Films I Watched This Week: Ali & Ava, Red Rocket, & More

Hey! I hope you’re all doing well. In the past week, I’ve watched quite a variety of films, from intriguing new releases to long-time classics. The variation is also present in the quality of the films too, as you’ll see in my quickfire takes below!

As a note – I’m aware the content on this site has become much more film-focused in the past few months. I’ve just really fallen off of games recently; for various reasons, I’m feeling a bit of burnout from gaming. Instead, I’ve been doubling down on my love for the worlds created through film.

So for now, I hope you enjoy my opinions on the following films! As with recent film reviews, these originated from my Letterboxd page.


New Releases


Ali & Ava

Watched Mar 062022

Ali & Ava portrays how a lot of us are lost in our own ways, and just trying to find a connection through the energy we put out into the world.

It’s charming and affectingly real, with strong lead performances and a healthy dose of levity when required. A few of the climactic plot points are a bit predictable and unoriginal, but that doesn’t prevent this from being a wholesome and thought-provoking film that I’d recommend seeking out.

8/10

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Red Rocket

Watched Mar 132022

It devastates me to give such a low score to a film that is so stunningly shot and has such incredible performances.

Frankly though, the messages this film seems to leave you with are quite problematic and, in my opinion, quite damaging when viewed in certain ways. I was really hoping for some ingenious rug-pull of an ending that would instead go some way to paying this off or even justifying it, but that really didn’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to do with the fact that the lead character Mikey is an adult film actor – if anything, I quite liked how boldly unashamed the film was of working that into an everyday, slice-of-life narrative. However, Mikey makes a lot of questionable decisions whilst, to me, still mainly presented as the protagonist to root for.

Again, this film is stunningly shot, presenting a richly-hued Texas of both griminess and beauty. Those aforementioned performances radiate off the screen, and the dialogue is often smart and witty. But ultimately, the nature of the story, and how it’s all put together, result in more of an uneasy voyeuristic attraction than an earnest, cathartic one.

3/10

Rating: 3 out of 10.

Past Films


All About Nina 

Watched Mar 052022

I’m at a loss to explain how this film didn’t get more attention when it was first released – it’s a mix of absorbing filmmaking, sublime performances, and crucial topics in the vein of an I, Tonya or Promising Young Woman.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is astonishing as Nina, flipping between confident and vulnerable frequently without it ever feeling unnatural – not to mention all of the impressions she has to do (Nina is a stand-up comic). Seriously, how is there not more talk about her performance here?

Don’t let this one go under your radar.

9/10

Rating: 9 out of 10.

In the Heights

Watched Mar 062022

Fantastic, toe-tapping soundtrack here; however, in between these joyful scenes are sequences of story told at a meandering pace that invites you to lose investment.

Still, when the music kicks in, it’s tough not to be swept away for the ride by the scale and inventiveness of choreography!

6.5/10

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

Battle of the Sexes

Watched Mar 082022

This has been on my list for a long time, and I thought International Women’s Day would be an apt day to watch it.

I remember this seemingly being released with little fanfare, I’m not sure why, as this is an excellent mix of biopic and sports drama that also commentates on important topics regarding equality.

It is anchored by the fantastic lead performance of Emma Stone, who plays Billie Jean King – a tennis trailblazer who stands up for the female side of the game during a time when sexist and misogynistic comparisons to the male game were common. Stone treads the line of determined and vulnerable really well here. Steve Carell does a good job as her opposition Bobby Riggs, but make no mistake, Stone is the focus and standout.

Recently I’ve been starting to have a consistent issue with true-story films. In my opinion, they lose their authentic and earnestness when it feels as though a narrative is being falsely created – but I think Battle of the Sexes does a good job at navigating past that, as it focuses more on who these people are and why they’re doing what they’re doing, instead of inventing moments of payoff for itself.

There’s still the expected crescendo that you get with a lot of sports-based true story films, but even that is presented in a face value way that led to me appreciating it more.

A really great watch!

8/10

Rating: 8 out of 10.

True History of the Kelly Gang 

Watched Mar 092022

This fiction/true story film has some unique approaches to how it is shot and structured, with a lot of unconventional camera angles and compositions, but it doesn’t quite come together for me – it seemed like a mishmash of ideas that needed some stricter editing.

The cast throw themselves into the material and the distinct characters – George MacKay most of all in the lead role of Ned Kelly, with a powerful performance of physicality and emotion. It’s just a disappointment that the overall film doesn’t do enough to support it.

It’s a unique film that I’m glad I watched, but it wasn’t quite as good as I hoped it would be.

5.5/10

Rating: 5 out of 10.

Back to the Future

Watched Mar 132022

Yeah, I know – somehow it took me this long to watch this incredible film. Joyous, inventive, and full of iconic moments, it’s no wonder it’s so widely loved.

My only criticism is some supposedly complimentary remarks about women being “thin” that have not aged well.

Very excited to watch the two sequels! This was a blast.

9.5/10

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

There we go, then – another week of films! As ever, there’s plenty of upcoming releases to be excited for; I’m counting down the days until The Worst Person in the World is released here in the UK!

Have an amazing day!

2 thoughts on “Films I Watched This Week: Ali & Ava, Red Rocket, & More

  1. Someone whose excited about the Worst Person in the World as me! We’re supposed to get it here Tuesday on streaming so that was my plan only it looks like they moved No Way Home’s release date up a week and my roommate is like you can wait another day 🙂

    Either way it will be nice to have some good films to look forward to this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, I’m so excited – it seems the kind of witty and smart film I tend to love! It isn’t out until later in March here, though Picturehouse has a preview a bit sooner I am hoping to go to 🙂

      Like

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