Archive for the ‘movie reviews’ Category

h1

August 2021 – Every Movie I Watched

September 5, 2021

Movies – Reviews or ratings for every movie I watched in the month of August.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review:

  • Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two (2021) – 7/10
  • CODA (2021, Apple TV) – 8/10
  • Jungle Cruise (2021) – 4/10
  • The Green Knight (2021) – 7/10
  • The Suicide Squad (2021, HBO Max) – 6/10
  • Together, Together (2021, Hulu) – 6/10
  • The Father (2020, re-watch) – 8/10
  • Icarus (2017, Netflix) – 8/10
  • Apocalypto (2006, Prime) – 8/10
  • Croupier (1998, Netflix) – 6/10
  • The Fugitive (1993, HBO Max, re-watch) – 6/10
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991, Netflix) – 10/10
  • Police Story (1985, HBO Max) – 7/10

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through August
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through August 2021
2021 Best Documentaries/Docu-Series: My top documentary style films of the year
Focused Watchlist: A list of 30+ movies that are at the top of my watchlist with a breakdown of how I formulate my picks
September 2021 – New to Theaters and Streaming: Ranking new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming or theaters this month

I also went crazy and made a best films of the year list for every year from 2020 to 1982, the year I was born. I ranked 25 films for 2000 and later and 10 films for 1999 to 1982. I started fizzling out on my lists in the early 90s as I just haven’t seen most of the important films from those early years when I was a kid. I have all the lists on my blog here. Enjoy!

T.V. Shows (Ratings out of 5)

  • Dave season 2 (2021, Hulu/FX) – 3.5/5
  • Dr. Death (2021, Peacock)
  • The Outsider (2020, HBO Max) – 3/5

Currently watching:

  • Better Call Saul season 5 (2020, FX)
  • Big Shots season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Loki season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Rick & Morty season 5 (2021, Adult Swim)
  • The Sopranos season 1 (1999, HBO Max, re-watch)
  • Ted Lasso season 2 (2021, Apple TV+)

Music

None

h1

May – July 2021: Every Review I Wrote

August 3, 2021

Movies – As I said in my last movie post, writing has become one of my bottom priorities and here we are three months since I last made a movie post. Oh well, here are the reviews and/or ratings for every movie I’ve seen over that time. I’ve been going to the theaters at least once a week and Dina has even jumped back on the movie theater going experience as we’ve started taking our niece and nephew to a movie every other weekend. This has been a pleasant surprise as I’ve been seeing movies in theaters mostly by myself for years now. I still seem to be reviewing only about 33% of the movies I watch. The best movie I watched that I’ve never seen was Captain Fantastic. It was just a complete joy to watch. I think it is still streaming on Netflix and if you happened to miss it like I did, it’s time to make up for that mistake. Also, I think horror fans should check out the Fear Street trilogy on Netflix. It’s based on the kids book series by R.L. Stine (which I never read — I was a “Goosebumps” kid though), but it’s actually a pretty hard-R experience. I admittedly did not like the first movie, but I always had my eyes on the second one anyway because it looked like an homage to 1980s campsite slasher flicks and that horror sub-genre will always have a special place in my heart. Of course, I enjoyed that one, but I was surprised to also like the third movie and I think the last entry makes the whole trilogy substantially more enjoyable as a whole. It almost made me want to re-watch the first one.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review:

  • Allen v. Farrow (2021, HBO Max) – 7/10
  • Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One (2021, Prime Rental) – 6/10
  • Black Widow (2021, Theaters) – 6/10
  • Fear Street: 1978 (2021, Netflix) – 6/10
  • Fear Street: 1666 (2021, Netflix) – 6/10
  • Luca (2021, Disney+) – 7/10
  • Mitchells vs. The Machines, The (2021, Netflix) – 7/10
  • Palmer (2021, Apple TV+) – 7/10
  • Pig (2021, Theaters) – 8/10
  • Quiet Place Part II (2021, Theaters) – 8/10
  • Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021, Hulu) – 7/10
  • Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021, HBO Max) – 6/10
  • Zola (2021, Theaters) – 7/10
  • The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020, Netflix) – 6/10
  • Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017, Netflix) – 7/10
  • Captain Fantastic (2019, Netflix) – 9/10
  • Matchstick Men (2003, HBO Max) – 8/10
  • Hero (2002, HBO Max, re-watch) – 7/10
  • Audition (1999, tubi) – 7/10
  • The Fly (1986, re-watch) – 8/10
  • Stand by Me (1986, Hulu, re-watch) – 8/10

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through July
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through July 2021
2021 Best Documentaries/Docu-Series: My top documentary style films of the year
Focused Watchlist: A list of 30+ movies that are at the top of my watchlist with a breakdown of how I formulate my picks
August 2021 – New to Theaters and Streaming: Ranking new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming or theaters this month

I also went crazy and made a best films of the year list for every year from 2020 to 1982, the year I was born. I ranked 25 films for 2000 and later and 10 films for 1999 to 1982. I started fizzling out on my lists in the early 90s as I just haven’t seen most of the important films from those early years when I was a kid. I have all the lists on my blog here. Enjoy!

