Movie March: Week 4

Movie March is officially over! It’s April, which means soon we get to see all the new “summer” releases and some of the most anticipated films of the year, but first, let’s recap the last week of Movie March, from the 22nd right through to the end of the month. It certainly wasn’t a failure of a week – I ended up watching seven movies in ten days, plus a bunch of YouTube and TV – but it was pretty sporadic, since three of those movies were watched in one monster day. Speaking of monsters, the most recent monster movie also gets a look in here – and it’s not as bad as you think. Without further ado, here’s my final week of Movie March summed up:

22/3: More YouTube
No movies today, but I have recently discovered a new favourite YouTube channel: Andre “Black Nerd”, run by Andre Meadows. A frequent guest on one of my favourite podcasts, Andre is so enthusiastic and never ashamed of his guilty pleasure viewing – his Riverdale recaps are hilarious, his love of the Power Rangers makes me actually interested to see the movie (though I probably won’t), and he’s a Disney fan, so his wide scope of interests is actually fairly similar to mine. Plus, discovering a new channel means a big back-catalogue ripe for a binge-watch, which is both dangerous and exciting.

23/3: Funny Face
A friend who shares my love of classic cinema has been talking this movie up for so long, I eventually gave in and watched it. I was missing out for so long! A proper ear-worm musical, Funny Face sees Audrey Hepburn play Jo Stockton, a philosophy-loving intellectual who gets whisked away to Paris into the world of high fashion after being discovered by a classy magazine editor (Kay Thompson) and her charming photographer friend (the one and only Fred Astaire). Full of iconic Audrey Hepburn outfits, a lot of dance scenes, both brilliant and hilarious, and some s’wonderful and s’marvelous songs, Funny Face might not be for the casual musical fan, but is lifeblood for any die-hard classic musical lover.

25/3: Beauty and the Beast, the LEGO Batman Movie, and Cop Car

I’ve skipped the 24th (and will skip the 26th and 27th) because on my day off this week, I crammed in three beautiful, funny and thrilling films and had one amazing day. Starting my day with Beauty and the Beast (which I have already reviewed), I got lost in the live-action remake of such a beloved classic. Even though the almost-identical story makes the point of this movie questionable, the new music and stunning visuals made this film utterly enchanting, with the talented cast stealing my heart (Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci? My absolute favourites) and getting stuck in my head. Next was the LEGO Batman Movie, which I highly anticipated after recently starting the Dark Knight trilogy, and it didn’t disappoint: though much more of a kids movie, dealing with less-adult themes than the original LEGO Movie, LEGO Batman is a joy ride from start to finish, cramming in jokes, meta-references and even musical numbers to make sure you’re constantly entertained. The all-star cast is so enormous it’s ridiculous, and though it’s not perfect, LEGO Batman proves that the Dark Knight doesn’t have to be all dark. I finished my day off with Cop Car, an indie thriller from Jon Watts (the director helming Spider-Man: Homecoming later this year) which sees two runaway kids steal a police car from a cop who definitely shouldn’t be messed with. Starring a terrifying Kevin Bacon as the cop, Cop Car is 84 tight minutes of heart stopping moments, as the two show-stealing kids Travis and Harrison (played by James Freedson-Jackson and Hays Wellford) go on the run and just try and survive the movie, basically. It’s full of twists, turns, and on-the-edge-of-your-seat scenes, and is a film any movie-lover has to see.
So, overall, a pretty good day.
8/10 (Beauty and the Beast), 7/10 (the LEGO Batman Movie), 9/10 (Cop Car).

28/3: Kong: Skull Island
I know what you’re thinking. The new King Kong movie? Really? But before you judge, I’d like to point out that this is one of those movies that needs to be taken as a product of genre. It’s not a high-concept action drama; it’s a creature feature, almost B-movie style thriller, which focuses on the action and jump scares to create 2 hours of pure action entertainment, the human characters and their Vietnam-war setting merely acting as a vehicle for epic fights. This isn’t normally my thing, but going in with an open mind meant I was genuinely on the edge of my seat as Kong hunts down both humans and creatures, and even meant I could enjoy what little character development there was, since John C. Reilly steals the show and even tugs a few heartstring. I know that all movies should be placed on equal footing when it comes to reviews, and Kong is no Citizen Kane, but if a popcorn flick is what you desire, I highly recommend Kong: Skull Island. Who’d have thought?

