This has definitely been a really hot summer as due to the heat. It is often best to spend time at home or somewhere that is a bit of an escape as long as there’s air conditioning. Usually, home is where it’s at as one of the reasons to stay home is to watch whatever you’re into. However, the yearning for new content is something all of us are going to have to wait longer than we expected as the SAG-AFTRA strike has commenced on July 14 joining the WGA strike that began early this past May all because the studios are a bunch of greedy assholes. The threat of artificial intelligence is real as the idea of AI coming in and creating ideas is harmful while the writers themselves aren’t getting paid properly with streaming services and their bosses making lots of money with the writers getting very little. The Screen Actors Guild had joined them in an act of solidarity with the Writers Guild of America as they too are affected by A.I. and the fact that they’re also getting underpaid for their past work that is shown on various streaming services and getting little in return.
One would think that this is all about these movie and TV stars and writers wanting more money which is true but a closer look at the residual checks many of these actors are getting however show that they have a point. Getting something like 8 cents for one episode of a popular TV show that is being streamed on Netflix is fucking criminal. It is a disservice for anyone working in the industry as you have people in sound, visual effects, and other post-production services that are going to be fucked because they can’t work with the actor on wanting to finish something while the writers also can’t be involved in the post-production for notes or advice that the director and an editor would want. It also affects upcoming films that are set to appear in film festivals as the actors and writers won’t be able to show up to promote or do interviews as these festivals are going to be fucked. It’s assholes like David Zaslav that has fucked things up for everyone all in the idea of greed while Bob Iger at Disney remains to be clueless on what these people want while forcing audiences to watch projects that are just mid at best.
Letterboxd have recently presented a guide on this whole strike and what film buffs should do in support of the strike. AEW pro wrestler Ryan Nemeth who is also an actor has been using the YouTube channel Being the Elite as a way to provide coverage of the strike talking to writers and actors while getting his own endorsement as the Hollywood Hunk. For those who love to watch films and write about it can do their part to support the strike but that doesn’t mean we can stop watching content. We just need to know that we care and not give in to this AI bullshit as I’ve been seeing a lot AI created music on YouTube as I choose to remove it from my recommendations while a NIN fan-created YouTube page has done some AI related stuff with some of NIN’s music and I fucking hated it. I don’t want this shit AI shit around when it comes to at because it would never understand what it takes for someone to create something that comes from them. pledge. Down a bit from last month though the quality of films have been amazing as one of the highlights of the month is my Blind Spot film in One-Eyed Jacks. Here is the top 10 first-timers that I saw for July 2023:
1. Barbie 2. Red, White, and Blue 3. Mekong Hotel 4. In My Room 5. Ashes 6. Nightwalk 7. Shangri-La 8. The Wedding Singer’s Daughter 9. (The [End) of History Illusion] 10. Shako Mako Monthly Mini-Reviews/What Else I’m Watching
The Dream Studio
This 28-minute documentary short film about Zoetrope Studios that was part of an extra from the DVD release of One from the Heart in the early 2000s is a fascinating film about Francis Ford Coppola purchasing the old General Service Studios lot in 1980 in the hope to create a dream studio. Notably as it would be this place where young filmmakers would be able to create something and build sets while Coppola would use the studio to work on his 1982 musical as well as produce other projects around this time. It is a story that shows a man that is willing to gamble on himself though there’s also this story of Icarus when it comes to the fact that Coppola tried to emphasize on innovation and creative freedom but it came at a massive financial cost due to the commercial failure of One from the Heart in its 1982 release that would put Coppola in serious debt as he would spend almost an entire decade making films for studios to cover his debt.
Ashes This 20-minute short film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul is an experimental piece that mainly consists of stop-motion photography as its visual presentation where a man walks a dog and the places he would encounter. It’s not a short film that is meant to say anything but rather be seen as a visual medium as it does prove that Weerasethakul remains one of these fascinating figures in world cinema. Even if some of the projects he makes don’t make any narrative sense but it really doesn’t matter because they’re so beautiful to watch.
A 2 ½ minute commercial for Mercedes directed by Michael Mann starring Benicio del Toro who plays a criminal that is being hunted by the LAPD. It is a commercial that sort of presents it as a trailer for fake feature film though it bears a lot of the visual style that Mann is known for as this is something fans of Mann should see.
Secret Invasion (season 1 episodes 3-6) Overall as a series, this is pretty much the weakest series from the MCU though I enjoyed it but it left me underwhelmed at times. It had a good premise as it relates to Skrulls invading Earth as they struggle to find a home following the events of the Blip with Nick Fury feeling guilty for not fulfilling his duties. Unfortunately, some of the writing left a lot to be desired while the deaths of a few beloved characters didn’t really do much to drive the narrative. Kingsley Ben-Adir is an excellent actor but the character of Gravik is badly written as he ends up being a very one-dimensional antagonist that never really thought anything through other than kill some people including people close to Fury. Even towards the end of the series where his followers begin to question his leadership definitely show a lot of serious flaws in the character as he’s pretty much not just one of the weakest villains in the MCU but also one of the stupidest whom audiences won’t have to deal with.
