Friday, July 31, 2020

Films That I Saw: July 2020

It’s been a fucked up year so far yet things are starting to get normal in other places around the world as South Korea and Japan are having events but with a small capacity while there was a picture at a rugby game in New Zealand where the stadium is packed. Countries in Europe are on the verge of re-opening and trying to get things back to normal. Yet, there’s other places such as India that is struggling while they’re in a conflict with China that could be troubling. Brazil has become a really fucked up place due to the fact that their leader is a fucking idiot. Then there’s the U.S. and for a country that is supposed to be the greatest country in the world. How come there’s more than 4.5 million cases with a death toll of over 150,000 people? Here in Georgia, we have more than 178,000 cases with a death toll of more than 3,600 people while Florida has become the big hot spot with more than 450,000 cases and a death toll of more than 24,000.

I’m not entirely surprised by the amount of stupidity that is happening in this country as I found out that the 80s glam metal band Great White who were known for killing a bunch of people because of their stupid pyro at a nightclub in Rhode Island back in 2003 did a show in North Dakota where no one was six-feet apart from one another and not wearing masks. Nice job assholes. I also read recently that Twenty One Pilots did a show in the Hamptons with a bunch of people in a similar situation and the governor of New York Andrew Cuomo was pissed that an event like that was allowed to happen. Fortunately, some businesses chose to do the right thing as a favorite local Mexican restaurant that my mother and I like to go to had re-opened weeks ago but closed again as they only do take-out. Going to Publix and other stories while wearing masks for us just seemed like the right thing to do and anyone not wearing a mask should fuck off.

It’s just so stressful to see that this country has gone to the shitter as protestors are now being assaulted by federal forces as if they’re the Gestapo and now there’s voter suppression happening including here in Georgia which isn’t surprising. Our governor is a fucking idiot and is now fighting with the mayor of Atlanta. It’s just another typical thing happening as my mother and I haven’t gone out much though I admit that the pandemic has stifled my joy of watching films as I would watch things and maybe not finish or get bored. I want to go out and see a movie in the theaters but that’s not likely to happen until sometime next year or longer if things get worse.

In the month of July 2020, I saw a total of 38 films in 20 first-timers and 18 re-watches with one first-timer directed by a woman as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. This is actually surprising considering that I didn’t do a lot of writing as the big highlight of the month is my Blind Spot choice in The Grapes of Wrath. Here are my top 10 first-timers that I saw for July 2020:

1. John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum

2. Forty Guns

3. Blindspotting

4. Hardcore

5. The Crimson Kimono

6. Long Shot

7. House of Bamboo

8. Showbiz Kids

9. The Fall

10. Ball of Bees #1

Monthly Mini-Reviews

The Adventures of Alan R.

One of a slew of shorts by David Lynch that premiered on his YouTube channel David Lynch Theater that also include daily weather reports that are a joy to watch. This 90-second animated short is about the thoughts and desires of a severed head. It is a fun little piece as it is proof that Lynch has used his time in this pandemic to be creative.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

This film is a lot of fun as even though it’s not original nor is it trying to be. It is still a hilarious comedy about two Icelandic musicians/singers trying to compete to be in Eurovision. Will Ferrell in recent years hasn’t been in a lot of good film since they tend to play into his man-child shtick but this film does manage to restrain him a bit. Dan Stevens is hilarious as the Russian singer while Pierce Brosnan and Demi Lovato are hilarious in their small roles. Yet, the film belongs to Rachel McAdams who is just a joy to watch as not only does she get to be funny that includes scenes involving elves but also be the heart of the film as she should definitely be in consideration for a Best Actress Oscar nod as well as another nomination for the song Ja Ja Ding-Dong.

Always for Pleasure

A documentary short by Les Blank about Mardi Gras in the late 1970s in New Orleans is this vibrant film that explores the culture of that city and what Mardi Gras means. It also showcases all sorts of traditions as well as a look into the people at the neighborhood. The short also features how crawfish is cooked and how to properly eat a crawfish as it’s a film that people need to seek out from the late, great Les Blank.

Jumanji: The Next Level

This was actually better than I thought it would be as well as the fact that it’s just a fun and exciting film. Notably as it did more with some of the characters as it play into ideas of existentialism as the four kids from the previous films go back but with a couple of more people in Danny Devito and Danny Glover who would both end up in the game being different versions of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, respectively. Johnson and Hart do show that they have range while Jack Black and Karen Gillan also manage to showcase their comedic range while the newest addition in Awkwafina is also a joy to watch as a game-playing character who is a thief. It’s not perfect but still entertaining while it also sets up for what might happen in the next film which I will go for.

I Have a Radio

The second short film from David Lynch is really just a music video for one of his songs as it is an animated short of two people dancing to the song as it is one of the strangest shorts that Lynch has created. It really plays into his eccentric mind but it’s also one that is full of wit proving that the man is indeed an artist.

