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Posts Tagged ‘Petite Maman’

My somewhat belated top ten movies of 2021 is here!  I wanted to re-watch a couple of movies before setting on both the ten, and the order.  There have been a couple of changes.  Since 1998 I have been visiting the cinema a couple of times a week averaging around 110 movies a year.  Then 2020 happened! We entered 2021 in lockdown with all UK cinema’s closed.  From when cinema’s reopened in May until the end of the year, I saw 51 movies; if you pro-rata that for a full year i would still have seen less than 80 films in a full year.  Let’s hope for an improvement in 2022!  Back to the matter at hand.  I always pick my top ten movies of the year based on films released in the UK in said year, and seen by me in the cinema.   Two things came together to prompt a slight change, I couldn’t decide on the final film in my top ten, and there was only one film I streamed that would have made my list.  That is how Promising Young Woman made the list:

1: Dune – Denis Villeneuve ‘s adaptation of (half of) Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel is finally with us.  I first watched David Lynch’s adaptation of Dune when I was around ten years old.  I loved it and have watched it numerous times since.  A couple of years later I read the book, it was even better.  Villeneuve’s film looks amazing, the cast is fantastic and the storytelling is sublime.  It hits all the same beats of the Lynch movie but is a true adaptation to a movie as it relies on show don’t tell where the earlier version uses a lot of voiceover to speed the story along and vocalise the inner monologue of the characters.  The great news is that part 2 has been green-lit.

2: Another Round – In 2012 Thomas Vinterberg made an outstanding film called The Hunt starring Mads Mikkelsen.  The pair are back with another stunning movie.  Exploring men’s relationship with alcohol, and each other it asks a lot of questions of its characters and audience, to its credit it doesn’t try to answer them.  The winner of the best foreign language movie at the Oscars this year, I think it’s a better film than the (six out of eight that I have seen) nominations for best picture. 

3: Last Night in Soho – Edgar Wright’s much anticipated movie is very different to his previous work.  Flipping between drama and thriller it is essentially  a psychological horror that owes a debt to giallo.  Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy are both sensational; it is also a fitting final performance for the great Diana Rigg.  If I am hyper critical, it loses its way a little in the final act, but it still works.

4: The Green Knight – David Lowery’s movie adapted from the 14th century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  Not afraid to embrace its origin, the narrative is poetic and ambiguous.  The photography is stunning, and  Dev Patel is fantastic.  Finally an Arthurian movie to rival Monty Python and John Boorman.  Sadly it didn’t get a much of a release, but believe me its worth the effort to see it on the big screen.

5: Petite Maman – A modern day fantasy/fairy-tale written and directed by Céline Sciamma.  Clocking in at just 82 minutes and with little plot beyond the concept, on the surface it is a very slight film, its is however enchanting and enthralling.

6: Titaine – It’s taken Julia Ducournau five years to follow up her debut feature, the visceral horror Raw, it was worth the wait.  Comparisons with David Cronenberg are inevitable both for the body horror, and the auto-eroticism, while valid there is a lot more going on.  There is so much to unpick both in the story, and the subtext, I am looking forward to a second viewing.

7: Spider-Man: No Way Home – I went into this with very low expectations, I wasn’t a fan of Far From Home, and the multiversity had already been explored to brilliant effect in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  To add to this the MCU hasn’t had its best year.  I was so wrong, not only was the film excellent, probably my favourite live action Spider-Man movie, and also a fantastic cinematic experience as other audience members reacted to what was happening.

8: Pig – Nicolas Cage plays a reclusive truffle hunter.  When he goes looking for his stolen pig, you would expect a John Wick style revenge thriller.  What we get is a much more low-key and thoughtful movie, and Cage’s best performance in years.

9: The French Dispatch – Wes Anderson is back with an anthology film that is just about the most Wes Anderson movie ever.   The ensemble cast is filled with all the Anderson regulars and a few faces to his repertory company.  Wonderfully quirky, I have heard mixed reviews, personally I loved it.

10: Promising Young Woman – Many people got to see Emerald Fennell’s movie a couple of years ago, we only got it in the UK in 2021.  Sadly it dropped during lockdown so I only got to see it on TV.  The basic story is given away in the trailer, but it doesn’t always go where you think it will.  Carey Mulligan is devastatingly brilliant.

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The final month of the year has been a good one at the cinema despite the best efforts of Covid.  The eight movies I have seen include more than one of my top ten movies of the year.  I got to see one of my favourite classic films at the cinema, I was also invited to a regional premier, giving me the chance to see The Kings Man three weeks before general release.  Here are the movies I watched:

Petite Maman – A modern day fantasy/fairy-tale written and directed by Céline Sciamma.  Clocking in at just 82 minutes and with little plot beyond the concept, on the surface it is a very slight film, its is however enchanting and enthralling.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City – Just five years after Resident Evil: The Final Chapter the game based franchise has already received the reboot treatment.  Where the original mainly franchise focussed on one character this film operates as more of an ensemble, Kaya Scodelario as Claire Redfield is nominally the lead, but Hannah John-Kamen as Jill Valentine is the MVP.  Leaning more into horror, it isn’t a great film, but it is largely enjoyable and fun.   

The Kings Man – Explaining the origin of The Kingsmen by weaving them into the events of the first world war.  The tone doesn’t completely work as it flips between serious/sombre, and silly fun.  It largely gets away with it as the cast is excellent.  Not as good as the first film but much better than the sequel.

Spider Man: No Way Home – I went into this with very low expectations, I wasn’t a fan of Far From Home, and the multiversity had already been explored to brilliant effect in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  To add to this the MCU hasn’t had its best year.  I was so wrong, not only was the film excellent, probably my favourite live action Spider-Man movie, and also a fantastic cinematic experience as other audience members reacted to what was happening.

West Side Story – I’m not a fan of musicals so was never going to love this, but I did enjoy and appreciate it.  As you would expect from Steven Spielberg it is supremely well made and looks amazing.  The cast is excellent especially Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose.

The Matrix Resurrections – Written and directed Lana Wachowski without her sibling and usual collaborator, this belated sequel was something of a risk.  The Matrix was a masterpiece, the sequels were a disappointment, did we need another instalment?  In short yes!  It isn’t a great film, but it has merit for a couple of reasons, it provides a coda that actually makes the sequels better, but most of all, it’s great to see Neo (Keanu Reeves), and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) again, as well as few excellent additions, notably Jessica Henwick. 

The Red Shoes – Never missing a chance to see one of my favourite classic movies projected on the big screen. Powell and Pressburger’s masterpiece is one of my favourite movies and one I have long wished to see at the cinema.  It didn’t disappoint.  

Titane  – It’s taken Julia Ducournau five years to follow up her debut feature, the visceral horror Raw, it was worth the wait.  Comparisons with David Cronenberg are inevitable both for the body horror, and the auto-eroticism, while valid there is a lot more going on.  There is so much to unpick both in the story, and the subtext, I am looking forward to a second viewing.

But what’s my movie of the month? There a few contenders but it has to be the one I am still thinking about, Titane.

Check back in the next few days to find out which of these movies made my top ten of the year.

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