Thursday, February 29, 2024

Films That I Saw: February 2024


Winter is coming to an end as my most-hated season is to arrive in Spring as I usually don’t look forward to it as I’m kind of sad winter is ending. Yet, this winter wasn’t that great as I largely stayed home for much of that time and didn’t go to the movie theaters because I’ve been sick with various cold and flu-like illness though it hasn’t been COVID. Still, it could be worse as there’s been a lot of shit happening with the recent death of Alexei Navalny as he had been an opposition leader in Russia as there is definitely some foul play into his death. It is among the many things happening around the world as even things in the U.S. are just as crazy given that it’s an election year with news coverage going into a bunch of bullshit including a bunch of ugly-ass golden sneakers that I wouldn’t pay a penny for because it looks cheap.
In the month of February 2024, I saw a total of 26 films in 16 first-timers and 10 re-watches with 4 of those first-timers being film directed/co-directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. A solid months all things considered as well as being ill right now. The highlight of the month is my Blind Spot pick in Splendor in the Grass. Here are the top 10 first-timers for February 2024:

1. Killers of the Flower Moon
2. The Holdovers
3. The Barber of Little Rock
4. Sandra
5. Past Lives
6. Whiplash
7. The Innocent
8. Nai Nai & Wai Po
9. Knight of Fortune
10. Next Goal Wins
Monthly Mini-Reviews/What Else I’m Watching

The Barber of Little Rock

Of the nominees for Best Documentary Short film, this is the film that should win as it isn’t just this engaging story of a man making a difference for his community. It is all about a community trying to have the power to run their own businesses in a city like Little Rock. Directed by John Hoffman and Christine Turner, the film focuses on Arlo Washington as a man who runs a barber shop with a barbershop college and a bank. A bank that helps African-American families get loans as well as whatever they need as it does show a massive economic racial divide in the city. There’s also some white people who live near the poverty line as they go to Washington for help as it shows a disparity in which 30,000 people in Little Rock could barely get by while there’s 8,000 people who live in middle/upper-class areas that could get anything. It’s a film that should be seen as well as show the power of what a man could do as a way to make a difference.


The short film that would later become the feature film that served as a breakthrough for Damien Chazelle is something fans of Chazelle should watch. Notably as both the film and short star J.K. Simmons in the role of Terence Fletcher as it remains this chilling performance that is really a sampler of what he would do in the feature version. In the role of the new student is Johnny Simmons as he manages to be incredible as a young student that is being pushed to the edge as it is just a great short film.

My Mistress
This Australian film that I saw on TUBI late one night starring Emmanuelle Beart as a mysterious woman who secretly works as a dominatrix is a fascinating if flawed film. It revolves around this young teenager who is dealing with tragedy who meets this older woman played by Beart as she helps home cope with his loss. The film does suffer from some underdeveloped characters in both Beart’s ex-husband and the young man’s mother but it is Beart and Harrison Gilbertson that make the film worth a watch.

This six-minute short film as part of Pixar’s Sparkshorts program by Searit Kahsay Huluf is this inventive film that mixes stop-motion animation with 3D computer-based animation as it’s about a wooden doll who enters a new world as she tries to fit in to this 3D world. It is truly an incredible short film as it showcases the journey of this doll and what she needs to do really stand out in a new world.

Nai Nai & Wai Po
Another nominee in Best Documentary Short that I saw on Disney+ by Sean Wang as it’s about his grandmothers who both live with each other as they do whatever they can to keep going. It is a fun short that showcases these two old ladies who are both near the end of their lives yet they do whatever they can to fulfill themselves while also farting a lot. It is a short that is also touching and full of joy as my mother also enjoyed this short as it is fun to watch.

The ABCs of Book Banning
Of the five nominees for Best Documentary Short, this one is the weakest for the fact that it’s a documentary that could’ve been a feature-length documentary. It revolves around the banning of books in the state of Florida as it is largely told through the perspective of children who question about the books that are being banned. Even as they’re put into 3 categories of Restricted, Challenging, and Banned as many of the books that are put into these categories are either books about African-Americans or people in the LGBTQ community. It is proof of how much of a shithole Florida is.

