10 Films I Saw This January (Film List 2022)

Hello All,

Last year was an incredible experience, which has compelled me to do it again, but I wanted to add a more structured approach to it this time. I will be writing about 10 films a month… hopefully.

I’m extremly excited to catch up on new cinema releases and films which are going onto streaming services, which I never got around to viewing last year, but with all that being said, I hope you enjoy what I have written.

Slumdog Millionaire – Date Viewed: 04/01/2022

Director: Danny Boyle   

Studio: Celador Films, Film4 Productions

Release Date: 2008

One of Danny Boyle’s most revered films, Slumdog Millionaire, centres around Jamal, a call centre worker who grew up in the slums of Mumbai – with no education, he shocks everyone with his knowledge. As he relives his childhood and early teen years, it’s clear to see how his knowledge is wrapped within traumatic, defining events that shaped him, as well as his brother Salim and lifelong friend and lover Latika. The film famously swept the Oscars, and it’s easy to see why as the film tells a vibrant and engaging story of India – while also not shying away from the harsh truths which the characters live with every day. Danny Boyle’s film also follows the same vein, which makes his work so impactful, as it shows presents humanity without judging characters and their backgrounds.

Currently on All4(At the time of writing)

Sightseers – Date Viewed: 05/01/2021

Director: Ben Wheatley

Studio: StudioCanal, Big Talk Pictures, Film4 Productions, BFI Film Fund, Rook Films

Release Date: 2012

Ben Wheatley directs this funny, very dark and very British comedy centring around a couple who go on a sightseer holiday, which gets violent. Co-written by the leads Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, who are also brilliant in the film as the relationship between the two becomes defined by the violent acts they commit, but the way their victims are dispatched have such a strong sense of comedy, which plays in the visuals too, which are brilliant set for the British feel that permeates the film.

Currently on All4(At the time of writing)

Moneyball – Date Viewed: 06/01/2022

Director: Bennett Miller  

Studio: Columbia Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, Michael De Luca Productions, Rachael Horovitz Productions, Plan B Entertainment

Release Date: 2011

Based on a true story, Moneyball depicts Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane – who coming off a devasting loss not only in competition but to his playing roster, develops a new approach to recruitment using sabermetrics, an approach which has come to change the landscape of how baseball is approached from every conceivable angle. The film is a masterclass in screenwriting as the legendary Aaron Sorkin co-wrote the script – the film also looks beautiful and is full of emotional moments as you see what looks like insanity in the world of baseball turn into a game-changing event within the sport.

Currently on Netflix (At the time of writing)

Girlhood – Date Viewed: 08/01/2022

Director: Céline Sciamma

Studio: Hold Up Films, Lilies Films, Arte France Cinéma

Release Date: 2014

Céline Sciamma is one of the greatest living directors, and ‘Girlhood’ (the precursor to ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’) is just more proof to support the statement. Sciamma wrote and directed this coming of age tale of a teenage girl from the poor outskirts of Paris – she has few career prospects and rough home life, but as she falls in with a group of girls, she finds herself belonging for the first time in her life. The film is beautiful and understated as it tells a compelling story that challenges race, gender in class in an honest and raw way – paving the way for so many incredible sequences, most notably when they sing Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ as an ensemble.

Currently on BFIPlayer (At the time of writing)

Raging Bull – Date Viewed: 12/01/2022

Director: Martin Scorsese    

Studio: Chartoff-Winkler Productions, Inc

Release Date: 1980

One of Martin Scorsese’s and Robert De Niro’s greatest collaborations, Raging Bull is a film that centres around Jake LaMotta and his rise into title winning boxer to his eventual downfall as he alienates his loved ones. The film is breathtaking and at a mere 42 years old, the boxing sequences are thunderous as all the hallmarks of a great Scorsese collaborative picture are on show from Thelma Schoonmaker incredible editing to he performances from both De Niro and Pesci. The real genius of the film is how the electric boxing sequences don’t overshadow the riveting family conversations, which ramps in tension as LaMotta starts to lose his grasp on his life. This film constantly earns its place as one of cinema’s greatest films and it’s easy to see why.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Sexy Beast – Date Viewed: 17/01/2022

Director: Jonathan Glazer   

Studio: FilmFour, Kanzaman S.A., Recorded Picture Company, Jeremy Thomas Productions

Release Date: 2001

Jonathan Glazer’s directorial debut sees a retired criminal visited by his old boss as he attempts to persuade him to come out of retirement for one last heist. Ben Kingsley is incredible his acid tongue and violent temperament starts to break down the life that Ray Winstone’s “Gal” has created for himself, which leads to some incredible sequences which take turn after turn as the pressure is ramped up for the final heist. Glazer’s film are far and few in between, but they are always an event – from Sexy Beast to Under the Skin, all of which present different themes and execution to show an all together new vision for the every changing landscape of cinema.

