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Literally a list of films I’ve watched so far this year and what I think about them

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After finding out that the world record for most films watched in a year is 1132, I figured it’d be a good idea to start recording how many I manage in 2018.

(It’s worth noting, it’s taken me 24 years to watch this many films.)

Plus, everyone likes a challenge, right?

QUAD Derby (shout out that sweet £3.50 deal

The Greatest Showman

Knew nothing about it beforehand, only went because it was £3.50 for a ticket – best decision of the year. The musical numbers are LIT.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell are fantastic. A moving take on the vigilante/revenge film. Read the full review here.

Phantom Thread

Totally different to anything before it. Somehow eerie, beautiful, unnerving and very funny all at the same time. Loved Lesley Manville.

Journey’s End

Read the play at college so I felt I needed to see it. It was ok. But Sam Clafin is too young to play Stanhope.

Lady Bird

More than just a coming of age film. Emotional, nostalgic and applicable. Loved that whenever Christine (🐞) talks about how shitty Sacramento is, there’s always a beautiful backdrop of the city just behind her.

Call Me By Your Name

The first film I watched at the cinema alone – I’m so glad it happened to be this film. I summed it up (emotionally) in a tweet:

Tomb Raider 

Here’s another tweet summary, because I’m lazy:

You Were Never Really Here

Lynne Ramsay nails it again. Shot composition, cinematography and score is wonderful. Joaquin Phoenix plays troubled ex veteran, Joe perfectly. Had me asking did that really happen? throughout.

Isle Of Dogs

Slick, creative, witty and even funnier than expected. A pastiche of iconic Japanese films and culture. If you’ve seen this, watch the making of video.

Ready Player One

So Spielberg it hurts. But not bad for a Saturday night watch. Pop culture references were too few and far between for my liking – when it worked, it worked well. Love The Shining homage.

Unsane

Steven Soderbergh’s first horror/thriller doesn’t disappoint. Shot entirely on an iPhone 7 Plus, the angles, framing and shot composition contribute effectively to the ‘too close for comfort’ feel. Heightened by Clare Foy’s incredible performance, it makes plot holes and logistical errors easy to overlook as it’s completely captivating.

Ghost Stories

Ticked all the right (scary) boxes for the most part and I enjoyed the dark humour throughout, but eventually delivered a decidedly underwhelming finish.

Funny Cow

Maxine Peake is amazing as obnoxious, raw and funny ‘cow’. Yet, the confusing timeline, strange doubling of Stephen Graham and odd stylistic choices don’t quite land – leaving you feeling cheated somewhat.

Lean on Pete

On his search for something – anything – better, Charley travels across a poverty-stricken America. The pacing feels a bit haphazard at times, but this only complements the restless nature of Charley’s life. Cried like a baby.

Pin Cushion

From the moment I found out Pin Cushion was directed by fellow East Midlander and Derby University graduate, Deborah Haywood, I HAD to see it. It didn’t disappoint. Captivating from the word go, Pin Cushion is an intensely personal, extremely affecting look at mother/daughter dynamics.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Tweet summary alert:

Incredibles 2 

In a way, I’m glad I only watched the first one this year and only had to wait two days for the sequel. Those that had to wait 14 years, it was well worth the wait, right?

First Reformed

A surreal, uncomfortable ball of guilt, faith and martyrdom. Strong links to Schrader’s pervious work, Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Pacing proved odd in some scenes.

Vertigo

Got to see this on its 60th anniversary! Loved the effects, the first use of computer graphics in the intro and the shot composition, but the story just wasn’t as gripping as Rear Window, Dial M for Murder or Psycho.

The Children Act

Just so dull. Painful pacing with weird, unnecessary injections of comedy that just doesn’t land. 90% of it is Emma Thompson walking or running across London. And as beautiful as Emma Thompson’s walk is, I needed more.

The Little Stranger

Tries hard not to be your ‘run of the mill thriller/scary house film’ but fails at the final hurdle. Interesting moments are few and far between and pacing is PAINFULLY slow. It’s a shame, because the story is quite intriguing and I imagine, makes for a great novel.

Puzzle

Beautiful. One of my favourite films of the year so far. I could (and will) write an essay about this film. See the full review here.

A Simple Favor 

I’ll always have a soft spot for tongue-in-cheek films. The peppy younger sibling of Gone Girl, Lively shines as the beautiful, elusive, bitchy Emily.

Climax

Did I like it? Did I love it? Did I hate it?

A Star is Born

Both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have come SO far. It almost felt as if this was written in the stars. The chemistry and raw talent is beautiful.

Bohemian Rhapsody

My Bohemian Rhapsody review also describes a particularly nasty hangover I had this weekend: overdrawn, hot trash that gets slightly better halfway through, but ultimately leaves you praying for it to end.

