Sunday, February 28, 2021

Films That I Saw: February 2021


It’s nearly been a year since this pandemic has ravaged the U.S. and it is unfortunate that half a million people aren’t here anymore as there’s already new problems as there’s people in Texas that have no power while Ted Cruz flies to Cancun with family and friends to avoid helping his state. It is proof that Cruz is a piece of shit and so are the many who chose to not vote for the impeachment of Dookie Tank as it is proof that America is truly divided and things are going to be difficult even though Joe Biden is doing the best he can as our president as I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. He’s only had the job for more than a month but at least he’s doing a better job than the last dipshit in the White House.

Then there’s the story about Marilyn Manson as I wasn’t surprised that it was him that was abusive to Evan Rachel Wood but I was surprised by the fact that there were other people he did abuse. Reading about what he did to an actress at a photo shoot where a makeup artist found that woman lying passed out on her face and then Manson threatening the make-up artist with a loaded gun was pretty much the final straw for me. I used to be a fan when his first album came out and saw him live back in November of 1996 when I was 15 years old with a few friends in high school. It was a good show but had I known now about who he is, I probably wouldn’t have gone to that show. For anyone growing up in the 1990s and were into Nine Inch Nails, it was NIN that was the reason why I discovered Manson and his music. His first four albums and 2015’s The Pale Emperor are amazing but I’m now doubtful if I would ever listen to them as I deleted his entire catalog from my music files.

I think the reason a lot of these revelations bothered me is because I was part of that fan community and culture even though I never wore makeup but did wear black t-shirts during my years in high school. I was following much of Manson’s activities until the early 2000s as seeing him on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with someone that I really hated in Fred Durst just pissed me off considering the shit that Durst had said about Reznor as we NIN fans loathe Fred Durst. The relationship among NIN and Manson fans was like a sibling relationship where the NIN fans are the older siblings as there was also a sister-message board site similar to NIN’s Echoing the Sounds message board site that I used to go to. During that time when I was active at ETS, there were some Manson fans there but eventually they were gone as the people at the Manson fan message board turn out to be some really awful people. Some of which are enablers of the kind of dark activities that Manson is known for in his private life and encourage dark behavior as it’s the kind of shit that made me uncomfortable.

I’m not surprised that there’s people who are defending Manson and are willing to try and go after now just ERW and other accusers but also former allies such as Trent Reznor over his exploits in the 1990s. Yet, Reznor did admit to his dalliances with groupies but I never read or heard stories of abuse towards women as a lot of the stuff that Manson wrote in his 1998 book turned out to be a bunch of bullshit. Even as he said some things about Reznor that were really hurtful as I don’t blame Reznor for denouncing him as I think the reason they fell out a second time during the early 2000s is the fact that Manson isn’t just an asshole but an abuser who really was a threat to Reznor’s sobriety following his own drug overdose in 2000 in London. Plus, Reznor has a family that has managed to bring out the best aspects of him and has managed to evolve not just as an artist but as a human being.

Manson however is someone that has become this drugged-out abusive has-been who prefers to be this character and it turns out that he’s a horrible person in real life as I’m sure there’s people in the NIN circle that have some stories about him that aren’t flattering while Wes Borland, who played with Manson in the late 2000s, denounced him and saw some of the abuse Manson did towards ERW. I wasn’t fond of that relationship as I was thinking it’s a phase but then it got weirder and disturbing though I’m glad ERW came to her senses but the details she revealed about her abuse made me sick. I’m glad she’s OK and is at least trying to live a good life as a human being while I hope Manson just goes to prison and for good. Fuck him and fuck his enablers.
In the month of February, I saw a total of 22 films in 8 first-timers and 14 re-watches with three of the first-timers directed or co-directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. A major highlight of the month has been my Blind Spot choice in Daughters of the Dust. Here are my top 5 first-timers for February 2021:

1. Waves
2. Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar
3. Rafiki
4. Frozen II
5. Cars 3
Monthly Mini-Reviews

Strasbourg 1518
A short film from Jonathan Glazer is a film that is essentially a group of individual interpreter dancers dancing in a different room as it play into the idea of repetition and movement. It’s an experimental short running at 10 minutes set in the small British town as it just play into people expressing themselves in a room through dance as it is something fans of Glazer’s work should seek out.

Al Davis vs. the NFL
From 30 to 30 is a documentary about the feud between Raiders owner Al Davis and then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle as it was a feud that spanned for many years as it relates to Davis’ desire for the Raiders to stay in Los Angeles and other issues that plagued them. It also play into a feud that would impact the NFL for many years that eventually lead to some serious changes thanks in part to Davis and Rozelle as they’re told mainly through various audio and video interviews from the past with actors playing them with visual-effects covering their faces to play the two men who are no longer here. It is a fine piece that covers a lot about this legendary feud and the NFL’s history.

Cars 3
A film I watched on Disney+ is one that I saw out of curiosity as I admit to not being fond of this film series from Pixar mainly because I thought they were the weakest. This film is a bit of an exception as it definitely feels more focused in its narrative and what it wanted to be and it actually tells a good story about the idea of the old ways vs. new technology. It revolves around Lightning McQueen who finds himself being challenged by new racers who are given new toys and such to help them win races as the idea of just racing for fun and chatting up with others during a race is gone. It is a film that does play into what it takes for racers to continue with McQueen thinking out of the box as it is a compelling film that is actually better than it should’ve been.

