What I've Been Watching - August 2020

What's going on, you guys! You know how you go through periods where you can watch at least one movie every single day? Then you go through periods where you can't watch, like, a 20 minute episode of television without being on your phone the entire time? Yeah, I alternate wildly between those two extremes months at a time. Sometimes the mood shifts during the course of a week. The course of a movie. Thankfully, I have been in the mood to actually watch movies since mid July. To be fair, I have been trying to use them to escape (occasionally process) my sad feelings, BUT that's neither here nor there.


I figured I would like to share what I have been checking out in an article! It is easy content to push out and hopefully it gives you all reading this some new material to check out! Drop a comment below with any suggestions you have for me to check out! I honestly probably won't check them out. Or it will take a couple years to get around to it...



Apocalypto


Apocalypto is a 2006 thriller, action/adventure film directed by Mel Gibson. It follows a young man's perilous journey to a world ruled by fear as the Mayan Kingdom faces its decline. Really, the film just swallows you whole. The actors all seem to be from the region that the film is based in and there is no English spoken in the film whatsoever, so it is almost as if I was watching a foreign film. The film just takes you down the rabbit hole as we follow Jaguar Paw's journey. Gibson uses spectacular action and over-the-top violence and gore to really keep you trapped in the emotional journey. A journey that is well fleshed out even without the violence and action. Very effectively made film that feels different than most of what I have previously seen. You can watch it on Amazon Prime. It is free with Amazon Prime memberships.


Eli


Eli is a 2019 horror film directed by Claran Foy. The movie follows a boy who suffers from an apparent illness to, like, literal AIR. He basically has to live in hazmat conditions 24/7. The film is him and his parents going to consult yet another Doctor, one that may be the final solution. Once they arrive at the Doctor's residence, it becomes clear that there is something sinister going on. The movie is... Okay. I mean, I liked it a lot, but I don't think I could praise the film for being so amazing, you know? I jumped a few times and I was particularly interested in the angle that the twist, or true plot of the film took. It felt different, maybe even a little bit bold. The ending was fun sequel bait as well, hopefully they take it somewhere. I can imagine something great with a completely different vibe than we what we received the first time. We'll see if they ever go ahead with that. Kind of a small brow movie, really. You can watch it on Netflix.


The Bling Ring


The Bling Ring is a 2013 film directed by Sofia Coppola. It is an A24 production, so of course it had top teir potential. The plot: Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their homes. I mean, really, the film isn't as remarkable as I would have hoped for, but it is definitely a fun little romp through these teenagers' world. It sort of deals with impulse and and vanity... The kind of feelings and behaviors that have grown to be habits of one or some individuals of a group. Then how their behavior butterflies into the rest of the group. It is interesting because it is based on real events, I guess I would say that the angle the film takes comes close to mockumentary at times. I find it funny that the main draw is an A24 film that features Emma Watson. I mean, I searched all A24 movies and saw the poster with Emma Watson and boom, I am interested. It is worth a watch if you have an hour and 40 minutes on your hand, honestly. You can watch it on Netflix.



The Killing of a Sacred Deer


The Killing of a Sacred Deer is so unsettling, my god, man. The film is sold as a thriller, but I didn't really expect it to be so.... TENSE. The film is so interesting because it features some supernatural element that just kind of unfolds on you. It is honestly sort of explained at some point pretty late in the film. The evil explains itself, but it is still pretty ambiguous. It is powerful and ominous, very unsettling. The film also does one other WILDLY interesting thing with the dialogue that just ENTHRALLS me. I honestly won't say what it is because I want anyone who watches it to experience it first hand. The film is so off and so matter of fact even with its supernatural mystery and unclear themes and messages. I really recommend this to anyone and everyone. It is Netflix, so go check it out.


20th Century Women


20th Century Women may very well creep into my list of favorite movies of all time. It is drama, produced by A24, directed by Mike Mills (he wrote the film as well.) It stars Annette Benning, Elle Fanning, and Greta Gerwig. The film follows a single mother who enlists the help of her 20-something, feminist tenant and her son's best friend to help raise her son. It is a FANTASTIC drama that totally flies under the radar. I mean, I didn't quite expect this film to hit me like it did. I was in a bad place mentally and emotionally when I first watched it. I was letting myself go down the rabbit hole just thinking about the situation(s) I was dealing with and I decided to escape with a good movie. A24 is usually bound to be great, so I took the chance with this one and it really paid off. The film takes several intersecting characters on different journeys, but it comes together so seamlessly, the film flows beautifully. Great pacing in terms of structure and character arcs. I think the cast was, like, a great value version of an, "all-star cast." I don't mean that in a bad way, but it is just such a good cast that comes together, but they just aren't... I don't know they don't seem to be the number one choices, you know? I love them all in the movie though. It is very eclectic, to be broad about it. You can watch it on Netflix. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.


