Monday, June 30, 2014

The Films That I Saw: June 2014

Summer is heating up and for those who wanted to avoid the usual blockbusters to tackle blind spots and other films, it’s a good time for that. Yet, there is something else that has been distracting me and has taken away from my film viewing as of late. That is the World Cup. It’s an event that happens every four years as it’s bigger than the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and any other event. It’s about a sense of unpredictability as well as the discovery of new stars in the game. I don’t consider myself a sports fanatic as I don’t watch sports at all but the World Cup is different because there’s teams to root for and idea to see great teams collapse.

So far as I’m writing this at the moment, I’m happy to see that many of the European teams including former champions like Spain, England, and Italy go home early while seeing countries like Colombia and Costa Rica get the chance to go forward and make their countries proud. I’m saddened that Mexico just got eliminated by the Netherlands as I think this is Mexico’s best team so far while I’m hopeful that the U.S. makes it to the quarterfinals though they might have to face Argentina. Especially as I think the U.S. are doing very well despite not having Landon Donovan be in the team. I’m also glad that the team is getting the attention of the public in the hopes to boost the exposure of futbol (or soccer as you Americans call it).

One of the things about the Cup that I like are the discoveries not just from Mexico in the goalie Ochoa as well as reactions of its coach Miguel Herrera. There’s also Robin van Persie from the Netherlands who does prove that man can fly, even if it’s for a few seconds. Then there’s Luis Suarez who did bite that guy from Italy. He makes Mike Tyson look like a schoolboy. So far, my favorites are Brazil and Argentina while I’m also rooting for the U.S., Costa Rica, and Colombia as they’ve done a lot to impress me as I hope a team from CONCACAF makes it to the semi-finals.

In the month of June, I watched a total of 34 films, 24 first-timers and 10 re-watches. Not surprisingly due to the World Cup as it was more about futbol than films but it‘s the World Cup. There’s no excuse for that. One of the highlights of the month is my Blind Spot assignment in Imitation of Life. Here are the top 10 first-timers I saw for June of 2014:

1. All That Heaven Allows

2. L'Atalante

3. Mauvais Sang

4. Written on the Wind

5. Year of the Dragon

6. The Immigrant

7. Law of Desire

8. There's Always Tomorrow

9. Small Change

10. Chef

Monthly Mini-Reviews


I liked the first film for its humor and the fact that it had old people kicking ass. This one was OK as the highlights are John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Mary-Louise Parker, and Anthony Hopkins. Yet, it feels like it’s not really trying to do anything at times where Bruce Willis is obviously phoning it in. Even as much of the action feels familiar as does the twists where it also features a badly-tanned and dull performance from Catherine Zeta-Jones who allowed herself to get her scenes stolen by the much funnier Parker.

This is 40

For anyone that has not read Alex Withrow’s review on this film, read it now if you haven’t seen it because everything he said about this film is absolutely smacked on. It was horrible. I expected better from Judd Apatow but he ends up making a very overlong and overwrought film that makes me wish I would die before I reach 40. It is never funny and there’s moments that feels extremely unrealistic. It’s also quite smug at times where it thinks it is trying to be clever but it’s not. It’s a fucking horrible film and a complete indication that Judd Apatow needs a new editor and a co-writer to actually make sense of what the fuck he is trying to say.


I think Ryan Reynolds is a decent actor but one who should invest in either playing supporting characters or as a comedic foil in a full-on comedy. Yet, he should never carry the film because he’s not that charismatic as he and Jeff Bridges really don’t have any chemistry where the latter tries to make the film work along with Mary-Louise Parker. The film is a fucking disaster as it has so many bad visual effects and moments that are just idiotic. It wants to be so many things but none of it really works. It’s never funny nor engaging as it is really an uninspiring film that doesn’t really say or do anything.

