Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Films That I Saw: November 2021


Another year is coming to close in the coming month as it has been insane though this month did start well with the Atlanta Braves winning their second World Series championship. Unfortunately, the celebration didn’t last here at home as this Thanksgiving was a bit of a downer because my mother got COVID though she is recovering and is starting to get her sense of smell back a bit as well as taste. I was tested negative following a recent test which is good but I’m now worried that 8-month old niece as she also got COVID though she is doing OK. This is not the way I had hope to start the Xmas holiday season as I was in a good mood and hoped to see a few more films but I ended up staying home to help my mother.

Now that there’s a new COVID variant emerging, it is clear that this pandemic is far from over as I’m now preparing for the worst and it’s a shame that there’s still a bunch of fucking morons who are going to fuck this up as usual. I’ve become used to wearing a mask whenever I go out in public and it does make me feel safe but I take great comfort in knowing that I’m keeping people safe as well. It’s these small things that I hope at least people are aware of what is going on though I do live in a state that do have stupid people.

Then there’s this recent incident in Houston involving Travis Scott and his music festival as this was something that could’ve been avoided yet the fact that 10 people have died so far including a child is just devastating. Scott should be in prison for the fact that he encouraged a large crowd to get rowdy while they’re getting crushed and did little to stop the concert. People have compared this to Altamont in 1969 with the Rolling Stones, the 1979 Cincinnati stampede for a concert from the Who, and the 2000 Rokskilde festival during Pearl Jam’s performance. This was worse considering that the Stones tried to calm things down to an unruly crowd while Pearl Jam tried to stop the crowd from surging. The Who didn’t know what happened until after show as it was a traumatic event for them. This isn’t some generational thing but rather how one handles these incident as Scott’s response was poor not to mention that his dumbass girlfriend in a Kartrashian was taking selfies while all of this was happening.
In the month of November 2021, I saw a total of 22 films in 12 first-timers and 10 re-watches with five of those first-timers being films directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. Not a bad month considering that I spent part of the month taking care of a 2 year old and an 8-month old as the latter is trying to learn to crawl. The highlights of the month definitely has been my Blind Spot pick in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s BRD trilogy as it now increased my interest in the late German filmmaker. Here are my top 5 first-timers that I saw for November 2021:

1. Shiva Baby
2. Sunset
3. What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael
4. Ciao Alberto
5. Eternals
Monthly Mini-Reviews/What Else I’ve Been Watching

The Melies Mystery
Georges Melies is a pioneer in cinema that deserves a lot of credit as this documentary is about his life’s work and the films he’s made but it is also a film about how they got lost as well as the race to restore the many films that are still found. It is an intriguing film but it is really uneven in the fact that it wants to be a profile on a great filmmaker but it also wants to be this study on restoration and events that played into Melies’ fall from the world of cinema. While it does feature interviews from film critic/historian Leonard Maltin as well as filmmakers Costa-Gavras and Michel Gondry, it is a film that could’ve been more about Melies rather than be all sorts of things as the restoration stuff could’ve been another film.

Ciao Alberto
One of the things that I love about Disney+ isn’t just the quality content it has in things to watch with children but also presenting new things such as this short film that is a mini-sequel to Luca. It is about Alberto living in Portorosso where he is trying to win the approval of Massimo by being his assistant. It is a short that is funny as well as touching that is something that fans of Pixar and the film itself should watch where it is just this nice little short.

The Juniper Tree
This film from Nietzchka Keene that was made in the late 80s and released in 1990 is a unique take on a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm about two sisters whose mother had been burned at the stake as they’re taken in by a man who marries the older sister while his son is convinced that she’s a witch. Starring Bjork as the younger sister, it is a film that has an incredible look though it is sluggish in its pacing and doesn’t have much plot. Yet, it is a film worth watching largely because of Bjork just before she would join the alternative group the Sugarcubes as the film would be released years before she became the artist everyone knows and loves.

Shiva Baby

Shiva Baby by Emma Seligman from NYU Tisch Undergrad Film & TV on Vimeo.

