Apart from Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) and The Batman (2022) which I felt deserved their own posts, I watched the following films this month, and please note that I will try and avoid major spoilers again but there might be some small ones along the way:
Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood (2022) is a Netflix film from writer/director Richard Linklater who directed and wrote the screenplay for 2006’s A Scanner Darkly. Both films share a rotoscoped animated style, but Apollo shows how things have advanced in terms of the technique – with far less wobble to the movie. It’s narrated by Stan (Jack Black) with a kind of Golden Years vibe and it soon becomes apparent that this film is a lot more about childhood growing up in 1960s America than it is about space flight. This is no bad thing and it’s certainly a heart-warming tale of a distinct period in recent history.
The Courier (2020), not to be confused with the dodgy 2019 film of the same title starring Olga Kurylenko in a car park, is based on the true story of Greville Wynne (Benedict Cucumber patch) a British business man roped into working for MI6 as a spy in Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Mr Cucumber is really good in this and so too is Merab Ninidze who plays the mole within the Russian government.
Candyman (2021) is a stylish reboot and in some ways a sequel, a requel?, to the 1992 slasher film. I really enjoyed the unusual take on the urban myth which sees struggling artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) descend into madness and take on the persona of the hook-wielding and bee-loving Candyman who can be summoned by repeating his name into a mirror like Beetlejuice. Watch if you dare!
Exposed (2016) is a movie that allegedly suffered from editorial interference from Lionsgate to the point where writer-director Gee Malik Linton took his name off the credits. Ostensibly the final product is a bilingual cop thriller starring Keanu Reeves, but by all accounts the focus was supposed to be more on Ana de Armas’s character and portrayal of violence towards women and children. There are some really very jarringly surreal moments which hint at what the film could’ve been like if left untouched by the studio and while over all it does hang together okay as a story it does feel like it was suffering from a bit of an identity crisis.
Arrietty (2010) is a Studio Ghibli animation borrowing (‘scuse pun) heavily from the world of Mary Norton’s much-loved children’s book The Borrowers. It’s a fairly typical story about a young boy discovering the borrowers and befriending them, while the adults plot to eradicate them like vermin. There’s some really nice touches to the film e.g. when it comes to the viscosity of water at a miniature level but this left me puzzling more about physics than enjoying the movie to be honest. It’s not as exciting as some Studio Ghibli films, but certainly worth a watch if your an anime fan.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) is a film by Yorgos Lanthimos perhaps best known for directing The Favourite and for The Lobster also starring Colin Farrell. Both films are better than this one in my opinion. I was eager to watch it as it has such a provocative title and I was hoping for something kind of Kafkaesque like The Lobster. It’s an interesting film, don’t get me wrong, and Farrell is impressive as a troubled surgeon with secrets to hide. I suppose I was a bit underwhelmed by the film because I felt a bit let down by the ending.
Raffey Cassidy is great as the surgeon’s daughter and Barry Keoghan as the boy befriended by the surgeon who menaces the family. Nicole Kidman also has fun with the role of the surgeon’s wife and her story takes some unexpected twists but ultimately doesn’t quite hit the mark narratively for me. It takes a long time to understand who or what the titular deer is, and then the choice in the end seems to be the wrong one. Certainly worth a watch though.
Videoman (2018) is a low-budget indie-looking subtitled movie from Swedish writer director Kristian A. Söderström. It tells the story of Ennio, an opinionated and obsessive video tape collector who used to run a successful video shop in the 80s, and who drinks away his days dreaming of opening a niche video emporium for VHS geeks. In comparison Simone, the woman who sells him a hugely rare horror tape called Zombie for next to nothing, has an office job and is active on social media. However, she’s also an alcoholic obsessed with the 80s and Egyptian history. A match made in heaven?
The acting in Videoman is rather amateurish and with its dream and hallucination sequences I was wondering if the whole film was trying to emulate a low budget Italian horror straight-to-VHS movie. However it wasn’t the worst film I watched this month.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021) is quite frankly a terrible film which actually makes some of the other Saw films look good. Strangely, given that she doesn’t like most horror films, Siggy is a fan of some of the earlier Saw films, but she agreed that this was crap. I’m not going to waste your or my time saying any more about it here.