29/3: The Dark Knight
Can you believe I’d never seen this before last Wednesday? I couldn’t either. But Heath Ledger is one of my favourite actors of all time, and watching him as the Joker felt like his career coming full circle for me: his performance as the Joker was more detailed and intense than I could have ever expected, not just a character, but a real man, terrifying and unpredictable, a symbol of chaos and more than just a villain. He definitely overshadows a lot of the rest of the movie, but it’s all still amazing: Gary Oldman truly had me worried for a second as Commissioner Gordon, and Aaron Eckhart is truly tragic as Harvey Dent (though that eyeball is very distracting). The movie just moves from one epic scene to the next, with all of the Joker’s machinations gripping and suspenseful, and Christian Bale again holds it all together as Bruce/Batman, becoming the conflicted, complicated vigilante that Gotham doesn’t deserve, but needs. Even though I think Batman Begins is a tighter movie that stands on its own better, I can’t deny that the Dark Knight is a masterpiece.

30/3: The Office
Season 9 is playing with my emotions, you guys. I’m conflicted, you see, because on one hand they’re creating a lot of drama, which I love, but they’re tearing apart friendships and ruining characters that I’ve come to love. Andy is now deplorable, Erin deserves all the happiness, I’m worried for Jim and Pam, and Angela and Oscar deserve so much better, both in their friendship together and their respective relationships. It’s surprising and infuriating but still addictive, and I can only hope it wraps itself up well. Please.

31/3: The LEGO Batman Movie
Again? Of course! I end up seeing a lot of movies twice in the cinema (I saw La La Land 3 times at the movies), so when some friends wanted to see it, I didn’t hesitate to go too. It’s definitely as fun upon re-watching; though it moves kind of slow sometimes the second time around, these sections are followed by the most exciting scenes, so it brings you back up right after. Definitely worth checking out, but maybe only once.
Again, 7/10.

Movie March was definitely a rollercoaster! I’ve seen so many new films, rewatched a lot of favourites that I haven’t seen in a while, and really been able to take a look at my watching habits. Surprise, I watch a lot of stuff! But Movie March has encouraged me to watch more, and I’ll definitely be continuing that into April and throughout the rest of the year. I may even do a weekly round-up of everything I watched every week, so keep your eyes peeled! And as always, I’m open to suggestions for more movies to watch in the comments. Happy watching!

Talk soon,

Jessica x

Photos taken from


Movie March: Week Three

Movie March: Week Three

It’s been a bad week, guys. I’m sorry. For seven nights of potential movie watching, I only watched four. They were good movies, don’t get me wrong, but only four? I’ll do better next week, I promise. But on a positive note, this week Movie march became something a little bit different to me: starting this challenge I was using it to try and inspire myself to watch more movies, but instead I’ve found that it’s been a way for me to sort of analyse my watching habits, and start paying attention to not just how much I watch, but what I watch.

For example, it’s become pretty clear that I go through phases – I’m doing a long-form Marvel marathon, I’ve been watching a lot of Disney movies, and I’ve rekindled my love of Audrey Hepburn movies, so I’ll probably try and finish that box set too. I’ve also noticed that I seem to watch SOMETHING every day, whether it’s a movie, some TV, or especially YouTube, so I’ll talk a little about my favourite movie-related channels later too.

Long story short, they may not have always been movies, but I have watched something every day, so let me break it down for you:

15/3: Riverdale
I wrote at length last week about how much I’m obsessed with Riverdale at the moment, and it’s not going away any time soon. The mystery is getting so much deeper, with new characters popping up left, right and centre that are only creating more and more suspects for this super complex murder conspiracy. But at the heart of it is this really great teen drama, too; there are some really sweet love stories brewing, great family tension being unravelled, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’ve also realised that’s why I like Riverdale so much: I’ve seen terrible versions of this type of show, with series like Pretty Little Liars really falling flat and becoming convoluted and cheesy, but Riverdale successfully weaves so many plotlines together, combines drama with humour and mystery, and gives us lovable characters that allow us to actually get invested in the story.  The next episode can’t come fast enough.

