September 2020 Movie Reviews
Looking Back At Some Films Released For Public Consumption In September 2020
September 2020 was the cold, hard, realization to Hollywood that movie-goers were not in a rush to get back into the theatres even after a nonexistent Summer blockbuster season. The pandemic was still raging and even major titles weren’t going to get them into the cinemas. Meanwhile the economic situation nationwide was getting a bit better as the election campaign began to turn the corner towards the homestretch, and I got around to watching 10 new films from the month. These are 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
With all that out of the way, lets get to those quickie reviews already…
Plot (From Letterboxd Page): Armed with only one word – Tenet – and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
My Review: Great action, characters, and an original story to boot. Nolan hit yet another homerun here thought admittedly the movie can drag a bit here or there, but overall well worth the wait and hype and one of the better films from a hellish year. A- for TENET.
Plot (From Letterboxd Page): When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Chinese Army to defend the country from Huns, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. She is spirited, determined and quick on her feet. Disguised as a man by the name of Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her innermost strength and embrace her true potential.
My Review: I’ve defended the Disney live action remakes in the past, and some have even gained As from me; but they’re becoming more and more hit and miss type films and this was mostly a miss. Changing too much from the source material, taking away the charm and heart from the first film, and giving us a pretty average flick that’s more worthy of a one time watch at home for the most curious than any big theatrical experience. C+ for MULAN.
Plot (From Letterboxd Page): Nothing is as it seems when a woman experiencing misgivings about her new boyfriend joins him on a road trip to meet his parents at their remote farm.
My Review: This is the kind of film that embarrasses me to be a Cinephile, given they and snobby critics have flocked to this as their pick for one of the best films of the year. Granted it is technical well-made, the acting is commendable, and I did enjoy the middle of the film when we’re spending time at the parents’ home. But outside of that? these protagonists are equally unlikable, and the whole thing has a pretentious and nihilistic atmosphere that just made feel like I wasted two hours of my day on this. This was better off being the Netflix release it was than anything to see on the big screen. C- for I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS.
Plot (From Letterboxd Page): Amy, an 11-year-old girl, joins a group of dancers named “the cuties” at school, and rapidly grows aware of her burgeoning femininity—upsetting her mother and her values in the process.
My Review: Nowhere near the pedophilic film its critics wanted to brand it as without even seeing it for themselves, this was a decent film festival type of movie that looks into coming of age in such a hyper-sexualized world. I’ll admit there were one or two scenes that left me a bit cringe, but nothing that made me feel too uncomfortable. The performances are all fine and the story says what it wants to say. That said it can be very niche and it does lack re-watch value, but overall I found it to be a decent movie that doesn’t deserve the controversy if you ask me. B- for CUTIES.
Plot (From Letterboxd Page): Lucy is a young gallery assistant who collects mementos from her relationships. She discovers that she must let go of her past to move forward, and comes up with a lovely, artistic way to help herself and others who have suffered heartbreak.
My Review: Grating protagonists, grating side characters, grating writing, and even badly done romance. I found this to be incredibly hard to get through and felt like it was more worthy of a boring night in movie than a theatrical viewing. C- for THE BROKEN HEARTS GALLERY.
Plot (From Letterboxd Page): Successful author Veronica finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it’s too late.
My Review: Not sure who decided to spoil the the incredibly obvious twist in this in the marketing, but I found this to be a different and new kind of horror flick with a message to say. I honestly wouldn’t have minded seeing this on the big screen rather than the VOD option. B- for ANTEBELLUM.
Plot (From Letterboxd Page): In Knockemstiff, Ohio and its neighboring backwoods, sinister characters converge around young Arvin Russell as he fights the evil forces that threaten him and his family.
My Review: This uses a stellar cast with some edge of your seat storytelling to deliver a decent film that could have been greater had it not been spread to thin with so many subplots happening all at once in just a certain amount of runtime. Still, this was a big screen movie sort of movie that Netflix grabbed for the smaller screen. B- for THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME.
Plot (From Letterboxd Page): While searching for her missing mother, intrepid teen Enola Holmes uses her sleuthing skills to outsmart big brother Sherlock and help a runaway lord.
My Review: At times this film can show a little bit of fun and its stylistic choices are beautiful, but overall what I got was a pretty standard paint by the number kids film that seemed to be a bit choppy and all over the place with some highs and lows. This was meant more for home viewing so its probably where it belongs on Netflix. C+ for ENOLA HOLMES.
Plot (From Letterboxd Page): A black ops assassin is forced to fight for her own survival after a job goes dangerously wrong.
My Review: Gotta’ hand it to whoever came up with this, a female assassin film that tries to mix in some melodrama regarding our protagonist’s family life? Its like a mixture of JOHN WICK and an Oscar drama. But unfortunately the final product is something better suited for watching when alone at home and bored than anything that would be cinema up on the big screen. C- for AVA.
Plot (From Letterboxd Page): Sam is a teenage royal rebel, second in line to the throne of the kingdom of Illyria. Just as her disinterest in the royal way of life is at an all-time high, she discovers she has super-human abilities and is invited to join a secret society of similar extraordinary second-born royals charged with keeping the world safe.
My Review: This entire thing feels like it should have come out as a made for television Disney Channel movie and I don’t know what more else I can say in a quick review to give you a good final picture on what this is. C- for SECRET SOCIETY OF SECOND BORN ROYALS.
And that wraps up a whole month of quickie movie reviews from me for the month of September 2020. In the next post for this newsletter I’ll be running down my quickie reviews for the October 2020 films that caught my attention. Stay tuned…