With the award season coming to an end in the most delightful and surprising fashion, it’s time to spotlight the movies that have occupied most of my nights and taken us on many adventures. Here is what I’ve been watching.
Will an all-star cast leading Scorsese’s latest blockbuster, the Irishman is an epic gangster drama that journey’s the rise of Frank Sheeran in this crime syndicate. The Irishman focuses on the politics of this crime gang, choosing to highlight the power dynamics whilst highlighting the unspoken code of conduct between gang members. It’s about knowing your place. It’s a journey that spans a lifetime yet refuses to glamourise the violent deeds of organised gangs. The biggest criticism would bein its length, with a run time of 3 and a half hours, when 30 minutes could have easily been scrapped. Nevertheless, The Irishman is a triumph in exploring the lives of these influential men and spotlighting the consequences of their actions.
Only Ryan Reynolds could pull this off. Detective Pikachu was a surprisingly charming film that tapped into the nostalgia of Pokemon without relying on that alone to keep viewers engaged. Detective Pikachus takes us to Ryme City, a city vibrant with Pokemon and humans co-existing side by side in what one would deem a utopia. However, the mystery behind the presumed death of detective Harry Goodman uncovers the underground dealings of humans and their pokemon. It’s a mystery that brings Harry’s 21-year old son, Tim, to the city. Upon meeting a Pikachu, he is startled by the fact that he can understand him, and this mystery leads Tim and Pikachu on a perilous and exciting journey. It’s an engaging story with the added bonus of having the pleasure of picking up on various Pokemon easter-eggs. For a video-game movie, Detective Pikachu defies the odds and produces a story that successfully brings the Pokemon world to life.
Toy Story 4
You can see why many would be nervous about this final instalment to the Toy Story franchise, with some hailing Toy Story 3 as a fitting end. However, Toy Story 4 feels like the definitive conclusion as Woody and the gang are taken on one last adventure that will change the very dynamic between these lovable toys. A notable character absent from the previous films has been Bo-Peep, whose reintroduction to Woody’s life makes him question his purpose as a toy. Bo-Peep embraces the life of a lost toy, living child-free and helping other lost toys find a child to appreciate them. Woody’s life has always been to put the child first, perfectly demonstrated in Woody’s welcome of Forky, but who has their best interest at heart? Toy Story 4 sees Woody come face to face with his own identity crisis and the result is a moving tribute to the characters we love and a fitting ending to an iconic franchise.
Fans of ‘A Star is Born‘ are guaranteed to want to add Wild Rose to their watchlist. Wild Rose is a grounded take on the consequences of the sacrifices made to fulfil a dream. Rose is a young woman faced with too much responsibility from a very young age, and the immaturity of some of her actions is a stark reminder of this. However, nothing will stop her from following her dream of making it as a country singer in Nashville. Therefore, when her wealthy employer offers the chance of gathering funds for her trip, it seems like all of her dreams are about to come true. The thing is, Rose is also a single mother, with two young kids deprived of a consistent parental figure in their lives. Their grandmother, played by the brilliant Julie Walters, is tired of Rose neglecting her responsibilities to chase a fantasy. This is a story about the conflict of choosing dreams over responsibility. It’s a journey that forces Rose to confront the consequences of her dream and realising that maybe her dreams lie closer to home. Jessie Buckley does a brilliant job in exposing Rose’s internal conflict, culminating in an emotional performance of the original song, Glasgow (No Place Like Home).
Everyone loves an underdog story, now I know why Rudy is a beloved sports film. It’s a journey of perseverance and dreams. Of putting your heart, body, and soul into your passion, just to get knocked back time and time again. In that fight to keep the dream alive and proving people wrong. Of understanding your own potential when you work for it. The slow burn nature of the film might put some people off, but there is nothing more satisfying than those final moments that take Sean Astin’s Rudy carried off the field in triumph on the shoulders of his teammates to a stadium of cheers. Rudy is a film that perfectly captures the human spirit.
Last years Best Picture winner, it’s easy to see why many were irate about Green Book’s triumph over BlackKklansman. Viggo Mortensen and Mahersgala Ali both give compelling performances and the chemistry between the two was enough to keep viewers invested in their growing friendship. However, as a film that tackles racism in the 1960s, it does so through the eyes of its white saviour. Mortensen’s “Tony Lip” is a man on a journey as his time with talented musician Don Shirley opens his eyes to the mistreatment and racial subjugations Shirley faces on his tour in the deep south. For a film that tackles a continuously relevant topic, it does so through rose-tinted glasses, keeping to the white guy’s guide to racism’s code of showing just enough of the blatant mistreatment of Shirley while lifting Tony on his moral journey in standing up for the rights of his employer and friend.
What did you think of these films?
What have you been watching?