Wednesday, 19 August 2015

What I've Been Watching #1


I was going to call this 'recent watches' to match my 'recent reads' posts but I just wasn't feeling the lack of alliteration so we're going with this for the time being. Anyway, this does exactly what it says on the tin: I'm going to ramble on about the films I've been watching lately, and let me tell you I've watched A LOT of them in the past couple of weeks because I've made a list of every movie I've ever wanted to see and I'm just working my way through them. Because there are so many I'm not so much reviewing them as giving my reaction in bite-size chunks - I hope you enjoy!

Marie Antoinette (2006)
I'd wanted to see this film for the longest time and (although I really hate to say it) I was ever so slightly disappointed. Visually it was beyond stunning, I loved the rococo aesthetic and I even liked the character of Marie Antoinette even though I get the feeling you're not supposed to, in a slightly Daisy Buchanan kind of way. But it was just so vapid and slow and frustrating, I felt like I was watching it in a dream and willing things to move faster - to be fair that might have been the fault of the video I was watching because even though I have the DVD my laptop was playing up and not recognising the disc so I ended up just looking for a good YouTube upload, and the one I found wasn't brilliant. But still.

The Virgin Suicides (1999)
This is another one I'd wanted to see for-absolutely-ever, and it was exactly what I'd expected in the hazy shots of the neighbourhood and the 1970s vibes. It had such a dream-like quality, but in the best possible way and not so that it made me feel like I was wading through treacle. Kirsten Dunst was Lux Lisbon to an absolute T and the whole thing was just such a lovely watching experience, I know it'll be one I come back to again and again.

The Moth Diaries (2011)
Ever since I read and LOVED the book (see my glowing review here) I knew I had to watch this, and it was just what I'd been hoping for. I thought it was kind of a shame that it wasn't set in the 70s like the book is, which meant that the whole idea of the diary/flashback was left out, but the whole boarding school vibe was nevertheless on point. The pacing was excellent and Lily Cole was chillingly fabulous as Ernessa. I also loved all the surreal scenes towards the end that made you begin to doubt the reliability of the narrator, those were done really well in my opinion.

Valley of the Dolls (1967)
Another one where I read and loved the book, and since this film was made a year after its publication in 1966 I was interested to see the contemporary interpretation. Although it's been a while since I read the book and I can't recall all the detail of the plot, it seemed really quite authentic both in its trueness to the novel and obviously to the period it's set in. Having said that I remember a bit more of the book being dedicated to Anne and her television career, whereas the film seemed to focus more on Neely and to an extent Jennifer. Nevertheless I really loved this, for the fabulous outfits as much as anything else!

Chloe (2009)
I didn't really have any burning passion to see this film, I actually came across it when I saw a still of Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson on tumblr and I desperately had to find out what it was from, so I just googled the two actors' names and it came up with Chloe, which of course I promptly searched on YouTube and it came up. Speaking of burning passions it really is quite erotic but the acting is superb and the plot went a whole different way that I'd been expecting, thanks to an amazing twist towards the end.

An Education (2009)
I watched a pretty bad quality version of this on YouTube but a girl I follow on tumblr keeps recommending it so I just had to see it, however pixelated the screen was from time to time. It's set in the 1960s and tells the true story of a schoolgirl who is seduced by a glamorous older man who takes her to art shows and fancy restaurants and eventually Paris, and oh it was just wonderful and atmospheric and I loved all of it.

American Beauty (1999)
Yet another film I've been seeing screenshots of on tumblr for what seems like my whole life, but apparently those screenshots were carefully selected because this wasn't what I'd expected at all. I'd built up an impression of something much more Lolita-esque (thanks tumblr), but it turned out to be a nonetheless really interesting portrayal of suburban life in America.

Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)
I adore the book of this and the film has joined its ranks as one of my all-time favourites. It's quite different to everything else on this list, in as much as it's full of history and earthy colours but the story is utterly beautiful. I was conscious, however, that it could be considered a diluted form of art, in that it's a film based on a book about a painting of a real life person - an interesting thought maybe, but it didn't mean I enjoyed it any the less. Also, Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson were a match made in heaven in this.

Heathers (1988)
I'm not sure why but I expected this to be just your average 80s high school teen movie with cliques and baseball games and power struggles and it was, it was just a LOT darker and more interesting than that - exactly my kind of thing. It was unexpectedly surreal in places which I enjoyed once I'd got to grips with the feel of it, and Winona Ryder was just fabulous, although I can't believe she was only 16 at the time of filming!

Legally Blonde (2001)
Surprisingly I'd never seen this, but I knew about it and had some idea of the plot. I expected to like it and I did mostly, but something just didn't sit right with me. I get that the whole point is that a girl can like clothes and getting her nails done and also have brains, but Elle didn't have brains, she was just extraordinarily lucky and relied on some happy coincidences. I don't know, I just think the story could have been done so much better, but then who am I to say?

Dead Poet's Society (1989)
I saw this in Ethics class a few years ago (not because it's a particularly ethical film, it was just one among the many, many, many we watched over the course of seven years) and I remembered the vague plot and also liking it. So I thought I'd rewatch it and wowza, it hit me right in the feels. I only wish my English teachers had been that inspiring, it might have motivated certain people in my class and made the whole experience rather less tedious! The only criticism I have of this film is that it doesn't have enough girls in it, but anyway.

Romeo & Juliet (2013)
I was actually looking to watch the 1996 version of this but I couldn't find it on YouTube so I just went with this one. I haven't read the play so I can't really comment on the accuracy of the adaptation, - although it is one of my brother's English texts for next year so there's currently a copy sitting around if I wanted to give it a whirl, which I may well do now. I don't know quite what it was about this film, it just didn't wow me and a lot of the acting seemed quite forced.

Let me know in the comments if you've seen any of these and what you thought!



  1. I really want to watch The Virgin Suicides but I'm not letting myself till I've read the book! I loved the film Heathers, found it quite bizarre but still enjoyed it. I've never heard of Dead Poets Society but I think I'll give it a go! I wanted to do a post like this but I'm so bad at writing about my TV shows/books and stuff but I enjoy reading them so much!x

    1. TVS is an absolute dream in any form, I thoroughly recommend it along with basically everything else on this list ahahahaa. And you totally should! As you probably tell my writing isn't exactly scientific or technical, I tend to just blabber on about things I like and for that all you need is some kind of passion - so what I'm trying to say is go for it, I'd really enjoy reading that xx

  2. American Beauty & The Virgin Suicides are probaly my top 2 favourite ever films. That and Little Miss Sunshine!