One thing I realized at the beginning of the year was my lack of actual movie watching. I want to be a professional screenwriter and yet I don’t watch movies?!
I have a number of excuses, but as with my growing list of things I failed to make time for last year, this falls among them.
So I put myself to the challenge of watching one new movie a week, and so far, I’ve been pretty good about it. I think I missed the week before Captain Marvel but I did watch The Umbrella Academy. It doesn’t technically count, I know. Below, in what I’m trying to remember as the viewing order, is what I’ve watched thus far with a short synopsis and a review.
- Arrival: Cool premise – learning to communicate with aliens which results in a greater understanding. It also presents an interesting question, “If you know how the story ends, do you still take the journey?” My rating: B-
- Ex Machina: Another cool premise – the development of A.I. and its consequences. It’s a slow moving film, and some of the dialogue is trying too hard to be clever, but in the end I appreciated the story. My rating: B-
- Annihilation: The trailer left much to the imagination, so I was intrigued. “Alien” object lands on Earth and disrupts the natural world around it. In an attempt to be female empowering, which, I guess, thanks?, we follow an all woman team into the anomaly. I felt there was too much lead up to leave the ending so ambiguous. My rating: C
- Ant-Man & The Wasp: There’s a lot to be said about why I almost passed on this movie, but as we’ve all learned, in the MCU, they’re all connected. With Avengers: Endgame on the horizon, and not wanting to miss any tidbit of information (the quantum realm will be important), I finally gave in, and I was pleasantly surprised, in part because of Wasp not playing sidekick. At least Marvel is giving the few women it does have both brains and brawn. My rating: B
- Incredibles 2: You just gotta love Pixar. In a timely fashion, they release a film with a female superhero lead. And not just any female but a wife and mother of three. I love the original, and the sequel is nearly as good. Picking right up where we left off 10 years ago, we get a family film that deals with real issues of supposed gender specific roles and flips them. My rating: A+
- Polar: I love Mads Mikkelsen. That is all. 🙂 Seriously, I would watch the man “insert mundane task”, so I was excited to see his face while scrolling through the new releases on Netflix. Based on a comic book, it’s dark, and it has its moments, but it’s not overly satisfying. Mikkelsen plays an assassin entering retirement in a world that wishes it were more like John Wick’s. My rating: C-
- Ocean’s 8: In an era where films are being unnecessarily remade, despite an all star, all female cast, I wasn’t initially compelled to watch this film because, as I mentioned, it felt unnecessary. That being said, I adore Cate Blanchett, another actor I would watch “insert another mundane task”, and discovered a fairly clever heist film that desired to capture the magic of the original Oceans 11 and didn’t fall too short. My rating: B
- Coco: Pixar is very good at what it does. It tells heartwarming (and heart tugging), magical stories that transport us to amazing places. Coco tells the story of a young boy who desires to be a musician despite his family’s strict anti-music rules, and finds himself in the Land of the Dead seeking validation. It is a beautiful film to watch, and the heart of the story is quite moving. My rating: A+
- Captain Marvel: Where I failed Ocean’s 8, by not supporting it early on, because as a woman I need to support these movies so they will continue to get made, I couldn’t repeat with Captain Marvel, not after waiting over 10 years for Marvel to finally get it. Wonder Woman was a huge success and by far DC’s best film, and yet Marvel kept dragging its feet. And while yes, another piece of the puzzle for the MCU and the final piece before Avengers: Endgame, supporting this Captain was necessary. And it was a fun time. Brie Larson’s portrayal was enjoyable to watch, even if the story was not the MCU’s strongest. My rating: B+
I switched from my star rating system to the old school lettering system…not sure I’ll do that again. Do you agree with my ratings? Do you have any suggestions for my next movie? Do you want to join me in this challenge? Let’s chat!