Monday, 28 September 2015

September Watch List

1. Dope
The film starts with a definition of the word 'dope', all three meanings are relevent to the film and the characters too. Malcom (Shameik Moore) is a self confessed nerd, along with his two best friends, Diggy and Jib. One of their most stand out qualities is that they are 90s hiphop enthusiasts. When they end up going to a drug dealers party and Malcom ends up with a bag full of MDA, the film takes a turn. They need to get rid of the drugs, but after the long hectic hilarious trail ends with disappointment, the story changes to nerds selling drugs. They get away with this because no one will suspect them. That is the basic story, to explain it in full would be confusing and I think would ruin the experience. Through all this chaos Malcom is trying to get into college and he has his heart set on Harvard but everyone around him doubts his chances but he never gives up. The soundtrack is brilliant, with a mixture of songs that the characters would listen to and songs from the groups band, Awreeoh. I can't really explain and do this film justice in a few sentences so, just go watchthe film. 4/5

2. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Based on a YA novel of the same name, a very catchy easy to say even though its long name, the story is sort of in the title. Greg, self made loner (of sorts) has deliberately detached himself from the typical highschool drama by not being part of a 'group' but being friendly with every group he has safe passage through the crazy. This is until his mum makes him hang out with Rachel, average normal teen who has just been diagnosed with cancer. From here, they form a, what Greg tells us throughout, doomed friendship. Greg reluctantly introduces Rachel, to his and his co-worker/friend's movies they make. They are hilarious. The rule, take a movie and make it stupider, works a treat. From start to finish Greg builds up the ultimate end and throughout he and Rachel have caring friendship which - as the title suggests - tragic end, but we all know its coming. What I thought was so refreshing was that Greg and Rachel's friendship stays platonic and its even more meaningful, in a way. She spurs him on to get of his self hating shell and apply for college and Greg even tries his best to convince Rachel to carry on the fight. Greg loves films and loves making them, I had a similar system in secondary school, so I understand the want to go under the radar. I had a friends but I didn't have a group and I avoided lots of dramatics but I did come out of my shell when I realised I shouldn't care what everyone thinks, I'll do what I want to do and I like what I like. Rachel needed Greg, an outsider to help her through the pain and Gred needed Rachel to make him understand to use his time well and not stay locked away. 3/5

 3. Irrational Man
 The only thing I kept saying through the film was 'Emma Stone was so annoying'. Or rather her character was. But Emma Stone, who can do no wrong really did not impress in this film. I had already read an article that Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence have an older man problem, and they do, they really do, watching this film just projected it. I was hoping that the film did not go down the route of student teacher romantic relationship, especially after fighting it for most of the film, but alas it did. Young woman falling for flawed older man is getting old and Woody Allen can do better. The parts I did like were Joaquin Pheonix - he is perfectly matched to Allen's babbling genius nonsense. The other element I enjoyed were the two voiceovers, Abe (Pheonix) and Jill (Stone), they were really quite funny. But the incredidly annoying Stone character took away quite a bit of the enjoyment of the film. The rating goes to really quite bizarre and 'wish they focused on this more than the dumb relationship' part when Abe decides his life has meaning after he decides to murder someone he doesn't know. But the film is on thin ice apart from this brilliant plot point. 3/5

4. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
An American film, set in Iran, written and directed by American Iranian Ana Lily Amirpour, starring American-Iranian actors, filmed in black and white and all the dialogue is in Persian (according to Wiki). It was dubbed as the 'The first Iranian vampire Western' and doubt there will be many more like it as this film could almost be the definition of unique. Arash, is hard working, his fancy car is prrof of this, but his father is drug addict and is in debt to local 'gangster' and pimp, Saeed. He takes his car as payment. Just after he has snubbed and mistreated one of his prostitutes, the Girl appears. She stalks him down, get invited into his home and drains him dry. This is theme, the Girl vampire goes after mem who mistreat women or nasty men in general. The first half is an intriduction to Arash and the Girl, the second half is a very gentle love story, ending in a bloody realisation. Apart from the blood and killing, the weird peacful tenderness that is shared speaks volumes more than if anything else more graphic or physical occured. Less is more here and throughout. Filmed in Calfifornia, it stands in for a Iranian ghost town called 'Bad City' which is again a very basic term for the people that live there and what happens. There doesn't seem to be any law enforcement around for all the deaths. The black and white adds to the delicate scenes, even the more bloody, it also makes the film feel otherwordly, that this is not somewhere familiar and I liked this. I would reccomened this film to anyone looking for something new to watch and anyone who appreciates art. I was pleased to here the film is being made into a graphic novel which will help the film story spread its wings, I just hope Arash and the Girl stay together. 4/5

