Letterboxd Reviews: August

Stealing the idea from Luke (Wanna Go To The Movies?), I’m going to start archiving my Letterboxd reviews onto my blog.

My Letterboxd account documents what films I am watching, usually films for the first time but occasionally a film I haven’t logged before. Here’s a summary of the films I have watched this month, including a rating and short review for each.

This August I have watched 29 films:

Here’s what I thought of them:

The Graduate

“Interesting to see Dustin Hoffman so young and I really enjoyed his role here. The film had a great feel to it and includes some really iconic and stunning scenes, especially the one at the end with the bus driving away and The Sound Of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background. A brilliant story line but I found the beginning hard to appreciate until I understood everything at the very end. Good film.”

Breakfast At Tiffany’s

“My first Audrey Hepburn film and I really enjoyed it. Hepburn was stunning and played her naive, childish character brilliantly, reminding me of Monroe in places. A great and classic romantic drama, and George Peppard was a brilliant leading male too. Another film with unforgettable scenes, including Hepburn singing Moon River and the kiss in the rain at the end. Timeless.”

Fracture

“Whilst the two leads – Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling – are both excellent actors and they each play their roles well, the story line was so incredibly dull. I was hoping for an exciting twist at the end but when it came to it I just didn’t care. Hopkins will always be able to give you the shivers and it was interesting to see Gosling in his pre-Drive days, but neither gave their strongest performance here.”

Top Gun

“Yes you’ve got to watch it at least once, but it’s nothing brilliant. Too much flying for my liking, and not enough of that great sex scene. I’ve never been much of a fan of Tom Cruise but he is so much better [and attractive] in these earlier.”

An Education

“A really brilliant coming-of-age drama with a strong story line and amazing performances. Mulligan is stunning and superb and completely makes this film work. Peter Sarsgaard gives a surprisingly good and, in places, charming performance, and Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike make a great supporting cast too. The style and soundtrack is also brilliant, as they come together to really bring this film to life. There’s just something about it.”

American Beauty

“An incredible film. Great story line, brilliant dialogue, a great deeper meaner. The actors are all great and their characters complex. Can’t be faulted really.”

Ted

“Occasionally funny, though most of it is in the trailer. It was basically just a real life Family Guy where Bryan is still a cartoon. I thought that would have worked, but it didn’t; it just didn’t have the same effect at all. You will love this if you like crude comedy, constant swearing and a lack of a decent story line, but for me it was dull for the best part.”

Away We Go

“One of the most real films I’ve seen in a long time. A brilliant story line and superb effort from Mendes. Really enjoyed Maya Rudolph’s role compared to her more recent comedy based ones, and John Krasinski is fantastic in the lead. A really beautiful film.”

The Breakfast Club

“Appreciate this film a lot more now that I’m older. Absolutely loved it. The cast is fantastic and the script its strongest feature. It’s a great film about the typical high school stereotypes and how they come together in one morning. What a great ending! *Fist pumps*”

Eden Lake

“A good real-life horror. The leads of Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender really make this work – their strong performances are powerful and believable giving a real sense of danger. I didn’t like Jack O’Connell in Skins but he was also very good here. Eden Lake is a very dark but this makes for a great horror that avoids the normal downfalls of its genre.”

Ghosts Of Girlfriend’s Past

“It’s not as bad as it looks/sounds. Matthew McConaughey is in his typical rom-com role but the story line – a twist on the Dickins classic – is quite an interesting take. Love Emma Stone in this, her role was a joyful surprise.”

While You Were Sleeping

“Not particularly romantic or anything outstanding, but a decent film and an enjoyable performance from Bullock.”

Love Happens

“It’s not romantic at all – there’s an underlying story of love and tragedy that is deeply emotional, but it seems very out of place for the most of it. One scene brought a tear to my eye but it was only for about these 2 minutes that I cared. It’s not worth the watch I thought it would be.”

The Five-Year Engagement

“Actually found it to be an interesting plot that diverted from being too cliché. Great leading duo as well as a decent supporting cast full of many familiar faces. Good script, genuinely funny in places, and genuinely emotional in others. Definitely an above average rom-com.”

Adventureland

“An original coming-of-age story that is brilliantly written and directed. Jesse Eisenberg is great, but found Kristen Stewart a little annoying in places, even if I am a fan of her non-Twilight films. Her role just seemed a little too samey here, but I felt she worked well with Eisenberg. Brilliant soundtrack!”

Sixteen Candles

“Love Molly Ringwald’s 80s films but this wasn’t one of the best. Some great scenes and it is definitely one to add to the collection, but it is nowhere near as good as The Breakfast Club. Oh, and that one scene you’ll be waiting for? That’s about ten seconds long and right at the end. I wanted more romance!”

Pretty In Pink

“Another great 80s romantic drama for Molly Ringwald and a true classic. Absolutely love Jon Cryer in this, which is funny when you see where he is now, but much prefer Harry Dean Stanton in Mannequin. Some great kissing scenes though.”

