Friday, March 31, 2017

Films That I Saw: February & March 2017

Well, these past 2 months have been crazy as it’s certainly been memorable as a lot had happened. The Oscars was pretty much nuts as I feel like what happened at the end was just that someone behind the scenes really fucked things up. I feel sorry for Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway for being made fools out of as they had no idea what to do. I feel sorry for the people in Moonlight for never getting their moment and I feel sorry for the people of La La Land who got bamboozled. All of this on the same day where Bill Paxton died and my laptop crashed.

I have no idea what happened although I should’ve seen it coming considering that it had some battery issues which I hoped would be replicated and that it was a bit slow. I thought everything seemed fine but something happened that day where it wouldn’t startup for some reason and then it took a lot longer and things went to shit. It took me a few weeks to find a place that I hope would repair it but the damage proved to be more severe than I thought as I ended up buying a new laptop for about $360. Sadly, the contents in my hard drive in laptop were un-retrievable as it was something I had to accept. Fortunately, about five and a half years of material that I had backed up over the years in my external hard drive had been saved which is a good thing though I still have no idea how to read or retrieve those files. I’m just fortunate that I was able to publish everything I’ve done and the lone screenplay that I have finished is in a flash drive. Other than some pictures, outlines, and other documents that had been lost. I’ve decided to just move on and start over which has been easy.

In a way, it’s kind of a blessing in disguise as it had been time to get something new and rebuild everything as I had a very hard time dealing with that seven years ago when so much was happening and my old external hard drive had been damaged just as I had gotten a new laptop. That was just something that added to a very difficult year where I was going through a lot emotionally and mentally. I’m fortunate that I was able to overcome that and the fact I’m able to be very calm in this recent situation showed that I have grown a bit. I’ve been relaxing a bit more while being excited about the fact that Atlanta has a soccer team that is doing pretty good right now after a few games as I’m able to escape through that as well as watching some films and TV. It’s something that’s allowed me to not work as much and not be overwhelmed in submitting reviews over and over again as it can get tiring.

In the month of February, I saw a total of 31 films in 20 first-timers and 11 re-watches which is kind of surprising considering what I was going through late in the month. The best film of that month is definitely my Blind Spot choice that month in Hoop Dreams. Here are the top ten first-timers that I saw on February of 2017:

1. Super Fly

2. A Bigger Splash

3. Blithe Spirit

4. Paper Moon

5. Ghostbusters

6. Hobson's Choice

7. The Sound Barrier

8. Michael Clayton

9. Good Ol' Freda

10. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Top 10 Re-watches

1. Somewhere

2. The Revenant

3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

4. The Natural

5. Ordinary People

6. Innerspace

7. The U

8. The Princess and the Frog

9. The Kid Stays in the Picture

10. The Rocker

Bi-Monthly Mini-Reviews

This Was the XFL

The first of several 30 for 30 documentary films I saw in the past 2 months is definitely the one I wanted to see more than any as I was definitely familiar with the failure that was the XFL. While it was more about the relationship between NBC’s Dick Ebersol and WWE chairman Meekmahan. It is still an interesting but flawed film of the series as it play into why NBC cut its ties with the NFL in the late 90s and how Ebersol used the XFL as a way to get football on NBC with Meekmahan’s help who wanted to stick it to the NFL. Well, it was shit. Lousy football, lousy attempts to cross over sports and entertainment, desperate ploy for ratings, and all sorts of bullshit destroyed this lame football league as Meekmahan wants to try and do it again with Ebersol which goes to show how out of touch he is. Another thing about the film that was really irksome is some of the historical revisionism it has as it relates to Meekmahan and the WWE as a lot of what is said about the company isn’t exactly true.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

While it’s a sequel that I’m sure many people didn’t want. It’s not as bad as people says it is as I thought it was quite watchable and a bit more fun. Notably due to Chris Hemsworth’s performance where he doesn’t just display some charm but also some humility which makes him fun to watch as does Jessica Chastain as his estranged wife. Yet, it was Sheridan Smith as a female dwarf that stood out as she had some of the funniest lines though the script was lacking in terms of a strong plot as it doesn’t give Emily Blunt a lot to do while Charlize Theron’s appearance is kind of a waste as I wanted more of her in the film.

Central Intelligence

This was a surprise as I watched it with low expectations only because there was nothing on and I had nothing to do. This was actually a funny film thanks in large part to the chemistry between Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart as the latter toned down his persona to be the straight man. It’s a fun chase film of sorts where Johnson plays a CIA agent on the run as he turns to Hart for help as they try to find some mysterious bad guy. There’s some nice appearances from Jason Bateman as a bully and Amy Ryan as a CIA agent tasked to go after Johnson. It’s actually a nice surprise with a homage to a famed John Hughes film.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

This is a pretty funny comedy as well as quite raunchy though I think Adam DeVine isn’t very good in this film as one of the brothers as he just overplayed the part. Zac Efron is funny as the film really belongs to Anna Kendrick and Audrey Plaza as a couple of misfit ladies pretending to be good girls for the partying Efron and DeVine. Yet, it’s the scene in which Sugar Lyn Beard’s character as the bride is getting a massage from Kumail Nanjiani is one of the funniest moments I had ever scene as just seeing Beard getting a fucking orgasm in front of a horrified DeVine is just fucking gold.

The Boss

I do like Melissa McCarthy as I really enjoy watching her as current press secretary Sean Spicer as her impression of the man is fucking smacked on. This film however I thought was OK though my mother liked it a lot more than I did because she thinks McCarthy is hilarious. It’s a film that is pretty funny though very uneven at times as it does enough to bring in the laughs yet not enough to make the story that engaging. Despite some solid work from Kristen Bell and Peter Dinklage, the rest of the film is just underwhelming.

