2019 - A Theme for Every Month


Eighth Grade 2018

This kid is the next Dustin Hoffman
Fun watch, original for portraying this specific school period instead of another mid high school period movie.

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
Chyp, have you seen any more lately? What's next on your list?
Nothing else yet that fits the brief for this month no, did have a slight hope that Slow West might somehow be able to be shoehorned in here but alas not.

I do have one lined up for next week though, and it's a pretty well known one that as far as I can remember I've never actually seen ..... Heathers.
NomsPre-1930 Countdown

terrible, 0/5, not enough puppies.

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!

Michael Lehmann

Satirical crime drama that's easy to understand the appeal of, especially to an American audience of a certain generation, and for the most part is a reasonably enjoyable romp even if it did take a little while for me to warm to and it decides to bail out by somewhat predictably and disappointingly developing a moral compass in the closing stages.

Although the characters are generally drawn with fairly broad strokes it is a satire, which means such characterisations are not only acceptable but even to an extent expected, and the acting by the principles is decent enough. Christian Slater does channel a little too much Jack Nicholson for my liking though, I'd have preferred if his character had a little more uniqueness to it.

Most of the humour works fairly well, the one notable exception for me being the double 'suicide' where both the chase sequence and the dialogue/actions of the cops are substandard fare by comparison. What hurts the movie most for me though is the final act, which opts to both dial down the absurdist nature of the satirical and also incorporate a small dose of completely unnecessary (and unwanted) social commentary / meaning into proceedings.

Heathers is quite a fun watch that has stood the test of time reasonably well (if anything it's even more topical now with the penchant for taking one's own inadequacies out on school children) but it does fall short in the final furlong for me and as such I'll award it a

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
Beautiful Thing

Hettie Macdonald

Inner-city coming-of-age drama with light-hearted touches, presumably to give the tale of same-sex love more appeal to a wider audience, but it struggles to make the mix work well which sadly lessens any effect of the dramatic content as a result.

The core tale is a relatively simple one and, if left to its own devices would have been reasonably well served, but sadly the addition of an overly colourful supporting character, in part to accommodate a little humour, proves to be an unwelcome distraction to proceedings (especially in the latter stages).

As a directorial debut it's not that bad but it does often have the feel of a televisual production - perhaps not really that surprising as most of those associated with it are primarily from that entertainment sector. The acting from the central performers is generally acceptable (even if most do play fairly stock characters) and there are one or two touching moments, but there is a lack of any real subtlety in any of the writing, score and direction which means everything that happens will come as no surprise to anyone.

Socially the film initially tries to present itself in a somewhat gritty manner but it lacks realism, feeling more like a middle-class view of working-class life, thankfully though the longer it goes on the less it tries to present itself in such a way and whilst the ending may warm a few hearts it's also quite laughably unrealistic. Even though imo the mix of humour and drama is one of the root causes of the film struggling to progress above mediocrity it does have to be said that there are a few moments of amusement dotted throughout that do work quite nicely.

Beautiful Thing is a film with its heart in the right place and remains perfectly watchable but ultimately just isn't that well realised and for me only deserves a

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
Bend It Like Beckham

Gurinder Chadha

Light-hearted coming-of-age drama incorporating both gender and cultural issues that's short on subtlety but still manages a certain charm thanks primarily to the likeability of its central character.

With events being centred around football it's nice that the sporting scenes are initially generally well managed, being kept fairly brief and edited nicely enough to mostly appear realistic, though it does have to be said that the sporting climax is by far the weakest such scene and looks terribly staged. Another decent aspect is the soundtrack, which contains a good mix of both Indian tunes and popular Western chart hits.

The atypically British humour that's employed can admittedly feel rather clichéd (as does the course of the story) but it does manage to provide a few smiles along the way and although the film may use a broad brush to portray them the cultural aspects are ones with a basis in reality.

Some of the earlier dialogue does feel rather forced though and whilst the whole does generate a level of warmth toward it the journey is somewhat predictable, a little laboured at times and dare I say it slightly underwhelming.

Bend It Like Beckham is an enjoyable enough watch that delivers what its target audience is looking for with a central character that is easy to root for but it does feel somewhat dated and slight and as such I can only give it a

sorry I've been a bit rubbish at the Coming of Age month, I've been in the 'Pool for a bit. Mark me down as must try harder for March x

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
sorry I've been a bit rubbish at the Coming of Age month, I've been in the 'Pool for a bit. Mark me down as must try harder for March x
S'ok christine, I've said from moment one that people are more than welcome to come and go as they please and by extension participate as much or as little as they want. You'll still get an A- at the end of the month from me

I've done far better than I thought I might with this month's theme, Frocktober will now almost certainly be regarded as the month the thread owner went missing lol.

