21 Films I Saw This March (Film List 2021) – PART 1

Hello All,

I hope everyone is well and staying safe.

Better late than never.

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.

Solaris – Date Viewed: 01/03/2021

Director: Steven Soderbergh  

Studio: Lightstorm Entertainment

Release Date: 2002

Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of legendary director Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1971 Solaris distils the original epic in a way, a way in which many re-makes seem to miss in this day and age. What this film does in such a small amount of time is encapsulate what was so great about the original, it still wrestles with the lofty ideas of existence, belief and even depression in such a way, which could even be argued elevate the source material. Well worth a watch, this film and the original are massive markers in the genre

Rental on Amazon Prime

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Date Viewed: 02/03/2021

Director: Michel Gondry

Studio: Anonymous Content, This is That

Release Date: 2004

A remarkable comedy-drama. The premise revolves around the idea that a former girlfriend has undergone a procedure to remove the memory of you. It’s a heart-breaking, comedic and somewhat sombre film, which has gained a huge cult following and is a perfect marriage of writer (Charlie Kauffman) and director (Michel Gondry). Well worth a watch, for many reasons, personally the performances of both Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet make this such a powerful film.

Rental on Amazon Prime

Oldboy- Date Viewed: 03/02/2021

Director: Park Chan-wook

Studio: Show East

Release Date: 2003

A classic of South Korean cinema. A violent, heart-breaking and mesmeric portrayal of revenge and love. When Oh Dae-su is imprisoned on the day of his daughter’s fourth birthday, sealed hotel room for the next fifteen years he plots his revenge, until he’s… let go. He tracks down his captors, which leads to perhaps some of the most shocking twists seen in the last few decades, as it unwinds so does the violence, which leads to some of the most beautiful yet brutal scenes you’ll see. Not one for the faint-hearted, but a classic and a must-watch nonetheless.

Rental on Amazon Prime

The Babadook – Date Viewed: 05/03/2021

Director: Jennifer Kent

Studio: Screen Australia, Causeway Films

Release Date: 2014

One of the defining horror films of the last decade, Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut sees the relationship of a young mother and her son devolve as they’re haunted by the titular ‘Babadook’ a creature, which with its now-iconic proclamation of ‘”BABA….DOOK…DOOK”, haunts the young family, as it starts to represent more and more horror, which is so deeply seeded in the family. A profound film experience, which has now become one of my favourite horror films ever. It has also found its way into popular culture through its misplacement of Netflix, if that has brought more audience to this film then so be it. It deserves to be seen again and again.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Morvern Callar – Date Viewed: 07/03/2021

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Studio: Company Pictures

Release Date: 2002

Lynne Ramsay’s magnum opus, Morvern Callar is one of the most heart wrenching, poetic and remarkable British films which have been released over the last few decades, which when you take a look at Ramsay’s next film ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ and ‘You Were Never Really Here, seem to come to no surprise. In my opinion, Ramsay is one of the greatest living directors and any film of hers is an occasion. This film is a testament to it, when Samantha Morton’s Morvern Callar’s wakes up on Christmas her boyfriend has committed suicide, she along with her friend go travelling, there is so much more to this film than that, Morton gives her greatest ever performance, which is saying something. Heart-breaking, moving and a masterclass in filmmaking.

Currently on BBCiPlayer (At the time of writing)

The Falling – Date Viewed: 08/03/2021

Director: Carol Morley

Studio: BBC Films, British Film Institute

Release Date: 2014

A gem that went under the radar, star turns from two actors who go on to do so much with their careers. Both Maisie Williams and Florence Pugh command the screen in ‘The Falling’, set in 1960’s Britain, both characters attend an all-girls school, which after a tragedy start to have a fainting epidemic which affects all the students. Poetic, surreal and haunting is the motion of fainting that will stay in your head long after the credits roll.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Ingrid Goes West – Date Viewed: 09/03/2021

Director: Matt Spicer

Studio: Star Thrower Entertainment, 141 Entertainment, Mighty Engine

Release Date: 2017

A comedic mediation of social media and how it plays such a strong role in social mobility. We follow Ingrid, who after her mother leaves her a substantial amount of money in her will, decides to uproot from Pennsylvania to LA after she gets a response from an influencer so that she can become her friend. Aubrey Plaza is unhinged as she tracks down Elisabeth Olsen, the deeper she roots herself in her circle the deeper issues she encounters. This black comedy is well worth seeking out.

Rental on Amazon Prime

Take Shelter – Date Viewed: 11/03/2021

Director: Jeff Nichols

Studio: Hydraulx Entertainment, Rei Capital, Grove Hill Productions, Strange Matter Films

Release Date: 2011

This drama follows a young father as he starts to develop apocalyptic visions, compounded with horrific night terrors and other dream states, he starts to build to build a hurricane shelter, which takes an adverse effect on everyone he loves, as he starts to deteriorate. We’re left wondering the legitimacy of his visions throughout the whole film. This is a really, sombre, somewhat sober watch, which will have you guessing the whole time. It’s also heart-breaking to see the characters change and crumble under the weight of the world. A really moving piece of work, which deserve to be seen. Both Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain deliver powerful and subtle performances.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Coming 2 America – Date Viewed: 12/03/2021

Director: Craig Brewer

Studio: Paramount Pictures, New Republic Pictures, Eddie Murphy Productions, Misher Films

Release Date: 2021

The sequel to the 1988 comedy classic Coming to America, this film delivers on the nostalgia, but ultimately doesn’t give too much in terms of laughs, it pokes fun at its existence but is more self-aware than one would expect from such a film. It follows Price Akeem of Zamunda after his 30th wedding anniversary, he finds out he must return to America to bring his illegitimate son back so that he can rule the kingdom of Zamunda so that they are not taken over by the neighbouring militaristic nation of Nexdoria. This is a safe film, but it is not bad nor is it offensively bad, it’s just fine.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

If Beale Street Could Talk – Date Viewed: 13/03/21

Director: Barry Jenkins

Studio: Plan B Entertainment, Pastel Productions

Release Date: 2018

Barry Jenkin’s follow up from the era-defining Moonlight sees him adapting legendary author and activist James Baldwin’s novel of the same name. It’s an incredible portrait of family, love and of the prison system, which preys on African-Americans and other ethnic backgrounds. It follows a young woman as she clears the name of her innocent lover, while heavily pregnant. This a mesmeric film, which delivers on the promise of Moonlight, while also delivering some profound moments. Regina King is masterful, just like so many of the cast in this film. A must watch for anyone.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

I want to single out ‘Solaris‘ and ‘The Babadook. Both of these films are real profound experiences, and I would seek them out now. I also would highly recommend all these films, in all honesty, there’s so many to talk about and I would seek them out, I think you’ll love what’s on offer here. 

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 / NME / Joe’s Movie Blog

Published by Adam Shafi

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

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