10 Films I Saw This August (Film List 2021)

Hello All,

This month I have been making more progress where I can in regards to the post-production aspect of the films I just finished shooting. The last couple of months were a little light, but I think when I have watched them they have become a little bit more of an occasion in the chaos.

The rules are I can only write about films I haven’t seen before, I want to engage with films which have been on my watchlist for a while now. I have really enjoyed the films I’ve seen in this series so far. Hopefully during this busy period I can keep watching films.

This is England – Date Viewed: 01/08/2021

Director: Shane Meadows

Studio: Warp Films, FilmFour

Release Date: 2006

Shane Meadows’ coming of age drama depicts the skinhead movement in the early 80s and its subsequent infiltration by the far-right, all on the Thatcher backdrop. The story focuses on Shaun, a young boy who has lost his father in the Falkland’s war and how he comes to meet a group of skinheads lead by charismatic Woody. The group is then taken over, with Shaun being taken under the wing by the sociopathic and racist Combo, brilliantly played by Stephen Graham. The film is unflinching with its depiction of racism – none of which is softened, but what Meadows does so well is to show the original reason why the skinheads existed – as well as how the movement defined an era in British history. The performances across the board are mesmerising, and the humour is equally matched in shock and brutality. A brilliant film, which is worth your time and attention.

Currently on All4 (At the time of writing)

Chef – Date Viewed: 07/08/2021

Director: Jon Favreau

Studio: Fairview Entertainment, Aldamisa Entertainment, Prescience, Altus Media, Kilburn Media, Fetisov Teterin Films

Release Date: 2014

Chef follows the story of Chef Carl Casper, who after having a public altercation with a critic goes to rediscover the fire that made him such a force in his younger days. After investing in a food truck to serve Cuban/American cuisine. Joined by his son and his friend, after touring some hotspots from Miami to Texas, they make their way back to Los Angeles, the site of his undoing. The film is a celebration of food, from its impact on cultures to its importance in communities, which Favreau (starring, writing and directing) understands as the blend of cultures come to a head in this brilliant film, which is a breath of fresh air for Jon Favreau himself. It’s a great film with great performances being hoisted up higher by a great soundtrack.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Battle Royale – Date Viewed: 10/08/2021

Director: Kinji Fukasaku

Studio: Battle Royale Production Committee

Release Date: 2000

Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale was a transcendent event in cinema, so much so that it has guided the way that entertainment has been shaped over the last decade, from cinema itself to video games. The story revolves around a recession-hit Japan after they have passed the “BR Act”. Designed to control delinquency in children – pitting a class against each other to kill one another until there’s one left. The film is an excellent portal of the fear of teenagers and rapidly changing youth, which is exacerbated by the fear emanating from the adults. There’s so much more to the film than that, so it’s an amazing watch to find new meaning. The film is an extremely violent affair so watch at your discretion, but it’s a classic for a reason because of it.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Ocean’s Eleven – Date Viewed: 12/08/2021

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Studio: Village Roadshow Pictures, Jerry Weintraub Productions, Section Eight Productions, NPV Entertainment

Release Date: 2001

Steven Soderbergh’s snappy and witty heist comedy is an intricate and memorable watch. Soderbergh very rarely can be put into a box and always shows his versatility as a filmmaker. At the height of his powers, he combines an incredible script and cast and elevates it with an incredible score and fast direction. The film centres on Danny Ocean, as he is released from prison, he looking to put a crew together to set up his next score. It’s a film that you can trust to take you to some really fun places, so much of the way the camera moves flows with the multiple strands that every character has. It’s an entertaining film that will keep you guessing until the last moment and spawned a successful franchise that has further offerings if you love this film.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon – Date Viewed: 14/08/2021

Director: Richard Phelan, Will Becher

Studio: Aardman Animations, Creative Europe MEDIA, Anton Capital EntertainmentRelease

Date: 2019

Aardman Animations craft yet another humorous and beautiful film, which at this point doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Their first sequel follows the titular Shaun as an alien crashes down to earth, whom he tries to help get back home. A film that is very much a product of the love for cinema is packed to rafters with cinematic references, but with its array of visual gags, it is the modern-day equivalent of a silent film as the film lacks any proper dialogue. The film has a surprising emotional weight to it as well, which adds another dimension to it. It is by no means a cryfest of anything resembling that, but there is more to characters than you assume, which charges their motivations. I loved the film as I am a sucker for visual comedy and it’s yet another reason why I get excited to watch anything Aardman create. Have a look at their back catalogue as well as it’s filled with some genre-defining work.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Lady Bird – Date Viewed: 17/08/2021

Director: Greta Gerwig

Studio: IAC Films, Scott Rudin Productions, Management 360

Release Date: 2017

Greta Gerwig cements herself to one of the most foremost writers/directors working today with Lady Bird, a coming of age tale about the tribulations of adolescence. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf have incredible chemistry as both Lady Bird and Marion McPherson, which is the heart of the film, chronicling their turbulent relationship as a family struggling with money – but Lady Bird wants an escape to a more cultural hub. I loved the feel of the film and how relatable the characters and settings are, which are allowed to have their moment as Lady Bird navigates one situation to the next. I would recommend this film to anyone it has heart and humour – which I find endearing and honest.

