At it again! Here is the last part if you missed it.
The Woman In The Window: This Netflix film is based on a novel of the same name, which I have not read. It stars Amy Adams as an agoraphobic woman who spends her time spying on her new neighbours until she witnesses a crime in their apartment. Things start getting strange when denials from the police and her neighbours cause her to question not only what she saw but her reality and her sanity. This movie got some mixed reviews, but I like a mystery and there’s a lot of great actors in the cast (Amy Adams, Wyatt Russell, Anthony Mackie, Gary Oldman) so I gave it a shot. And it was fine! I guessed at least one of the twists, but I don’t think that makes it a bad movie. I wouldn’t rush to watch it again, but I watched the whole thing and the performances were very good. It wasn’t a stand-out of this genre, but a fine watch if bored and it’s a genre you’re already into.
Raya and The Last Dragon: I love a good Disney movie, and would have watched this one sooner if theatres were open here. Alas, it was $30 extra on Disney Plus, and I didn’t feel like paying that, so I had to wait until it was available for free on the platform. I’m really glad I watched! The story follows Raya, a warrior princess who sets out to seek the legendary last dragon, hoping to restore the kingdom. I thought this movie was a TON of fun. I loved the main character, Raya. She was tough and stubborn and made mistakes, but she was also a cool and confident princess who wanted to do the best for her kingdom. I also deeply appreciated that they didn’t throw in an unnecessary love interest for her, she had enough going on. The animation in this movie was BEAUTIFUL. I especially loved the designs of the dragons (and that there were dragons in general! I just really love dragons) but in general it was absolutely beautiful to look at. I could see kids being obsessed with this movie, but even as an adult, I really enjoyed watching it.
In The Heights: You know what else I love? A MUSICAL. I’d been looking forward to this movie since it was first announced. I’d never seen this show onstage, sadly, but had heard some of the songs and knew it would be a good time. The movie tells the story of a pre-dominantly latino neighbourhood of Washington Heights in New York City, following a few days around a blackout. Among many others it stars Anthony Ramos, who I knew from his role as John Laurens in Hamilton (which is written by Lin Manuel Miranda, who also wrote In The Heights). Reader, I loved it. I love a movie musical that isn’t afraid to be a musical, that isn’t afraid of spectacle and tricks with camera work and perspective and scene changes and elaborate dance numbers. I loved the music–every single person on the cast is EXCEEDINGLY talented and deserves all the applause, and the energy in the music is so much fun to watch in general. One number brought me to tears. Other numbers had me laughing. If you love musicals, or dance numbers, watch In The Heights.
Luca: We are back to Disney, this time with the latest Disney/Pixar release! For some reason the Pixar releases aren’t being released with the extra price on Disney Plus, which both annoys me on behalf of the creative teams, and pleases me because it means I can watch them the day they are released. Luca is set on the Italian riviera–already a win for me, who comes from an Italian background–and follows a young fish person? humanoid aquatic creature? who longs to explore on the surface. He discovers that he turns into a human when on land, and so befriends Alberto, another sea creature living as a human on land. The two of them run off to the nearby human town, where they meet a young human girl named Giulia, and team up with her to race to try and win a vespa. This movie is adorable and funny and joyous and heartwarming. It just made me feel good inside when I watched it. I loved the setting (there’s some extra comedy if you understand Italian), I thought all of the characters felt well fleshed-out and fully rendered, I enjoyed the message of the story, and the friendships between the characters. Again, the animation was beautiful, in a much different way than Raya and The Last Dragon‘s animation was beautiful. I would definitely watch it again and recommend it.
Crimson Peak: And now for something completely different. This movie was released in 2015, and I’ve meant to watch it for a while. I love the work of the director, Guillermo Del Toro, and I love a period piece. What was deterring me, for years, was that it’s a creepy ghost story. I’m not inherently against ghost stories, but I can get really freaked out sometimes. I ended up having a work-related excuse to watch it, and so powered through while in my bed alone–with my phone to block the view when necessary. The movie follows a young woman named Edith (Mia Wasikowska), an aspiring writer and heiress in 1901 who falls in love with an English Baronet, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). When she moves to his dilapidated mansion in England with him and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain, who I did not recognize right away), she soon discovers that the siblings, and the house itself, hold dark secrets. The movie also stars Charlie Hunnam, which I mention because I love him. This movie was very good. That may sound strange to say considering I had to watch through my fingers at certain parts, but I don’t think that ultimately took away from the quality of the movie for me. It’s less of a ghost story, and more of a story where there are ghosts (both literal and figurative). The performances were all excellent, and the costumes and aesthetic were AMAZING. I would never expect less from this director, who puts so much thought and detail into each and every one of his films. Frankly I think the trailer is kind of misleading, and I think it’s less of a horror and more of a classic gothic tale. If those appeal to you, I’d give it a watch.
Theatres open here in a limited capacity on July 16th, and I am bursting at the seams to get into one (wearing a mask and being safe). Hopefully next time I write one of these, I will have seen Black Widow in theatres.