September 2016 Roundup


Bits and bobs or things that made me happy:

-I very much enjoyed Mellisa Benoist talking about her musical themed birthday party!

Favourite August watches:


I managed to watch a total of 30 films in September. Still doesn’t beat my 32 in January, but a good effort, if I don’t say so myself. (Helped along by a few short films). With a wider base to choose from, I ended up with more favourites than usual, so I’m going to just list them, with links to my letterboxd reviews:

I also kept to my 60s September challenge, not straying even once! (Except for movies out at the cinema, but that allowance was in my original challenge to myself). I doubt I could have kept it up any longer, though, but it was fun.

At the movies

I made three trips to the cinema in September and I saw: Girl Asleep, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years and Bridget Jones’s Baby.


Girl Asleep (pictured above) was my favourite and undoubtedly the best. It’s already in my top films of the year. Eight Days a Week rekindled my teenage love of The Beatles and Bridget Jones’s Baby was everything I was hoping it to be.

Resolutions updates:
Watch more movies made by women.

Including short films, I watched eight films directed by women in September. Girl Asleep, Cléo from 5 to 7 and Le Bonheur (pictured below) were definitely my favourites. I had to order the Agnes Varda films online, but it was worth it. I was hoping I’d get to some of Doris Wishman’s films for 60s September, but I didn’t quite make it. I’ll watch them eventually, though.


First time watches: Go! Go! Go!; Girl Asleep; Lights; Cat Food; Meat Joy; Bridget Jones’s Baby; Cléo From 5 to 7 and Le Bonheur.

Rewatches: none

Watch more Australian films.

Girl Asleep was the only Australian film I watched in September but it’s already at the top of my favourite Australian films, so at least it was a good one!

Write more!

I only wrote up two posts on here in September, but I saved a few of my letterboxd reviews as drafts to polish up! I just have to get around to doing it.

September reading recommendations:

I’ve noticed the less time I spend on social media, the less reading material I have on cinema and the less I know what’s going on in the movie world. This upsets me a bit but I just don’t have the energy for twitter, etc., right now.

New Directors Pantheon at This Cinematic Life

‘Being cute just made me miserable’: Mara Wilson on growing up in Hollywood at The Guardian

Top Films Seldom Feature Characters With Disabilities at Disability Scoop


Directed &/or written by women, October 2016

Australian release dates.


Films directed/co-directed by a woman opening in October 2016:

The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe directed by Ros Horin, release date October 2016 (via Event Cinemas)

(I can’t tell if this will be released across Australia, or not – the Event cinemas site was the only one to list it – but it was the only one I could find in October directed by a woman). Update 4/10: seems to only be screening for 3 sessions and only in Sydney so there are no Australia wide releases directed by women for October.


Films written/co-written by a woman opening in October 2016:

The Girl on the Train written by Erin Cressida Wilson (directed by Tate Taylor), release date 6th of October, 2016 (via Palace Cinemas)

Masterminds co-written by Emily Spivey (directed by Jared Hess), release date 13th of October 2016 (via Hoyts)

The Neon Demon co-written by Mary Laws and Polly Stenham (directed by Nicolas Winding Refn), release date 20th of October 2016 (via Palace Cinemas)

(I wasn’t certain about the gender of the co-writer of The Handmaiden – if anyone knows, please let me know).

Check below for where the films are screening:

Palace Nova; Hoyts; Wallis; Greater Union; Capri Theatre; Odeon Star; The Regal Theatre/Trak Cinemas.

Mercury Cinema, while not like the other cinemas, sometimes has a couple of sessions of current releases. As always, I’m just one (forgetful and easily overwhelmed) person and can sometimes miss things so, please let me know if I have! I think doing these once a month means I sometimes miss films that pop up unexpectedly but I don’t think I could manage doing them more frequently, just yet.

Full list of films directed &/or written by women released in Australia 2016 | Full list of just the films directed by women

Note: information correct at time of publishing.



Berserk, 1967



A British thriller set in a circus, which has traces of gialli, Berserk is far more tame than both the title and the setting promise. Joan Crawford stars as Monica Rivers, the owner and ringmistress of a travelling circus in England. Micheal Gough plays Dorando, the co-owner and business manager of the circus. Other stars include Diana Dors as one half of a magic act, and Judy Geeson as Rivers’ daughter, Angela.


The circus’s tightrope walker, Gaspard the Great, falls to his death but it appears to be more than an unfortunate accident. Frank Hawkins, played by Ty Hardin, joins the circus as the new high-walker. After this, murder plagues the circus. At first, Rivers mines the deaths, knowing they’ll draw in more crowds, but eventually even she is disturbed by the gruesome murders.

The biggest issue with Berserk seems to be that it doesn’t know what kind of film it is. Yes, it’s certainly a thriller but the moodiness and grim deaths interspersed by dancing elephants, prancing poodles and an awkward, bizarre song make it tonally inconsistent.


This is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact tonal shifts can heighten discomfort in this sort of film, but the circus performances go on for too long (not to mention being uncomfortable to watch for someone who hates animal circuses), though they are beautifully photographed and the song gave me too much secondhand embarrassment (but it’s strangeness fits far better with the film than the glossy performances). It feels a little too mish-mash-y.