Despite a lot of those flaws, the show did have some solid work from Samuel L. Jackson as Fury as well as Emilia Clarke as Gi’ah, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, and Don Cheadle as the Skrull version of Rhodey as Cheadle does get to have fun in playing the asshole though it raises confusions into what really happened to Rhodey all this time. Charlayne Woodward as Fury’s Skrull wife Priscilla/Varra is a standout as the one person who really understands Fury while Killian Scott’s performance as Gravik’s right-hand man Pagon I thought was way more interesting than Gravik as he seemed to have ideas that should’ve helped the rebellion. Yet, the show really belongs to Olivia Colman as Sonya Falsworth who just steals every moment in the film as she elevates everything whenever she’s one as well as knowing when to camp it up a bit or to be slimy. She is so fun to watch as I hope the character returns and let’s hope it’s a better project.
Dark Side of the Ring (season 4 episodes 6-8) The second half of the season showcases three episodes as it relates to some really dark shit in the three wrestlers they profiled. The first is about Adrian Adonis who is someone that didn’t have the physique of many but was a really tough individual who rose through the ranks in various territories that lead him to a run in the WWF in the 1980s. Yet, it was his drug issues that eventually was his downfall as he would be fired from the company only to clean himself up and get himself back in shape until a tour through Canada where he and two other wrestlers were killed in an auto accident on their way to a show in Newfoundland as only one person survived the wreck. The other story that also played into drugs in its most recent episode involves Bam Bam Bigelow who would be a big star in the late 1980s as this agile big man only to rub some veterans along the way in his first run in the WWF as his second in the mid-1990s that included being in the main event of WrestleMania XI against football legend Lawrence Taylor.
Unfortunately, backstage politics involving the Kliq would force him to leave WWE as he would have a successful run in ECW but his addiction to prescription pills eventually became his downfall as he would die sometime in the late 2000s as he was attempting to get his life back on track. Then there’s episode of Abdullah the Butcher as, with the exception of Mick Foley and Tony Atlas, many of the individuals on that episode came off as scummy as Abdullah was known for violent matches and bloodbaths that made him notorious in Puerto Rico while his work with Devon Nicholson in the 2000s is infamous with Nicholson claiming Abdullah gave him hepatitis from the used blades that Abdullah had taped in his fingers. Whether it was true or not, it didn’t make Nicholson a sympathetic individual as he often blames someone while making excuses over an incident years ago when he rammed a spike on a referee that was too much to bear. There’s claims about Abdullah being illiterate but I’m not sure as the episode made me squeamish at times. There’s two more episodes left with the first one being about the incident at WCW Bash at the Beach 2000 and the season finale on Marty Jannetty.
Wrestling Match of the Month: FTR (c) vs. Jay White & Juice Robinson for the AEW World Tag Team Titles in a 2 out of 3 falls match – AEW Collision – 7/15/23
While I don’t think having a wrestling show airing on a Saturday night on national television is a good idea, AEW Collision has become a really solid wrestling show as it has a different feel from AEW Dynamite as there’s more in-ring action as well as having an old school vibe to it. FTR has made the program their home and has continuously proven themselves to be the best tag team working today as a program against Jay White and Juice Robinson of Bullet Club Gold has been phenomenal with a 30-minute match the week before where Bullet Club Gold won leading to this 2 out of 3 falls rematch where the tag titles on the line. While I didn’t catch live as I was out of the house at the time, I did watch the whole thing as it was fucking intense. This is tag team wrestling at its finest where both teams put everything on the line as BCG won the first fall but it was FTR who came back to win the next two falls. There has to be a third match and what better place to do it at AEW All In at Wembley Stadium in London. FTR continues to be this great tag team while Jay White and Juice Robinson with the Gunn Club has managed to breathe some new life into the Bullet Club brand as it is floundering at New Japan Pro Wrestling under its current leadership in David Finlay.
Top 10 Re-watches
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2. Iron Man 3. The Lion King 4. Twenty Something 5. Smash and Grab 6. The Good Dinosaur 7. The Skeleton Dance 8. Building a Building 9. The Olympic Champ 10. Goofy Gymnastics Well, that is all for July. Next month, I’m not sure what will be my next Blind Spot film as I own 3 of them on Blu-Ray with one of them on DVD while the fifth Blind Spot is likely to be purchased as a rental on YouTube. Other than that, I will definitely watch Oppenheimer and maybe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem as far as theatrical releases are concerned. Then there’s Showing Up by Kelly Reichardt which is available on YouTube via rental as I will watch this along with some short films as I am hoping to restart and re-work my Auteurs piece on her while also finishing up Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology film series.
Before I leave, we should make note once again on those who have passed as this month sadly saw the passing of Paul Reubens aka Pee-Wee Herman, Jane Birkin, Sinead O’Connor, Randy Meisner of the Eagles, screenwriter Julian Barry, screenwriter Bo Goldman, Pamela Blair, British wrestler Tommy Siegel, Inga Swenson, Leila Goldini, film/TV writer Stu Silver, documentary filmmaker Sue Marx, Nick Benedict, Anthony Meo of Biohazard, writer Milan Kundera, Mike Halac aka Mantaur, Exotic Adrian Street, Jeffrey Carlson, singer Vickie Anderson, film producer Lawrence Turman, and the legendary Tony Bennett. We will miss you all. This is thevoid99 signing off…
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