First great film I’ve seen in 2018, Call Me By Your Name is a moving coming-of-age tale, a beautiful romance and a love letter to the warm, sensuous, sun-kissed charms of Northern Italy. I’m sure I say this every time, but my heart skips a beat whenever I see lush summery European landscape onscreen, and in Luca Guadagnino’s film it’s a perfect backdrop for the gently unfolding, finely observed, slow-burn story of a vibrant, life-changing first love that cannot last.
I remembered I wanted to watch this movie thanks to the Maven of the Eventide (or rather, ze Maven of ze Eventide), who hosts Vampire Reviews YouTube series and gave this particular vampire flick high marks. Also, as I rather enjoyed Paterson, the only Jim Jarmusch movie I’ve previously seen, I was interested to watch more of his stuff. His films are often described as an acquired taste, but based on the two I’ve seen so far, he seems to be my cuppa.
Watched an early Peter Jackson film, which was also a big-screen debut for very young Kate Winslet. Heavenly Creatures is based on the true story of two teenage girls in 1950s New Zealand who commit a terrible crime. You see the immediate bloody aftermath in the opening scene, so the movie then becomes a relentless, suspenseful countdown to the horrible act, while you hope against all odds that it doesn’t come to pass.
Brutal, powerful and at times hard-to-watch drama about a Maori family wrecked by the domestic violence. You get an indication of what you’re up for in the opening shot: a picture-perfect view of the New Zealand landscape set to a wistful tune that quickly reveals itself an advertising billboard near an ugly and noisy construction site. If you want the pretty, look elsewhere.
I must have been in a mood for one-man survival stories, because after renting I Am Legend the other week next up was this Tom Hanks drama I somehow avoided watching all these years. Except that this time there are no killer mutants and instead of a dog, Tom Hanks’ character talks to a washed-up volleyball.
An excellent addition to the coming-of-age highschool movies, with a spiky star turn by Hailee Steinfeld which proves that her memorable performance in True Grit was no fluke. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s funny, bittersweet and biting enough to make it stand out. If you found highschool and teenage years in general a trying experience at times, the movie will resonate with you in some moments and probably make you cringe with self-recognition in others.
I very much enjoyed this warm, hilarious, affectionate film about the worst opera singer of all time, an eccentric 1940s New York socialite whose amazingly godawful singing emerged on the other side of terrible to become its own kind of remarkable. At one point, Jenkins’ vocal coach stares into her eyes and tells her in a honeyed voice that there’s no one else like her, and in a weird way it felt like he actually meant it, though probably not in the way the lady herself thought.