Well we’re certainly in the midst of the summer movie season now. Here’s this month’s update of the films I watched both in theaters plus at home.
Best Movie Watched This Month:
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Growing up, Tarantino became one of the early influences in how I wrote and watched film. His previous films, especially the Reservoir Dogs thru Jackie Brown era are near and dear. As with most enduring filmmakers, Tarantino’s style and writing gradually evolved until he eventually hit us with this movie. It’s not the classic revenge or heist flick that he set as his foundation in his early years but something so much more matured, like a wine that’s been chilling for 20+ years. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are fantastic as is Margot Robbie in her supporting role as Sharon Tate and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Oscar nominations in the near future. [Full Review here]
A Close Second:
I had debated about whether or not to watch this film in theaters or wait a few months to stream it. In the end, Lily Collins won me over. She has been fantastic in almost everything post-Cinderella and this film was no exception. The only thing that kept me from making it the best movie I saw this month was the final half hour or so which felt a bit clunky. I did appreciate Danny Boyle’s direction and the music of course was fantastic. Himesh Patel gives a great performance as well and his chemistry with Collins is excellent. For all the good, Kate McKinnon felt miscast in this film. Her comedy works when we’re rooting for her, not against her and that made all her one-liners just a touch less funnier. [Full Review here]
Other Notable Films:
I Am Mother
When it comes to Netflix, there are certainly a lot more misses than hits. They seem to have the same discretion of a 3-year-old in a playpen when choosing which movies to distribute over their streaming service. But every once in a while a film rises up above the muck and I Am Mother is one of those movies. Granted it’s a slow start but the back half of the film unfolds at a thrilling pace with a fantastically tense third act. Clara Rugaard is the glue that holds this movie together with a masterful performance. Expect to see her in more big budget projects in the near future. [Full Review here]
Chloe Grace Moretz (or CGM as I call her) is just one of those actors in my book that seems like they can do no wrong. This film released internationally and on the festival circuit last year before sneaking through a brief theatrical release in the spring. It was so brief that I forgot that it had even made it to the big screen in the States. Here we have the classic double-identity thriller co-starring a perfectly subtle yet unstable Isabelle Huppert. The direction and pacing is perfect and there’s just enough unease to make you think that CGM won’t survive the end of the film. Definitely recommend streaming this! [Full Review here]
Worst Movie Watched This Month:
One Cut of the Dead Spin-off: In Hollywood
The only real good thing I can say about this sequel is that it’s very short. Clocking in at just over an hour, this is a follow-up sequel to the excellent 2017 zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead that took the festival circuit and Japanese cinema by storm. What felt fresh and exciting in the first film is repeated here but with far less entertaining results. The acting is terrible, the story is redundant and forced and none of the jokes land. Yuzuki Akiyama who starred in the first film takes a much smaller supporting role here in favor or Mao, who was a supporting actor in the first film. Her acting, along with franchise lead Takayuki Hamatsu is fine — it’s just everything else surrounding them is darn near unwatchable. Here’s hoping that if this becomes a trilogy that Akiyama is back in the lead and director Shinichiro Ueda is back behind the camera with something fresh. [Full Review here]
Check out the rest of the movies watched in July including The Lion King, The Great Hack, Triple Threat, and more!
And while you’re there, check out the constantly updated Complete Ranking of 2019 Movies.