The Originality Award
Winner: Under the Skin
SPOILERS – Scarlett Johansson carries this sci-fi twist on Scottish folk lore. Driving around Glasgow she seduces and hunts down men. Her prey is devoured by a black nothingness, and she seems to grow stronger, more alien. In her quest to feel something, she devolves into a human state. As we follow her to the forest where she sheds of her skin, we end our journey in the flames. The hunter has become the prey.
Jonathan Glazer directed this visually striking story, that took more than ten years to make.
Cowboys and Aliens (who’d have thought they’d ever meet?), and Christopher Nolan‘s reverse Memento.
The Female Representation Award
Winner: The Help
It’s pretty sad that this is a thing, but unfortunately, and this will come a surprise to literally no one, most films are about men. Luckily there are also examples of female driven stories. The Help brings women to the forefront and lets men sit one out. Set in the 1960s, the film tells a more uplifting side of the civil rights movement. Emma Stone is Skeeter, an aspiring writer who want to write a book from the viewpoint of the African-American maids. Viola Davis shines in this emotional leading role and Octavia Spencer brings an enormous levity to the film. Jessica Chastain cemented her place in Hollywood with this breakthrough performance. The film does tread a fine line with the problematic ‘white savior narrative’. Do we really need to delve into Skeeter’s romantic life? Couldn’t we have spent more time with ‘the help’? In the end it is Viola Davis‘ character we see walking towards her future. If only we’d gotten to know her better, we’d have a better understanding of what that future could hold.
Edge of tomorrow, in which Emily Blunt is allowed to be the true hero, and The Heat in which Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy redefine the buddy cop genre.
The “Please don’t judge me for only watching these now” Award
Winner: Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction is a classic, a cult favourite, a must see, a reference, and yet, it took me 21 years to finally see it. Why? I have no idea. Pulp Fiction is one of those films that gets praised everywhere. Regular moviegoers, as well as art house critics love it. And where I was completely blown away by Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction wasn’t able to do the same. Saying I was disappointed would definitely be an overstatement. The way Tarantino intertwines these four stories is remarkable in itself, and his sophomore feature offers a lot more. Tarantino is immediately associated with violence, but the strength of many of his films comes from the dialogue. Pulp Fiction is no exception.
Vincent: And you know what they call a… a… a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
Jules: They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?
Vincent: No man, they got the metric system. They wouldn’t know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.
Jules: Then what do they call it?
Vincent: They call it a Royale with cheese.
Jules: A Royale with cheese. What do they call a Big Mac?
Vincent: Well, a Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it le Big-Mac.
Jules: Le Big-Mac. Ha ha ha ha. What do they call a Whopper?
Vincent: I dunno, I didn’t go into Burger King.
Pulp Fiction changed contemporary cinema and it’s influence is still apparent today. Sometimes the most fun part of watching a classic is being able to cross it of your list, Pulp Fiction was fun from the pre-credits scene till the incredibly satisfying ending.
Apollo 13 in which Tom Hanks tells Houston that they have a problem, Hannibal, in which Jodie Foster suddenly looks a lot like Julianne Moore and Red Dragon, the prequel to the Hannibal Lecter saga, in which Edward Norton‘s hair is bleached and Ralph Fiennes is a villain with a lisp.
The “Instant Addition to my All Time Favourites” Award
Winner: Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola‘s original screenplay translates beautifully to the screen. This unlikely love story illustrates just how much people can lose their sense of self, when they’re wrapped up in a foreign culture. It’s a successful balance act, constantly wagering from nostalgia to hope. Both Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson deliver extremely interesting performances. Their chemistry is in no way compromised by the 34-year age difference.
Charlotte: Let’s never come here again because it would never be as much fun.
The city of Tokyo comes across as a force of nature, uncontrollable and inescapable And yet, Lost in Translation is subtle and intimate. It’s beauty lies in it’s hesitation.
And with that, I’ll leave you to it. Feel free to leave recommendations in the comments.