Films I Watched In: January

I thought it might be fun to start doing a round-up of the movies I watch each month. I enjoy telling you guys about what I’ve been up to anyway and because I barely review half the films I watch hopefully it’ll be a nice feature.

Compared to some of you cool cats I don’t watch many films anyway, but for me (someone who also needs to fit in reality TV and excessive amounts of Family Guy), January has been fairly successful – eleven movies in total.

That averages three a week (maths always was my strong point) and only one was a re-watch – a personal success. I do have a habit of watching old favourites over new stuff and I’m the same with books. But is there anything greater than reading a favourite book? No.

So anyway, Pulp Fiction was the first film I watched in 2016 – and obviously was my re-watch. I spent New Year’s Eve on my own at home – which was perfectly fine. I still got tipsy and had fun talking to myself. My friend came over for dinner but as we’re both old and boring she left before midnight and I watched the fireworks on TV followed by Pulp Fiction. The perfect start to the year.

The second film I watched was the fantastic Captains Courageous, a 1937 film based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling.

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It tells the story of a spoiled, rich brat called Harvey (played by a truly wonderful Freddy Bartholomew) who falls overboard his father’s cruise liner and gets picked up by a fishing boat with a hard hitting, no nonsense crew.

Though at first disgusted by their coarse standards and rough ways, Harvey eventually begins to mature and realise the true meaning of life – i.e not being an annoying little snob. Helped along by fisherman Manuel (Spencer Tracey) with whom he forms a special friendship, I can honestly say this was my favourite movie of the month.

Amy was third on my list  – a haunting documentary film about the late Amy Winehouse. It had quite an effect on me and you can read my review here.

Next, Kingsman – the over-the-top, very funny British spy movieNow I’d heard good things anyway but actually enjoyed it even more than I expected, a rare result. Not sure what I can say that hasn’t been said already but it was just an awesome amount of fun and appealed to me a lot. And yes, I fancied Eggsy. If that’s even allowed.

Fifth is London to Brighton, a 2006 gritty British film following a prostitute who becomes sort of a mother figure to a young girl after they go on the run together, following an unpleasant incident in London.

ltb

It’s violent, grim and wholly depressing – pretty much the essential ingredients for a gritty British film. This was the only movie I watched on television all month and ironically I’d already borrowed the DVD from my sister. Obviously I just love adverts.

Not the best I’ve ever seen, quite gripping and well made but too dreary and unsavoury to ever be a favourite. I doubt I’d watch it again but it was good enough.

Pure coincidence but the next film I watched had ‘Brighton’ in the title too. Yep, I finally watched the 1947 classic Brighton Rock starring Richard Attenborough – who I honestly had never seen play a baddie before.

I wouldn’t say Brighton Rock blew me away like some of the old movies I’ve watched and some people will be aghast to hear this but I have no huge desire to watch it again. I was glad to cross it off my list of course and I loved the bit at the end with the record player and it was cool seeing Attenborough play the cruel, psychopathic Pinkie.

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A very popular film is next on the list – Mad Max: Fury Road, which I finally got around to watching, having heard nothing but good things from – well everyone really.

I’m not sure if it was the ‘high expectation build up’ but I didn’t love the movie as much as I hoped I would. But before you all start grumbling and petitioning and ‘say whaat-ing’ I’d like to add I did definitely enjoy the film – I just didn’t love it.

I know when I love a movie, I get excited and immediately want to watch it again and talk about it and make other people watch it and it makes me feel something. The most recent movie that made me feel like that was The Guest (2014) and I’m talking top 10 addition time. I didn’t get that feeling from Fury Road.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve never watched the original films, or perhaps I was influenced by my dad. I watched it with him and he wasn’t overly keen, constantly comparing it to the old Mel Gibson versions.

The phrase ‘style over substance’ sprang to mind once or twice, but I will reiterate it was a very fun movie. I liked Nux (predictably) and the old Ozzy birds at the end were great too. I enjoyed the comedic bits in the script and I thought the madness of the whole thing was very cool – but nothing I hadn’t seen before if I’m honest.

I bought Kiki’s Delivery Service for my boyfriend for Christmas – every birthday and Christmas he gets a different Studio Ghibli film from me. I had only seen Spirited Away when we met seven years ago, but slowly he’s been working me through the collection – apart from Die Hard I think they’re the only movies he really enjoys.

