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Film Reviews: Week 1 (Jan 1-7)

I am starting to think that taking on one new film a day for 2018 might be a little too ambitious. If I had a lot of spare time, I would manage it easily. However, trying to balance college 3 days a week, working 24-30 hours a week and having a social life, I am not managing to find a lot of time to sit down for a solid 2-3 hours and commit to a film. I am happy that I managed to watch four films this week, and that I really enjoyed every single one of them.
My reviews down below are in order of the films that I watched.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I have only started watching the Star Wars series this past month, and it has been a ride. I now completely understand why The Empire Strikes Back is known as a classic and the best in the series. However, if I had to pick a second favourite from the series, it would be The Force Awakens.
The first Star Wars film in the newest era features all of the beloved characters from the original series, whilst balancing it with brand new characters in a refreshing storyline that weaves perfectly into this universe. The world feels more real than ever, travelling from one planet to another. Each planet is developed with their own characters, atmosphere and traits to help establish the relationships between dimensions and bonds.
The new characters were all fantastic. Rey is easily one of my favourite female characters in any film franchise. Daisy Ridley does a fantastic job being a badass lead, and her relationship with Han Solo and Finn is a joy to watch on screen. It is also really nice to see the old characters come back for this film. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are fantastic in their roles, and you believe that they have grown up with these characters in their heart and they put everything into this new film. Even Mark Hamill is great for the very small part that he has in this first film.
The star of the show however is BB-8. Every time he is on screen, he steals the show. Star Wars has always used their robots and aliens to help boost the film, but none as much as BB-8. Every time that he is on the screen, I fall more in love with him and his bleeps. Once we were reunited with R2D2 and C3PO, that was also brilliant to watch.
I don’t have the personal love and attachment to the Star Wars franchise as many do as I didn’t grow up with them. There were still aspects that I felt were weak, like I still don’t connect with Kylo Ren or the hunt for Luke Skywalker. Maybe with a few more watches of the entire franchise, I would appreciate the film even more. I also felt that Kylo’s back-story is almost cliché, following the route of Luke’s back-story.
The entire franchise has been fantastic to witness for the first time, and The Force Awakens is a fantastic entry to this series. The actors are all fantastic, the story is just as good now as it was when it started. I am pumped to watch The Last Jedi now (even though I know the spoiler).

Hacksaw Ridge
As much as I hate History, I love learning about World War II. For years I have been fascinated by World War II in the media, such as The Diary of Anne Frank and Maus. Watching Dunkirk last year got me wanting to watch more war films and this was one that was on my radar.

The other main reason I really wanted to watch this film was because of Andrew Garfield. Sure, he may not be my favourite Spider-Man, but I love him as an actor. This is easily his best role to date. Whilst it did take me roughly 40 minutes to actually believe and settle in to his accent, he was compelling and completely held the entire story on his shoulders. The other actors, whilst having smaller roles, are still as compelling and necessary in the film.

There are some flaws with this film, and that comes down to pacing. It goes from a childhood scene, to immediately skipping to the main character, Desmond Doss, as an adult a few minutes afterwards, and spending majority of a war movie outside of the war. This part was incredibly slow and, whilst the build-up should have had a huge pay-off, it didn’t for me. The action shots felt unrealistic, due to the set design. It also felt disconnected, as if the war would only focus on one or two moments and people.

The fact that this film is based on a true story makes the story even more compelling. There is true emotion and heart in this film that can be felt throughout. Doss is honest with himself, and doesn’t let anyone overtake his thoughts and views. This is very inspiring and shows the honourable and good work those soldiers do, even in the current day.

This may not be the greatest war film, but it a fantastic film of heart and honesty, and that is the strongest point. This is the exact opposite of Dunkirk, but both execute their thoughts and aims in the way they hope to. Go and check this out if you haven’t already.

Up until the newest releases from Marvel, there has only been three films that I haven’t seen from the MCU. Doctor Strange, The Incredible Hulk, and Ant-Man. Even though I am a massive fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, I never felt the need to see Doctor Strange in the cinema. In terms of The Incredible Hulk, I didn’t consider it canon in the MCU as it wasn’t Ruffalo in the role. Ant-Man though, I had no excuse. This is one Marvel film I really did want to watch.

This film is the most unique Marvel film to this day. It doesn’t fit in with the rest of their generic super-hero formula. Ant-Man is not only more quirky as a character, but also his team and story. Scott isn’t this hero when he begins. He is a criminal with no super powers and a family, and he has his own issues. I like this about the film. To finally have a character that is sort of relatable and completely human, aside from Hawkeye.

This film also had a lot more experimentation in terms of their storyline and characters. There were special cameos, a different approach to a villain, and an awesome final fight sequence done on a toy train track (featuring Thomas the Tank Engine).

This feels very different from the other films in the MCU, and whilst that should be a good thing, I felt like it was missing a spark. It was one of the weaker movies from Marvel, and yet I have no idea why that is. It isn’t the character, as Ant-Man was one of the best in Civil War. It might have been because the story and aim was simple, and didn’t feel as life-threatening or big.

I am very excited about Ant-Man and the Wasp as it should take more risks with these interesting characters and their abilities, and I hope they do. I just felt that this film was a little lacking, but I still had a fantastic time watching this and I can’t wait to see Scott kick ass in Infinity War.

The Breakfast Club
There are those cult classic films that go around all the time that you apparently “must watch”. The Breakfast Club was one of those. My local cinema would play it frequently, my friends would talk about it and it was the only thing Tumblr would care about. It was only seeing it pop up in the book 1001 Films You Must Watch Before You Die that I finally caved in and gave the film a shot.
Safe to say, I should have watched this film a lot sooner. This is exactly the sort of film that I love. The film takes place in one room as five rebellious teenagers get put in detention for an entire Saturday. Each character has their own quirks, and are so different that they shouldn’t get on. But by being out in this situation, they manage to do so.

You end up relating to each of these characters, Whether it is because you feel awkward or rebellious as a teenager artsy or different, these characters summarise the life of a teenager in school. Going through trouble, trying to be popular and find love, you don’t realise the important things in your life until you sit down and reflect on who you are.

Everything about this film screams Tumblr and aesthetic. The shots, the soundtrack, the characters. Everything is beautifully done and could be easily over-analysed. I like to see it as it is simply presented: a movie about five rebellious teenagers getting close through the bond of one situation. This is a film that I can guarantee that I will be watching again and again, and I regret only watching it now and not when I was 15.


There you go, that is what I watched and how I felt about them this week. On Thursday, I will be posting a special review and analysis about the success of my favourite film franchise of all time (Back to the Future), and I hope by next week I will have watched four or more brand new films for me to review and blog about.

Until Thursday, that was some film for thought.

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