I have a confession; I am addicted to Netflix and Amazon prime TV, and I am not even sorry about it. I could watch hours and hours of shows, even have it on when I am sleeping. When I cook I have on something on Netflix or amazon prime, typically something I have watched before so that I know the scene and actions and dialogue even when I am not watching.
Like everyone else, I watched and absolutely adored To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before about a teenage girl whose letters to her ex-boyfriends are posted to them- it is that simple. It is nothing new, nothing untold, but it is an endearing story of what it is or was to be a teenager, finding your place in the ridiculously cliquey world of secondary school, navigating love and trying to understand the intricacies of dating at that precocious teenage years. I typically avoid movies about teenagers and I am not a fan of teenagers in movies because I find them unbearably annoying, see Dana from Homeland. But TATBILB manages to eschew the annoying teenage schtick and get to the bones of the story. As far as cliches go, this is full of them but I am sucker for a good cliche when worked right. This is a sweet story of love, and reminds one of dating as a teenager, the mere thought of seeing your crush in school the next day, that tingly feeling of being around them… this is different from the atypical battle between the it girl and the nerd in secondary school, its cutesy enough, angst ridden just enough, cliche just enough and sloppy enough. And yes Peter Kasinky can totally get it.
Another movie I have watched over and over again is Loving Vincent, about the the life, love and death of Vincent Van Gogh the painter. This is a hand painted animation in the style of a Van Gogh painting. It tracks the journey of a postmaster’s son, Armand, to deliver a letter to Van Gogh’s brother Theo following his (Vincent’s) death. It is a reluctant journey for him because he has no interest in this or sees no point in carrying out the wishes of a dying man, until his father makes him. The more he tries to deliver this letter, Armand becomes more intrigued with the painter’s life as he meets the people who knew him, crossed paths with him, and shared their stories. Ultimately, this is a sad movie, one that delves into the mind of a man who had struggles, felt like an outcast in his town, was bullied for being different, and suffered from mental illness issues that would lead him to cut off his ear. Whilst this doesn’t tell us about his works, which I would have loved, it tells us about the life he lived, the bond he shared with his brother Theo and his state of mind. As a narrative, we are drawn in to find out more about Van Gogh the man. Stylistically, this is a brilliant cinematic production that looks much like a Van Gogh painting and though we never know how he actually died, it actually beckons on us to learn more about the man and the artist.