Film Reviews: Week 11 (Mar 12-19)

by - March 21, 2018

If I was still trying to watch 365 films in one year, this would have been a perfect week. Granted, three of the films were repeat viewings, but I actually watched seven films in the past week! That means seven reviews for you guys this week, not even including the Ready Player One review I posted yesterday.

What I am going to do is go through my new watches and give an in-depth review about my thoughts and opinions on each film, and then for the repeat viewings I will just give a short review with my thoughts and how it stands on a repeat viewing.

Veronica
If you have been online over the past few weeks, you will have possibly heard of the horror film on Netflix that "people are turning off because it is so scary". As someone who is not scared easily and loves to find good horror films, I was certainly intrigued by the high praise this was getting. Plus, it is a Spanish film so helps me on one of my bucket list goals this year.

The story is pretty simple. Veronica is based around the lead titled character and her younger brother and sisters who she has to take care of. After messing about with a Ouija board, strange spirits start to come into the house and trouble ensues thereon.

The scariest part of the film is the actual story. Not because of the spirits or the use of the Ouija board, but rather the fact that this is based on a true story. That's right, in 1992 the police discovered a dead girl after she had played with a Ouija board, and there has been no other evidence of how she could have died. That is what makes it scary.

I loved the way this story was told particularly with the possession scenes. The way Paco Plaza (the director) shot these scenes in particular and edited it made you question reality. There was no way of knowing what was actually happening, and what was a vision of Veronica's head.

Whilst I wouldn't say this was truly terrifying, there were some great moments of horror in this film. They didn't go for many jump scares or cheap tricks, the great parts were the graphic horror and tense nature of the film. This works especially for the cast, which consisted mainly of children that I liked and felt protective over.

Whilst this is not the perfect movie, with certain story choices feeling off and a lack of connection with the mother, this is a good horror film in an age where horror is so hard to get right. It is available on Netflix so give this one a shot.

4/5

Moana
I am a huge Disney fan, so how it took me this long to actually watch Moana is beyond me. I was excited when I heard the voice cast for this film, with Dwayne Johnson as a demigod and a new young talent voicing the lead princess.

This was a perfect film to be released and told in 2016. A Disney princess who is an empowering female lead, has no interest and is a person of colour. Through all of that, it still makes perfect sense for the film and doesn't feel forced. It is also nice that the main cast is also from a Hawaiian background, making the project feel even more important.

It did take a little bit of time to set up the plot and get going, but once it did it was absolutely fantastic. I loved the use of the one song, How Far I'll Go, that would repeat and change lyrics based on the situation.

The animation is also absolutely superb. When I was seeing the original concept art which was in 2D, I was hoping that they would stick with it. It would have been so nice to see it with a Lilo and Stitch type of watercolour palette. Of course, Disney will not seem to go back to that type of animation but what they did was still fantastic.

Is it the best Disney animated film of all time? No, it is not. But it is still a fantastic entry and I wish I had seen it sooner.

4.5/5

Whiplash
As most of you should know by now, I am obsessed with La La Land. It is my favourite film of 2017, and I don't even know how many times I have replayed my steelbook Blu-Ray edition of the film. Before that film though, Damien Chazelle made Whiplash. I was cheering for J.K. Simmons for the Oscar, and I hadn't even seen the film. I just knew I was going to love it. Once again, how it took me this long to go and watch the full film is beyond me.

I was right with my thoughts. I loved this film. It was so strong throughout, and all of the performances are passionate. Miles Teller gives a performance of a lifetime as a drummer who wants to be the very best. It is also very clear why Simmons won the Oscar for his role here, as he is so loud and dramatic.

It was truly exhausting watching this film, and that is due to the editing and sound. Watching Teller play the drums and continue playing them and getting pushed to play more and more was fantastic. With the mix of the shouting, the loud drums that reflect a heartbeat going a million miles an hour, as well as the sweat collapsing onto the floor and blood stains beating on the skin of the drum. It is so incredible to watch.

I do feel like the film is five to ten minutes too long. It almost feels like the film reaches an end, then skips to a few months and tells a part two. Whilst it makes sense after you get to the final scene, it definitely changes tone.

This is truly a piece of passion from Chazelle. It is clear that he has a love for Jazz and wants to try and save the genre. With this and La La Land, he may be changing perceptions one movie goer at a time. That to me is a success, and I cannot wait to see what he does next.

4.5/5

Inception
For my film module at college this year, we have had to watch a couple of films to learn about different theories. For Barthes code, we took Inception as our film of choice. This is due to the clear enigmas and cultural codes that surround this film.

This is definitely one I need to re-watch before I give it a higher score. A lot of people say that this is in their top ten films, and I can understand why. But you do also need to watch it at least twice to fully understand what is going on.

All of the actors do an amazing job in their roles. I particularly love Ariadne, who is based on the person who created the maze to lock the Minotaur in. This fits in well with her character and the role she has. Every character has their own role and their own motives for what they do.

The cinematography is absolutely stunning in this film. This, as well as the editing, keeps the film flowing and appealing to watch, making you truly focus on what the story is all about. You are also kept guessing what is a dream and what is a reality, even down to the last frame where you get to interpret it in your own mind.

If you plan to watch this, take two hours out and put all of your mind on it. This is not a dumb flick that you can relax with, it needs all of the concentration that you can give it.

3.5/5

Beauty and the Beast (2017) (Repeat)
It has been a while since I have seen the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. I remember when it was first announced, and I was worried given how the Alice in Wonderland adaptations turned out. However, as soon as the cast list came out with Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans playing their roles respectively, I was way more relaxed.

In short, this does not reach the magic that the original film gave me, but is a charming and great adaptation none the less. The original Beauty and the Beast will always be my favourite animated Disney film, but this is still great and everyone truly gave a fantastic performance.

4/5

Baby Driver (Repeat)
Baby Driver was in my top five films of 2017, so when I saw that I could watch it again on Now TV, I instantly had to. The opening sequence is the best opening of a film in years (closely followed by Guardians of the Galaxy 2), and the momentum from that start continues throughout.

Whilst there are some slight pacing errors, especially with the relationship of Baby and Debra and character development, the film overall is fantastic. I love the style, the music and the story all together. Edgar Wright is a director I definitely need to check out more of.

4.5/5

Now You See Me 2 (Repeat)
The Now You See Me franchise is very underrated. I remember going to see the first one in cinemas and being blown away. I am not usually a heist genre fan, but with this and Baby Driver these are exceptions. They tell the heist story in a different perspective and put a cooler twist on it.

There are things in this film that I prefer over the original, and there are things in this film I did not prefer. For example, I prefer Lulu over Henley, but I prefer seeing Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman) as the villain than Walter (Daniel Radcliffe). Overall though, a fun sequel that fits well to the series and I am still hoping for a third to make it a trilogy.

4/5

If I continue to get time to watch as many films as this, I might start leaving out the repeat viewings. I just have to wait and see if I continue to get a lot of free time, with the college course shortly coming to an end. I will also be re-watching Inception this week so I will let you know if it does sit better with me on a second going.

Until Sunday, that was some film for thought.

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