Friday, February 07, 2020
The Film Club #10

The Film Club #10

I started this little series way back in 2016 as a place to share my love for films. It's been a while since my last so here are 6 films I have LOVED lately!

Uncut Gems (2019) 
by Josh & Benny Safdie

While this movie is still fresh in my mind, I feel compelled to talk about it, and tell everyone to watch it, (so I can talk about it with them too!). Adam Sandler was in his 50's before he finally got this perfect role offered to him and I guess you can say on this occasion that good does come to those who wait (a frigging long time!). Uncut Gems is the ultimate thriller-crime heist movie and is an adrenaline rush from start to finish. From the first moment of this film, it's like a time bomb is set, inevitably ticking towards a catastrophic ending. Sandler plays Howard Ratner, who runs a jewelry store in NYC's 'Diamond District' which I didn't know anything about until the film so it was a huge eye-opener for me, and I was completely gripped by the story. Sandler gives his all whilst playing one of the many ruthless, crazy, strung-out, addicted, mad-men who roam the Diamond District, and though he is a lying, cheating criminal, you can't help but sympathize with Howard and hope he'll make it out alive. You'll be literally on the edge of your seat as you watch him try to untangle himself from extremely sticky situations, one after the other, and as his career, family life, relationships and life hang by a very fine thread.

Marriage Story (2019)
by Noah Baumbach

Moving onto a completely different genre now, with Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach, the man behind Frances Ha and Mistress America. I've watched this twice now and don't get tired of it - the performances make the movie. It's a heartfelt and revealing look at the process of a couple going through a divorce with a child caught in the middle. The performances by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson never felt fake or exaggerated and to me felt like watching the real thing. It is filmed in such a way that you see well from both sides of the marriage breakdown and never root for one more than the other, sharing the different perspectives of going through such an experience. You see the way a couple who once loved one another, or still do, can be turned against each other in the brutal process of divorce by their lawyers (though I loved Laura Dern!) and just how damn complicated it is. I also loved the way set design was used in this film too and how Baumbach decided to use a different aspect ratio (1.66) therefore creating a more intimate portraiture of the family and focusing on the characters more than anything else.

The Intern (2015)
by Nancy Meyers

Rewinding back a few years for this one with The Intern which came out in 2015 but is available now on Netflix. Not your usual Robert De Niro movie and it probably won't become a cult movie classic or anything but it's a perfect pick-me-up, slightly cheesy and fun movie. De Niro plays Ben who is a 70-year-old widower, who is not quite ready to retire just yet and feels he still has something to give. He conveniently notices a poster by a young fashion company looking for senior interns and jumps at the chance. Jules, the CEO, is initially skeptical but a close friendship soon blossoms between the two as Ben proves himself to be sort of the missing piece in the puzzle in Jules life. There are lots of nice pockets of wisdom and life lessons throughout and is a proper feel-good movie!

Joker (2019)
by Todd Phillips

In complete contrast to The Intern, Joker is far from a feel-good movie, but I still loved it. It's been sweeping up awards and nominations just about everywhere so I doubt this mention is necessary. Then again if you are one of the 5 people who haven't heard about this Todd Phillips adaptation of the classic, Joker, then maybe this mini-review may, or may not, convince you to see it. Joaquin plays Arthur, a severely mentally ill and lonely man who is a failed comedian and works as a clown as his day job. After constant bullying, isolation, and rejection, he basically says f*ck it and all hell breaks loose in Gotham City as he transforms into the famous criminal Joker. I'll be honest, the movie was dark, grim and painful to watch, and I struggle to find a positive word to describe it. Of course, I loved it, so it's not a bad movie, by all means, it's just not for the faint-hearted, or if you're wanting to watch something fun or uplifting, then probably pick a different movie!

Deliverance (1972)
by John Boorman

Going a lot further back into the archive of movies, I finally watched Deliverance from 1972, which I'd been recommended for a long time. I had no idea what to expect really and seem to enjoy seeing movies this way more. A group of friends set off on what was supposed to be a fun weekend away of camping and canoeing then everything that can go wrong, goes wrong, as Murphy's law would have it. I felt like it reminded me a bit of The Hangover, a similarly optimistic group of guys who leave for a weekend trip away which very quickly escalates into a bit of a nightmare. Deliverance doesn't quite deliver (oops, pun unintended) on the comedy side of things like Hangover does, as the tone of the movie just feels a bit 'off' from the get-go (dueling banjos anyone?). All the performances are excellent, and you really do feel the same sense of panic of the characters as they find themselves in a grave situation. Some make it home in one piece, albeit permanently traumatized from a weekend they'd rather forget.

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
by Kelly Fremon Craig

Ending on a happier-ish note with one of my favourite teen, coming-of-age comedies to date. I watched this for the second time recently and just love it. Hailee Steinfield (love!) plays Nadine, the awkward, goofy and hilarious high school student who's already quite 'upside down' life is turned further upside down when her older brother begins dating her best, and only, friend. She reacts in the most extreme way causing destruction wherever she goes, in her relationships, her family life and with her teacher, played by Woody Harrelson. What sets this movie apart from other coming-of-age movies with similar clichés is that the arc in Nadine's character is not necessarily about running away from everything and starting over, but accepting the life she has and the people in it, as awkward, confused and complex as she is, and realizing that actually, everything isn't as terrible as she makes it out to be.