She Who Watches #13 – Movies and My Mid Year Break

It’s been over a month since I last posted, but I have spent that time wisely my friends! The last 3 and a bit weeks I have been on mid year break or as I like to call it ‘The Time Courtney Spends Catching Up On Films She Has Been Too Busy To See Before Now!’ Rather than review each one individually I thought i’d do a combined post so you can see what I’ve been watching! I realize now as I finally finish writing this we are into the second week of semester two; medical issues and a shit ton of new uni content to get your head around tends to slow down the writing process but i’ve got a few posts in the works so stay tuned amigos!

Deadpool (Tim Miller, 2016)

After missing this one in the cinema, I was so excited when my friend John-Ross told me he would bring his copy of the DVD over when we were planning to catch up. I had heard amazing things about Deadpool and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The film explores the origin story of (not-so) superhero Deadpool the alter-ego of  foul-mouthed former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds). After Wilson is diagnosed with terminal cancer he is offered the chance to be turned into a superhero by a mysterious organisation. Desperate to try anything Wade agrees however finds himself in a dangerous experimental facility run by a man named Ajax aka Francis (Ed Skrein). Through extreme torture Francis triggers a mutation in Wade’s cells which mean he is impervious to any injury and can regenerate parts of his body. However Wade’s appearance and his hopes of reuniting with his fiance Vanessa are destroyed. Hoping to find a way to look normal again Wade becomes douchebag vigilante Deadpool and begins to hunt Francis down. However when Wade’s former fiance Vanessa (Morena Baccarin)is kindapped by Francis, Deadpool enlists the help of two X-Men, Colossus (voice of Stefan Kapičić) and Nega Sonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) to kill Francis and save Vanessa.

I’m not normally one for extreme vulgarity and violence but somehow Deadpool made these things work. I watched it twice in a few days I enjoyed it that much! Outside of the film making used of excellent CGI I felt the films strength lay in its smart, witty script. It’s the kind of film you need to watch a few times to appreciate all the smart jokes and references. I particularly adored the 4th wall breaks and the jokes about how the studio couldn’t afford more X-Men so he was stuck with Colossus and Nega Sonic Teenage Warhead. It is very smart film making, I adore explicit reflexivity in films it adds a whole new layer of viewer enjoyment when that 4th wall is completely bowled down. The film also had its fair share of dramatic, sweet and action packed moments to balance the humor. Also shoutout to whoever collated the soundtrack for the film it was epic.

Tim Miller made what was a fairly oddball collection of characters mesh seamlessly. Ryan Reynolds was absolutely born to play Deadpool, T.J. Miller was hilarious as his goofy friend Weasel, Leslie Uggams was also great as Blind Al as was Brianna Hildebrand as Nega Sonic Teenage Warhead and Morena Baccarin as Vanessa. Needless to say I am so pumped for the sequel!  I’d definitely watch it again, very funny and surprisingly refreshing.

**** – 4 out of 5 stars!

 

The Danish Girl (Tom Hooper, 2015)

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This was another film that had been on my to-watch list for a long time! Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl is based on the David Ebershoff novel of the same name. The novel and its adaptation is loosely based on the lives of Danish Artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili Elbe who was born as Einar Wegener was one of the first people to undergo sex change surgery. The film follows Einar’s (Eddie Redmayne) transformation and realization of his true identity, being that of Lili Elbe and how this effects his work as an artist and his relationship with his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander). The real story of Elbe and Wegener is very interesting and I recommend you look it up. The film is full of emotion and tragedy but nonetheless I enjoyed watching it.  Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander were incredible in their roles bringing such raw emotion and intensity to their performances, definitely deserving of their Oscar nominations and wins. Another standout for me was actually Amber Heard. I haven’t seen her in too much before this but I thought her character, Ulla Paulson, just lit up the screen every scene she was in.

