I went to the Astor Theatre with a friend for a Robert Eggers double feature: last year’s The Lighthouse and his debut film, The Witch, that I was happy to re-watch on the big screen. T’was a fun night of creepy folk tales and period horror. Now that the coronavirus is shutting theatres down, it’s strange to think that this might be my last cinema outing for a while, and that the last two films I’ve watched are about people going insane and killing each other in confined spaces.
I’m slowly catching up on the acclaimed 2019 movies, most recently this World War I drama from the director Sam Mendes. I always have to overcome a barrier of reluctance with war movies set in the modern era, but I’m glad I managed to watch 1917 on the big screen (and in the plush comfort of Village Gold Class too!)
I thought I was going to miss out on this movie, but thanks to its recent historical success at the Oscars, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s film got a second life at the cinemas. It’s a remarkable and wildly entertaining ride that deserves to be seen on a big screen, if only for the reactions of the crowd gasping out loud at the movie’s twists and turns.
That’s it, it’s finally the end of an era. My favourite movie rental in Sandringham had closed down a few weeks ago, and now the last rental store standing in my area has been worn down by progress and is going out of business too. It’s time to give up and join the streaming masses I guess. There are still those small rental kiosks and online DVD hire where they send you movies by post, but it’s just not the same.
I’m sure that there’s plenty of good stuff to be found on Netflix, Stan and so on, and that once I start streaming I’d no more dream of going back than I would of swapping my iPhone for my ancient indestructible Nokia. But dammit I’m going to miss my weekend ritual of doing grocery shopping and dropping by the rental store. I always enjoyed the experience, saying hi to the familiar friendly faces behind the counter and leisurely perusing the shelves. My favourite store had an excellent selection of TV series and foreign and arthouse titles in particular; streaming is all fine and dandy but it’s not like I’m going to subscribe to every major media provider to cover all bases.
Best of all, having a deadline for returning the DVDs forced me to actually watch the movies I rented. I have a selection of DVDs at home I got years ago that are still sitting in their wrapping. There are so many other distractions these days, it’s easy to procrastinate and just keep on wasting time on the internet instead of dedicating a couple of hours to a film.
So goodbye movie rental stores and thanks for the memories.
My first reaction to the title of this movie was to wonder if it was something in the spirit of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, maybe a horror parody of Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady? But no, instead this exquisite French film is a sumptuous and sensual drama about an impossible love between two women in 18th-century Brittany.
I appreciated this new take on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved semi-autobiographical novel more than I loved it, which is not to say that there weren’t things I unabashedly loved.
If you haven’t read the book or seen any previous adaptations, some spoilers to follow.
I thought I’d give this onscreen adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial novel a rewatch after many years. It’s not a perfect movie, but I was surprised at how savagely funny this satire of the 80s consumerism and yuppie phenomenon really is, something that had completely gone over my head when I first watched it.