You know what’s great? Having a pretty face. You know what’s even better? Having a pretty face and the ability to act most people twice your age under the table. I’m speaking of course, about Timothée Chalamet who plays the reluctant Prince who would become King Henry “Hal” V of England. Having seen both Beautiful Boy and Call Me By Your Name, I was transformed from a film junkie who knew nothing about the hottest act in Hollywood to a firm supporter of Timothée’s work. Needless to say, I was eagerly awaiting The King’s arrival on Netflix. My review of this film will be up very soon! I’m going to sit through my second viewing first because it was that good!
Vita and Virginia (2018)
How this movie went completely under the radar for me is just weird and I only found out about it by looking up the British Film Festival movies showing at my local cinema. That aside, it hasn’t had great ratings which is one of the reasons why I want to watch this. The film follows the controversial relationship between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. I’ve never read any of Virginia Woolf’s work but the book “Orlando” is said to be written all about her relationship with Vita. Tough times for two women in love in the 20s, I’m keen to see where the film goes in the story-telling.
I’ve just finished watching Sanditonwhich we practically binge-watched because it was so good. But the characters and the story really got me thinking about the essence of love itself and how we, as humans, can be so easily swayed and consumed by it. And this led me to my next question, which is, does love have a standard? Is there even a limit to how much or how little we can care about someone until it becomes “love”.
I’ll take a stab at the question and say that the answer is probably no. Love can take so many forms. There is also a very dark side to love that many of us might consider being anything but love. It seems unquantifiable. Which is why I started to think about how the many facets of love are explored in a tv show based on Jane Austen’s unfinished manuscript, which has now become a TV series called Sanditon.
One of the most exciting aspects of this show is how every character in it is touched by “love” on some level and whether we agree or disagree with what transpires, it’s still very much a story about love. I actually found the main characters a lot less interesting than some of the others such as Esther Denham and her stepbrother, Edward. You can look at their relationship and squirm at the thought of how “love” can ultimately become a person’s obsession until it breaks them completely. It’s still a facet of love, no matter how dark it becomes.
I actually found some of the plot a little more than cliched. Two people who come from opposing sides of society meet, despise each other for a time until the tension between them becomes so apparent, even a blind person could see it. This is the least realistic aspect of Jane Austen’s story. There is just too much Pride and Prejudice in there to win me over. And that’s the beauty of it, really. While the show may be carried on the shoulders of the two leads played by Rose Williams and Theo James, their relationship is actually the least impactful. That is, until the very end. To say that the situation between our two leads is left somewhat undecided would be an understatement but it’s this kind of plot twist coming out of nowhere that really made this show worth the while.
And the most delicious thing of all is I found this show on Tumblr purely by accident and now I am a devoted fan. While there hasn’t been any confirmed details on a second season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the creators decided that the future of Charlotte and her wayward love, Sidney cannot remain untold.
I’m a huge Adam Driver fan, and I also think Scarlett Johansson is underrated as an actress. I’m not referring to her blockbuster work in the Marvel universe, but the smaller, indy films she’s done that she hardly ever gets credit for. If you’re interested in seeing Scarlett at her best, consider checking out Under The Skin (2013). I think this film, among others, truly shows Scarlett’s talent. Adam and Scarlett together in this film makes it worth seeing, but the trailer does a great job of giving just that little bit more to hook you in. I simply can’t wait for this film.
The Sinner is a TV series that I’ve been hooked on since day one. If this season intrigues you, you should really check out the first season. Another actress who has gone mostly unnoticed by Hollywood for her acting talent, Jessica Biel, is amazing in the first season. While I’d like to tell you all about it, I think you should check out the trailer for the first season and then consider taking on The Sinner for the duration. Bill Pullman is also an actor that has had a lot of hits and misses in his career, but he’s definitely lucking out with The Sinner. He was phenomenal in the second season as the detective who has his own dark secret, trying to prove that a child could commit murder. Another series I’ve been thankful to watch and I’m patiently awaiting the new season.
I was so excited to hear about a Breaking Bad movie, and I suspect I was one of the millions of fans around the globe that felt the same. There was no need for hoopla or PR advertising campaigns to push this into the minds of viewers – the fanbase for Breaking Bad were more than ready to see Jesse Pinkman and Walter White once more.
That said, would it be as good as the TV series? Could it even be “bad?” I sat on writing this review for a couple of reasons but mostly because I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it. It definitely didn’t blow me away as much as I expected it would, but somehow that didn’t matter in the end because it was so damn satisfying seeing Jesse again and following his story after his harrowing experience at the end of Breaking Bad.
Towards the end, everyone liked Jesse Pinkman. I never did, to begin with. Jesse was a character that really grew on me over time, so I was already invested in seeing what his fate would be, come what may. I just needed to know, you know?
No SPOILERS but wow, you’ll be reeling from this once you get to see what Jesse had to go through at the hands of his captors. How any man could survive that kind of treatment is anyone’s guess, but somehow Jesse pulled through it. Yeah, some bad shit happens to Jesse. And I’ll leave it at that.
The quick recap is you get to see what Jesse went through, you get to see what he must go through after being a wanted man and Jesse gets to experience the meaning of true friendship in a world where friends are very few and far between.
