Summer film round-up

Recently released films that I watched, including two documentaries this time.

Finding Vivian Maier
A documentary about this nanny turned famous street photographer. She died a couple of years ago and a massive collection of her negatives and undeveloped rolls of film were found by coincidence. It consists of tens of thousands of images which she had never shown to anyone. She had always worked as a nanny and took photos whenever she could. When her work was found, a collector developed, printed and archived the images and they were exhibited around the world. I saw them in London a couple of years ago. The film came out in the UK last month and was really excellent. It explores what kind of person Vivian must have been, based on the photos that she took and on conversations with people who knew her. The story is told in chronological order and we slowly find out more and more about her. The same way as the collector managed to find out the information bit by bit through his detective work. Really interesting and well done!

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Movies that I watched in May

In order of preference…

All this film shows is a guy in a car. Driving and making calls on his phone. Sounds like nothing much but it’s actually a really good film! He’s basically trying to sort out a mistake that he made, at the same time juggling a big work project and keeping his marriage alive. Really worth watching. The actor Tom Hardy is doing a great job in this film. Apparently it was shot during only three nights.

The wind rises
A Japanese animated film based on the life of the Japanese engineer Jiro Horikoshi who designed fighter planes for the Japanese military during the build up to World War II.
The film starts with him as a boy and ends when he made one of the biggest breakthroughs in terms of aircraft design for Japan. While Jiro was passionate about flying all his life, he never wanted his planes to be responsible for the death of so many people. But his desire to design great aircrafts was stronger. A side story is how he meets and falls in love with his wife. Overall a really good film and a real tear jerker! The film was praised as the most beautiful and greatest animated film ever made. I haven’t seen a lot of animated films to compare it too but I liked it a lot.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (3D)
Super hero films are usually not my kind of thing but I thought I’d give this one a try. It also was an excuse to catch up with some people who I hadn’t seen for a while. Unfortunately, as expected, it wasn’t my thing. Basically the X-Men are people with special skills, like being able to predict the future, hearing people’s thoughts, moving very fast or controlling metal. In this film they need to prevent a war between the ‘normal’ humans and the X-Men by going back into the past and therefore changing the future. My friends liked it, so I guess if you’re into super hero films, it probably was a good film.

How we used to live
A documentary made completely out of British Film Institute (BFI) archive material, with a soundtrack by the band St Etienne, specifically written for this film. The film depicts life in London between the 1960s and 80s. This documentary isn’t aired in the standard cinema chains (yet). I saw it at the Southend Film Festival – in a room that was very warm and after a few hours of walking by the sea. I have to admit, it was very hard to stay awake!
I didn’t particularly enjoy it and thought it was pretty boring. I appreciate the effort that went into it; the filmmakers spent months and months trawling through the archives to find the right material but there wasn’t really a storyline or anything. Apparently there will be some screenings further down the line with St Etienne performing live during the film which might make it a bit more interesting.

Films I watched in April

Films I watched in March

Movies that I watched in April

I didn’t have the chance to watch as many movies as I would have liked to in April. Mainly due to my two week holiday – so I’m definitely not complaining.

So here’s what I watched and what I thought of it.

The Double film poster

The Double
A film about a guy with an ordinary life who isn’t noticed by anyone. Then a new co-worker arrives in his office, who is the exact physical double of the protagonist, except that he is the centre of attention. I was very intrigued by the story line. The beginning was a bit slow but it started to get interesting about half an hour into the film. And that is when the sound system broke. Unfortunately Cineworld couldn’t fix it and the manager on duty had to announce to the audience that basically the technology is effed and we can all go home. Great. I never found the time to go see it again but I really want to know what will happen! Might have to wait until it’s on Netflix. Or read the Dostoyevsky novel that it was based on.

A scientist who works on an artificially intelligent system is dying and manages to upload his consciousness to the system so he can live on. Johnny Depp trapped in an iPad basically. The trailer looked really good but the film was actually terrible. The beginning was fine and it was quite intriguing to see the lives of the scientist couple and the activities of the anti-AI terrorist group but as the film went on it got more and more absurd and ridiculous. Definitely wouldn’t recommend this.

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