The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) – You Let Me Down

Released: 29th April
Seen: 11th July

The United States vs Billie Holiday

As I mentioned in my Judas and the Black Messiah review there were 2 films that were part of the major categories of this year’s Oscars that I didn’t get a chance to see in time. Judas was possibly the one I had the most chance of seeing, since it appeared in Sydney a month before the ceremony (but that’d involve a train ride into, what is still an epicenter of Covid cases). The one that would prove to be impossible to view in time was The United States vs. Billie Holiday… a film released on Hulu in the US back in February, because nothing says “thing that should be impossible to view legally” like a film put on a streaming platform. Anyway, it finally became available down here so I watched it and… well, I get why the only point of awards contention was the lead performance.

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Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) – Thank God!

Released: 11th March
Seen: 9th July

Judas and the Black Messiah Info

Earlier this year we had the Oscars… and they were something of a shitshow. The lowest viewed ceremony in history, filled with baffling nominations that no one really understood (how the hell was Mank the most nominated film?) and an ending that was so cynically planned that it could only end in spectacular failure.

Like with every year I made a prediction post and this year I named two films that I had missed due to lack of availability. One of them was Judas and the Black Messiah, a biopic about the Black Panther party leader Fred Hampton. It would end up taking home best supporting actor and Best Song… my question is why it didn’t take home more because it’s absolutely brilliant.

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Fear Street Part Two: 1978 (2021) – Fri-YAY The 13th

Released: 9th July
Seen: 11th July

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 Info

Last week we got the first part of the Fear Street trilogy, a reverential love letter to the 90s horror classics that also opened up a larger story around the tale of Sarah Fier, a witch who cursed the town of Shadyside. When we left that film, we were about to meet up with the lone survivor of a massacre at a camp in 1978 and I was hyped because that told me we were getting a Friday the 13th style chapter and that’s a franchise I adore. So, does Fear Street Part Two: 1978 live up to expectations? Oh hell yes it does.

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Black Widow (2021) – Kick Ass!

Released: 8th July
Seen: 10th July

Black Widow Info

It’s been over a year since we, as a society, have made the trek to throw money to the almighty House of Mouse as our offering to the rodent entertainment god to provide us another adventure led by superpowered human beings who can do impossible feats. Sure, we’ve had TV offerings like Wandavision and Loki but that cinematic experience has been lacking the last Spider-Man movie (though god, imagine if this pandemic had hit before Endgame and we all had to spend an extra year in a world where half the Marvel superheroes were dead… fanboys would’ve been dropping like flies!).

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Run, Hide, Fight (2021) – Die Soft

Released: 5th May
Seen: 9th July

Run, Hide, Fight info

As a general rule I try my hardest not to let my personal politics impact my enjoyment of a film. I won’t pretend I don’t have intellectual differences with certain films ideas, I even spell them out in order to give context, but I can and have enjoyed movies with values I don’t agree with made by companies run by people who I don’t agree with… so, even though this movie was released in the US by Ben Shapiro’s website, The Daily Caller, a site I would consider a gateway drug to fascism and white supremacy, I promise you that connection had nothing to do with my enjoyment of the film… no, because in order to enjoy this film I would have to have little to no good taste even before I looked into its connections because it’s just so poorly made.

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Tom & Jerry (2021) – Slap-Stuck

Released: 1st April
Seen: 8th July

Tom & Jerry Info

Ever since Who Framed Roger Rabbit, there have been a lot of attempts at putting animated characters into the real world. No film has ever really come close to Who Framed Roger Rabbit in terms of making that combination work, but where a lot of them falter has been the story. You notice how a lot of these films really lean on the main characters travelling cross country in a car with whatever B-list actor they could hire that month. Recently there’ve been more bad attempts at this with Sonic the Hedgehog being bad (sorry, it was) and some pretty good attempts like Detective Pikachu. So, on the spectrum between Sonic and Pikachu, where does Tom & Jerry fall? Right smack in the middle, perfect mediocrity.

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Boss Level (2021) – Game On!

Released: 25th February
Seen: 7th July

Boss Level Info

It’s official, Time Loop movies are having a major resurgence and I am so happy that they are. First there was the horror film Happy Death Day, a film I still wish I had seen in time to put in my best of list for 2017 , then recently we had the Rom com twofer of Palm Springs and The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things which were both just very charming and now I get to talk/gush about Boss Level which is just more proof of what fun can be had with this very simple concept when it’s done right.

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America: The Motion Picture (2021) – America, F**k Meh?

Released: 4th July
Seen: 5th July

You know, I probably should’ve watched this one on the 4th of July. Would’ve been more appropriate to watch a film supposedly celebrating America to watch on the 4th of July, even if I did release the review days later. Well, little behind the scenes trivia for you, I did try to watch it on the 4th of July but at the halfway mark I fell asleep so I figured I should probably watch it again when I was more awake.

Well, I have now done that and it turns out the problem wasn’t that I was too tired, but that America: The Motion Picture is just kind of boring.

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Happily (2021) – Not Happy Jan!

Released: 2nd June
Seen: 4th July

Happily Info

One of the saddest things a film can do is to not seem to know what it should be, relegating the element of the movie that’s actually worth exploring to a single scene when it realistically should just be what the entire movie is. I’m sure we’ve all seen movies where it meanders for an hour and then gets to a single interesting scene that makes you go “Where has this been for the last hour? Why isn’t this the entire movie?”… and if you haven’t, watching Happily will give you that exact feeling.

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Vanquish Header

Vanquish (2021) – Destroy It!

Released: 2nd June
Seen: 2nd July

Vanquish Info

Normally when I review a film, I will try to avoid looking up other reviews or even look at the number on Rotten Tomatoes because I really don’t want to be influenced when writing my own piece. I would hate to steal a line by accident or have my views influenced by the group, I’d rather like an unpopular film than pretend to hate it just to fit in. So, when I was googling the movie Vanquish in order to have the IMDB page up so I could get the spelling of certain names correct and saw that it had a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes I was in shock because that’s worse than the score for Music, and Music is my current front runner for worst of the year. Surely this can’t be that bad, can it?

…it’s close.

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