears the end it is exceptional and the emotion works well. I noticed, as others have, that the direction could have been better – people swerve to avoid Mia which of course they shouldn’t be doing and are obviously doing so that they don’t hit the actress. Maybe it’s the musician in me, that I ‘get’ it, but I found it emotional, even though I knew the story.

Film image

Krrish 3 (India, 2014) – Bollywood does Marvel. This isn’t a bad film but it could have done with a better director and not so much lifting from other films because albeit that Rakesh Roshan is good for the story it sometimes feels as though he’s too in awe of his son. I got the feeling they really wanted Shah Rukh Khan instead of Vivek Oberoi as Vivek plays his role as SRK would, and there is a bit too much violence, angst, and even for a Bollywood it goes on too long. I did love Kangna Ranaut, however. It’s the first film I’ve seen her in and I definitely want to see more.

Film image

My Fake Fiancé (USA, 2010) – Fun, light escapism.

Film image

Renoir (France, 2012) – It’s all right, it’s just not very interesting. A biography would be better. I also felt that, although they obviously wanted to cover the meeting between the couple and combine it with the artist’s work, the film years would’ve been a better choice.

Film image

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (UK, 2015) – Not as good as the first, partly because the first wrapped up so completely, but still fun and worth seeing. Use of Bollywood songs much appreciated.

So a basic plan in mind: classics, famous films I’ve missed, but otherwise I’m going to go with the flow.

What’s the best film you’ve seen recently?

 
Second Half Of 2014 Film Round-Up

I did pretty well these last six months and I think I’ve broken my pattern or not watching as many films in the last months as I do in the first. I did make a conscious effort to view more, as I’d planned, and being able to use catch up services and borrow DVDs is a great help.

So here we go, a short summary followed by summed up opinion. Here are the films I watched in the second half of 2014 for which it was my first time watching them.

Film image

The Accidental Husband (USA, 2008) – Not very realistic but fun all the same. Loved the use of Indian film soundtracks.

Film image

American Hustle (USA, 2013) – Great film. Admittedly I couldn’t hear all the dialogue; the film is very quiet even when you’ve the speakers on maximum, but I loved the length of it. Liking Jennifer Lawrence a great deal, too.

Film image

The Avengers (USA, 2012) – Might as well say it now; we’ve been going through the Marvel films so there are a fair few here. I liked this more than some of the solo outings; my favourite part was the very end, after the credits. The simplicity and contrast was just too much fun.

Film image

Brave (USA, 2012) – Not what I expected as ‘Brave’ made me think it’d be a bit like Mulan, but I enjoyed it all the same. Lots of laughs.

Film image

Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie (Ireland, 2014) – With fewer out-takes and the lack of a studio audience, it doesn’t hit the spot. A joke in which a person thinks an Asian man is Jamaican works once and shows silly ignorance, after six or seven repetitions it comes across as racist, intentional or not. And a scene which could be considered a mocking of the tendency to use white people instead of a person of the ethnicity presented (that was my reaction – I thought it’d be awesome if they’d done that and then reverted to a Asian actor from then on) again came across badly when it turned into more scenes. I later discovered it was because the Asian actor was ill so they had to change things quickly, but if so this information needed to be included in the film, breaking the fourth wall being common, after all.

Film image

Captain America: The First Avenger (USA, 2011) – One of the better ones, definitely. I loved spotting all the British actors, especially the sudden appearance by Richard Armitage.

Film image

The Decendents (USA, 2011) – Another recent George Clooney film that meandered and didn’t know what it wanted to be. A film about a family coping with death, or a film about land ownership?

Film image

Erin Brockovich (USA, 2000) – Yep, last person and all that. Loved it.

Film image

The Hunger Games (USA, 2012) – I liked that they obviously wanted to make the most of the war, but I did find it lacked the pace and information the books have.

Film image

The Incredible Hulk (USA, 2008) – How to get drunk: take a drink every time Betty says ‘Bruce’.

Film image

Nativity! (UK, 2009) – Silly, unrealistic, but a lot of fun.

Film image

Nativity! 2 (UK, 2012) – Even more silly and pointedly unrealistic but fun enough.

Film image

Puss In Boots (USA, 2011) – Works, but this is definitely a spin-off.

Film image

Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones (USA, 2002) – I loved The Phantom Menace when I first saw it but never got around to seeing this one. The boy who played Anakin in 1 was excellent, this young man, not so.

Film image

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith (USA, 2005) – Better than the last one, and the guy got better at acting.

Film image

StreetDance (UK, 2010) – A fun enough dance film in which street dance mixes with ballet.

Film image

StreetDance 2 (UK, 2012) – The Salsa/street dance is interesting, but ironically there are too many dance scenes and it’s not got the same chemistry or feel-good factor of the first.

Film image

Sydney White (USA, 2007) – I wasn’t expecting much, it looked like any other school Mean Girls movie, and it is. But it is fun, uses stereotypes unapologetically to good effect, and the way it played with the tale of Snow White was pretty different.

Film image

Tangled (USA, 2010) – Loved this. Funny, pretty adult, and the changes made worked well enough. I’m just confused as to how her hair managed to be in such good condition when she was constantly dragging it across the floor…

Film image

Thor (USA, 2011) – Wasn’t keen on the main character but overall it’s not too bad.

Film image

Tron: Legacy (USA, 2010) – I never saw the first but it turned out not to matter too much. This film is excellent.

Film image

Wedding Daze (USA, 2006) – An average film but then it never promises it’ll be more.

Film image

Winter’s Bone (USA, 2010) – I watched this for Jennifer Lawrence. Alright film, good acting.

It’s still missing variety but I plan to remedy that this year.

What films have you enjoyed recently?

 

Older Entries Newer Entries