Charlie’s Angels

I admit that I never got into the TV series nor the horrendous film versions by McG as it was all flash and no substance that tried to be funny and everything but it was just dull. This reboot however is a major surprise and it’s a shame that it didn’t do well at the box office as I would’ve been on board for the sequel as long as it’s being directed by Elizabeth Banks who did an amazing job. Banks appears in the film in a supporting role as a version of Bosley while Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska play two of the Angels with Naomi Scott as a new recruit as they deal with a new mysterious force. Under Banks’ vision, the film feels like it isn’t trying to take itself seriously but also put a new feminist spin on it without being too overtly feminist with Stewart, Balinska, and Scott really putting out some incredible work in the lead roles.

How Was Your Day Honey?

Originally a 20-second animated short film that is later expanded into a two minute loop of a man floating around asking a simple question is definitely an offbeat short from David Lynch that is all about the simplicities of life.

Ball of Bees #1

If David Lynch decides to spend the remaining years of his life making shorts about nature, then it’s a noble way to go out as this short is a lot of fun. All it is the exploration of a ball of bees and what they do in absolute extreme close-ups. It doesn’t have any narration as Lynch just let the bees do the talking themselves as the title suggest that there might be a sequel.

The Fall

From Jonathan Glazer is a short film he made last year that is a stop-gap of sorts for whatever new film he is planning to do as this short is quite disturbing. It revolves around a group of masked individuals going after one of their own over something and then hang him as it is really about what happens during the hanging. It is visually-stunning but also chilling as it is proof that Glazer is one of the best filmmakers working today.

The Prodigy: World’s on Fire

A concert DVD from 2011/2012 from the famed electronic group the Prodigy at a show live at the Milton Keyes Bowl in Britain is a showcase of why they were not just one of the great electronic acts ever but also a live act that had to be seen. Shown on their own YouTube page for a brief period of time, it is a concert film that is wild and full of excitement and energy with Liam Howlett in control of the music with a guitarist and a drummer to add extra power to the songs while vocalist Maxim Reality and the late, great Keith Flint just kick ass and get the audience going.

Showbiz Kids

From HBO and filmmaker Alex Winter of Bill and Ted fame comes a really sobering documentary film about child stardom and its many ups and downs. Featuring interviews with Evan Rachel Wood, Henry Thomas, Jada Pinkett Smith, Milla Jovovich, Wil Wheaton, Mara Wilson, Todd Bridges, and Cameron Boyce in one of his final interviews before his shocking death last year at the age of 20. The film does have these actors talk about a lot of things they dealt with but also reveal that not everything was great as Wood admitted to be more of a tomboy in her teens while discovering her own sexuality while Jovovich also talked about having to be more adult in her look when she just wanted to be a kid. Wilson talked about why she left the business as the film also reveals the path of two young child actors trying to make it. It is a sobering documentary as it is good to know that some of these people have managed to be well-adjusted adults while it is tragic that Boyce died so young at a time when he was about to emerge into adulthood but also be a nice person in a push and horrific industry.

The Spider and the Bee

The last short from David Lynch he released this month has him going Werner Herzog in its depiction on the cruelties of Mother Nature. It shows what happens when a bee is stuck in a dusty cob web and encounters a spider. It is an intense battle of survival as it is shown in just a simple static shot that doesn’t require any editing while it features some impromptu score music by longtime Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti. Once again, David Lynch delivers. Top 10 Re-Watches

1. Coco (a favorite of Mateo's)

2. Room

3. The Shining

4. Natural Born Killers

5. School of Rock (Mateo loves this film!)

6. Hellboy II: The Golden Army

7. The Lion King

8. An American Werewolf in London

9. Animal House

10. Rudy (Dad's favorite film)

Well, that is it for July. I do plan on finishing Da 5 Bloods while I also hope to watch some films by Kelly Reichardt in the hopes to re-start my Auteurs piece on her as I’m putting my MCU project on hold for the time being. Other than that, there’s films on my never-ending DVR list that includes several releases from the A24 studio that I’ve been wanting to see as well as films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Pedro Almodovar, Jacques Demy, and whatever is on HBO, Showtime, and Starz. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off and please, wash your hands and wear masks. Let’s be safe.

© thevoid99 2020


Brittani Burnham said...

Our country is truly a dumpster fire right now. I really can't take 4 more years of this.

On the movie side of things at least, your July was very plentiful!

thevoid99 said...

@Brittani-I really hope we don't endure 4 more years of this bullshit but given my lack of faith towards democracy, I think it's going to get worse but we know who we can blame. In the world of films, yes it was a pretty good month. Especially as my nephew Mateo has some films he loves to watch like Moana (which I still haven't seen properly) while he's already talking and saying some words including my name. I fucking love that kid.