Films That I Saw: July 2018

Films That I Saw is a self explanatory monthly column dedicated to cataloging each and every film I saw within that month. Each film will be given a grade and a mini review. 

You can find previous catalogs here.


 

Jul. 1

Film: Mr. No Legs

Random thoughts/mini review: If The film had more of the guy the fucking film was named after, it would be B movie masterpiece but inexplicably, the film titled Mr. No Legs has maybe ten minutes of scenes involving Mr. No Legs. On the bright side, the car chase at the end wasn’t bad.

Grade: F


 

Jul. 2

Film: 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene

Random thoughts/mini review: A cavalcade of random celebrities talk about how much they love watching Janet Leigh get stabbed for 90 minutes. It’s fine.

Grade: C


 

Jul. 3

Film: Battle Wizard

Random thoughts/mini review: Shaw Bros go Star Wars with (for the most part) amazing results.

Grade: C+


 

Jul. 4

Film: Space Amoeba

Random thoughts/mini review: Another man-in-a-suit monster flick from Toho. Not a single thing besides the adorable looking squid monster stuck in my mind.

Grade: D+


 

Jul. 5

Film: Zuma

Random thoughts/mini review: Take the story structure of The Place Beyond The Pines, replace Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Dane DeHaan with a battle hardened detective, a 600 year old serpent God and the daughter of a 600 year old serpent God and you have Zuma. That plot synopsis makes very little sense but neither does Zuma. Every 30 minutes, it’s a completely different film and each one is more insane than the last.

Grade: WTF


 

Jul. 6

Film: The Monster

Random thoughts/mini review: Zoe Kazan is great and the monster doesn’t look terrible. That’s about the only good things this film has to offer. I have a huge soft spot for single location horror films. Movies like Cujo, Splinter and Pontypool know how to squeeze every drop of tension out of their locations and have premises that keep the audience engaged. The Monster felt like a bad segment of a terrible horror anthology stretched to feature length. Avoid.

Grade: F


 

Jul. 7

Film: Magic of Spell

Random thoughts/mini review: This, along with Child of Peach, is a goddamn delight. It’s like Sid and Marty Krofft teamed up with Stephen Chow to make a series of kids films and the result is a live action cartoon that’s fun as shit. Highly recommended.

Grade: A


 

Jul. 8

Film: Child of Peach

Random thoughts/mini review: ^read that. Read what I wrote about Magic of Spell. I mean, I could write something different or even copy and paste the mini review but I’d rather just point to it and tell you to read it.

Grade: A


 

Jul. 9

Film: Who Finds a Friend Finds a Treasure

Random thoughts/mini review: The chemistry of the leads is what carries the film. Even when the film starts to lose steam, you want to watch the banter between Hill and Spencer.

Grade: C+


 

Jul. 10

Film: Fantastic Animation Festival

Random thoughts/mini review: I don’t remember a single segment besides Godzilla meets Bambi. It’s definitely a film you need to be high to enjoy.

Grade: D


 

Jul. 11

Film: Fistful of Talons

Random thoughts/mini review: After Bruce Lee became a movie star, everyone scrambled to find his replacement. The most promising clone was Jackie Chan but it was immediately apparent Chan wanted more than to be the next anything. He focused more on comedy like his idols Chaplin and Keaton and eventually became as big a star as Lee. Then, the hunt for the next Jackie Chan happened. There was a time where all eyes were on Billy Chong to be the next big thing.

He wasn’t.

But even though he never hit big like Lee or Chan, he at least made one amazing film before fading from the publics memory. Fistful of Talons is a goddamn crowd pleaser and it’s a shame he never got a shot at the title because he’s got the goods.

Grade: B


 

Jul. 12

Film: Wolf Devil Woman

Random thoughts/mini review: A woman, who was raised by wolves, teams up with a guy and comedic relief, to kill a villain who controls zombies. I don’t remember a single goddamn thing about this movie.

Grade: F


 

Jul. 13

Film: Titicut Follies

Random thoughts/mini review: Banned for over 20 years, this documentary had power then and it certainly has power now. It documents the living conditions of the people living in a Correctional Institution in Massachusetts. They’re not only victims of their own madness but of the people assigned to take care of them. It’s harrowing stuff.

Grade: B+


 

Jul. 14

Film: The First Purge

Random thoughts/mini review: Did you know the government doesn’t like poor people? Don’t answer that. It’s a fucking rhetorical question. Everyone knows and nobody cares except the makers of this ridiculous franchise.

Grade: F


 

Jul. 15

Film: Raiders of Atlantis

Random thoughts/mini review: One of the best Mad Max inspired rip offs produced by Italy. Which sounds like faint praise until you realize that every film they make is either a Mad Max rip off, an unofficial sequel to Dawn of the Dead or an unofficial sequel to either Evil Dead or Demons. God bless Italy and their non-existent copyright laws.

Grade: C+


 

Jul. 16

Film: Dream Demon

Random thoughts/mini review: An interesting take on the Nightmare on Elm Street formula that is unfortunately not scary enough to be considered a classic hidden gem. Amazing make up effects though.

