The Film/TV Club #8

Monday, January 29, 2018
It's been a while since my last film club and I've seen a lot in that time that I'd like to share! I also began sharing my film reviews on YouTube last year so I plan to have a variation of the two. Today's post is a bumper one because I've added in some TV picks as well. Enjoy!

Black Mirror, Season 4

Everyone has been talking about the much-anticipated new season to the epic Black Mirror series so I jumped on board early new year to see what Charlie Brooker had in store this time round. I've loved the previous seasons and how they delve into the dark underbelly of today's modern technology. This time we have 6 episodes which touch on everything from surveillance technology to robotic guard-dogs. It's as creepy as ever with eye-catching cinematography and dramatic performances. Overall, my favourites were Hang The Dj, Black Museum and Arkangel which all provided thought provoking topics relevant to today's media and politics. Definitely worth a watch!



Other than Dicaprio's Before the flood, I haven't seen many environmental documentaries and had heard many recommend Cowspiracy, a controversial documentary which addresses the drastic effects that agriculture and cattle have on our planet. Honestly, by the end of this documentary I was shocked, confused and unsettled...but I guess not all films are supposed to leave you feeling all rosy inside. This really challenges the organisations who campaign about ditching plastic and reducing our water usage at home in order to save the environment and alternatively suggests that it is in fact veganism that could help this planet. It really is something you have to see to believe, respect and understand. I went vegetarian last May and am often asked why. I think on top of the health and cost benefits, this documentary explains why it would be a good idea for all to reduce their meat intake.


Fifty Shades Darker

Yes, I know - I should be ashamed to even have this film title grace this blog. However, as an ex-film student, the good AND the bad films are intriguing for me to watch. In some ways I'd say the Fifty Shades series is some sort of a 'guilty pleasure'. There is SO much wrong with this film in so many ways, mainly due to the script from it's deluded author, however there is something that keeps me watching. Maybe it's Jamie Dornan's abs alongside the well-dressed, glamorous Dakota Johnson, the endless scenes of fancy houses, helicopters and emphasis on this luxury lifestyle Mr Grey offers to Anastasia. In this film, Mr Grey proves his dedication to changing his dominant ways and asking Anastasia's hand in marriage but things get a little complicated as people from Mr Grey's past appear with other agenda's in mind. Similarly, Anastasia has a new job with a sleazy, creepy boss. Mr Grey is wrong in every way and Anastasia is obviously so head-over-heels, she can't see this boyfriend is way too overprotective, dominant and demanding. One to be discussed, analysed, but not overall enjoyed...

4/10 (4 purely for Jamie Dornan)

Eyes Wide Shut

The it-couple of the time Kidman and Cruise, filmed under the lens of Kubrick makes out for a stunning, disturbing movie. I wasn't sure what to expect, I'd seen the trailer and assumed it was something along the lines of Basic Instinct or Fatal Attraction. A couple who are clearly dissatisfied with one-another explore their sexual fantasies where Alice (Kidman) admits to fantasising about a man she met which pushes Dr. Bill (Cruise) to have a sexual encounter of his own. He finds himself in an underground sexual group amongst one of their meetings where everything is truly bizarre and twisted. Everyone is in masks, the girls are in pants and heels, topless - the men in black cloaks and suits. It certainly wasn't the movie I was expecting to see but I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it was a little disturbing, but I guess it wouldn't be a Kubrick movie otherwise.


Big Little Lies

I completed this mini-series of 7 x 1hr episodes in the space of a day in my bed, that is just how addictive it was...and how lazy I was feeling that day. It stars some of my favourite actors including Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman who play 4 doting mothers living in the most expensive mansions you have ever seen set in the tranquil backdrop of Monterey, California. The only thing tranquil about the series is the setting but behind that lurks rumours, mischief, abuse and murder which makes you constantly wonder what else this beautiful town has to hide. I was SO impressed with the performances from Kidman, a wife suffering from abuse, as well as Witherspoon who is essentially the eyes and the ears of the town and the school gossip. It explores affairs, relationships with husbands, boyfriends, sisters, daughters and friends and you are bound to find some connection with these characters. If all of that isn't tempting enough, a second season is in the works featuring a certain Mrs Streep!


The Handmaids Tale

Another absolutely stunning piece of television to grace our screens and it is in no way your everyday series. The series is originally based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. We are guided through the series from the perspective of Offred (Elisabeth Moss - Mad Men, The Square), who is forced into sexual servitude in the totalitarian society, Gilead. It's set in a dystopian future where women are treated as property of the state where there is a plummeting birthrate therefore the remaining fertile women become sexual servants, like Offred. Offred is pulled away from her husband and daughter and is determined to fight and survive in the terrifying world she lives in to get back to her family. Shot by Reed Merano, the series is so beautifully captured creating a truly atmospheric experience unlike anything you've probably seen on tv before.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I mentioned this as one of the female-driven films to see in 2018, I actually ventured to the cinema and saw it myself (with tickets being £12, it is a rare occasion) and was so impressed! Set in Ebbing, Missouri (duh), Mildred (Frances McDormand) plays mother of a daughter who was raped and murdered. Dissatisfied with the police and their lack of findings over months and months, she paints three billboards targeting the town's chief of police to raise further interest into the investigation and gain the justice she deserves, which is finding out who the culprit of her daughter's murder was. It's sharply-written, brutal and funny all at the same time. Eventually Mildred's actions bring her and other characters together in ways you wouldn't expect. A truly outstanding, heart-wrenching and ballsy performance from McDormand.


The Limmy Show

One of my friend's actually introduced me to this Scottish comedy sketch. I'd heard of the vine videos and had seen some posts on Facebook but never actually knew there was a whole show behind it. It is honestly fantastic! Created by internet star Brian Limond, each sketch features a different character of Limmy's mind - from Dee Dee to Jacqueline McCafferty and Falconhoof - each exploring the bizarre innerworking's of Limmy's conscious. Are you reading this in Limmy's voice if you've seen it? (So am I). Anyway, it's not for everyone i'd say with some sketches verging on bizarre to complete stoner humour. Like Peep Show, the IT Crowd and such, it is indeed a very British comedy which lots of Brits will relate to, because no doubt, we've all met someone like Deedee in our lives. Each episode is about 20 mins so the ideal pick-me-up to brighten up your day. Is Limmy great, yes or no? Yes or no?!


The Disaster Artist/The Room

Hollywood is certainly a bizarre a place, and sometimes, the people a little more so. Take Tommy Wiseau for example - the mind behind cult the disaster movie, The Room. I'd heard about this movie a long time ago but never considered watching it considering it is said to be one of the worst movies there ever WAS. However, James Franco peaked my interest with The Disaster Artist which explores the behind-the-scenes of The Room and what it was like working on a set with Wiseau. This then propelled me to watch The Room which really was as disastrous as it's made out to be. The script is flat like a deflated balloon, the acting is as if the people have performed it for the first time, Wiseau's dubbing makes it all the more cringey, the set design is as if they considered it 5 minutes before they started rolling and the music goes from dramatic, classical music to 90's r&b hip hop. It is a compilation of cringey love scenes, pointless conversations, merged between the three main characters in a bizarre love triangle and too many shots of Wiseau's bum. In one word, I would call it painful. Depending on your patience, you will either love or hate this movie. I couldn't really decide, of course I don't love any of it, but in some ways it was entertaining, and I found it fascinating that a man with such a terrible idea has somehow made it into mainstream Hollywood, just because he truly believed he could.

1/10 for The Room and 6/10 for The Disaster Artist