TMP – Oscar Winner Edition: Best Director

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

This week is once again part of the Oscar Winner Edition, which will continue to be a reoccurring theme during each month. We already talked about Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress as well as Supporting Actor/Actress, but today is all about Directors. As I like to do so often, I’m going to feature my favorite winners, but also include a little section with nominees I think also deserved the award.

Bong Joon-ho with Parasite

Bong Joon-ho made history with Parasite for a reason. Despite this movie not really being in a genre I love, I could not not feature it on the list. I really thought it would open up future award shows for more representation and diversity in the films and people they select, but they still have miles to go.

Danny Boyle with Slumdog Millionaire

I know this movie isn’t flawless, but I had a great time watching it. Many people know Dev Patel from Skins, but this movie is actually how I got introduced to him as an actor and I have loved his journey and following his career ever since.

Kathryn Bigelow with The Hurt Locker

Can you believe that the first woman director who won an Oscar was Kathryn Bigelow in 2010? Looking at the nominees of the past decades was a sobering experience. I’m glad that Chloé Zhao has won now too, although I haven’t seen Nomadland yet.

Nominees Who Would Have (Also) Deserved the Win

As mentioned above, it’s not that I want to take the award away from the actual winners of any particular year, but sometimes I just liked other nominees as well. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Jordan Peele (Get Out)
  • Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot)
  • Peter Weir (The Truman Show)
  • Steven Spielberg (E.T.)

What are some of your favorite directors? Not even necessarily just some that have won the Academy Award. Let’s talk!

April 2021 Wrap-Up

I can’t believe April is over already. I’ve had all these plans and ideas for the year, but once again, little of that is going according to said plans. Anyway, I managed to read/listen to three books and that’s what we will start this post with. It’s not a huge amount of reads, but my motivation in the reading department is a continuous flow and ebb.

  • Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin (4 stars)
  • The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
    This book not having a rating has nothing to do with the quality of the writing, but simply with my decision not to rate and review books by friends and people I know. Elena is an old blogging buddy and I was so happy to see her dream of releasing her own romance novel come true. I HAD to support that and had a really good time reading The Spanish Love Deception. Romance isn’t my usual genre, so I don’t feel super qualified to comment on it anyway, but the banter between Lina and Aaron was so much fun.
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman/audiobook (3 stars)
    I still don’t know how people sit through audiobooks, because I’m apparently a very visual reader and completely space out after a while. The fact that The Sandman had a fantastic voice cast (with the likes of James McAvoy, Kat Dennings, Michael Sheen, Riz Ahmed and many more) and thus making it more of an audioplay than audiobook helped immensely. Still, I struggled with paying attention a lot … I keep trying this medium, but apparently it’s just not for me (as I’ve talked about before in this post)

Hana Khan Carries On The Spanish Love Deception The Sandman (Sandman Audible Original, #1)

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews (where there is one) you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

At the end of April, I took a little social media break and I’m basically still on it and it feels quite nice. It’s not that anything in particular happened that drove me away, but I did not enjoy being constantly glued to my phone and putting my entire energy into that thing. After a while, it also spiked my anxiety to voice my opinions, despite no one ever coming for me and I just decided to dip out for a while. I’m not completely gone and if anyone needs me, it’s fairly easy to contact me, but I just thought I’d let you know why my timeline is a little bit more quiet. It definitely helped in eliminating one of the many excuses I had created for myself in order to not pursue any of my creative ideas (be that writing, drawing or something else entirely).

For those of you who are interested in the status of my Canada-move, it’s still very much looking grim. I have decided to apply for another extension of the visa once that is possible (you can only do so 30 days before yours expires), but that I cannot put my life on hold for this any longer. I’m currently taking steps to figure out what I might be able to do instead and how I could move on, but it’s all a process. This really still is my biggest dream and giving up on it is soul crushing to even contemplate.

My creativity still isn’t at a peak, but I can feel some of it returning. I may or may not have splurged on some new materials that I’m excited to work with, even though I still have to get acquainted with a lot of them. I don’t think I will post any portraits or other drawings in the near future, but rather just try to get a feel back for myself without having to put anything of it out into the world yet.

