Lists · Movie Reviews

Hidden Gems: Kristen Stewart

I may be losing the will to live in what feels like the longest lockdown ever but if I have anything going for me, I’m ahead of schedule again for Mettel Ray’s Hidden Gems challenge! I think I accidentally binged all 3 of my picks for this month in one week because there was a bit of a dry spell for new releases, whoops. Anyway, to find out more about the challenge, check out Mettel Ray’s original post.

Why Kristen Stewart?

I’ve felt the need to defend Kristen Stewart ever since she rose to fame with the Twilight movies. I can understand her getting stick when the book fans didn’t feel like she was the Bella they envisaged, but she got so much hate for not being able to act and that’s simply not true. Anyone who thinks that she’s wooden and doesn’t show emotion simply hasn’t watched enough of her movies.

Statistics

Letterboxd has 54 movies listed under Kristen Stewart’s filmography (although some are shorts and others are unreleased) and before the challenge I had seen 15. That’s nowhere near as good as I thought I’d do, she’s clearly been in more movies than I originally thought. Out of the ones I’d already seen some of my favourites include the Twilight Saga (obviously), Adventureland, Happiest Season and Charlie’s Angels.

I’ve also seen Panic Room, Personal Shopper, Underwater, Cafe Society, Snow White and the Huntsman, Jumper and American Ultra.

As before, I tried to pick 3 movies where Kristen Stewart played a big role, and so my choices ended up being Clouds of Sils Maria, Equals and Still Alice.

Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)clouds-of-sils-maria-kristen-stewart

This was an interesting movie to start with for me, because I’d never even heard of it until I started looking into Kristen Stewart’s filmography. Kristen gets a lot of screen time here but the lead actress is Juliette Binoche, playing a famous film star dealing with her past when someone very close to her passes away. Kristen plays her personal assistant and is such a good fit for the role. Sadly, the movie itself really wasn’t for me, it’s gotten many positive reviews but I couldn’t get into it at all.

Equals (2015)
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When I read the synopsis of Equals, I new it had to be one of my picks for the challenge. I’ve been defending Kristen Stewart since Twilight and her biggest criticism is that she doesn’t know how to show emotion. How ironic then that she stars in a strange, futuristic movie where emotions have been eradicated? On paper it’s a really interesting movie. Kristen Stewart stars alongside Nicholas Hoult in this movie that feels like a Black Mirror episode where developing emotions is actually seen as a disease.

I don’t know what went wrong – maybe it’s because Charlie Brooker has perfected that Black Mirror vibe and everything similar feels like a rip off but this didn’t work at all. I was interested enough in the beginning when the scene was being set but not even Kristen Stewart could save this for me.

Still Alice (2014)
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I was feeling pretty deflated at this point. I don’t mind not finding a gem each month but I really disliked the last two movies and I wasn’t feeling hopeful. Still Alice has been on my radar ever since it was released, but back in 2014 I hadn’t fully embraced the drama genre and watching a ‘sad’ movie wasn’t something I actively pursued. In Still Alice, Julianne Moore plays a mother going through the stages of dementia. The movie is brutal in how it shows the effect her illness has not just on Alice herself, but her entire family. Kristen Stewart plays one of Alice’s daughters, and more specifically the daughter that is closest to Alice.

There’s no denying it, the movie broke my damn heart. But it is, without a shadow of a doubt, an absolute gem of a movie. I could sing Julianne Moore’s praises all day but this is Kristen Stewart’s time to shine, and shine she did. Alice’s other daughters of course cared but it was Kristen’s character who was there for the toughest times. There’s a scene that happens backstage after Kristen’s character’s play and when Alice goes to greet her, it’s clear Alice doesn’t even recognise her own daughter and that was so tough to watch.

Final Thoughts

Wow, I thought for a while this month was going to suck and by the end of it I went and found a hidden gem! I’m chuffed to say the least. I’ve really enjoyed seeing more of Kristen Stewart’s work and I’m patiently waiting to see her portray Princess Diana in her upcoming movie Spencer. It’s time to move on though now, in March it’s time to focus on Keanu Reeves!

Lists

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2014

I’m determined to get these 100 movies done in the next week or so. It’s getting so, so difficult though! 2014 was a particularly good year for movies and I was fully swept into the awards season by this year too. I went through my Letterboxd list to find all the 2014 movies I’d seen and started my preliminary list, telling myself to be much stricter this time around. I’ve ended up with 15, and it pains me so much to have to take 4 of these amazing movies off my list.

As always, you can see my other Top 100 Movies of the Decade posts here on the master page. This post brings me to the halfway point!

