January 3

5-question film review: Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love

Why did you go see this film?

I like Leonard Cohen as a writer and knew Marianne was a significant muse of his.

What was the best thing about it?

Getting to know Marianne. As a muse it’s difficult to have a profile outside of how an artist portrays you. It helps that the documentarian, Nick Broomfield, was also her former lover so he has a lot of decent footage of her and has a different relationship to her, which he portrays. There were also good interviews that gave context for the period and place (Hydra in the Greek Islands).

What was the worst thing about it?

In the last third it meanders a little into just being about Cohen rather than the effect of their relationship on his work. Would’ve preferred a tighter focus on them and their effect on each other. (It does circle back to her, however.) Also: poor Axel!

Who would you recommend go see it?

Leonard Cohen fans plus anyone interested in seeing an example of an artist-muse relationship.

If this film was a piece of clothing, what would it be?

A sarong that floats carefree on an island breeze or can be wrapped like a scarf, protective.

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January 3

Movies I watched in 2019

Here are the movies I watched at the cinema/on the big screen in 2019. All films in English except for those indicated.

  1. Holmes & Watson
  2. The Favourite
  3. Sorry to Bother You
  4. If Beale Street Could Talk
  5. My Queer Career (Mardi Gras Film Festival short film collection)
  6. When the Beat Drops
  7. Lez Bomb (Mardi Gras Film Festival short film collection)
  8. Captain Marvel
  9. What Men Want
  10. Girl (French/Flemish)
  11. Your Name (Japanese)
  12. Les Garçons Sauvage (French)
  13. Dilili in Paris (French)
  14. Genèse (French)
  15. Chedeng and Apple (Tagalog/Filipino)
  16. Fighting with my Family
  17. Shazam!
  18. Burning (Korean)
  19. Avengers: Endgame
  20. Hidden Pulse
  21. Rocketman
  22. Men in Black: International
  23. Dark Place (Sydney Film Festival Indigenous Australian short film collection)
  24. Detective Pikachu
  25. John Wick Parabellum
  26. Yesterday
  27. Parasite (Korean)
  28. Princess Mononoke (Japanese)
  29. Spider-man: Far From Home
  30. Booksmart
  31. The Farewell (Mandarin)
  32. The Cordillera of Dreams (Spanish)
  33. Push
  34. The Grand Bizarre
  35. Hi, AI
  36. The Bamboo Bridge (Khmer)
  37. Hustlers
  38. Last Christmas
  39. Charlie’s Angels
  40. Knives Out
  41. Terminator: Dark Fate
  42. Gorillaz: Reject False Icons
  43. Jojo Rabbit
  44. Frozen 2
  45. Marianne and Leonard

I didn’t get to as many film festivals as I usually do – notably I missed the Japanese Film Festival, which would’ve boosted the number up to a film a week.

Generally speaking, there were a lot of meh Hollywood mainstream films this year. Nothing was as terrible as the loudest smegheads made out (e.g. Captain Marvel was a solid three stars) but I didn’t find anything particularly scintillating. Knives Out and Jojo Rabbit came in late to save the year on that front, but I think I’ll tip my proverbial hat to the two films that surprised me in a good way: Sorry to Bother You and Detective Pikachu.

About a quarter of the films I saw were in languages other than English (go see Parasite!) and a tad fewer were documentaries (Push is fantastic).

Steven Universe

The small screen

I continue to not own a TV, so all the other screen content I consume is from streaming and some DVDs.


  1. Red Dwarf (Seasons 1-13)
  2. Steven Universe (Seasons 1-5 + the movie)
  3. Avatar: The Legend of Aang (Books 1-3)
  4. Avatar: The Legend of Korra (Books 1-4)
  5. Jane the Virgin (Season 4)
  6. The Good Place (Seasons 3-4)
  7. Archer (Seasons 4-9)
  8. Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!
  9. Queer Eye (Season 4)
  10. Derry Girls (Season 1)
  11. Cowboy Bebop (Volume 1)

I started Catch-22, which is one of my favourite books, but it didn’t grab me. I might re-read the novel and see if I can rustle up some time to finish it.

Still from Singin’ in the Rain (I love Reynolds’ dress in this number)

The smaller screen

The other place I consume a a large volume of audio-visual content is on aeroplanes. Took a return flight to Japan (ANA) and a trip to Ireland (Qatar Airways). I like flying on non-western airlines because it then exposes me to movies I don’t have access to in Australia.

En route to Japan I watched Hibiki, a film about a girl who wins a novel-writing contest but is socially problematic, plus Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura, a favourite I wanted to see again because I missed the first 10 minutes when it screened as part of the 2018 Japanese Film Festival. I can’t remember what else.

For my journey to Ireland (a 48-hour round trip), I flew Qatar Airways. It had every Marvel movie up to Captain Marvel plus a selection of classic Hollywood. I did a marathon of classics (The Philadelphia Story, National Velvet, Singin’ in the Rain) and then I watched every Spider-Man film on offer outside of Tom Holland: three Tobey Maguires, two Andrew Garfields and Into the Spider-verse. Also caught up on the new Hellboy and On the Basis of Sex.

What’s the one series or film from 2019 you’d recommend?

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January 1

5-question film review: Frozen 2

Why did you go see this film?

  1. I have two young nieces (3yo and 4yo) who are Frozen-philes.
  2. I saw the first one and quite liked it. I couldn’t make head or tail of the trailer for this film so nothing for it, let’s watch it.
  3. I heard it was actually pretty good.

What was the best thing about it?

Some really lovely world-building. Even though this is an Elsa and Ana film, Olaf is probably the most valuable player in terms of the funniest moments as well as the most emotional beats. Kristoff’s solo song was really well executed.

What was the worst thing about it?

The songs were really not on par with the first film. I spent most of this film also wondering whether the characters were cold because they really do not wear enough clothing for winter in the far north.

Who would you recommend go see it?

Frozen-philes definitely as well as Disney fans. Anyone looking to entertain a bunch of young nieces for 90 minutes.

If this film was a type of food, what would it be?

Frozen yoghurt. Not as rich or delicious as ice cream but somewhat more complex and palatable anyway.

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