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!

Shadow of a Doubt Review

Shadow of a Doubt movie posterSynopsis
Charlie (Teresa Wright) gets suspicious that her uncle (Joseph Cotton) might be a murderer.

Review
This review contains slight spoilers.

Next up in my journey through my Alfred Hitchcock collection is Shadow of a Doubt. Hitchcock has said that this is his favorite film, so that is some high praise coming from the director himself! Of course, I didn’t know that when I started the film. I have been going into these films with as little knowledge beforehand as possible. Good thing to because Shadow of a Doubt is way more suspenseful if you don’t know what is going to happen in the film.

I know I’m only two films into my journey but an early trend I am seeing is Hitchcock had a knack for casting a fantastic leading pair. In Saboteur it was Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane. Now in Shadow of a Doubt it’s Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotton. Cotton in particular was phenomenal. As the film progresses, we slowly see the dark side of his character, Charlie Oakley. Cotton’s descent into this darker persona is chilling and wonderfully executed. Teresa Wright, whose character is named after her Uncle Charlie, begins the film full of excitement and youthful energy when her uncle first arrives to visit. In the same way Cotton slowly descends into a darker character, Wright has a similar transformation, from naive child to realizing a hard truth about her uncle. And not only are these two great individually but they are also marvelous together.

Besides Cotton and Wright, there was an unexpectedly fun pairing of young Charlie’s father, Joseph, played by Henry Travers, and Joe’s best friend Herbie, played by Hume Cronyn. The friendly banter the two of them had throughout the film was funny and entertaining. It brought a sense of levity to an otherwise generally serious tone of the film.

In the beginning, you have no idea of who Uncle Charlie really is. The film does an excellent job of slowly unraveling the character while at the same time keeping an air of mystery around him. I f there is one flaw I would say Shadow of a Doubt has is that it made the revelation too early. If Hitchcock would have maintained the suspense of if Charlie was or wasn’t the murderer until the very end, I think that would have made the movie even more suspenseful. I know that sounds like blasphemy, criticizing the master of suspense but I said it and I’m sticking to it.

One of the things I liked about Saboteur, the previous film in my Hitchcock journey, was how large the adventure felt. Barry Kane started in California and worked his way across the United States, ending in New York City. Shadow of a Doubt is much smaller in scope, taking place solely in Californian small town. Despite this, Shadow of a Doubt is the more exciting film of the two. There’s something about the small town atmosphere that adds to the tension when a menacing figure shows up and begins causing havoc.

Something I didn’t expect from this film was the amount of humor it had! I regularly found myself chuckling, especially when it came to the scenes with Joe and Herbie as mentioned before. I wasn’t expecting such moments of levity from a Hitchcock film. I guess I’m learning more and more that I shouldn’t have any expectations of what to expect from a filmmaker of Hitchcock’s caliber.

I thought Shadow of a Doubt was GREAT 😀 This is what I expected out of a Hitchcock film and more. I hadn’t expected to find a favorite this early into my journey but this movie had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Joseph Cotton was the absolutely stand out member of the cast, balancing the menace and friendliness of the character. Even if the reveal is too soon, the suspense flows throughout the film. Coming across a film of this quality so early in my Hitchcock journey has me excited to see where it goes from here.

Trivia
Alfred Hitchcock has stated that this is his favorite film. Part of why he considered this to be his favorite film he made was because he liked the idea of bringing menace to a small town.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Alfred Hitchcock – Director
Thornton Wilder – Screenplay
Sally Benson – Screenplay
Alma Reville – Screenplay
Gordon McDonell – Story
Dimitri Tiomkin – Composer

Teresa Wright – Charlie Newton
Joseph Cotton – Charlie Oakley
Henry Travers – Joseph Newton
Patricia Collinge – Emma Newton
Edna May Wonacott – Ann Newton
Charles Bates – Roger Newton
Hume Cronyn – Herbie Hawkins
Macdonald Carey – Jack Graham
Wallace Ford – Fred Saunders