Halfway through the year already! Wow, time seems to flyby just by doing this series of posts!
I watched five films this month, and only two were for the first time. I had no idea I watched so many films repeatedly. But the two new films I watched this month were two of my absolute favorite of this year and I can’t wait to review them. So here goes.
1: Hidden Figures.
Wow. I’m going to be hard-pressed to find a film that will beat the sheer masterpiece that was Hidden Figures. I’m not even sure where to begin about this film other than the fact that it was everything I wanted it to be. From the opening scene where the three main women are stranded on the side of the road (though I’m told that the mechanics of it were incorrect) to the final scene, this film flowed beautifully. So, let’s break it down of why it worked so well: The story. The story is a true story about an African American woman who became integral to the NASA program in the 1960s. This story only became known to the public recently because of the classified information involved, but in my opinion, it couldn’t come at a better time. While sometimes it felt dramatized, a simple google search will prove that the crazy aspects were true. The acting: whew the acting was incredible. Taraji P. Henson did deserve an Oscar nomination. While I have not seen La La Land, I find it hard to believe that Emma Stone could have topped the impressive range which Taraji P. Henson showcased in this film. Just about everyone in this film made their characters believable, and endearing (except for a few who were supposed to be unlikable.) This is easily the best film I have seen this year. The directing: The directing was amazing. I can learn a lot from the way this film was directed. The coloring, the angles, the small touches, everything was done in such an impressive way that you just get sucked into this world and never want to leave. And finally, the last thing that struck me as so cool was The Music. Pharrell Williams is an interesting dude. Some of the rap records he has produced are some of the worst albums out there as far as degrading of women. Yet for this film, a film about three bright intelligent women, he has written some truly wonderful songs. The soundtrack feels at once old school, and fresh at the same time. The lyrics further prove points and keep the story moving. If I could write an entire blog post about Hidden Figures, I would, but I must move on to other films. In conclusion, if you haven’t seen this film yet, watch it. It is inspirational, educational, and thoroughly enjoyable. Which is honestly three traits that I would give to the next film as well…
2: Queen of Katwe.
And they say chess is boring. Well, chess never had that stigma in my house growing up. The “cool kids” in church were chess fanatics. One of our friends made a chess clock app (sorry, my homeschooler is showing.) But this chess film is not about chess. It is about the importance of education. It is about the struggles that young people in Africa face on a daily basis. And it is about the amazing work that God can do through his people. Moreover, it is a true story. Technically this is part of Disney Film’s sports series (Million Dollar Arm, McFarland USA) and I must say they are on a pleasant streak. Queen of Katwe is such an enjoyable, and surprisingly well-done film that you forget about the clichés of the story. This could have easily been a cheesy, TV movie. But Disney filmed most of, if not the entire film, in Africa. They cast a girl who is from Uganda instead of going with a child actress from the states. This film feels surprisingly real. It is one that is clean without shying away from series subject matter. If it wasn’t for Hidden Figures, this would be at the top of the list. But this film is still one of the best I have seen all year.
This is a film I saw last year I think. But my brother was up at law school, so we decided to show him the film last night. The only negative thing I can really say about this film are the inappropriate outfits. You have to hold up your hand to block the bottom half of the screen, but the film is worth it. It is border line a chick flick, but it has enough legal intrigue I think to prevent it from becoming a film just for women. The story is again based on a true story, and once again is about a young black woman. Hidden Figures, Queen of Katwe, and Belle all have very similar stories, though they take place on three different continents and are set in different time periods. What is so cool about these three films though, is the fact that genius comes from every demographic and economic background. Belle is a film with lofty language, good posture, and an insane amount of camera shots with mirrors. But it all fits to make this a beautifully done love story that is really about one woman who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere.
In anticipation to Cars 3, I decided to go back and watch the first one. While some people don’t rank this very high in the Pixar canon, this film will always hold a special place in my heart. It was one of the few films I saw in theaters growing up. I even lost a tooth during the film thanks to an un-popped kernel. The film is simple, humorous, and all around a great time. I still enjoy watching the animation, listening to the great soundtrack, and reciting my favorite lines. The main things this film did for me this time around, was get me hyped for Cars 3.
5: True Grit
Growing up, John Wayne was THE actor. Out of all the actors in Hollywood past and present, I saw more movies with John Wayne than any other actor. True Grit is my Mom’s go to film when she’s not feeling well. So, when we all got sick earlier this month, it was just a matter of time before True Grit was playing on the TV. While this isn’t my favorite John Wayne film, it’s still one of his best performances and his charisma makes up for some of the obnoxious acting. All in all, I can’t bring really any new revelations about this film because I have seen it way too many times.
So, going forward, the clear winners of this month and the two films I will place to be in the top films I saw this year are:
Hidden Figures and Queen of Katwe.
Have you seen any of these films? What did you watch this month? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!