Summer is coming to an end, which means that it’s time for me to give out awards to the films I watched in the last three months. I hope I still know how to do this.
(It’s quite a long read, so go get some cookies.)
The “Most DISAPPOINTING SEQUEL” Award
Winner: Taken 3
Without a doubt, I have to give it to Taken 3. Fair enought at this point it has been three months since I saw it, but I don’t even remember what it was about. Oh wait, things are coming back to me, and they’re not good. Forest Whitaker was ok I guess, and a part of me is willing to watch anything with Liam Neeson kicking ass, but this franchise should not have been a franchise. (Although I’m sure Neeson‘s bank account disagrees.)
A very close second: Insurgent. I enjoyed the books, and I didn’t mind the first movie, but this one was pretty horrible. Magic Mike XXL. Sorry Channing Tatum, not riding your pony.
(Unless of course you’d let me.)
Not so disappointing:
Pitch Perfect 2. More of the same, but I couldn’t help enjoy it. Ted 2, which is, as far as I’m concerned, a lot better than the first one, and finally, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Some of Britain’s finest actors, doing a dance number in India. I mean, that’s just pure (mari)gold.
The “Best Movie Set in the Future” Award
Winner: Mad Max: Fury Road
I don’t think I’d survive on the Fury Road, but I’m glad I was able to witness it. Damn, George Miller really brought it home. The action, the cinematography, Charlize Theron, … I sincerely hope it’s able to pick up some awards, ’cause I don’t think it will be debunked from the top spot of my Top 10 List this year.
Strange Days, a seriously underrated movie from 1995 set during New Year’s Eve 1999. Kathryn Bigelow directs Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett in a sci-fi version of Los Angeles, and it’s weirdly amazing. And maybe if Chappie hadn’t come out at around the same time as Mad Max, Neill Blomkamp would have been able to make a bigger impression.
THE “Best Movie set in the Past” AWARD
WINNER: Capote (Warning: A Mini Review Follows)
I’m not American, which means that I never had to read To Kill a Mockinbird or Moby Dick in school. It also means, and looking back, I only feel shame, that the name ‘Capote‘ didn’t really ring a bell. I knew this was a great movie with an excellent performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman, but that was about the extent of it.
Obviously, while watching, in the back of a car during a fourteen hour drive through France (destination: Costa Brava), a couple of nickels dropped. First of all “Truman Capote“, I did recognize that name. Bien sûr, with me, en course to Spain: the Penguin Modern Classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which I’d picked up a couple of months earlier at the bookshop, but still hadn’t read. I was delighted.
A couple of days, and five books later (what else can one do when it’s 35° outside?), I was following Maya Angelou to her first Broadway audition. (Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas, the third volume of her autobiography.) Truman Capote was there. She didn’t give away any information, other than his name, and the fact that him being there was a big deal. (Of course, at that point, I felt that I knew him quite well.)
She only remarks his distinctive voice and how, at first, she felt as if they were all playing a joke on her. Incidentally, that was exactly my first thought when I heard Philip Seymour Hoffman speak for the first time in Capote. My second thought was that he looked a lot thinner than in any other role I’ve seen him in.
Much of the strength of the film comes from his performance. Gentle when it’s due, but camp when he needs to be. Larger than life one minute, but utterly relatable the next. It’s almost impossible to blame him for toying with Perry Smith. Underneath his apparent God complex and megalomania lies a tenderness and a caring heart.
One of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s masterpieces: There Will be Blood. Amazing performances by Daniel Day-Method-Lewis and Paul Dano, and one of the most impressively good looking movies I’ve ever seen. (That fire!)
I also really enjoyed the mockumentary Seven Days in Hell, which is set in 2001, and thus awkwardly fits in this category. Indubitably. And then there was A Litte Chaos, the second film Alan Rickman directed. It has Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Helen McCrory and Stanley Tucci, which is a really impressive cast, but unfortunately, the film doesn’t really spark. I love the ending shot though, and the idea of planting women in times and places where they wouldn’t have been present.
And of course, the fictional past of The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I watched for a fifth time last july. This time, with friends, who weren’t as amused by it as I was. It probably didn’t help that I was constantly telling them, “the next scene is really hilarious” and “did you see that shot?”
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