CineChat

End of Year Review – Mary

We decided to split our year-end roundup into individual posts this year, with each of the team providing their own personal take on the entertainment that helped us get through this crazy year. This time round, it’s the turn of Mary – let us know if you agree or disagree with any of her choices and be sure to keep an eye out for posts from the rest of the team.


Favourite Film 2020: Enola Holmes

It is fair to say I have not got a lot of comparisons this year. It’s been a hell of a year and as a consequence I haven’t watched that many movies. I should re-phrase that; I’ve watched a couple of hundred movies but not many 2020 releases. 2020 has been the year of the rewatch for me and to be honest I’m not sure I’d have it any other way.

Enola Holmes was by far the most fun I’ve had watching a movie (for the first time) this year. This was a brilliantly cast movie; Milly Bobby Brown was perfect as Enola and I would line up to see Sherlock and Mycroft again played hilariously by Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin.

This was based on a book, one I’d very much like to read now, I love that it didn’t take itself seriously and it broke the fourth wall, and despite technically being a period film it felt completely modern. And more than anything else I love that it took me by surprise and didn’t go in the predictable direction I was expecting.

I highly recommend this one, such a fun movie experience.


Best Movie Experience: Disney Live-Action Day 

  • The Parent Trap (1961)
  • The Parent Trap (1998)
  • The Princess Diaries (2001)

This you can probably guess occurred during lockdown, like many I had a few wobbly days and at those times I turned to comfort and nostalgia and for me they come in my favourite movies.

So I decided to make the most of my new Disney+ subscription, I watched the original parent trap, which is a must by the way however perfect Nancy Myers remake is. Hayley Mills is a delight and Maureen O’Hara…  just wow! Gorgeous, feisty, and a woman who could hold her own, I mean she was best mates with John Wayne so that’s saying something. 

Sweet, innocent fun with a happy ending I was perfectly satisfied after watching this. 

After loving it so much I decided I was just going to go straight on and watch the remake…. why not right?

Watching Lindsay Lohan in this, her first film, you can clearly see she was going to be huge, and she was for a good portion of the noughties. There isn’t anything about this film I don’t like, the parents (Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson) are brilliant, the hired help, Chessy and Martin; hilarious. The villain played so unforgettably by Elaine Hendrix; brilliantly bitchy. Rewatching this took me right back to my childhood, we watched this all the time, I knew every line, even though I hadn’t seen it in at least 15 years, and I loved every second of it. 

Lastly to round out a brilliant day of film watching I decided to go with an absolute favourite; The Princess Diaries. Now this one is very close to my heart, I have adored The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins since before I could walk so having Julie Andrews in such a fantastic part was just priceless for me. I mean could you cast anyone else as the queen of a made up country really, the woman is a queen! I also happened to go to the cinema to see this when I was 9 years old and it is one of the cinema experiences that has stuck with me. I remember coming out of the cinema on cloud nine having loved the movie so much, it is one of those I just have to rewatch every couple of years. I love it every time. It’s not hard to see why Anne Hathaway and Mandy Moore and many others made it big because they really shine in this. 


Best First Time Watch: Rocketman (2019)

Now I’m going back to the very beginning of 2020 for this one so it must have impressed me to make number one. Obviously I don’t remember every moment of it (I’ve watched a serious amount of movies since then). However I just remember having really good fun watching this with my mum and sister and being so impressed with Taron Edgerton’s performance. He really seemed to live the part, and the film had the perfect mix of dramatic moments and light hearted fun with great songs! It had great choreography and a great supporting cast, this was one that I would definitely watch again, a feeling I seem to have less and less these days.


Best Rewatch: Double Bill

  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Again another lockdown day and another reach for comfort films and this time I was in the mood for a sing-a-long. Chitty chitty Bang Bang feels like a Disney movie most likely because of Dick Van Dyke and the Sherman Brothers who created so many of the famous songs we love (Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh tracks to name a few). But this does have a dark undertone to it, and something else that I really love; it has that great British feel that only movies made at that time in the 60s and 70s have. The songs are brilliant it has so much heart and the most outrageous plot, you just have to love it. It leaves you soaring just like Chitty in the credits.

One childhood musical wasn’t enough so I jumped straight into Bedknobs and Broomsticks which I watched repeatedly as a kid. I hadn’t seen the film in such a long time, and you know that feeling you get from watching a much loved childhood film that you haven’t seen in years and years… well I was getting that in spades, I sang along to every song and loved every minute. I don’t think I have ever seen Angela Lansbury in better form, she’s absolutely perfect! The animation is great and I swear the effects still hold up.


Biggest Surprise: Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)

This was a film I put on purely on a whim, I didn’t really know much about it but I’d seen a trailer and thought Jillian Bell looked like someone I’d like to check out. This was such a pleasant surprise for me, it was really modern and wasn’t at all predictable and I loved the not so perfect character and the message of the movie. If you haven’t seen this one I would highly recommend. (Just as a side note – I have just watched Jillian Bell in Disney+’ Godmothered and she was fabulous, I’ve decided I think she’s awesome and I will be watching all future films).


Biggest Disappointment: The Midnight Sky (2020)

It’s hard to really call this a disappointment in the sense I would usually think about a movie. For me disappointment comes from something that was anticipated in the first place which was not the case here. This was a Christmas Day watch with the family on a whim really. However when George Clooney directs and stars and it features the likes of Felicity Jones and David Oyelowo, you do have some expectations. This film looked incredible, sounded great but I just felt nothing. It started bleak, it ended bleak but we didn’t really go anywhere during the watching. It just all kind of seemed like a waste of time, and that was the most disappointing part. There was one little surprise twist at the end but if I’m really honest I’d already kind of considered that as a possibility and it didn’t really do much anyway. It won’t put me off the watching his backlist or his future films but I just really wish this had been better, I mean it’s George Clooney.

Mary Gascoyne
A qualified film studies teacher who's not teaching film but loves to share thoughts and discuss all things cinema. My absolute favourites are The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Titanic and When Harry Met Sally - always will be. Trying and failing to divide my time between my love of reading, watching movies  and avidly supporting the Pittsburgh Penguins, New England Patriots and LA Dodgers.