2014 Movies Watched: 94
Movies that just missed this list: Paddington, Interstellar, Nightcrawler, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Chef

best-movies-decade-2014-it-follows

#10 It Follows

Yeah, you bet your ass a horror movie made my top movies list! I can’t even pretend I don’t like horror movies anymore, I’ve fully embraced the genre. It Follows was the first horror movie to actually mess me up afterwards and leave me questioning my reality.

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#9 The Grand Budapest Hotel

This my first Wes Anderson movie. I watched it about a year late after seeing so many other bloggers rave about it, and they were right too. What a crazy world I found myself in!

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#8 The Lego Movie

It’s been 5/6 years Allie, are you still mad that the Oscars snubbed The Lego Movie? I am! It still hurts! It doesn’t matter that the sequel wasn’t as good, The Lego Movie was so original and so funny at the time! Everything’s not awesome.

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#7 Kingsman: The Secret Service

The marketing team behind the first Kingman movie needed firing, because the trailers so missold the movie as a comedy for teens. It’s actually a comedy for everyone, and it’s hilarious. The sequel is just as good, and we’re getting a third this year and I cannot wait.

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#6 Guardians of the Galaxy

I think GotG was the first Marvel movie I felt iffy about before seeing. There was no way I was going to miss it, but I wasn’t sold by the trailer. I ended up having a blast, though. Rocket remains as my all-time favourite MCU character, I think. I love that little trash panda.

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#5 What We Do in the Shadows

Okay, if you haven’t seen this movie yet you need to right that wrong, now. I’ve come to realise that Taika Waititi is a legendary director, and he hasn’t created anything I haven’t liked yet. Not only does he co-direct this mockumentary about vampires trying to live their lives, he stars in it too. I’m yet to see the TV show but I’ve heard it’s good!

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#4 Whiplash

I was blown away by Whiplash when I first saw it and I’m yet to find another movie with an ending as tense. I think I actually stopped breathing in those final few minutes. This is J.K. Simmons at his finest, and I doubt Miles Teller will ever be this good again.

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#3 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

It’s been too long since I saw Birdman last but it is so much more than a gimmick! The whole movie looks like it was shot in 1 long take and it’s so effective. I’m still salty it didn’t scoop up more awards.

best-movies-decade-2014-gone-girl

#2 Gone Girl

One of my favourite cinema experiences will forever be watching Gone Girl, having never read the book, and witnessing that twist in a full screen. It was simply brilliant.

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#1 Ex Machina

Criminally overlooked at the awards, there’s no way Ex Machina wasn’t getting my top spot for 2014. Deliciously dark, witty and stunning, it’s just a brilliant movie, end of. Also my introduction to 2 of my favourite Star Wars boys!

Lists

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2013

This is where it starts to get difficult. In 2014 I started blogging so my first point of call was to go back to the previous year and watch as many movies as I could, including actively hunting out the great ones I would normally miss. I was starting to pay attention to the BAFTAs and Oscars and generally opening up my horizons. At the same time, I’m naturally easily pleased and there aren’t a lot of movies I actively dislike, so trying to pick 10 and labelling them as the best is so hard! But a lot of fun, too.

2013 Movies Watched: 85 (quite a big jump from 2012)

You can find my other lists on the master page here which I’m adding to as I go along.

best-movies-decade-2013-snowpiercer

#10 Snowpiercer

What a delightfully weird movie Snowpiercer is. It got such a quiet release and then word spread like wildfire through the bloggersphere and that’s how I found out about it. A fantastic cast and an ending that’ll get you talking, so highly recommended from me.

best-movies-decade-2013-saving-mr-banks

#9 Saving Mr. Banks

I shamefully care little for Mary Poppins to be perfectly honest so I skipped Saving Mr. Banks at the cinema. It’s such a touching story though, and with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks as the leads, it was impossible not to love.

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#8 Short Term 12

Dear internet trolls whining about how Brie Larson has no emotion – see here, please. I looked up Short Term 12 after seeing Room (2015) and ugh, what a beautiful and painful story. This was also LaKeith Stanfield’s first feature movie so worth a watch for him, too.

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#7 Frozen

I’m not apologising for Frozen being here. I don’t care if you don’t believe me but I loved Frozen before the hype kicked in and kind of ruined it all. It swept me up with its catchy tunes, funny lyrics, a plot relatively simple but with a delightful twist.

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#6 Begin Again

Is it not time we got another movie from John Carney? They’re like soup for the soul. Once (2007) will always have a special place in my heart but Begin Again is probably my favourite of his. Great cast, gripping story, beautiful soundtrack. It’s going to get a rewatch this week I think.

best-movies-decade-2013-this-is-the-end

#5 This Is the End

I can’t stand James Franco but I do find Seth Rogan funny. Comedy is so subjective and hit and miss but I really think This Is the End might be the best modern comedy ever. It’s funny from start to finish, has some amazing cameos and you can tell everyone involved is having so much fun.

best-movies-decade-2013-inside-llewyn-davis

#4 Inside Llewyn Davis

If a Coen brothers movie consisting of a beautifully moody Oscar Isaac taking a cat onto the subway and singing a song with Adam Driver and Justin Timberlake about outer space isn’t enough for you, then I don’t know what to tell you.