Rami Malek manages to carry the entire thing.

Possum

I’m convinced there’s no other person that could have been as perfect for the character of Philip than Sean Harris – so powerful.

Impressive cinematography and use of setting.

As with most debut feature films, the ending is ever so slightly rushed, but I felt the abrupt violence complemented the narrative.

Suspiria

The original will always have a place in my heart, so I was skeptical of Luca’s version.

But it’s not a version, it’s a complete retelling with tenuous links and for that I was grateful. Full review here.

Widows

I WANT AWARDS FOR THIS.

Wildlife

The strongest part of Wildlife is its screenplay – adapted beautifully by Dano and Zoe Kazan (Emily from The Big Sick).

Each utterance is dripping with meaning, no words are wasted. This could be put down to Richard Ford, author of the Wildlife, the novel this story was adapted from.

Full review here.

Sheffield Showroom Workstation (Cine26 offer)

Yardie

Visually and stylistically, Yardie is impressive. However, it’s not enough to carry the weak, borrowed plot for 90 minutes.It dabbles with themes such as drugs, violence, revenge and music (something, I feel it should have focused more on). But dabble, it did. Read a full review here.

Odeon

The Shape of Water (Screen Unseen)
Think Amélie combined with Stranger Things. Heartwarming and funny – albeit style over substance.

I, Tonya (Screen Unseen)

Refreshing to watch Margot Robbie play a character that’s not the ‘attractive’ lead (The Wolf of Wall Street and Focus spring to mind). Loved breaking of the fourth wall throughout. Had a Scorsese vibe. Also costume, make-up and casting is uncanny.

A Quiet Place

Manages to do what most horror/thrillers fail at – evoke genuine emotion. Although full of excruciatingly tense moments, it’s the all too real fear of not being able to protect those you love that’s really scary. Just the right length with a perfect ending.

The Strangers: Prey at Night (Scream Unseen)

Audible groan from the audience. Released 10 years after the original (which was average at best), my guess is the entire budget was spent on using absolute bangers throughout. Riddled with cliché characters and dialogue, poor acting (and severe over acting) and plot holes galore. The only saving grace is the soundtrack and that pool scene.

Deadpool 2

As a superhero-hating kinda’ person, this is perfect. Even funnier, sillier and more pop culture references than ever before. Great soundtrack and Josh Brolin is hot af.

Hereditary

Fucked me up. 10/10 would watch again.

Sorry To Bother You (Screen Unseen)

Haven’t felt so conflicted/confused/entertained by a film quite as much as I have over this one.

Felt like there was A LOT going on and not everything seemed to come off. And at times the humour didn’t land, making for an even weirder experience. I was engaged until the final third, then it lost me to the sheer absurdity.

Interestingly though, I thought the entire cast put in a great performance.

Netflix

The Danish Girl

Eddie Redmayne acts the same way in every film. Alicia Vikander, however, is brilliant.

Personal Shopper

So glad this is on Netflix. It’ll divide audiences. I was pleasantly surprised by Kristen Stewart.

Closer

Didn’t realise this was the film in which Natalie Portman wears a pink wig (looks amazing, obvs) and says that famous line.

Pride

A film that just makes you feel good (and a little bit angry). Paddy Considine is great and anything to do with the eighties is what I’m about.

Meet Joe Black

Utterly boring. Watched in three separate parts. Each character is boring. The script is cliché and boring. Plus it drags on for three whole hours. Boring. Boring. Boring.

Testament of Youth

Enjoyable, but nothing you won’t have seen before. Alicia Vikander gives a strong performance and is quickly becoming one of my favourite actresses.

By the Sea

I can see how this got slated. It’s slow, yet measured, but I liked it? Setting the drama in the seventies gave it a hazy, natural, stylish look. Jolie and Laurent are mesmerising.

The Other Boleyn Girl

Only watched this as I have a fascination with Henry VIII. But, expect a lot of historical inaccuracy. So many random actors thrown together – Eric Bana as Henry? Weird.

Milk

I had no idea who Harvey Milk was or the incredible things he did until I watched this. A true activist, hero and conscientious man. Also every cast member nailed their character’s mannerisms.

God’s Own Country

Love can be found anywhere. Even on a farm in the heart of Yorkshire. GOC is viceral, raw and natural. The symbolism, imagery and chemistry between the two leads is perfect – a wonderful directorial debut from Francis Lee. Also loved that the word ‘kaylied‘ was used.

