Tag Archives: Let’s Talk What I Watch

Let’s Talk About: 1917

This is going to be an atrociously long blog post, so let’s just get into it.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Cinematography 

2019-early 2020  was a fantastic year for movies. Just looking back on the 2020 Oscar nominees makes me remember why the fight for best picture was so rough. I don’t have any argument at all against Parasite winning best picture so  I’m really glad that 1917 got the recognition it deserves with best cinematography.

If you’ve read my post on Sicario, you’ll understand my recent adoration for Mr. Roger Deakins. Although I’m a firm believer, having only seen three of his movies (I know, I’m working on it) that he deserves more than two oscars, I’m thankful he at least got this one as his second. 

The thing about 1917, is it’s not a movie that should win just for being shot to appear as if it is all one take. It’s how Deakins and the entire movie team took that opportunity and then made every single shot and moment of this film amazing. 

If you’re the kind of person to see a movie shot in a unique way like this and then immediately be struck with interest and flooded with questions like how, what, who, why, and when, then here’s a great youtube video on how the entire movie appears to be a singular take.

Some of the Most Memorable Scenes 

I haven’t done this yet on this blog, where I directly talk about my three top scenes, but I’m excited to highlight a few scenes from this movie. It also helps that I could find and re-watch them on Youtube since it’s nearly been a year since I saw this movie. 

First up, the opening scene. 

I basically decided to see this movie for three reasons:

1- I love a good war movie, as typical as that is I think some of them can be so heart-wrenching and the storylines are always so far removed from my personal life. They really put things into perspective. On top of that, I genuinely haven’t seen that many of the ‘purely battlefield storylines’ besides Dunkirk. 

2- Roger Deakins’ name in the trailer.

3- The fact that I heard or read something about it being all in one shot.

Now the third point, I wasn’t sure if that was true, so going into the film I still managed to be surprised. I distinctly remember nudging my friend about five minutes in and whispering “holy cow, it’s actually.. one shot, like no joke”. 

Here’s the scene I’m talking about if you want to check it out: the first 9 minutes of the film

Second up, the flare scene. 

Now this scene is backed up with a breathtaking score behind it. The entire score is fantastic but this specific track is by far one of the best. If you want to check it out on it’s own, the track is called “The Night Window”. 

When I first saw the movie I honestly didn’t really take a lot away from this scene. Now, re-watching it almost a year later I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, but it’s just over the halfway point so my brain was definitely getting worn out from all of the action. But afterwards, when I did my post-movie research, I found out this scene was filmed using actual, real flares. Boom. Just another topping to the cake that is any Roger Deakins’ movie. 

Check the scene out here, and make sure you listen to it because the score just makes it even more impactful. 

Lastly, one of the last scenes of the movie and probably the most outstanding is “the explosion scene” (which, taken out of context doesn’t mean much considering the whole film is a series of explosions but it’s the running one at the end? You know? From the trailer? Okay).  

I remember reading somewhere that this scene was only shot four times, or only could be shot four times because they only had so many live explosives. Don’t quote me on that but either way this scene can’t really get any more impressive. 

Not only was this scene filmed in a way I have never seen done before, still manage to have a cool score, include hundreds of extras, (yes) still shot in one continuous take, include real, live explosives, but it also managed to give every single person chills that watches it. And I can only say that because I firmly believe that if you can watch this scene without either wanting to yell, cry, or pass out then I don’t know who you are. 

If you’re going to take anything away from this blog post, it’s that I want you to watch this scene. I’m not even going to suggest you watch it, just watch it! Just.. go watch it now.


Anyway, I’ve been droning on about how fabulous this movie, but I have one more word to fit into this post about it. 

When I first heard about it I definitely thought “another war movie?”. Fair criticism. There seems to be a saturated market for war movies. I’m a firm believer that diverse stories should be told with these kinds of big budgets and talented film-makers. However, this fact doesn’t take away from the brilliance of this film. To me, 1917 in the end really wasn’t “just another war movie” and more of a way to show off the amazing things creative people can do with technology, great actors, crazy impressive camera work and a lot of time. I think this is why, as much as I do believe 1917 is an amazing picture, Parasite was the best picture and deserved a spotlight moment.

Let’s Talk About: Some of my Favourite Animated Movies

I’m going to start this post off with the disclaimer that I decided to not include any strictly ‘Disney’ movies just for the sake of making this list easier. Although, I did include Pixar because in my head they’re still separate companies (I mean, I’m just placing bets on when Disney’s going to buy out Dreamworks… any day now). 

These 5 movies aren’t the *best* animated movies in my opinion, but think of this list more as a group of movies that I recently re-watched or will be re-watching this weekend as a twenty year old who never really had a Disney princess phase.

Finding Nemo 

An all around classic. This was definitely one of my favourites as a kid, notably my Mom’s favourite as well. I think one of my favourite things about most animated movies are the comedic supporting casts. Yeah Nemo, Marlin and Dory are great but characters like Deb, Squirt, Crush, and Gill really stole the show for me. 

Although this might be an unpopular opinion, I think the sequel was pretty darn good. I’m by no means saying it was better than the first, but it held it’s own for sure. 

