10 Films I Saw This February (Film List 2022)

Hello All,

Two months in and it’s going well, this list has a couple of repeat directors, but it’s really nice to see how some filmmakers develop overtime. I hope you enjoy this months list.

John Wick: Chapter 2 – Date Viewed: 01/02/2022

Director: Chad Stahelski

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

Release Date: 2017

The sequel to the first John Wick is even more bombastic and striking as the last – more intricate set-pieces, gunplay and backstory add to the story, as the film is more expansive in its presentation. Keanu Reeves reprises his role from the previous film to great effect and it’s another character in his infamous backlog of work, which helped redefine his role within the action genre. The story revolved around the aftermath of the last film, in which John is adamant about retiring, but after a visit from a shady crime boss, John is drawn back in with consequences that will impact everything he holds dear to him.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

The Wrestler – Date Viewed: 05/02/2021

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Studio: Wild Bunch, Protozoa Pictures

Release Date: 2008

Mickey Rourke shines in Darren Aronofsky’s drama of a wrestler who’s best days are behind him. Rourke’s performance as Randy ‘The Ram Robinson is profound and moving, while also being a deeply physical performance, which eventually wears on Randy as his day as a wrestler are numbered after he has a heart bypass. He reconnects with his estranged daughter, who hates him for leaving her so that he can pursue the fame that he once had. Aronofsky’s semi documentary style captures the frenetic movement, while brilliantly capturing the wrestling sequences, which Rourke sells over and over again. It’s a really moving piece that will leave you with speechless as the last shots play out.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

The Tinder Swindler – Date Viewed: 07/02/2022

Director: Felicity Morris    

Studio: Netflix

Release Date: 2022

The Tinder Swindler follows the real-life scam conman Simon Leviev and his trail of destruction left at the feet of multiple women who were conned into giving him money to live his extravagant lifestyle. Netflix and Felicity Morris both have a great track record of producing intriguing documentaries, which focus on highlights character and story, which can hook a viewer in on the premise alone. What the film does so well blends the absurdity and seriousness in such a way, that the illusive Leviev becomes an almost mythical creature that no one can seem to capture.

Currently on Netflix (At the time of writing)

Benjamin – Date Viewed: 09/02/2022

Director: Simon Amstell

Studio: Open Palm Films

Release Date: 2018

Simon Amstell’s tender comedy is about a young filmmaker terrified of his second feature bombing, he is also afraid to connect with others, as his perception of life is shattered when he starts to fall in love with a French music student. The film’s wit is sharp and the interactions between certain characters are almost maniacal as Benjamin starts letting go of the values of the world around him go. As a love story, the film is intimate and delicate and both Colin Morgan and Phénix Brossard’s chemistry pins the film together as it explores its themes.

Currently on All4 (At the time of writing)

My Octopus Teacher – Date Viewed: 13/02/2022

Director: Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed

Studio: Netflix

Release Date: 2020

Netflix’s Oscar winning documentary focuses on filmmaker Craig Foster and his relationship with nature as he meets a young and intelligent octopus. The documentary is a touching depiction of nature in all of it’s complexities and marvels, as the footage captured from the diving is breathtaking, but the character of the octopus is one that keeps evolving as the documentary progresses, as we see a close bond between Craig and the octopus as it goes through its inventible life cycle. The moments of tension that arises from the encounters with the pyjama shark too leads to some stunning moments and emotional moments.

Currently on Netflix (At the time of writing)

Encanto – Date Viewed: 15/02/2022

Director: Jared Bush, Byron Howard

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Release Date: 2021

Disney continues to create beautifully animated stories, which capture the imagination and Encanto is no different. We follow Mirabel as she seeks to restore the miracle, a power that bestows her family with powers, but unlike her family she is the only one to have not gotten one, which sets forward the conflict between the matriarchal Alma, who wants her family to be perfect. The musical numbers are catchy and full of life, which keep the entertainment vibrant between the moments of introspection, but it’s also not as emotionally devastating as other Disney films, which also makes it more accessible to watch.

Currently on Disney+ (At the time of writing)

Fargo – Date Viewed: 19/02/2022

Director: Joel Coen

Studio: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films

Release Date: 1996

The Coen Brother’s masterful black comedy sees a pregnant police chief investigating a roadside murder after a car salesman hires two people to kidnap his wife to extort a hefty ransom. The film is extremely violent, yet extremely funny as we see the two bumbling criminals limp from one disaster to the next, while Marge Gunderson, played by Frances McDormand commands the screen in one of the most brilliant performances in recent memory. The film has extreme importance in cinematic history as it has been preserved in the United States National Film Registry and has even a spin-off series, which much like the film has been lauded.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

John Wick 3: Parabellum – Date Viewed: 21/02/2022

Director: Chad Stahelski

Studio: Italia Film Intl, Thunder Road Pictures, 87Eleven Productions, Company Films

Release Date: 2019

Arguably one of the best in the series, which is saying a lot, Parabellum ups the ante of the previous two to give even more brilliant choreographed fights, gunplay and set pieces – all while giving more back story to the life of an assassin, but also more of the established characters, while blending in some more stars, which give the film even more life. The film is lit with a neon glow as John tries to reclaim his life back after he has been made excommunicado following the events of the previous entry. If you like action films, which don’t take themselves seriously, look great and move at a breakneck speed then the John Wick series as a whole is worth your time – and with a fourth entry coming soon it’s worth watching now.

Currently on Rental (At the time of writing)

Black Swan – Date Viewed: 24/02/2022

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Studio: Cross Creek Pictures, Protozoa Pictures, Phoenix Pictures, Dune Entertainment

Release Date: 2010

Natalie Portman’s defining performances comes in Darren Aronofsky’s brilliant psychological drama about perfection, madness and transformation. Nina Sayers is a soft-spoken, fragile ballet dancer, who is given the role of the Swan Queen, from there she must embody the White Swan and the Black Swan – pushed by a ruthless artistic director, she must learn to become the Black Swan before her big performance. Portman is incredible and was rightly lauded for her role, which sees her as one of her most vulnerable and honest. It’s a tough watch sometimes to see how she is treated in her life, from her overbearing mother to her peers, but all of this culminates in an incredible release in the ballet sequences which are filmed beautifully like the rest of the film.

Currently on Amazon Prime (At the time of writing)

Icarus – Date Viewed: 26/02/2022

Director: Bryan Fogel

Studio: Alex Productions, Diamond Docs, Impact Partners

Release Date: 2017

This ground-breaking documentary focuses on filmmaker Bryan Fogel and his exploration into the doping scandal which shook the sporting world to its core. The story starts with Fogel exploring the doping process himself – but soon evolves into something much deeper, as Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory becomes a whistleblower while also helping Fogel dope for a cycling race. The twists and turns are plentiful as the ramifications of truth become apparent in this gripping true-life story.

Currently on Netflix (At the time of writing)

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed what I have wrote and I hope you get a chance to view some of the films on this list.

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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