January Film Favourites

Though many upcoming blockbusters have been shoved into a metaphorical box marked ‘After the Pandemic’, there has still been a wealth of new films to enjoy over the last few months. With so little to do during this third national lockdown, films have become a hobby of mine. As such, here are my top three films I’ve watched this January: 

The Trial of the Chicago 7 

9/10, available on Netflix 

Directed by Aaron Sorkin and starring big names, such as Sacha Baron Cohen and Eddie Redmayne, this film follows the trial of American protestors of the Vietnam War. This film powerfully depicts the story, based on true events, of the Chicago protests. It blends comedy and drama effectively so that the darkest moments can be recognised without the entire film becoming morbid. What prevents this film from being perfect is the slight stiffness in the performances of Redmayne and Joseph Gordon Levitt, whose acting is both archetypal and (dare I say it) boring. However, Baron Cohen is the stand-out performer as Abbie Hoffman. His acting perfectly captures Hoffman’s wit and seriousness; not an easy task to achieve but Baron Cohen pulls it off. Many other actors also performed brilliantly, particularly Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.  

Wonder Woman 1984 

7/10, available to rent on Amazon Prime 

Patty Jenkins’s second attempt at the DC superhero is worth watching. Set in 1980s Washington DC, a stone that grants wishes falls into the wrong hands, forcing Diana to become Wonder Woman once more. The whole film seems like a critique of capitalism, which is, personally, always welcome. The underlying political commentary (which may not really be there and may just be the wishful thinking of a politics student) is gorgeously done and gives good room for thought. However, after realising what the stone did, the whole story was rather predictable and therefore, a little tedious. Even the familial love displayed at the end was not enough to thaw this soppy but cold heart. To make things worse, the absolutely amazing attention to historical detail Jenkins displays in the presentation of the 1980s is completely overlooked in the face of such poor and static acting displayed by Wiig and Gadot. Still, if you’re bored, are partial to superhero movies and have some popcorn in the cupboard, the film is a good way to pass the time. Make sure you watch the end credits scene too, especially if you enjoyed the original Wonder Woman with Linda Carter.  

A Quiet Place 

9/10, available to rent on Amazon Prime 

With the sequel just around the corner, ISB seemed like the perfect opportunity to re-watch John Krasinski’s directorial debut. Horror films are often either terrible or extremely good. Fortunately, A Quiet Place falls into the latter category. The acting from all, but particularly Emily Blunt, is sensational. The story is well told, and the lack of sound is suitably eerie. Furthermore, the focus on the safety of the family creates a perfect anchor-point to keep the audience invested. The slight problem occurs with the discrepancy in the level of noise that is acceptable throughout the film. This problem is not so big as to warrant any real criticism but pulls me out of the film just enough that this film is a 9, rather than a 10. 

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