War themed watchlist for this month:
  • The Young Lions 1958
  • Lawrence of Arabia 1962
  • Battle of Algiers 1966
  • Army of Shadows 1969
  • They Shall Not Grow Old 2018
  • Overlord 2018

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
Green Zone

Paul Greengrass

Thriller wrapped in war clothing about the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as part of the second invasion during the early noughties.

Whilst the premise of the search for WMD in Iraq is a reasonably interesting one (it was after all the cited reason for 'going back and finishing what was started by Bush senior') sadly in reality it provides little more than an excuse for a fairly straightforward and rather underwhelming conspiracy thriller.

With Greengrass at the helm and Matt Damon in the lead comparisons to the earlier Bourne films are only to be expected, and for me this isn't even close to being in the same league - the characters are mainly one-dimensional, there's precious little tension brought to proceedings and though the Bourne offerings often get criticised for their hand-held camera action and editing imo they are far more composed affairs compared to some of the chase/action sequences in this.

Thankfully most of the initial action sequences are at least relatively brief leaving proceedings watchable but the climax is far too much of a protracted assault on the visual senses for my taste, turning what should theoretically be the high-point of the movie into more of a low-point for me.

Green Zone could, and considering the subject matter perhaps should, have been so much more than the rather generic fare on offer and as such just about scrapes a

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
Beneath Hill 60

Jeremy Sims

Reality-based WW I drama that tells a worthwhile tale that certainly can be fascinating but the presentation is a little unremarkable and also incorporates elements that are both predictable and somewhat contrived in places.

The film does quite well early in the early stages of portraying the isolation of those that held station in the underground tunnels, listening for signs of activity from their opposite numbers, but sadly shifts the action overground for a mission that does manage a little tension but also lacks a little realism.

The horrors of life in the trenches does come across to an extent though the depiction does ultimately feel somewhat sanitised. Sadly the claustrophobic tunnels employed reasonably well in the first half of proceedings do also give way to much larger ones when the story shifts to the titular hill for the second half but the introduction of a little cat and mouse activity between the Allies and the Germans is very much welcome and by far the most interesting aspect imo.

Dotted throughout are flashback scenes that admittedly do both give a little backstory to the principle character and an easy route for closure to the story but for the most part are a distraction and generally feel like unnecessary padding.

Beneath Hill 60 is a little disappointing and leaves the feeling that it could have been better but is a worthwhile movie in terms of telling an aspect of WW I that certainly deserves to be told which predisposes me to erring on the side of slight generosity in awarding it a

You have an amazing talent for hiding threads in plain view! Only when I went looking for this year's "Monthly Mumble" did I finally stumble across this little gem of a thread. I'm not used to seeing you write more than a sentence or two about your movie viewings, so it's a nice surprised to see whole paragraphs! (Even if most of them are an exercise in vagueness )

I haven't seen many of the movies to appear in this thread, and I don't have much to say about the ones I have seen. Remember enjoying Green Zone somewhat but the movie has completely faded from my memory. At this point I forget that it's not an actual entry in the Bourne series. I like Heathers, but not as much as most people, which is disappointing considering how huge of a crush I've always had on Winona Ryder. Felt similarly to you about The Way Way Back and thought that the Criterion parodies were the best part of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Several movies from "Japuary" are already on the watchlist. Had never heard of Rapture, but will now keep an eye out for it.

I love the titles for some of these themed months. ("Aaarrrggghhhpril" earned a chuckle from me.) Not too into War films and don't foresee myself watching any of them this month, but now that I know this thread exists, I'll definitely try to join in for a few of the themes.

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
Hey there Cap, always a pleasure to see your friendly, murderous visage

Yeah. no 'Monthly Mumble' from me this year I'm afraid - decided to do this instead as I only have enough 'vague' in me for one thread at a time. Chuffed at managing to finish last year with exactly 666 movies watched though - was a devil of a job trying to orchestrate that

Sorry that I haven't been watching much in this thread for you to comment on thus far, hopefully some of the months will prove more successful in that regard. I've actually very few 'planned' watches laid out for the year, it's mainly just whatever fits the current monthly theme that I either happen to have laying around or that happenstance puts in front of me. I actually think I put more effort into the names for the monthly themes than I have in sourcing suitable fillums to watch

Please do feel free to join in as and whenever suits

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
The Bridges At Toko-Ri

Mark Robson

Korean war drama supposedly with its roots in reality that's a mix of character study and tribute to the US Navy and their supporting role in that war rather than an action adventure, but does incorporate a little of the latter, and is generally well enough delivered to maintain interest.

Though rather brief in terms of action what there is is staged quite nicely whilst the highlight of the film is for me the excellent aerial work dotted throughout. Though the story isn't particularly involved and the script fairly mediocre in places, the acting is decent (especially William Holden's restrained portrayal of a man in conflict in conflict) and events are mostly paced reasonably well with just the onshore segment dragging a little imo.