5. Very Good Girls
I judged this film before it began. I saw the trailer months ago and dismissed it as sterotypical, best friends torn apart by a guy scenario. But its not really. Lily and Gerri (Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen) are best friends, very different in their views and behaviour, this is mirrored by their families too. After going to the beach they literally bump into David, ice cream seller/budding photographer, Gerri is obviously attracted to him but its Lily who captures his attention. He woos her by posting a photograph he took of her around the area he knows she'll be. They start dating and its sweet, for a while. Other things take over, including Lily's guilt over Gerri who still likes David, Lily's parents are separated after he cheated on her mum, Lily's boss at work is a little too interested and the general impending move to college looms slightly. The film goes deeper, in non superficial way, and it makes for a film about friendship and family and relationships in general. Dakota Fanning barely changes her expression but its her understated reaction to events that makes her character a lot more complex. In a way 'I totally get her'. This film was better than I thought and I'm glad it surprised me. 3/5

6. Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List
This was the stereotypical film about two best friends torn apart by a guy scenario, and it wasn't very good. It has a very low rating from me because the end scene was great and the monolgue voiceover at the end was perfectly done but everything else was a mess. Ely, over the top attention seeking, Naomi, always told she'd beautiful, needy and doesn't really have much substance to her. The characters feel like they were lifted out of a more successful YA novel. The chemistry between the best friends is brilliant but I wasn't convinced by Naomi wanting Ely (who is gay by the way) to be more than her life long friend. It was obvious that they love each other deeply but not in a romantic way. The 'guy' that tears them apart is Naomi's weak blank boyfriend who she doesn't really like but is really angry about when Ely kisses him. His defence, he wasn't on the 'no kiss list' of the title. Also, he really likes him and his interest is returned. Naomi just doesn't like being pushed aside. That's what it really comes down to. But never fear, everything gets neatly tied up in a happy little bundle over coffee. Typical YA nonsense. 1/5

7. Lost River
I don't understand the hate here. I can't see why everyone at Cannes made such a fuss saying the film was pretensious. It's not. The film is barely stylised. The cast are brilliant and the soundtrack is great (bought a few tracks), the story needed more padding but I think the locations did a lot of the speaking for the films too. A mixture of played down futuristic downfall and part urban fairytale and myth, it beautiful in some scenes. The story is about a single mother Billy (Christina Hendricks) and her two sons, Bones (Iain De Caestecker) and Franky, who live a run down part of the fictional city or area, Lost River. The houses are all being torn down by the banks who had run people out of their homes and Billy's home is next. After failing to sort something out with the bank, she takes a job offer, from the sleazy bank manager, at a weird high brow club that loves blood, gore and screams, all set up like theatre skits. Bones meanwhile tried to find copper from old houses to sell on but after he has a run in with local lunatic who claims all the copper in the area, Bully, he becomes a target. Rat (Saoirse Ronan), the family's neighbour, lives with her mute grandmother who spends her days watching her old wedding video. Rat and Bones have sweet relationship and she shares with him the myth of the underwater town. Legend says that if you bring a piece from the town to the surface, the spell will be broken and everything will be better. The line between 'make believe' and reality do blur but it makes it feel that this fantasy could be something possible. It is bleak but the characters make it colourful. 3/4


  1. I'm intrigued by all of these except the one I never heard of...which also happens to be the one you gave a 1/5 to, so I guess I'm good!

  2. Yeh, don't bother with the 1/5, save up your time for the good ones. I recommend A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night the most!