Day 28 – Arctic (2019)

Holy shit, those were the words I breathe at the end of Joe Penna’s directorial debut. I don’t usually like survival movies, I usually find them pretty boring but somehow I found Arctic so fascinating. From the visuals to the perfect performance from Mads Mikkelsen and the great story, Arctic wasn’t even on my radar and ended up being one of the best surprises.

Arctic is almost silent, but there’s also a lot of noise in it. With almost no dialogue, it’s all on Mikkelsen to sell the film. Even when he is no longer alone, he has almost nothing to say. And yet, you understand everything that is happening. You get his pain, his relief, his guilt, every emotion that the character goes through, you get. That’s how good he is in this role. It’s his best performance to date without a doubt.

Watching the film, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the amazing cinematography but at the same time, the cinematography is simply geography. The infinity of white that occupies this film is just plain beautiful. The plains, the rocks, even the storms are so beautiful that you can’t help but be in awe of the terrain that they are on. Even when it almost kills them, it’s beautiful.

My grief too often with these types of film is that they run too long. But Arctic runs long enough. Just as I was starting to think that this was enough, it just wraps everything up. It has a clear goal that is established and it does it beautifully. It never feels like the film is too much, even in the scenes that are difficult to watch, it’s just enough. It’s a beautiful balance really.

Arctic might have not even been on your radar, it wasn’t on mine. But it’s a beautiful tale of surviving that deserves your attention really.

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Day 27 – Top Gun (1986)

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this film. On one hand, I liked parts of it, mostly the acting. On the other hand, by the end of it, I really didn’t care for it. Yes, the acting was great and made me feel like I was part of the film, some of the action sequences were really cool but I really wasn’t the target audience for this film and I felt it throughout.

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Day 26 – 25th Hour (2002)

I am a big Spike Lee fan, I think he’s one of those filmmakers with such an important voice that everyone needs to watch his filmography. So when I learned about 25th Hour, I was surprised that I had never heard of it before. And while reading about it beforehand and watching it I couldn’t understand how this was a Spike Lee film, it just didn’t feel like one of his movies. But that’s not a bad thing really, because it’s still a very good movie, it just doesn’t feel like a Spike Lee movie.

25th Hour isn’t really hard to watch, emotional yes but you never feel uncomfortable. Which is weird when you think about the subject. It plays on your emotions the whole time and leaves you breathless. It gives you hope only to take it back and it does it perfectly with it’s ending. It gives you a little hope that Edward Norton’s character, Monty, will be able to run away and have the life he dreams but instead it takes all of that away and ends with an ending that just leaves you speechless.

It’s an ending that looking at it after a few hours of having watched the film sums up life so perfectly. Monty knew where he was going this whole time, the whole film is him accepting it. And when he finally starts to accept it, someone gives him a little hope only to have it all taken away. It’s something that showcases the best and worst of humanity. Monty did bad things in his life to survive and he needs to pay for his sins but at the same time we have started to love him and it’s hard for us to not want him to get his happy ending.

25th Hour never feels like a Spike Lee movie and maybe I missed that a little too much just because of how much I loved Lee’s voice as a filmmaker but I think that the film works even without it. There’s something quite special about the film, outside of the superb acting. I can’t quite describe my feelings because I think that this whole film leads to its knockout ending really and I don’t want to spoil too much.

25th Hour isn’t Spike Lee’s best work but it’s a piece of art that deserves love and recognition because it’s damn impressive.

Day 25 – RENT Live

Okay so this one is a bit of a cheat, but it’s technically a made for television movie musical so I will count it in. I’m a theatre musical junkie and RENT has always been one of those musical that I just never got enough. So for this live version, I had high expectation. It never could have lived up to them really, especially after it was announced that Brennin Hunt, who portrayed Rogers, broke his foot during dress rehearsal. Instead of cancelling or postponing the show, or even have an understudy, the producers decided to air the pre-recorded rehearsal.

RENT Live could have been great, it had the cast for that but because you could tell a lot of the performers were saving their voice for the live show, it just falls short. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t without its standout. Just like in Jesus Christ Superstar, Brandon Victor Dixon proves the star power he truly has. And just like in Grease Live, Vanessa Hudgens showcases a talent that many don’t give her enough credit for. And Tinashe surprised me so much, she was one of my favourite part of the whole show. Funny enough, Brennin Hunt for me was the low point of the show. I never truly cared for his Rogers.

RENT Live doesn’t feel like it belongs on FOX and you can’t tell it censored itself. The camera work was weird at times, and I often told the audience to shut up in my living room. It’s something weird, because can we truly judge a dress rehearsal but at the same time by airing it, the production told us to do so. It’s a thing that during the whole show I simply wanted them to just have decided to go with an understudy. Someone told me that why these shows work is for the star power but the problem is that Brennin Hunt is not that, yes he is an established singer but compared to people like Tinashe, Brandon Victor Dixon, Kiersey Clemons, Vanessa Hudgens and Valentina.

I wish RENT Live had found another solution than the one they did but I can’t do anything about that. I enjoyed it because it’s Rent but I wished I did more. I have to admit that I did shed a little tear at the end when this production and the original Broadway cast singing together. It was everything I wanted and more.

Day 24 – The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

It’s insane to me that since Attack The Block, Joe Cornish hasn’t directed anything at all. Attack The Block was one of those little gems that not enough people saw, unfortunately. So when I learn that The Kid Who Would Be King was his return to the screen, it made me happy and then I learned that it was a modern adaptation of the Arthurian legend and my heart just burst.

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