So February 28 marks the last day of meteorological winter, not that Winter is over yet here in Minnesnowta. Still March signals spring and though temps are still hovering in the 30s F, at least no more sub-zero weather!
My hubby rejoiced after work today that he didn’t have to shovel after the 1+ inch snow we got last night as it already melted! Such is the ‘joy’ of living in a state where the Dept of Transporation holds an annual ‘Name a Snowplow’ contest… this year’s winner? Yer a Blizzard, Harry, which beats Blizzo and Clearopathtra 😂
In any case, here’s what I watched last month:
(films indicated with * are directed by women)
This is a pretty moving story about a gifted child who gets adopted by her uncle and ends up being in a custody battle with her own grandmother. Chris Evans is quite convincing as an extremely hunky father figure and this is the movie where he met his then-girlfriend Jenny Slate. But the true star is Mckenna Grace as the spirited young genius Mary, and veteran British thespian Lindsay Duncan classes up the whole thing as the antagonist of the story. The phenomenally talented Octavia Spencer has pretty small role here but she’s always wonderful to watch.
Despite the numerous adaptations of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, nicknamed Sisi, this is the first time I’ve actually seen a movie about her. Written and directed by Marie Kreutzer, this is a fictional account of one year in Sisi’s life, brilliantly portrayed by Vicky Krieps. I enjoyed her performance as a rebellious, defiant royal once idolized for her beauty. Kreutzer employed plenty of amusing anachronistic elements that modernize the tale, but Krieps grounds the film and you truly feel her suffocating under the stifling 19th-century patriarchy. As far as costume dramas go, this is one of the most beautifully shot, the costumes and set pieces are absolutely stunning to look at.
The Photograph* (2020)
This is one of my five picks of wonderful movies directed by women starring POC leads. The chemistry between LaKeith Stanfield and Issa Rae is swoon-worthy, but the story is just as intriguing. I love that the parallel love story of Rae’s mother told in flashback is equally beguiling, so you get TWO beautiful love stories in one movie. I absolutely adore this film, it’s one I know I’ll rewatch again down the line.
Sophie n the Rising Sun* (2017)
This is another one on my Valentine’s list that I wish I had seen sooner. Love this beautiful, bittersweet love story during wartime. This one has more than just romance, the reunion story between two childhood friends separated by bigotry and racism is just as memorable. Anything with Margo Martindale rarely disappoints and Lorraine Toussaint as Salome and I’d think her character deserves her own story told.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2022)
The Phantom of the Open (2021)
San Andreas (2015)
When you’re staying in a hotel during a vacation, you just can’t predict just what’s gonna be on TV. I was actually hoping Aquaman would be playing so I can actually catch the ending (I watched it the last two times during a hotel stay, ahah). No such ‘luck,’ what was on TV was disaster movies, and this one is a disaster in every sense of the word, regardless of whether there were earthquakes in it. Everything about this is so clichéd and simply ludicrous it’s not even worth watching on a plane. It’s another drivel featuring Dwayne Johnson as another stolid, banal hero.
This came on TV on my second hotel stay and I couldn’t help but watch this Halle Berry disaster flick from Roland Emmerich. I know I should’ve heeded my friend Vince’s review where he gave 2.5 stars. With very little substance and having the depth of a Saturday morning cartoon, I think Vince is too generous with his rating, I’d knock a half a point for Patrick Wilson‘s smugness that even John Bradley‘s humorous quips can’t save.
American Underdog (2021)
I had planned on watching this after this year’s Super Bowl but I didn’t get to see it until over a week later. Zachary Levi is an interesting choice as St Louis Rams’ quarterback Kurt Warner, but I think he did his story justice. The story of the Hall of Fame quarterback who went from working at Hy-Vee to becoming an NFL MVP is destined to be put on screen. I didn’t realize the poverty and all the struggles before he finally got signed by the Rams, but it’s his love story with his wife Brenda (Anna Paquin) that’s just as inspiring as his football journey.
Full review upcoming
I’ve been curious about this movie for a while as it’s set in the Eqyptian ancient city. Writer/director Zeina Durra, who has a degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford, weaves a story of a British aid worker who meets her former lover working on his archaeological study. I love reunion stories so that premise drew me in. The lead actress is this year’s controversial Oscar-nominee Andrea Riseborough as Hana. but she and Karim Saleh as Sultan are pretty much wasted in this meandering and unfocused movie. Some might say this is meditative but I’d say it’s tedious as the script never let us into just what Hana contemplates about.