It’s also refreshing to see old faces once more, but it would be a bit of a spoiler for me to tell you who they are. You’ll just have to watch it for yourself!
Daniel Isn’t Real features an area of horror that hasn’t really been covered in the genre that well – imaginary friends that end up turning against you. It’s trippy and intensely psychological, which can sometimes be entertaining to watch and other times it’s just silly and tedious. Some movies that try to pull off the whole “psychological thriller” vibe but fail – there’s a bunch of them, and as I write this, I’m wondering if I’ll be adding this one to that list. Also worth noting that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son Patrick plays the imaginary friend. Funny that Arnie never did horror movies, so his son is kinda branching out where his famous dad didn’t. I’m not holding my breath that this is going to be any good, but if I see it, I’ll share the rest of my insights then!
Thankfully, the second trailer I saw was a lot better.
Truth Be Told stars Aaron Paul, hot off the movie trail with Netflix’s El Camino released last week, Paul plays a man who may have been wrongfully accused of murder. Octavia Spencer plays the woman who helped to put him away for 18 years. What comes out of the prison cell is a furious and aggressive man, and rightfully so. But if he didn’t commit the crime, who did? Lizzy Caplan is also in this playing twins who look awfully guilty of something. This TV series does look like the type of crime-thriller I could actually enjoy. I’m also not overlooking the fact that this tv series will be featured on Apple TV + so not too sure how many people will actually get to see this if they don’t subscribe.
There are a heap of people who do this already, so it’s not a new thing, but I’ve always wanted to write something short and sweet about my thoughts on a particular movie by only watching the trailer. That way, it can be entertaining when you finally see the movie and compare your trailer notes – how far off was I or how close? You know? That might be fun, right?
If you haven’t been able to tell already, movies are a very BIG part of my life. To give you an indication of just how big, here are some stats – they’re not that impressive because I did have a considerable hiatus away from writing on Letterboxd and writing film reviews in general. But I’m back with a bang and really excited for the future!
I never thought I would say these words, but I think I have finally seen a Joker origin film good enough to stand alongside Heath Ledger’s Academy award-winning performance from The Dark Knight. And I do not say these words lightly. While everyone else on planet Earth is getting hung up on this movie “glorifying mental illness”, I’m sitting here wondering why Joaquin Phoenix still hasn’t won an Oscar already. I’m sure I can’t be the only one. Maybe this performance is the one. I’d like to see that happen to him.
But let’s address the ‘other’ elephant in the room for a second. For anyone that has experienced mental illness, I think this movie definitely would have struck a chord. But isn’t that what good entertainment is supposed to do, even if that wasn’t the plan? I read about this film supposedly being a real movie with a cartoon character at its heart. Does it really matter that Joker is just a cartoon character? I enjoyed this film regardless of whether or not that was actually supposed to be a thing. If you can’t see the realism that both Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips masterfully weaved into Arthur Fleck and his grim existence, you’re missing the point entirely.
As people, we really don’t like it when we’re reminded of our own personal demons and shortcomings. Arthur Fleck is a man with a lot of these, the smallest of which is his mental illness. What I mean by this is if you strip away a person’s disability, what do you see? Even without his delusions, there was something really wrong with Arthur Fleck. There was something dark and ugly seething under the surface of his very thin skin, clawing its way out. Becoming the Joker was his way of escaping his own limitations and the limitations that he felt the world had placed on him. Arthur is a man disenfranchised by society, standing on the edge of a cliff where most people end up jumping because that’s the better option. This horrible shit pile of an existence was his reality, and Arthur was sick and tired of playing nice and jumping off that cliff. The only difference between Arthur and the status quo is that he was already one foot over that line that your average normal, functioning adult wouldn’t dare to cross.
Arthur was a victim of society in every way. His environment was at least partially to blame for his gradual derailment into madness. Gotham was quite possibly the worst city to be living in for everyone else, let alone someone like Arthur. A society that is burdened by a “dog-eat-dog” mentality where even the people who are supposed to be symbols of hope in a city that has lost its soul are lying to everyone to keep up appearances. Even the good guys are bad – let’s be honest, Bruce’s dad was a dick. There was nowhere for Arthur to go and becoming the Joker offered Arthur a way out of having to excuse people for their cruelty and lack of sympathy.
I don’t know if I buy the whole “it was all just a delusion” story plot some critics have mentioned in their reviews. Yes, we already knew Arthur was delusional, but for the whole film to be a delusion? I don’t agree. At some point, we know that at least a few of the events in the film really happened. It wouldn’t have made sense for an audience to watch Arthur slowly losing his grip on reality only to be ripped off at the end because he made it all up. He wasn’t faking his mental illness – his therapy visits were smothered in realism. How many times does a person with mental illness, that they can barely understand themselves, need to explain it to an unsympathetic ear? I know people who have been and are in therapy and more often than not it’s just easier for the therapist to throw a prescription at the problem than it is to actually try and help someone in dire need of saving.
Joaquin Phoenix is superb as Joker. There’s really nothing much else to say about that. As Arthur Fleck, he is calm, soft-spoken and unassuming. As the Joker, he wears a smile that hides a grimace underneath. Under the guise of a clown, he is everyone’s worst nightmare; he is a man who has nothing left to lose.
It would be a damn shame if all of that were just a delusion.