It has become abundantly clear over the last few months that I will definitely not be reaching my initial film-a-day target; I have too many other things I also do: there are not enough hours in the day, as much as that pains me.
Having said that, I’ll be carrying on to see how many I can get. So, here is a list of all the films I watched in May, what they’re about and what I thought of them:
67. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944): In which a newlywed discovers an uncomfortable truth about his dear old aunts. This is a riot, it’s been on my radar, and I have had a copy of it sitting around my house for literally years. It’s a cracking good watch.
68. Intolerable Cruelty (2003): In which a divorce lawyer falls for a gold digger. I love the Coen Brothers, and while this is not their best work, it’s still a refreshing take on its genre, and the dialogue is, as expected, great.
69. Army of Darkness (1992): In which Ash finds himself in the middle ages, and must find the Necronomicon and defeat the eponymous hoards of the dead in order to return home. The third and weirdest instalment in the Evil Dead series. Highly entertaining. Cult classic. Etc. Klaatu Barada Nikto
70. Darjeeling Limited (2007): In which three brothers reconnect by riding a train across India. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I love me some Wes Anderson and Darjeeling is no exception. It’s melancholy and touching, quirky and humorous, and visually masterful.
71. Misery (1990): In which a writer is rescued by his biggest fan and kept captive. Kathy Bates is so creepy and so believable with it. It’s a minimalist tale but told so well as to be excruciatingly tense and genuinely shocking (still, 27 years later).
72*. Cabaret (1972): In which a cabaret entertainer romances young men in Weimar Berlin. The pervasive presence of the Nazi party on top of the quite personal drama of Sally Bowles’s life makes for a surprisingly dark musical, and one of my all-time favourites of the genre.
73. The Usual Suspects (1995): In which the only survivor of a gunfight tells the detectives about the events leading up to the battle. Who is Keyser Soze? The answer to a well-crafted mystery; I won’t ruin it here, but even if you already know (as I did), it doesn’t make the film less worthwhile.
74. The Prestige (2006): In which a pair of magicians attempt to out-do each other and create the perfect illusion. This is a clever movie, right down to the details. It’s a play on the audience of the film as much as the audiences within it; the whole film is an extended trick. Some people find the payoff satisfactory, others no so much, but either way the answers have been right in from of the whole time but you’ve chosen to ignore them. Wise film-making decisions, but I would expect nothing less from Nolan.
75. Silence (2016): In which two priests travel from Portugal to Japan seeking their mentor and a Jesuit Japan. The 17th century wasn’t kind. It especially wasn’t kind to Christians in Japan. Scorsese has made a really long, striking, beautiful film about a grim situation; it reflects on the things people do in the name of faith and the things people will allow themselves to go through for the same thing. Always pertinent.
76. Tickled (2016): In which a New Zealand journalist investigates the world of competitive tickling. As the tagline states: ‘It’s not what you think.’ This is not as light-hearted a documentary as you’d expect given the title and premise, but rather a seedy, shady business built on threats, blackmail and deceit. Odd and a little uncomfortable.
77. Le conseguenze dell’amore or The Consequences of Love (2004): In which a lonely hotel guest develops feelings for the young woman who works at the hotel bar. This is a quiet slow-burn but Toni Servillo is astounding, translating a quiet dignity, inner-strength and new-found compassion with apparent ease as a man rediscovering his free-will.
78. T2 Trainspotting (2017): In which the original Trainspotters reunite after 20 years. This is a sad film. Sure, it’s funny and exciting and has a cool soundtrack, but, still. It’s a sad movie. It’s sad because, assuming you’ve seen the original, these men aren’t all that much better off, but for entirely different reasons (disclaimer, not being a heroin addict is always going to be better than being one). This is first and foremost a redemption story with lashings of nostalgia that never feel out of place. But there’s always a constant reminder that these men aren’t so young anymore, and the ‘shadows’ (a recurring theme) of their pasts aren’t just going to disappear. I liked it more than the early reviews suggested I would. I liked it a lot actually.
79. Free Fire (2016): In which a misfit gang of arms dealers meet a misfit gang of arms buyers in a warehouse; a gunfight ensues. This is a fun movie, a single location (pretty much) that somehow feels bigger than it is, neatly directed action sequences and amusing interaction. It’s exactly what it needs to be, and I love it. Bonus points for Brie Larson because she’s ace.
This is near even battle between four disparate films and if I could have a four-way tie I would. But that’s not how my self-defined system works so I’ll have to pick.
Film of the Month: The Consequences of Love
(*) Indicates a film I rewatched this month. These films, however good they may be, will never be considered for my ‘Favourite of the Month’.
*I tend to watch films that I think I will like so rarely will there be a negative review. It’s all subjective. Enjoy whatever you want to enjoy.*