Friday, February 28, 2014

The Films That I Saw: February 2014



Well, this has certainly been a very morose year so far. A lot of great actors and individuals have passed away this year so far as two of them have definitely affected me on a personal level. The deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Harold Ramis are losses that are just astounding and sad since these were two very talented men who gave the world so much. Hoffman’s death was devastating because here is an actor that I adored and he was just giving everything into every performance he’s in. He is going to be missed. Ramis’ death is much more personal to me because of the films he made from 1980 to 1984 as they were movies that I grew up with.

I can’t think of a world without Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Stripes, and Ghostbusters as they were in my opinion the cornerstones of classic 80s comedies. Ramis was the straight man in those films but the perfect straight man as Jason Reitman’s comments about his death is pretty spot-on. It’s like losing one of the Beatles since Ramis did so much for the art of comedy as films like Groundhog Day, Analyze This, and the very underrated The Ice Harvest were just great examples of his work as a filmmaker. Yet, I will say that Vacation is his best film as it’s one that grew up watching over the years and it’s one that my family just loves where if it’s on TV uncut and uncensored, they’ll stop everything and just watch the film. That’s the power of cinema. So to Philip and Harold, thank you very much and let’s hope Heaven is a much more fun place to be around.

Death has been very prevalent this month as another passing has emerged this month in a place that was close to me for a decade. Yet, this death was inevitable and a long time coming as I am rejoicing over its fall. That is the death of Epinions.com. While I am a bit saddened that the place where I spent 10 years honing my craft and becoming a writer is gone as well as the fact that people I was once friends with won’t have an outlet to write. I’m mostly relieved over the fact that ten years of contributing more than 1600 pieces from July 5, 2000 to July 20, 2010 led to very little not just financially but also for the value of how much I contributed to the site. That final year, coupled with my severe bout with depression, put me in a very bitter place over how I was treated and the lack of passion that was given from other writers towards their work.

When I quit to go into my own, I knew that I wasn’t going to make much money anymore and the fact that I was going to start all over. Fortunately, I was able to bounce back while I still had plenty of reviews from the site to gather for this blog and actually use it and do some re-work on those old reviews. During these past few years in making Surrender to the Void what is today, I would come back to Epinions from time-to-time to retrieve my reviews while looking into what else was happening as I’ve noticed the big sense of decline that was emerging in not just the quality of the writing from other writers. It was also over the fact that people were leaving little by little which is a big factor to the site’s death. I think the politics of the site and trying to reach new people through social media also contributed to its death. I made one final post at one of its message board stating my rejoice over its passing as I’m sure I’ve upset the people there. Well, that’s fucking good as I hope to visit its gravesite and piss on it.

In the month of February, I saw a total of 36 films, 24 first-timers and 12 re-watches. Two of which were WWE pay-per-views as one of them was the Elimination Chamber as the review of that pay-per-view is currently on hold because I missed a match due to streaming issues. The month tally is sort of down from last month though it’s not surprising. Yet, a recent blog piece from James at Cinema Sights was really interesting about how we approach to watch films and write about it. Sometimes, it does feel like work where I did get a bit tired during the month as I had family over and all sorts of things. Still, I’ve managed to watch some films and get things done including my Blind Spot assignment in Pandora's Box. Here are the 10 best first-timers I saw in February of 2014:


1. Gray's Anatomy


2. The Act of Killing


3. Short Term 12


4. Schizopolis


5. A propos de Nice


6. West of Memphis


7. Taris


8. Mississippi Mermaid


9. Upside Down: The Story of Creation Records


10. This is The End


Monthly Mini-Reviews

After Earth


This was on Starz! as I was curious to see how bad this was. Well, it wasn’t as bad as The Happening nor The Last Airbender but that’s pretty much the only good thing about this piece of shit that needed to be said. M. Night Shyamalan isn’t totally at fault in this as the real culprit is Will Smith. In making a film that he would play a supporting role while having his no-talented son Jaden who spends most of the film looking very sad and talking incoherently as all I can here is “blah-blah-blah” in a bunch of different accents. It is truly a horrendous film with bad visual effects, a story that could’ve worked but was badly executed by Shyamalan as it’s another failure from a director who was called the next Spielberg. What a load of bullshit.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone


I like films about magic but this was kind of a let-down. Especially in the amount of talent involved in the film as the stuff that Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi did is alright yet the real scene-stealers were Alan Arkin and Olivia Wilde as I was quite impressed with the latter. There was also an excellent appearance from the late James Gandolfini but the film had problems with its script. Yet, the one thing in the that didn’t work at all is Jim Carrey as this extremist magician which goes way over-the-top and it feels like Carrey is just phoning it in.

Top 10 Re-Watches:

1. Trois Couleurs: Bleu


2. Koyaanisqatsi


3. The Place Beyond the Pines


4. Innerspace


5. Million Dollar Baby


6. The Spy Who Loved Me


7. Top Gun


8. Monty Python's The Meaning of Life


9. About a Boy


10. Superman II


Well, that’s it for the month of February as there’s going to be a lot of activity for March. Aside from the next Auteurs piece on Andrea Arnold, there will be a mini-marathon of films by Merchant-Ivory in relation to one of the Blind Spots for the year. I will also do some films relating to a few Auteurs subjects for the year as it would include some films from Pedro Almodovar from the early 80s and some early 70s film from Francois Truffaut. Along with some 2013 releases that I missed out, I will also seek out some new releases such as The Wind Rises, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Noah as I plan to do some updating on two of my past Auteurs pieces on Wes Anderson and Darren Aronofsky. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2014

3 comments:

Wendell Ottley said...

I'm fully on board with your sentiments of Hoffman and Ramis, for pretty much the same reasons. I actually liked "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," though, and honestly thought Carey was the best part. Go figure.

Chris said...

RIP Hoffman and Harold Ramis, gone too soon. At least they left behind a legacy.
Cool you got to see Act of Killing, a truly groundbreaking and original doc, which deserves to win awards.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell Ottley-I like Jim Carrey but I felt his performance wasn't inspiring as I think he phoned it in and didn't make it much more interesting which is also in the fault of the script.

@Chris-I hope that film wins tomorrow at the Oscars.