Friday, January 31, 2020

Films That I Saw: January 2020

Well this has been a great start to a new year and a new decade. Why? Well let’s see… our dumb-fuck dictator has waged war on Iran and the idea of World War III might happen. People are getting sick left and right with Asia now being hit with a new disease in the coronavirus. Rush drummer Neil Peart died of brain cancer while Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash with several other people. Oh, and the supposed cold I had in the last month had brought me to the emergency room for a few hours as I had bronchitis. So yeah, I think things are really fucking great. That is if you’re a stupid motherfucker. Seriously, this hasn’t been good at all though I’m slowly getting better despite still coughing though not severely. Of course, the fucking bronchitis made me have to stay home as I had to miss some art house films I really wanted to see. Alas, things could be worse.

In the month of January 2020, I saw a total of 30 films in 12 first-timers and 18 re-watches with 2 of the first-timers directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. One of the highlights of the month has been my Blind Spot assignment in Louisiana Story. Here are the top 10 films that I saw for January 2020:

1. Parasite

2. Shazam!

3. Swimmer

4. A Star is Born

5. Ceddo

6. Emitai

7. Scent of a Woman

8. Dear Basketball

9. Duran Duran: There’s Something You Show Know

10. The Velvet Underground: Live MCMXCIII

Monthly Mini-Reviews:

Duran Duran: There’s Something You Show Know

A documentary about the band’s career that was shown on Showtime, the film showcases the band’s incredible career from their formation in the late 70s to their continued success into the 21st Century. Though it does skim on some parts such as their late 80s/early 90s drought and John Taylor’s brief departure in 1996 before returning in the early 2000s. The film does play into some of the band’s highs and lows including Andy Taylor’s second departure in the mid-2000s where they were sympathetic about why he left leaving the band to be a four-piece of sorts while there’s also interviews with other musicians, fans, and celebrities including Nile Rodgers, Boy George, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Mark Ronson as it’s something fans will enjoy.

The Velvet Underground: Live MCMXCIII

A concert film of the legendary band’s three-night performance at L’Olympia in Paris in June of 1993 showcases the brief reunion of the seminal band in the classic line-up of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen “Moe” Tucker. It’s a nice concert film that has the band play several of their classics from their four albums including the two albums made without Cale who proves to be a worthy replacement for the late Nico in singing Femme Fatale. Though it wasn’t entirely well-received when it first came out, the live show does at least showcase a band having fun and playing songs to a rapturous audience that wanted to see the band and hear those songs.


Swimmer from Natasha Braier on Vimeo.

From Lynne Ramsay comes her 2012 BAFTA award-winning short film made to celebrate the 2012 Olympics as it this gorgeous black-and-white short film about the journey of a swimmer going through various bodies of water in Britain. There’s not much of a plot to it yet Ramsay’s intricate approach to sound design with audio samples from other films as well as gorgeous photography by Natasha Braier add to its beauty and intoxicating atmosphere. It’s a film that fans of Ramsay must see as it is proof that she’s one of the best filmmakers working today.


A by-the-numbers bio-pic about the young life of J.R.R. Tolkien, it’s a film that has its moments due to Nicholas Hoult’s performance as the famed writer. While much of it takes place during Tolkien’s time studying languages and coming up with ideas for his work, it also showcases his experience at World War I. Lily Collins’ performance as his eventual wife is a standout as she manages to bring the best in Tolkien as it’s an OK film.

Dear Basketball

Dear Basketball from joe mcmaster on Vimeo.

In light of the shocking death of Kobe Bryant, the short film he created with filmmaker Glen Keane became available as it is definitely something special and deserving of the Oscar for Best Animated Short. It’s Bryant narrating about his love for the game and the many highs and lows he went through as a player but also someone who dreamed of playing the game as a kid. It’s a touching short made mainly in 2D hand-drawn animation as it adds a richness to a film that is just simple and personal.

Top 10 Re-watches:

1. Brazil

2. Aliens

3. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

4. Major League

5. Alien

6. Bad Times at the El Royale

7. The Addams Family

8. Paddington 2

9. Diego Maradona

10. About Schmidt

Well, that is all for January. I have no idea what I’m doing next month other than continue work on MCU is Cinema project as I took a break on it as making the fourth part has been difficult. That is something I want to finish and then return to work on my Auteurs piece on Kelly Reichardt. Other than, I’ll just watch films from the never-ending DVR list while I’m unsure of what film I’ll watch that is out in the theaters. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2020

1 comment:

Tom said...

Thanks for sharing the link to the Kobe film; I really liked it. It's sad that he's gone.

There are some good films on your to-see list (I saw about a half-dozen of them last year for the first time). Be Natural is a really good documentary. Capernaum is sad, but very well-made and memorable; another film by the director, Caramel, is also very good but more lighthearted. Also I highly recommend I Am Cuba; was so impressed with it when after seeing it last year.