T.V. Shows (Ratings out of 5)

  • Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell (2021, Netflix) – 3.5
  • Bo Burnham: Inside (2021, Netflix) – 3.5
  • Friends: The Reunion (2021, HBO Max) – 3.5
  • Invincible season 1 (2020, Amazon Prime) – 3.5
  • Mare of Easttown (2021, HBO Max) – 4.5
  • Mighty Ducks: Game Changers season 1 (2021, Disney+) – 3
  • Schitt’s Creek season 6 (2020, Netflix) – 4

Currently watching:

  • Better Call Saul season 5 (2020, FX)
  • Big Shots season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Dave season 2 (2021, Hulu/FX)
  • Loki season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Rick & Morty season 5 (2021, Adult Swim)
  • The Sopranos season 1 (1999, HBO Max, re-watch)
  • Ted Lasso season 2 (2021, Apple TV+)

Music

h1

April 2021: Every Review I Wrote

May 8, 2021

Movies – My focus last month was to watch all the Oscar nominated shorts and the Oscar nominated feature films I wasn’t excited about. I did end up watching all the shorts, but after watching Over the Moon on Netflix, I decided I didn’t want to finish my Oscar watchlist. I’ll save that bucket list project for when I’m retired. Hell, I didn’t even win my damn Oscar pool, so what’s the point? I was pretty excited to get back to watching movies I actually want to see after the Oscars aired. I did not get my money’s worth from AMC A-List last month as I saw Godzilla vs. Kong in early April, streamed Mortal Kombat on HBOMax, and then cancelled my tickets to Raya and the Last Dragon multiple times. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the movie theaters don’t have early matinee showings and any movie I watch is going to cost me at least three hours of poker and with Raya streaming for free on Disney+ in June, I just haven’t had the desire to go see it. Another thing that has become pretty clear to me: writing is my absolute last priority. I’ve gone from writing thoughts on every movie I see to only doing so less than 33% of the time last month. Plus, I didn’t post a single album review for any music I listened to. Yikes. I have a hard enough time balancing work, study, mental and physical health, hobbies, and family time. Posting movie reviews just hasn’t fit in my schedule since I’ve been back to playing.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review (ratings out of 10):

  • Shiva Baby (2021, watched twice) – 8
  • Burrow (2020, re-watch) – 6
  • Colette (2020) – 6
  • Concerto is a Conversation, A (2020) – 6
  • Do Not Split (2020) – 6
  • Genius Loci (2020) – 4
  • Hunger Ward (2020) – 5
  • If Anything Happens I Love You (2020, re-watch) – 8
  • The Kid Detective (2020) – 7
  • The Letter Room (2020) – 6
  • Love Song for Latasha, A (2020, re-watch) – 7
  • The Man Who Sold His Skin (2020) – 6
  • Opera (2020) – 8
  • The Present (2020) – 8
  • Two Distant Strangers (2020) – 5
  • Yes-People (2020) – 4
  • Feeling Through (2019) – 7
  • White Eye (2019) – 7
  • The Lost Boys (1987) – 7
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986, re-watch) – 7
  • Clue (1985) – 7
  • Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985, re-watch) – 3

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through April
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through April
2020 Best Documentaries/Docu-Series: My top documentary style films of the year
Focused Watchlist: A list of 30 movies that are at the top of my watchlist with a breakdown of how I formulate my picks
May 2021 – New to Theaters and Streaming: Ranking new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming or theaters this month

I also went crazy and made a best films of the year list for every year from 2020 to 1982, the year I was born. I ranked 25 films for 2000 and later and 10 films for 1999 to 1982. I started fizzling out on my lists in the early 90s as I just haven’t seen most of the important films from those early years when I was a kid. I have all the lists on my blog here. Enjoy!

T.V. Shows (Ratings out of 5)

  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier season 1 (2021, Disney+) – 3.5

Currently watching:

  • Schitt’s Creek season 6
  • Invincible season 1
  • The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers season 1

Music

None!

h1

2021 Oscar Predictions

April 24, 2021

I thought I was going to complete a bucket list project and watch every single film and short that was nominated for an Oscar this year. I basically went an entire year without being able to do my job, so it left me way more time to watch movies than I usually have. I kicked things into high gear starting in December and cranked out like 25-30 movies a month, but by the middle of April, I still had a handful of films I needed to watch and I wasn’t excited about any of them and poker and baseball started to dominate my time. On the eve of Oscar night, there are six films that were nominated that I haven’t seen. I did watch every international feature, documentary, and short though and that’s something I’ve definitely never done before. Below are my rankings and predictions for every category. I didn’t listen to any of the songs, so I left that category out and despite having a family member that works as an editor on big Hollywood movies Film Editing is the category I understand the least, so I left that off too. Enjoy!

Best Picture

  1. Promising Young Woman
  2. Minari
  3. Sound of Metal
  4. Nomadland
  5. The Father
  6. Judas and the Black Messiah
  7. The Trial of the Chicago 7
  8. Mank

Biggest Snub: Considering they can nominate as many as ten films for Best Pic, I think it’s crazy Soul didn’t a nomination. It was my third favorite movie of 2020 and such a feel good film, I can’t believe it’s not here. Also, I think it’s kind of strange that Thomas Vinterberg got a Best Director nomination but his Another Round didn’t get a Best Pic nom.

Prediction: I would be rather shocked if something other than Minari or Nomadland won. I think Nomadland is going to win, but Minari was a more enjoyable movie to me.

