Film Reviews: Promising Young Woman. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. The Croods: New Age. Music. The Out of Towners. Red Sorghum. To Live. Suffragette. Sweet Nothing In My Ear

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Promising Young Woman

Rape and revenge has always been one of my favourite genres. I could relate to the scene where Jennifer Coolidge’s character has a meltdown because her thirty year old daughter still lives at home and hasn’t accomplished enough for her to brag about to her friends. Also, I loved the ending.

9/10

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

Kathryn Newton has been in so many projects since being cast as Reese Witherspoon’s older daughter in Big Little Lies. My favourite one is Freaky. This is Groundhog Day for teens and the pink cotton candy colour grading gets annoying real quick.

3/10

The Croods: A New Age

I knew nothing about this film before going in, but recognised Cage, Stone and Mann’s voices straight away. I’ve never seen the first film, even though my family bought it on DVD for 1£ a few years ago, so I will watch it eventually. I enjoyed the first half of The Croods 2 until they introduced the big monkey and everyone started fighting.

5/10

Music

I’ve fast-forwarded through most of it, especially all of the singing parts. This film clearly didn’t have anything to say about the autism community, so it should have been just about Kate Hudson’s character’s struggle to stay sober. Hudson shaved her head for this role thinking this would be a good film. In a couple of scenes she wears a T-shirt that says ‘I’m not old, I’m a recycled teenager’ which is the only thing I found intriguing in this film. This was filmed in 2017 and only got a release now? Geez, I wonder why.

2/10

The Out of Towners

Did I laugh when the airport employee dragged this poor old lady from the shitter mistaking her for Goldie Hawn, shouting the lady is refusing to go? You bet your ass I did. Did I laugh when Steve Martin climbed the baggage claim carousel, then proceeded to have a conversation with the baggage claim chute, got hit with a bag and fell on his head, while Goldie shouted that’s the wrong bag? I did indeed. I laughed at most of the slapstick scenes, and yes, some parts of the film are outdated, not tolerant or funny, but I enjoyed it just as much as the original film from 1970 starring Jack Lemmon.

6/10

Red Sorghum

A nearly perfect film that also happens to be Zhang Yimou’s first feature. It’s almost as visually stunning (if not blinding) as Raise the Red Lantern. Red Sorghum would get five stars from me, if not for the child nudity and if it had less scenes of characters urinating. The scalping scene on the other hand, may be one of my favourite of Yimou’s.

9/10

To Live

A more realistic masterpiece from Zhang Yimou that follows a family extremely short on luck and their lives starting from before the Chinese Communist Revolution up to the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 60s and 70s. I think I’ve finally found my goal for 2021, and that is to watch Yimou’s entire filmography. Also I may have watched this film twice in one weekend.

10/10

Suffragette

Emily Wilding Davison went to my uni, but dropped out before graduating due to her mother no longer being able to afford to send her there after Emily’s father’s death. Despite what many believed, Emily did not try to kill herself by throwing herself under the King’s horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby. She was trying to hang a Women’s Right to Vote flag on the King’s horse. She had been seen practising hanging the flag on other horses earlier that day. Emily thought she would have enough time to move aside, underestimating the speed of the horse. One thing I must give to the filmmakers is how exquisitely they recreated that incident. I’ve seen archival footage and all of the eeriest angles were recreated here. I think Suffragette would have been better if it focused on Emmeline Pankhurst. I also don’t think casting Meryl Streep for a 4 min monologue was necessary. The Suffragette is about the British women’s fight for the right to vote. American females’ fight is best portrayed in Iron Jawed Angels starring Hilary Swank. I recommend you watch that one first.

6/10

Sweet Nothing In My Ear

Why was Marlee Matlin’s voice dubbed? Couldn’t they just use subtitles? I watched this after rewatching Children of a Lesser God.

6/10

Film Reviews: Amore. Inside the Twin Towers. Candyman. Father of the Bride. What Women Want. Splash. Dead Husbands. The Straight Story. Noel

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Amore

I didn’t know this consisted of two short stories, the first one written by Jean Cocteau and the other by Federico Fellini, both directed by Roberto Rossellini! Could this get any better?

7/10

Inside the Twin Towers

I watched it on youtube today. Some of the stories and re-enactments are heartbreaking. I watched the part with a man encouraging a stranger to keep on walking down the stairs when he couldn’t walk anymore a couple of times. They both didn’t make it.

9/10

Candyman

That very long aerial shot of the highway from the opening credits is stunning. More filmmakers should use it. I haven’t seen this film since early 2000s, but since the remake is coming out this year, I thought I would rewatch it.

7/10

Father of the Bride 2

I’ve felt really shitty all day, but this helped tremendously by transferring me back to the 90s when I watched and rewatched this every couple of weeks.

7/10

What Women Want

I’m rewatching this right now and I completely forgot about the suicide arc, which is what makes this very average romcom, special.