The killer’s reveal is also quite anticlimactic, which is always disappointing in a murder mystery type story.


But Joan Crawford is fabulous and looks amazing in her Ringmistress getup. She, unsurprisingly, carries the film with a commanding performance that elevates this above the hammy mess* it could’ve been without her. That’s not to say her performance is restrained but she has the acting chops to make the role believable.


It has its merits, and it’s not the worst way to spend 90 or so minutes, but it could have been so much more!



*Though I do love me a hammy mess!

August 2016 Roundup

august roundup

Bits and bobs or things that made me happy:

-The trailer for Arrival looks amazing. Looking forward to this one!

And that’s about all I had bookmarked for this section, in August.

Favourite August watches:


Of the 14 films I watched in August, The Buddy Holly Story (pictured above) and Harold and Maude (pictured below) were easily my favourites – both had been on my radar for some years and I was glad to finally cross them off my watchlist. Check out my letterboxd reviews here for The Buddy Holly Story and here for Harold and Maude.

“Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.”

harold and maude

At the movies


Got to the cinema twice in August for Suicide Squad (pictured above) and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (pictured below). I’ve already written about Ab Fab, here, and I had a fun time with Suicide Squad. Neither will make it to my best of 2016 list, though.


Resolutions updates:
Watch more movies made by women.

I saw three films directed by women in August: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Speed Racer and A Teacher (pictured below).


To be honest, I didn’t much like any of these films but Ab Fab was certainly the best. I’m hoping to get to the cinema to see Girl Asleep and Bridget Jones’s Baby in September, as well as checking out a few ’60s films directed by women.

First time watches: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Speed Racer and A Teacher

Re-watches: None

Watch more Australian films.

None, again.

Write more!

Wrote up a couple of posts on here. One on my 60 from the 60s challenge to myself and the other on the Ab Fab movie.

I also posted a little bit over on my other blog, Ersatz Girl, for anyone interested in my non-movie writing.

August reading recommendations:

In Defense of Villainesses at

Study shows how women directors get blocked in Hollywood at Fortune



TV Tuesday: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Today I’m debuting a new feature post series: TV Tuesdays. I love TV as much as I love cinema, though my taste in television is far more narrow than it is in movies. I’m going to use this feature to look at different aspects of shows: a particular episode I love, a miniseries, maybe a summary of a whole show, a tribute to a particular character, looking at the design and what-not. Anything that takes my fancy, really. Today, it’s more of a general look.

For the inaugural post I’m going to focus on a ’60s show, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., to go along with my Sixties September challenge.


This is actually my third time trying to watch The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (MFU). The first time I got through one and a half seasons but lost steam and then forgot everything I watched. So, I tried again and didn’t get very far. About a month ago, I became determined to finally get through it. (Since starting this post I’ve strayed back to murder mysteries as I was feeling quite tired and MFU requires a lot more energy/concentration).

It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed it  – quite the contrary – but ’60s shows (aside from Star Trek and comedies) seem a lot more difficult for me to watch. I think this is largely because, at least in the case of MFU, there’s not as much dialogue and so I have to pay more attention than I normally do with modern shows. A lot happens through action, which I love, but it means re-training myself to leave my phone alone and watch the TV. But MFU is worth it.

the shark affair 1

This show has nearly everything I could want: witty banter, handsome men, cute frocks, strong, interesting women, wacky escapades, diabolical schemes and, of course, charming, entertaining spies. Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin are just great characters that I love spending timing with.

vulcan affair 1

I’d forgotten in the intervening years since first watching this, is how funny it is. Robert Vaughn and David McCallum have great comic timing – they also, naturally, have great chemistry, which has been one of the enduring appeals of the show.

One of the other most appealing features, and likely one of the reasons there’s such a large female fanbase, is the way everyday women are often part of the story. They’re brought in by our favourite agents, who show a lot of faith in their ability to help. Using everyday people – both men and women – as guest characters was a clever way to get people watching at home involved in the show. They could, and we still can, imagine themselves in their places – that they, too, could help Agents Solo and Kuryakin save the world! And still get to go home at the end of the day.

I also really like how the fight scenes are choreographed. They’re a little more rough and tumble than I’m used to in older stuff. Sure, the stunt doubles are laughingly easy to spot but it’s part of the charm and the fights themselves fit the tone of the show.


It’s fun seeing guest stars who would go on to become famous for their own shows or movies (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, a very young Kurt Russell, Tura Satana in a fabulous cow-print coat) but even those I didn’t recognise have been great to watch. (Actually I’ve had quite a lot of fun spotting ‘crossover’ (guest) actors between this and Star Trek, including James Doohan aka Scotty, Ricardo Montalban aka Khan, and Jill Ireland, McCallum’s wife, who was Leila in the TOS episode “This Side of Paradise”).


So far, this time through, my favourite episodes are: “The Dove Affair”, “The Finny Foot Affair”, “The Project Strigas Affair” (Shatner! Nimoy!) and maybe “The Quadripartite Affair”. But they’re all great. This show is full of fun romps, sarcastic quips, swanky soirees and sparkling gowns, and courageous capers. What could be better than that? I’m looking forward to delving back into more episodes and, hopefully, finally finishing the show.