The Vault

Horrible hybrid. James Franco’s acting abilities are nullified and replaced with a ‘concerned frown’ for 90 minutes. The shocker moment isn’t a shocker, each character looks like they’ve been assigned a wildly different stylist and there are terrible audio issues throughout.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Nothing out-of-the-ordinary, but an enjoyable watch all the same. Relatable (tiny, seemingly irrelevant day-to-day tasks can build up worryingly fast) and funny – nice to see a Zach Galifianakis’s character with a little more depth.

Goodtime

I’m convinced A24 films can do no wrong. Goodtime is pure adrenaline, showing the lengths a man will go to save his brother (or himself?). Robert Pattinson has shaken the Twilight shackles off once and for all.

Annihilation

Cinematography and FX are impressive, with an uneasy feeling of fear and uncertainty throughout, but none of this really matters when the story doesn’t grab you. Interesting moments are fleeting and the non-linear sequence only hinders this. Each cast member delivers a strong performance but it’s difficult to connect as they’re unlikeable and not around for very long.

Everybody Wants Some!!

Don’t watch this. Watch Dazed and Confused.

The Witch

Terrifying. A classic A24 production, similar in tone, feel and shot composition to Killing of a Sacred Deer. The sense of foreboding is overwhelming, leaving you feeling WEIRD throughout.

Goat

From the cover, it looks like it’ll be 90 minutes of haphazard hazing. But it’s an interesting look at toxic masculinity. How far will pliant young men go to prove they’re ‘not a pussy’?

Green Room

Disappointed. Dull, overdrawn and not remotely scary or thrilling. Characters aren’t developed well enough, so it’s no wonder you don’t care whether they make it out or not. Also, the sound recording/mixing/editing is TERRIBLE. I had to watch with subtitles??

The Kissing Booth

Dreadful. Avoid at all costs.

Blow Out

Worth a watch, but it’s not surprising no one has heard of it – director Brian De Palma directed Scarface just two years later.

Before I Fall

If you want to watch a darker, trashier, more millennial version of Groundhog Day, this one’s for you.

Friends with Money

Aside from talking about donating £2m to her daughter’s school, I think these group of friends are pretty relatable.They bitch about each other behind their backs, but they’re also there for each other in the a drop of a hat. That’s basically modern friendship, right?

Okja

Beautiful, emotional and funny. Similar in style and editing to a Wes Anderson film. Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal are the ultimate combo.

Ibiza

Not funny, very tame and completely unbelievable.

Beach Rats

A film where seemingly nothing happens, but you can’t help but be captivated by it. Harris Dickinson is incredible as Frankie.

Maggie’s Plan

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease…”. What a funny, odd, sad, candid story. A great ensemble cast make for a compulsive watch.

Set It Up

If Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell weren’t so ADORABLE this would have been a much worse watch.

This Boy’s Life

DiCaprio and De Niro are an uncomfortable, enigmatic pair. I would have given more stars but felt it ended all too soon.

The Man With The Iron Heart

It seemed like there were two storylines we were meant to care about, but in the end, nothing is brought to a solid conclusion.

The Stanford Prison Experiment

So I can’t remember my bank card pin but I can remember Ezra Miller’s inmate number. Go figure.

The Shallows

Chose this as a guilty pleasure and was pleasantly surprised. Probably wasn’t the best idea to watch while on holiday, lying on a sun lounger near the sea however… Blake Lively is a strong lead and carries the film higher than ‘just another shark movie’. Ultimately it’s about survival after trauma.

Don’t Breathe

Genuinely scary, tense and unsettling. And *spoiler alert* everyone loves a ‘final girl’ trope.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

It’s just not Superbad is it?

All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Nothing you won’t have seen before, but enjoyable and sweet nonetheless. Lana Condor is adorable!

The Party

A couple of laughs here and there but felt short and rushed. I wanted more from each character.

The Secret Life of Pets

Of all the films that have made me want to live in New York, I didn’t think it would be this one that made me want to the most.

Handsome Devil

Although the moral of the story is spoon fed, it’s a fantastic moral nonetheless – and delivered perfectly by the fantastic Andrew Scott: “Never use a borrowed voice.”

Sierra Burgess is a Loser

A Cinderella Story with a smidge more depth. However, Shannon Purser’s ‘do you know what it’s like?’ scene is pretty relatable and heartbreaking.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Occasional lols, occasional cuteness, but ultimately not that memorable. Michael Cera as a love interest, really?

Nocturnal Animals

Never have I felt such a strong sense of dread for such a long period of time while watching. Combined with the perturbed score, I found myself feeling quite ill.

Cam

Reminded me of Black Mirror’s Nosedive episode and not just because of THAT vanity table scene 👃🏻👃🏻

The Princess Switch

This was MADE for Vanessa Hudgens. She’s trashy and she likes it.

The Christmas Chronicles

Best bit was the furry elf thing flossing don’t @ me.