MY FAVORITE THINGS

As much as I struggled with the fact that the finale of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on the same day and at the same time as Shadow and Bone, I loved doing those weekly reviews. They may not have sparked as much engagement and views as some of the WandaVision content, but it was nice to dig deep on content I feel so passionate about. I’m still unsure whether to go through the trouble for Loki, but at the same time, I felt a big hole this past Friday without anything to review. Please, let me know in the comments which other shows (besides Loki) you could imagine me doing weekly or in depth seasonal reviews for! I obviously can’t promise anything, because I don’t know if I will always have the time for it, but I enjoyed the routine and if you *want* me to talk about something in particular, I’d really like to know what, so I can at least think about it!

I’m all ears for your ideas!

MY OTHER POSTS

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS/CONTENT

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TRAILER POSTS


Hope your April went well! What are some posts you enjoyed reading this past month? Did you encounter some great books and TV shows? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #58

I wanted to wait with this post until I had watched Shadow and Bone, but then I wrote a whole post just about the show yesterday. If you’ve missed it, you can check it out here, although I have to warn you that I did not hold back and went into detail quite a bit. Anyway, I still have plenty of shows and movies to talk about, so, let’s get started!

Starstruck (Season 1)

It was impossible to find a trailer for this show on Youtube, so I hope you can live with the link to the twitter post, but what a shame! Because this show was so adorable and funny and heartfelt.

I’ve always liked Rose Matafeo as a comedian and this was a passion project of hers for several years. She plays a woman in her late twenties, who just sort of got stuck in London after failed relationships that brought her to the country. Then, one night, she meets a famous actor (without knowing that fact about him) and a whirlwind romance starts.

The six episodes are short (roughly twenty minutes), but span over the course of a year. It has this kind of self-insert wish-fulfillment quality to it, in a way that makes you wonder if maybe a handsome actor could also fall madly in love with you if you just met them at the right time. I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed the open end that left the possibility for more. Genuinely think this is a hidden gem in the BBC programming.

Mythic Quest: Everlight (Single Episode)

I love Mythic Quest. It’s one of my favorite workplace comedies (which seem to be a specialty of Apple TV) and I like how they bridged the gap between Season 1 and Season 2 so far. Their quarantine episode literally had me sobbing, but I didn’t expect the Everlight episode to also hit home. While I wasn’t ugly-crying, I can’t deny how beautiful and uplifting Everlight was. It really brought the team back and set up the new season in a great way and I admired the use of CGI as well. So freaking well done! It may just have been one episode, but it made me so excited for the new content that will come May 7.

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me (Season 1)

Not going to lie, this isn’t really my kind of sitcom. It’s the laugh tracks and the characters turning to the screen to break the fourth wall. It’s kind of like The Crew wasn’t my thing either. I mostly ended up watching it for Heather Hemmens, because that woman has me in her grasp, and for that alone it was totally worth it! The show actually covered some deeper topics than I thought it would and I’m sure it will find its audience.

The Letter Room 

I don’t talk about short films often, but this one has Oscar Isaac. Need I say more?

Admittedly, my knowledge of the prison system is mostly from films and books. It’s essentially not a topic I have spent much time on, but I thought it was handled in an interesting way here. As Oscar’s character gets assigned to the letter room, to scan all correspondence, he gets too attached to a certain exchange. It all boils down to the fact that we all need someone to love us and I enjoyed this interpretation of it.

Monday

I was so excited for this movie, because I like Sebastian Stan’s random indie movie choices. However, this movie unfortunately didn’t manage to capture me. I’ll just copy and paste my letterboxd review (feel free to add me!):

Some relationships are like Fridays. You’re done with work, you’re ready for the weekend and the freedom that comes with it. There’s lots of sex, music, dancing and partying without thinking ahead too much. Why care about your troubles from the work week as long as you get to enjoy the now, right?
Well, at the end of it all, you still have to face Monday. The reality of life and all its messiness and your choices.

Monday (the movie) shows two broken people who would rather get lost in each other and ignore all their issues in favor of passion. It doesn’t always work and while I am sure people enjoy the various sex and nude scenes, they’re a lot and often just an avoidance in order not to have to deal with the real problems. The end is odd and open, because you’ve never seen them facing their issues and this might be the first step towards doing that, but the movie leaves you a bit empty and with a feeling of doom for the couple.


Have you watched anything I mentioned? Do you want to? Let’s talk about it!

Thursday Movie Picks – Psychological Thriller

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

This week is all about Psychological Thrillers. I like them more than regular crime or horror movies, but once again, not my field of expertise. I’m such a sucker for fluff and comedy and just regular dramas, but this darker stuff really isn’t my wheelhouse. I will still try to give you my best picks!

