Monthly Recap: August 2019

They say time flies when you're busy but I didn't do much in August other than working and yet here we are, a blink of an eye later and it's September already and I'm struggling to write something because, as I just said, I didn't do anything in August.

I did go to the San Marino Comics on the 25th — there were some pretty cool cosplayers and I ate delicious food but this vacation day was more tiring than my most busy workday, I kid you not! — and, finally, I went to the beach, had a 7km run, hatched an egg in the meantime, and also took some breathtaking photos. And I also spent a lot of time cooking and eating tons of food ice cream — thank god summer is almost over because I'll turn into Po from Kung Fu Panda if I keep eating all that junk.

These, along with binging season 1 of Mindhunter and ignoring season 2 because episode 1 was so tedious, are the excuses for not watching many films the past month. It's hard to believe but I did even worse than the previous months, having watched only 10 films. But some were on my watchlist since the dawn of times so I did something good.

The Red Sea Diving (2019)

Plot: A group of Mossad agents, led by charismatic Ari Kidron (Chris Evans) attempts to rescue Ethiopian Jewish refugees in Sudan in 1979. 

I am a shallow woman so the only reason I watched this Netflix original was the prospect of seeing a shirtless and bearded Chris Evans. And that I did see, along with Michail Huisman's butt and bare chest. Unfortunately, that's about it with the film's positive aspects. The story is uncompelling and tedious, and the characters are shallow, but no matter how poor the writing is, the worst part easily is the music. I'm pretty sure who picked the music had no idea what he/she was doing as it feels inappropriate and out of place — a supposedly tense scene has such terrible background music, it feels like watching a videogame. And there are also some pretty cheesy song choices. Not to mention that the filmmakers give so much more importance to Evans and Huisman's physical gifts that it gives to the true story it tells.

Rating: 1

Outside In (2017)

Plot: Released from prison after 20 years with the aid of his high school teacher, Carol (Edie Falco), 40-year-old Chris (Jay Duplass) struggles to readjust to everyday life in his small town and forms a strong bond both with Carol and her daughter, Hildy (Kaitlyn Dever).

I stumbled upon this film on Netflix a while back and when I saw it stared both Jay Duplass whom I love and Kaitlyn Dever whom I loved in Booksmart, I added on my list. I had quite high expectations because I like Duplass and the stuff he does and I was let down. The film is not terrible, but the story is too predictable, the pacing is too slow and some, a lot of parts are dragged, and, most important, we don't get to know Chris that well and we don't really see his struggles. I mean, all he thinks about is having sex with his former teacher. The acting is good though, really good, especially from Falco and Dever who both deliver very nuanced and believable performances.

Rating: 2

All About Eve (1950)

Plot: A young aspiring actress, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), shows up in the dressing room of a Broadway star, Margo Channing (Bette Davis),  and tells her and her friends the sob story of her life. Margo decides to help her as she sees her as a young and naive obsessed fan of hers, but she couldn't have it more wrong as Eve is actually a cynical, manipulative snake who uses Margo and her friends to achieve her goals.

No matter how hard I try, I can't remember the last time I watched a film that was written as good as All About Eve. Everything in the script is perfect — the construction, the plot development, the characters, the dialogue, and the sharp, biting humour. The three different voice-overs add even more depth, and the acting is superb — Bette Davis is mesmerizing as Margo, the diva struggling with mid-life crisis both on and off stage, and Anne Baxter is equally impressive in the role of Eve as she manages to deliver both the young woman's ingenuity and the evilness. The rest of the cast also gives strong performances. Unfortunately, there are too many moments that are just too slow, overlong and very boring.

Rating: 3

Rocketman (2019) - Review

Face/Off (1997)

Plot: Ruthless terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) accidentally kills FBI agent Sean Archer's (John Travolta) son, so Archer makes it his mission to bring him down. Years later, Archer finally catches Troy, learns that he has planted a massive bomb somewhere in Los Angeles but ends up putting him into a coma. Since Castor's brother (Alessandro Nivola) is the only other person who knows the bomb's whereabouts, Archer undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes Castor's identity. Complications arise when Castor wakes up from the coma, faceless, and has Archer's face transplanted on him.

Absurd doesn't even come close to describing Face/Off. This film is beyond insane as it makes absolutely no sense. I'm willing to overlook the face transplant thing — that's not how it works but who cares right, this is a Nic Cage film after all — but the bodies, how the hell do they switch bodies and why isn't that explained. I cannot tell you how much that pissed me off. That said, the film is hilarious and it is so fun to watch John Travolta play Nicolas Cage and Nicolas Cage play Nicolas Cage. I highly recommend (re)watching it.