Divines

I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this – a perfect example of a hidden gem.

I could watch Oulaya Amamra allllllllll day, what a star.

Coach Carter

Good:
– Samuel L Jackson was made for this
– Octavia Spencer’s short but sweet role
– A black couple discussing abortion: pretty progressive for an early noughties film

Bad:
– Doesn’t need to be 2hours+
– Channing Tatum hits my cringe bone multiple times (not in a good way)
– Ashanti and co. crying at the game

Dumplin’

This is what Sierra Burgess is a Loser wanted to be.

Amazon Prime Video

V for Vendetta

Super late to the party with this one. Easy to see how later films have taken inspiration from this.

He’s Just Not That Into You

Literally don’t know why I watched this. Honestly, no idea. Anyway. Moving on.

The Light Between Oceans

Slow to start, but makes up for it in cinematography and Vikander and Fassbender’s performances – so much chemistry and emotion.

The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani’s first feature film role and he’s a natural. The awkward, comic dynamic between him and Emily’s parents is brilliant. Also, it was refreshing watching an on-screen Pakistani family be funny and passionate – something that we don’t see often enough.

20th Century Women

Watched this for two reasons. 1. Greta Gerwig (who’s hair is amazing in this). 2. Frank Ocean mentioned this film in an interview with Timothée Chalamet.

Suburbicon

A predictable black comedy that takes inspiration from Pleasantville and Far From Heaven – Julianne Moore’s back at it again playing a fifties housewife. The classic Coen traits are there and everyone puts in a strong performance (especially Oscar Isaac, albeit brief), but ultimately, it just misses the mark.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Here’s another tweet summary from me:

Magnolia

I’m a PTA fan, but this one just didn’t grab me as much as his other creations. I enjoyed how it felt like a collection of transgressive stories, but the longer it dragged on, the more diluted the stories became – I’d lost interest after the 2hour 30min mark.

Lolita

James Mason is perfect as deluded Humbert. So much so, we’re almost convinced Humbert is right for Lolita, when in fact he’s just the same as Quilty – disguising his perverse infatuation as ‘true love’.

Down With Love

A funny, tongue-in-cheek, rom-com homage to 50s and 60s screwball films. Costume and set design are impeccable.

An Education

Fathers of daughters are a totally different breed – how far would you go to give her the best in life? Carey Mulligan is wonderful and it’s great to see Rosamund Pike play a funny, silly character. My only gripe was the seemingly lazy use of voice-over narration at the end.

First Snow

Genuinely tense, with different and memorable performances from J.K Simmons and Guy Pearce – possibly channelling similar character traits from his role as Leonard in Memento? However, for me, the most memorable part of First Snow is the cinematography. Read the full review here.

Terminal

So incredibly convoluted it becomes dull and uninteresting within minutes. Supposedly slick dialogue is cliché and if he says BOTTLE BLONDE ONE MORE TIME.

Ghost World

I’d love to talk to someone about this film, maybe I’m missing something? Aesthetically, it’s pretty mesmerising, but in terms of characters and story, I just couldn’t connect.

However, Steve Buscemi is heartwarming.

NowTV

Happy Death Day

I have a soft spot for films that know they’re trashy. Silly yet self-aware, it’s basically another ‘dark’ Groundhog Day.

Incredibles

How have I gone 24 years without watching this in its entirety????? Elastigirl/Mrs Incredible is the real MVP.

Boogie Nights

RIP Burt Reynolds, but you shame on you for thinking you were better than Boogie Nights.

Sky cinema

Coco

A perfect film for teaching children (and adults alike) the importance of talking about life, death and love through the re-telling of stories.

Baby Driver

Was he slow?

Better Watch Out

Consider me… pleasantly surprised.

THE FESTIVE SEASON IS HERRRRREEEE 🎄

BFI Player

Under the Skin

Engaging, but when it comes to narrative, redundant. With this in mind, would Adler’s work be as effective if it wasn’t for the stellar, breakout performance of Samantha Morton? Read my full review here.

Wake in Fright

Expert use of editing makes for a disturbing, suffocating, distressing portrayal of the Australia outback. SPONSORED BY BEER

MUBI

(Each day, a film curator hand-picks one amazing film, which members have 30 days to watch – there are only 30 films available at any time.)

Cry-Baby

Grease-gone-bad, dirty, naughty, loveable, trash.

I Am Love

The first in Luca’s ‘desire’ trilogy drives home the sheer fragility and brevity of life.

I’m yet to watch A Bigger Splash, but hopefully it too has a beautiful ending.

House on Bare Mountain

I have no words.

 

Is there a film I desperately need to watch before the end of this year? Let me know on Twitter: @shazzzzakhan.

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