A Year in Film: November 2020


I don’t know about you, but November has been an awfully long month! It’s been gray and bleak for most of it. I think this depression in weather hasn’t been great on our mental health. So curling up and watching films has been a sort of comfort blanket. Somehow the stresses and strains of life seem more hard during the dark winter days. Roll on the twinkling lights of December.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective  ✩✩✩

Ace Ventura, a private detective, specialises in finding lost animals. When Snowflake, a football team’s aquatic mascot, goes missing, he is called to investigate.

Jim Carrey is his mad cap self in this comedy about a missing dolphin. Worth a watch.

The Nun  ✩✩✩

When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together, they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls.

A prequel to the Conjuring movies. Though I enjoyed the origin story of the demon Valak, it didn’t give me chills the other two films did.

Awakenings ✩✩✩✩

When Dr Malcolm Sayer discovers a cure for an epidemic, numerous catatonic patients get a second chance to live. However, the cure eventually leads to more complications.

A sad yet inspiring movie, made all the more poignant as it was based on a true story.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ✩✩✩

A man living a dull life dreams up romantic and action-filled scenarios in order to escape from monotony. When his own job is threatened, he sets out on a real romantic and action-packed journey.

This Ben Stiller comedy wasn’t the best, but it definitely wasn’t the worst. A film to switch off too.

The Brave One ✩✩✩

After a brutal attack which results in the death of her fiance, Erica is traumatised. She decides to take the law into her own hands and track down the killers.

Jodie Foster plays a woman with a vengeance in this thriller. A bit dark but I enjoyed it.

The Cable Guy ✩✩✩

Steven befriends Chip, the person who installs cable at his new home. However, Chip wreaks havoc in Steven’s life when he rejects their friendship.

The crazy but lovable Cable Guy is a hilarious comedy, everyone should watch it once in their lifetime.

Dead Poets Society ✩✩✩

John Keating, a progressive English teacher, tries to encourage his students to break free from the norm, go against the status quo and live life unapologetically.

A rather sedate, depressing movie about the confines of society and how difficult it is to break from it.

Single White Female ✩✩

After her breakup, Allison places an ad for a roommate. All the applicants seem weird except for Hedra. However, Hedra has a secret past which haunts her and messes up Allison’s life.

Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the girl next door but her true colours soon develop when she becomes jealous of her room mate. Not a film that has aged well.

A simple plan ✩✩✩

While in the woods, upstanding local Hank Mitchell (Bill Paxton), his dim brother Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton) and their friend Lou (Brent Briscoe) discover a crashed plane with a dead pilot, and a stash of more than four million dollars. Although Hank is reluctant to keep the money, Jacob and Lou convince him otherwise, and they devise a plan to split the fortune. Things quickly go wrong, however, dramatically affecting the trio and those around them.

Surprisingly not a bad film. I hadn’t seen it before. I liked how the plot spiraled out of control as the cast of characters grew ever more paranoid and greedy!

Donnie Darko ✩✩✩

Donnie Darko, an awkward teenager, befriends Frank, a figure in a bunny costume only he can see, who informs Donnie that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays the disturbed antihero in this indie movie that still has a cult following today. Gets better after each viewing.

Cujo ✩✩

Donna, a suburban housewife along with her young son Tad, drives out to the home where a perturbed St Bernard is driven insane by rabies. She must now save herself and her son from a brutal attack.

A thriller from the pen of Stephen King. I think this movie was probably scarier when it was released in the 1980’s, when rabid stray dogs were more prevalent on the streets, than today.

Bridesmaids ✩✩✩

Annie, a jobless chef, is asked by her best friend, Lillian, to be her maid of honour. Issues evolve when she ruins the wedding rituals in a rage of conflict with one of the bridesmaids.

The rivalry between Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne is hilarious in this 2011 comedy.

Police Academy ✩✩

A group of misfits enlist themselves in a police academy. They embark on a series of zany adventures resulting in mishap, mayhem and mismanagement.

Are there any 1980’s films that have stayed the test of time? Police Academy sadly hasn’t.

Zoolander ✩✩

At the end of his career, a clueless fashion model is brainwashed to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

More silly Ben Stiller fun, this time with Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson satirising the fashion industry.

Rear Window ✩✩✩

Professional photographer Jeff is stuck in his apartment, recuperating from a broken leg. Out of boredom, he begins to spy on his neighbours and comes across a shocking revelation.

A Hitchcock classic. I really enjoyed this film. It may have been slow to start and the interactions between the cast a little dated but the tension and climax was thrilling!