Currently on BBCiPlayer (At the time of writing)

Eight Grade – Date Viewed: 21/08/2021

Director: Bo Burnham

Studio: A24, IAC Films, Scott Rudin Productions

Release Date: 2018

Bo Burnham’s debut feature is an honest yet humorous portrayal of growing up in the social media age. The story revolves around Kayla, who suffers from social anxiety, which she remedies through creating motivational advice videos. She is also finishing her last week of eighth grade and desperately craves acceptance from her peers. The film navigates mental illness, consent and sexuality in a very tender – but honest way. This leads to encounters that feel like a documentary. Elsie Fisher is brilliant as Kayla and Bo Burnham’s debut is a compelling and charming piece.

Currently on Netflix (At the time of writing)

Ida – Date Viewed: 23/08/2021

Director: Paweł Pawlikowski

Studio: Canal+ Polska, Danish Film Institute, Eurimages, Andrea Occhipinti

Release Date: 2013

Ida is a compelling story centring on the titular young woman, who before taking her vows to become a nun – must seek out her family. Perhaps one of the most beautifully photographed films I have ever seen, it creates an atmosphere relevant to the theme. The world around feels so empty in the wake of the German occupation of Poland and the aftermath of the people in 60’s Poland is felt through the landscape and the characters. It’s a film about opening deep wounds and it shows on the characters as well as we see what some of the people during the occupation had to go through. So much of the film is felt through action and setting and not through dialogue, which I think is one of the key components of the film. It’s not heard, but it’s felt. Ida is a great film for these reasons.

Currently on All4 (At the time of writing)

Promising Young Woman – Date Viewed: 27/08/2021

Director: Emerald Fennell

Studio: FilmNation Entertainment, LuckyChap Entertainment

Release Date: 2020

Carey Mulligan gives a career-high performance as Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas – a young woman who is still reeling from the events surrounding her friend Nina – and the subsequent collapse of her career. Writer/Director Emerald Fennell’s incredibly bold screenplay deservedly won her the Oscar for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ – and it shows as the film delivers gut punch after gut punch. The film meditates on the current language and action surrounding the female body and the men that constantly get justifications and reprieves for their actions. The film says a lot and does a lot, but this rape-revenge film is an angry, vengeful affair motivated by love, which I think shows through Cassie’s actions. The film is daring and audacious while being brilliantly anchored by the incredible Carey Mulligan. An absolute must-watch.

Currently on Now Movies (At the time of writing)

The Exorcist – Date Viewed: 31/08/21

Director: William Friedkin

Studio: Hoya Productions

Release Date: 1973

William Friedkin’s genre-defining classic still shocks and amazes in equal measures. It’s no surprise that this film holds up after nearly 50 years because so many of the thematic arguments presented are still relevant, from the crisis of faith to one’s relationship with religion. The performances across the board are legendary, a very young Linda Blair stealing the show as Regan – but all the supporting performances are incredible, which gives the story so much depth and life. The cut I watched missed some iconic imagery, so I may have to watch a different version. From the one I experienced, I feel that all the motivations, narratives and performances were coherent – and the main meditations of the story are consistent. It’s a classic for a reason – still to this day, it’s a benchmark for horror and films in the genre would do well to hold a candle to this mesmerising film. A must watch

Currently on Now Movies (At the time of writing)

I have been watching these using a mix of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ and even Now Cinema. Typically all of these would cost a lot, but I have been fortunate to have access to these platforms for free – at least for now. Once that is over, I’ll be prioritising which platforms to still stick with moving forward. I hope you check these films out.

I’m away for the entirety of September, so I may not have the chance to watch the same amount of films, but for what films I do write I’ll try and go more in depth than usual.

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 / cultandexploitation.blogspot.com / fancaps.net / ingloriousbaguettes.com / starwarsscreencaps.com / boardchairman / animationscreencaps / forum.pixarpost.com / shattereddteacup / MyCenterMovie / disney.fandom.com

Published by Adam Shafi

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

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