Best Actor

  1. Anthony Hopkins, The Father
  2. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  3. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
  4. Gary Oldman, Mank
  5. Steven Yeun, Minari

Biggest Snub: Delroy Lindo was so good in Da 5 Bloods that I thought he might have a decent chance at winning and he’s not even nominated. I’d rank him third on that list above.

Prediction: Chadwick Boseman has all the buzz and momentum, but Anthony Hopkins gave the performance of the year in The Father. While a posthumous Oscar would be really cool for Chadwick and his family — and he would be a deserving pick — I still think Sir Anthony gave a better performance.

Best Actress

  1. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
  2. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
  3. Frances McDormand, Nomadland
  4. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Haven’t seen: Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Biggest Snub: There were a lot of really good performances from lead actresses last year, but I think the Academy mostly got it right. I thought Rosamund Pike absolutely made I Care A Lot and Zendaya really leveled up in Malcolm & Marie, but I’m not overly shocked neither of them are here.

Prediction: I believe Viola Davis is the favorite, but I think that’s ludicrous. Her screen time is rather limited and it’s not like she was Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs good. I’m rooting hard for Carey Mulligan here. She deserves it.

Best Director

  1. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
  2. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
  3. Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
  4. David Fincher, Mank
  5. Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

Biggest Snub: I’ll say Shaka King because his movie got a Best Pic nom while Thomas Vinterberg’s movie did not.

Prediction: It would be a massive upset if anyone other than Chloe Zhao won.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
  2. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
  3. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  4. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
  5. Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Biggest Snub: It’s probably unfair that Lakeith Stanfield is eligible for this category. He was a lead actor in that movie (and so was Kaluuya probably). So he’s stealing someone’s spot and I’d suggest that someone should be Frank Langella in The Trial of the Chicago 7. He had me laughing that whole damn movie.

Prediction: This category is loaded, but Daniel Kaluuya has been sweeping awards season. Lock it up.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
  2. Amanda Seyfried, Mank
  3. Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  4. Olivia Colman, The Father

Haven’t seen: Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Biggest Snub: No one really stands out, but Dominque Fishback in Judas and the Black Messiah is probably the best performance that didn’t get nominated.

Prediction: This category is loaded too. I wouldn’t be mad if any of the top four won, but my favorite performance of the bunch was definitely Yuh-Jung Youn. Anyone that can make you laugh consistently while speaking a language you don’t understand is doing something special. I think she has stolen the momentum away from Seyfried, whom I used to think was a lock.

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Promising Young Woman
  2. Minari
  3. The Trial of the Chicago 7
  4. Judas and the Black Messiah
  5. Sound of Metal

Biggest Snub: Considering how wildly imaginative Soul was, it is crazy that it got snubbed.

Prediction: Sorkin is probably going to win for Chicago 7, but I think Emerald Fennell and Promising Young Woman are drawing live.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. The Father
  2. Nomadland
  3. One Night in Miami…
  4. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  5. The White Tiger

Biggest Snub: Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things was complete insanity. I’m not sure I liked the movie, but he unquestionably writes on a level that mere mortals are not capable of.

Prediction: Anthony Hopkins is legendary in The Father but Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton gave him plenty to work with in a brilliant script. I don’t think the script is the best aspect of Nomadland but I actually think it might be the favorite in this category as well.

Best Animated Feature

  1. Soul
  2. Wolfwalkers
  3. Onward
  4. Over The Moon

Haven’t seen: A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Biggest Snub: I’ve actually only seen the nominated films. I loved the first Croods movie so I’m a little surprised that its sequel got beat out by Over The Moon and Shaun The Sheep.

Prediction: Wolfwalkers was great, but Soul should have been a Best Pic nom and will win here easily.

Best Documentary Feature

  1. My Octopus Teacher
  2. Time
  3. Collective
  4. Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
  5. The Mole Agent

Biggest Snubs: Dick Johnson is Dead and Boys State feel like massive snubs. They’d both crack my top 5 easily.

Prediction: My Octopus Teacher blew my mind because its subject is so amazing and I think it’s unbelievably cool that they were able to catch that relationship between man and sea creature on film but… Collective and Time are far more poignant — one of those two are almost certainly going to win and I’ll say Time takes home the Oscar.

Best International Feature

  1. Another Round
  2. Quo Vadis, Aida?
  3. Collective
  4. Better Days
  5. The Man Who Sold His Skin

Biggest Snub: There’s a Korean thriller I saw on Netflix named The Call. I loved it, but it has gotten basically zero attention anywhere that I’ve seen.

Prediction: Another Round feels like a lock, especially with that Best Director nomination, but Quo Vadis, Aida? was a great movie and should give the Danish submission a run for its money.

Best Cinematography

  1. Nomadland
  2. Mank
  3. Judas and the Black Messiah
  4. News of the World
  5. The Trial of the Chicago 7

Biggest Snub: I don’t think I really liked Tenet much, but it was cool to look at, that’s for sure. Same with I’m Thinking of Ending Things.

Prediction: Nomadland is a virtual lock.

Best Production Design

  1. Mank
  2. News of the World
  3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  4. Tenet
  5. The Father

Biggest Snub: First Cow probably deserved an Oscar nomination for something and it’s production design was definitely great.

