June 2024 In Review

June is long in the rear-view mirror of life, but you have not escaped from what I watched just yet. So, let's see what I managed to watch this past June.

Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug (1991) - 2/5 - Watching it dubbed left me wishing upon Shenron that I watched a better film.

Lisa Frankenstein (2024) - 3/5 - Stylishly depicts outsiders looking for connection in macabre ways.

A Silent Voice (2016) - 4.5/5 - A touching and powerfully humanist film.

The Beekeeper (2024) - 3.5/5 - Some days, you just want to see Jason Statham bulldozing his way through a criminal syndicate which scams the elderly, and this film absolutely delivers on that. Yes, it's an absolutely ridiculous work that clearly focused most on the bee-related wordplay, and Statham's accent is his dodgy attempt at American, but it's all part of this entertaining ride that raises the body count in attention-grabbing ways. If only David Ayer's filmography was this fun more often.

Best film of the month and Best
film rewatched: Knives Out (2019)

Good Morning (2007) - 3/5 - The last thing directed by Satoshi Kon, and it is a minute long short which captures the routine of waking up. It is a familiar reflection of how we stumble through the regular steps in an almost dreamlike state before that moment hits where the dream has passed, and we are awake for the day to come. It isn't as fully fleshed as a Kon feature but, for a minute long short, it does the job pretty well.

Monsters, Inc (2001) [rewatch] - 5/5 - The chase sequence through the numerous doors is a magnificently inventive set-piece, and is a standout moment within this equally hilarious and touching feature from Pixar.

Although, why the hell does Disney+ not include the brilliant bloopers in the end credits?

Knives Out (2019) [rewatch] - 5/5 - This has become a real comfort watch, and that's fascinating to say about a film involving the line "What was overheard by the nazi child masturbating in the bathroom?"

Sasquatch Sunset (2024) - 2.5/5 - The fragility of life is conveyed with more boners than words.

Best film seen in cinemas:
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024) [rewatch] - 4.5/5 - This time around, the visual effects and greenscreen backgrounds were more noticeable for me. However, that did not stop how engrossed this film left me as it expanded upon Fury Road in ways which left me captivated and further in awe of George Miller's exceptional direction. Chris Hemsworth is the most fascinating that I have seen him in a while, giving a livewire performance as a wannabe warlord aided by a Maestro style nose.

Arcadian (2024) - 3/5 - A solid tale of Nicolas Cage surviving against post-apocalyptic creatures.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) - 4.5/5 - As the opening sequence showcases each of the central characters by their titular title, capturing the situation each one is in courtesy of the engrossing direction and captivating performances, I was ready for the tremendous feature that would unfold over the next 3-hours. From Lee Van Cleef's piercing stare as Angel Eyes, to Clint Eastwood's effortlessly cool performance as Blondie, and especially Eli Wallach's Tuco who has layers of cunning and hurt lurking beneath his oafishness. They are all key players in this hunt for stolen gold, and it is wonderful to see each of them advance just a little bit more.

Sergio Leone does phenomenal work with this film, with every shot being stunningly directed and equally vital. You think you've seen a bridge explosion on film before? Not like this. Considering how lengthy the cut I watched of this film was, it is a testament to how phenomenal it is that I would not cut a single scene from it.

And then there's the score by Ennio Morricone. A rightfully iconic soundtrack that I have heard elsewhere long before seeing this film, yet that has dulled none of the impact as it masterfully brings alive this feature in such outstanding ways.

The only thing that is preventing me from rating this the maximum of 5 stars is the distracting dubbing. In some places, it truly took me out of the film and left me very distracted. Maybe my feelings on that will soften upon rewatches (of course I will rewatch this film), but it is currently my one issue in an otherwise masterful western.

Best film watched for the first time:
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966)

The Exorcism (2024) - 2.5/5 - A sombre work about facing past sins that unfortunately loses its way.

The Watched (2024) - 2.5/5 - Stranded within a seemingly inescapable forest, Mina (Dakota Fanning) finds shelter within a concrete bunker. Along with 3 other people, the group spend every night within a room with a wall of glass, where they are watched by unseen creatures referred to as Watchers. The feature debut of Ishana Night Shyamalan feels inspired by her father's filmmaking style, for better or worse, as it builds intrigue within a fascinating idea before an over-explained ending throws things into disarray. The mystery is well presented with great intrigue and effective atmosphere, although that is better captured than the eventual reveal of what is happening. Not helping matters is the awkward attempts at dialogue, particularly during the moments of exposition. Not a bad film, but I do hope Ishana Night Shyamalan delivers something more solid for her follow-up.