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I’m the first to admit I’m the not the biggest fan of kids animation – in all honesty I’d rather watch something where people are cut up with a chainsaw, but the Ghibli films are generally very charming. Set somewhere in Europe, Kiki’s Delivery Service has more of a ‘Western’ vibe than some of the series but I like that anyway. It’s an older one, released in 1989 and the story line – following a young witch who has left home to complete her training – isn’t particularly serious. Just a fun, likable film with the recurring Ghibli message about friendship and strength.

I’m proud to declare that I bought this next film based entirely on the fact it starred Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit (and I’ll watch any horror film, like ever). But Population 436 was surprisingly good and shared similarities with the The Wicker Man and felt reminiscent of Stephen King or The Twilight Zone.

Basically, Elton from Clueless plays a government worker sent to a weird little town to complete a census. Things are odd anyway but when Elton from Clueless realises the population count has always been 436 – for hundreds of years, things get even weirder. A nifty little horror film that I’ll enjoy watching again – and Fred Durst was actually good as the nice-but-dim local police officer.

The 2001 British film Essex Boys was the next movie I watched. It tells the loose story of the Range Rover Murders that happened in 1995 in Rettendon, Essex (five minutes from where I live now). There have been three films made about the triple murder and the thugs that were supposedly involved, as well as their links to drug dealing, football hooliganism and generally just being twats. I’d already seen Rise of the Footsoldier (2007) and Bonded by Blood (2010) but I’d never seen the original – Essex Boys. It wasn’t anything special but I enjoy most British thug movies so it kept my interest. Sheffield born Sean Bean was an interesting choice for lead character I must say.

And lastly, possibly least-ly, I watched the Poltergeist remake on Netflix. Which I had no real hope for and only really watched for a laugh on Sunday morning as I was waiting for my washing to finish.

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Okay it wasn’t actually TOO bad. Effort was made to make the family likable (not that I particularly liked them but I knew what was going on, I ain’t no fool) and the CGI wasn’t as terrible as I expected. But at the same time it wasn’t really scary, there wasn’t anything new and the original Poltergeist is such a classic it’s hard to accept a new sub-standard version. I’m not against remakes at all, I enjoyed the Carrie remake and I preferred the US version of The Ring, but this felt kinda pointless. Something for teenagers to snog through perhaps.

And there we have it, the eleven films I watched in January.

Just to summarise and in case anyone (everyone) scrolled straight to the bottom, here’s the list again in a top 11 ‘of enjoyment’. Proving that no-one’s opinion is objective and in theory Population 436 should be nominated for an Oscar?

11. London to Brighton

10. Poltergeist

9. Essex Boys

8. Brighton Rock

7. Mad Max: Fury Road

6. Population 436

5. Kiki’s Delivery Service

4. Amy

3. Pulp Fiction (re-watch otherwise would have been higher)

2. Kingsman

1. Captains Courageous

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About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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82 Responses to Films I Watched In: January

  1. Yay glad you liked Kingsman!!! Such a fun movie to watch! About Mad Max, you either love it or hate it! I liked it, but I’m not even sure why hahaha

    • emmakwall says:

      I loved Kingsman! It was a movie that filled me with glee 🙂

      I did like Mad Max, it was a lot of fun, I just didn’t love it 🙂 thanks for the comment!!

  2. The Vern says:

    Great to hear from you as always Emmy. Mad Max Fury Road is one of my favorites and that’s because it was so cool seeing it on a big screen. I still enjoy the movie on the small screen but on the big one it blew my mind. I can understand your distain for it The fact you give your Boyfriend a different Studio Ghibli movie makes you the coolest girls ever. Mine just gave me undewear and flowers.(it was still nice though)

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks so much dear Verny! And hey, underwear and flowers are nice!!! 🙂

      I bet Fury Road was awesome on the big screen, Laura Film Nerd said the same and I can totally see that. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, just didn’t love it. But in the cinema it would have been epic!!! 😀

  3. mikeladano says:

    I wish I kept track of movies I watched in January. Nice post. Trying to think now. I know I watched Age of Ultron when I had the flu because I had nightmares about it. LOL. I saw The Force Awakens twice in January and again tomorrow. I also watched Empire Strikes Back. I watched a Justin Timberlake movie called…In Time? I think? Johnny Galecki was in it, which was…weird.

    I think that’s about it. I’ve binge watched American Dad, the first 7 seasons.

