I am yet to meet another person whose favourite instalment in the Harry Potter franchise is film number two.
I have to admit that the book is better, but the film is still brilliant. I am a huge fan of crime novels, owning a pretty impressive collecting of Agatha Christie's murder mysteries, and that is what the plot of Chamber of Secrets seems like to me: a web of mystery and intrigue interwoven with secrets. While I as a rule am not a huge fan of fantasy films, Harry Potter somehow sets itself apart; it's the familiarity of the school setting, the endearing nature of the characters and the thrill of the subplots that lure me in.
Chamber of Secrets also features the joy that is Gilderoy Lockhart, played exquisitely by Kenneth Brannagh. Unlike Umbridge, Lockhart is a genuinely charming villain, and someone that we love to hate and hate to love. While his excellent characterisation is owed primarily to JK Rowling's writing, Brannagh brings him to life brilliantly, making him one of the most distinguishable characters in the franchise.
Often, and very much wrongly, overlooked, Chamber of Secrets puts a fantastic twist on the classic who-dunnit, and keeps you hooked from Dobby's first appearance with the magnificent cake calamity to that delightful scene where he is presented with a sock.
These three simple facts alone should compel you to watch this film: it stars Rory Gilmore, Ugly Betty and has a scene involving Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. The friends find a pair of (low-rise…) jeans that magically fit them all perfectly, and over summer they send them back-and-forth for good luck and to stay ‘connected’. What starts as a classic early teens comedy involving four very trope-y friends (the emo, the athlete, the arty nerd, the caring all-rounder) actually goes on to involve some surprisingly serious topics like a family breakdown, cancer, and grief. In short, I never expected to be consistently sobbing over a pair of jeans. And now I’m too scared to see the sequel because I just KNOW it could never be this good.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before warms my heart EVERY SINGLE TIME I watch it. Granted, you have to be in the mood for a chick flick that is, at best, cringey. There are all the expected scenes of two lovers sitting in a hot tub together on a school trip and others alike it, but if you are wanting something comforting and wholesome then this film is amazing.
Lara Jean will make you want to be her. Her style is AMAZING (did I mention that H&M have just released a line that is based on her clothing?!) and her relationship with Peter made me cry….it doesn’t take much. The fact that she pretends to be in a relationship with him and then they both really do catch feelings for each other is very basic, but who am I to judge a classic storyline? Especially when I enjoyed it so much. Definitely a lockdown film to cheer you up (grab the tissues when you’re getting the popcorn out the cupboard, you’ll need them).
2014 cinema was good for us, we got the likes of Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Interstellar, and The Lego Movie. We also got a little gem from the gem that is Taika Waititi called What We Do In the Shadows. This mockumentary-style film follows a group of vampire roommates trying to navigate modern society and usually failing in a hilarious fashion. The writing is brilliant with it’s a realistic approach to how modern vampires would act, quirks and all. It breathes new life (death?) into the vampire subgenre beyond the trauma that was the Twilight saga with a fresh and inventive look at the Bram Stoker classic monster. As with any of Taika’s work, the movie will have you in stitches from start to finish, and if there is something we could all use right now, it’s a good laugh.
This movie could have easily came up on various other days of this challenge. But I remember one of the reasons that this film stuck with me was the long title. Based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows high school student Charlie (Logan Lerman) as he forms meaningful friendships, and overcomes childhood trauma. It's one of the ultimate coming of age movies, one that I watch from time to time for the nostalgia. It somehow manages to be happy, heartbreaking, and empowering all at the same time. Also, if you love the movie and haven't read the book, give it a try. It's a gem.
The soundtrack is amazing, full of the best songs we still love today. Plus, they perform Rocky Horror, what more could you want? The title may be a mouthful, but it perfectly sums it all up.
Starring literally everyone from Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson - the rom-com genres avengers, if you will - He's Just Not That Into You is a classic romantic comedy that follows different couples who all interlink in their own ways as they navigate love, life, passion and the social pressures of work, marriage, being accepted and liked.
While this isn't one of the best-made, well-written, critically acclaimed films that I could have chosen instead, it is a film that never fails to make me laugh and smile and cry simultaneously, all at once. It's cheesy in a way that you grow to love it and grow attached to these characters as they desperately fall in love. One thing I learnt from this film comes from the title: while you refuse to believe it, sometimes that crush you're devoting all your time to just isn't into you and you should move on.