Made in Milan

This documentary short by Martin Scorsese on Giorgio Armani is a great short that fans of Scorsese should see despite the fact that video quality isn’t that great. Still, it showcases into why Armani is revered as it shows a man who goes to great lengths to make clothes and fashion mean something. Even as he does what he can to innovate while also talking about the city of Milan and what it means for him as well as acknowledging his roots as he wasn’t born rich yet it drove him to succeed. Shot by the late, great Nestor Almendros and edited by longtime Scorsese collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker, it is a short that is full of wonder as it shows two masters working together for this little short.

A short I watched on MUBI (that will be unavailable next month) is a collaboration between Yann Gonzalez and Oliver Sim of the xx as the former films the latter who performs 3 songs from his 2022 album Hideous Bastard. Notably as it is this great mix of horror, black comedy, and fantasy as it is told with such style as it has this air of confession where Sim appears in a talk show and performs while becoming a monster. It is such a film short to watch and anyone who is a fan of the xx should see if they can find it though it will likely come back to MUBI soon.

Knight of Fortune

A nominee for Best Live Action Short film by Lasse Lyskjaer Noer revolves around grief as it plays into this man who is at a morgue to see his late wife’s body where he meets another man who had also lost his wife as they both learn that their wives share the same favorite song. It is a film with a bit of humor but it is also a film that really shows how men cope with grief as it is definitely worth watching.

Top 10 Re-Watches

1. The Handmaiden
2. The Lover
3. Tangled
4. The Band That Wouldn’t Die
5. Believeland
6. Just One of the Guys
7. 22 vs. Earth
8. Wingspan
9. Queen: Days of Our Life
10. Lamp Life
Well, that is all for February 2024. Next month, the big film to see is Dune-Part Two as I have a ticket but I'm not well enough to attend and the assholes at Fandango won't refund my ticket for Saturday. Along with whatever new films coming out as well as some last-minute Oscar-nominated films before the Oscars happen. There will be a bunch of films I have pre-written that I plan to watch including films by Barry Jenkins, Christian Petzold, Sean Baker, and hopefully Justine Triet. As for my Blind Spot next month, I’m not sure at the moment.

Before I leave, we have to take note on those have passed away this month starting with the most recent passing of Richard Lewis and Mike Jones aka Virgil aka Vincent aka Shane aka Soul Train Jones. Also who passed this month include Ole Anderson who was one of the co-founders of the Four Horseman as well as Pamela Salem, John Savident of Coronation Street, Paul D’Amato, musician Bobby Tench, Tony Ganios, writer Dan Wilcox, cinematography Alec Mills, Damo Suzuki of Can, drummer Jimmy Van Eaton, conductor Seiji Ozawa, former Chilean president Sebastian Pinera, filmmaker Robert M. Young, Aston “Family Man” Barrett, Brother Wayne Kramer of the MC5, Don Murray, filmmaker/animator Mark Gustafson, Carl Weathers, William Post who invented the Pop Tart, and the greatest outlaw singer of them all… Mojo Nixon! This is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2024


Jay said...

Always such variety!

ruth said...

Hey Steven! I'm with you that I'm glad Spring is here, it's actually very warm in MN, almost 70 degrees which is nuts for early March! Hope you feel better soon man, it sucks that you've been hit with the Flu, but glad it's not Covid.

Thanks for including the YT vids, I'm curious about that Made in Milan one. I only rewatched one movie last month, Wonder Woman, but have been watching a few TV series, you gotta watch SHOGUN when you can, it's just sooo good!!

thevoid99 said...

@Jay-Thank you. I try to keep it interesting.

ruth-I just got my refund from AMC as they hate Fandango as much as anyone. Next time, if I order a movie through AMC with a AMC card. Don't use Fandango. I'll try and watch Shogun when I have the time.

SJHoneywell said...

Mojo Nixon is such a loss. Two of the greatest psychobilly performers in history are gone now--Mojo and the great Country Dick Montana. When we lose The Reverend Horton Heat, we'll have lost a genre.

thevoid99 said...

@SJHoneywell-I agree. I hope the Good Reverend is well. I love Mojo Nixon. I will always remember that verse from "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen.

We asked for Mojo Nixon
They said "He don't work here"
We said "If you don't got Mojo Nixon
Then your store could use some fixin'"

Brittani Burnham said...

I really liked Knight of Fortune. It's weirdly funny. I think Red, White, and Blue is the strongest of the Live Action short nominees message wise, but Henry Sugar is just mezmerizing.

And The After is dogshit.

thevoid99 said...

@Brittani-It is a weirdly funny film but for all of the good reasons. I do want to see Henry Sugar because of Wes Anderson though I'm not interested in The After.