The film was set in 1920’s Copenhagen Hooper and those who worked on the film did a fantastic job at capturing the essence of this era. The costumes and locations were all beautiful and the cinematography and score further enhanced this. Whilst it is not a film I am sure I would watch again I thoroughly enjoyed exploring these characters worlds for a few hours.

*** – 3 out of 5 stars!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams, 2015)

I know, I know, shame on me that I have waited this long to watch this.. In my defense I tried to see it three times in the cinema when it was released and three times showings were sold out so I decided to wait until it was out on DVD. Now I watched all of the Star Wars films as a kid but I am not really a ‘Star Wars Fan’ so sitting down to watch this I was a little foggy on where the story fit in the grand scheme of things. As far as I could figure out it takes place quite a few years since the last film. This time the story centers around pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), feisty scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Rebel Storm Trooper Finn (John Boyega) as they fight alongside the Resistance against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. They are aided by General Leia (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewie (Peter Mayhew), an adorable droid named BB-8 and wise cantina owner Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o). It didn’t take me long to stop worrying about the previous films and start enjoying this one. I LOVED Rey, Finn and BB-8. Rey is the badass female character this film deserves and much like the rest of the world I have fallen head over heels for Daisy Ridley, she is such a sweetheart, and I thought her performance as Rey was fantastic. Her chemistry with John Boyega as Finn was fantastic and I love his role as a morally conflicted Storm Trooper. The entire cast was incredibly strong including members of the original cast as well as the new additions.

I couldn’t quite deal with the fact that every time BB-8 hit the floor he made basketball sounds, what an adorable droid! The action in the film was fantastic, suspenseful and the CGI elements were incredible. Soundtrack as always with Star Wars films was on-point. I would watch this film again. I will also now watch anything Daisy Ridley and John Boyega star in. I’m super excited for the the upcoming Star Wars films including Rogue One too!

*** – 3 out of 5 stars!

Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)

Thanks to all the Oscar buzz surrounding this one I was very excited when I noticed it was on Sky Movies so I sat down one afternoon to watch it, I wasn’t expecting it to be so emotionally draining and so moving. Room is a very powerful piece of cinema. Based on the novel by Emma Donoghue who also wrote the screenplay for the film, Room tells the story of Joy (Ma) (Brie Larson) a young woman who lives in a small room with her 5-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Jack is the son of Joys captor Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). The film follows Joys attempts to help Jack and herself escape and what happens when they finally do and Joy and Jack are faced with the challenge of re-integrating back into a society that now feels foreign to them. The films powerful nature is completely testament to the phenomenal performances given by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. Their chemistry was fantastic. I’ve always thought Brie was so talented and will watch her in anything she is in her Oscar was so well deserved. But Jacob Tremblay, HOLY SH*T, what a performance. Room was his second film ever. With a performance like that this kid is gonna go far. Can’t wait to see what he does in the future.

The film did a fairly good job at confronting PTSD and depression and other mental trauma that occurs after such a horrible event. Brie did a great job as showing Joys inability to cope following her release. The set of Room really enhanced the dire nature of their situation the film overall in its coloring, lighting and cinematography really added to the dismal tone and viewing experience. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the film as such as it was really quite depressing. However, I believe if you feel emotionally affected by a film then the filmmaker and writer have done their job!

*** – 3 out of 5 stars

The Final Girls (Todd Strauss-Schulson, 2015)