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#3 About Time

Again, not sorry. About Time is one of the most beautiful and romantic movies I have ever seen. It has a crazy plot about time travel involved which on paper should make it terrible, but it works so well. I watched it for the first time not long before my wedding and it gave me so many nightmares about torrential rain on my wedding day!

best-movies-decade-2013-enemy

#2 Enemy

I might be wrong but I think Enemy is a criminally under-watched movie. If you’re a Jake Gyllenhaal fan or a mystery fan, this is the movie for you. It’s one of those with a feeling of unease and confusion throughout, but every single detail along the way is there for a reason. It’s not a horror in any sense but the ending still haunts me now!

best-movies-decade-2013-prisoners

#1 Prisoners

Denis Villeneuve is one of my favourite directors, and Prisoners is without a doubt my favourite movie of his. When a child goes missing and the police can’t help, the parents take matters into their own hands. It gets so dark, and I felt so conflicted watching it. But it’s such a compelling story and just like with Enemy, I’m still not over the ending.

Blogathons

Thursday Movie Picks: Super Long Titles

It’s Thursday again! It’s actually Thursday whilst I’m writing this too, because unlike last week where I was super organised with blog posts, this week is not going to plan. There was so way I could miss Wandering Through The Shelves’ weekly game this week though, the topic is too much fun. See, some weeks I’m scratching my head and trying to think of something clever, but this week’s theme is Super Long Titles, and so I’ve scoured my Letterboxd diary to see what I’ve watched that fits.

It’s annoying trying to actually talk about a movie when the title is so darn long, but I think I prefer it to super short, one-word titles. Mainly because I inevitably end up confusing movies for other ones because their names are too similar. I’ve watched Coherence (2013) and Compliance (2012) and I can’t tell which is which to save my life!

Before I give myself a headache and eventually look them both up, here are my 3 picks this week:

movies-with-long-titles-birdman-unexpected-virtue

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

It’s a good job most people know what movie you’re on about if you simply say Birdman because I can never remember its full title! Regardless, I haven’t put together my lists for the best movies of the decade yet but Birdman would most likely be my #1 choice for 2014!

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

2 movies from 2014? What was going on, writers? Anyway – this movie wouldn’t make any of my Top 10 lists mainly because it was pretty ‘meh’ and forgettable. That said, I will never forget about it’s title because I use it as a joke waaaay too often. Just pick any movie character who had a rough time in their story and add it to the title, boom! Guaranteed to make me laugh.

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Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996)

I saved the biggest till last, wink, wink. Fun fact, Don’t Be a Menace is probably my husband’s favourite movie of all time. When he was a lovable dork back in college he would quote it all the time, and somehow I managed to only watch it for myself 4 months ago. I mean yeah, it’s got some hilarious jokes in there but I mostly had to watch it whilst my husband watched me, waiting for me to laugh!

Blogathons

Thursday Movie Picks: Teen Horror

Spooky season has well and truly arrived! The nights are getting darker, the air is getting colder, and you can’t go to a supermarket without being confronted by pumpkins or sweets! It’s the perfect time of year to hibernate indoors with a hot drink and a scary movie. This week’s Thursday Movie Picks theme is Teen Horror, and since finally welcoming horror movies into my life I’ve seen quite a few!

Here are my three favourites:

teen-horror-movies-it-follows-2014

It Follows (2014)

Also known as the supernatural STD movie, It Follows is one of the few movies that genuinely scared the crap out of me both whilst I was watching it and for days afterward. Basically, it starts with one girl after a sexual encounter. ‘It’ follows her, only ‘It’ can take any form it wishes and moves at a slow pace until it finds you and kills you. You’re the only person who can see ‘It’, also. The only way to stop ‘It’ is to have sex with someone else and pass it on to them.

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Happy Death Day (2017)

I’m so fed up with Groundhog Day-style movies that I avoided Happy Death Day until this year. It’s so good though! You can probably guess the plot, a teen girl is murdered one night and then wakes up at the start of the same day, only to die over and over again. It’s a bit jumpy, but it’s also quite funny and the sequel is surprisingly even better than the original!

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Midsommar (2019)

It only feels like yesterday that Midsommar was released but I’m starting to learn that with Ari Aster’s movies, you aren’t likely to forget about them anytime soon. After suffering a family tragedy, Dani travels to Sweden with her awful boyfriend and his friends to visit a fabled mid-summer festival. It’s a quiet movie for a horror, and a lot of the worse moments happen off-screen, but it’s a glorious movie.