30 for 30: Hillsborough

I finally caught up on this episode of the 30 for 30 series as this one is definitely one of the most harrowing episodes of the series. Especially as it relates to an incident that left 96 people dead due to overcrowding and poor organization from the police. Yet, this was a film that showcased a whole lot more about what happened and how police officers tried their best to help the people that were being crushed as there’s stories about corruption and lots of injustice that left families feeling wounded. Especially as there were officers who carried the guilt over the lives that were lost as they would become victims by the people they were supposed to work for as this is something many sport fans should see.

30 for 30: June 17, 1994

For anyone who was alive around that time certainly knows about that day where O.J. Simpson went on a high-speed chase in a White Bronco. Yet, it’s a documentary that plays into what happened on that day where so much happened such as the opening day of the 1994 World Cup in the U.S., Arnold Palmer playing his last U.S. Open, the New York Rangers celebrating their Stanley Cup victory, and the New York Knicks trying to win the NBA championship. All of which got overshadowed by Simpson’s chase as he was accused of killing his ex-wife and a friend. It’s a very dizzying documentary about not just this day but how it would change sports and pop culture for years to come.

Top 10 Re-Watches:

1. The Conformist

2. Batman Begins

3. Flags of Our Fathers

4. Rudo y Cursi

5. Changeling

6. Enough Said

7. An American Rhapsody

8. Thor: The Dark World

9. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

10. The Jewel of the Nile

Well that is all for June. Next month, I’m just going to focus on a lot of old-school American films from the post-war period as well as the films of the New Hollywood era plus a few films by Michael Cimino who is my next Auteurs subject while my Jean Vigo piece will be released in July. The only reason it’s not out because Courtney at Cinema Axis is currently serving jury duty which I don’t recommend having done that 12 years ago and it is an excruciating experience. In theatrical releases, the definite films I’m going to do are Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Lucy and hopefully films like Boyhood and Snowpiercer. Before I close this piece as I’ve been spending much of my time on the World Cup. I want to make a list of some of my favorite World Cup commercials that I’ve seen so far:

© thevoid99 2014


Brittani Burnham said...

I hated This is 40 as well. I hate when Apatow forces his family on us. Most of the scenes with his daughters in that film were pointless, just like they were in Funny People. I didn't even finish it. It wasn't funny at all.

I've been meaning to see An American Rhapsody for a long time. I wish it was on Instant Netflix.

Chris said...

Great that you enjoyed your Douglas Sirk marathon, I once bought a boxset of his best movies. Are you seeing any more Sirk? Tarnished Angels (1957) is good. Was interesting to later read interview book "Sirk on Sirk" which gave insight into the creation of his films and what they meant to him.

thevoid99 said...

@Brittani-It was insulting to watch and I could care less about those girls I was just annoyed by Leslie Mann and some of the stuff that Paul Rudd did felt forced. I never want to see it again.

@Chris-I hope to see more in the future as I want to stick some of his essentials and whatever films that TCM will show soon as I really liked most of what I've seen so far.

ruth said...

I'm intrigued by the two Rock Hudson films you saw, esp All That Heaven Allows. I have no interest in RIPD or This is 40, doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy.

Fun commercials, I figure miss Adriana Lima would be a popular model for the World Cup. She's absolutely stunning!

thevoid99 said...

@ruth-Lima is a Brazilian so that is the big reason why she's in those commercials.

R.I.P.D. is absolute crap. No wonder Jeff Bridges felt bad about doing that film. He didn't diss it but he was disappointed by the results. Ryan Reynolds needs a new agent by the way.

Dell said...

I didn't hate This is 40, but it definitely ran a half hour too long for no apparent reason. Our feelings are pretty much the same on Red 2 except I thought CZJ was pretty good.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell Ottley-Judd Apatow really needs to stop with the James L. Brooks sentimentality because it doesn't work. Plus, comedies don't need to be that long. I don't have a high opinion on Catherine Zeta-Jones other than her work with Steven Soderbergh as I didn't really care for her performance in RED 2.