Here’s the deal: COVID sucks. I’m currently in Melbourne where our numbers of new cases are the worst in the country. We’re experiencing the so-called second wave of the virus with a vengeance. As a result, our Premier, has rightly put Stage 3 lockdown restrictions back in place, starting Wednesday 8 July and continuing for six weeks. This means no leaving the house unless it’s for work, food, exercise, or for medical reasons. Here’s where I insert a disclaimer: Obviously I am aware that there are much more pressing consequences of COVID-19 than the fact that I can’t go out to the movies or eat at a restaurant, but for my immediate concerns, I wanted to find a way to not go insane for the next six weeks.
So, I’ve decided that for the next six weeks I’m going to watch a movie every night (yes, every night), and write up my thoughts of them. Sure, some will be re-watches, and I might even cheat and throw in a TV series or two, but it’s my challenge, so my rules.
- Wednesday 8 July 2020:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, David Yates (2009) 3/5
Okay, okay, so I kind of started the challenge while I was in the midst of my millionth re-watch of Harry Potter. This film is probably my least favourite of the series. I found myself becoming bored, remembering (and subsequently getting annoyed at) all of the parts in the book that were cut from the film. But hey, it’s Harry. I mean, you watch it to complete the collection, you know? It’s fine.
- Thursday 9 July 2020:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt 1), David Yates (2010) 4/5
Thankfully we’re followed by one of my favourites in the series. I remember complaints at the time about the pace of this first instalment. Harry Potter was one of (if not, the) first film franchises to split that final book into two films. While I know that it was most likely a money-grabbing move by the studio and producers, I can’t say I hate having more room for the plot to breathe. If I’m honest, I would have loved two films per book from Goblet of Fire onwards. A slower pace means the emotional moments can have time to sink in. Although maybe we don’t want that, given Dobby’s death gets me crying like a baby every time.
- Friday 10 July 2020:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt 2), David Yates (2011) 3.5/5
Such a satisfying conclusion to the series. I’ll always cry at the end, and then quickly cringe at the stupid “19 years later” coda. And what a wonderful end it was, with absolutely no stupid attempts at reviving the series, no nonsensical prequels, and no hidden transphobes screaming their miseducated and harmful opinions on Twitter. Isn’t that wonderful?!
- Saturday 11 July 2020:
High Fidelity, Stephen Frears (2000) 2/5
This is the second time I’ve seen High Fidelity, and I don’t know why, but I really struggle to connect with it. I don’t feel emotionally invested, you know? Yeah, it’s quirky, and John Cusack is great, and the subject matter (going back over failed relationships and trying to figure out why) is right up my alley. Infuse this with music references and a kickass record store set, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a movie made for me. But for whatever reason, I just don’t have that familiar fuzzy feeling in my chest when I watch this movie. I don’t know what it is, but I think I’m going to stop trying to force myself to love something I just don’t. Obviously, Joan Cusack is the standout here, as she always is. No one else has the genuine quirkiness that imbues her performances. It’s a shame she’s only in, like, three scenes.
- Sunday 12 July 2020:
The Host, Bong Joon-Ho (2006) 4.5/5
This was another second watch for me, and I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first time around. It’s a monster movie, sure, but it has substance. There’s also another element added to the film watching it amidst COVID-19. The response to a global virus (not to mention “Agent Yellow”’s biological warfare looking scarily similar to the tear gas deployed on peaceful protests in the USA’s Black Lives Matter movement) is hard not to compare to our own circumstances. The Host lacks the polish of Parasite, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a film. Sure, the CGI is a little dated, but who cares when you have a script this good? And not only that – freeze-frame any single shot in the entire film and you’ll see the wonder that is Bong Joon-Ho (and cinematographer Hyung-ku Kim). The way he uses light and shadow, vertical lines, framing the shot in between objects within the scene… it’s honestly breathtaking. A definite must-watch, if you haven’t already.
- Monday 13 July 2020:
So, I’ll be real with you – I didn’t watch a movie this night. However, I did make salted Nutella cookies, so I’m not losing any sleep about “failing” my challenge in the first week. I give the cookies 5/5.
- Tuesday 14 July 2020:
Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-Ho (2013) 3.5/5
Yes, I’m on a Bong Joon-Ho kick, and no, I won’t apologise for it. I’d forgotten how graphically violent this film is. Bong definitely doesn’t hold back when it comes to carnage, and that fight sequence in the train carriage is expertly filmed. Despite my aversion to gore, I still love this film. Chris Evans’ performance is nothing short of amazing. I’m not sure why he didn’t get more recognition for this role. Tilda Swinton obviously loves playing quirky evil, and she’s having a great time. The film is infused with Bong’s trademark class division, political commentary, and imperative moral questions. The ending always falls a teensy bit flat for me, but that’s a minor complaint. I’m very keen to watch the new Netflix series of the same name now.
Week one done and dusted! Hopefully I’ll get to some newer films (to me at least) next week.
Reblogged this on Lonnie Gilroy and commented:
I love Senaai and I love everything she writes and I love the films of Bong Joon-Ho so you can imagine how much I loved this.