Prediction: Mank feels pretty safe here.

Best Costume Design

  1. Emma
  2. Mank
  3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  4. Mulan

Haven’t seen: Pinocchio

Biggest Snub: Probably something I haven’t seen, but the guys in One Night in Miami… were looking pretty sharp.

Prediction: Wide open between the top 3, so I’ll go with my #1 in Emma.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  2. Emma.
  3. Mank

Haven’t Seen: Hillbilly Elegy, Pinocchio

Biggest Snub: I can’t say I was a fan of Birds of Prey, but this is something it definitely did well.

Prediction: Well, I didn’t watch 40% of the nominees, but Ma Rainey seems to be a big favoite here.

Best Visual Effects

  1. Tenet
  2. The Midnight Sky
  3. Love and Monsters
  4. Mulan

Haven’t seen: The One and Only Ivan

Prediction: I was pretty mixed on Tenet but the visual effects were A+. This should be an easy win.

Best Original Score

  1. Soul
  2. Mank
  3. Minari
  4. News of the World
  5. Da 5 Bloods

Biggest Snub: I liked the score for Nomadland enough to add the soundtrack to my library on Apple Music and use it for background noise while I meditate… so… I definitely thought it would crack Oscar’s top 5.

Prediction: Soul

Best Sound

  1. Sound of Metal
  2. Soul
  3. News of the World
  4. Mank

Haven’t seen: Greyhound

Biggest Snub: Definitely NOT Tenet.

Prediction: Sound of Metal not winning this category would be insanity.

Best Live Action Short

  1. The Present
  2. White Eye
  3. Feeling Through
  4. The Letter Room
  5. Two Distant Strangers

Biggest Snub: Only saw these five.

Prediction: Before watching these, I thought The Letter Room probably had the best chance simply because Oscar Isaac was the star and it had some buzz, but as you can see above, it was far from my favorite of the noms. I think they were all pretty good and as much as I’d like to see Joey Bada$$ be part of an Oscar win (for Two Distant Strangers), The Present and White Eye are a notch above the competition here.

Best Documentary Short

  1. A Love Song for Latasha
  2. A Concerto is a Conversation
  3. Colette
  4. Do Not Split
  5. Hunger Ward

Biggest Snub: I only saw one other documentary short and I’m fine with its lack of inclusion.

Prediction: This is the first time I’ve seen all five nominees in a shorts category and, honestly, I still have no clue. The only one of these I didn’t thoroughly enjoy was Hunger Ward (and it’s not like that didn’t cover heartbreaking ground). Prior to watching these, I was under the impression that A Concerto was the favorite, but I’ll be rooting for Latasha.

Best Animated Short

  1. If Anything Happens I Love You
  2. Opera
  3. Burrow
  4. Genius Loci
  5. Yes-People

Prediction: I didn’t even enjoy the bottom two on the list and Burrow is at least one full notch below the top two. The visual of Opera was absolutely epic, but If Anything Happens I Love You is the most touching of this lot by a wide margin, plus it’s animation and music are high quality as well. Probably an easy win.

h1

March 2021: Every Review I Wrote

April 4, 2021

Movies – I got back to “normal” life during the last week of March, re-activating my AMC A-list membership and returning to the movie theaters. I also got back to doing my day job: playing poker. I still watched an absurd amount of movies in March, but with getting back to the poker grind last week and doing all my fantasy baseball drafts (five of them!) the week before that, I didn’t review most of the movies I watched. I’m guess that’s how it will be going forward. I’ll probably still watch 2-4 movies a week, but I won’t have much time to write about them. If I wind up reviewing a movie that I haven’t yet, I’ll just post the link in next month’s post like this. I’ll say this much: Anthony Hopkins in The Father is my favorite performance of 2020.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review (ratings out of 10):

  • Nobody (2021) – 7/10
  • The White Tiger (Netflix, 2021) – Nominated for Best Original Screenplay – 7/10
  • What Would Sophia Loren Do? (Netflix, 2021) – On shortlist for Best Documentary Short Subject – 6/10
  • Better Days (2020) – Nominated for Best International Feature – 7/10
  • A Love Song for Latasha (Netflix, 2020) – Nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject – 6/10
  • If Anything Happens I Love You (Netflix, 2020) – Nominated for Best Animated Short – 8/10
  • News of the World (2020) – Nominated for 4 Oscars – 6/10
  • Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020) – Nominated for Best International Feature – 8/10
  • The Father (2020) – Nominated for 6 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay – 8/10
  • The Midnight Sky (Netflix, 2020) – Nominated for Best Visual Effects – 5/10
  • To: Gerard (Peacock, 2020) – On the shortlist for Best Animated Short – 6/10
  • Just Mercy (2019) – 8/10
  • Phantasm 2 (1988) – 6/10
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) – 6/10
  • Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982) – 5/10
  • Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) – 6/10
  • Friday the 13th (1980) – 7/10

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through March
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through March
2020 Best Documentaries/Docu-Series: My top documentary style films of the year
2020/2021 Oscar Watch: My list of favorites for the major Oscar categories
Focused Watchlist: A list of 30 movies that are at the top of my watchlist with a breakdown of how I formulate my picks
April 2021 – New to Theaters and Streaming: Ranking new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming or theaters this month

I also went crazy and made a best films of the year list for every year from 2020 to 1982, the year I was born. I ranked 25 films for 2000 and later and 10 films for 1999 to 1982. I started fizzling out on my lists in the early 90s as I just haven’t seen most of the important films from those early years when I was a kid. I have all the lists on my blog here. Enjoy!

