I have always wanted to do a «monthly favourites» type of post on this blog, but I kept putting it off some reason or the other — until this year. I will be doing one of these every month (or every two months) and I will include literally everything that I have loved or that has made me happy during that time, be it a film, a song, a book, a TV show or even an item of clothing. These are my July and August favourites. As you will notice, it's quite an eclectic mix.
1. God's Own Country (2017)
I'm not sure how I ever came across this film, but I'm so glad I did because it is absolutely stunning. It's about a young sheep farmer in Yorkshire whose life is transformed by the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker. It doesn't sound like much, but trust me, it's a really beautiful film. The two leads, Josh O'Connor and Alec Secareanu, are pure perfection, the cinematography is gorgeous, and Francis Lee's direction and writing are flawless. All of this to say — go watch God's Own Country now. And it actually has a happy ending for a change.
Christian Bale has been my favorite actor since the beginning of time, but there are still about eight or nine of his films that I haven't seen yet, so I decided I would try watch them all this year. One of those films was The Flowers of War, which I watched in July. And let me tell you, as soon as it was over, I wanted to watch it again. Honestly, it is one of the most captivating films I have ever seen in my life. It is set in China, during the 1937 Nanking Massacre, and Christian Bale plays an American mortician who passes himself off as a priest and ends up saving twelve schoolgirls. In between, he falls in love with a prostitute (beautifully played by Ni Ni) who is hiding at the cathedral, along with her group of prostitute friends. For years, my favorite Christian Bale film was American Psycho (2000), but I think The Flowers of War has stolen its place.
3. Steve McQueen
After watching The Great Escape (1963) and Papillon (1973) about three weeks ago, I fell completely in love with Steve McQueen. He was a great actor, extremely attractive and he just had this «je ne sais quoi» that made him utterly captivating to watch in everything that he has ever made. I feel that in a way he was everything James Dean never got the chance of being.
Another actor that stole my heart during this summer was James Garner, mostly because of his performances in The Americanization of Emily (1964) and Murphy's Romance (1985), both of which I absolutely loved. He was an excellent actor (how is it possible that he never won an Oscar!?) and quite possibly one of the single most handsome men that I have seen in my life.
5. Joel Edgerton
Joel Edgerton was yet another actor that I just completely fell in love with this summer. I think the first time I ever saw him in anything was The Great Gatsby (2013), but I wasn't too impressed by him, mainly because the character he plays in that film is a very nasty fellow. Then two years ago, I saw him in Loving (2016) and I was blown away by his performance. I am still mad that he didn't get an Oscar nomination for that one. And then, throughout July and August, I watched nine more of his films and each time I was amazed by how talented and versatile he is.
7. Animal Kingdom (2016-)
One of gazillion films I watched in July and August was Animal Kingdom (2010), which I really liked, so I thought I would give the TV show a try too. And to be perfectly honest, it's even better than the film! It's about a criminal family led by a tough matriarch named Smurf. She is the mother of Pope, who is a borderline psychopath, but still can be very caring to the people that truly matter to him; Craig, who is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but his heart is in the right place (he's my favorite character in the show, actually); and Deran, who doesn't really want anything to do with the family business, but can't seem to find a way out. She is also the adoptive mother of Baz, who is a manipulative and self-centered bastard; and the grandmother of J, an incredibly smart high school student who has is own personal agenda as far as the family business goes. Anyway, all of this rambling to say that Animal Kingdom is really a brilliant show and I am anxiously awaiting season four, which won't be out until next year.