How To Train Your Dragon 

A newer movie than Nemo for sure, but nonetheless, great. I’ve only seen this one a couple of times so the plot is not as fresh in mind (hence the weekend plans I have to rewatch it) but overall this was such a new and interesting storyline so far from the days of princess animation which is why I think it was such a hit. 

Also, Toothless is the cutest dragon known to the human race. 

Over the Hedge 

Recently re-watched this one, as in last night, and it honestly gets better with age. As a kid with a hyper-active imagination I loved the idea of animals having their own little worlds where they hang out regardless of their species. 

Watching this as an adult definitely made me notice the underlying social message that this film sits on about urban sprawl and the toxicity of the human race towards wild animals, so that’s an interesting pill to swallow. A more positive thing to notice as an adult is the casting for this movie. As a kid I had no care for who Wanda Sykes, Steve Carrell, Eugene Levy were, but now it just adds comedic layer after comedic layer to an already great script and storyline. 

Inside Out 

Alongside the note I made about Over the Hedge about over-active imaginations, Inside Out is such a fantasy world for me as a kid. The concept of having little guys working in your brain would’ve been just pure fun for an 8 year old me. Although, I’m really glad I was a 15 year old when I saw this because it’s honestly a little hard hitting. The whole story-line revolves around some very realistic issues that I don’t think I would’ve picked  up on as a kid. On top of that, I definitely shed several tears near the end of this movie and that’s coming from someone who doens’t cry at movies, like at all. 

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

This is by far the most recent animated movie that I really enjoyed. It is leaps and bounds ahead of the others in this list in terms of technical and visual animation, as it should be, and adopts a really wild story-line that’s definitely more catered to an older audience than the others were. 

The Spider-Man story has been retold so many times, but if you haven’t seen it and are still on the edge about seeing *another* spider-man movie, I’d seriously consider it. Not only does it dive into a more complex sider world (or should I say ‘verse’), but I really haven’t been able to move past the crazy realms that movies, especially superhero movies, can get to when they’re fully animated. 


Unfortunately, because most of these movies aren’t Disney or Pixar, they’re not on a lot of streaming services. That’s definitely a big flaw to streaming culture right now for me is so many movies that I want to see on any given day just happen to not be available on the 4 different services I have access to which is really just a first world problem to have. But, if you DO have access to any of these movies and you haven’t seen them I highly suggest any of them on any day.

Let’s Talk About: Jojo Rabbit

Asking yourself “am I laughing at Nazis right now?” is an interesting factor to add into the cinematic experience to say the least. 

For those who don’t know, since it wasn’t exactly a blockbuster film, Jojo Rabbit is a 2019 film by New Zealander Taika Waititi that takes a satirical point of view on WW2 and the Hitler Youth program. Starring a few kids (Thomasin Mackenzie, Roman Griffin Davis, Archie Yates), Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell, Stephen Merchant, and Taika himself (as Hitler), Jojo Rabbit is a comedy-drama film based on a book by Christine Leunens called Caging Skies (2008). 

For understandable reasons, this movie didn’t exactly “win” with the general public, since “poking fun at WW2” is not a particularly great single line pitch for a movie, but I personally think Jojo Rabbit was one of the best films to come out of 2019. 

Taika Waititi 

As I’ve mentioned, the whole “set during Hitler Germany involving Hitler-youth” subject matter definitely tip-toed along a risky line, I’m a strong believer that Taika Waititi can do anything he wishes and do it well. Unfortunately, the only other film I’ve seen by him is Thor: Ragnarok (which is hands down one of the best Marvel films to date), so I’m looking forward to watching more of his films (ex. Thor: Love and Thunder coming soon). But from these two experiences alone I can tell he has such a fascinating way of story-telling.

Also, his satirical portrayal of Hitler was unsatisfyingly hilarious. Everytime I laughed (which was a lot), it made me so uncomfortable, but it was such an intriguing performance for that exact reason. Also, the impressive dynamic and comedic chemistry between Roman and Taika should be noted.  

The Cast 

Not only were the starring kids absolutely amazing, notably Archie who definitely stole many comedic win for himself, but the rest of the cast were such integral parts in telling this story the right way. So funny and so sad all at the same time. 

One cast member I want to highlight is Stephen Merchant. I love him. I first saw him in that movie “Toothfairy” with The Rock (2010) and I have been eager to see him in anything ever since. For those who don’t know, he co-wrote the original UK version of The Office, and in this film he plays extremely tall  agent Deertz of the Gestapo, definitely stealing some scenes. Notably this scene, which is worth the watch. 

Also, I really just want to highlight this youtube video in some way. Not only do you get to see Taika’s director brain working right in front of you, but you can also understand my only criticism of the film: that Taika and Stephen have such great chemistry and they should have had more scenes in the film together. That’s literally my only criticism.  

Conclusion

Overall, this movie works to bring comedy and drama in ways that I’ve personally never seen done before. It also handles a really, really dark subject manner in a way that reconciles such a horrific time in history with some really creative humour and intriguing story telling. I have no idea what I’d compare this movie to because it’s so unique, but I highly suggest finding a way to see this film because it’s beyond worth the watch.