Currently on All4 (At the time of writing)

Another Round – Date Viewed: 23/01/2022

Director: Thomas Vinterberg     

Studio:Zentropa, Film i Väst, Topkapi Films, Danish Film Institute, TV2 Danmark, Eurimages, Netherlands Film Fund, Swedish Film Institute

Release Date: 2020

Thomas Vinterburg’s black comedy sees a group of middle age teacher, all of which are beaten down, tired and lacking the spark the once had. They decide that to reignite that, that they should look into Skårderud’s theory of constant deficiency of blood alcohol in human body, from there they all decide to keep the percentage at 0.05%, which leads to dramatic changes, which affect all four of the friends forever. The concept of the film is enough to sell it, but what happens from there is something to behold as the high and lows of the film are both life affirming and devasting as Mads Mikkelsen gives a career best performance. The film is a rare masterpiece that needs to be seen to fully grasp, but all together the film is a reminder of humanity in difference sense, which leads to an all time great ending sequence that is mystical and emotional.

Currently on NowTV (At the time of writing)

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night – Date Viewed: 26/01/2022

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour   

Studio: Logan Pictures, SpectreVision

Release Date: 2014

The first ever Iranian Vampire film, perhaps a genre and culture blend you wouldn’t see everyday, but neither is the film. Ana Lily Amirpour’s brilliant western inspired film explores so many themes of the treatment of women in Iran, while also simultaneously not being about that too as the film is a love story in essence between a vampire and a young man. The themes of sexuality and how the film subverts the title of the film casts an aura around the film that grips you from the first frame to the last as the interconnecting acts culminate to a conclusion that keeps in line with the aura it is shrouded in.

Currently on BFIPlayer (At the time of writing)

Shallow Grave – Date Viewed: 29/01/2022

Director: Danny Boyle

Studio: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Channel 4 Films, Glasgow Film Fund, Figment Films

Release Date: 1994

Danny Boyle’s feature debut displays all the hallmarks of what makes his films so special. Visually the film still looks brilliant after 28 years and the darkly comedic, yet philosophical outlook is something that would be adopted in Trainspotting, but in Shallow Grave, they’re paired brilliantly together. The film focuses on three housemates who are looking for a fourth, but soon after accepting a new housemate he is found dead with a suitcase full of cash, from there paranoia sets in consuming all three of the surviving housemates who start to re-evaluate their relationships with one another as the walls close in. This film kickstarted the career of one of Britain’s greatest living filmmakers and his influence in British pop culture cannot be understated to see the start of everything in this low budget debut is an incredible experience.

Currently on All4 (At the time of writing)

John Wick – Date Viewed: 30/01/2022

Director: Chad Stahelski

Studio: Summit Entertainment, Thunder Road Pictures, 87Eleven Productions, MJW Films, DefyNite Films, Company Films

Release Date: 2014

Keanu Reeves shines as the unstoppable assassin John Wick, who after losing his wife tragically begins to grieve with her last parting gift, a puppy. After encountering the bratty son of a mob boss, John brutally loses the puppy and goes on a revenge mission to kill him and everyone involved. The film is heavily stylised with blues and reds dominating the screen, but the neon glow that highlights the underbelly of the crime world is of stark contrast to the brutal fighting sequences, every punch and gunshot has weight behind it. It’s also a really fun film, which indulges in some of the conventions of the genre and provides plenty of brilliantly choreographed set pieces.

Currently on NowTV (At the time of writing)

I’m excited to do this again, I have enjoyed seeking out these films and I think I have a wide array of films on offer here. I’m also looking forward to the rest of the year and what it will contain for everyone.

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 / talkbass.com / indyweek.com / theguardian.com / echoartists

Published by Adam Shafi

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

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