The Diplomat

The first of 2 episodes of the Nine for IX documentary film series that is a companion piece of 30 for 30 but mainly focused on women and directed by women filmmakers. This episode is about Katarina Witt and how she managed to wow the world of figure skating in the 1980s as well as talk about life in East Germany under the rule of Communism at the time. Witt also talks about the skaters that came before her who didn’t do much after the Olympics as well as being under watch by the Stasi police as it’s something she remains uncomfortable by.

The Band That Wouldn’t Die

For anyone that lives in Baltimore for 40 years or more would probably remember that awful night when the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis on a cold, blistering morning. Yet, the one thing that wasn’t taken during that move were the uniforms and instruments of the marching band that played for the Colts. In this segment of 30 for 30 that is directed by Barry Levinson, this is about the marching band that kept on playing despite the fact that Baltimore didn’t have a football team yet would succeed in any way to get Baltimore a NFL team. They would succeed finally in the late 90s where they got that franchise in the Ravens while the original Baltimore Colts marching band did eventually get their own farewell and pass the torch to the Ravens marching band as it’s one of the most touching entries of the sports series.

Playing for the Mob

The second of five episodes of 30 for 30 that I saw in March is about a scandal involving Boston College and a point shaving scheme that would involve mob figure Henry Hill who is interviewed in the film just months before his death. It’s an eerie episode that showcase what some guys are willing to do as some regret their involvement. It showcases how smart some of these mob guys are but also events that play into other scandals as it’s narrated by actor Ray Liotta as documentary also has mentions on the film Goodfellas.

Phantasm II

I haven’t seen the original film by Don Coscarelli but I did watch this sequel late one night as it’s just a silly and fun horror film. It’s got some moments that are quite scary yet it doesn’t take itself so seriously where it allows itself to be pretty funny. It’s got some nice special effects and some thrilling moments as it’s just a film that is fun to watch late at night.


The second of two episodes of the Nine for IX series is about the basketball player Sheryl Swoopes who was one of the finest players of the sport. It’s a film that chronicles her life and career but also the controversy she made in October of 2005 announcing that she was gay. It’s a very compelling film that showcases a woman who was trying to find herself as well as deal with the aspects of fame and glory while trying to be a good person.

Survive and Advance

The story about the 1983 North Carolina State men’s basketball team led by its coach Jim Valvano is probably one of the great underdog stories ever told. A team that seemingly had little chance of making it to the NCAA tournament let alone win it. It’s largely told by the surviving players of that team who talk about the late Valvano as does one of his dear close friends in Duke’s basketball coach Mike Krzysewski. It is definitely one of the best episodes of the 30 for 30 series as well as something that is very essential for anyone that loves the underdog story.

Pele`: The Birth of a Legend

Biopics about anyone famous can be a hit and miss depending on who the person is and the approach in telling the story. This film is an example of what not to do in telling anyone’s life story as it’s a film that even my father saw as he is a big soccer fan. If there’s anything that annoys me when it comes to films about a real-life individual or a historical event. It’s about accuracy as this is a film that takes too many dramatic liberties with Pele’s life as the actor who plays him is very bland while these stories about how the Brazilian rhythm known as the jinga was the reason why the team lost 1950 World Cup is such bullshit. The idea that Brazil was the underdog against Sweden in 1958 is also untrue as it’s just a film that features some bad acting and lots of exaggerated stories about other players as it’s really a bad film that no one who loves soccer should see.

Chasing Tyson

Whenever boxing is discussed, heavyweight fighters such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Mike Tyson, Lennox Louis, and the Klitschko brothers are often discussed but there’s one person who is often never discussed in the conversation. Evander Holyfield. He is a very underrated compared to these men as he had a different personality than a lot of these boxers as the film is about him trying to prove himself to be a respected heavyweight champion and the need to fight Tyson in order to legitimize himself. It took years for the fight to actually happen as there is a mutual respect between the two men.

The Price of Gold

Anyone who competes at the Olympics all have aspirations to win the gold medal as this film is about Tonya Harding’s quest to win gold at the Olympics but also gained controversy when her husband and his friends were involved in trying to take Nancy Kerrigan out of the competition. Directed by Nanette Burstein, it’s a documentary for the 30 for 30 series that show the parallel lives of Harding and Kerrigan with the former having to struggle more to make it in figure skating as she didn’t have the look and grace like other skaters. It’s largely told from Harding’s perspective as Kerrigan declined to appear in the documentary.

Dante’s Lunch

A two-minute promotional short for the upcoming Pixar film Coco is definitely a fun little short film about a dog trying to go after a bone and wreaking havoc. Especially as it some rich animation and so much to get into for only 2 minutes. It’s definitely worth the time.

In the month of March, I saw a total of 35 films in 22 first-timers and 13 re-watches. One of the highlights of the month is my Blind Spot choice in World on a Wire. Here are the top 10 first-timers that I saw on March 2017:

1. The Young Girls of Rochefort

2. God's Country

3. The Young Victoria

4. Rio, Eu Te Amo

5. For All Mankind

6. Westworld

7. Place de la Republique

8. Eagles of Death Metal: Non Amis (Our Friends)

9. Survive and Advance

10. Chasing Tyson

Top 10 Re-watches

1. Rust and Bone

2. Scarface

3. O.J. Made in America

4. Crimson Peak

5. Commando

6. Hellboy II: The Golden Army

7. Steve Jobs

8. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

9. Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here

10. Without Bias

Well, that is all for February and March. I have no idea what new films in the theaters that I’m going to do next month but I am going to focus on several films that I have in my never-ending DVR list. Other than the next Blind Spot assignment, I have no idea what I’ll do next as I’m just trying to take it easy and have some fun watching films. Especially as spring is coming along which means allergies as it’s something I’m going to deal with all over again. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2017