16/3: Captain America: The First Avenger
An actual movie! The original Captain America is by far the weakest of the three, and possibly one of the weakest of the whole franchise, only really serving to pave the way for the Avengers. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to love. This first movie sets up a beautiful character arc throughout the entire franchise: here we see Steve Rogers, military man, a soldier with such faith in the government that he is willing to sacrifice himself for it. This all changes as the franchise progresses, and Steve becomes more questioning and rebellious, but this movie sets him up as such a tragic character, a man lost in time, losing everyone he loves. It breaks my heart. Thankfully, we have Hayley Atwell and Tommy Lee Jones to inject a little fire and life into the story, and a fantastic villainous turn from Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull, and a little insight into Bucky Barnes, a small character no one could have known would become so important.

17/3: Aladdin
Aladdin is easily my favourite Disney movie for many reasons, so watching it last week was a no brainer. I find Aladdin the most relatable of Disney characters: he’s not a prince, just a kid trying to get by, and his love for Jasmine is so sweet and pure that it warms my heart every time. But it’s his relationship with the Genie that steals the show: not only is this my favourite Robin Williams performance, but their friendship is so fun and caring, and takes the movie over the edge to become a classic. The music is brilliant, the animation is astounding, and Jafar as a villain is actually terrifying, and Aladdin is just such a fun romp that I’m so glad I re-watched.

18/3: The Office US
The Office - Season 9
I originally started this show just for Jim and Pam, but I stayed for everyone else. The Office totally lives up to its reputation as one of the best TV shows ever; the first season is a little forgettable, but by the end of season 2 I was hooked on all the characters, from Michael’s well-meaning buffoonery to Dwight’s antics, uptight Angela and the love-to-hate-him Ryan. Of course, Jim and Pam are still my favourite part of the show – their relationship is just so real, so heartfelt, and its brilliance didn’t stop once they finally got together. I cried all the way through their wedding. Even now in season eight, the show is still wonderful (not quite as good after Steve Carell left), and I can’t wait to see how it ends.

19/3: The Lion King
I’m sure I saw the Lion King a million times when I was a kid, but before Sunday night I hadn’t seen it in years and years, so much so that I’d forgotten how awesome it is. It’s not quite as light-hearted as I remembered, but it’s magnificent, from the score to the animation to the deep, soothing tones of James Earl Jones’ Mufasa. Of course, it was still lots of fun: the toe-tapping soundtrack is the best of any Disney movie to date (ever), and Timon and Pumbaa are possibly Disney’s best sidekicks as well, reminding me of why I saw this movie so much as a kid.

20/3: Roman Holiday
Audrey Hepburn movies have always been some of my favourite classic movies, and I like Roman Holiday best of them all. Watching Roman Holiday is like a fairy-tale: a princess (Hepburn) runs away from the demands of her royal life and explores one of the most romantic cities in the world with her handsome tour guide, American journalist Joe Bradley (the dashing Gregory Peck). Winning four Oscars, including Best Actress and Best Screenplay, Roman Holiday is like a dazzling daydream, all gorgeous scenery and sweet romance, but also has a lot of humour, as our two main characters hide their secret identities and cause trouble. Breakfast at Tiffany’s might be Audrey’s best-known film, but Roman Holiday will always be the best.

21/3: YouTube
I don’t watch a wide variety of YouTube channels, but I still manage to watch a LOT of YouTube these days, and when I don’t have time to watch a movie, I tend to supplement with movie-related YouTube. For those who are interested in getting their fill of movie-Tube, I watch Screen Junkies and Screen Junkies News; the former is the channel that does Honest Trailers, which are some of the funniest videos on YouTube, but they also do a themed weekly Screen Junkies Show, and a long movie-debate show called Movie Fights (which I listen to as a podcast from iTunes). Screen Junkies News is run by the same people, but they do daily videos based on entertainment news, so on one day they could cover news about Disney, James Cameron and DC Comics, as well as a heap of reviews of new releases, with some great experts and interesting hosts and recurring guests. It’s just a great way to get insight on the latest news and see what other people are saying about the newest movies. Other than them, I also like people like Alicia Malone, a great YouTuber who loves Indie films, and SchmoesKnow, who do a great movie trivia contest.

