Monthly Film Roundup: January 2022

Films Watched: 25

How Many Were First-Time Watches: 20

Best Films: We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011), The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021), Nightmare Alley (2021)

Worst Film: Due Date (2010)

New Releases: Boiling Point, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Belfast, Scream, Parallel Mothers, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley,


Bridge of Spies (2015)
A beautifully shot, brilliantly written and excellently performed Cold War thriller. It could’ve had a little more tension, but Spielberg once again crafts a tight narrative with wit and grace that you simply can’t turn away from 

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
The classic legend of rich vs. poor is brought to swashbuckling life. Titular star Errol Flynn is just like the film itself; vibrant, adventurous and full of charisma

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Martin McDonagh’s screenplay and direction are top rate. The performances are some of the best in cinema. And the tone is beautifully balanced and darkly entertaining. There’s no two ways about it. This is a perfect movie.

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
A deeply haunting and darkly upsetting psychological drama. Stunningly crafted by director Lynne Ramsay, it features a career best performance by Tilda Swindon, and a career launching performance by Ezra Miller

Boiling Point (2021)
Stephen Graham delivers another captivating performance in this well directed psychological drama. Filmed in one take, the stress and pressure of running a restaurant in London are laid bare in a tense ‘Uncut Gems’ style 

The Hunt (2012)
This film really is just fantastic. Watching it for a second time, you really can appreciate the level of care and understanding both Director Thomas Vinterberg and actor Mads Mikkelsen put into making a tough narrative really sell. Totally beautiful cinema

Duel (1971)
Simple but effective, Spielberg’s debut feature film is an ambitious and triumphant achievement. Great sound design and an intense story make this a thoroughly enjoyable 90 minutes, with plenty of signs of his future success already visible

The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)
Fixated and slightly mad, Macbeth is the perfect “Coen protagonist”. Superb casting and staggering visuals, Joel Coen’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy is a phenomenal success, stripping it back to the bare narrative essentials 

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Crafting a quirky take on Homer’s ‘Odyssey’, the Coen Brothers once again entertain with larger than life characters and surprising narratives. Well cast and beautifully shot, it’s a fun adventure through the Great Depression

Belfast (2021)
Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film is a warm hearted and crowd pleasing affair. Set against the backdrop of The Troubles, it’s charming cast deliver a sweet story, even if the drama never quite peaks emotionally

Due Date (2010)
A cocky and broad American comedy that wastes its charismatic cast. Due Date would be entertaining enough, if it wasn’t just a crass rehash of Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Scream (2022)

It’s meta commentary on modern horror is entertaining to watch, but unfortunately it can never fully escape from the same genre clichés it wants to lampoon

THX 1138 (1971)
A striking allegory for oppression in the 1960’s, George Lucas’s dystopian feature debut is a visually stunning and ambitious affair. It doesn’t all work, but it shows buckets of promise from the future Star Wars creator

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967)
If ‘Get Out’ was a rom-com with a happy Hollywood ending, this would be it. The late Sidney Poitier gives a fantastic performance as he and Katharine Houghton tackle being an interracial couple at a time when such things were taboo

Parallel Mothers (2021)
An intriguing Spanish film, but one that isn’t as surprising or unique as it’s poster might suggest. The soft drama never quite reaches any real tension, and it’s fascination with its own subplot means the main narrative begins to trickle off

The Sisters Brothers (2018)
An entertaining western following the misadventures of Eli and Charlie Sisters. The lead cast perform well in a film that offers both dark comedy drama and stunning landscapes

Licorice Pizza (2021)
PTA returns with another joyful, if tangential, movie. Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman give fantastic performances in a fun coming of age story that boasts stunningly authentic 70’s production design

Nightmare Alley (2021)
Del Toro directs a hypnotic noir thriller that revels in psychological torment and a narrative with slow building tension. Bradley Cooper shines in the lead role, and as with most of Del Toro’s films, it looks and sounds spectacular

Orange County (2002)
A simple but entertaining coming of age movie from the writer of ‘School of Rock’. An eclectic bunch of characters play out this sweet comedy that is never laugh out loud, but easily maintains its short runtime

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)
Packed with gags delivered by Jim Carrey’s tour de force performance, this daft sequel is hard to resist. It’s the most quotable film since Airplane, and the Rhino scene is just fantastic. And yes, the fact I’ve watched this film countless times since I was 8 makes me very bias

In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger star in a great small-town mystery that tackles race and class in a well balanced way. The tonal shifts from comedic to drama are well done, and the entertaining character dynamics make up for the fact that the actual mystery is less than enthralling 

Men in Black (1997)
A great late-90’s blockbuster that has everything it needs; Action, comedy, Danny Elfman on score and Will Smith in the lead. Fast paced and loads of fun, it’s hard to believe it’s the 25th anniversary already

Pi (1998)
A reclusive mathematician becomes obsessed with finding numerical order in the world in Darren Aronofsky’s feature debut. More sporadic and less refined than ‘Requium for a Dream’, it still presents an interesting portrait of obsession and addiction, and shows a promising start for the ‘Lynchian’ director

Old School (2003)
Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn star in a fairly forgettable comedy about three depressed 30 year olds who start a fraternity. It’s entertaining enough, even if the film never fully commits to the entertaining premise
⭐️⭐️ ⭐️

Don’t Look Up (2021)
Only a month later, I already felt compelled to rewatch this. Yes, it is too long and some of its messaging gets lost as it becomes a broad comedy, but Adam McKay and his cast have created an entertaining yet important film that will hopefully spark some change (but by the film’s judgement will not)

American Graffiti (1973)
Glowing nostalgia burns through in George Lucas’s coming of age movie. The small story vignettes do much to represent fond Americana memories, but the lack of any real plot does make the whole thing a little hard to retain interest in

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next month to see what I watched in February!

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