There’s not much happening in this movie, perhaps the only memorable thing is Riseborough’s bizarre dancing-while-drunk sequence in the hotel bar. It’s barely 1.5 hours long but it just went on forever, I was actually more interested in the ancient tales told during a few scenes at the dig. Such a waste of talent and an exotic location!
So I’m continuing the 52 Films By Women challenge I started on International Women’s Day a few years ago. Per Women In Film (WIF) organization, the basic rules are simple: watch 52 films directed by women within the course of one year and share what you watched on social media, using the hashtag #52FilmsByWomen to spread the word, and get more people talking about the women filmmakers that don’t always get attention.
Another strong month despite February being the shortest month of the year! I ended up watching five movies directed by women: Corsage, The Photograph, Sophie n the Rising Sun, EMILY, and Luxor.
Somehow I ended up watching quite a few of my favorite romantic movies. Not sure why exactly, I think I saw Ever After close to Valentine’s Day, but I was kind of inspired by Melanie Lynskey’s appearance in HBO’s The Last Of Us, ahah.
Pride and Prejudice
Ever After: A Cinderella Story
Sleepless in Seattle*
MOVIE OF THE MONTH
Considering February was US Black History Month, this beautiful romance was a perfect pick for Valentine’s Day, but it’s well worth watching no matter what day it is!
So what did you see in February and which one(s) are your favorites?
7 thoughts on “What I Watched in February 2023 + Movie Of the Month”
The best thing I saw last month was Zama by Lucrecia Martel on MUBI as it is this great film on the fallacies of colonialism and a man who thought he was important only to realize that he’s just a pawn in a terrible system. I have seen Gifted as I thought it was a wonderful film mainly because of Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, and McKenna Grace. Emily is playing at my multiplex tomorrow but I’m too sick to go while Corsage is a film I do want to see. I’ve mainly spent the last month re-watching Ted Lasso in anticipation for the third season. Go Richmond!!!!!
You should catch up to Corsage at some point, it’s fascinating and Vicky Kieps is terrific. I’m surprised she wasn’t nominated for Oscars this year.
Yeah I’m excited for Ted Lasso S3 too!
I can’t wait for this winter to over with, feels like it’s been forever because of the ice and snow storms that we’ve got this year.
With work ramping up, I was on the plane more often and didn’t have that much time to watch movies or shows. But I did watch Wakanda Forever and thought it’s great. I loved how Namor was introduced but wish the movie has an actual villain. Knowing that Namor will eventually be part of The Avengers, making him the main antagonist was kind of disappointing. Then I finally watched Steve McQueen’s last action film, The Hunter. I’ve been avoiding it for years since so many people said it’s terrible. And I should’ve listened to them, it’s a terrible film. I’m surprised that it never got a remake during the 90s or early 2000s. With a better script and director, someone like Mel Gibson or Bruce Willis would’ve made the remake a success and launched a franchise for the studio.
I only watched one TV show last month, Gangs of London. I’ve wanting to see it but I don’t have AMC+, the show was on Amazon Prime and I was able to watch season 1. A very solid but quite violent tale of mobsters in London.
Also, I really enjoyed San Andreas. I didn’t have any expectations for it, so I had a great time watching it. Now, maybe it’s because I watched on my big screen in 3D and Dolby Atmos, it’s more entertaining. Lol!
Yeah it’s annoying we’re still stuck in the 20s-30s til mid-March, I’m hoping we’d be in the 40s by now so the huge snowbanks in my front yard would be gone.
Oh I haven’t heard of The Hunter, somehow when you said Steve McQueen you’re referring to the British film director, ahah. I’m actually not into Steve McQueen the classic actor, I’ve only seen him in Bullit and he comes across so darn smug.
I’ve been watching LIAISON on AppleTV and enjoying it so far. I bet Gangs of London is violent, probably similar to Peaky Blinders’ level of violence, right? Based on the reviews anyway as I haven’t seen those either.
Yeah, Steve McQueen the late actor not the current working director. Lol! McQueen was pretty much the Tom Cruise of that era but I think he grew tire of Hollywood as he gotten older. He was the first choice to play Rambo but he didn’t wanted it and told the studio to give him $1mil upfront if they want him that bad.
Gangs of London is even more violent than Peaky Blinders. I’m talking about Tarantino and Scorsese type of screen violence. They tried to combined the world of mobster with a little of espionage into the story. The last two episodes were kind of clunky but I hope season 2 will be available on Prime soon. I don’t want to pay for another streaming service, I already paying too many.
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