Say Anything…

“The thing I love most about this film is that it explores high school experiences, family relationships and love, all the while avoiding clichés. Say Anything is a very genuine film and because of this it is deeply emotional – a huge part of this being because of John Mahoney’s character, though I surprisingly found John Cusack quite charming as well.”

Mannequin

“Absolutely love this film. A very 80s rom-com that is a lot of fun. Much prefer Andrew McCarthy here than I do in Pretty In Pink, and also a brilliant performance from Kim Cattrall that sees her as an actress away from her Sex And The City stereotype. So much to enjoy about this film.”

Serendipity

“This isn’t a particular great rom-com but there’s something about it that I really enjoy. Mainly, this is because it holds a lot of meaning behind it (Serendipty: a happy accident) and it toys around with ideas of fate and destiny that make more sense than simply believing that everything happens for a reason. Some scenes are very visually unattractive but then others have a classic romance feel to them. As for the cast, Kate Beckinsale’s role seems a little out of touch in places but John Cusack is back in his comfort zone here and the two make an enjoyable couple to watch.”

Planet Terror

“Well, excuse my language, but this is some crazy shit…. yet somehow enjoyable. A great comical and extremely gorey take on a zombie apocalypse, and very similar to Robert Rodriguez’s earlier film From Dusk Till Dawn. As with that film, the cast includes some familiar faces such as Josh Brolin and Bruce Willis, whose roles are something completely different for them both, but who also make the film much more than just average. There were times when I felt very sick – mainly when Quentin Tarantino was on screen – and even more when I had to put my hand over my eyes, but it’s the type of horror you can enjoy watching for more than just making you jump. It is ridiculous, but that’s what makes it fun.”

St. Elmo’s Fire

“I’m not reading many good reviews for this one but after seeing Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Say Anything and Sixteen Candles this week, I’d say it’s up there. Love this collection of films and the actors and yet again became very invested in the cast. Just graduating myself, I found a lot to relate to, and whilst their problems are very different to those of of today I felt that it explored their relationships brilliantly. Another 80s classic.”

The Vow

“The Vow seemed like it was constantly trying to be quirky but instead it was just unrelateable. Neither McAdams or Tatum fit their roles visually at the beginning of the film and because of this it was hard to engage with them. McAdams becomes her stereotypical role after having the accident – which I do not mean as a negative as she is a good actress – but Tatum’s character remains unlikeable, and therefore it was hard to care. It just really lacked any heart. I found the story line to be ridiculous and unbelievable, though it did get better towards the end, and whilst I did enjoy the sentimentality in Tatum’s narration, I won’t be watching it again.”

When Harry Met Sally

“Everybody talks about this film when they think about love, but I’m almost ashamed to say that I don’t think it’s that great. Yes it is a very honest look at love and yes it has that one great quote that everybody knows, but that doesn’t make it a good romance. It has a great story, it’s quick moving and very relateable, which all urges me to give this four stars, but I just didn’t love it.”

Monsters

“It wasn’t brilliant but there’s something to really enjoy about this film. It was like an indie romance mixed with a monster-related sci-fi, one of the good ones like Cloverfield where you only get to see glimpses of the monster at a time and that all builds up. Knowing that the film was all shot with a digital camera and on a low budget does higher my opinion, however. There was some amazing special effects to say that the director did them all himself. I also loved the lead couple and the way their relationship progressed and they were both great actors. Unfortunately the film was just a little boring in places – it was very slow and not a lot happens.”

The Time Traveller’s Wife

I’m yet to read the book but I imagine it will be brilliant from what has been adapted into this film. Rachel McAdams gives another strong performance in this powerful romance, and Eric Bana’s role provokes a lot of emotion. I don’t always feel their chemistry working between the two leads which is my one down side to this film, but I enjoy how the plot can remain linear yet still take us backwards and forwards.

HappyThankyouMorePlease

“Lovely first feature for Josh Radnor and great to see him acting in a lead role outside of How I Met Your Mother. He explores some really interesting relationships and does this excellently. Great supporting cast too, especially Tony Hale and just a genuinely enjoyable film to watch. Can’t wait to see Liberal Arts when it is released.”

Dear John

“Another fairly decent adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Not my favourite but it’s not the worst either. I actually quite enjoyed it, especially Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried’s chemistry together, but mostly for the sub-plot around Richard Jenkins. Again, it’s not amazing but it will do for a rainy day. Not quite sure I agreed with how the story played out but at least it tried to avoid cliché.”

Avatar

“When this first came out I remember thinking it was incredible, but that’s because we were all too busy being blown away by the new phenomenon that was 3D cinema to take notice of anything else. Now, with 3D doing nothing more to excite us, we see the flaws that lie behind the fantastical world of these blue aliens. And there are many of them. Whilst Avatar is still visually stunning with some brilliant action scenes, let’s face it, it’s just a jazzed up Pocahontas. Worthington’s performance is good, at least.”

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