Monthly Film Roundup: April 2021

Films Watched: 32

How Many Were New: 24

Best Films: The Third Man (1949), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Children of Men (2006)

Worst Film: Rush Hour (1998)


Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
Lavishly filmed in Israel and sporting the stunning score from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, this is a fabulous time-capsule musical. Hippy-filled and full of joy, it gets over its weaker moments by fully committing to its central premise of being a musical version of Jesus’s last week of life 

Hairspray (2007)
As infectiously fun as it is politically important, this might just be the most joyous film ever made. Any narrative shortcomings in this musical extravaganza are quickly overcome by the hip-shaking score and irresistible songs

The Third Man (1949)
A fabulously thrilling film noir. Revolutionary camera techniques and a unique score make for a thoroughly enjoyable affair that shines above the more bog-standard in the genre

Max Richter’s Sleep (2019)
An entrancing and hypnotic documentary delving into the life and creative process of Max Richter, and the inception of his 8 hour musical opus

High Anxiety (1977)
This brilliantly observed Hitchcock parody isn’t Mel Brooks’s finest work, but its intriguing story and funny setups make it a wonderfully affectionate film. Hitchcock himself was a fan of the flick, calling it a pleasure 

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Razor sharp writing and a stellar cast make this comedy drama shine. It strikes a miraculous balance of being tragically real while also being hilariously absurd

They Live (1988)
Another example of John Carpenter making a sci-if film with a great premise but weak script. Entertaining but daft, it benefits from having a still relevant satirical view of consumerism and the class system

Arctic (2018)
The epitome of simple but effect, one man fights for survival in the Arctic. Mads Mikkelsen delivers a tour de force performance in this relentless and chilling drama

Toni Erdmann (2016)
A divorced father attempts to reconnect with his career-ambitious daughter in this tragically comic portrait of loneliness. Even though the film never quite justifies its lengthy runtime, Maren Ade directs the bizarre tone very well, and Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hüller give excellent performances 

Groundhog Day (1993)
Sure, the first half is a fun comedy, but the second half is what elevates this movie to greatness. Introspective and philosophical, it’s a timeless film with Bill Murray’s greatest performance


Booksmart (2019)
This film is just an utter blast and a joy to revisit. Olivia Wilde knocks it out of the park in her directorial debut, and Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein are a perfectly charismatic duo

Sound of Metal (2019)
A simple but raw film with Riz Ahmed giving a richly layered performance. Telling the story of a heavy metal drummer going deaf, the amazing sound design perfectly captures the claustrophobia of his hearing loss

Palm Springs (2020)
This film is an absolute slice of joy. A unique take on the time loop film genre that, while not as introspective as ‘Groundhog Day’, is just as entertaining and pleasing

Rush Hour (1998)
I’m not sure what I liked least about this film. The total waste of Jackie Chan’s immense talent, the fact he was paired with the irritating, obnoxious and often racist Chris Tucker, or that the action sequences don’t remotely distract from the cliché plotting

One Hour Photo (2002)
Brilliant cinematography and a thoroughly creepy performance from Robin Williams mean the few narrative shortcomings can be overlooked in this entertaining thriller

Andhadhun (2018)
An entertaining but uneven black comedy crime film. Despite the great central premise and fun performances, this Bollywood flick suffers from a lack of tonal consistency and an overstretched runtime

Paul (2011)
What it lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in affectionate pop-culture parody. Funny and crowd pleasing, even if the jokes sometimes feel stale and overwritten

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
A hilariously affectionate parody of the musical biopic. John C. Reilly is perfectly cast as an actor who both grounds the project, while also heightening it to an even funnier place

Jarhead (2005)
A technically proficient film but it’s narratively and emotionally cold. Not Sam Mendes’s finest work, despite another stunning performance from Gyllenhaal, and great visuals curtesy of Roger Deakins.

Collateral (2004)
A cold and stylish neo-noir thriller, even if the second half over complicates the elegance of the first half. Michael Mann directs the tone well, and Tom Cruise shines in a darker role that goes against his usual hero casting

Top Secret (1984)
Another delightfully daft comedy from the guys behind Airplane and The Naked Gun. Lacking in narrative but making up for it with a massive gag hit rate, it’s fantastic fun

Heat (1995)
A dirty LA crime thriller with a gritty style and an outstanding cast. Great action and a foreboding tone make up for an overstretched runtime that spends a little too much time on underdeveloped personal relationships

8 1/2 (1963)
An ambiguous and avant-garde film from Italian director Federico Fellini. It presents some beautifully abstract ideas, but is a tough watch if you require answers

Tootsie (1982)
Dustin Hoffman disappears into the role of Dorothy Michaels, after a male actor realises he’ll get more work as a woman. A fabulous comedy that balances surreal humour with genuine pathos, and boasts fantastic performances from Hoffman and Jessica Lange

Fantastic Planet (1973)
Psychedelic visuals and an almost pythonesque design, this experimental Sci-Fi animation is a stunning piece of art despite its allegorical narrative shortcomings

Easy Rider (1969)
A drug-filled road trip that seems to epitomise the American dream while simultaneously deconstructing it. Highly influential and counter-cultural, with great performances and an even better soundtrack

Repulsion (1965)
A slow but rewarding psychological thriller that deals with real life horrors rather than supernatural ones. A sympathetic antihero makes this film more palatable

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
A camp but joyful comedy parody of the 60’s Spy genre. It’s gender politics aren’t always in the right place, but it’s still an entertaining romp

The Red Turtle (2016)
Exquisitely animated with a beautifully simple story, this is one of Studio Ghibli’s finest films. A touching story, with little dialogue and an impactful score

Children of Men (2006)
A remarkably accomplished film that balances stunning technical achievements with emotional storytelling. Long takes and visceral camera movements immerse you fully in this highly original dystopian thriller

21 Jump Street (2012)
A surprisingly great action comedy that delivers a fun story with a genuinely good balance of action and comedy. A well cast central duo and surprising cameos add a fun extra level to the film

Philomena (2013)
A beautifully quaint comedy drama about an dishonoured journalist helping an elderly Irish mother find her long lost son. This true story has a wonderfully unexpected narrative, with great performances and a well written script

See you next month for May’s watchlist!

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