Film

I love ‘Love, Simon’

This weekend I went to see ‘Love, Simon’ and I’m still on a giddy euphoric high. It absolutely is one of the best films I have ever seen and you should all go see it.

For those of you who don’t know it, it’s based on the book ‘Simon vs the Homosapian agenda’ (which I have now of course purchased) about a teenage boy in his final year of high school who is gay. The only problem no one knows. He starts emailing an anonymous boy from his school ‘Blue’ who has the same secret. Although neither know who the other one is they form a connection and fall in love. It is one of those wholesome, feel good, all American, teenage coming of age films.  A romance that, to use one of my favourite phrases, gives you all the feels. How incredible that it is the first mainstream Hollywood romance where the male protagonist is gay. This is of course a big deal, as recently as when I was a tween this premise would have been unthinkable, yet at the same time it isn’t, because when you watch it, it just makes sense, why shouldn’t this be the norm?

This is such a smart film, hold your sides funny, I think I spent 90% off the film crying with laughter and the other 10% crying from pure emotions sometimes I was crying from both simultaneously. It perfectly portrays all the jumbled emotions of a teenager coming to terms with himself. Simon jumps from crush to crush as he tries to determine Blues identity in the way that wild teenage daydreams do, falls out and makes up with friends, and struggles with his relationship with his family. Nick Robinson and the rest of the cast are sublime, and I think I’m not the only one to now have just a little bit of a crush. Also I really want Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel to adopt me, they play the most wonderful of parents.

This is a modern day rom com with a nostalgic feel, which reminds you of all the great romantic comedies we grew up with, and leaves you with the same warm and fuzzy feeling. Oh yes and it has a kickass soundtrack that has been playing on loop ever since I left the cinema.

Go give this movie a watch people, I promise you won’t regret it!

Film

A whole lot of (very delayed) post Oscars Thoughts…

Ok firstly I know this is a couple of weeks late but as I had a few days off over the Oscars weekend I have spent the last ten days working flat out plus fighting off a horribly persistent cold, so I’ve not had much spare time or brain power.

Secondly I realise I didn’t do my final review of the Best Picture nominees, the truth is I am a complete scaredy cat, I have a total hatred of horror films, I scare far too easily and I really take no pleasure in getting freaked out. I know part of the point of watching all the nominees is to find films I never knew I’d love but I really need a tight hand to hold on to to sit through ‘Get Out’ and as none of my friends could be persuaded to watch it with me I have yet to see it. I promise at some point I will get up the nerve or find a friend to babysit me through it and I will write my review. But for now with all the glitz and the hype over for another year lets dissect this years Oscars, in true Kate style with a list of the defining moments of the 2018 Academy Awards.

1)  Jimmy Kimmel did a stellar job of hosting. His opening speech perfectly addressed the sexual harassment scandal that has plagued Hollywood, the equal pay discussion as well as the gun control protests taking place after the Florida shooting. He balanced it all with comedy and giggles and he got Armie Hammer to shoot a hot dog gun at a movie theatre full of people I mean what more can you want from a host?

2) In a stroke of genius Faye Dunaway and Warren Beaty returned to present Best Picture. The Oscars could not have played this better with Jimmy Kimmel returning to host and the same presenters returning it made sure that they absolved all of any blame. As well as openly acknowledging the complete cock up of last year it added a fair amount of humour to the situation.

3) Mexico had a moment. I have a strange obsession with Mexico, perhaps it’s the food, perhaps the music, probably the men! And boy did they have a good night. Coco won both best and animated picture and (slightly surprisingly) best original song. And Guillermo Del Toro winning best director makes it the 4th Mexican to win the category in 5 years. Screw Trump and his walls in Hollywood Mexico is on the up!

4) The Shape of Water won Best Picture. On one hand I love this, a fantasy film winning best picture. The actors were more than deserving and Guillermo Del Toro’s finally got a long overdue moment, he truly is one of the great film makers. BUT…

5) Three Billboards was the stand out film of the season for me. It was so perfectly of the moment. It was so raw and funny and real and it is the nominee which will so easily be added to my favourite films list. I have recommended it to pretty much every person I know and I’m probably going to be raving about it for a good few more months maybe even years, yes it’s that good!