T.V. Shows (Ratings out of 5)

  • WandaVision – Season 1 (2021) – Disney+ – 2.5
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 2 (2016) – Netflix – 4.5
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 3 (2017) – Netflix – 4
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 4 (2018) – Netflix – 4.5
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 5 (2019) – Netflix – 4.5

Music

h1

February 2021: Every Review I Wrote

March 1, 2021

Movies – I went crazy again in February and watched a movie almost every day. I will probably do something similar in March, but by the start of April, I will be fully vaxxed and cleared for takeoff (back to my day job of playing poker) and my days of watching 25 movies a month will be coming to an end. Still, I have the expectation that I can watch every feature film, documentary, and international film that gets an Oscar nomination before the Oscars air in late April and that’s something I’ve never done before.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review:

  • Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020) – 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)
  • Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (2011) – did not rate cause I had a hard time following it
  • In the Mood for Love (2000) – 8/10 (Great/Must See)
  • Re-Animator (1985) – 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through February
2020 Best Documentaries/Docu-Series: My top documentary style films of the year
2020/2021 Oscar Watch: My list of favorites for the major Oscar categories
Focused Watchlist: A list of 30 movies that are at the top of my watchlist with a breakdown of how I formulate my picks
March 2021 – New to Streaming Ranking of new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming this month

I also went crazy and made a best films of the year list for every year from 2020 to 1982, the year I was born. I ranked 25 films for 2000 and later and 10 films for 1999 to 1982. I started fizzling out on my lists in the early 90s as I just haven’t seen most of the important films from those early years when I was a kid. I have all the lists on my blog here. Enjoy!

T.V. Shows

  • Succession – Season 2 (2019) – HBO Max – 5/5
  • Succession – Season 1 (2018) – HBO Max – 5/5
  • Pen15 – Season 2 (2020) – Hulu – 3/5
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 1 (2015) – Netflix – 4/5

Music

h1

January 2021: All My Movie/T.V. Show/Album Reviews for the Month

February 1, 2021

Movies – I went kind of crazy this past month and watched a movie almost every day. I continued to put a dent in my 2020 watchlist and when I wasn’t watching new releases I was catching up on some horror movies I’ve missed over the years or wanted to re-watch. I post these reviews on Letterboxd and Facebook/Twitter as I write them, but I figure I should make a post at the end of each month with links to all the reviews I posted. Somehow, I watched 50 movies over the past two months and none of them were directed by Martin Scorsese, the director I’ve been focusing on over the past year. Ah well. I’ll be looking to correct that in February.

2020/2021 Oscar Watch: My list of favorites for the major Oscar categories
2021 Releases Watchlist: Ranking of 2021 releases I want to see including January, February, and Sundance releases
2020 Releases Watchlist: Ranking of 2020 releases I still want to see
February 2021 – New to Streaming Watchlist: Ranking of new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming this month

T.V. Shows – I completely revamped my T.V. rating page. I have also sorted all the shows by season and the year their first episode aired.

  • Cobra Kai – Season 3 (2021) – 3
  • The Crown – Season 4 (2020) – 4
  • Harley Quinn – Season 2 (2020) – 3.5
  • The Mandolorian – Season 2 (2020) – 4.5
  • Stargirl – Season 1 (2020) – 3
  • What We Do in the Shadows – Season 2 (2020) – 4
  • Pen15 – Season 1 (2019) – 4

Music – I didn’t review much music this past month, but I’ve been rating songs in my Brand New playlist all month, so I should have more albums to talk about next month even though (as you will see) January was a slow month for new music.

h1

Some Fun 2020 Movie Stats

January 19, 2021

I started using Letterboxd early last year and one of the cool features on the app is that it tracks all sorts of stats about your movie watching. I’m a stat guy, so I love it and when I asked my Facebook friends to guess the 20 actors and 20 directors I’ve seen the most movies from, a ton of people participated and seemed to enjoy it.

2020 Stats

Films watched: 147
Average per month: 12.2
Average per week: 2.8
Most watched (twice): The Queen’s Gambit (limited series count, I guess) and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (Theatrical version and Producer’s Cut)
Top 5 genres: Drama, Thriller, Comedy, Horror, Action
2020 movies: 26.5%
Older movies: 73.5%
First time watches: 67.3%
Re-watches: 32.7%

Most Watched Stars

  1. Robert Englund (11 films)
  2. Heather Langenkamp (6)
  3. Harry Northup (6)
  4. Robert Shaye (5)
  5. Danielle Harris (5)
  6. Robert De Niro (4)
  7. Clu Gulager (4)
  8. Wes Craven (4)
  9. John Heard (4)
  10. Margot Robbie (4)
  11. Harvey Keitel (4)
  12. Lisa Wilcox (4)
  13. Victor Argo (4)
  14. Parry Shen (4)
  15. Murray Moston (4)
  16. Kelvin Harrison Jr. (4)

Notes: Any guesses which franchises I revisited last year?

