June 2020 saw another gut punch to the country as social unrest following the murder of George Floyd launched much of the country into a period of protest. This fit well with some message films that came out for the month, but the movie season as a whole was still relying on straight to stream or VOD films with theatrical experiences mostly limited to drive-ins. In June I saw 9 films, these are those movies and my quickie reviews for each of them.
But first, a reminder of what my grading system for movies works like:
- S Grade; 5.0 Stars: The Best Film I’ve Ever Seen, Everyone Has An S Graded Film
- A+/A- Grade; 4.0/4.5 Stars: One Of The Best Films Of The Year, If Not All-Time
- B+/B- Grade; 3.0/3.5 Stars: Worth A Trip To The Theatre For First Viewing
- C+/C- Grade; 2.0/2.5 Stars: Watch From Home For First Viewing
- D+/D- Grade; 1.0/1.5 Stars: Don’t Bother Watching This At All If You Can Help It
- F Grade; 0.5 Star: One Of The Worst Films Of All-Time
- Reminder: Reviews For These Films Can Change Over Time And Will Be Reflected Over At Our Letterboxd
With all that out of the way, lets get to those quickie reviews already…
- The Plot: In the not-too-distant future, as a final response to crime and terrorism, the U.S. government plans to broadcast a signal that will make it impossible for anyone to knowingly break the law.
- The Review: I think IndieWire said it best when its critic said we have no time for a movie like this for the climate we were in (and still are in to some extent) back in June of this year. This is a mess in almost every aspect of its filmmaking and a commendable performance by Michael Pitt is the only thing that keeps it from getting a chance at an F grade from me. Skip this overly long piece of crap and consider yourself bless you didn’t have to sit through two and a half hours of this like I did. D- for THE LAST DAYS OF AMERICAN CRIME.
- The Plot: A teenager’s weekend at a lake house with her father takes a turn for the worse when a group of convicts wreaks havoc on their lives.
- The Review: Perhaps the meanest and darkest film I’ve seen this year and I don’t mean that in a good way. There’s commendable performances in this, including a different type of role for Kevin James, but they’re not enough to make me not feel like I need a shower after seeing this. I don’t mind gritty, but this was too much for me and I hope you follow in my lead and just skip this one altogether. D+ for BECKY.
- The Plot: A famous horror writer finds inspiration for her next book after she and her husband take in a young couple.
- The Review: This film has superb acting, superb directing, superb cinematography, and yet its a grating two hours of nihilistic characters and a plot that left me looking at my watch. Its a shame because Elisabeth Moss puts in a great performance but I can’t ignore how much the story and characters weren’t vibing with me. If you really wanna’ see this for yourself, its a good thing its streaming for Hulu because this isn’t worth the price of admission to an overpriced screening at the local cinema. C- for SHIRLEY.
- The Plot: Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius and descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds. He soon finds himself in an epic battle against a race of powerful underground fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance.
- The Review: I don’t know how much I can say even in a quickie review about this that others haven’t. Its badly paced, edited, and the acting is all over the place. This was a massive failure from a Director that has no business turning in a final product that was this bad, so much so I theorize Disney themselves botched the film with their pestering. This may have gone straight to Disney Plus, but you’re better off skipping this altogether. D+ for ARTEMIS FOWL.
- The Plot: Scott has been a case of arrested development ever since his firefighter father died when he was seven. He’s now reached his mid-20s having achieved little, chasing a dream of becoming a tattoo artist that seems far out of reach. As his ambitious younger sister heads off to college, Scott is still living with his exhausted ER nurse mother and spends his days smoking weed, hanging with the guys — Oscar, Igor and Richie — and secretly hooking up with his childhood friend Kelsey. But when his mother starts dating a loudmouth firefighter named Ray, it sets off a chain of events that will force Scott to grapple with his grief and take his first tentative steps toward moving forward in life.
- The Review: Surprisingly heartwarming and good on the comedy, this is a film that flirts with greatness and while it doesn’t quite reach it I did find myself very much entertained by what I got. In a rough month dominated by home media, I would not have minded seeing this at my local cinema. B+ for THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND.
- The Plot: Four African American Vietnam veterans return to Vietnam. They are in search of the remains of their fallen squad leader and the promise of buried treasure. These heroes battle forces of humanity and nature while confronted by the lasting ravages of the immorality of the Vietnam War.
- The Review: Timely, adventurous, exciting, introspective, funny, dramatic, heartbreaking, and heartwarming all at once, this Spike Lee film gives us a great adventure story that touches on race issues and ghosts of the pasts, capped off by an incredible performance from Delroy Lindo. This is definitely one of the best films of the year for me. A- for DA 5 BLOODS.
- The Plot: In an effort to repair their relationship, a couple books a vacation in the countryside for themselves and their daughter. What starts as a perfect retreat begins to fall apart as one loses their grip on reality, and a sinister force tries to tear them apart.
- The Review: Breaking with the critics on this one to an extent. The buildup, tension, mystery, etc all worked for me and I found myself entertained for chunks of this. That said the movie does feel like it needs something extra to make it better than something spooky you put on at home for a night in at the house. C+ for YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT.
- The Plot: A Democratic political consultant helps a retired Marine colonel run for mayor in a small, conservative Wisconsin town.
- The Review: This movie made angry in so many ways, from the way it played both sides during such a divisive time in the country’s history to the silly twist towards the end that just leaves you realizing not a single person in this is at all likable. I hated this movie and I recommend you do what I should have done and just skipped it. D+ for IRRESISTIBLE.
- The Plot: Two small-town aspiring musicians chase their pop star dreams at a global music competition, where high stakes, scheming rivals and onstage mishaps test their bond.
- The Review: I think this film has gotten way too many Grinches reviewing it. I was pleasantly surprised to get more than a handful of chuckles from this. I enjoyed the music, the personalities, the comedy, and I actually got a little bit of a tear towards the final song. This is something I would have not minded having the theatrical experience with, but hey its on Netflix for less of a hassle. B- for EUROVISION SONG CONTEST.
And that wraps up a whole month of quickie movie reviews from me for the month of June 2020. In the next post for this newsletter I’ll be running down my quickie reviews for the July 2020 films that caught my attention. Stay tuned…