Women Directed September

I’ve decided that I will spend September watching only films directed by women. It’s by no means as ambitious a task as A Year With Women, but it is still a conscious effort I want to make (and was partly inspired by Directed by Women). I’ve mostly been trying to mine the films I already have copies of, but I’m going to run out of those soon because there are shamefully few in there directed (or co-directed) by women. Of course, I don’t want to limit my viewing of films directed by women to one month a year, and I want to make more of a conscious effort to actively seek them out in the future, but I thought it was an interesting challenge to set myself for the month. (Note: I’m including only first time watches, not rewatches, but perhaps I’ll try that next time!)

This photo released by Fox Searchlight shows Gugu Mbatha-Raw, left, as Dido Elizabeth Belle and Sarah Gadon as Lady Elizabeth Murray, in a scene from the film, "Belle." The movie releases in US theaters on Friday, May 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, David Appleby) ORG XMIT: CAET339

Belle dir. Amma Asante, 2013

I’ve also made a category on here for the films I’ve written about directed by women (not nearly enough) and a list on letterboxd of all the films I’ve seen directed by women (better, but only about 10% of all the films I’ve logged on there).

10DISH_SPAN-articleLarge

The Dish & the Spoon dir. Alison Bagnall, 2011

So far, this month, I’ve watched (I’ve linked my letterboxd reviews):

Paris is Burning dir. Jennie Livingston, 1990

Belle dir. Amma Asante, 2013

The Riot Club dir. Lone Scherfig, 2014

The Dish & the Spoon dir. Alison Bagnall, 2011

The Cake Eaters dir. Mary Stuart Masterson, 2007

Copying Beethoven dir. Agnieszka Holland, 2006

Point Break dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 1991

Lebanese-born American actor Keanu Reeves and American actor Patrick Swayze stand on a beach as Swayze holds a surfboard during the filming of the action movie 'Point Break' directed by Kathryn Bigelow, 1991. (Photo by Richard Foreman/Fotos International/Getty Images)

Point Break dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 1991

Point Break has, without a doubt, been my favourite so far. I still can’t articulate why but it’s brilliant and I loved it completely and utterly. I’m so frustrated at myself for not having watched it sooner – I’ve got so many years of potential rewatches to catch up on!

I’ll probably do another post at the end of the month, as a round up, and might write about some of the films I watch along the way. I’m still working on a more solid posting structure for this blog, but it’s a work in progress. Recommendations are definitely welcome!

Advertisements

The Man From U.N.C.L.E., 2015

I wasn’t going to write about The Man From U.N.C.L.E. here, because I felt a little embarrassed at my enthusiasm (my letterboxd review is nothing if not enthusiastic). Then I thought, wait, that’s silly. I love movies – I mean, why else would I have started this blog? And my enthusiasm should be reflected here. I think my posts lack a lot when I try to be serious and not just resort to effusive rambling (which is my forte, let’s be honest), because I’m not that great at being, well, critical.

XXX MAN UNCLE MOV JY 1187 .JPG A ENTAnyway, this movie just made me so damn happy. I can’t remember the last time I had quite so much fun at the cinema. It was really hard not to clap with joy at certain points in the film. It also makes me extra happy that a lot of my friends, and people whose opinions I respect, have enjoyed it just as much as I did. Falling in love with a film is always wonderful, but sharing that love with others is even better.

It was basically just a whole lot of fun, and really cute, which is all I wanted. I mean, heck, I would’ve gleefully watched Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer ride around Rome on a Vespa for two hours (there was definitely not enough Vespa riding) so perhaps I’m not the best judge here. But as much fun as that may have been, this was still better.D3S_2026.DNGThere’s nothing subtle about this film (especially not the innuendo), which is great, because I’m not that keen on subtle. More is more, I say! But Guy Ritchie does make very stylish, slick films and this oozes style. From the smooth soundtrack to the impeccable costumes, style permeates every aspect of the film.

I like Henry Cavill a whole lot (ha! That’s an understatement if ever there were one) so to finally see him in a film I thoroughly enjoyed (in a lead role, at least) is nice for a change. He was maybe a little stiff as Napoleon (especially if you have Robert Vaughn’s performance in mind) but there was obviously a particular (and quite different) vision for Napoleon in this film, and I think he fulfilled that vision really well. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Armie Hammer, but I just loved him as Ilya (and his Russian accent was a lot better than I had thought it would be). Hammer and Cavill have great chemistry, actually – I mean, that scene where they were squabbling over clothes in the boutique was hilarious – and watching interviews with them it’s clear they get along really well.

And Alicia Vikander is lovely and very funny as Gaby. She was a refreshing character in this sort of film, and anyone who dares to dismiss her as a ‘Bond girl’ or ‘male fantasy’ is so wrong. My friend on Tumblr wrote a great thing that articulates well what I intuitively felt about her: if she’s any kind of fantasy, she’s most assuredly a female one. And obviously I want all of Gaby’s clothes.

I also really loved Hugh Grant as Waverly and I’m sad there wasn’t more of him in the film. As it’s unlikely there’ll be a sequel if the box office is anything to go by (which is awful and wrong), I doubt I’ll get to see more of him as Waverly in the future. Elizabeth Debicki stayed just this side of hammy as Victoria, and she made a pretty convincing criminal mastermind, I think.

D3S_3994.dng

I wasn’t expecting a whole lot here but I got what I wanted and more: a fun, stylish ’60s spy film with handsome actors and pretty clothes. And I think it’s really a solid spy/action film, to be honest. It got a little murky toward the end, and the ‘flashback to just moments before’ thing got old pretty quickly (especially upon rewatching), but the rest more than made up for it. And though much of it was maybe predictable, the biggest ‘twist’ managed to surprise me. Having been disappointed in the past, I lowered my expectations considerably, so maybe it wasn’t difficult to exceed them. But deep down, I always knew I was going to love this film. I can easily see it becoming an all-time favourite once I can rewatch it obsessively on DVD.