May 2016 in Review

May has passed us by, and the prospect of a full-time job hasn't slowed my film watching down. A rewatch of Disney flicks led into a viewing of female-directed pictures, in an effort to catch up on the #52FilmsDirectedByWomen challenge I'm taking part in. I also saw quite a few pictures which cracked my top 100. So, let's see what films I saw over the past month.

Bambi [rewatch] - 4/5 - I can't believe how little plot and character development are in this film. These elements are foregone to focus on the moments of life, be they small or heartbreaking. An intriguing study, as we see the Prince of the forest share innocent moments with his friends, before the fickle nature of life takes his mother from him. Stunning animation, though.

Sleeping Beauty (1959) [rewatch] - 4.5/5 - The best thing about this Disney classic is its villainous creation, the magnificent Maleficent. A deliciously evil being, ready to curse a child merely to spite the parents for not inviting her. Then there's the lovable fairies, who are the films source of humour and deliver a wonderful amount of heart. The undeniably gorgeous visuals bring to life this fantastic film, which is a favourite of mine.

Cinderella (1950) [rewatch] - 3/5 - A film where it's easy to sympathise with our lead, who lives an unfortunate life, but proves useless, ultimately waiting for a happy life where she's swept away by a guy we barely see. The Evil Stepmother is pretty bland, but surprisingly, the animals help the film with their entertaining nature.

Peter Pan (1953) [rewatch] - 2.5/5 - A flawed Disney flick, where Smee and Hook threaten to steal the show. But Peter is unlikeable, and the devious and easily jealous Tinkerbell gives more trouble than Hook. Wendy acts as a wet blanket, while her brothers are merely bland. And then there's the racism *sighs*.

Best film of the month, Best film seen in cinemas
and Best film watched for the first time: Ran

Captain America: Civil War [rewatch] - 5/5 - My goodness, this holds up extremely well.

Everybody Wants Some!! - 4.5/5 - A film that will leave a smile on your face.

Lilo and Stitch [rewatch] - 5/5 - I used to rewatch my favourite films all the time as a kid, but I did one thing with Lilo and Stitch I did not with other films. I watched it for about four or five consecutive days in a row. There was something about this picture which enthralled me, left me wanting to see it again as soon as possible. Whatever reason, this animated picture remains all kinds of wonderful no matter what age I am. After introducing my littlest brother this film, he fell in love with it the same way I did. And I could have gladly watched this again later that very day. Stitch is absolutely adorable. He's definitely my spirit animal.

Aladdin [rewatch] - 4/5 - Man, this held up better on a repeat viewing. Granted, Robin Williams' performance does overshadow the film at times, almost like the film and his character is just for Williams to perform his shtick. But it remains entertaining, carrying wondrous songs ("A Whole New World", anyone?), fantastic characters to root for, and utterly stunning visual work. A triumph for Disney.

Best film rewatched: Sherlock, Jr

Little Miss Sunshine [rewatch] - 4.5/5 - Directing duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris hit gold for their directorial debut, as they bring forth a darling of a picture. Successfully hitting you with every emotion thrown your way, as this wonderful ensemble act their hearts out for their characters in this dysfunctional family. Little Miss Sunshinse is just all kinds of wonderful.

Definitely, Maybe [rewatch] - 4/5 - A romantic comedy which breaks away from the traditional formula which often encumbers the genre, as Ryan Reynolds and Abigail Breslin lead a wonderful cast. Yes, it could have been shorter, and yes, the plot could've been a tad less convoluted. But when the result is this naturally charming, there's little to complain about, and more to recommend.

The Jungle Book (2016) - 4/5 - It took a while, but Disney have proven their live action films can be great. Jon Favreau's eye brings this wonderful world to life, with help from the stunning visuals which does a wondrous job bringing the jungle and its inhabitants to life. It wouldn't be a surprise if, come 2016's end, this remained the years best visual work. Neel Sethi is wonderful, giving a naturalistic performance as Mowgli, and acting well as though the animals are actually there. The voice cast each do great work in their roles, from Idris Elba's ferocity as the antagonist, to Scarlett Johansson's seductively silky voice, and the perfect casting of Christopher Walken as King Louie. Plus, the songs are well done. Granted, the plot offers few surprises and is often rather familiar, but with how enjoyable the overall film is, these are niggles rather than massive problems.

