Hope you’re all well! As England is under another lockdown, now is a good time to share some of the films I’ve been watching recently. I’ve viewed most of these films since June, when I returned to work and the first lockdown ended for me, with the exception of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Looks That Kill and La Llamada. Continue reading to find out what I thought of 8 films I’ve seen in the second half of this year:
1. Chemical Hearts
Although I hadn’t read the book, I was eager to watch Chemical Hearts as I love Lili Reinhart and can’t resist a good YA romance. I was over the moon when I saw that Chemical Hearts was available on Amazon Prime – there’s nothing more irritating than when you get all excited about a film only to find out that it’s not available anywhere.
Chemical Hearts is a sweet film that will be enjoyed by fans of films like The Fault in Our Stars and All the Bright Places. It centres on a teenage boy who falls in love with the new transfer student at his school and tries to uncover the secret that she is hiding.
2. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
If I’m being honest, I’m not really that interest in the Eurovision Song Contest, and I only watched this film because Demi Lovato is in it. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when I found out that Demi is only in the film for a few minutes. Fortunately, I ended up enjoying Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but I loved the songs and both Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams are hilarious. If you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud comedy to watch during lockdown, it’s worth sticking on Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. It offers a bit of escapism during the pandemic.
3. Looks That Kill
After 13 Reasons Why‘s tragic ending, I was eager to see Brandon Flynn in something else, and I was so happy when I stumbled upon Looks That Kill. I was a little disappointment that Brandon’s face was covered for the duration of the film, but I went ahead and watched it anyway – thanks to the pandemic, it’ll be a while before Brandon is able to work on any other movies and series. I’m glad I persevered with Looks That Kill as it ended up being a good film. I’d say that this film kinda falls into the teen tragedy genre, but it is darker and has an unexpected ending. Looks That Kill is by no means a cinematic masterpiece, but it’s a quirky film that definitely deserves more recognition.
4. How to Build a Girl
As a fan of Caitlin Moran, I was excited when I heard that her novel How to Build a Girl was going to be adapted into a movie, and when I saw that it was available on Amazon Prime, I was over the moon. How to Build a Girl may have received mixed reviews, but I personally loved it. How to Build a Girl is inspired by Caitlin Moran’s childhood in Wolverhampton and follows a teenage girl called Johanna Morrigan (played by Beanie Feldstein), who moves to London in the hope of making it as a music journalist.
5. Feel the Beat
Feel the Beat is one of Netflix’s latest offerings, and it’s a fun dance movie for the whole family. Sofia Carson stars as April, an aspiring Broadway star who is forced to return to her small hometown after failing to make it in New York. In order to impress a big name in the showbiz industry, April decides to train a group of young dancers for a competition.
I loved Sofia Carson in Descendants and A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits, and Feel the Beat is another film where she shines: she is such a brilliant dancer. It’s also worth mentioning some of the supporting cast – particularly Donna Lynne Champlin (Miss Barb), Wolfgang Novogratz (Nick), Eva Hauge (Sarah) and Shaylee Mansfield (Zuzu), who is actually deaf in real life. Feel the Beat is predictable, but the kids are adorable (especially June, who is portrayed by Kai Zen) and it is a sweet story about not giving up and acknowledging what is the most important to you.
6. La Llamada
After about half an hour of endlessly scrolling through Netflix a few months ago, I came across La Llamada, a Spanish musical comedy. As I’d been meaning to watch more Spanish series and films, I decided to watch La Llamada (which is known as ‘Holy Camp!‘ in the UK), and I’m glad I did.
La Llamada centres on two teenage girls who are stuck at camp after getting caught sneaking out to a Henry Mendez concert. One of the girls, Maria, starts hallucinating that she is being visited by God, who sings songs like Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ – ridiculous but also funny. At the same time, the other girl Susana is coming to terms with her sexuality.
La Llamada has received so much praise in Spain, and was one of the country’s highest grossing films of 2018 – and rightly so. It’s a lovely film with a fantastic cast, and will be a hit amongst fans of Grease and Sister Act.
If you haven’t already seen Rocks, I’d recommend you do so ASAP. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year, and I get why all the critics love it. Rocks is a fantastic coming of age story about female friendship and is a realistic portrayal of growing up in London. It focuses on a teenage girl and her younger brother who are left to fend for themselves after their mother leaves them. They divide their time between friends’ houses and hotels, trying to hide from social services until this is no longer possible.
What makes Rocks stand out is the fact that all of the actresses were unknown before being cast in the film and were discovered through casting sessions at school in East London.
Nocturne is a new horror film from Blumhouse Productions that arrived on Amazon Prime just in time for Halloween. Reminiscent of Black Swan, Nocturne follows a young pianist at a prestigious music academy who finds a book belonging to a previous student and uses it to outshine her sister. Nocturne may have been marketed as a ‘horror’ movie, but it isn’t scary at all – it’s more a psychological thriller. The main downside of Nocturne is that the ending feels a bit rushed and ambiguous.
So those are some of the films I’ve seen recently! I’d also recommend Never Rarely Sometimes Always, The Kissing Booth 2, Mighty Oak, Grease Live!, Yes God Yes, A Nice Girl Like You, The Lie and Spontaneous. I’ll be sharing some of the TV series I’ve seen since the first lockdown soon so keep an eye out!
Have you seen any good films lately? Let me know in the comments!