The Rental


The Rental is a 2020 thriller film directed by Dave Franco. I expected something that is like.... A 6.5 or 7/10. That is about what I received! I think Mr. Franco really showed some potential. He didn't write the script, but I think he showed some mastery over the material. The movie follows two couples (brothers and their girlfriends) that rent a house for the weekend and soon realize that someone is watching them. I saw a quote that said it is Psycho for the air bnb era. I see what they mean, but my problem with them film is that it is so so good until the final 15 minutes when the stalker is revealed and the finale plays out. The characters and their drama are so interesting and SO WELL PLAYED OUT it disappointed me to see the final 15 minutes wasted on some basic serial killer crap. If the movie was focused on that and made it scarier or more prominent throughout the run time then it would have been okay probably. Alas, it is a beautiful and well made drama piece the devolves into 15 minutes of cliche serial killer/horror movie stuff to close it out.



Brightburn


Brightburn is a... Well, its an alright movie. I was really interested when the trailers first came out. It is really a super fun idea. It is straight up Superman, but he and his people are evil from the beginning. No death of Superman stuff, just evil Superman. What a fun concept to put some money and creative minds into! The Gunn brothers are producers and writers, so the film has some strong, creative foundations. In all, it isn't as scary as I wanted and the one thing the film does is it doesn't let the kid be EVIL by himself. He has to be pushed by other forces, which isn't as bold as I figured it would be, but hey. Still a well made film with a few SHOCKING moments, that is worth t if you can get it for free.


Project Power


Project Power is a 2020 Netflix film starring Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Dominique Fishback. The film follows a cop, a drug dealer, and a vengeful father who are trying to take down a corporation that is testing pills that use animal DNA (or what not) to activate superpowers in humans for five minutes at a time. The pills can lead to death and the company is using the population as test subjects to create the next step in evolution. It feels like one of those high concept films, but it fails to fully execute that vision. There are hints of strong themes having to do with different minority groups being taken advantage of by corporations or government and other strong, timely themes for nowadays. The film has some good action and some big scenes (the early action scene with Machine Gun Kelly is a standout) but it is too inconsistent. I honestly think it feels like a music video the way the cinematography is and I don't think it works here. I notice that more and more with a lot of streaming movies. I don't think the streaming services always lend to the cinematic experience. The films feel more and more like a commercial or a music video.... The style is just changing the more that large numbers of people are able to get in the game. Or, it is just becoming quantity over quality. Even strong ideas that rise to the top don't hit the same for me. I think Project Power is an example of that.


The Old Guard


The Old Guard is a 2020 Netflix action/adventure film. It stars, most notably, Charlize Theron. She is one of those Hollywood, ageless wonders because she looks amazing and she kicks so much ass! I think the film is... A pretty good Netflix film. It clearly lives in the shadow of film such as John Wick or Atomic Blonde. Theron starred in Atomic Blonde as well. The film itself is entertaining towards the final half, but I found the film to be not concerned with itself. The film spends almost zero time except for dialogue during down times on why the old guard formed and their work through history... I just feel like the plot was really watered down or basic, but it has such a solid backstory and idea. Similar to Project Power, it has some good ideas and lots of potential, but it falls under its own weight. I do think that action fans will like it, but it doesn't live up to its own bill.


Candyman


Candyman is art. I really think it is like an art house film, man. I never saw any of the films and I really like the look of the new one coming out (directed by Nia DeCosta, written partly and produced by Jordan Peele) looks outstanding, so I was eager to watch the original. I didn't think it would be so.... Heartfelt. I mean, the film just it spends so much time on the lore and what makes Candyman, Candyman. It does it while the protagonist makes her way through an impossible mental and emotional gauntlet. The score is fucking impeccable and Tony Todd is menacing. I really love the film, honestly. It is on Netflix currently.


Zodiac


After, like, months of Kaesen telling me to check out this beloved David Fincher thriller, I did. Its okay. I respect the work that goes into piecing together such a confusing string of events of so many years and making an interesting and coherent story out of it... I just didn't love the pacing or I didn't really fall in love with it. Usally a good mystery like that really wraps me up, but I just wasn't down with the sickness (Oh-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhhh!) I would give any cinema fan the suggestion to check this out, but I didn't connect to it. It is on Netflix.


The Darkness


The Darkness is a Blumhouse production, starring Kevin Bacon. He has starred in a few nice little horror flicks for Jason Blum. The film is honestly scary at times, but I think it kind of feels a little bit cliche in terms of its, "Darkness causes family tofall apart and then come back together." Still, it is a solid in literally every aspect. I like the lore and I liked the creature design. I would recommend it to horror fans for sure, nice way to spend part of an afternoon or maybe a late night. It is on Netflix.


All Light Will End


This is a 2018 horror film directed by Chris Blake and written by Blake along with Jason Hill. The synopsis: When a capricious young author hiding a dark secret returns home for her brother's graduation, she finds herself haunted by the past and tormented by grim night terrors.

I liked it, another short horror movie to just pass some time and give you one or two minor jump scares. Unfortunately, the film is TOO short. I like a good horror movie that gets it done in an hour and a half, but this one needed more time. I effectively kept me interested with the intrigue of a twist on the way, but by the time the movie ends, the twist is... Underwhelming. If we had more time to bond with better characters and more time to flesh out the setting, I think it had potential to be along the lines of Andy Muschietti's IT (2017.) It is available on Netflix.


Thank you for reading, hopefully one or several of these make your day better!



0 views0 comments