Back on Track Again: July ’15 in Film

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As you’ve all probably noticed at this point, it has become a tendency of mine to place the writing I’ve done about the movies I’ve watched on the back-burner, instead putting much more attention toward my Billboard challenge. July, however, seemed to mark a profound return of my one-movie-or-more-a-day habit that I have kept up until very recently. In total, I watched forty movies altogether this month, with thirty-two of them being first-time viewings. I think I’ve finally reached a great point in my time management habits where I can balance out the attention spent on both new movies and new music – although I realize that heavy emphasis has been placed on the music part of things. Sure, I haven’t been as on top of my Cinephiling With Epilepsy project as I had planned on and would like to (I’m still trying to think of a better name, as I’m not completely fond of the current one), but there’s still some time for changes. Only time will tell if this consistency in watching films will continue into August.

Here is the list of what I watched for July, with asterisks indicating rewatches:

  1. What Happened, Miss Simone? (Garbus, 2015)
  2. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (Morgen, 2015)
  3. Die Puppe (The Doll) (Lubitsch, 1919)
  4. Zemlya (Earth) (Dovzhenko, 1930)
  5. Chuck & Buck (Arteta, 2000)
  6. High Fidelity (Frears, 2000)
  7. Bridget Jones’s Diary (Maguire, 2001)
  8. Eagle vs. Shark (Waititi, 2007)
  9. The Overnight (Brice, 2015)
  10. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (Tarantino, 2004)
  11. Paulie (Roberts, 1998)
  12. Advantageous (Phang, 2015)
  13. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (Miller, 1981)
  14. Man of Steel (Snyder, 2013)
  15. The Decline of Western Civilization (Spheeris, 1981)
  16. The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (Spheeris, 1988)
  17. The Decline of Western Civilization Part III (Spheeris, 1998)
  18. Beyond Clueless (Lyne, 2014)
  19. Tangerine (Barker, 2015)
  20. Assault on Precinct 13 (Carpenter, 1976)
  21. Hitch (Tennant, 2005)
  22. The People vs. George Lucas (Philippe, 2010)
  23. Love Story (Hiller, 1970)
  24. Laurence Anyways (Dolan. 2012)
  25. Unbreakable (Shyamalan, 2000)
  26. Finding Nemo (Stanton & Unkrich, 2003)*
  27. WALL-E (Stanton, 2008)*
  28. Adams Family Values (Sonnenfeld, 1993)
  29. The Incredibles (Bird, 2004)*
  30. La Planéte Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) (Laloux, 1973)
  31. Okuribito (Departures) (Takita, 2008)
  32. Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV (Kaufman, 2001)
  33. Ratatouille (Bird, 2007)*
  34. Pumping Iron (Butler & Fiore, 1977)
  35. 24 Hour Party People (Winterbottom, 2002)
  36. Chicken Run (Lord & Park, 2000)*
  37. A Bug’s Life (Stanton & Lasseter, 1998)*
  38. Up (Docter & Peterson, 2009)*
  39. Amy (Kapadia, 2015)
  40. Monsters Inc. (Unkrich, Silverman, & Docter, 2001)*

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As is probably noticeable there is a sudden trend during the latter parts of the list where I’ve rewatched a lot of Pixar films. In the near future, I plan on writing a somewhat lengthier post on my favorites and least favorite flicks from the franchise. To date, the only Pixar film I’ve yet to see is Cars 2 (I can’t say I’m looking forward to it), so once I get around to all these films and sequels, look forward to that post.

By some coincidence, I watched four movies from the year 2000 this month, making this my most-viewed year (excluding 2015 releases). Unbreakable and Chicken Run are my two favorite first-time viewings of this year, with the former being possibly M. Night Shyamalan’s best film and the latter being one of the most quintessentially British animated movies I’ve ever seen.

Excluding Tom At The Farm (set for a US release soon), I have now seen all the films of Xavier Dolan. The beautifully raw Mommy is still my personal favorite, although I’ve fallen completely head-over-heels for Laurence Anyways this month, with its sensitivity toward its transgender subject set to the sprawling intensity of its narrative of tragic romance. Suzanne Clément is an absolute queen.

I watched René Laloux’s classic Fantastic Planet for the very first time this month and am absolutely ashamed at myself for not getting around to it much sooner. Roland Topor’s ethereal, psychedelic stop-motion artwork make this quite a dazzling sight to behold. This is bound to fall into the category of the greatest animated films of all time; at the very least, it’s bound to become a quick, easy personal favorite of mine.

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Although I’ve been trying to make the conscious decision to watch more films directed by women each month, I only watched a total of six female-directed movies in July. Half of those were Penelope Spheeris’ classic The Decline of Western Civilization trilogy of documentary films, which details the trials and tribulations of countercultures through the 80s and 90s and recently got an official release. These films are fascinating time capsules of distinct periods of time and shouldn’t be missed, although The Metal Years is certainly the weakest (but still not without its own strengths). Advantageous and What Happened Miss Simone? are two of the best films to come out this year so far; the former being an example of prime women-oriented sci-fi and the latter being an eye-opening look into the troubled life of Nina Simone. And at last, I finally got around to Sharon Maguire’s beloved rom-com Bridget Jones’s Diary and I loved it even more than I thought I would.

For the first time in July, I watched the documentary The People vs. George Lucas, which had been recommended to me time and time again over the years. While it occasionally is an interesting look at Lucas’ rocky relationship to his Star Wars fandom, 95% of its interviewees were white men, a demographic that already takes up too much space in most fandoms. Moreover, their commentary was more often than not rather irritating; I don’t think I’m being harsh when I remark that comparing their “struggled” to rape victims and battered wives is all kinds of fucked-up.

I’m not a big superhero movies person, but my boyfriend is, so we watched Man of Steel this month, immediately after the trailer for its sequel dropped. Needless to say, that film was so bombastically terrible that I have some hope for Dawn of Justice to not be nearly as bad, even though I still think it’s going to be boring as sin. In any case, Zack Snyder needs to stop.

 

That’s pretty much all I’ve got to comment on this time around. I should have another music post coming up soon, covering the Hot 100 of 1967 – which is an interesting year, to say the least. Check that out! I’ll also be trying to keep up with my Cinephiling With Epilepsy project as well, so check that out too.

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