Monthly Recap: December 2019

Considering that I can’t review everything that I watch in a month (I don’t have that kind of time) – I’m doing a quick recap from each film and TV show I watch, and what Comics I read every month. Here they are:

First Time Watches

Catching up with this year’s releases:

  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2019) – Review at https://885.movie.blog/2019/12/11/a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighbourhood-2019-review/
  • Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) – This was fine. It felt like it was trying too hard to be The Big Sick (one of my favourites from 2017) in dealing with serious themes in a funny and mainstream way. It didn’t quite achieve that, however, I liked it’s central messages and Gillian Bell’s lead performance.
  • Burning (2018) – One of the year’s earlier releases that I missed, this movie was hypnotic, strange and dreamy. It was very reminiscent of David Lynch and I really liked it.
  • Charlie’s Angels (2019) – I was quite disappointed my this. I went into it thinking it was going to re-launch the franchise in a fun, interesting way, but the end result was very uneven. The three leads are perfectly fine (Naomi Scott is really great, but Kristen Stewart as the comedic relief doesn’t quite work), but I just wished this was much better.
  • The Good Liar (2019) – I feel like if I hadn’t watched Knives Out recently – which did something new, different and subversive with the twisty-turny thriller genre, that I love love loved – I might of liked this better. It just felt quite formulaic and uninspired, and all the twists I could easily see coming. Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan were perfectly fine, though.
  • Harriet (2019) – I liked this one quite a bit. There were some elements about that didn’t quite gel, especially Harriet Tubman’s premonitions and visions of god, but overall, it was quite a solid and engaging biopic. Cynthia Erivo’s lead performance was very good.
  • Jojo Rabbit (2019) – A review of this might come when this is properly released in the UK in January because I really really liked this one. It’s very peculiar and I do wonder how the film got made, but I loved it’s balls. Also, it was so funny. All the performances from the cast are great, particularly a very impressive Scarlett Johansson. If it was released this year properly, it probably would have one of my favourites of the year.
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) – Review at https://885.movie.blog/2019/12/18/jumanji-the-next-level-2019-review/
  • Little Women (2019) – This adaptation of Little Women was just utterly wonderful – it may have even bested director, Greta Gerwig’s other film, Lady Bird from 2017 (which I love love loved). All the performances are fantastic (Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh are the real stand-outs, but I love EVERYONE from Timothee Chalamet, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper and Bob Odenkirk) and the direction from Gerwig is very passionate. One of my favourites of the year, for sure.
  • Marriage Story (2019) – Review at https://885.movie.blog/2019/12/06/marriage-story-2019-review/
  • Parasite (2019) – Like Jojo Rabbit, I will probably do a review of this when it hits UK theatres in February because honestly, I don’t really have the words right now to describe how I feel about this movie. It’s like watching Alfred Hitchcock direct Fargo. It’s honestly one of the best films of the 21st century, and probably one of the best films I’ve ever seen in my life.
  • The Souvenir (2019) – This one was slightly divisive with audiences – some called it slow and pretentious, while some called it interesting and polished. I’m somewhere in the middle with it – I thought the direction and production design made it a very polished movie, and I loved the performances (Honor Swindon Byrne is a star) but I felt it lacked emotion and I was quite detached from it.
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – The critical response to this was a little unfair, as this Star Wars movie was fine, but that’s really all it was – just fine. The first half was a little painful, and was terribly written, but the film started to get a lot better in the second half, made infinitely better by Adam Driver’s performance. The real problem is that this movie didn’t really live up to the high standard set up by The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

Others:

  • House on Haunted Hill (1959) – A very campy, fun and quite silly horror classic. It has some genuine scares, too, especially the Old Woman scare. Great fun.
  • In the Mouth of Madness (1994) – This John Carpenter joint was quite uneven – it had some moments of unintentional hilarity, and the plot was a little all over the place. However, I loved it’s visceral special effects, and I admired it for it’s flat-out weirdness. I overall really liked it.
  • Jack Frost (1997) – Combining the Christmas spirit, and my love of horror films, this film was so bad, that it was so good. I mean it was no Chopping Mall, and my critical faculties can’t defend it at all, but I had fun.
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – Finally got round to watching this Christmas classic, and I really liked it. It was sweet, lovely and really cute.
  • Top Hat (1935) – Another classic that I finally got round to watching – this was a lovely Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical. The musical sequences were absolutely fantastic, and although, they were probably better than the overall film, it was still really lovely.
  • Wild Tales (2014) – Finally got around to watching this, and I absolutely LOVED it. It was so dark, cynical, witty and funny. Also, unlike many anthology movies, with each segment, the film just seems to get better. If I had seen this in 2014/2015 time, it no doubt would of been one of my favourites of the year.

