I’ve been watching more films recently and wanted to share some recommendations from the past week that I have seen either in the cinema or at home. There’s a mix of sci-fi, comedy, drama and alternate realities. I hope that something I have enjoyed this week sparks an interest for you.
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Set in an alternate reality Oakland, Sorry to Bother You shows what it can be like to climb the corporate ladder in Capitalist America. Cassius Green takes a job as a telemarketer at RegalView and quickly learns that using his ‘white voice’ will help him advance to power caller, a highly coveted position, available via the golden elevator. When Cassius starts earning more, he soon realises that being rich and successful, does not mean happy. His girlfriend, Detroit is a feminist activist determined to protest against the state of the world.
I really enjoyed this film. The bizarre alternate reality provided a satirical view on corporate America and what it could be like if powerful companies had more influence. The film was clearly a protest against corporate greed with the CEO of WorryFree, a cost-free way of living, being a billionaire and the antagonist of the film. There were many hilarious jokes, relatable moments, wacky incidents. The cast were amazing and the script was well-written. I would happily watch it again and recommend to anyone to go along to the cinema to take in this amazing film. I saw it in a sold out screening so it has been very popular. The ending took a weird direction but in an alternate reality, anything goes. 5/5.
Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius Green
Tessa Thompson as Detroit
Jermaine Fowler as Salvador or Sal, Cassius’ best friend and fellow RegalView worker.
Omari Hardwick as Mr. ________, a nameless manager who takes Cassius under his wing when he becomes a power caller.
Terry Crews as Sergio, Cassius’ uncle. Cassius lives in Sergio’s basement and is motivated to become a power caller when Sergio learns he many lose his house.
Michael X. Sommers as Johnny, Cassius’ manager.
Steven Yeun as Squeeze, organiser of the worker’s union at RegalView.
Armie Hammer as Steve Lift, CEO of WorryFree and writer of best seller, I’m on Top.
Super 8 (2011)
A sci-fi film with a strong element of family relationships. It’s 1979 and Joe and his friends are making a movie together. They are all around 13/14 years of age. While filming at a train station they witness a monumental train crash. Afterwards, many strange incidents occur, suddenly making real life way more interesting than the zombie film they envisioned. Joe is also struggling with the sudden death of his mother and his deputy police chief father is too busy to listen to him. Joe and his friends try and save their town from a mysterious creature.
I really loved this film for many reasons. The writer/ director, J.J. Abrams and producer, Steven Spielberg have made some of my favourite films and TV shows such as Star Trek (2009), Lost, Jurassic Park, ET, Ready Player One and so many more. It was also interesting from a film student point of view to see the sort of equipment the average kid would have access to while making a film. The technology was more advanced than I had realised for that time. The actors were all superb with Joel Courtney as Joe in his first role! and Elle Fanning as Alice really standing out. They both struggle with strict fathers but don’t let that stop them making the film. It was great to see a big Hollywood film put children as the main actors and most of them had little or no previous experience. I also enjoyed the 70s setting of the cars, clothes and general culture. Family played a big part of the film and I found myself shedding a few tears at the end which I haven’t done at a sci-fi film before. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes sci-fi, family orientated or kid-centred films. 5/5.
Joel Courtney as Joe, the makeup wizard who also makes models of trains.
Elle Fanning as Alice, a convincing actress who borrows his dad’s car.
Ryan Lee as Cary, a great zombie actor who always brings explosives.
Riley Griffiths as Charles, the writer/director of the film and Joe’s best friend. He has many siblings and his parents always look out for Joe.
Gabriel Basso as Martin, the lead of their film who isn’t as clever as the others but has plenty of talent.
Zach Mills as Preston, another actor and general helper. Often left behind to cover.
Kyle Chandler as Joe’s father, Deputy Jackson Lamb
Ron Eldard as Alice’s father, still angry over his wife leaving.
Noah Emmerich as Colonel Nelec, he leads the military presence that take over the town.
Glynn Turman as Dr. Woodward, the kid’s science teacher who is the key to the monster’s appearance.
The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
Based on the best-selling book, The Girl with All the Gifts tells the post-apocalypse story of Melanie who is kept in a military compound and spends her time in a classroom, buckled into a wheelchair. A zombie apocalypse has happened and the remaining survivors are living in military camps across the UK. Melanie loves her teacher, Miss Justineau as she tells the class wonderful stories of princesses, goddesses, Romans, Greeks and warriors. When the base is over run, Melanie realises that she too is a ‘hungry’ and with Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks, Dr. Caldwell and a couple of soldiers, she travels through the dystopian wasteland of England to reach Beacon, the next place of hope.
