Friday, 23 January 2015

What I've Been Watching In: January

Happy Christmas (2014)
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Joe Swanberg, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber
I've been wanting to see this particular movie, for so many different reasons ever since I first saw the trailer and the stars promoting this film at Sundance. First of all, Drinking Buddies (which was also directed by Joe Swanberg) was one of my favourite movies of last year (review here) and his way of making movies really intrigues me. All of the dialogue in Drinking Buddies and Happy Christmas was completely improvised, which is definitely a unique and interesting attribute. If you didn't already know that the dialogue was being done ad lib then I bet you wouldn't even be able to tell, which really says something about the calibre of the acting in this and the realistic quality that it is aiming to portray. Then there's the fact that it stars Anna Kendrick, who is one of my favourite actresses to watch and Lena Dunham pops up throughout as Kendrick's character's friend as well. And on top of that, Swanberg's adorable son Jude, stars in this as Swanberg's character's son. He's just the cutest.
I would certainly check this movie out if you get a chance to, especially if you've had enough of the traditional Christmas-time movies even if Christmas has now come and gone.

Stalker (2014-)
Starring: Dylan McDermott, Maggie Q, Victor Rasuk, Mariana Klaveno
As soon as I saw the first advert for this show, I instantly knew that it was right up my street and from that very first episode I've been completely hooked. Anyone who has seen that first episode and the scene in which a rug starts moving (I'm trying my best to describe it without giving the game away when it comes to that creepy moment), will know exactly what I'm talking about.
Stalker follows the LAPD Threat Assessment Unit (or TAU for short) as they investigate cases of stalking that vary each episode. Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q are a fantastic duo in this and every week we find out a little more about each of their own reasons for being as good at their job as they are.

Bates Motel (2013-)
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Theriot, Olivia Cooke
I was scrolling through Netflix one night when I stumbled across Bates Motel. Me and my mum are big fans of horror movies so we thought that we would give it a try and thank goodness we did. I've never seen Hitchcock's Pyscho, which Bates Motel is based on and my mum only remembers the highlights of it apparently (hehe). Despite Pyscho being released in the 1960's, Bates Motel (the prequel) is set in present day Oregon and boy is it good. It's creepy, captivating and each and every single episode ends on a spectacular cliffhanger which ensures that you just need to watch the next. I cannot recommend this TV show highly enough.
We've already binge-watched all ten episodes of the first season and sadly season two isn't on Netlfix yet. I'm quite tempted to buy the second season on DVD but every time that I do that it miraculously appears on Netflix before the DVD even arrives. Do I wait it out or treat us to the DVD? That is the question.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto
This was another Netflix based selection (as most of my choices normally are to be honest). I've been meaning to get around to watching Dallas Buyers Club since it was released and subsequently lauded and applauded universally, so I finally sat down and watched it this month and I am certainly glad that I did. I now completely understand the hype and celebration surrounding this movie as well as why Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto swept the board at basically every single award show this time last year.
I don't know the last time that I cried at a movie that wasn't a Disney or Pixar animation (I'm looking at you Toy Story 3) but this movie really did move me, so much so that I was really upset at one point. I have a feeling that if you've already seen Dallas Buyers Club then you will know what scene/scenes that I'm talking about. This movie really does make you sit up and think about the healthcare business, especially in the United States and it certainly makes me appreciate the NHS here in the UK. 
I cannot recommend this movie highly enough.

Liberal Arts (2012)
Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Zac Efron, Allison Janney
Despite graduating from University in the summer of 2013, I still feel like I'm in a bit of a post-graduate delirium. Boy, I sound a bit like Hannah from Girls right now, don't I?
Elizabeth Olsen is quickly becoming one of my favourite actresses to watch (if you haven't seen her in Martha Marcy May Marlene yet then you've got to give that a watch). Josh Radnor, who is best known for playing Ted in How I Met Your Mother, directs as well as starring in this movie. I could see a lot of myself in Elizabeth Olsen's character Zibby, which is why I think that this movie resonated with me as much as it did. It's well worth a watch and Zac Efron even pops up throughout this movie which is always a selling point for some movie viewers. Hehe.

Magic Mike (2012)
Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn
This is one of those movies that I've heard a lot about since it was first released, particularly from female friends of mine. So when I saw that it was going to be on TV one night last month I made sure to record it and I finally got around to watching it this month. It was exactly what I expected in some aspects (well the male stripping aspect in particular and all the eye candy that it provided) but in other aspects it wasn't what I expected at all. There was actually some semblance of a story and a focus on one character (played by Alex Pettyfer, who has most definitely grown up since I last saw him in Stormbreaker! Anyone else remember that movie?) And the fact that it showed his transformation throughout his time as a stripper was pretty interesting. It's also worth bearing in mind that this was based on Channing Tatum's past which adds another dimension to a movie that I assumed would be rather one dimensional.
Saying that though, if you would also like to watch it just to see a topless Matthew McConaughey play the bongos whilst saying his trademark phrase, "All right, all right," in his Southern drawl, then this is the movie for you. I also now totally get why Channing Tatum was as good at dancing as he was in Step Up. Hehe. Who's excited for Magic Mike XXL?

What have you been watching this month? Do you have any recommendations? Have you seen any of these? If so, what did you think of them?


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