Touch of Evil (1958) - 4/5 - From the opening sequence, as a single-take shows a couple driving a car without knowing about the bomb planted in the trunk, Orson Welles tremendously crafts this feature work. As it explodes on the American side of a U.S./Mexico border, an investigation begins which leaves Mexican drug enforcement agent Miguel Vargas working alongside well-regarded American police captain Hank Quinlan. The investigation leaves Vargas suspicious of Quinlan, believing that the American captain is planting evidence to frame an innocent man. While some moments left my attention wavering, this is overall a gripping piece of film noir aided by some tremendous performances. Between the cast and the script, dimensions are given to characters who could've easily been one-note. A compelling work from a fascinating filmmakers like Welles.

Biggest Disappointment: The Exorcism (2024)

Robot Dreams (2023) - 4.5/5 - A melancholic look at friendships through charming animation.

Inside Out 2 (2024) - 3.5/5 - Following up 2015's masterful Inside Out must have been a daunting task, but Pixar eventually found a route with Riley's transition into being a teenager. As her outside life involves hockey camp and going to separate schools from her best friends, her inner workings are finding their work complicated with the arrival of new emotions. This is a messy sequel that feels lesser to its predecessor, particularly with how some plot decisions feeling notably similar to the first film, and the film not being helped by a few gags outstaying their welcome. Yet this isn't without merit, as the film utilises the messiness of emotions amidst puberty for emotional honesty that is rather impactful and true to life. It also helps how good the cast are, with Maya Hawke being a standout as Anxiety. A solid follow-up with enough of its own merits to work.

Hit Man (2024) - 4.5/5 - A charming and humorous take on an identity crisis.

Biggest Surprise: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)

We Will Find You (2023) - 3/5 - An engaging way to spend 20-minutes.

Yu☆Gi☆Oh! (1999) - 3/5 - Since Yu-Gi-Oh! Season 0 never made it to English territories dubbed, that meant many of us never experienced the show before it became fully about its card game. That includes this short film, which funnily enough focused on the card game. This follows another Yugi vs Kaiba battle, with Joey on-hand to offer support and beat up Kaiba's suited henchmen who manhandle teenagers. There is also Shōgo, a one-time character with a fabled card that is too afraid of failure to use it in a duel. He's a bit of a nothing character, but I can forgive him since he allows the Red Eyes Black Dragon to be given the spotlight in this film, a favourite of mine from the series. The short runtime is probably best considering it's essentially just about a single card game battle, but it does feel forgettable and outright ignores prominent characters from the series. At least the animated style works well.

Eddie The Eagle (2016) [rewatch] - 3.5/5 - A very by-the-numbers biopic which does little to veer from the expected trajectory, especially regarding the main character's troubled relationship with his disapproving father, and has some distracting uses of CG. Thank goodness for the effective cast, particularly Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman, who bring alive this work rather decently.

Something In The Water (2024) - 0.5/5 - The only thing in the water is this floater of a film.

Worst film of the month:
Something in the Water (2024)

The Hitch-Hiker (1953) - 4/5 - What a tense way to spend 71-minutes. Ida Lupino takes a viewers on a ride driven by two friends, whose trip to Mexico is interrupted by a gun-wielding murderer. What unfolds is a white-knuckled trip which leaves viewers constantly on edge, courtesy of the chilling antagonist whose ego and status loom large courtesy of his weapon. It is clear that he is nothing without the weapon, so compensates for it wherever possible within this compelling work.

Boy Kills World (2024) - 2.5/5 - Despite the fantastic fights, the film is dragged down by lacklustre gags.

Kinds of Kindness (2024) - 3.5/5 - If anybody has been yearning for Yorgos Lanthimos to return to his darker works prior to awards-friendly features like The Favourite and Poor Things, then his latest may be your speed. The latest is a compelling triptych of strange tales which are tonally closer to Dogtooth, with this dark assortment showcasing the talents of a fantastic cast, incuding the standout performer in Jesse Plemons. It is probably Yorgos' least-accessible film, and it is a mixed bag of short stories which end up running longer than necessary. Whether the story follows a businessman longing for his boss' adoration, a troubled husband unsure of whether his wife is who she says she is, or a woman finding comfort in a water-purist cult over a toxic marriage, this is another terrific work for one of today's most interesting filmmakers.

Gigli (2003) - 1/5 - What a truly strange misfire of a film. The last feature from director Martin Brest initially appears to be an interesting twist on a romantic set-up, with Jennifer Lopez giving a decent performance. The promise does not last, as the messy proceedings fall into disarray while misguided ideas pile-up, and Ben Affleck's awful performance truly weighs things down. It's certainly turkey time, gobble gobble.

Best film of the month: Knives Out (2019)
Best film seen in cinemas: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)
Best film watched for the first time: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966)
Best film rewatched: Knives Out (2019)
Biggest Disappointment: The Exorcism (2024)
Biggest Surprise: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
Worst film of the month: Something In The Water (2024)

Number of films watched: 25