    • emmakwall says:

      American Dad is the best!!! I have seasons 1 – 7 on DVD too 🙂

      Why not start keeping track now of the movies you’ve watched? I’m gonna do it all year, we could compare!

      Only watched one film so far this month (terrible!) The Hateful Eight.

      I can imagine the nightmares about Age of Ultron lol and I’m glad you enjoyed Star Wars so much you watched it twice! I think I know that film In Time but not seen it yet 🙂

      • mikeladano says:

        I could not finish the first five minutes of Hateful Eight. Should I at least finish it?

        I’ll start my February list right here!

        1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Feb 6.
        2. Tron: Legacy also on Feb 6.

        How exciting!

        • emmakwall says:

          Very exciting!!! 🙂

          The Hateful Eight is a long movie, if you didn’t enjoy the first 5 minutes maybe give it a miss hee hee. I enjoyed it very much, but undoubtedly will divide people. I’m an annoying QT fan though 🙂

  4. Yes! This is what a month’s viewing should look like, some new movies, some rewatches, and some black & white classics. I have to see Captain Courageous now!

  5. beetleypete says:

    London To Brighton is excellent. But as I count Johnny Harris as a personal friend, I admit to bias! Surprised it came last on your list, but it is dreary, because I suppose the subject matter is.
    ‘Brighton Rock’ (original) is one of my favourites, and packed with atmosphere, and great history. Undoubtedly Attenborough’s finest hour, but maybe a bit too old-fashioned for someone your age. I watched ‘Population 436’ on TV, and thought it was OK for a telly film, but that’s about it.
    You managed a good selection, including some I haven’t seen (and may never watch) like ‘Kingsman’, and ‘Mad Max Fury Road.’
    Nice roundup, Emmykins! xx

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks Petey-kins!!! 🙂 Hope you had a good weekend Mister! Thanks for your lovely comment as ever 🙂

      I’m afraid I didn’t think London to Brighton was anything TOO special, I’ve seen better, but everyone will have their own opinion and it undoubtedly kept my interest.

      Johnny Harris was disturbing in This is England, I have never gotten over his rape scenes, he seriously upset me!!!! You can tell him that lol. Honestly, I was scared when I went to bed that night, I’ve never watched that series since, because of that character. So, you can tell him that his acting is pretty darn good!

      The thing is, as you soon as you say you don’t “love” a movie, everyone assumes you didn’t like it. I did very much enjoy Brighton Rock (promise!) it just didn’t blow me away like some old classics, if you know what I mean. I enjoyed it, but that was about it.

      I’m getting a similar reaction to Fury Road as well, but I can only say so many times – I did enjoy it!! 🙂 lol.

      Out of your two ‘unwatched movies’ I’d go for Kingsman, it’s really fun!

      And for me Attenborough’s finest hour will always be Lexy from The League of Gentlemen (1960) it’s one of my favourite movies and he’s such a cheeky little chappy! I love him in that!! Well I love all of them.

      What about Captains Courageous, have you seen that? That was SOOOOO GOOD!!! *sob sob*

      I finally watched The Hateful Eight this weekend just gone so will try to get a review out soon!

      xxx

      • beetleypete says:

        I have seen Captains Courageous many times, and it is well done indeed. Johnny got a lot of negative stuff thrown at him after he portrayed the rapist in This Is England. Some people forget they are just actors, but he was incredibly convincing, and that role took a lot out of him emotionally. I haven’t seen the Hateful Eight, but have a soft spot for The League of Gentlemen of course.
        The weekend was very good. We went for a nice Chinese meal on Saturday, in the market town of Swaffham. We were out until past 10pm! We live fast and hard in Norfolk you know…xx

        • emmakwall says:

          To be honest I wonder sometimes why people like Shaun Meadows want to make such depressing stuff. Same with London to Brighton or that film Tyrannosaur by Paddy Considine, you seen that? So dark! And I love Paddy Considine. I mean really, it’s easy to shock people, it’s easy to depress people. It’s easy to think of vile situations. I actually think it’s harder to make people laugh, in all honesty.

          I’m not surprised he got a lot of negative stuff thrown at him, I mean really it’s a credit to his acting but I’ve never been so disturbed by a rape scene in ANYTHING I’ve ever seen, even the infamous greenhouse in Scum. Honestly Pete, I had nightmares! I lived in a house share at the time and I remember locking my bedroom door, I just kept imagining him. I’ve never forgotten it, or watched it again.