Well, I hope I have better news to report next week on the last week of Movie March! Until then…

Talk soon,

Jessica x

Photos taken from

Movie March: Week Two

We’re halfway through Movie March, and Week Two has been interesting in that it hasn’t been all movies. In addition to some brilliant movies I watched this week, I also rewatched an episode of one of my favourite shows of all time, and the discovery of an addictively pulpy new show meant that my Sunday night was filled with teen drama. But this week was a wonderful mix of all kinds of entertainment, so let’s review my week in film!

8/3: Parks and Recreation

Last Wednesday was International Women’s Day, and I was feeling very inspired to watch some strong female characters kick ass and be amazing. So I thought, who better to watch than Leslie Knope? Parks and Recreation is one of my favourite shows of all time, Leslie Knope is such a role model, and the episode I picked, Win, Lose or Draw, is a real pivotal moment for her as a character: when she finally realises her dream of taking office and becomes a Councilwoman. I love her intellect, I love her humour, and I love her passion for her friends, town and government, and watching this episode reminded me of how much I love this series. 


9/3: Thor

After watching Iron Man 1 & 2 last week, I have decided to turn it into a long-running marathon, and Thor was the next movie on the list. Though not the best Marvel film, acting as a stepping stone to get the universe to the Avengers, Thor has some fantastic elements: Natalie Portman is a brilliant scientist and great love interest for Thor; Kat Dennings is such great comic relief as Darcy; Chris Hemsworth’s stunning transformation to become a literal god, and Marvel’s best villain to date in Loki, a spoiled, petulant brother who you still sympathise with. If you can get past all the crappy magical science jargon, Thor has some great moments and great heart. 


9/3: Batman Begins (review to come)

Oh yes. It finally happened. I finally watched Batman Begins. Much of my initial excitement came from the wealth of great facial hair in this instalment (Liam Neeson, Ken Watanabe and Gary Oldman all sport fantastic moes), but when I really got into it, it blew me away. Christian Bale makes a fascinating Bruce Wayne, a great combo of tortured playboy, and his Batman wasn’t as goofy as I had been warned (though the voice got worse as it went on). Liam Neeson’s Ra’s Al Ghul was so menacing, the Scarecrow did actually scare the hell out of me, it was visually stunning, and the thing I loved the most was that everyone was giving a great performance. No one was phoning it in, there was great chemistry between almost everyone (though I can see why Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes in the next one), and the cast looks genuinely happy to be there, despite the film’s somber tone. It was just so refreshing to watch a good DC movie. 

10/3: Superbad

Hers my problem with Superbad: the first act is awesome. Starting off as a high school movie about two friends on the brink of graduation who are trying to get laid, Superbad is a very realistic depiction of high school, so hilarious, and the friendship between Jonah Hill and Michael Cera is awesome and almost John Hughes-esque. And then it becomes a cop movie, as their third-wheel friend Fogell gets taken under the wing of two inept cops. Even though I love Bill Hader and Seth Rogen as their characters, the film takes such an unexpected detour for someone who had no idea what it was about going in, that I was negatively surprised. In fairness, these scenes do have funny moments, but I personally wasn’t captured again until they reached the party, which felt much more like a culmination of the movie I wanted. It was definitely worth the watch, since it had me cracking up, it just wasn’t what I expected. 


11/3: Riverdale

This was my other television indulgence this week, which I took a chance with on Netflix and was completely captured. Riverdale is a loose adaptation of the Archie Comics Series, but takes these iconic characters and settings and tangles them up in a murder mystery, where this small town is in shock after the mysterious murder of Jason Blossom, captain of the football team. I’m currently five episodes in (Netflix is releasing episodes weekly), and at this point everyone is a suspect, hiding secrets of their own: Archie (KJ Apa) has something to hide after hooking up with his music teacher over the summer, Betty’s (Lili Reinhart) family is swimming in secrets after her sister Polly is sent away, new girl Veronica (Camila Mendes) is constantly in the shadow of her controversial father, and Jason’s twin sister Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) is a straight up psycho. There’s lies, lust, love and danger, and Riverdale is so ridiculously addictive and mysterious, but also well-written, so it’s a well-deserved indulgence. 


