2024 in lists: Movies

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Movies: seen on TV, probably on a streaming service, or on an airplane

  • Maestro: First film of 2024. Choices are always to be made in telling someone’s complex life but I enjoyed this interesting telling of the famous composer and conductor and found Carey Mulligan and Bradley Cooper watchable and magnetic. 
  • Saltburn: Some critics are apparently asking, ‘What was the point?’ but I couldn’t keep my eyes from the screen. This was never boring. 
  • Good Grief: A fan of Schitt’s Creek, I really wanted to like Daniel Levy’s debut film, but it asks too much of a viewer, to feel for these characters and to explore grief when we’re given so little to work with: pretty images of Paris, tons of pornographic signs of wealth, a sad, sad soundtrack, and various themed songs. The dialogue rang false to me, though the two sidekicks did their best with what they were given. 
  • Nuovo Olimpo: A romantic, nostalgic film, set in Rome, about a short, passionate gay romance and then decades of melancholy. I loved it. 
  • No Hard Feelings: Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman: I kept waiting for the movie to fall apart but I thought the acting perfect and charismatic and that the film was very, very funny. I needed a light film to watch during a Sydney heatwave and this was a good one. 
  • A Haunting in Venice: And why not? A Hercule Poirot mystery set in a murky, wet and atmospheric Venice, with a wonderful cast. I liked the intrusions of the supernatural and most of all, Venice. And that moustache. 
  • The Lobster: Whoah. I liked Poor Things so much, I thought I’d check out the Lobster. Amazing premise. Hilarious scenes and to start with, some sharp satire, I thought. But then it totally loses it’s way when I was hoping for a strong finish. 
  • Tár: As usual, Cate Blanchett is magnetic. And what a story. A cerebral entry to the world of classical music, to start with, and then … a story that takes the typical story of an abusive, powerful womaniser, and makes him a her. Raising interesting questions along the way. 
  • Talk to Me: Horror films aren’t my thing but I’d heard about how successful this Australian film was, and I think Sophie Wilde, the lead, is an amazing actor. And I loved this: a good premise, good storytelling, creepy as hell. 

Movies (seen in the cinema)

  • All of Us Strangers: A good first pick for a film seen in the cinema for 2024. Though is this categorisation silly. I basically hived off movies from television and theatre, because we saw so many last year, but then most of those were on streaming services. In any case, I thought Andrew Scott’s acting was so beautiful in this. Paul Mescal is always watchable. And Claire Foy and Jamie Bell: also fantastic. An interesting melancholy meditation on loss and feeling you never fit in. A slow pace, like Haigh’s Weekend, and I got mixed up with the plot, perhaps getting so emotionally involved, I sort of drifted off into what I wanted to happen then what the story was telling me. 
  • Next Goal Wins: My mate Tom from England, who is a sports fan, booked in for this and then couldn’t make it to Sydney to see it. So Stevie and I saw it at the outdoors cinema on the Harbour, with a meal beforehand at the specially built restaurant! Couldn’t have been a more spectacular setting to see this fun film. The story and plotting was shaggy, but we enjoyed it just fine (I see pretty mediocre reviews though; honestly, most films I just want to generally be entertained so am less critical than I used to be). 
  • Poor Things: I don’t think I’ve seen a similar film and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Everything about it – the sets, the music, the odd filming techniques, the acting, the costumes and particularly the script, the funny wordplay of a baby’s brain become adult – I loved it. Still a bit speechless. The weirdest hero’s journey ever.

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