One thing I love the most about this film is the interpolating sections of real life couples who give you advice (mainly slating boys and men because yes, men do suck). This film drives home the message that women rule and every man on the planet sucks (especially you Bradley Cooper, god damn his character was an ASS) with the exception of Justin Long. He's the best. Ultimately, this film isn't the best but it will make you laugh and it will make you feel gushy and what more do we need during lockdown?
We all have those moments that we want to forget. Those moments that make us cringe or drunken nights out we’d wished we stayed in. In this film the couple take it one step further deciding to have their entire relationship wiped from memory. This film is so great as it plays on a thought so universal, that of what if I just forgot? It does however show us that while erasing a broken heart may seem easy it doesn’t fix all we think it will. With a story structure as colourful as the hairstyles this film really is something special.
It's actually kind of difficult to think of films with long titles, because most these days have catchy one or two-word title. However, this was never the case with the Pirates of the Caribbean series who have some, erm, interestingly long titles (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a bit of a mouthful, reason enough not to watch it) However, there is one long title that makes sense, and that's Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.
Firstly, I love that this entire billion-dollar series of successful films started because Disney wanted to base something around their theme park attraction of the same name. Fun fact this ride was the last one that Walt Disney oversaw before his death! Iconic. Anyway, back to the first film. This film was everywhere when I was a kid: people were playing as Jack Sparrow at school, kids had all the toy sets, everyone was obsessed. And honestly, the film still holds up, despite its terrible successors. Jack Sparrow is such an iconic character at this point it's unbelievable. Elizabeth Swan? Stunning. William Turner? Slightly less memorable to be honest, except for Orlando Bloom's beautiful face. However, the best character? Barbossa. Hands down, don't fight me on this one. Oh, and the soundtrack is incredible. LEGENDARY, even. What would firework displays be without the Pirates of the Caribbean theme?
I think the Pirates franchise has done so well because originally it was so much darker than what Disney normally did. We're used to Disney having singing princesses, not singing drunk-from-rum pirates. Honestly, it's a refreshing tone change, whilst still being fun for the whole family. Jack Sparrow is the perfect anti-hero that we collectively decide is a bad person, but we still root for him anyway. Despite its quality massively dropping with each successor film, Curse of the Black Pearl is still a joy to watch and still makes me want to chant "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me" afterwards.
Sophie Sea-Shanty Hicks
War films, in the usual sense of the word, I generally do not like. I find the glorification of war and the violence committed between people on behalf of rulers detached socially and geographically from their soldiers to be abhorrent. War films are often nothing more than propaganda.
The anti-war film is different. The anti-war film subverts the genre, instead casting a light over the atrocities, the senselessness of fighting for these leaders, the destruction inherent to conflict. The anti-war film serves as an important insight into an experience that many people may never have yet could be made to believe is heroic by propagandisers.
All Quiet on The Western Front is perhaps one of the first important entries into the genre. Released in 1930 and concerning a German company during the First World War, it may appear somewhat dated though is no less poignant. The youthful and hopeful protagonists are swiftly beaten down by the realities of war, never seeing the glory their impassioned professor promises them if they enlist. It’s a bleak and striking film even almost 100 years on.
I'm always taken aback when someone says they haven't seen any of Harry Potter and they don't understand my references when I recite scenes and quotes from the films (its leviosa not leviosa!). However, I feel that is only because I've grown up watching all the films and reading the books.
Although most people prefer the later films like the Prisoner of Azkaban, Order of the Phoneix and Deathly Hallows, the first film will always hold a special place in my heart. From the young trio finding their feet with magic in the wizarding world, to Christmas at Hogwarts and Mrs. Weasley's knitted jumpers (I always wanted a knitted jumper with an A on after seeing the film!).
I feel most people know the plot of Harry Potter now, but if they haven't. The film follows an 11-year-old orphan called Harry, who discovers he is actually a wizard and has been invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, entering the magical wizarding world, devastating evil awaits him and his two best friends Ron and Hermione.
In a desperate attempt to avoid choosing a sequel, I might be cheating the system a little bit here given that this Coen Brothers classic only hits five words exactly… but can we count the question mark as an extra word? Great. Studying The Odyssey means I now have a tendency to find other ways of reading it – and O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a more obvious choice, given the plot is loosely based off the epic poem. Set in 1937 Mississippi during the Great Depression, it sees Ulysses (George Clooney) and three other convicts escape from a chain gang to find the treasure he Ulysses’ claims to have buried. Their adventures are both funny, utterly bizarre and yet filled with tension.
And if you’re yet to read the book? Well, so are Ethan and Joel.