Monday, May 31, 2021

Films That I Saw: May 2021


Summer is set to arrive and it looks like things are getting back to normal somewhat although here at home, things are getting problematic thanks to a possum that crawled under our house. The possum took a shit under it and the house has been infested with fleas as my mother and I have to do a lot of cleaning as well as get a new vacuum (which is fucking great) and get an exterminator. The possum got captured and it was huge but the fleas are still here as I couldn’t really enjoy watching anything in case I get bitten and such. It’s a new problem that is emerging as I’m also dealing with legal issues relating to content I downloaded back in December where my mother was threatened with a lawsuit and I know owe her money. Well, it could’ve been worse as I haven’t been downloading any torrents for a while I’m also trying to get rid of all of these fleas and insects at the house. Especially as I had just purchased a Blu-Ray player that I hope to use but I might have to wait a little bit longer to install it.

While the things at home aren’t that bad, the same couldn’t be said for what’s been going on in the Middle East in relation to this recent ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. I’ve been trying to understand what has been going into why this conflict began and how it escalated to such extremes yet I keep remembering that there was a peaceful resolution that almost happened in the mid-1990s. I try not to take any sides in this issue but given the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu has been in power for a quarter of a century so far and has refused to leave office amidst a growing political scandal involving voter fraud and such. What does Netanyahu do to divert people’s attention from his own scandal? Easy. He decides to try and get Palestinians out of their homes and create attacks in their settlements including the Gaza strip.

Reading on what is going on, I suddenly realize there is this bias towards Israel from the media and even from President Biden in wanting to express his support for them. Yet, it does show that there are a lot of complications involved that is trying to make Israel seem like the victims but that is far from the truth. The fact that hundreds of Palestinians including children have been killed from this recent conflict doesn’t make Israel look like the good guys. Yet, any critique of Israel will have people claim that you’re an anti-Semite. My response to that is…. FUCK YOU! Palestinians have been kicked out of their homes for far too long and had no choice but to resort to violence. Yet, Israel is much worse considering they have deadlier weapons including chemicals that is illegal in conflict. Through this idea of Zionism and in this act of genocide that is condemned by even people in the Jewish community in the U.S. who are in support of Palestine. I can say this. Israel is not a country. It is a terrorist state run by a man who has become the Zionist answer to Adolf Hitler.
In the month of May, I saw a total of 26 films in 11 first-timers and 15 re-watches with 4 of the first-timers being directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. A slight improvement of sorts from the last month as the highlight of the month has been my Blind Spot assignment in Taipei Story. Here are my top 5 first-timers that I saw for May 2021:

1. The Rover
2. 22 vs. Earth
3. Into the Forest
4. Galveston
5. Black Panthers
Monthly Mini-Reviews/What Else I’ve Been Watching

22 vs. Earth
A mini-prequel to Soul that is an exclusive on Disney+, it is a fun little short film about how 22 tries to get a bunch of young baby souls to see things differently and not go to Earth. It is a funny little short that is full of hijinks and mischief as it also has this air of anarchy that also features some music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross who also play up into the film’s humor.

Maggie Simpson in the Force Awakens from Its Nap
Another short on Disney+ that I watched that made its premiere on May 4th which is a big day for fans of Star Wars. It’s a short film where Maggie Simpson is sent to daycare as it’s a Star Wars-themed daycare. I haven’t watched The Simpsons in more than 20 years though this was a lot of fun to watch.

Human Voice
A short film from 2014 by Edoardo Ponti that is based on a short story by Jean Cocteau which was recently interpreted by Pedro Almodovar starring Tilda Swinton is a short film that really belongs to Ponti’s mother Sophia Loren. It’s a story about a woman dealing with the fact that her lover has left her for a younger woman as it’s really a one-woman show with Loren just providing all sorts of anguish as it is worth watching just for her.

From William Monahan is this noir film of sorts that had some interesting ideas but the problem was that its lack of plot was meandering despite solid performances from Garrett Hedlund as a depressed filmmaker and Oscar Isaac as a mysterious yet danger drifter. It was a film that had some fine moments but meandered that included an unnecessary subplot involving Mark Wahlberg as a film producer who just wears a bathrobe and talk on the phone a lot as it killed whatever interest I had for the film as I had a review prepared but ended up not doing it as there’s not much to say about a film that is just mediocre.

The House is Black
This 22-minute short film by Forough Farrokhzad about a leper colony in Iran as it is this fascinating short film told in a documentary style. At times, it is unsettling to watch because of the people who are suffering from leprosy yet do manage to live normal lives. The short is consider widely influential and it’s a must-see for anyone interested in Iranian cinema as many consider one of the early touchstones for the cinema in that country.

Black Panthers
A documentary short film shot in 1968 during Huey P. Newton’s trial, Agnes Varda creates a film that doesn’t just explore who the Black Panthers party are but also their ideas. Part of a series of films Varda made in the late 1960s during her time in California when her husband was making Model Shop, the film does have this unique perspective of the party and their goals as well as a look of what they do for the community in Oakland. It’s a film that is worth seeking out as it plays into the period of the times and how the Black Panthers tried to maintain their own ideals against racism and give African-Americans a reason to be proud.

Yes, this film is an underwater rip-off of Alien and its sequels about an oil rig team trying to survive following a mysterious earthquake and creatures killing everyone off. Yet, I enjoyed it because it never takes itself seriously and they had characters that were interesting. Notably with Kristen Stewart in the lead role as she was just someone who understood the stakes with John Gallagher Jr., Jessica Henwick, Vincent Cassel, and Mamadou Athie providing solid supporting performances. It is a film that is horror and a survival film yet it at least offers something a bit more with Stewart proving she can carry a film.

ixi music

This was something I discovered recently through YouTube’s recommendations as I really enjoy this series by this musician named ixi. She analyzes a lot of the music by Nine Inch Nails as well as breaking down some of the melodies, motifs, and such that Trent Reznor is known for as there are many common phrases and notes that he uses in a lot of the music. I learn a lot about music notes and phrases as well as her interpretation to some of those songs that she does play on a keyboard-piano as it makes me appreciate Reznor’s genius as a songwriter even more as well as the contributions many of his collaborators have created including Atticus Ross.

Top 10 Re-watches

1. Roma
2. The Conversation
3. A Fish Called Wanda
4. Far from Heaven
5. The Untouchables
6. Life of Pi
7. No Way Out
8. The Namesake
9. Gung Ho
10. Pitch Perfect
Well, that is it for May 2021. Next month, I will focus partially on LGBT cinema from films based on my never-ending DVR list as well as my next Blind Spot film which will be Pink Flamingos. I also hope to re-start on my Auteurs piece on Kelly Reichardt but also see what film I would choose to return to the movie theaters as I’ve also decided to revive the Cannes Film Festival marathon for this coming July. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2021


Ruth said...

Sorry to hear about the possum that crawled under our house!

Interesting list of films as always, and you also rewatched a ton of stuff. It's quite rare for me NOT to re-watch any single movie in May, but I did watch quite a few TV series (also quite rare for me). A Fish Called Wanda is a lot of fun but it's been ages since I saw it.

Often Off Topic said...

Ooh I'm so glad you watched and enjoyed Underwater! It's nothing new but it's just well done and it took me by surprise. Glad things are starting to get back to normal for you!