Grade: C+


 

Jul. 17

Film: Mister Designer

Random thoughts/mini review:  Apparently this film is about an architect that creates mannequins in a desperate attempt to become immortal? I believe the ending also involves vampire(s)? Another film I don’t remember anything about.

Grade: D-


 

Jul. 18

Film: Suburbia

Random thoughts/mini review: Outside of a documentary, the closest a film has come to capturing the good, the bad and the ugly of the punk scene. It’s a minor masterpiece that is long overdue a Criterion Collection release. Oh and that beginning is one of the craziest goddamn things I’ve ever seen in a movie.

Grade: A


 

Jul. 19

Film: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Random thoughts/mini review: An exceptionally well made documentary about one of the most important entertainers of the 20th century. Make sure you bring a box of Kleenex because this film hits you in the feels.

Grade: A


 

Jul. 20

Film: Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell

Random thoughts/mini review: Filmed in 1995. Edited in 2005. Completed in 2009. Released in 2012 on DVD-R. Theatrical release and DVD in Japan 2014. The first official international release in 2017. This film has had a long as hell production and while it’s certainly fun, it’s not exactly worth the wait. On the scale of Evil Dead rip offs, Its a million times better than Bach Ke Zara and slightly better than Demon Wind.

Grade: B


 

Jul. 21

Film: Battle For The Lost Planet

Random thoughts/mini review: Even though the experience of watching it made me want to wash my eyes in bleach, there are a few nuggets of gold sprinkled throughout. The production design was impressive for the budget, some of the dialogue was honest to god clever and the story wasn’t the worst thing committed to celluloid. It was just painfully dull with long stretches of nothing.

Grade: D


 

Jul. 22

Film: The Disaster Artist

Random thoughts/mini review: A better director could’ve turned this story into a film as good as Ed Wood. James Franco is not that director. It feels like the film is sitting next to you in the theater as you’re watching it and every five minutes or so, it’ll nudge you in the ribs and whisper in your ear “wasn’t the Room bad? Isn’t Tommy Wiseau crazy?”

I get it movie. The movie you’re making a movie about was crazy. I know. That’s why I’m watching your movie. I don’t need to be constantly reminded of its ineptitude. Just show me.

Grade: C


 

Jul. 23

Film: One Day Since Yesterday: Peter Bogdanovich and The Lost American Film

Random thoughts/mini review: A decent doc about director Peter Bogdanovich and his troubles making the film They All Laughed. Truth be told, I only watched this because I knew Tarantino was in it.

Grade: C


 

Jul. 24

Film: Dreamchild

Random thoughts/mini review: A true-ish story about what happened to the girl who inspired the novel Alice in Wonderland. The drama, as well as the acting, is uniformly excellent but it’s the puppets made by the Jim Henson Company that are the selling point. They’re amazing.

Grade: C+


 

Jul. 25

Film: The Killing of America

Random thoughts/mini review: I don’t know what’s crazier: the fact that this film exists or the fact that I hadn’t seen the a cleaned up version of the Zapruder film until watching it. This film was made almost 40 years ago and nothing has changed.

Grade: A


 

Jul. 26

Film: Hard Lessons

Random thoughts/mini review: So earnest and sincere, it’s almost a parody. Even with the worst material, Denzel Washington shines like a diamond.

Grade: D


 

Jul. 27

Film: Eighth Grade

Random thoughts/mini review: There’s a scene in this that had me more tense than anything in A Quiet Place or Hereditary. I was legitimately afraid for the main character and had no idea what was going to happen. That scene alone merits a strong recommendation but a film is more than just one scene. On top of the best directed scene of the year, it also has one of the best scores, one of the best scripts and a strong contender for the second best performance of the year*

But on top of all of that, and the reason I recommend it, is the fact that there’s not a single scene in the entire film where the main character gets bullied. It is a high school film about a socially awkward outcast desperately trying to fit in and there’s not a single fucking bully. Not seeing any variation of the over the top cliche bully that inevitably shows up in every high school movie was refreshing and made me love this film.

It is damn near perfect.

*Nothing beats Toni Collette.

Grade: A


 

Jul. 28

Film: The Last Reunion

Random thoughts/mini review: The film sells a ninja revenge film and what it delivers is a ninja revenge film stuck inside a weird as fuck melodrama about the never ending cycle of violence. And I was ok with that.

Grade: C


 

Jul. 29

Film: Cane Toads: An Unnatural History

Random thoughts/mini review: One of the most entertaining documentaries I’ve ever seen. And it’s about cane toads.

Grade: B+


 

Jul. 30

Film: Vampire Clay

Random thoughts/mini review: Cane Toads: An Unnatural History is proof positive that any subject can be made entertaining, even blood thirsty clay. There are parts of this that are actually creepy and the effects are pretty solid but I have no idea what tone it’s going for. If It’s going for comedic, it missed the mark.

Grade: D+


 

Jul. 31

Film: Battle in Hell

Random thoughts/ Mini Review: The film starts off as a war movie, sharp right turns into a horror film, swerves again into a romance between a vampire, a human cop and a ghost and then ends up in an action movie. I really wish the film was as entertaining as I’m describing it but on the bright side, I’m almost positive it’s the most obscure thing I’ve ever seen.

Grade: D+/C-