Most Watched Directors

  1. Martin Scorsese (9 films)
  2. Wes Craven (2)
  3. John McTiernan (2)
  4. Liz Garbus (2)
  5. Daniel Farrands (2)
  6. Adam Green (2)
  7. Renny Harlin (2)
  8. Chris Columbus (2)
  9. Bong Joon-ho (2)
  10. Taika Waititi (2)
  11. Paul Verhoeven (2)

Lifetime Most Watched Stars

  1. Samuel L. Jackson (40 films) [previously ranked 1]
  2. Robert De Niro (33) [5]
  3. Brad Pitt (33) [2]
  4. John Goodman (32) [8]
  5. Tom Hanks (31) [5]
  6. Matt Damon (30) [5]
  7. Bruce Willis (30) [4]
  8. Morgan Freeman (29) [3]
  9. Johnny Depp (27) [12]
  10. Woody Harrelson (27) [12]
  11. Jack Black (27) [12]
  12. Jonah Hill (26) [8]
  13. Bill Murray (25) [unranked]
  14. Arnold Schwarzenegger (25) [20]
  15. Ben Affleck (25) [unranked]
  16. Tom Cruise (25) [10]
  17. Robert Downey Jr. (25) [12]
  18. J.K. Simmons (25) [12]
  19. Laurence Fishburne (24) [unranked]
  20. Jon Favreau (24) [unranked]

Dropped out: Scarlett Johansson (11), Brian Cox (12), Willem Dafoe (12), John Ratzenberger (12)

Notes: I posted my original list back in late March 2020 and since then I’ve gone through and realized I’ve seen some movies I hadn’t marked as watched, so most of the movement here is because of that. De Niro is the only actor on my 2020 list that is also on my all-time list and he moved all the way up to the #2. Also, there could be 15 actors tied with 24 movies watched, but we will never know how long that list extends because it only shows 20 names at a time.

Lifetime Most Watched Directors

  1. Steven Spielberg (21 films) [previously ranked 1]
  2. Martin Scorsese (19) [2]
  3. Tim Burton (14) [3]
  4. Ridley Scott (13) [4]
  5. Sam Raimi (12) [5]
  6. Ron Howard (12) [5]
  7. Quentin Tarantino (12) [7]
  8. Ivan Reitman (11) [9]
  9. David Fincher (11) [9]
  10. Christopher Nolan (11) [9]
  11. Joel Coen (11) [7]
  12. Michael Bay (10) [9]
  13. Robert Rodriguez (10) [9]
  14. Steven Soderbergh (10) [14]
  15. Jon Turteltaub (9) [18]
  16. Stephen Herek (9) [Unranked]
  17. Wes Craven (9) [18]
  18. Peter Farrelly (9) [Unranked]
  19. Jay Roach (9) [Unranked]
  20. James Mangold (9) [14]
  21. Robert Zemeckis [14]
  22. Richard Donner [14]

Dropped out: Richard Linklater, Lauren Montgomery, F. Gary Gray, Peter Jackson, Harold Ramis, Brian de Palma, Todd Phillips [all tied at 18th]

Note: No major movement here. Scorsese and Wes Craven were the only filmmakers I purposefully watched multiple films from in 2020.

h1

Movies – December 2020

January 3, 2021

I don’t think I will be posting movie reviews on my blog much longer. At least not in my traditional manner. It just seems silly to copy and paste everything from Letterboxd. It’s a lot of wasted time and energy. I’m not really sure how best to combine my blog and Letterboxd, but this ain’t it. I went crazy in December, watching easily the most movies of any month of the year and really started checking some movies off my 2020 watchlist.

https://boxd.it/5jdaM – Best Feature Films of 2020 (ongoing list)
https://boxd.it/aHeHg – Best Documentaries & Docu-Series of 2020 (ongoing list)
https://boxd.it/armXY – 2020 Movies I Haven’t Seen (ranked by interest level)
https://boxd.it/5FLKe – Movies new to streaming in January 2021 (ranked by interest level)

Mulan (2020, Disney+) I’m shocked at how poorly this is doing with general audiences because I thought it was enjoyable and I’m a harsher critic than most. I watched the animated version sometime in the last few years, but it’s been long enough that I already forgot most of it again. I know there’s a talking creature that accompanies Mulan in the original and I don’t think the witch character was in that version either, but other than that, I couldn’t cite too many differences. As such, it’s hard for me to compare the two and say that the live action one didn’t live up to my expectations – I didn’t really have any. I thought Liu Yifei did a fine job in the lead role and it was cool seeing Gong Li as the witch. I liked the addition of that character and thought it gave some added weight to the story even if it wasn’t all that well fleshed out. I wouldn’t go as far as to say this a good movie, and I suppose it could have been a lot better, but I wasn’t overly disappointed with it either. 5/10 (Decent)

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge (2020, rental) Shockingly gruesome and plenty of fun. I’m surprised the MK franchise doesn’t have loads of these kinds of animated movies already. Definitely worth a watch for fans of Mortal Kombat. I’d be happy to see more of these kinds of MK films. 6/10 (Recommended)

