Drew’s Movie Reviews Turns 8! My Fave Five New Movies I Watched in Year 8

Hello, friends!

Today is a very special day of the year because today is Drew’s Movie Reviews blogiversary! That’s right, today this little site turns 8. I’ll be honest, the last year hasn’t been exactly what I expected for this blog. My activity isn’t as high as past years and I haven’t posted many non-review posts, which are some of my favorite posts to write. However, I’ve posted when I can and have kept up with my weekly Trailer Round-Up series. At the beginning of 2021, I set a goal for myself of watching at least one Alfred Hitchcock film a month and so far I’ve kept that goal. It’s also proved to be a fantastic endeavor in regards to this list as you’ll see. But before I get into the list, as part of my blogiversary celebration, I watched and reviewed the first three live-action Transformers films. If you missed any of those reviews, here are the links to all of them:

Transformers
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

And with that out of the way, there are my five favorite films I saw during my eighth year of blogging:

Rope movie posterHonorable Mention) Rope

I know that this is a “Fave Five” list but I wanted to throw an honorable mention towards the third Alfred Hitchcock in my top three Hitchcock films (so far). The first of many collaborations between James Stewart and Hitchcock, Rope was one the first film ever to accomplish the “one continuous shot” approach to the story and Hitchcock pulls it off spectacularly. This film is based on a stage play of the same name so that approach fits. Also, the leading trio of John Dall, Farley Granger, and James Stewart play off each other well and help elevate the tension. Although I have watched several Hitchcock film since watching this one, Rope remains one of the most suspenseful Hitchcock films I’ve seen so far.

Bridesmaids movie poster5) Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids is one of those films that I heard great things about but never really got around to watching. This year’s Ultimate Decades Blogathon proved to be the perfect time for me to finally sit down and watch it, showing me what I’ve been missing the last decade since its release. Every scene is filled to the brim with laughs and Kristen Wiig has amazing chemistry with every co-star around her. The script is raunchy, something unexpected from female-led comedies at the time, and shows off the talent of all of its stars. Paul Feig knew he had something great on his hands and proved it to the rest of us.

Rear Window movie poster4) Rear Window

At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect when going into a film that takes place solely in a man’s apartment but Hitchcock proved that even that can be suspenseful. A lot of the suspense in Rear Window comes from the fact that the audience is only in Stewart’s character’s apartment, not knowing exactly what is happening in the other apartments around him, which are characters all their own. James Stewart is great as an “every man” character and this film puts his talents to good use. And of course, Grace Kelly, one of the most beautiful actresses of the era, is always pleasant to watch in any movie. With Rear Window, Hitchcock proved you don’t need a lot to accomplish so much.

Soul movie poster3) Soul

I am amazed at the leaps and bounds modern film animation continues to make. Soul offers up a very simple story and yet is one of the most beautiful animated movies I have ever seen. Don’t let the film’s beauty distract you, Soul is one of Pixar’s more mature films in their library. I can see younger audiences not being as drawn to this movie like they could be to other Pixar films but there are some valuable lessons to be learned for any viewer, regardless of their age. Led by the talented Jamie Foxx, Soul takes you on a journey that will change you once you’re on the other side.

Palm Springs movie poster2) Palm Springs

I almost forgot about this film because I watched it right in the beginning of my eighth year and never wrote a review for it. The concept of characters being stuck in a time loop has been done many times throughout cinematic history but Palm Springs manages to take a tired formula and make it unique. The comedy duo of Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti are a perfect match, whose senses of humor complement each other. Add in the always great JK Simmons and you have one hell of a cast. With it being released exclusively on Hulu, I’m not sure how popular it was but if you haven’t seen Palm Springs and have access to Hulu, I definitely recommend you give this one a watch.

Shadow of a Doubt movie poster1) Shadow of a Doubt

Shadow of a Doubt was the second film in my journey through Alfred Hitchcock’s filmography and it remains my favorite six months later. The idea of a potential murderer coming to a small town and sowing seeds of uncertainty among his family seems simple but Hitchcock keeps you on the edge of your seat. Joseph Cotton adds the perfect amount of affection and menace to his character that you’re never exactly sure what to make of him. As the film progresses, there is a change in several characters that only adds to the tension. I didn’t expect to find a clear favorite so early in my journey and I’m afraid that Shadow of a Doubt is going to be hard to beat as I continue to progress through my collection of Hitchcock’s films.