6/10

Splash

Quality Controller of fruit and veg was my very first job and this seems to be Tom’s job in the film. John Candy plays Tom’s brother. The film had the potential to be good, if not for the mermaid nonsense.

4/10

Dead Husbands

This took Strangers on a Train to a whole new level. The funniest bit was when the police officer reads the rich ladies their rights and one of them can’t stop laughing when he says ‘if you can’t afford an attorney’. This was an entertaining tv movie, and it’s true that I only watched it, because I really miss Desperate Housewives.

6/10

The Straight Story

I’m just shocked to see Lynch direct a realistic story. He refrained from all his craziness and directed a truly heart-warming film.

8/10

Noel

This tastes even more bitter after Robin’s tragic death. In Noel Robin Williams’s character saves Susan Sarandon’s character from suicide. Everything else is a real mess and this poster is possibly the best thing about this film.

3/10

Film Reviews: The Glorias. Copycat. Pedestrian Subway. My Depression: The Up and Down and Up of It. Nightwalk. One Angry Juror. The Mirror. Strike. Vegas Vacation

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The Glorias

I’m a huge fan of both Julianne Moore and Gloria Steinem, so I’m the ideal audience for The Glorias. Sadly, the film ended up being a very average biopic, and 2.5h long at that. Gloria Steinem fully supported this project, unlike Mrs. America. She hated that the TV show put two successful women against each other.

‘I am one of those crazy women.’

6.5/10

Copycat

Copycat has been on my watchlist for 20 years and I finally got to see it today when they showed it on Filmbox! I really needed it today and it definitely made my day! This could only be better if they got together at the end.

8/10

Pedestrian Subway

Kieslowski has been my favourite director since I watched the Decalogue series as a kid, and I’m so happy I finally got to see this short! This has too many choker shots for my liking, but it’s still a wonderful short.

7/10

My Depression: The Up and Down and Up of It

So Sigourney Weaver narrates my life? They got everything right, down to red hair and 24h Law and Order marathons. This was cute and I will have the ‘Suicide Mobile’ song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

6/10

Nightwalk

Malgorzata Szumowska liked working with Raffey Cassidy on The Other Lamb so much she invited her to Warsaw to shoot this beautiful short? Michal Englert’s cinematography never disappoints.

9/10

One Angry Juror

This is based on a true story? I’ve been selected for jury duty and that’s my excuse for watching this random Lifetime jury duty movie starring Jessica Capshaw. Actually, that’s a lie. I miss Arizona, she should have never been written off Greys.

4/10

The Mirror

I just read that the second half of the film was all fiction just as much as the first. Apparently the first little actress they picked, quit in the middle of shooting, and Panahi, who was already considering this idea all along, decided to mimic it. Mind-blowing.

8/10

Strike

One of the most important films of Eisenstein, a director and film theorist known as Father of Montage. My favourite example of montage has to be when they introduce the undercover agents and show why they resemble their animal nicknames. Strongly against the drastic scenes of child and animal abuse. Everything else is perfect.

8/10

Vegas Vacation

They had me at Good Vibrations, but then the film turned out to be much worse than the other films from the series so this one is a no from me.

3/10

Film Reviews: The Towering Inferno. Happiest Season. Little Fires Everywhere. Two Women. The City of Your Final Destination. Cafe. Peter’s Forest. The Christmas Chronicles 2. The Secret Garden

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The Towering Inferno

This was an uncomfortable re-watch post 9/11 and the Grenfell tragedy. This film clearly contributed to many questioning why no helicopters were used in the evacuation of the Twin Towers and the Grenfell Tower.

7.5/10

Happiest Season

I’ve seen a lot of Christmas films and none of them focused on a same sex couple. I think the fact that I could relate to it automatically prevented me from hating this film, even if multiple scenes annoyed me. Lauren Lapkus playing a security guard gave me Orange is the New Black feels. I loved the way Stewart delivered the ‘They also think, that… I’m straight.’ line. And that Clea Duvall cameo.

‘That lifestyle choice.’
‘Such a shame.’

‘They’re my parents and I’m scared that if I tell them who I really am, I will lose them.’

7/10

Little Fires Everywhere

I’ve just rewatched this with the family today and it’s still a great mini-series. I probably enjoyed it more now, as my family was so into the story, they pleaded we watch another episode even though it was already 4am. What stroke me the most while I rewatched this was AnnaSophia Robb’s portrayal of Reese Witherspoon’s younger version. I’ve been following her career since Bridge to Terabithia, so I know apart from The Carrie Diaries, she’s had many roles in many small and very average projects. She gives a wonderful performance here and is a better Elena than Reese herself.

10/10

Two Women

The middle parts were a bit slow and uneventful, but the last ten minutes are brutal and compelling.

7/10

The City of Your Final Destination

I’m taking a break from watching shitty Christmas films with my family to dive into my favourite, Italian neorealism. I watched this for Laura Linney. It reminded me of Youth, but it wasn’t quite as good.

