Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Favorite Cinematography

When I first got in movie blogging in 2014 I was only really watching the same kind of movies I’d ever known, all romcoms, comedies and blockbuster action flicks. Being a blogger has obviously opened my eyes to the whole spectrum but back then I had no time for what I know as ‘Oscar movies’. I actually laughed at the trailer for Whiplash (2014) but when I saw it? Wow.

That year, like many movie bloggers, I put together my predictions for the Oscars. They were all blind guesses, I’m not going to lie. Even now there are some categories I still have to make a guess at, I don’t think I’ll ever understand the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. But one category in particular confused me more than ever, and that was Best Cinematography. To try and explain it to someone else would make me look like a tit, but my best understanding of it now is the way a movie looks. You know those moments where you think wow, that looks beautiful? That’s cinematography.

And that’s the topic of Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks this week. So before I make a bigger fool of myself, let me share some of my favourite shots.

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1917 (2019)

I could have picked 100 shots from this movie, it’s absolutely stunning. But this moment during night time is the one that sticks with me. I was already exhausted and on edge, and then in this quiet, stunning moment there’s a shadow in the distance and we have no idea if they’re a friend or foe.

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La La Land (2016)

Los Angeles has a special place in my heart. My husband and I first visited in 2016 on our honeymoon, and we went back last year with our daughter and my parents and brother to celebrate our 30th birthday. My favourite way to spend the day there was at one of its many beaches, walking the pier was just so peaceful. That’s just one of the many reasons I love La La Land.

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Sicario (2015)

Sicario was one of those first few movies to really shock me when I was still discovering movies outside my comfort zone. It was so tense, and yet absolutely stunning at the same time. The scenes shot at night time were incredible.

Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Female Buddy Movies

Happy Thursday everyone! I can’t sleep after watching Host (2020) for a second time, so whilst fearing for my life I thought it was about time I got involved again in Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks. If you haven’t seen this type of post before, Wanderer gives us a theme every week and we pick 3 of our favourite movies that fit!

This week’s theme is Female Buddy Movies which I love. The secret to a good buddy movie is chemistry between the leads, I find this either makes or breaks the movie. In no particular order, my favourite female buddy movies are…

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The Heat (2013)

I can’t even believe this movie is 7 years old, it feels like only yesterday that I watched it for the first time. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy together is a match made in heaven. It’s a buddy cop movie where Sandra Bullock plays an uptight FBI agent and Melissa McCarthy plays a foul-mouthed cop. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do!

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Bad Moms (2016)

I definitely talk about this movie too much but it deserves all the praise I give it. It was hilarious before I was even a Mum myself and even more so now. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn all play Mums with their own different struggles, but end up becoming the best of friends. There was a Christmas sequel that was just as good, if not better.

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Pitch Perfect (2012)

This movie is right at the front of my memory as I re-watched it very recently (my Husband loved it, no matter what he might tell you). Anna Kendrick plays a freshman who gets roped into joining the school’s all-girls singing group. It’s a movie full of catchy tunes and female friendship at it’s finest, and a movie I find myself watching at least once a year!

Blogathons

Thursday Movie Picks: Prequels

Happy Thursday, folks! If it even is Thursday. I should have stuck with Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks from the start of lockdown really, but it’s been so difficult to find any love for movies since the end of March. Now’s a good as time as any though, right? So this Thursday we’re talking about movie prequels.

The movie world is rife with sequels of varying quality, but prequels are rarer to come by. I have to admit, I couldn’t find 3 prequels that Ii can say I ‘loved’, but I did find some that I enjoyed.

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Bumblebee (2018)

I haven’t seen all of the Transformers movies. I enjoyed the first one, as cheesy and silly as it was, and I’m fairly sure I watched Revenge of the Fallen. After that, I honestly couldn’t say. If it weren’t for my ODEON card I doubt I would have given Bumblebee a chance, but do you know what? It was a really decent movie! Full of heart and stunning action sequences, and Bumblebee has always been my favourite Transformer anyway.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Something funny I read online that I’ve never forgotten is “Noone hates Star Wars movies as much as Star Wars fans”. It’s so true! From the chatter I heard though, the consensus was that Rogue One was a solid addition to the series. It’s not one I find myself wanting to rewatch as much as the other movies, but I loved K-2SO so much. It had some pretty dodgy CGI that isn’t going to age well but the Darth Vader corridor scene more than makes up for it.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Are you ready for a confession? I’ve only seen 1 of the Lord of the Rings movies. I don’t know why I’ve not made an effort to see the others, they should be my ideal kind of movie, but it just hasn’t happened. I really enjoyed all 3 of the prequel movies, and I read the book for the first time afterwards, too. It’s wild how they made 3 movies out of such a small book!

Lists

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2016

In the words of Geralt of Rivia, f**k. I thought when it came to doing 2015’s list that it was getting easier to whittle these yearly lists down to 10 but my preliminary list for 2016 is currently 19 movies, and I really don’t want to cross out any of these, let alone 9 of them! 2016, you were clearly an incredible year for movies.