*the genre of the following movies is probably debatable, but I picked them from the most popular list of psycho thrillers on IMDB … so, take up the classification with them*

Gossip

I watched this movie up and down when I was younger. It actually has a really excellent cast, but barely anyone I know has seen it. Basically, it’s a study of what happens when you put fake rumors into the world and how wrong things go when they develop a life of their own.

Ex Machina

I like my thrillers sci-fi based? Again, Ex Machina has a fantastic cast and deserved its praise back in the day. They weren’t the first to talk about sentient “machines”, but they did it well and I enjoyed it quite more than I expected.

The Invisible Man

I rarely do horror, but Oliver Jackson Cohen is the exception! He can get me to watch just about anything (I really mean that. I watched some terrible stuff, but also brilliant projects he was in) and he is one of my favorite on screen villains. Although, I also love it when he is the genuine love interest … anyway – probably not the most impacting horror movie ever, but the reality of someone gaslighting you and making you seem crazy to the world is my worst nightmare!

Inception

So many friends tell me they were confused by the movie, but I wasn’t really and I loved the dream-hopping and idea planting. Is it really a thriller? I don’t know, but it has several psychological aspects and it was number one on the imdb list.


What are some psychological thrillers you enjoyed? Did you watch any of the ones I mentioned?

Thursday Movie Picks – Female Cinematographers

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

Today’s theme was suggested by Brittani and is Female Cinematographers. I am really into this, because I enjoyed doing the Female Directors list a LOT! I’m always up for celebrating women in film and TV at any hour. For those who don’t know, a cinematographer, sometimes also known as the Director of Photography, is in charge of the camera and lighting, hence dictating a lot of the visual style (framing, look, color, light, etc.) of the final product. Let’s see who my favorites are!

A Quiet Place – Charlotte Bruus Christensen

I don’t usually do horror. People who know me are aware that I tried branching out and experiencing new things these past years, but as a general rule, I don’t do horror. With A Quiet Place, I was immediately engrossed though and honestly enjoyed the whole thing. I was never too grossed out by anything, but thought that it had a cohesive look and great embodiment of that post-apocalyptic hermit lifestyle.

Further examples of her work: Molly’s Game, Fences, The Girl on the Train, Life, …

Beastly – Mandy Walker

I cannot help myself in putting one the movies that catered to my teen heart like nothing else in these posts. I stopped trying to suppress that part of myself a long time ago and it is just facts that I enjoy and adore watching teen angst filled movies and Beastly is one I have seen more times than I can count. I just think it is fascinating how Mandy Walker has done those epic gorgeous gems that often did well during award seasons, but also does teen movies like this one and Red Riding Hood. I love a woman who can do both!

Further examples of her work: Mulan, Hidden Figures, Australia, Tracks, Red Riding Hood, …

Black Panther – Rachel Morrison

Do I really have to explain the cultural significance of Black Panther? I think not. Rachel Morrison’s filmography proves that she is more than capable and she was the first woman to ever get nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography (for Mudbound at the time).

Further examples of her work: Fruitvale Station, Cake, Dope, Mudbound, …

The Pretty One – Polly Morgan

I figured why not include a little indie movie? I probably remember this one more due to Zoe Kazan’s performance than the overall cinematography, but Polly Morgan has done a lot of work since then and has moved on to far bigger projects.

Further examples of her work: A Quiet Place II, The Truth About Emanuel, Lucy in the Sky, …

Gloria Bell – Natasha Braier

Gloria Bell is not one of my favorite movies, however, to my shame, the only one I have seen of Natasha Braier YET. Still, despite the narrative not being my thing, which really isn’t her fault one bit, it was an example of just how well Braier handles color. The remainder of her filmography showcases this as well and I am really looking forward to watching some of these movies some day for the aesthetics alone. It’s also interesting to me that she is quite in demand when it comes to music videos, but with her style, it’s really no surprise.

Further examples of her work: The Neon Demon, Honey Boy, Gringo, …


Who are some of your favorite women cinematographers? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #57

I’ve watched a decent amount of shows and movies, so, I figured it was time to do mini-reviews again. It has gotten increasingly hard to get enthusiastic about content, which I know I’ve mentioned a couple times already, but I still hope you’ll enjoy the following recaps of my watch habits.

The Irregulars (Season 1)

I don’t know how many of you remember this from the trailer posts, but I was really excited for this show. I’ve always enjoyed stories in the Sherlock realm and this one seemed promising in terms of paranormal excitement. However, I found myself really struggling to get into the whole thing. Parts of it were a bit more horrifying than I might have imagined (getting all my teeth stolen and someone skinning faces and using it for themselves is some of the stuff my nightmares are made of), but I also just didn’t connect to the characters right away. In fact, I actively disliked people such as Jessica and Watson, which were essential for the story and integrity of the group.