Die Hard: With A Vengeance (1995, HBOMax, re-watch) Finally, our New York City cop gets a New York City movie! This is the best of the Die Hard sequels (and the last good one) by a long shot and Samuel L. Jackson is a welcome addition – he has great chemistry with Bruce Willis. The initial scene they have together is unforgettable and will always be a classic. Jeremy Irons makes for a good villain and I like that his motives tie back to the first movie (somewhat). The use of the “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” music (possibly better recognized as “the ants go marching one by one?”) for such an extensive sequence is equal parts insane and awesome. This is always a fun 90s action movie to revisit. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Citizen Kane (1941, HBOMax, re-watch) Many think this is the best movie ever made. I’m not one of them. I don’t even love it. I’m sure it was a technical marvel for the time it was made, but that was 40 years before I was born and I just haven’t seen enough movies from that era for me to say that it stands heads and shoulders above its peers. That said, I did enjoy Citizen Kane. This is my second viewing and I think I liked it more this time around. Orson Welles is great, the music is great, and the story and search for the meaning of Rosebud is fun. Perhaps I’m a bit uncultured, but I feel this is a very good but not great movie. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Mank (2020, Netflix) There’s a lot to like about this movie. It has a wonderful 1930s/1940s aesthetic to it and the music is great. There’s plenty of top notch acting, especially from Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, the latter of whom gives easily the best performance of her career (the guy that played Orson Welles was not great though and his final scene was borderline cringe). Herman Mankiewicz was quite the character. But at the same time, this movie just wasn’t overly interesting to me. I didn’t really understand why he wrote Citizen Kane about William Randolph Hearst and all the politics involved were over my head. Mank is technically great, but the movie as a whole isn’t all that entertaining.  6/10 (Recommended)

Elf (2020, Netflix, re-watch) Can’t go wrong with this Christmas classic. This was more of a background watch than a dedicated one, but I kept finding myself wanting to tune in rather than focus on the board game we were playing, so that says a lot about Elf’s enjoyability. Always a good one to revisit in December! 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Johnny Tsunami (1999, Disney+) I was only loosely watching this while my wife had it on. I can’t say it was all that interesting, but it had its charm and wasn’t unwatchable.  4/10 (Meh)

Sinister (2012, personal collection, re-watch) A hidden gem. This movie was truly thrilling and actually quite scary. I kind of loved it. This is a must watch for fans of horror. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Freaky (2020, rental) I was pretty eager to watch this because it looked fun. Sure, the concept is not even remotely original, but I’m not sure it’s ever been used for a horror-type film. I was totally expecting a PG-13 movie, so I was pretty shocked by the gore in the opening sequence – it’s incredibly over-the-top and bloody. Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton both give fun performances, but I would have liked to see more screen time of Newton as the killer. Director Christopher Landon seems to be making a niche of taking popular story gimmicks and applying them to horror movies. Happy Death Day spawned a franchise and I wouldn’t be shocked if this does also. I’d be there to watch it. 6/10 (Recommended)

Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020, HBOMax) This movie is probably going to pop up on a lot of top 10 lists for 2020, but it’s worth noting the wide discrepancy between critical and general audience receptions: Rotten Tomatoes has the critic score at 99% favorable while the audience score is 20% favorable. I’m not too surprised by that. I wouldn’t call this movie riveting. The story follows a young pregnant girl in her quest to get an abortion without her parents find out about it, which proves to be quite the challenge considering she is underage in her home state. So yeah, I can see why some audiences are turned off. Imagine someone that is pro-life thinking this is a good movie. I’m sure there are people in that camp that are trashing this without even watching it. Secondly – and this is a stereotypical assumption – but I wouldn’t expect males to be overly interested in this one. Personally though, I enjoyed it. It’s a brutal psychological and emotional journey and Sidney Flanigan is really, really good in it. Some questions here go unanswered and we are left to fill in the blanks, but this movie still made me feel something so even though I didn’t think it was overly entertaining, it was still powerful. 6/10 (Recommended)

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020, documentary, Netflix) I was expecting a biography type documentary and while we get some glimpses into Attenborough’s life, this is more about his quest to urge people to understand global warming and save our planet for future generations.  It does have plenty of amazing visuals of animals and jaw-dropping scenery of various landscapes.  I actually did learn a lot watching this and it was good, even if it wasn’t what I was hoping for. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Shocker (1989, HBOMax) I put this on my list after listening to Wes Craven’s biography on Audible because it sounded interesting and I’m a fan of most of the horror pics I’ve seen from him. This sucked though. It was so cringy and you can tell Craven was trying really hard to recreate the magic of his Nightmare on Elm Street series. It just didn’t work for me at all. The fact that Craven uses dreams as a main plot point again is weird and the villain was just kind of lame. I may have liked this if I saw it as a kid when it initially came out, but seeing it for the first time as an adult, I thought it was pretty stupid. 3/10 (Bad)

