Monthly Film Roundup: July 2021

Films Watched: 16

How Many Were New: 15

Best Films: The Gold Rush (1926), Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019), Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Worst Film: F9 (2021)

New Releases: F9 (2021), Black Widow (2021), Shiva Baby (2020), Old (2021), The Sparks Brothers (2021), The Suicide Squad (2021)


The Florida Project (2017)
A simple but remarkably effective slice-of-life drama about poverty stricken kids growing up just outside the ever-looming shadow of Walt Disney World. The 6-year-old leads are endlessly watchable, and Willem Dafoe give a stunningly empathetic performance

F9 (2021)
The action is hilariously fun, but otherwise this is a terribly written film with dull performances and filled with logic-less scenes. Vin Diesel and John Cena make great brothers, not in matching appearance, but in a matching lack of charisma

Cinema Paradiso (1988)
A gorgeously sentimental and romantic drama filled with humour, emotion and fantastic performances.  A beautiful love letter to unlikely friendships and the power of cinema

Black Widow (2021)
A well performed and comparably down to earth start to phase 4 of the MCU, even if its action and pacing are thoroughly lacking the usual excitement. Thankfully, David Harbour is fun to watch, then Florence Pugh confirms herself as the golden child of Hollywood. It just about works as the swan song that Scarlett Johansson’s character deserved

The Big Heat (1953)
Fritz Lang’s 50’s crime film is a thrilling affair, aided mainly by the cracking charisma of Glenn Ford as vengeful ex-cop Dave Bannion. Well crafted and speedy in pace, it’s a wonderful film noir

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
Gorgeous cinematography drips of the screen in this exquisitely performed French drama. Achingly romantic and poetic in its execution, it’s a fantastic watch

Shiva Baby (2020)
A fabulously crafted debut feature from Emma Seligman. Sporting a star-making central performance from Rachel Sennott, it’s a hilarious film that revels in claustrophobic tension

The Gold Rush (1925)
Another golden masterpiece of silent comedy from Charlie Chaplin. Inspired set pieces and ingenious technical advancements work in hand with a funny and heartwarming story. A real gem

Moon (2009)
Like the best Sci-Fi’s, Moon ditches huge spectacle for a fascinating story that explores humanity and solitude. Sam Rockwell shine, delivering a spectacular multi-layered performance 

Umberto D. (1952)
A great Italian drama that uses neorealist techniques of casting non-actors and not employing any fancy camera tricks. An unrelentingly tragic story, the film benefits from a great central performance by Carlo Battisti

Old (2021)
M. Night Shyamalan strikes again, making another high concept film that delivers on a unique premise but lacks all class, subtlety and logic. A mixed bag of actors deliver an underwritten script in a silly but admittedly entertaining film

The Lobster (2015)
Yorgos Lanthimos brings his usual mix of the strange and unique in this surreal distopian film. Funny but disorienting, it sports a fantastic cast and a unique narrative

La Dolce Vita (1960)
Though its 3hr runtime outstays it’s welcome, this Italian classic is a time capsule of a bygone era. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome, Federico Fellini’s vision of one mans search for life’s purpose is grand and expansive, just lacking enough narrative propulsion to justify its length 

The Sparks Brothers (2021)
Edgar Wright delivers a smash hit documentary about the enigmatic titular band. A touching portrayal of resilience and artistic respect, it’s also hysterically funny and insightful for those familiar with Sparks, and those who are not. Another stunning addition to Wright’s filmography

This is England (2006)
A tough, relentless and exquisitely performed social drama from Shane Meadows. Quintessentially British in the best and worst of ways, it highlights social problems from the 80’s that sadly still exist today

The Suicide Squad (2021)
Brilliantly bonkers and hilariously funny, this character-led film is superbly cast and finally finds a role that fits John Cena’s ‘unique’ acting style. By making us care about the characters, James Gunn crafts a tight blockbuster that brings bloody entertainment in its bucketloads

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next month to see what I watched in August!

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