July 2015 in Review

July's over with, and this is definitely the shortest In Review article since I started this. A holiday away in Madeira attributes to this, and as a result, some of the choices at the bottom are broad in their definitions. For example, this months Biggest Disappointment wasn't an overall disappointment, I just liked it less from the past viewings. So let's settle down and see what (few) films I watched over the July just gone.

Spring Breakers - 4.5/5 - Harmony Korine manages to craft an entrancing fever dream, which you can't help to tear your eyes away from. The result is an unapologetic look at a group searching for the American Dream, through their own means, and through a visually stunning colour palette. Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez are smartly cast against type, leading the pack of fantastic performances given to us by the four girls. But it's James Franco who amazes, disappearing into the role of Alien, a fascinating character whose aspirations are to be bad. It's a performance that deserved awards nominations. Definitely not a film for everyone, but I damn well dug it.

Paul (rewatch) - 3.5/5 - Going through this film again, what struck me was how it manages to be a celebration of geek culture, while also using the lazy tactic of making it the butt of many jokes. This is more prominent than the repeated gay jokes and Christian jokes. While Ruth's father is largely a pointless addition as the film goes on, and Ruth's continued swearing easily outstays its welcome, the film is still largely solid. The cast are all on point, while Seth Rogen's voice fits with the impressive effects utilized for the title character. And the references to geek culture films (Star Wars cantina band song, "Smile you sonovabitch") fit in well, rather than feeling forced into the picture.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day: Best film
of the month and Best film rewatched

The Terminator (rewatch) - 4.5/5 - Before James Cameron made the only two films to cross the $2 billion mark at the box office, he made a little film with big ideas, and an Austrian who'd become one of the worlds biggest stars. The picture is rather lean, packing no unnecessary material into the 1 hour 47 minute runtime. The fantastic cast do brilliant work as their great characters, with Linda Hamilton and Arnie being the stand-outs. The thrilling action, great ideas and imaginative backstory all help to bring this story to life, and craft a fantastic cult film that, to this day, remains in the public conciousness.

Ant-Man: Best film seen in cinemas

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (rewatch) - 5/5 - How is it that 24 years after its release, the effects on this film STILL hold up really well?
James Cameron manages to do what sequels should do, expand upon the original story to deliver a bigger sequel with more scope, bigger stakes and exceptional character development.
Plus that action, brilliant stuff.

Spring Breakers: Best film watched
for the first time

The Woodsman (2004) - 4/5 - Kevin Bacon delivers one of the best performances of his career, as a child molester who tries to integrate himself into the normal world, while battling his darker urges. Kyra Sedgwick isn't believable as a woman who's one of the boys, while Mos Def gives a bored performance into his role. But still a powerful film, with a tense finale.

Paul: Biggest disappointment

The Cobbler (2015) - 0.5/5 - What the fuck did I watch?

Adam Sandler gets together with acclaimed director Thomas McCarthy for what can best be described as poorly written tripe, which meshes elements of drama, goofy comedy and thriller, for an uneven whole and an ending which brings an obvious twist forward, and seems to set things up akin to a spy film.

Again, what the fuck did I watch?

Taxi Driver: Biggest surprise

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! - 0.5/5 - The same attempt at a joke is played out again, and it's worn thin beyond recognition. The result can best be described a haven for failed "talents" to get killed by poorly CG-d sharks, while product placement takes prominence throughout. The main problem is Tara Reid, who fails to portray any kind of emotion, while serving no purpose other than to be pregnant. But at least we get to witness the only acceptable use of a selfie stick: stabbing the shit out of a shark.

The Cobbler: Worst film of the month

Ant-Man - 4/5 - The latest film released by Marvel is probably better known for its behind the scenes troubles than for genuinely building an interest in its characters, which is unfortunate. Luckily, Peyton Reed handles the film with great control, utilizing the shrinking scenes to thrilling standards and the MCU references fit seamlessly into the picture. Paul Rudd is perfect for the lead, while Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lily and Abby Ryder Fortson are fantastic in their roles.

Taxi Driver (rewatch) - 5/5 - Sometimes, a second viewing is essential in understanding why a film is labelled with certain words, like "masterpiece". From the first scene, where Travis' attempt at a joke is met with disdain, you can see his frustration building throughout the films run, until the explosive ending. The journey of Travis Bickle is a fascinating one that's utterly compelling, thanks to Scorcese's direction, Paul Schrader's script and Robert De Niro's phenomenal acting.

Best film of the month: Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Best film seen in cinemas: Ant-Man
Best film watched for the first time: Spring Breakers
Best film rewatched: Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Biggest Disappointment: Paul
Biggest Surprise: Taxi Driver
Worst film of the month: The Cobbler

Number of films watched: 9