6) In the absolute highlight of the evening Francis McDormand gave the best goddamn speech of all time. I genuinely cried. Granted it was 4am I was still hungover from Saturday nights shenanigans and I was a little overwrought but I full on sobbed. Getting all the female nominees to stand up with her. Demanding everyone to pay attention to them. It was so freaking empowering and I have never been prouder to be a woman.

 

 

Film

Oscars Countdown #2 ‘Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri’

I love love loved Three Billboards. I was sceptical going in as there’s obviously a whole lot of hype but boy did it live up to it!

This film is so perfectly of the moment what could be more apt for the year of #metoo, of women standing up for themselves than a film about a woman standing up for herself and her daughter who was raped and killed. She wants justice and she will stop at nothing to get it.

This is no fairytale, no neatly tied up loose ends and certainly no happy ending. This is about broken people in a dead end town trying to find some joy and purpose in life and trying to fix their hurt. It is deeply emotional and raw and will have you sobbing within minutes. Yet amongst all this heart ache and rage and anger there is comedy, it is darkly funny and so entertaining. And so real. I laughed and I cried and I came out wanting to kick some ass!

I was sure Sally Hawkins was a shoe in for best actress until I saw Frances Mcdormand. Terrifying and unswerving in her determination to find her daughters killer. She is resolutely unsmiling and tough yet at the same time so vulnerable, McDormand shows us it all. I seriously hope she wins the Best Actress award because quite honestly this is one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long long time.

Every performance given in this film is so great, Woody Harrelson is wonderful as per usual and Sam Rockwell blew me away. He plays the racist and idiotic deputy who goes on to show surprising depth.

I never expected the story to go where it goes, I thought I went in knowing what this film would be but I was so so wrong. I want this to win Best Picture so badly, it is a fantastic film and far and away my favourite of the nominees. Plus it has a truly awesome soundtrack! Fingers crossed for the win!

Film

Oscars Countdown #3 ‘The Shape of Water’

The Shape of Water is a beautiful, ethereal love story. It is as we are so told at the beginning “A tale of love and loss and the monster who tried to destroy it all.”

The premise is a little weird, a young girl falls in love with a half fish half man dragged back from the amazon by the incredibly terrifying Michael Shannon. But if anyone could make it work it’s Guillermo Del Toro and boy did he make it work.

A twisted beauty and the beast fairytale for the grown ups. It’s a tale of the lonely people of the world. Elisa, the mute, her closest friend the older gay man fired from his job, her work ally the black woman whose husband never talks to her. These people who are rejected by the 1960’s American society are all looking for acceptance, for happiness, for love.

Sally Hawkins is incredible. She does not speak once but you never once feel as though she needs to. She conveys everything, every emotion, every thought, every feeling so superbly. It is a true testament to her skills as an actress and she is well deserving of her best actress nomination.

This film entranced me it is so beautiful all green and blue tones conjuring up a dreamy world where Elisa lives above a stunning and sadly empty movie theatre. This is juxtaposed by the dirty gritty underground world of the Cold War laboratories where the fish man is kept and tortured until Elisa breaks him free.

This is an emotional fairytale, it has darkness and anger and hate but also lightness and hope and friendship and love. What a truly wonderful film and a huge contender for the Best Picture award!

Film

Oscars Countdown #4 ‘The Phantom Thread’

This is going to be short because I’ve just done a double shift on my eighth working day in a row and I am to put it politely pooped.

I did not get The Phantom Thread. I feel like it was trying to tell me a story but I’m not entirely sure what it was. I suppose this is a love story a particular, short tempered older dress designer falls in love with a (I’m assuming) German waitress. A younger girl falling for an older man is nothing new in a film, but this is just a little weird.

There is nothing here that endears me to either character, honestly I spent most of the film wanting to punch Daniel Day Lewis in the face, which just goes to show how great his acting is, most of the time I really quite like Daniel Day Lewis. Alma just constantly irritated me yes she displayed a little backbone but really a better ending would have been her going off and living her life without him. I guess it shows just how insane and twisted love is.