Re-watches

Re-watching some of the year’s most popular films:

  • Avengers: Endgame (2019) – The biggest movie of all time happens to get the right mixture between big epic scale, emotional resonance and cathartic moments. Game of Thrones and Star Wars, wishes – this is how you end a popular franchise.
  • Booksmart (2019) – God I love this film. I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it.
  • The Irishman (2019) – One of the year’s best, and Scorsese’s best in 13 years since The Departed. One of my favourites of the year, for sure.
  • Knives Out (2019) – Review at https://885.movie.blog/2019/11/27/knives-out-review/
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) – Much like Joker this year, I slightly conflicted about this film (although, I do like this one much, much more). I love the craft and passion involved (I love the performances, and how the production design and costume design really invoke you in 60s era), and I love that it’s more a mature film from Tarantino (in the same vein of Jackie Brown), but I think there are many sequences (particularly Leonardo DiCaprio filming his western) that feel indulgent and over-long. It’s still quite good fun, though, and THAT ending is properly fantastic.
  • Rocketman (2019) – I really loved this movie – it doesn’t re-invent the musical biopic genre or anything, but it’s so much fun. The musical sequences and Taron Egerton’s performance are just wonderful.
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – This was doesn’t hold up so well on fourth (yes, that right, fourth) viewing, but as a huge Spider-Man fan, I still really liked it.

Films that are always regular Christmas viewing:

  • Barefoot in the Park (1967) – It’s my mum’s favourite film, and we always watch it on her birthday (which is Christmas Eve), and it’s just wonderful.
  • Die Hard (1988) – Who cares what Bruce Willis says, this IS a Christmas movie, and it’s a wonderful one at that.
  • Gremlins (1984) – The super dark, daft and fun Christmas horror movie that I always love watching.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – Watching this with my dad is one of my highlights of each¬†Christmas.
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – Chevy Chase is hilarious in this stupid but hilarious movie.
  • Paddington 2 (2017) – One of my favourite films of recent years, this movie is WONDERFUL.
  • Rare Exports (2010) – As someone who used to be terrified on Santa, this film takes a needed dark take on Santa and Christmas. It’s just great.
  • Singin in the Rain (1952) – One of my favourite films of all time, this movie is made with such passion, craft and personality.
  • Trading Places (1984) – One of the most underrated Christmas films of all time, I love a lot about this movie – the social commentary, the one-liners and the performances. It’s just great.

Others:

  • Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) – My mum wanted to watch this on New Years’ Eve. It isn’t as well-written or smart than the first film, but it’s still quite funny.

TV Shows Watched this Month

  • Watchmen, season 1 – I loved this series so much – it’s one of my favourites of the year and possibly the best superhero series of all time. The series is very well-structured and well-plotted and each episode feels unique and special. All the performances are great, as well, particularly Regina King and Tim Blake Nelson. I just loved it.
  • Gavin & Stacey, 2019 Christmas special – I’m sorry, I’ve tried loads of times, but I just don’t get Gavin and Stacey. Ruth Jones is great, though.
  • Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer – This series is incredibly hard to watch at times, but it was very shocking and ultimately very fascinating. The only problem with it was that it became more of a standard killer/man hunt type thriller after a while, and lost it’s shocking edge. That being said, this miniseries was well a watch (even if you have to watch it through splayed fingers).

Comics Read this Month

  • Skyward, Volume 1 (Issues 1-5) – This series is so much fun. It has taken over as my favourite new comic to come out recently since Paper Girls ended in the summer. It’s feels very fresh, entertaining and clever.

Film of the Month:

Film watched for first time: Parasite (2019)

Runner-ups: Little Women (2019) & Marriage Story (2019)

Re-watched Film: Singin in the Rain (1952)

Runner-ups: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) & Paddington 2 (2017)

Published by cameronmac6

I am a Film Studies university graduate (well, two years ago), and a film and TV fan. Some favourite movies include Singin in the Rain, Fargo, Back to the Future and Parasite, and some favourite TV shows include Breaking Bad, Fargo, Community, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Buffy.

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