I was really excited for this film as I read the book a couple of years ago and greatly enjoyed it. The film was good but did not deliver the same enjoyment as the book. A few big points were changed and the romance between Sergeant Parks and Miss Justineau was completely written out and the ethnicity of Miss Justineau and Melanie was swapped around. It was entertaining and the acting was okay but it did not live up to my expectations. I would not watch again in a hurry. 3/5.
Sennia Nanua as Melanie, Miss Justineau’s best student and Dr. Caldwell’s last chance.
Gemma Arterton as Miss Justineau, Melanie’s teacher who feels great compassion for all the children in her class.
Paddy Considine as Sgt. Parks, the no-nonsense leader who grows to trust Melanie.
Glenn Close as Dr. Caldwell, the scientist who wants to use the children to make a cure.
Anthony Welsh as Dillon, a private who goes on the expedition to Beacon.
Fisayo Akinade as Kieran Gallagher, a private that Melanie trusts who also goes on the trip to Beacon.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
This epic animation took four years to make and certainly delivered. It focuses on teenager, Miles Morales, he has just started at his new boarding school but still sneaks out to hang with his Uncle and paint graffiti. He is bitten by a radioactive spider and gets all sorts of powers. They get him into many embarrassing situations but after witnessing Peter Parker’s death, he takes on the responsibility to stop The Kingpin from destroying reality by trying to bring back his dead family. Miles gets help from many different Spider-People that have been brought to his reality. He struggles with believing in himself and it doesn’t help that his dad’s a cop.
I loved this film. It has received a lot of praise and is nominated for an Oscar so I was pleased when I eventually got around to seeing it. The animation was brilliant as unique, often going back to comic book lay out. The cast of voices is hugely talented and they helped bring life to some amazing characters. There were many hilarious parts but also some great messages about helping your friends and being brave. I would recommend to any superhero fans or anyone that is looking for something different from an animation. 5/5.
Shameik Moore as Miles Morales
Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker, an older Spider-Man who has let himself go in his reality.
Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy, who became Spider-Man instead of Peter Parker in her reality.
Mahershala Ali as Uncle Aaron, Miles’ cool uncle.
Brian Tyree Henry as Jefferson Davis, Miles’ police officer father.
John Mulaney as Peter Porker/ Spider-Ham, a pig who is also Spider-Man.
Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker, from the future, she co-pilots her robot with a spider.
Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir, from the 1930s, in a monochrome universe.
Lily Tomlin as Aunt May, Peter Parker’s guardian who helps the Spider gang in their mission.
Zoë Kravitz as Mary Jane, Peter Parker’s widow
Kathryn Hahn as Dr. Olivia Octavius, Wilson Fisk’s scientist with a superhero alter-ego
Liev Schreiber as The Kingpin, the evil owner of Alchemax.
Chris Pine as Peter Parker, the first Spider-Man who dies trying to stop the Kingpin.
Almost Famous (2000)
This cult classic from 2000 may be old but it tells a great rock and roll story. 15 year old William convinces Rolling Stone Magazine that he is a legitimate music journalist and goes on tour with upcoming rock band, StillWater. He is trying to write his piece but also has many experiences along the way. He makes friends with Band Aid, Penny Lane, who is romancing Russell, the guitarist of StillWater. William learns that rock stars are not all glitz and glamour and they aren’t always your friend. It is set in the early 1970s, the golden age of rock.
I really enjoyed the film. I love rock music especially from the 1970s and it was interesting to see the music industry through the eyes of a teenager. The acting was great, Kate Hudson stood out as Penny Lane and Frances McDormand as Elaine, William’s strict mother. It had many funny moments while not holding back on drama and entertainment. A classic for a reason. 5/5.
Billy Crudup as Russell, leader of StillWater and the person William becomes closest to in the band.
Kate Hudson as Penny Lane, 16 year old Band Aid, who likes to runaway from life by touring with bands.
Frances McDormand as Elaine, William’s mother
Patrick Fugit as William, rock fan and wannabee journalist.
Jason Lee as Jeff Bebe, member of StillWater.
Zooey Deschanel as Anita, William’s sister. She leaves home when William is 11 to escape her oppressive mother and to become an air stewardess.
Anna Paquin as Polexia, Penny’s fellow Band Aid
Noah Taylor as Dick Roswell, the band’s manager
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs, editor of Cream magazine who gives advice to William.
Jimmy Fallon as StillWater’s new manager brought in to bring some order to the tour.
I have watched a diverse selection this week and I hope that you are inspired to watch something I enjoyed.