Given the major buzz and acclaim Emma Seligmann’s film had gotten, it is worth nothing that the film was based on a short that she had made a few years earlier that also starred Rachel Sennott. It is the same story as the feature but only in a smaller version with Sennott’s character learning that her sugar daddy is a married man with a child as they attend this Shiva. It does have a few difference but it is worth watching for anyone that loved the film or haven’t seen the film yet.

Olaf Presents
Another new thing from Disney+ is a series of 30-45 second short films that has Olaf interpreting other Disney film classics. It is enjoyable and fun as it showcases what Olaf would do with Sven in some bits. Olaf is a polarizing character for some but my nephew enjoyed it as it is just harmless fun while credit should go to the animators for making Olaf show that he is an imaginative snowman.

The Mandalorian
I had been hearing about this show for years as I have to say that this is the best thing that the Star Wars franchise have created since Empire and I am eagerly anticipating both a third season and The Book of Boba Fett. It is a show about a bounty hunter who is tasked with an assignment to retrieve something for a man played by Werner Herzog who works with remnants of the Imperial Empire. That something turns out to be Baby Yoda, who is later known as Grogu, as they would embark on an adventure evading the Empire and other bounty hunters as he would seek help from others including others Mandalorians (played by Katee Sackhoff and Sasha Banks) as well as Boba Fett and Rosario Dawson as the Jedi warrior Ahsoka Tano. The second season finale is definitely an episode for the ages with one of the greatest and tearful endings ever.

Acapulco (season 1, episodes 6-9)
If there’s another reason to have Apple TV+ aside from Ted Lasso and some movies (that I hope to watch ASAP), it is this show as my mother really loves the show not just because it is funny but it also has a lot of heart. The recent episodes show what a young Maximo had to do to please the hotel guests but also the sacrifices he needed to make for the greater good. The show also does a lot to flesh out the characters more such as Don Pablo, Maximo’s friend Memo, the love interest Julia, her clueless but well-meaning boyfriend Chad, Maximo’s mother, his sister Sarah (who was played by Salma Hayek in How to Be a Latin Lover), and others. I hope the show gets another season as it’s something that I can watch with my mother.

Hawkeye (episodes 1 & 2)
The new show from Disney+ that is part of the MCU from showrunner Jonathan Igla is definitely a much more upbeat and charming series so far with two episodes premiering last week. It largely revolves around the Xmas holidays where Clint Barton is taking his kids to the city as he’s dealing with PTSD while a young woman who saw him fight at the Battle of New York in Kate Bishop has become a skilled archer/fighter as she is not enthused about her mother’s new boyfriend. It is a show with a lot of wit as both Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld are a joy to watch together with Lucky the Pizza Dog also being part of the fun. So far, the show establishes what is going on with its second episode ending with an introduction of a new character in Maya Lopes/Echo who is played by Alaqua Cox. It’s still early to tell at the moment as there is a lot of intrigue and suspense while fans are definitely anticipating the arrival of Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova character and what she is planning to do.

Top 10 Re-watches

1. The Wolverine
2. The Way Way Back
3. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
4. Day & Night
5. La Luna
6. Feast
7. Lava
8. Hawaiian Vacation
9. Small Fry
10. Frozen Fever
That is all for November 2021. The first thing in December that I will do is announce the line-up for the 2022 Blind Spot Series with War & Peace being the final Blind Spot for this year. I hope to watch some films as I plan on renting a couple on YouTube such as No Time to Die and Last Night in Soho as well as whatever new films are coming in the theaters such as Spider-Man: No Way Home. I will also announce plans for the next year after I finish my Blind Spot assignment while I am also watching The Beatles: Get Back at the moment as I am making notes on what happened so far as I am enjoying it. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2021

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Hey Steven! This new COVID variant Omnicron is so worrisome, I'm getting my booster in mid Dec, that's the soonest I could get it and I'm glad I registered a month ago as now the earliest is January!! I hope your family, esp your mom and infant niece would be ok.

Hey, glad you finally caught up with The Mandalorian!! That is a great series indeed, it's immediately engaging and just kept getting better. I was obsessed w/ Baby Yoda for a while. Well done, Jon Favreau!! I'm enjoying Hawkeye too and can't wait to see Florence Pugh’s Yelena in it.