Planes, Trains and Automobiles ✩✩✩✩

Neal, who needs to reach home for Thanksgiving, goes through a series of misadventures when his flight gets cancelled and he ends up meeting Del, a goofy salesman.

A really good movie, lots of belly laughs but this film has a real heart.

Bringing Down the House ✩✩

A man and a woman meet on the Internet. She is a prisoner. She escapes from prison and comes to his house. She then proceeds to wreak havoc on his middle-class life.

Not one of Steve Martin’s better comedy’s.

Greenland ✩✩✩

John Garrity, his estranged wife and their young son embark on a perilous journey to find sanctuary as a planet-killing comet hurtles toward Earth. Amid terrifying accounts of cities getting levelled, the Garrity’s experience the best and worst in humanity. As the countdown to the global apocalypse approaches zero, their incredible trek culminates in a desperate and last-minute flight to a possible safe haven.

A good action packed, survival movie. It had me on the edge of my seat!

Mr. Destiny ✩✩

There comes a time in life, when people seem powerless and no matter what you try, nothing works. Something like that happened with Larry Burrows who was so lost in life.

Not the greatest film about pivotal moments in life and one man’s opportunity to live both.

The Breakfast Club ✩✩

Five high school students, all with different mindsets, face detainment in their school library on a Saturday morning. As time passes by, their egos fade and they become close buddies.

I hadn’t seen this movie and missed all the hype when it came out. However I didn’t think much of this teen angst film. Perhaps you think differently?

Filofax (Taking Care of Business) ✩✩✩

Jimmy wins a ticket to the World Series but cannot make it there as he’s serving his time in prison. He somehow manages to escape and takes over the identity of Barney, an advertising executive.

Filofax was an entertaining watch, I would recommend.

Face Off ✩✩✩✩

Sean Archer, an FBI Agent, undergoes plastic surgery in order to impersonate and get hold of his son’s killer and his arch-enemy, Castor Troy. Trouble brews when Castor begins impersonating Sean.

I love this film, it has everything you need, action, drama and emotion. An all round good movie!

Wild Hogs ✩✩

Four middle-aged friends decide to rev up their routine lives with a freewheeling road trip, but after a run in with a Mexican motorcycle mob, they are less than eager.

A predictable comedy, but watchable.

Pleasantville ✩✩✩

David and his twin sister, Jennifer, are transported into ‘Pleasantville’, a black and white TV show. The two must stay in character while completely changing the town’s dynamics.

I enjoyed this thought provoking film about racism portrayed within a black and white 1950’s TV show.

Laggies ✩✩

In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, Megan panics when her boyfriend proposes, then, taking an opportunity to escape for a week, hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year-old Annika, who lives with her world-weary single dad.

I don’t think this was Keira Knightly’s best film, cringe worthy rather than romantic.

Miss Congeniality ✩✩✩

Gracie Hart, a tomboyish detective, is made to infiltrate the Miss United States beauty pageant as a contestant after her department learns that the event is under threat from an anonymous bomber.

A likable comedy with Sandra Bullock as the boyish cop who has to infiltrate a beauty pageant.

National Lampoon European Vacation ✩

The Griswolds win a vacation tour across Europe where the usual havoc ensues.

Where these National Lampoon movies ever funny? Think they are a product of the 1980’s. This European venture didn’t raise many laughs.

The Christmas Chronicles 2 ✩✩

Kate Pierce, now a cynical teen, is unexpectedly reunited with Santa Claus when a mysterious troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas – forever.

I loved the first Christmas Chronicles when it came out in 2018. However the sequel falls somewhat flat. A decent Christmas movie but nothing new to the series.

Oceans Eleven ✩✩✩

Danny Ocean, a gangster, assembles a group of eleven people in an effort to steal money from three popular casinos in Las Vegas owned by his rival, Terry Benedict.

This casino heist was a slow burn but once the plan was set in place it snowballed to a satisfying conclusion.

Apollo 13 ✩✩✩✩

Astronauts Lovell, Haise and Swigert of the Apollo 13 moon mission find themselves stranded when their spacecraft gets damaged. NASA must now find a way to bring them back before it is too late.

Not as bad a film as I remember, full of drama and tension, based on real life events of the Apollo mission that almost ended in tragedy.

Oceans Twelve ✩✩✩

Within two weeks, Danny Ocean and his associates must return the money they swindled from a Las Vegas casino tycoon, Terry Benedict, or Terry will kill them.

A decent sequel with lots of big names. Though I have to admit the plot twists and turns confused me a little.

Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?

Thanks for reading! Christine x

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