5/10

Cafe

This reminded me of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s abusive husband arc on 911. This average TV movie dips its fingers in numerous genres including psychological, sci-fi, mystery, fantasy and drama. It’s not for me, but my pre-teen self would surely appreciate The Sims reference.

5/10

Peter’s Forest

This reminded me of that Grey’s Anatomy episode back in season 3 I believe, when a person with HPV came in and he was covered in warts that looked like tree branches. Here, someone has their tree branch arm chopped off at one point.

5/10

The Christmas Chronicles 2

The first film was fun, but even the Back to the Future twist didn’t help the sequel. Also, It’s hard to believe Chris Columbus wrote and directed this film.

5/10

The Secret Garden

Is this a remake of The Secret Garden or Bridge to Terabithia? Out of all the recent remakes, I knew from the minute I saw the trailer, this was going to be the most pointless one. Why would you remake Agnieszka Holland’s timeless classic? Because special effects are so advanced nowadays? The Secret Garden doesn’t need them.

4/10

250 Best Films Watched in 2020

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I’ve watched 907 films in 2020. I’ve made this list on my letterboxd, and thought I would screenshot and paste it here. I was very much obsessed with Filmbox Arthouse and Mubi this year. A few are rewatches, but ones that I haven’t seen in 10+ years, so I’m leaving them in. Almost all of them are first time watches. Some of these were reviewed on here throughout the year, if there’s a film on this list you’d like me to review, or any film really, please let me know.

Check out my 2019 list: https://joanneholly.com/2019/12/13/200-best-films-watched-in-2019/

45 Best TV Scenes of 2020

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  1. Captain Herrera sacrifices himself to save the team on Station 19
  2. Sabrina creates and then ignores a time paradox on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  3. Bonnie and Frank die on How to Get Away with Murder
  4. George O’Malley visits Meredith in her COVID triggered dream after being dead for 12 seasons on Grey’s Anatomy
  5. Wendy gets her bipolar brother killed to silence him on Ozark
  6. Sabrina dies on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina following a tearful montage in the show’s finale
  7. Mildred refuses Gwendolyn’s advances on Ratched
  8. Derek Shepherd visits Meredith on Grey’s Anatomy
  9. Meredith catches Covid and nearly dies on Greys
  10. Teddy cheats on Owen and everyone finds out on Greys
  11. Jen kills Judy’s man after Judy killed hers in the previous season on Dead to Me
  12. We learn that Aunt Zelda is gay on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  13. We learn of Ratched’s past including a paedophilia ring
  14. Eddie tries to save a boy from the well, and decides to cuts off the rope holding him on 911
  15. We learn that Judy is bi on Dead to Me, but not with Jen sadly
  16. Contaminated inhalator arc on The Resident, hauntedly prognosing Covid
  17. DeLuca has a bipolar attack on Greys
  18. 911 dispatch hostage arc
  19. We learn that Teddy is bisexual and the love of her life died in Twin Towers on Greys
  20. Rebecca’s death and the fact that Kate isn’t there, most likely already dead on This is Us
  21. Jack planned to build a house and then Kevin does so after finding a plan Jack drew 20+years earlier on This is Us
  22. Maddie’s sister is alive and living very close to Maddie on 911
  23. Amanda’s sister is back and has a kid now and Amanda gets temporary custody on SVU
  24. Izzie Stevens had Alex’s twins on Grey’s Anatomy but never told him
  25. CB and Lanie get together on Schooled
  26. Zoey’s dad dies on Zoey’s Playlist and everyone sings for 3 minutes straight
  27. Kevin has twins with Kate’s anorexic best friend on This is Us
  28. Alex leaves Jo on Greys without even telling her in person
  29. Hugh Grant’s past revealed including his sister being killed by a truck on The Undoing
  30. Hugh Grant going psycho on The Undoing
  31. Mildred tells the orderly she sees herself ending up with a woman on Ratched
  32. Justin dies of AIDS on 13 Reasons Why
  33. Jo decides to change profession on Greys
  34. Alice runs into Gloria Steinem on Mrs America
  35. Everyone finds about Lu’s gay relationship on Away
  36. Train derailment and Abby’s comeback on 911
  37. Stephanie drives Joey’s car into the kitchen on Fuller House, just like she did 30 years ago on Full House
  38. Mickey and Ian get married on Shameless
  39. Henrietta decides to change carriers and go to med school on 911
  40. Jimmy recreates Steph’s Loveshack telethon performance on Fuller House
  41. Elizabeth thinks Nathan is the one who got shot on When Calls The Heart
  42. Gloria comes back from Cuba and tells her family that it’s not the Cuba she remembers and that her home is where her family is on One Day at a Time
  43. Alice tells Phyllis she got herself a job and enjoys having her own money on Mrs America
  44. The kids graduate and Hannah Baker is mentioned at the ceremony on 13 Reasons Why
  45. Gabe turns out to be Dodge on Locke and Key