Frozen II
Another film that I saw on Disney+ mainly because of my nephew who loves this film as this was a real surprise as not only for its narrative but also in the development of the characters and its willingness to actually be ambitious. It revolves around Elsa’s powers and where it came from as well as some revelations about her parents and a world that is filled with magic as it play into Elsa and Anna going on a journey. The music is amazing as are the songs that include a couple sung by Evan Rachel Wood as their mother. It is a great film as I wouldn’t mind seeing Elsa and Anna in another story though I think it should be in an Avengers-like event film with all of the Disney Princesses. I don’t see money in that. I see a mother-fuckin’ shit-load of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

WandaVision (episodes 5-8)

If there’s one thing about this show that pisses me off, it’s that I have to wait another week for a new episode but it’s doing its job leaving me wanting for more. This show is becoming more than just a great TV show but something really special as it does a lot not just for the medium but also being a tribute to the medium that is TV. Not only does the show reveal why there is this fantasy world inspired by American sitcoms but also does a lot to explore the concept of grief. Credit to executive producer Kevin Feige for going all-out for this show but also to show creator Jac Schaeffer and director Matt Shakman for not just paying tribute to American sitcoms but also finding a way to blend it with the world that is synonymous with the films of the MCU. Each episode has its own identity and manages to do a lot with the story as well as the characters as the supporting cast that include Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, Randall Park as FBI Jimmy Woo, and Kat Dennings as Dr. Darcy Lewis not only provide great chemistry and banter but also prove to be far more reliable and smarter than the people they’re working for.

Parris also gets the chance to really go all-in for the seventh episode as it does serve as her own kind of origin story in becoming a superhero of her own that would later be known as Photon. Yet, the show’s real scene-stealer is Kathryn Hahn whose role as Agnes is revealed to be something far bigger with a theme song that is catchy as fuck. The eighth and most recent episode is clearly not just the best episode of the series so far but it’s also the most emotionally-involving as it goes all-in for the theme of grief where Elizabeth Olsen gives a performance of her life to showcase a woman that has endured a lot of loss and tragedy while it also reveals how she created this fantasy. The little moments in that episode including a scene where Wanda and Vision are watching an episode of Malcolm in the Middle as the discussion is about loss but it is also this bonding moment and the importance of what TV does for people as both Olsen and Paul Bettany give performances that deserve more than just accolades and awards.

Top 10 Re-Watches:

1. Coco
2. Thor: Ragnarok
3. Little Women
4. Beauty and the Beast
5. The Little Mermaid
6. Spider-Man: Far from Home
7. Doctor Strange
8. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
9. Ant-Man and the Wasp
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Well, that is all for February. In March, I will not be as active mainly due to the fact that I have a niece coming any time in that month as I’m going to be taking care of my nephew for a few days until my sister and her husband come home with the new baby. Other than the last episode of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as well as my next Blind Spot and hopefully get into a couple of films by Kelly Reichardt. I’m going to take a step back in order to get ready for the arrival of my niece. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2021


Often Off Topic said...

Enjoy the time with your family <3
I never expected much from WandaVision but wow, it somehow gets better every single week! Vision's line "what is grief, but love persevering" is one of the most beautiful lines I've ever heard.

thevoid99 said...

@Often Off Topic-That line alone is a real punch in the feels and man, that made me tear up. The whole episode did as Paul Bettany deserves all of the awards for that line alone. Hell, give the awards to whoever came up with that line. I'm so eager for what is going to happen Friday. Agatha killed Sparky.... she chose death as she now has to battle Vision, Scarlet Witch, Speed, Wiccan, Photon, Special Agent Jimmy Woo, and Dr. Darcy Lewis. She's outnumbered.

Ruth said...

Hey, have time with your nephew! Speaking of which, we just became a new aunt/uncle too as my hubby's younger brother's wife just gave birth to a baby boy last Friday!!

Wow, you watched 22 films, that's quite a lot in a short month. Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar looks like a hoot, can't wait to watch that one. Not sure I'm all that excited to see Frozen II though.

Coco Crisp's Afro said...

Since when did "dalliances with groupies" become a bad thing? Two adults getting laid is bad?

Cinema Recall said...

Wanda vision has been amazing and i too am upset I gotta wait a full week for each show. Yes the Malcom in the Middle sequence in Ep 8 was really good.

As for Manson I think you can like the music from the 90's without liking the person. I only liked the song Dope Hat and a few tracks from Lost Highway soundtrack It doesnt mean i like and support the guy. Listening to song on Spotify doesnt mean im helping fund his career. Plus without the internet we were just enjoying the songs. We were not researching the artist, we were just fans of the music.

thevoid99 said...

@Ruth-Congrats. I hope you have fun with your nephew. Watch Barb & Star. That film is really fucked up and stupid but... goddamn it. It's so fucking hilarious.

@Coco Crisp's Afros-I think it has more to do with today's culture though I don't really think anything is wrong with what Trent or any rock star did in the past. When it comes to sexual abuse and all sorts of shit, that's where I cross the line.

@Cinema Recall-What I love about WandaVision is that it showcases the importance of TV shows as a medium. Like books, films, music, and theater, it is all about telling a story and making us care about characters or whatever situation they're in. I've never watched Malcolm in the Middle but I have seen clips to realize its value.

As far as Manson is concerned, it hurts that someone who is a real piece of shit would be involved with making a lot of that music. There's records of his that I do love but mainly because of the people involved including Trent Reznor who was the one that shaped a lot of his sound for those 2 albums and the Smells Like Children EP. Now, Manson is a fucking has-been who needs to be put in his place. The things he did to Trent Reznor during his rise I think were really hurtful and I don't blame Reznor for denouncing him as he's got a family to protect.

Sara said...

100% on everything you said about Manson. Also congrats on the new niece!

Jay said...

Great picks in here and great MM rant.

thevoid99 said...

@Sara-Thank you. I'm glad someone else here is saying fuck you to Manson.

@Jay-Thank you as well.

VinnieH said...

As always you watch some fantastic movies. I'm watching as many as I can lately.