December 2015 Recap

Welcome to December (sort of)!
 November was a crazy month for me, lots of schoolwork and exams (and December is following that trend, which is why this post is so late). My movie watching was considerably stilted for the first part of the month, but that was ok, because it gave me the break I needed and I returned really exited about films again. I didn't feel like this was an amazing month for movies, but as I look back I actually found a lot of new favorites, it was tough narrowing down my selections to highlight in this post. I hope November was great for you all, and that you had a good Thanksgiving!

Here's a full list of my viewings for the month. Re-watches are marked with *. In total I watched 47 films, 5 of those being re-watches.
  • Casino Royale
  • Harold and Maude*
  • Brokeback Mountain*
  • Clerks
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan
  • V for Vendetta*
  • Quantum of Solace
  • American Psycho
  • Y Tu Mama Tambien
  • Skyfall
  • Field of Dreams
  • Miss Julie
  • True Story
  •  Memento
  • It Follows
  • Creep
  • Unexpected
  • Lilting*
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Woman in Gold
  • The Duke of Burgundy
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  • 5 to 7
  • While We're Young
  • White Bird in a Blizzard
  • Girlhood
  • Comet
  • Take Shelter
  • The Thin Blue Line
  • Wadjda
  • Adult World
  • Jurassic World
  • We Are the Best!
  • White God
  • The Peanuts Movie 
  • Weekend
  • Electrick Children
  • Womb
  • Electrick Children*
  • Don't Look Now
  • Circumstance
  • Sweet Smell of Success
  • Testament of Youth
  • Desert Hearts
  • Elena Undone
  • The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Trainwreck 
Y Tu Mama Tambien has been on my radar for a long time, but I just never got around to it. So glad I finally did, because what a gorgeous movie! I've seen some people complain about the narration, but I thought that it was one of the best parts of the film; every place we visit has such an immense history, but we usually have no way of discovering it, we don't even think of trying to do so. It's something interesting to think about. And that's just one lovely thing about this movie; the performances, the dialogue, the cinematography. Everything is just really beautiful. I had to make this a last minute addition to my Barnes & Noble Criterion order, I loved it so much.
   
This image and the one in the banner are from Skyfall, but it's really representative of Daniel Craig's entire run of Bond films. I watched nearly the entire Bond series for the first time this year, and while I had fun with it, I just couldn't fully get into the madcap adventures populating most of the films. It was too silly. The tone of DC's run, on the other hand, is exactly what I want out of spy films and I'm going to enjoy it wholeheartedly as long as it lasts.

I have been insanely hyped up for It Follows for over half a year, so it had a lot of expectations to meet, and it did. Wow. I enjoy horror films, but rarely the slashers and jump scare types people now think of when they hear the word "horror". I love suspense and paranoia and interesting characters. This was all of that. Even better, he utilized all of the things I liked in his last film, Myth of the American Sleepover (specifically the dreamy atmosphere), and excised everything about it that was really annoying. Great example of a director learning between films. I've already ordered the blu-ray and am very exited to watch this again.
I was expecting something creepy, because... well... the title, but I actually got quite a few laughs out of it. While one character does turn out to be a violent, dangerous person, for most of the movie it's really just a study of gay panic. The violent character at one point sends the other character a knife and a locket with both of their initials on it, and it's not the knife that makes him call the police, it's the locket. Despite my laughter, the film does manage to have a very chilling finale and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't gotten around to it yet.

I loved Peanuts as a kid. I'm not even talking about the holiday specials, though those have a special place in my heart too-no, I mean I would go to the library and borrow giant volumes of Peanuts comic strips and read them cover to cover. When I first heard about a CGI film, I was horrified, picturing the recent CGI adaptations of The Smurfs or Alvin and the Chipmunks. But as promo images and teaser trailers started coming out, I warmed up to the idea, and this film wormed its way into being one of my most anticipated of the year. It did not disappoint! My only complaint is that the Snoopy subplot was pretty unnecessary and I wouldn't have minded if it had been cut from the script. Everything else, however, was so wonderful; why can't Blue Sky work on more projects like this!
Like Chappie a few months ago, White Bird in a Blizzard is a film with poor reviews that I'm thrilled I watched anyway. While the twist ending was very very stupid, everything else worked for me. I loved the cinematography, and something about the atmosphere really sucked me into these characters and their world, I felt like I was in a dream. Shailene Woodley continues to be amazing, and I loved the character she played-some found her too unlikable, apparently, but she felt very "real" to me and she's definitely the best female lead (of a teen film) that I've encountered in awhile. I definitely recommend giving this one a look if the reviews dissuaded you from it upon release.
 
When I first heard about White God, I had no idea how this was going to work, and was very surprised it had positive reviews. I was a massive Homeward Bound fan as a kid, so I'm no stranger to the talent of animal actors, but can a film heavily featuring them really be engaging adult cinema? The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, the dialogue-free sections featuring only the dogs are the very best parts of the film, including the final shot, which is one of the most best images I've ever seen in film. This is on both US and Canada Netflix and I highly recommend that you check it out.
 
Modern R-rated comedies are very hit-or-miss for me. When they're good, I love them (21/22 Jump Street), when they're bad, I just don't even bother (too many to count). Spy and Trainwreck are films I was very exited for this year, because early reviews promised they'd do something very few female-led comedies do: treat their leads with respect (AKA laugh with them, not at them). I got to see Spy first, which I loved, and then came Trainwreck, which was even better! I watched it late at night and actually woke people up because I was laughing so hard. Oops. This was so sweet and so funny from start to finish, and definitely one of my favorites of the year.

We're a ways into December now, and I'm packing this month with milestone first-time watches that I'm exited to share with you in my next recap (and maybe before, we'll see). I'm also beginning to work on my 2015 recap, which is going to be a pretty huge beast-this is the biggest year for movies I've had, well, ever. Hope December is treating you well, and keep watching great movies!

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