Home Alone (1990, Disney+, re-watch) The most amazing thing about Home Alone is that I’ve probably seen it more than any other movie in my lifetime and yet, I still enjoy it. Even as I enter my late 30s I still don’t mind watching it every single year around Christmas time. This movie is full of plot holes, nonsense, and unbelievably dumb characters, but I still love it and it’s charm is undeniable. A true classic, even if it isn’t exactly a great film. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020, Amazon Prime) Not as good as the first Borat movie, but it still made me LOL many times and that’s saying something. The girl that plays Borat’s daughter did an excellent job, especially considering how brutal some of her scenes were. Speaking of which, I could have done without the daddy/daughter dance scene. Sometimes Sacha Baron Cohen takes things a bit too far and that would be a good example. I really like the whole premise of Cohen playing his characters and getting real time and authentic reactions from unknowing victims. I wonder about how this particular film was created. It seems like Cohen set out to make this thing before the Coronavirus pandemic started (as evidenced by him interrupting the speech in which Mike Pence says the U.S. has had 15 total cases of the virus) but by the end of the film, Covid dominates the narrative. So… what movie was he planning to make before the virus took over? If you liked the first Borat, this is definitely a must watch. Personally, I found it to be wildly entertaining, especially the first half. Strong recommendation. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Love & Monsters (2020, RedBox) This was an enjoyable and easy watch. I know it’s not meant to be a deep-thinker, but I couldn’t help but wonder how the mutated monsters wiped out humanity – with all of our advanced weaponry, transport, and military numbers – when they seem to be rather scarce once the story moves to the surface. You’d expect their presence to be overwhelming, but we only see a handful of monsters the entire movie and they are always seen attacking as a solo act. So… how exactly did humankind fall to these things? Our hapless and untrained hero also continuously takes them out with a homemade crossbow, so I was having a hard time believing the entire premise of the movie. Ignoring that though, I thought the cast was cool and the monsters were creative and looked pretty good. This is a solid family flick that was quite fun even though it’s pretty damn silly and gets a light recommendation from me. 6/10 (Recommended)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992, Disney+, re-watch) I can’t blame anyone involved for making this, but it’s basically just a retread of the first film set in New York City under even more unbelievable circumstances. I guess it’s still kind of fun, but it doesn’t come close to capturing the magic of the original. 5/10 (Decent)

On The Rocks (2020, AppleTV+) Bill Murray is pretty great and I like Rashida Jones but I’m not sure she’s all that interesting as an actress.  This movie was good enough but I think the narrative is kind of manipulative and that ended up bothering me by the end of the film.  I walked away pretty unsatisfied.   5/10 (Decent)

Wolfwalkers (2020, AppleTV+) Wonderfully animated, unique and plenty impactful.  The voice acting is stellar and the mystical story about the relationship between man and wolf is top notch.  Robyn is a great character – one of the better heroines of the last few years.  I was tempted to label this a Must Watch and I wouldn’t blame anyone for doing so, but it fell just a bit short for that lofty level for me.   7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Soul (2020, Disney+) Absolutely loved it.  This hit me in the feels.  Typical elite Pixar that is wildly creative and tells an emotionally moving story.  The animation of the “on earth” scenes is incredible.  The voice acting from Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey is good.  The music is great.  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross hit another homerun.  Those dudes don’t miss.  This is a legit great film.  My second Must Watch of 2020.   8/10 (Great/Must See)

Beastie Boys Story (2020, documentary, AppleTV+) I was never a huge Beastie Boys fan but I did like their popular songs.  They peaked before I really got into music and Hello Nasty in 1998 was the first and only Beastie Boys I bought when it came out.  Unfortunately, I’ve never really gone back and dug into their discog but I still appreciate their place in music history and something like this is right up my alley.  It was cool to see how the group came together and found success in a genre that had didn’t really have any white artists.  It’s kind of strange how seamlessly they seem to have blended in to the early hip-hop scene considering how groundbreaking it felt when Eminem broke through over a decade later.  Ad Rock and Mike D share their story on stage with a live audience and a video background.  This is not your typical documentary, but definitely a must watch for any Beasties fan and a worthwhile watch for fans of music history.   6/10 (Recommended)

Boys State (2020, documentary, AppleTV+) This is a documentary about an annual event in Texas where hundreds of high school age kids get together and form a government from the ground up, making policies and voting on officials to represent one of their two parties. I’m not even remotely interested in the politics of our country, but I did get completely invested in the stories of the various kids the film crew decided to focus on. This has been receiving high praise for good reason. Even if a politically ignorant/uninvested person such as myself found it to be an absolute delight.   8/10 (Great/Must See)

h1

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

December 26, 2020

Director: Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman, Monster)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal

Anticipation Level: Very High

How Was It?

Ugh.  I was really excited for this and it was such a slog.  How are you going to make a Wonder Woman sequel and have Gal Gadot in costume for maybe five minutes in the first hour and 45 minutes?  The narrative moves at a crawl and that’s not how I want my action flicks, especially if the exposition and character development isn’t particularly riveting.  Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah was fine (well, until the final act), but I did not enjoy Pedro Pascal at all.  He’s great in The Mandalorian but his performance as Max Lord here was just hard to watch… and not in a good way.  There were some charming and funny moments (mostly between Gadot and Chris Pine) and the conclusion of the movie was dangerously close to being touching, but I’m struggling to find the positives.  This movie was way too long and bored me for most of its run time.  I’m super disappointed.  I honestly can’t imagine watching this again.  My score below is probably generous.

Replay Value: Very little

Sequel Potential: They had a winning formula going here and I can’t imagine they’d replace Gal Gadot, but this movie was a huge step back. I assume they will keep moving forward with Gadot as Wonder Woman, but DC has plans to shake everything up in the near future.

Oscar Potential: None.

4/10 (Subpar)