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Second Half Of 2019 Film Round Up

Lots of classics here. I’ve listed the Hallmark made-for-TV Christmas movies at the bottom; whilst some are really good I can’t deny that they are guilty pleasures.

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Aladdin (USA, 2019) – This mostly follows the same storyline as that used in Disney’s 1992 cartoon version. It’s awesome. It was evident that they acknowledged Will Smith is very different to Robin Williams so instead they aligned the genie to Smith and it worked incredibly well. Loved the changed lyrics. Didn’t think giving Jasmine a new plot thread worked as well but understand why they did it.

Charlie’s Angels (USA, 2000) – Three women employed by a mysterious man they have never met look to stop a killer. Maybe it’s the age of the original showing through, but I wasn’t keen.

Enchanted April (UK, 1992) – Four women of differing personalities and backgrounds club together in order to rent a castle for a month’s holiday. This has all the atmosphere of the book and is quite wonderful. I found myself appreciating Scrap much more (though her nickname is left out in the film) and it brought to my attention the way that Briggs and Scrap being together would mean the seven of them would be able to return. The only drawback from the film was the way everything seemed to happen over a matter of days but that’s just the nature of a film trying to show a month – the script did include plenty of references to the passing of time.

His Girl Friday (USA, 1940) – A newspaper editor tries to sabotage the new relationship of his ex-wife, a reporter, getting her to cover a story only two hours before she’s due to catch a train. This was fulfilling in a technical way – it’s a dialogue-heavy play on screen and very funny. Unfortunately it also uses a word we consider racist – it’s used once but does make a mark. The film is in the public domain.

McLintock! (USA, 1963) – Based on The Taming Of The Shrew, a landowner’s estranged wife returns from the city and he tries to get her back. I’d never seen a John Wayne film and as one of his films that’s in the public domain it’s easy to find this one in good quality (Amazon has at least two). Best viewed in its full context, in which it’s enjoyable enough.

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Mughal-E-Azam (The Great Mughal) (India, 1960) – A prince falls in love with a court dancer and his father becomes enraged. I’d wanted to see this classic and I’m glad I did, but in this case I’m also glad it’s behind me as whilst the story itself is okay the father’s wrath just gets worse and worse. I watched the colourised version, which has been done very well.

Sholay (Embers) (India, 1975) – Two thieves are summoned to the aid of a policeman who once arrested them; he needs their help to catch a murderer. Like the previous film, I’d been wanting to see this one for years but in this case I’m truly glad I did; its blockbuster factors are in evidence. Essentially an Indian wild west film with lots of good humour and many pairs of flares, nowadays just beware the violence.

Top Hat (USA, 1935) – A man wakes a woman up tap dancing in the apartment above hers and decides to pursue a relationship with her; all the while she mistakes him for the husband of her friend. Other than the pursuing, this is a great film, and I say that as someone who isn’t into tap dancing in musicals. The humour works incredibly well still today.

Wonder Woman (USA, 2017) – The daughter of a god chooses to leave her people’s island sanctuary to help the allies in World War Two fight against the Germans, who she believes are led by an enemy god. For me, that it was about a real event didn’t work, much better if it had been pure fantasy.

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Christmas With A Prince: Becoming Royal (USA, 2019) – The continuing story of a paediatrician and her romance with her childhood acquaintance who happens to be a prince. Watched purely because it was a sequel and thus a very easy option on a sick day; I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise, it’s very contrived.

Christmas At Pemberley Manor (USA, 2018) – An event planner helps a town reestablish their Christmas festival, aiming to use an old house owned by a famous billionaire that is due to be demolished. There is only a slight resemblance to Jane Austen here in the main characters’ names and the house, but the film itself is nice enough.

A Christmas Movie Christmas (USA, 2019) – A woman who loves Christmas films, together with her sister who couldn’t care less, wake up on Christmas Day to find themselves in a perfect Christmas village, complete with the Christmas-loving sister’s favourite actor already set up as her boyfriend. This film is essentially a parody of Christmas films and it’s a lot of fun for what it is, the sisters foreshadowing events that take place. The ending is pretty great, too, almost parodying the parody.

Christmas Around the Corner (USA, 2018) – A workaholic decides to spend Christmas in a small town working at a bookshop that can be hired by tourists. Whilst still definitely made for TV, this film is pretty good – it obviously helps that it’s about a bookshop and that the character wants to bring in more custom – but it’s a fair film objectively, too.

BBC iplayer now has a dedicated category for classic films so needless to say I’ve already watched one film this year and plan on another few before they’ve been taken down from the application. Other than that I have a long list on Amazon that I need to sort through, and I’m looking forward to it.

Which films have you enjoyed recently?

 
 

Kelly

January 10, 2020, 3:57 am

We just watched the new Aladdin this week and I thought Will Smith did a great job. Robin Williams is a hard act to follow and they really let him make it his own character.

Charlie

January 13, 2020, 3:15 pm

Kelly: Never truer words :) Thinking about the previous films, Disney do seem keen to do things along the same general lines, which is excellent. I mean, they’re effectively regurgitating their backlist but they’ve not rested on it.

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