What I Watched This Month: January 2023

Colton Hawkins, Staff Writer

Hello all, and welcome to a new series I, Colton Hawkins, am doing here at the Prospector, titled What I Watched This Month. The name really says it all. I will just explain and give a short review of what films/shows I watched in a month — so let’s start with January 2023. (Be warned, potential spoilers ahead.) 


  1. Black Panther 

Score: 6/10

I started off the month with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The film follows the kingdom of Wakanda and its conflict with another nation whilst also dealing with the loss of King T’challa. Now I am a little small on the MCU. After Endgame, I took my leave and only now do I see what I want to see. I did not intend to see this one and it shows. Honestly, I was not a huge fan of the first Black Panther. This one is better than the first. I still was uninterested in the plot, and the movie dragged. The plot is just boring and uninteresting. I really do not care for any of the characters. As for the drag, let’s face it — nowadays, all MCU movies are longer than they need to be. I did not care too much for any of the characters. I still think Killmonger from the first is better than Namor but that is simply because overall Michael B. Jordan is a better actor. However, the Chadwick Boseman stuff was handled very respectfully. 


  1. Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun

Score: 10/10

This is probably my favorite film from 2022. What a fantastic directorial debut. The film does not reinvent the wheel all that much; not that it really needs to. It is a character study of our relationships with those we love, whilst also tackling the issues of mental health and memory. The premise is simple: it is about a woman who is reflecting on her last trip and the last time she saw her father. Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio’s performance as the father-daughter duo is relatable. There are so many gut-punch moments in this movie. Their last dance toward the end is just devastating. Honestly, between this and Normal People, Mescal is slowly becoming my new favorite up-and-coming performer. Very happy to see him get nominated for best actor at the Oscars this year. Corio is no slouch either; she really gives a great performance. I could rave on for hours about everything from direction to writing, and performance. As well as editing, shot composition, etc. But I’ll save you time: just go watch this film. 


  1. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Score: 9/10

Now you have probably heard a lot of praise about this movie. That praise I would say is pretty accurate. I mean no one was expecting this movie to be good, right? First off the animation is stellar, I’m talking Spiderverse levels of good. The story is pretty generic. Although it’s a movie intended for kids it tackles familial relationships and mortality, which is a pretty daring subject matter for something like this. Much like their other works, Dreamworks brings some stellar villains. Death goes up there as one of the most impactful animated villains in a while. He sent chills down my spine with that whistle. You know Death’s good when this movie does horror and suspense better than most modern horror movies!


  1. La La Land

Score: 10/10

I am not huge on musicals, however, I really enjoyed this movie. This movie has a certain look to it, the palette is super colorful. Its locations in LA are a nice mix of tourist hotspots and lowkey local areas. But at the end of the day, the main focus is once again a relationship. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone give great performances both in and out of musical scenes. It is a great movie about love and dreams. And how a lot of the time you cannot have both without losing the other. 10/10.


  1. Bad Press

Score: 6/10

This Sundance documentary is about journalists on Native American reservations dealing with freedom of speech. They are fighting to get freedom of speech in journalism. As the reservations are considered separate nations, the first amendment is not guaranteed. Although impactful and important, I just could not get into the film. I did not find the coverage of the topic engaging. And I feel it could have been handled better. 


  1. Going Varsity in Mariachi

Score: 7/10

The second Sundance documentary I watched was our school-wide viewing of Going Varsity in Mariachi. I enjoyed this one more as the film overall was more entertaining and gripping. It follows a varsity Mariachi team in Texas as they compete for the state championship. It is a little bit of an underdog story. I also enjoyed it more — the topic is less intense, so it is easier to focus on the more fun aspects. The characters were somewhat relatable as they are fellow high school students and also real people. I understand having to commit to something like this whilst also being a student is no doubt tough. But other than that nothing really stood out to me. 


  1. Past Lives 

Score: 9/10

The other movie I watched at Sundance was Past Lives. I really love movies that study people and relationships. I think I enjoy these movies because it gives you a lot of perspectives on various things in life. Past Lives is another one of those. I really do think this one will be a hit for wider audiences once A24 releases it. It is a film about two people from Korea who were good friends and each others’ first loves in their youth. One leaves, and then they reconnect. The film tackles how their relationship changes between the years of their youth and the years of their adulthood. It tackles this stuff really well in my opinion. It is one of the best films in a while that shows growing apart and falling out between people on such a relatable level. The film is genuinely relatable — the only issue I had was that the pacing was a bit weird in my opinion. Some things felt like they happened a little too fast. 


  1. Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers

Score: 9/10

To close off the month I watched Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers. What is there to say? This trilogy is monumental to film and Two Towers is no exception. It is easily my second favorite of the trilogy. I feel like in this one there is less filler and more essential scenes. Plus the action scenes in this one are better than the ones in Fellowship of The Ring. Helms Deep is exceptional in terms of scale and entertainment. Only this time I watched it in a restaurant in SLC with metal bands playing in the background. Just as Peter Jackson intended. Seeing our party kill Orcs with metal in the background was incredible.


I hope you enjoyed this read, and hopefully, you’re interested in seeing these movies. Here is my shameless Letterboxd plug: https://letterboxd.com/RiskyDingo/

I’ll see you all next month!