January 2016 Roundup

Black and white image of a woman with dark hair styled into a bob applying thick dark eyeliner. She is wearing a horizontally striped top. Behind her is patterned wallpaper and a poster of Margaret Atwood dressed as Madonna.This was initially going to be an update on my resolutions but then I realised I wanted to do a roundup post for each month, too, and got freaked out at the thought of so many posts to write up. A few days later I thought ‘why not do both together?’, i.e. make the resolution update part of my roundup, so that’s what I did!

As it’s the first of this type of post, I’m still figuring out exactly how I want to format it and even what to call each section. I’m also the kind of person who feels the need to include every tiny little thing so figuring out what was relevant was tricky. OK, on to the post!

Bits and bobs or things that made me happy:

I’m going to start off with a selection of several different things that got me excited or made me happy in the movie world, this month.

-I told myself I wouldn’t watch any more trailers this year because I’ve been disappointed by amazing trailers for lacklustre films lately but the temptation is too great! Especially with two of my favourites from January: Suicide Squad and the second for Hail, Caesar!

A lot of people are disappointed by the way Harley has been presented in promos, etc., for the upcoming Suicide Squad film and, while I understand why, I still think the movie looks like it could be a whole lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it, with cautious optimism. Only time will tell, after all!

This second trailer for Hail, Caesar! left me in stitches. ‘Would that it twere so simple’.

-There’s not a lot to go on in the first look at the Wonder Woman film, set to be released in 2017, but I was really heartened by what Patty Jenkins (who is directing) had to say:

“The greatest thing about Wonder Woman is how good and kind and loving she is, yet none of that negates any of her power.”

It shows she really gets what Wonder Woman is about.

-I found this great review of Point Break (1991) that says basically everything I would want to about the movie.

-Apparently 2015 was the best year at the box office for Australian film in 14 years! Huzzah!

Favourite January watches:

An image from Before Sunrise of Julie Delpy, a white, blonde woman with Ethan Hawke a white man with brown hair, standing next to each other. I watched a lot of great movies in January (I watched a lot of movies, in general) so picking out a select few as favourites was tricky. The first new-to-me movie of the year was Before Sunrise (pictured above), which I’d been putting off thinking it would bore me. I couldn’t have been more wrong because it was incredibly charming and romantic. One of the best I watched in January. Speaking of romantic, I finally saw Brooklyn (pictured below) which was just lovely. It was both heartbreaking and joyful and I’m glad I finally got to see it. Saoirse Ronan is shaping up to be one of my favourite actresses.

An image from Brooklyn of three women looking in a mirror. The woman on the right is fixing the hair of the woman in the middle.Aside from some films that fit into the categories below (so I’ll talk about them there), my other two favourites were Mommy and The Two Faces of January. Mommy was the better of the two – Xavier Dolan is easily one of my favourite directors working now – but I can see myself re-watching The Two Faces of January a lot. I’m a sucker for period thrillers.

I only managed to see two films at the cinema (Brooklyn and The Hateful Eight), which is really disappointing. I have to ration my energy, these days, and that often means missing out on seeing movies.

Resolutions updates:

Watch more movies made by women.

An image of Jessica Chastain in Miss Julie. A redhead woman in a blue dress is standing by a grey door. She is visible from her shoulders up.Thanks to the pledge to watch 52 films directed by women in a year, I’ve been doing OK with this one. You can see the list of what I’ve watched so far here. I decided to include rewatches for the pledge but I still want to get to at least 52 new-to-me women-directed movies this year. I also decided writing about each of them on this blog was too much. (I talk about this a little more toward the end of this post).

A black and white image from A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night of a young woman in a chador holding a cat.My two favourites were Miss Julie (top image), which I wrote about here, and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (bottom image). I’m hoping to write a post about the latter, too, but I may need to watch it again, first. My overwhelming impression of it, though, is that it’s incredibly cool; I’m very much in the target audience. I was surprised by how much I liked The Nativity Story, considering biblical movies really aren’t my thing and I Could Never Be Your Woman was more enjoyable than most reviews lead me to believe it would be.

Watch more Australian films.

An image from BMX Bandits of three teenagers sitting in a cafe. The boy on the left wears a blue and white striped shirt, the girl in the middle is drinking flavoured milk and wears a light blue shirt and has very curly hair. The boy on the right is drinking milk from a carton and wearing a red shirt.Not doing quite as well with this one but I am making a more conscious effort. I managed to watch a couple that were on my list for years (and are also on my 30 by 30 list), so I’m happy with that. While I would say that, objectively, Ten Canoes and Balibo were the best, my favourite was BMX Bandits (pictured above). It was a whole lot of fun and silliness – two of my favourite things. Balibo was very difficult to watch and I just sobbed most of the way through, but it felt worth it.

I also watched Samson and Delilah, The Heartbreak Kid and Not Quite Hollywood (which is what inspired me to finally watch BMX Bandits).

Write (and read) more!

I feel like I’ve been reading more articles (but not blogs, books, etc.) but as I’ve never tried to track that before, it’s hard to tell.

I have been writing more but I don’t know that I’m writing any better. Any writing I can manage to do at all right now is a huge accomplishment, to be honest. So while I am writing more, and I’m proud to be writing anything, I’m not particularly happy with the finished results.

I’ve decided that I won’t write about each of the 52 Films by Women here, after all, as dashing off so many posts has meant that I don’t have the time to work on thoughtful, well crafted ones like I want to. I know some people are capable of creating beautiful writing in a short space of time but with health issues I find it difficult.

I’ll keep writing my short off the cuff reviews on letterboxd but keep the blog for writing about the films I feel more strongly toward (for now). I think some shorter posts in between will be a good idea, but it’s a work in progress. (Speaking of works in progress, I’m aiming to make my blog more accessible by writing image descriptions, changing font colours, etc., but it’s taking up huge amounts of my energy so, again, baby steps).

January reading recommendations:

To finish off, here’s some recommended reading, including news you may have missed as well as articles, reviews, etc. A lot of them are to do with (the lack of) diversity at the Oscars. I actually don’t care about the Oscars, but because it’s such a huge cultural event that is important to many, I still believe it’s important that it represents all people.

A Year With Women: What I Learned Only Watching Films Directed by Women in 2015 at Cinema Fanatic

50 Films by Women You Can Watch Online Right Now at Flavorwire

Film HERstory: 60+ Classic Films Directed by Women (and Where You Can Watch Them) at Nitrate Diva

Radha Mitchell: Back in Oz for female-led Looking for Grace at The Screen Blog

Meet Alice Guy-Blaché: The First Female Director at Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

‘Carol’ and Ineffable Queerness of Being at Bitch Flicks

How Xavier Dolan’s soundtracks made it cool to be uncool at Dazed

Yes, You Should Be Mad About the Oscars at Birth. Movies. Death.

The Academy Proves that Oscars are Only for White People, Again at The Huffington Post

Oscar Diversity: It’s been 54 years since a Latina took home an Academy Award at Los Angeles Times

Gina Rodriguez Shines a Spotlight on Latinx Talent with #MovementMondays at The Mary Sue

Academy Takes Historic Action to Increase Diversity at Oscars.org

‘Birth of a Nation’: The Slave-Revolt Movie That Will Have Sundance Talking at The Hollywood Reporter

Sundance: ‘Birth of a Nation’ Lands at Fox Searchlight in Record $17.5 Million Deal at Variety

 

(Header image from A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, edited by me).

 

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2 thoughts on “January 2016 Roundup

  1. Pingback: 52 Films by Women Update | The Sofa Cinephile

  2. Pingback: February 2016 Roundup | The Sofa Cinephile

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