It cannot be denied that the dresses and design are exquisite, it is a beautiful sight watching all the ladies twirl in these elegant creations. The filming is crisp, all smooth clean lines. I guess you can see the great filmmaking here but there is no heart, nothing to connect to, nothing that made me feel anything other than “well this is bizarre!” By far my least favourite of all the nominees, it’s not a film I’ll be watching again.

Film

Oscars Countdown #5 ‘The Darkest Hour’

After Dunkirk it was only natural to watch the second World War Two film up for nomination this year.

The Darkest Hour shows not the battle itself but the battle going on behind the scene. The focus is on the older men at home who control the war and the war waging in the Houses of Parliament. Churchill is made prime minister as Europe is on the brink of falling to the unstoppable Nazi machine. His party does not support him and seem more preoccupied with ousting him than fighting the Nazis, the British Army is cornered at Dunkirk without means of escape and country after country is falling.

Gary Oldman is stunning. If he does not win best actor it will break my heart. Almost unrecognisable in his prosthetics, everything about him is Churchill. You can truly see him carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. There is the saddest scene when he is on the phone to Roosevelt and essentially begging him for help from the USA and we can see an almost broken Churchill trying not to let the despair burst out of him. Then on the other hand there are the inevitable scenes of triumph of strength, him shouting at his war cabinet demanding they find a way to fight, and off course his rousing speech to parliament rallying the nation. An alcoholic, old man with a short temper put in an impossible position yet a great and wonderful man, this film shows all of him the public and the private, the strong and the weak.

This film is thrilling, even if we know how it ends, and perhaps that is part of the reason why it’s so thrilling, because the decisions made in this film changed the world. As the dates go by in giant writing on the screen we feel the tension build and Churchill’s despair deepening. Despite its focus being on the government we still get some fantastic and heartbreaking glimpses of the battle in France, including a stunning aerial shot of the fighting which fades into a fallen soldier. It is a political and historical drama but it is also a war film.

Here we have film making at its finest, so beautifully shot, every scene pulls us in and makes hearts pound, brains whir and tears well up. This is a fantastic piece of cinema.

Film

Oscars Countdown #6 ‘Dunkirk’

Dunkirk is all action and sparse dialogue.

Nolan’s war epic is a true cinematic feat making use of every special and visual effect to create a harrowing snapshot of the British Army’s retreat from Dunkirk.

Remember that chilling scene from Atonement when James McAvoy is walking along the beach at Dunkirk, this is basically a two hour version of that.

He gives us a whole host of characters the young soldiers trying to escape the beach, the officers trying to get them off it, the civilians heading over in their small fishing boat to aid the rescue attempt, the pilots fighting the Germans trying to sink the ships, as the film jumps from one scene to the next the suspense becomes almost unbearable.

It paints a terribly bleak picture of war, we watch planes go down, ships sink and bodies wash up on shore. The task seems to be hopeless. The hopelessness and despair is most poignantly shown in one scene where the three of our young protagonists sit on the beach and watch as a soldier walks into the ocean and disappear not one of them tries to stop him, says a word or even reacts.

The score for this film is truly the star, with so little dialogue it is the music that adds the emotional element to the scenes.

What it lacked though was any form of character development. Yes the horrors depicted made you feel for these men, you wanted them to make it home, but where was home? What was home? Who was waiting for them? And I’m sorry but I just could not see Harry Styles as being anything other than that annoying member of a boy band.

There was the odd moment that tugged the heart, Cillian Murphy’s fevered exclamation that he “can’t go back” the young soldiers scrabbling up on deck because they “just want to see the cliffs” and perhaps the most powerful moment of the film when one of our returning soldiers reads Churchill’s famous speech out loud from the paper whilst we see images of each character returning home.

Technically I cannot fault this film I’ll be very surprised if it does not pick up awards in the technical categories but it does not have any heart. I always want to come away from a film feeling something but here I did not, my eyes remained dry which considering the subject is surprising. Disappointingly my least favourite of the nominees so far.