All of that aside, I kept watching and while I found a lot of the plot predictable, the final two episodes is where the real heart of the show was lying. Especially in those final moments, I was close to tears and fully invested, so the pay off was 100% there in the end … but it takes its time.

For fans of: Sherlock lore, paranormal events, misfits and found family

Wynonna Earp (Final Season SPOILERS)

*full post on Wynonna Earp and my love for it from the beginning can be found here*

I’ve been a Wynonna Earp fan from the get go. I own a replica Wynonna necklace and a friend once gifted me one of Waverly’s necklaces (to date, one of the best gifts I have ever received and don’t know how to repay) as well as signed copies of the comic books topped with a personalized thank you video from Tim Rozon who plays Doc. So yes, I’m an Earper and not afraid to say it. But … the past two seasons have been a struggle.

With the network and production company struggles, adding the delays due to covid and the constant uncertainty of whether the show would find a new home or not had dampened my excitement considerably. I would be lying if I said I couldn’t wait to tune into each episode, because I just let those episodes pile on and … now the show is over. I know there’s still some hope out there for it to get picked up by someone else, but I was actually pleased with the ending we got.

If you think about it, that final episode gave us almost everything we wanted (cause no one can give us Dolls back and that’s the real shame). I felt like a lot of the past seasons skimmed on Wynonna and Doc thinking or talking about their daughter, so them seeking her out is my ultimate happily ever after. The WayHaught wedding was the pinnacle of what I had envisioned for them and all the remaining characters got a hopeful outlook as well. It was just such a generally sweet goodbye that anything more would ruin that in way?

For fans of: supernatural westerns, badass female characters

Godzilla vs. Kong

Do you watch these movies for plot? Cause then I can promise you this will be a painful experience. The humans are more of a detriment than helpful in most cases, and when they do add to the narrative, they prove to have miraculous insight in something they had no prior knowledge of before. When I’m being completely honest though, it does not matter one bit. I loved seeing Kong communicate and bond with a little deaf girl – she is truly the star of that movie! (And we are going to ignore that she is from the Iwi tribe, which is like saying Chai tea or naan bread … cause Iwi in the Māori-language just means people or “tribe” … so they’d be tribe tribe. But whatever … that’s way beyond my expectations for this movie anyway).

These movies are really supposed to be watched for the monsters bashing each other and for plotholes to be conveniently forgotten or ignored. AND THAT’S OKAY! Do we need to discuss how a high ranking officer’s teen daughter got from the US to Hong Kong? No, let’s just watch Godzilla in Hollow Earth instead. Isn’t Hollow Earth powered by radiation dangerous to humans? Who cares, we have a research center down there now and apparently sunshine as well. You get my drift …

For fans of: monsters fighting each other

Thunder Force

This movie is ridiculous! I am sure there’s people out there who enjoy the humor, but I’m afraid it’s just not my cup of tea. The man who was half-crab … I will never be able to forget that imagery of her buttering him up. I just won’t.

Don’t get me wrong, it also has some really nice moments about friendship and family and I enjoyed those very much. It’s just that I didn’t find the funny parts all that funny, but cringy instead, so it was a bit of a mediocre watch. I don’t think it’s a must watch.

For fans of: ridiculousness in the superhero realm

Endings, Beginnings

TW: rape, drug use

People don’t hate this movie, but I barely know anyone who actually liked or enjoyed it a lot – then *I* came along!

Endings, Beginnings is 90% vibes and 10% plot. It’s slow and disjointed and introspective. The storytelling is anything but straight forward and I believe you have to be in a very specific mood to be able to fall in love with it as much as I did. 

Aside from the fact that I know that a lot of the performances were improvised and seemed genuinely authentic, this will make you fall in love with these actors and actresses even more than you possibly were before. I know people mostly watched it for Sebastian Stan (and I GET THAT), but I connected to Shailene’s character so much more than I anticipated. Not allowing yourself to be loved, being adrift, finding your purpose – it hit home way too hard. I really do believe that I will think about this movie and its message for a while, even if you never get a neat end to it.

For fans of: more vibes than plot, non-linear storytelling, “moment in time” rather than conclusive storytelling


Have you watched any of these or do you plan to? What have you been watching lately and do you think I’d enjoy? Let’s talk!