And that’s Year 8 in the books! Thank you so much for everyone who has been sticking with me, even as my activity has fluctuated. Your support means so much to me. Your continued views, likes, and comments have kept me going. I’m excited to see what in store for the next 365 days and I couldn’t ask for any better support than you by my side. 🙂

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay positive. Stay weird.

Until next time, cheers!

Rear Window Review

Rear Window movie posterSynopsis
Wheelchair-bound photographer LB “Jeff” Jefferies (James Stewart) watches his neighbors through the rear window of his apartment. One night, he believes he witnesses one of his neighbors commit a murder.

Review
As soon as the opening credits started with an upbeat and jazzy score, I knew Rear Window was going to have a different vibe than the other Hitchcock films I have watched up until this point. This film has a brighter feel than films like Shadow of a Doubt or Rope. While a suspicion of murder is at the core of the story, the movie tells the story in a much more pleasant way, if that makes sense. Because of this overall difference in tone, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat with suspense like some of Hitchcock’s other films. However, I still felt drawn in to the mystery and suspense of trying solve it along with Jefferies (James Stewart).

Hitchcock’s films have contained great casts and this one is no exception. Stewart brought the multiple facets of his character to life, from Jefferies’ strong belief in what he thought he witnessed, to his internal conflict about settling down and getting married. Grace Kelly is one of Hollywood’s most stunning actresses and she shows she has the talent to go with her looks, too! My unexpected favorite was Thelma Ritter as Jefferies’ nurse Stella. Ritter’s comedic timing and sass had me laughing every time she was on the screen.

As great as the cast was, what really sets this film apart is what Alfred Hitchcock was able to do with everything around the actors and actresses. First, there is the magnificent set design. All the buildings surrounding the central courtyard were each as unique as the residents within them, adding to their stories. Second, Hitchcock was able to tell multiple different stories of the residents in those other apartments without them even saying a word. Rear Window never leaves Jefferies’ apartment, so everything we know and see is through Jefferies’ point-of-view. Yet the audience is able to learn so much about Jefferies’ neighbors just by what Hichcock decides to show us.

Which leads me to my last point: this movie is a masterclass in visual storytelling and audience manipulation. From the get-go, we have an understanding of what happened to Jefferies that caused him to be in a wheelchair. And not a single word is spoken about it. Then, as stated above, Hitchcock only revealed what he wanted us (and Jefferies) to see about Jefferies’ neighbors, especially around Mr. Thorwold (Raymand Burr). This manipulation lets us learn about the characters by observation only but this also allows Hitchcock to throw in some twists about them towards the end of the film, revealing that there is more to those around us than meets the eye. Hitchcock also does a fantastic job of both reinforcing and contradicting Jefferies’ belief in Mr. Thorwold involvement in his wife’s disappearance. A true spectacle about what can be accomplished with a well-written script.

I thought Rear Window was GREAT 😀 At first I wasn’t sure where it landed on my ranking of Hitchcock’s films but after some thought and consideration, it lands pretty high for me. While not as dark of a suspense film as the previous films, the film’s mystery kept me engaged from start to finish. Hichcock has proven himself a master of suspense but with Rear Window, he also demonstrated himself to be a master of manipulation.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Alfred Hitchcock – Director
John Michael Hayes – Screenplay

James Stewart – LB “Jeff” Jefferies
Grace Kelly – Lisa Carol Fremont
Wendell Corey – Det. Lt. Thomas J Doyle
Thelma Ritter – Stella
Raymond Burr – Lars Thorwald
Irene Winston – Mrs. Emma Thorwald
Judith Evelyn – Miss Lonelyhearts
Ross Bagdasarian – Songwriter
Georgine Darcy – Miss Torso
Sara Berner – Woman on Fire Escape
Frank Cady – Man on Fire Escape
Rand Harper – Newlywed
Havis Davenport – Newlywed