I’m not much of a horror fan but I enjoy smart horror (think Scream and Cabin In The Woods), films that play with conventions of the genre. I had wanted to see this film for ages because of the cast. I am a fan of Taissa Farmiga, Nina Dobrev, Alexander Ludwig and Adam DeVine. I have been planning events for the UC Film Club this semester and one I had in mind was a horror screening with a talk by one of my favorite professors Dr. Erin Harrington. A badass English professor who did her PhD on the topic of women in horror films. Whilst brainstorming films I remembered this one. I didn’t want anything too scary so I needed something with some comedy in it. I gave The Final Girls a watch one afternoon and was so pleasantly surprised. I legit LOVED it. So much so I went out the next day and bought it on DVD so I could watch it again. The film centers around a group of friends who in a freak accident are transported into an 80’s slasher flick called “Camp Bloodbath” and have to figure out how to navigate the films plot and work with the characters to defeat the films villain and return to reality. It was so funny and clever with just enough horror included.Again this was a film that played highly with genre conventions and the idea of reflexivity. I loved the cast together and whilst some might consider the plot cheesy, that was definitely part of Strauss-Schulson’s intention! The “Camp Bloodbath” characters as well as the ‘real world’characters were all fantastically cast, the pace of the film was great as was the writing and the soundtrack. I would highly recommend this film, even if you’re not a horror fan! I will watch this many more times I am sure.

****- 4 out of 5 stars

A Royal Affair (Nikolaj Arcel, 2012)

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Ever since I watched The Man From U.N.C.L.E (2015) last December I have been obssesed with Alicia Vikander. Having watched Ex Machina (2015) earlier in the year I wanted to fit in a few more films with Alicia in so cue The Danish Girl and The Royal Affair. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel and starring Miss Vikander, Mad Mikkelson and Mikkel Følsgaard A Royal Affair is a Dutch film which follows the affair of Princess Caroline Matilda, the wife of King Christian VII of Denmark and the royal physician Johann Friedrich. I have such a soft spot for Royal period dramas and foreign language films so this one was perfect. It was a dramatic, high stakes story involving ideas of love and liberalism in the Enlightenment. Whilst I felt most uncomfortable at the age difference between Alicia and Mads that would most likely have been the norm at the time. The main cast performed excellently in their roles. Overall the film was a engaging piece of period film which I would definitely watch again!

*** – 3 out of 5 stars

Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)

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This is another Oscar buzz film that had been on my radar for a long time which finally made it to the Sky Movies Premiere channel. Unfamiliar with any other Mad Max film I sat down not really knowing what to expect. I love a good intense dystopian and this one placed emphasis on the *intense*. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where an evil dictator named Immortan Joe Hugh Keays-Byrne) controls access to gasoline and water. Sick of his tyranny Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) attempts to help Immortan Joes prized wives (Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abby Lee and Courtney Eaton) escape their life of enslavement.Hunted down by Immortan Joes men she finds and ally in one ofhis captors Max (Tom Hardy) and a War Boy named Nux (Nicholas Hoult). It is basically a 2 hours dessert car chase but I cannot fault them on the insane stunts, costuming and prop design. I can hardly say I enjoyed it… but I admired it as a very unique piece of cinema.

Hello, My Name Is Doris (Michael Showalter, 2015)

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A film with Sally Field and Max Greenfield?.. COUNT ME IN! I saw the trailer for this indie flick directed by Michael Showalter a while ago but seeing as it never got a wide release I kinda forgot about it. Until my Mum got a voucher for a movie screening site named Quickflix. It took us all of two seconds to chose this film. As Mum and I both adore New Girl and Sally Field. The film follows 60-something hoarder Doris and her adventure with office romance as she falls head-over-heels for new employee John. I thought I was going to LOVE this film… in reality I just really enjoyed it. The cast was great, the script average with a quite few funny, heartwarming and bittersweet moments but the pace of the film felt off and the ending was very lackluster.  I found it incredibly hard not seeing Max as Schmidt though! I loved the scenes where Doris was learning how to use Facebook and some of the hilarious encounters she had with John especially at the concert. The film definitely hit the nail on the frustration of unrequited love. However overall felt a little lackluster! I’d probably watch it again on a rainy day though.

** – 2 out of 5 stars

And that was me for the holidays! I would’ve loved to have ticked more off my never-ending list but alas, uni work was calling! Let me know if you’ve seen any of the above and what you thought of them!

 

Until Next Time – C xx

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