17 Films I Saw This February (Film List 2021) – PART 1

Hello All,

I hope everyone is well and staying safe.

I, like many come up with many new years resolutions, some I keep to and others I don’t. This may seem very strange to say for someone that has actively studied the craft of filmmaking, but I wanted to watch more films…

So the rules are that I need to pick films which I haven’t seen before, regardless of the era of cinema. So… the films. This month I have been very busy in terms of what I have been watching, some of these films have now become some of my favourite films ever now.

St Maud – Date Viewed: 02/02/2021

Director: Rose Glass    

Studio: Escape Plan Productions, Film4 Productions, British Film Institute, A24

Release Date: 2020

What a way to start the month. Rose Glass’ directorial debut is an electrifying horror film, based on the titular Maud. A carer for a retired dancer. This is a film about loneliness and the effects of trauma and how it can shape us. A fantastically creepy film, which encapsulates everything I love about horror. It’s tense, provides provocative imagery and presents a lot of interesting themes. It does all of this while presenting characters which I care about. I love this film and I think you will too.

Rental on BT

Prevenge – Date Viewed: 06/02/2021

Director: Alice Lowe  

Studio: Western Edge Pictures, Gennaker Group, Ffilm Cymru Wales

Release Date: 2016

Another directorial debut, this time from Alice Lowe. A horror comedy about a pregnant woman going on a revenge filled rampage, except in this film its the unborn child pulling the strings. Jet black in its comedic approach, with a heart that shines through, this is an incredible showcase of Alice Lowe and her ability to create realistic characters and garner such impeccable comedic performance from her co-stars. I loved this film. Also, Lowe was pregnant during filming and gave birth during production, which makes her achievement even more remarkable.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – Date Viewed: 07/02/2021

Director: Andrew Domnik    

Studio: Virtual Studios, Scott Free Productions, Plan B Entertainment

Release Date: 2007

This underrated gem is now perhaps one of my favourite films of all time, there’s a moment when you watch this film and you realise how masterful every aspect of this film truly is. Andrew Dominik’s tale of fame, infamy and cowardice is something so truly special, I feel like I can barely describe it. They literally spoil the film in the title, but the last thing this film is about is the event, it’s how it gets there, how it shows characters crack and evolve. Casey Affleck, Brad Pitt and Sam Rockwell give lifetime performances. If I could recommend any film to watch it’s this

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Pan’s Labyrinth – Date Viewed: 08/02/2021

Director: Guillermo del Toro  

Studio: Telecinco Cinema, Estudios Picasso, Tequila Gang, Esperanto Filmoj, Sententia Entertainment

Release Date: 2006

An incredibly special film from a special, culture defying filmmaker. Guillermo Del Toro weaves the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and the adventures of a young girl tasked with completing three trials to prove her royalty. This fantastical film combines violence, fantasy and horror in such devastating and poetic fashion which is so incredibly enchanting film. This is a must-see for sure. Del Toro is a genius and whenever he has a project it’s worth getting excited regardless of the medium he chooses to engage with.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Groundhog Day – Date Viewed: 09/02/2021

Director: Harold Ramis

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Release Date: 1993

A comedy classic, which has now become a defining pop culture icon in film. Bill Murray is on form when he is stuck living the same day over and over again. A comedy classic, which has now become a defining pop culture icon in film. Bill Murray is on form when he is stuck living the same day over and over again. A comedy classic, which has now become a defining pop culture icon in film. Bill Murray is on form when he is stuck living the same day over and over again.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

The Prestige – Date Viewed: 11/02/2021

Director: Christopher Nolan

Studio: Touchstone Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Newmarket Films, Syncopy

Release Date: 2006

If ever a thing was possible, this is Christopher Nolan’s least appreciated gem. A story of two rival magicians desperately trying to one-up another while making scarifying everything to their art form. Full of the visual and narrative flair of a Christopher Nolan film, but this one is the most cohesive and emotional in my opinion. I would put this under Inception as my second favourite in my Nolan film list, I always find it incredible that he directed this in-between Batman films. I would check this film out if you want something engaging and fast.

Currently on Netflix (At the time of writing)

Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood – Date Viewed: 12/02/2021

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Studio: Columbia Pictures, Bona Film Group, Heyday Films, Visiona Romantica

Release Date: 2019

I hate the way the Manson family have been glorified in pop culture, so when I heard Tarantino was directing a film about this my heart sank a little. I’m always in two minds about Tarantino, on one hand, I love his style, but on the other, I wish he’d make more streamlined films. He has a lot of style, but is very brutal to characters and lacks subtly sometimes. However this film is remarkable and allowed the memory of Tate to shine, someone by all accounts was an incredible person and the ending was astounding and the film lives and breathes cinema. Check this out.

Rental on BT

Bernie – Date Viewed: 14/02/2021

Director: Richard Linklater

Studio: Castle Rock Entertainment, Mandalay Vision, Wind Dancer Films, Detour Filmproduction, Collins House Productions, Horsethief Pictures

Release Date: 2011

Richard Linklater’s dark comedy is a real-life story about assistant mortician Bernie Tiede and the real-life events that resulted in his arrest. Jack Black is incredible as Bernie and perfectly balances the morbid with the loveable aspects which define Bernie. Linklater filmed “real-life” interviews with both actors and real townsfolk all of which combines to tell the portrait of a man who was loved by his community but committed an ultimately heinous crime. A darkly funny film worth watching.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Thankfully I’ve been really on it this month, it’s been a delight to watch these films. Some of these films have been the most visceral and philosophical experiences I’ve had in recent memory. I would recommend all of these films, but I want to single out St Maud and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, these films are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Go watch these films now.

Hope you check these films out, I’ve watched them using a mix of Netflix, Amazon Prime and rental. Watching these films again helps get money back into the film industry, so it feels good to feel like I’m helping, while enjoying these films. I watched so many new films this month, so I’m splitting this in to two posts. The second part will be out later this month.

Stay safe, be present, enjoy things that you like.

Adam

Stills courtesy of FILMGRAB / Kiss Them Goodbye / Bluscreens.net / anothermag.com / Elevation Pictures / Movieclips Classic Trailers / movienco.co.uk / screenmusings.com / Screen Goblin / commonsensemedia.org

Published by Adam Shafi

Here's my work, ranging from films to essays. Hope you enjoy it!

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