What I Watched in January 2023 + Movie Of the Month

2023-viewing-recap-Jan

Woo wee! Where has January go??! I feel like I barely did anything in the first month of the year, though I did celebrate Lunar New Year a couple of weeks ago with some friends which was fun. It’s been a c-c-ccold January with temps dipping to well below zero. As much as I adore seeing snow-covered branches after a snowstorm, I feel like enough is enough! We had nowhere else to dump the snow in our driveway that’s piling up higher and higher. Oh well… at least I am looking forward to my trip to Seattle for President’s Day weekend!

In any case, here’s what I watched last month:

NEW MOVIES

(films indicated with * are directed by women)

White Noise

white-noise-family

Wish I could say I like this movie considering how much I LOVE Marriage Story. The trailer was promising but this turns out to be quite a disappointment. I think the premise is a bit off the wall and apparently, the book was deemed unfilmable, so even Noah Baumbach just couldn’t make it work. It was still well worth my time because of Adam Driver who’s always watchable.

2halfReels

Guardians of the Galaxy’s Holiday Special

This was pretty cute and the kidnapping Kevin Bacon scene is hilarious. It’s pretty silly but it does capture the Christmas spirit.

Living – full review

living-movie-nighy

One Fine Morning*

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I’m hoping to do a full review of this later this month but I love this movie! Definitely Léa Seydoux’s best performance I’ve seen and she looks adorable in a pixie cut.

A Man Called Ove (2015)

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I decided to forgo the Tom Hanks’ version and watch the Swedish original instead. I loved it!! Rolf Lassgård is hilarious as the title role and I love the tentative relationship with his Persian neighbor played by Bahar Pars who sees Ove for more than his gruff exterior. I appreciate that the film doesn’t shy away from showing the darker moments in Ove’s life when he’s practically given up on life after his wife died. The flashback scenes of young Ove help make the evolution of his character from being an ill-tempered man believable.

The American remake seems well-received but I still feel it’s wholly unnecessary and probably not going to add anything new to this perfectly-crafted original.

4/5 stars

If These Walls Could Sing*

if-these-walls-could-sing

One doesn’t have to be a Beatles fan to know about Abbey Road Studios, but it was fascinating to learn about the origin of the studio and all the famous people who’ve recorded here. Mary McCartney, daughter of Sir Paul McCartney, said that some of her earliest memories as a young child come from time spent at Abbey Road, so we get an insider’s look at that historic place.

Plenty of interviews with famous people like Elton John, John Williams, Jimmy Page, Cliff Richard, etc, including the director’s famous dad. Overall though it’s not the most well-crafted documentary apart from the all-star interviews.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

puss-in-boots-last-wish

I had high hopes about this one considering the 90+ Rotten Tomatoes score from both critics and audiences! I decided to watch it despite not having seen the first movie. It was enjoyable and the visuals are gorgeous, but I don’t think it’s as spectacular as I expected. Still it was fun to see the reunion of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek as the voice of Puss and Kitty.

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Plane – full review

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The Pale Blue Eye

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I’m not all that familiar with the source material or Edgar Allen Poe’s work generally, but with Christian Bale as the lead I figure it was worth checking out. It’s definitely a slow-burn period mystery but I find it quite engrossing and surprisingly funny thanks to Harry Melling’s performance as young Poe. The cinematography by DP Masanobu Takayanagi is pretty stunning too!

3.5/5 Reels

She Is Love*

she-is-love-poster

review upcoming

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed*

beauty-bloodshed-doc-poster

I had such high expectations for this one as Laura Poitras is one of the best documentary filmmakers working today, plus the Opioid Crisis is such a hot button topic. I think the idea of combining Nan Goldin’s biopic of sort with the downfall of the Sackler family is an interesting approach but I’m not sure it worked well. I feel like these could be two separate docs so we get more insight into Purdue Pharma and how the addictive opioid OxyContin came to impact and destroy so many American lives.

Perhaps those who are more familiar with the artist would enjoy this more, but I think the most intriguing aspect of the film is when it focuses on the pharmaceutical dynasty that’s greatly responsible for the devastating opioid epidemic.

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Triangle of Sadness

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review upcoming

Fisherman’s Friends (2019)

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After seeing two rather dark films back to back, we opted for something heartwarming and comedic, this one does the trick!! This movie is based on a true story about ten close-knit Cornish fishermen who got signed by Universal Records and achieve a top 10 hit with their debut album, Sea Shanties. I love that the film was shot on location in the stunning sleepy fishing village of Port Isaac, Cornwall. The ensemble cast is wonderful, nice to see James Purefoy in something cute and fluffy for a change. I might check out the sequel too, called Fisherman’s Friends: One and All.

3.5/5 Reels

Fire of Love*

fire-of-love-doc

review upcoming


TV SERIES

I’ll have a separate post on my TV watching to be published next week!


52filmsSo I’m continuing the 52 Films By Women challenge I started on International Women’s Day a few years ago. Per Women In Film (WIF) organization, the basic rules are simple: watch 52 films directed by women within the course of one year and share what you watched on social media, using the hashtag #52FilmsByWomen to spread the word, and get more people talking about the women filmmakers that don’t always get attention.

Well, I started the year on a strong note with 5 new films #directedbywomen – 3 features: One Fine Morning, If These Walls Could Sing, She Is Love, and 2 documentaries: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, and Fire Of Love.


MOVIE OF THE MONTH

living-movie-bill-nighy

I really like this one and Bill Nighy deserves his Oscars nomination. Glad that Kazuo Ishiguro also got a Best Adapted Screenplay nod.


So what did you see in January and which one(s) are your favorites?


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