The Month In Movies: In Theaters For August 2021
I used to do this monthly recap over at Frags & Beer, but seeing as movies are back, I thought it was a good idea to bring this over here. The way this works is simple: I will talk about every movie I saw in theaters in the month in question, in order. If I’ve seen a movie before, I will only discuss it if I haven’t really discussed it before. This month, 13 movies.
These are my general thoughts, which have sometimes very little to do with the movies themselves, all depending on what I have to say about them. You know how it is by now. You’re either invested or you never will be.
The key point of distinction for me is how I view movies. A movie gets a passing grade, as in C- or above, if I don’t feel like I wasted my time watching it. Even if I never want to see it again. Keep this in mind, shall we? Light spoilers ahead. Unless I hate the movie and don’t recommend seeing it, I won’t get into the finer details. A movie does qualify this month, unfortunately.
The movie that garnered a small controversy as it is almost shamelessly based on the Amanda Knox story. I greatly enjoyed the movie. It doesn’t get an A from me, but a solid B. It does have two of the most blatant product placements in movie history, although Sandler productions still win that (and the Power Rangers reboot, if you know, you know.) As the holder of a marketing degree, I have no problem with product placement. You want to bust ghosts inside a Wal-Mart, go for it. This was a drama with thriller elements. This was presumably Matt Damon’s attempt at a Taken-type film. Not really heavy on the action, but has the general tone. I’d love to see Jack Black get his “Taken moment.”
I just love The Rock. This movie is a mess, but a delightful one. You’ll see the twists coming, as this is a movie made for children adapted from a Disney theme park ride. The performances are good from all involved, the one scene with modern politics in it is so brief yet obvious for adults but not kids (a common refrain in Disney movies as of late,) and the villains are weird and fun. But Emily Blunt is way too much of a Mary Sue. Even if she had all the money in the world (her parents are assumed dead and were wealthy,) her family name is a social pariah. In WWI era London! How exactly would she have had access to things money couldn’t really buy back then? She knows far too much for her age, gender, time period, and location. That’s what bothered me. Like the lead character of Bones. Her brother is also basically Niles Crane. Which is enjoyable, for the most part. The Rock is charming, as is Emily Blunt with the threadbare character she was given, so I give this a C+/B-. I may watch this movie again, but I never really need to. A popcorn flick through and through.
Without a doubt, this is movie of the month. A solid A+ from me. I loved this movie. Watched it twice, once in theaters and once on HBO Max, which is probably why its box office was paltry (beyond the Delta concerns.) I wrote a review of this movie on this very site, so go read that.
This movie pissed me off. My girlfriend wanted to leave this movie in the middle of it. This movie is painfully boring. This movie fails to be a movie. The soundtrack, as I’ve mentioned before, was done by the band Sparks. The problem? Sparks only sings one song in the entire movie. The vast majority of the songs are sung almost exclusively by Adam Driver, no one’s definition of a good singer. Sparks even wrote the movie, so this was their vision. Beyond being boring as sin, this movie is just strange. It’s meant to be deep, but the twists you will see coming an hour or more before they happen. Space Jam: A New Legacy has competition for worst movie of the year, which I did not expect from this movie. I was so excited for this. Disappointed isn’t a big enough word. I could elaborate on this more, but the movie ain’t worth it. Almost no one has seen it, and almost no one will. Quadruple F-.
Free Guy was super fun. Not quite an A from me, but a solid B+. I will almost surely see this movie again, probably when it makes its way over to Disney+, but hot damn, so much fun. The best video game movies, outside of the obvious one from this year, are usually not actually based on a video game. This was clearly written by somebody who knows video games and video game nerd culture. They nailed it. The trailers didn’t even reveal that much, truly. Even though we seemed to get over 9,000 of them. Like video games? You’ll enjoy this movie.
Where to even start with this… I really like Aretha Franklin. Probably the greatest female vocalist of all time. Easily in the top three, if not. This biopic is overly long, has little in the way of resolved conflict, and invents a child she never even had. Even though it is not explicitly stated in the movie, Aretha’s childhood was extremely messed up. She was raped repeatedly while a pre-teen by the man who becomes her first husband (all manner of awful) and had two kids by him before she was even a legal adult. Another problem is figuring out just how old she’s supposed to be initially when Jennifer Hudson takes over. Her first husband was an abusive ass in the movie, but they do not make it clear those babies are his kids. And then when they do get married, she magically has a third kid by him that never existed. She had two by him, one by her next husband, and a fourth by her road manager later. Was that last child so embarrassing that they erased his existence? I didn’t hate the movie, but I will likely never see it again. The soundtrack is almost surely better than the movie, as they didn’t let the performances run their full length in most cases. The Best Actress Oscar is Jessica Chastain’s to lose at this point. C-, barely.
I won’t get into this movie yet, as I got a super advance screening of it. Just a title card at the beginning and not even end credits. It’s a horror movie written and directed by Greg Sestero, of The Room fame. That matters for the next movie… A+.
I have seen The Room countless times at this point. This was my second time seeing it with an audience in a movie theater. One of the best theater experiences out there, trust me. Tommy Wiseau may be the greatest unintentional movie genius of all time. A+. This movie and the one before it were part of a special double header that included an appearance by Greg Sestero. He’s awesome.
I wish I had known this movie was on HBO Max before I went to the theater, as I would have been able to squeeze in The Night House opening weekend had I known. It’s not terrible, but I have no intention to ever see this movie again. The twists are not satisfying, and the movie is overly long because about 30-45 minutes into this over two-hour movie the audience is made aware that one of the main characters was keeping information away from Hugh Jackman’s character’s knowledge, which only serves to extend the length of the movie. C-.
This movie was dope. The latest movie from the John Wick studio. The action is awesome, the acting is fantastic, and the twists genuinely surprised me. At least, two of them. A solid hard R action movie. I’m a sucker for them. Solid A.
I really liked the first movie. This movie is not as good, but the action and horror elements are great, as well as the biggest twist (there are at least two to four, depending on what you’d qualify as a twist.) What’s supposed to be the big twist is actually pretty obvious going into the movie (due to the trailer,) but the twist in the third act is so well done. And they leave it open for a third one. Stay until the end of the credits. Solid B.
Maybe I just didn’t get it the first time, but I didn’t really like the original Candyman. Put down the pitchforks, horror nerds. Tony Todd was amazing, but the movie focused way too much on some white woman’s problems that I couldn’t care less about. By making the main character a black man, the obvious racial message overtones are even more ham-fisted, but that didn’t bother me. While a movie like Zootopia bothered me for hitting the audience over the head with its message, horror is not known for subtlety. I’m here for creative kills of demonstrably horrible people. And the movie delivered. Those first two kills, hot damn. Solid B.
I was surprised by this movie. I had very little intention of seeing it until the incredibly positive reviews came in. Tense, heart-pounding, anxious thriller. The twist is there and quite shocking. Because this movie is all about the tension and twists and turns, I won’t say anything more. B+ to A-.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a huge movie buff of virtually any genre. This month, I also saw Safe Haven for the first time. I now know why people deride Nicholas Sparks movies. That ending was so out of nowhere. Ghost friend? What the Hell?!? I also watched Sleeping with the Enemy for the first time in ages, far better film of the same stripe (woman escapes abusive husband, idyllic life, he finds her.)
One other film I want to talk about is Here Today, written, directed, and starring Billy Crystal. I caught it on rental on Amazon Prime Video. It is a funny and heartfelt tearjerker that didn’t overstay its welcome, nor did it jump to the end. This is the best drama I’ve seen this year. A+.
Until next Month In Movies time, have fun.