Monday, November 30, 2015

Films That I Saw: November 2015

The year is almost coming to an end and honestly, I’m starting to be glad it’s coming to an end. It was kind of tough as I was dealing with all sorts of things as I’m now trying to look ahead into the new year. Even as I’ve been slowing things down lately as I’ve spent much of my time writing almost non-stop until last December where I was ill and spent much of 2015 not writing almost every day. I think it’s now because I just need some time where I don’t want to write anything as it does become a chore where I’m in need to want to do other things for the time being. Another thing that’s been bothering me is that I haven’t gone out very much often due to lack of funds or not having the access to go to places. The only thing I’m looking forward is whatever films are coming out in the final month and finish whatever projects I have left.

In the month of November, I saw a total of 40 films in 26 first-timers and 14 re-watches. Surprisingly up from last month as one of the big highlights of the month has been my Blind Spot assignment in Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Here are the top 10 First-Timers I saw for November 2015:

1. Cleo from 5 to 7

2. A Woman is a Woman

3. The Decline of Western Civilization III

4. Pierrot Le Fou

5. Camp X-Ray

6. The Crowd

7. The Decline of Western Civilization

8. Le Bonheur


10. Red Army

Monthly Mini-Reviews

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Another of DC Comics’ animated films is definitely one of the more entertaining entries in the series. This time around, it revolves around Lex Luthor being the President of the United States of America who plots in having the public turn against Superman and Batman. With the aid of Power Girl and a computer nerd, the two do whatever it takes to save the world from Luthor and a Kryptonite meteorite from destroying Earth. It’s a film that is quite adventurous but also is very funny.

Kareem: Minority of One

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is unquestionably one of the greatest names to play basketball as HBO made a documentary about the man and his career from his early days playing in the schools of New York City and his illustrious run with UCLA, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. It also shows a man who is also very sensitive as well as express his disdain for the press while finding ways to deconstruct the often-complicated public image he has as this brooding man. Featuring interviews from the likes of Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Bill Walton, Larry Bird, Pat Riley, and Arsenio Hall. The documentary isn’t just one of the finest profiles one of the greatest athletes in sports but also a man that is really one of the great human beings to walk on the face of the Earth.

The Latin Explosion: A New America

It is believed that the second largest Spanish-speaking country around the world is the United States of America and maybe that is true. Another documentary from HBO chronicles the rise of the Latino culture from post-war era to the 21st Century with interviews from entertainers like Rita Moreno, Jose Feliciano, Cheech Marin, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, George Lopez, and many others. It plays into the impact the world of music and film would have on American culture from Desi Arnaz to new stars like Pitbull and Romeo Santos. While I don’t exactly identify myself as a Latin American due to my own taste in films and music, I do applaud the impact it has on American culture no matter what that Fascist Asshole is saying.

McFarland, USA

Another film that relates to the world of Latin Americans yet it is actually a pretty good film despite the white savior cliché. Still, Kevin Costner delivers a very solid performance as a former football coach who moves from Iowa to the predominantly Mexican-American small town of McFarland, California where he would become the school’s cross-country coach. It’s a role that has Costner be humbled but also display some humor in how he interacts with these young kids who seemed to not have a future outside of McFarland but he shows them there is a future. Even as it gives this town that is largely Mexican-American not just hope but also pride to be Americans as it features some amazing filmmaking from director Niki Caro.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

I’ll admit, I did like the first one because it was funny and it wasn’t trying to be anything but a simple family comedy about a mall cop trying to take down the bad guys. This film however is just fucking shit. Not only is it lazy but it has no heart nor is it funny at all. Plus, it’s largely set in Las Vegas where it features some of the worst cinematography that I had ever seen as it makes the look of the city worse than it already is. Kevin James really tries too hard to be funny and such but it doesn’t work as this is just another piece of shit from the people of Happy Madison and confirmation that Andy Fickman just plainly fucking sucks as a filmmaker.

Top 10 Re-Watches:

1. Grand Illusion

2. Bull Durham

3. The Deer Hunter

4. The Wedding Singer

5. The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years

6. Slither

7. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

8. The UCLA Dynasty

9. Mannequin

10. White Nights

Well, that is it for November. For December aside from whatever holiday-themed films or specials that come across my way. There will be reviews of films by Sam Peckinpah, Brian de Palma, David Lean, and some releases of films that came out in the past few years. Aside from The Force Awakens, I’m not sure what theatrical releases I’ll be doing. There will not be any list of what films will come out in 2016 as I’m just not interested in doing one. Other than my final Blind Spot assignment in Scarface as well as the final touches on my Auteurs piece on David Lynch and announcements for what is to come for the new year. That is all that is going to happen. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2015


Anonymous said...

We only matched up on Spectre this month.

Dell said...

I need to see that Kareem documentary, ASAP.

Ruth said...

Great recap Steven. Some interesting foreign films here. Oh my, Mannequin, been ages since I saw that one. I rewatched a ton of stuff too, but mostly newer stuff, movies I saw in the last few years.

thevoid99 said... enjoyed the hell out of that film. It's a Bond film, not rocket science.

@Wendell-If you have HBO, see it now. It just makes me think of the old days when it was the Lakers vs. the Celtics. I was more into the Lakers than the Celtics in those days though the reality was that I was a Hawks fan back in the day.

@Ruth-Mannequin is just one of those films of the 80s I just can't help but re-watch over and over again. It's funny as hell.

Chris said...

Happy to see love for Camp X-Ray which is an underseen gem. I might watch White Nights (1985) and Mannequin (1987) mainly for the soundtracks, and I'm keen to dig into those Decline of Western Civilization music documentaries, when I have the time.

m.brown said...

As a die-hard Celt is fan, I grew up hating Kareem. As I've gotten older, I've realized the error (s) of my youth. Really looking forward to seeing that doc, thanks for the heads up.

thevoid99 said...

@Chris-Those 2 films from the 80s do have memorable soundtracks though I really despise Starship as I see them as nothing more than corporate rock puppets. Watch the entire Decline trilogy as it's a must for any music fan.

@m. brown-I was more of a Hawks fan than a Celtics fan but I understand where you're coming from. The Celtic fans back then fucking hated the Lakers including Kareem and Magic. Yeah, it was a fucking war but a war that saved the NBA. The comments from Larry Bird in the doc are great as he talks about the power of Kareem's elbow which he almost felt but also showed why that rivalry is so legendary that there is still an air of respect between those 2. After all, those teams needed each other.