12/3: Beauty and the Beast

With the live action Beauty and The Beast hit to theatres next week, I thought it fitting to watch the well-beloved original, which was such a good idea. Though not without faults, Belle is such a wonderful character, her love for reading and independence so inspiring, and she’s surrounded by a number of interesting supporting players. Gaston is so vile that I love to hate him, Lumiere, Cogsworth and co. are absolutely delightful, and the Beast manages to defy the weird connotations  of his capture of Belle so well that you really do love them as a couple in the end. Plus, Beauty and the Beast also has some of the best songs in all of Disney: Tale as Old as Time genuinely made me cry, and that scene is so beautiful that it made me even more excited for this new version. 


13/3: The Princess Bride

This is one of my favourite movies ever, and even though I say that about a lot of movies, I really mean it this time. Set with the most brilliant framing device of a grandfather reading a book to his grandson, the Princess Bride is about (as the grandfather so well puts it) “fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, Giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”, all tied together with irreverent humour, loveable characters, and a great cameo from Billy Crystal. It’s quotable, it’s beautiful, it’s hysterical, and it’s just… INCONCEIVABLE!


With such a range of movies this week, who knows what films the next week will hold? If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments below, and until next week, happy watching!

Talk soon,

Jessica x

Photos taken from

Movie March: Week One

In my quest to become a film critic, the most important thing I’ve found is this: keep watching movies. Whether they’re new releases, older movies you’ve never seen before, or a film you’ve seen a hundred times – just keep watching. Sometimes I find it difficult to motivate myself to watch more movies as often as I can (especially when there’s so much good TV out there at the moment), so I’ve decided to take up Movie March, where I have to watch a movie a day, any movie, and then after each week I’ll summarise them here. New releases count, and so do my old favourites, and hopefully I’ll get into a habit and watch a movie a day for the rest of the year! So to kick off Movie March, here are the last seven films I’ve watched:

1/3: Pushing Dead
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Mardi Gras Film Festival in Sydney last week, where I got to see one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen in a long time, Pushing Dead. From first time director Tom E. Brown and starring Psych’s James Roday, Pushing Dead is about a man named Dan Schauble who, after receiving a $100 birthday check from his mother, isn’t eligible for his health cover and can’t afford his HIV medication. Roday’s deadpan, sarcastic sense of humour as Dan tries everything to raise the money and get back on his healthcare plan sheds a light on what life is really like with HIV in a world where no-one wants to talk about it, and Brown’s simple yet witty and powerful script makes great use of a manic supporting cast: Danny Glover, Robin Weigart and Tom Riley, just to name a few. I can’t recommend this movie highly enough, with its big belly laugh-antics of Paula, sweet moments as Dan falls in love, and subtle but brilliant ending making it one of my best cinema-going experiences of the year so far.

2/3: The Impossible
I saw this film when it was released back in 2012, and all I can remember is crying the entire way through it. Even though I didn’t cry as much this time, The Impossible is such an emotionally devastating movie, a real-life story based on a family who was separated during the 2004 tsunami in Thailand and tries to find their way back to each other. Naomi Watts is a powerhouse as injured mum Maria, the epitome of struggle and strength as she leads her eldest son Lucas (a young and wonderful Tom Holland) to shelter, and Ewan McGregor’s devoted Dad Henry will stop at nothing to find all of his kids and his wife, searching every hospital in the area in the hopes of reuniting his family. Though director J. A. Bayona’s shots of a devastated Thailand are enough to make your heart sit in your throat, this family’s mission to find each other will catch your breath and sicken your stomach at times, before finally bringing those tears at the very end.

