Four Films, One Week

Last week was a busy movie week for me and I managed to fit in not one, not two but four films, all of which were little bangers. Not a turkey amoung them which is nice to report. One of them may even qualify for my Top Three of the year.

I’m being a little lazy reviewing them all in one post but this Blogtober has been quite movie heavy in itself and I’d like to write about some other stuff if I can. So here goes:


Ad Astra

Astronaut Roy McBride undertakes a mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.

I was surprised at my strong reaction to this movie. I really loved it – and space isn’t really my thing, unless Ripley is running around in it. It’s very beautiful to look at, reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey (incidentally, one of my father’s favourite movies) and I really responded to the daddy issues at the core of Roy’s story.

It is a very long film and it does concentrate a lot on Brad Pitt’s beautiful mug – so I can understand why a lot of reviews have not been kind. I was suitably gripped though, curious to find out if Roy would find his father and what the fuck had been going up there on Jupiter. Maybe not for everyone but I started my movie week on a high, frankly.

Film details: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth NeggaJames Gray
IMDB Rating: 7/10 • My Rating: 4.5/5


The Goldfinch

A boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Another cracker, this one adapted from the novel of the same name by Donna Tartt. The very same novel that’s been sitting on my shelf for three years, completely untouched.

I found this one pretty interesting with a stellar cast, including Kidman, Sarah Paulson and the beautiful Jeffrey Wright – but I think it belongs to the kid actors. Fegley is really compelling to watch while Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard brings the cool humour – and simultaneously reminds me of my step son, which makes me warm to him even more.

The story itself is a sad one but trauma’s never looked so good against the stunning backdrop of NYC/Amsterdam/uh, Nevada – I’m looking forward to finally picking up the book to compare the two.

Film details: Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Nicole KidmanJohn Crowley
IMDB Rating: 6.3/10 • My Rating: 4/5

Joker

In Gotham City, mentally-troubled comedian Arthur Fleck is disregarded and mistreated by society. He then embarks on a downward spiral of revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his alter-ego: “The Joker”

The big boy of the list and probably the most controversial film of the year, for good reason. Honestly, it’s not often a film lives up to hype but this is a masterpiece. Obviously Phoenix brings his A game to the role but more than that he physically inhabits it – and I’m afraid there isn’t a moment I don’t feel sympathy for poor Arthur Fleck. Which in turn leaves me deeply conflicted.

Maybe I will branch off with a separate full review but really I’ve spoken about it so much already and I don’t think there’s much more I can bring to the table in terms of opinion. If you haven’t already, just watch the shit out of it. Please.

Film details: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie BeetzTodd Phillips
IMDB Rating: 9/10 • My Rating: 4.5/5

Judy

Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.

*Minor spoilers*

Focusing on some of Garland’s lesser known history (to me anyway), Judy is a snapshot of her time in London, near destitute and struggling to cope with the demands of single-motherhood.

I grew up with Judy very firmly in my heart so this was a real treat for me. Zellweger absolutely smashes the role and honestly, I wasn’t expecting her to be this good. When she sung THAT song at the end I completely lost it. Like A Star is Born (2018) lost it. It’s very sad and the damage done to Judy by MGM and its studio head Louis. B. Mayer is shocking – not as shocking a losing the woman herself just six months after these concerts ended, aged 47.

Beyond SOTR, my favourite part is when Judy goes home with her superfans, two lovely gay gentlemen. When she sings Get Happy to Dan (Andy Nyman), that was my cue.

Lovely.

Film details: Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn WittrockRupert Goold
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10 • My Rating: 4/5

What are you watching?