The end of 2016 was when I set up Often Off Topic so I had a quick glance at my original Top 10 of 2016 list in the hopes it would help but it looks like it was hard enough to write at the time, let alone now.

Well, here goes nothing. If you haven’t seen my other Top 100 Movies of the Decade lists you can find them here.

2016 Movies Watched: 93
Movies that just missed out: Rogue One, Moana, Bridget Jones’ Baby, Lion, Hacksaw Ridge, Colossal, Midnight Special, Tallulah, Swiss Army Man

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#10 Hidden Figures

Most of us know the story about the race to the moon between the US and Russia, but not many know the story of the 3 female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in that race. I knew I wanted to see Hidden Figures, but I never expected it to be such an entertaining watch.

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#9 Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange might just be my favourite Marvel character, you know. Maybe it’s because of Benedict Cumberbatch, but it’s probably more to do with the fact that Doctor Strange’s origin story felt so different to the other Avengers. I love how he’s still likeable, even though he’s a bit of a jerk, and only Iron Man gets away with that most of the time.

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#8 Nocturnal Animals

There may come a day that I stop mentioning the jump scare in Nocturnal Animals, but today is not that day. Damn it, movie! Anyway, Nocturnal Animals is terribly dark and gritty, but it has such a good story, and an ending that will really get you talking. It has one hell of a cast, too!

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#7 Kubo and the Two Strings

I love animated movies, and stop motion movies in particular. 2016 was the year I realised Laika Studios are brilliant, and that I’d happily watch anything they produced. It’s just incredible, the amount of work that gets put into every second of footage. Kubo and the Two Strings is a delightful story full of twists and turns, and it was surprisingly emotional, too.

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#6 I, Daniel Blake

Oh man, just thinking about this movie is making me upset. I wrote it off as another copy-cat piece highlighting how people in the UK on benefits exploit the system for more money, but it’s the complete opposite. It’s probably not a widely known movie but its so worth a watch!

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#5 Deadpool

How long were we waiting for the Deadpool movie in the end? The marketing behind this movie was legendary and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one terrified the movie would be awful after all the work that went into getting it made. Safe to say, it was hilarious, and everything it should have been.

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#4 Arrival

Arrival is one of those movies I want to erase from my memory so that I can watch it again for the very first time. Nothing beats that moment towards the end where your mind is fitting all the pieces together. What a year for Amy Adams, eh?

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#3 The Nice Guys

Making this list reminded me that quite a few bloggers told me to watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang after I raved about how much I loved The Nice Guys. I guess that makes it 4 years that it’s been sat on my watchlist, then. Whoops. Maybe 2020 will be my year for tackling the ever-growing watchlist?

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#2 La La Land

We’re surely due another Emma Stone/Ryan Gosling movie by now, right? Honestly, the pair of them have so much chemistry on screen it’s unreal. Add them to a beautiful movie set in LA with a glorious soundtrack and an ending that will rip your heart out and well. What more can I say?

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#1 Hunt for the Wilderpeople

I’m so glad Jojo Rabbit is doing so well right now, with critics and casual movie fans alike. Hopefully, it makes director Taiki Waititi more of a household name, and more people end up watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which is just fantastic in every sense. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s serious, it’ll make you cry!

Blogathons

Thursday Movie Picks: Scientists

There are so many Thursday Movie Picks themes that I end up skipping because I can’t think of enough movies I’ve even seen to fit – let alone 3 great choices that I can recommend. That is, until Thursday rolls around, I read everyone else’s posts and realise that I’ve watched more than I thought…and then kick myself for not picking them myself!

I almost did the same with this week’s theme of Scientists. Then I made myself sit down and think, and lo and behold, I have a list as long as my arm! I’ve whittled that down to 3 choices with a slight mini-theme. These 3 movies are ones that I really enjoyed, but something stopped them from being amazing.

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Annihilation (2018)

A mysterious, creepy movie with a stellar female cast and Oscar Isaac? I mean, this movie couldn’t be awful if it tried. Annihilation made a lot of ‘Best of 2018’ lists, and rightly so, to be honest. The scene with that bear creature mimicking the scream was downright terrifying and a moment I’ll never forget, but the movie lost me at the end. I love a weird ending but this one was just too much.

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Downsizing (2017)

I’m still so gutted about how much potential Downsizing wasted. A future world where humans can be shrunk in order to save the planet, and all the fiscal and political issues that arise as a result? This could have been a smashing TV series, but it doesn’t work at all as a movie. Too much plot got packed in with not enough time, and a lot of threads just lead nowhere. I love the idea of it all though, and I hope the story gets picked up and done better sometime.

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A Cure for Wellness (2016)

I feel like in the run-up to this movie’s release, there was so much hype, and then…the movie came out, and no one made a fuss. I didn’t even see it in the cinema, but I’m glad I still watched it. It’s long, but it’s got the creep and mystery factor that keep you going. I shamefully can’t even remember the ending, but I know it was one that you either loved or hated.