3/3: Logan (review to come)
Oh hell yes, Logan was awesome. This is Hugh Jackman’s ninth and final outing as the Wolverine in a film that truly does the character justice, a gratuitous, bloody, crude affair that sees Logan trek across the country with a debilitated Charles (a very grizzly Patrick Stewart) and a mysterious young girl who has special ties to Logan through her mutant powers, Laura (Dafne Keen). More of a Western than a superhero film, Logan puts the characters and the story first, telling a story of redemption and debilitation, and most importantly, family. But it also has enough headshots and ripped throats to satisfy the hard-core superhero fan, finally allowing Logan to stay true to the comics and be as violent and vulgar as he likes, and ultimately tells a satisfying and heart-wrenching story that is a true send-off for Jackman, and a film that X-Men fans like myself truly deserve.


4/3: Jasper Jones (review to come)
Adapted from the book that’s a classic for high school English students, Jasper Jones tells the story of Charlie Bucktin and the titular Jasper, who find a girl hanged by the river and go on a journey to find out who’s responsible. A classic Australian 1960s whodunnit, Jasper Jones’ strength is ultimately in its recreation of Australian life in the 1960s and its strong coming-of-age themes, leaving the mystery a little undeveloped, seemingly coming out of nowhere towards the end. However, great performances from a star-studded supporting cast of Hugo Weaving as Mad Jack Lionel and Toni Colette as Ruth Bucktin elevate the mediocre mystery to a well-rounded drama, and a shocking ending makes you leave the film on a high.

5/3: Iron Man
Full disclosure, since this is my space: I’d never seen Iron Man before this weekend. But now I have, so don’t lynch me. And it was awesome! The humour was typical of the billionaire-Playboy-philanthropist that I’ve come to love in the other MCU films I know and love, but the serious Middle-Eastern war setting for most of the movie was quite unexpected to me, mixing surprisingly well with the light-hearted tone of its main character. This movie makes me realise why Tony Star is the star of the MU, since Robert Downey Jr. gives such a brilliant performance, not just commanding the screen but allowing Tony to be complex, and occasionally quiet, too. The AC/DC was amazing, Jon Favreau’s direction was superb, Terrence Howard was really fun as Rhodey, and it was just a masterpiece. Now I know what I’ve been missing out on, and I’m sorry.

6/3: Iron Man 2
I was on a roll, and figured, why stop now? Iron Man 2 was obviously not as good as the original, with pacing issues and some cringe-worthy moments, but its development of the MCU cannot be underestimated, giving Nick Fury a bigger role and introducing us to Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Even though she wasn’t well developed, her bad-assery cannot be denied, and the action climax towards the end was fun and exciting. But Tony’s character development was the most interesting part to me; his complex relationship with his father and the decline of his arc reactor affecting his health made for a very multi-faceted performance from Downey Jr., who always rises to the occasion, surrounded by a wonderful cast who push him to breaking point, including a memorable villain from Sam Rockwell, an interesting foil in that he’s so similar to Tony. This made the film’s character conflict the highlight, which always makes a superhero movie stand out for me.

7/3: Bridge of Spies
I’ve been putting off watching this for so long, and now I don’t know why I didn’t. Tom Hanks is one of my absolute favourite actors, always bringing both emotion and a little bit of fun to every role he plays, and his New York attorney James Donovan who becomes embroiled in a Cold-War spy exchange is such a whole, human character, flawed but loving and driven to do the right thing. Even though Mark Rylance, in his Oscar-winning turn as Rudolf Abel, the captured and accused Russian spy, steals the show in many of his scenes through his seemingly carefree nature, this is truly Hanks’ film, aided by a gripping script by the Coen Brothers and epic direction by Steven Spielberg, as he braves East Berlin to bring not one, but two captured Americans home. Starting off slow, Bridge of Spies will take your breath in the final act, hoping everything will be okay, and definitely does not disappoint in its heart-warming final scenes.

Well there you have it, my week in film! These weekly round-up posts will go up every week in March, as I watch more films and tell you why I love them. If you have a film that you love and would love me to watch, let me know in the comments and I’ll definitely give them a go!

Talk soon,

Jessica x

Photos taken from