Monster (2003) - 5/5 - First and foremost, Charlize Theron damn well deserved that Oscar. She doesn't so much give a good performance, but transforms herself into Aileen Wuornos, and not just physically. Her romance with her girlfriend is deftly handled, coming off as believable and leaving viewers to get invested in. This also gels well with the tale detailing what Aileen's infamous for, her murderous ways, which comes off as both shocking and gritty.

Biggest Disappointment: Peter Pan

Dirty Grandpa - 0/5 - Everything about this film can die in a fire.

Martyrs (2008) - 5/5 - I didn't fancy a good nights sleep anyways. What could have been another "blood and gore over plot" film is so much more. That's not to say there's a lack of the two former elements, with Laugier ensuring that even the most seasoned of horror fans have difficulties not averting their eyes. The make up work is nothing short of magnificent, ensuring the bloody moments gets under ones skin, and leaves a heck of an impression. But where the films strength truly lies is how it has something to say, about suffering. An endurance test of a film that's brutal and unforgettable, Martyrs is a masterful piece of work.

Afternoon Delight (2013) - 1.5/5 - Attempts to be a drama comedy, but is too dull to be the former, and the latter falls flat at every turn. Kathryn Hahn is let down by lacklustre writing which makes her unlikeable and overly judgemental, while Juno Temple's character is poorly handled.

Ran - 5/5 - I count my blessings that I was able to witness this on the big screen, let alone that being my first viewing of the film. Akira Kurosawa's take on King Lear is a Samurai epic, detailing a family splintered. The elderly father makes the decision to abdicate to his three sons, resulting in the two elder sons turning on him, making their corrupt nature and lust for power evidently known. The themes of redemption, religion, forgiveness and vengeance are prevalent, with the latter two intriguingly showcased in the corrupt brothers' brides, taking polar opposite approaches when dealing with what their father in law did to their families. This is all told through visuals which are nothing short of stunning and glorious.

In short, Kurosawa is a master, and we are lucky to be able to view such a masterpiece.

Biggest Surprise: Bad Neighbours 2

Un Chien Andalou - 5/5 - By the end of this, one may have a single prevalent question: "What was the point of that?". To resemble The surrealism and lack of sense which encompass our dreams, to entertaining results. Bearing witness to visuals like the ants crawling out of a man's hand, and the superb editing contained in the opening eye slicing, one won't be forgetting about this anytime soon.

The Present - 3.5/5 - A well animated boy and dog tale that's rather heartfelt, delivering a message about not letting adversity get you down.

Bad Neighbours 2 - 4/5 - While I wasn't in love with the first Bad Neighbours film, the sequel was a fantastic watch. The wonderful humour and characters paired with relevant messages make this a step-up from its predecessor.

The Spectacular Now - 4/5 - How did this never get a U.K release? This down to earth tale delivers a high school experience with drama and romance, brought to life by an astounding cast, led by the wonderful Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. A terrific coming of age drama that deserves a wider audience.

Worst film of the month: Dirty Grandpa

Sherlock, Jr [rewatch] - 5/5 - One of the absolute greatest films ever made. The effortless slapstick, the seamless visual changes, the engaging characters and the well realised direction. Utterly masterful.

Alice Through The Looking Glass - 2/5 - Disney's attempt to generate another billion from a half-assed attempt.

The Do-Over (2016) - 1/5 - The second Adam Sandler film to reach Netflix manages to be worse than last years dire The Ridiculous 6. Perhaps its due to him portraying a psychotic character who happens to be some sort of action hero, while David Spade remains the films punching bag. Perhaps its the lazy story with the derivative humour, or how no effort seems to be put into this, particularly at the forced emotional attempt.

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey - 4/5 - This documentary delivers a wonderful and insightful look into the profession of a puppeteer. In particular, the focus is on Kevin Clash, his long-standing passion for puppetry, and especially the impact made by his most famous character, the lovable Elmo.

Warcraft: The Beginning - 2/5 - Game over for this potential franchise.

Best film of the month: Ran
Best film seen in cinemas: Ran
Best film watched for the first time: Ran
Best film rewatched: Sherlock, Jr
Biggest Disappointment: Peter Pan (1953)
Biggest Surprise: Bad Neighbours 2
Worst film of the month: Dirty Grandpa

Number of films watched: 25