Tonally the film is a little mixed with Mickey Rooney's character (perhaps unsurprisingly) bringing a little offbeat light-heartedness to proceedings, but for the most part it works ok (though for me the closing tribute speech is a little overly cloying - that the film precedes it with a more realistic climax than is often the case in such affairs is however very much to its credit).

The Bridges At Toko-Ri is a reasonable watch that captures some lovely shots of the air-arm of the US Navy in action and as such I'm happy to give it a

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
They Shall Not Grow Old

Peter Jackson

WW I documentary that includes archive footage from the Imperial War Museum in England, of which a fair bit has been painstakingly restored and colourised, and voiceover commentary from some of those actually involved to decent effect.

One of the primary marketing aspects was that restoration and colourisation of footage and for the most part it is done well, with only odd aspects here and there looking somewhat less than realistic, and the transition to colour is managed really nicely. By bookending that reworked footage with original black & white segments, detailing the initial run-up to the war (with some amusing tales of recruiting shenanigans) and demobilisation following the armistice, it does make the footage from the front that little bit more impactful imo and hopefully enables the work to be viewed by a larger audience than it otherwise might have.

The synchronisation of commentary and images is generally nicely done and some of the colourised footage even has added vocalisation (the dialogue being ascertained by reading the lip-movements of those in shot) which works really well in bringing those pieces to life. The footage is periodically supplemented by use of images (such as cartoons) - mostly feeling pertinent and perfectly in keeping, though for me sadly one did feel a little out of place (with modern stills) but thankfully it's relatively brief and doesn't detract much from the overall experience.

Certainly life in the trenches and war at the front line is depicted as the abject horror it undoubtedly was but it's nice that there is also adequate footage of the troops away from that environment that helps reaffirm them as just normal, everyday folk thrust into a hellish situation that they could never have imagined when willingly responding to their country's call.

They Shall Not Grow Old is technologically rather impressive and obviously a labour of love that details a war which should never be forgotten in quite absorbingly fashion and I'm very happy to give it a

I really want to see They Shall Not Grow Old. In general, I never like Peter Jackson's films but I'm sure this would be an exception, and have major respect for him undertaking such a project.

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
[A War]

Tobias Lindholm

War/courtroom drama set in Afghanistan that puts decision-making and accountability when under fire under scrutiny.

Pilou Asbæk gives his usual solid performance in the central role, he never strikes me as someone with a particularly large range but does have these types of characters pretty much nailed imo, and those in support are generally decent. As a film of two halves both parts work reasonably well without either really excelling - for me the initial 'war' part is a little drawn-out and whilst the subsequent 'courtroom half' may provide food for thought it perhaps could have been expanded further. The sequences focusing on family life dotted throughout are a necessary part but also feel a little overplayed to me.

Sadly some of the hand-held camerawork is rather off-putting, I'm not much of a fan of 'shaky-cam' in the first place but can understand it's use in certain scenarios to impart a sense of frenetic movement or chaos - outside of those though I think it's far more often indicative of budgetary constraints than any artistic choice. Thankfully most of the camerawork is steady enough though with only relatively few scenes impacted detrimentally.

A War is a decent enough watch that may mainly sit on the moral fence, leaving viewers to form their own opinions on what transpires, but the situation is a believable and interesting one that for the most part is presented acceptably so I'm happy to award it a

Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
Last Days In Vietnam

Rory Kennedy

Documentary relating the eventual evacuation from Saigon of both Americans (official) and South Vietnamese (unofficial) following the big North Vietnamese push a couple of years after American Military involvement was officially ended with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.

There's nothing remarkable or out of the ordinary about the presentation format, consisting of plenty of video footage and photographic stills interspersed with slices of 'talking heads' interviews from those present at the time, but there is a nice flow to proceedings and enough individual tales to makes it a very easy and fairly engrossing watch.

That events deeply affected certain individuals involved is quite apparent, none more so than Stuart Herrington who still clearly bears the internal scars of having no way to completely fulfil a promise made - for such strength of feeling to exist nearly four and a half decades later gives those moments quite a level of emotional impact. In fact there is a lot of humanity on display, both from those within Saigon itself and those receiving the evacuees, which makes this not only of historical interest but at times a rather heartwarming viewing.

Last Days In Vietnam balances its content rather well imo, making it not only historically interesting but also worthwhile as a piece of human drama and for that I think it deserves a

Lawrence of Arabia 1962 dir. David Lean (Re-watch)

'The film as a whole is widely considered a masterpiece of world cinema and one of the greatest films ever made. Additionally, its visual style has influenced many directors, including George Lucas, Sam Peckinpah, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Brian De Palma, Oliver Stone, and Steven Spielberg, who called the film a "miracle".'

It was ranked in the top ten films of all time in the 2002 Sight & Sound directors poll, which can be found in the MoFo lists section.

For me, the first half 100/100, 'The epic of all epics'.