          Anyway, on to nicer subjects!! Your weekend sounds lovely, yum Chinese! And that sounds like my bedtime too, so no jokes from me!!

          How’s the wind around Norfolk today? Anymore short stories from you soon? 🙂

          Take care! xxx

          • beetleypete says:

            My most recent short story.
            https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/the-intensity-of-being/
            I am a big fan of Shane Meadows. He made lighter films too. ‘A Room For Romeo Brass’ (1999) is very good, but one of his darker films, ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ (2004) is my favourite. xx

            • beetleypete says:

              And it’s blowing a gale here, with driving rain. I had to cut Ollie’s walk down to an hour! x

            • emmakwall says:

              An hour is still good! He’s a lucky boy xx

            • emmakwall says:

              Dead Man’s Shoes is my second favourite film of all time!!! I even have a painting of Richard on my living room wall 🙂

              I didn’t like A Room for Romeo Brass as much but I’ve seen it a couple of times and familiar with it. I liked Frank Harper’s character. I always think of Paddy’s….er….excitable moment lol. Wasn’t Lol in it as well?

              Ooh thanks Pete!! I will read that as soon as I’m home, literally just going to my youth club to see the kiddie winks!!! 🙂 xxx

            • beetleypete says:

              Second favourite film of all time is high praise indeed, Em. I like it a lot, but wouldn’t place it so high, even though it is an excellent British drama. xx

            • emmakwall says:

              It’s a brilliant movie, Toby Kebbell is fantastic in it. I love the idea behind it, how it’s a revenge movie in a small town. I grew up somewhere similar, I totally get it 🙂

              I got the painting for my 21st birthday, it was an original and the only one ever painted! My favourite movie is From Dusk till Dawn but Dead Man’s Shoes is a very close second xx

            • beetleypete says:

              It was filmed in and around Matlock, Derbyshire. It’s a tourist area, part of the Peak District. Meadows found the dark heart of the place though, that’s for sure! xx
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matlock,_Derbyshire

            • emmakwall says:

              Cheers Pete. t’s an interesting story of revenge told from a low key perspective. Most revenge movies have silly one liners and explosions etc. Meadows and Considine got the idea together whilst talking about the kind of small time drug dealers, thugs etc who frequent small towns and how it would be interesting to have an ‘action’ movie told from that perspective 🙂 xx

          • beetleypete says:

            Since I moved away from London, I don’t see Johnny that much. But when we are next in contact, I will be sure to tell him of the effect that his performance had on you, that’s for certian. xx

  6. newguy87 says:

    Nice List but Where is Turbo Kid? you promised lol

  7. Good list. I haven’t seen Captain’s Courageous yet, but have been meaning to do so for quite a while.

    • emmakwall says:

      Oh do watch it Geoff! I watched it with my grandad and he bought it cheaply off Ebay, I think it’s quite expensive on Amazon but can get disc only set on Ebay for couple of quid 🙂

      • “Captains Courageous”………………….What an experience that is!
        ‘They, that go down to the sea in ships…………..’ If that speech does not move you, then you do not have a heart!
        Spencer Tracy, as a Portugese fisherman (surely not)? He is outstanding!
        Wow………what a film………….I have a tear in my eye just thinking about it!
        I’ll bet you cried Emma!
        A cracking film!

        • Oh……..sorry Emma…………I just read further down……….You did cry!
          And so you should………..everybody should!
          I did!

        • emmakwall says:

          Spencer Tracy was outstanding!!!! I thought he was brilliant and I loved his accent and his little songs 🙂

          Thanks for such a brilliant comment, I’m so glad you love the film too! I have a tear in my eye just thinking about it!! I felt sorry for his dad at the end too, but of course, all works out for the best 🙂 🙂

          • Yeah…….I saw this as a kid and when Tracy was clinging to the broken mast and he’s telling them to cut it loose, I thought…….’Oh, he’ll be okay then’…….and then!!!!!! And the ringing of the bell…………..so sad!

  8. I was thinking of doing the same thing, Emma. I don’t review half of what I see–I like your movies this month–yay for Capt. Courageous peaking at #1!

  9. vinnieh says:

    My, my sister, you sure watched some good movies last month. And yes it is allowed for you to fancy Eggsy.

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