Rating: 3

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016) - Review | Rewatch

Plot: When his new album turns out to be a failure, popstar Connor 4Real (Andy Samberg) does everything in his power to maintain his celebrity status.

Netflix just added this so of course I had to rewatch it. And it still holds up. The predictable story is still entertaining, the humour still funny, the songs are great and Andy can have my heart — and something else too, if you know what I mean — but what stuck with me the most is the accurate portrayal of nowadays celebrities and of the world of pop culture we live in.

Rating: 4

American Pastoral (2016)

Plot: Seymour "Swede" Levov (Ewan McGregor) had everything: once a popular high school athlete, is now the manager of the glove factory his father (Peter Riegert) had founded and is married to a beauty queen, Dawn (Jenniffer Connelly), with whom has a daughter, Merry. His perfect life falls apart when teenage Merry (Dakota Fanning) turns into a violent activist as she joins the turmoil of 1960s America.

Despite not loving Tim Roth's novel upon which the film is based on, I still decided to give McGregor's directorial debut a chance. And it was just as underwhelming as the book. Actually, it was even worse than the book. It completely fails at bringing to life the Sixties, the story and characters are completely off — a real shame since the film was off to a good start — and overall it's very boring and bland. Also, it feels very unauthentic. The acting is good but it's not enough to save this mess.

Rating: 2

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Plot: London, 16th Century. Young playwriter William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) struggles with his latest work "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter". At this point enters the picture Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow), a young, wealthy fan of the writer. She soon becomes Shakespeare's muse and lover but, unfortunately, she is to be married to the cold-hearted Lord Wessex (Colin Firth).

Yet another film I've been meaning to watch for ages. Yet another major disappointment. I don't know how historically accurate the film is as I don't know much about Shakespeare's life and I didn't bother to read about it but the film is dreadfully tedious. The acting was good but I'm not sure Paltrow deserved the Oscar and that sex scene between her and Fiennes was so bland — it was more exciting to read about Fonny masturbating in James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk than watching those two hot people have sex, I kid you not.

Rating: 2

Men in Black: International (2019)

Plot: After witnessing the Men in Black at work as a child, Molly (Tessa Thompson) makes it her mission o find the secret organization's headquarters and become an agent. She eventually manages to find them, she makes an impression on Agent O (Emma Thompson) and she is awarded probationary agent status as Agent M. Her first assignment brings her in London and, under the wing of Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), she must stop a shape-shifting alien duo (Laurent and Larry Bourgeois) and find the mole in the MiB organization. 

It certainly isn't the best film of the series — it doesn't even come close to the original — but it turned out to be better than I was expecting. The plot is very predictable, especially when it comes to the mole, but there's plenty of humour throughout which makes the film enjoyable-ish — Emma Thompson is absolutely hilarious, and I laughed at most of Hemsworth's lines. Also, Tessa is awesome and such a badass and the alien sidekick is adorable. 

Rating: 2 ½

Shazam! (2019)

Plot: Abandoned as a child, 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) keeps running away from foster homes to search for his mother (Caroline Palmer). He is given a final chance to settle in with a new foster family in which both parents are orphans themselves, but he runs away again. Only this time he runs into a powerful wizard (Djimon Hounsou) who transfers his powers to Billy. Now Billy can instantly turn into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) by shouting the wizard's name, Shazam, and, as he explores his new powers with his foster brother, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), he learns that he has a deadly enemy, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), and he must stop him. 

The reason I snubbed Shazam! when it was released back in April? I thought it would be just a poor attempt to make DC's version of Deadpool. But I've read many positive reviews over the past months so I checked it out and I have to say it isn't bad. The humour is kid-friendly but is funny nevertheless, the plot, although very predictable, is enjoyable and entertaining and Zachary Levi is fantastic as Shazam. His performance is so genuine and believable, it feels like he was born to play the role. Also, he got ripped for this and we like ripped Zachary, don't we.

Rating: 3


  1. Shakespeare in Love is just one of those films that have a few moments but much of it is just boring. Especially with someone like Shakespeare as you would think it would be more interesting but no... I totally agree with you on that sex scene. BLAND BLAND BLAND!!!!! The scene would be improved during a hilarious scene in Scary Movie where Regina Hall's character is at a screening as he is talking so loud over the film and all of that shit.