Shaft (2019) – Daft

Released: 28th June
Seen: 10th August

In 1971 the world learned the answer to the immortal question “Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks?” and turns out, that answer would be an icon of blaxploitation cinema and one of the most badass characters to ever appear on film. John Shaft started as a detective novel before his original trilogy of movies (Shaft, Shaft’s Big Score and Shaft in America) and even ended up with a TV series in the early 70’s before the character was retired until the character was revived in 2000 for a brand new Shaft movie that did fairly well but didn’t get any sequels… until now. Now it has a sequel that did poorly at the box office, was distributed internationally on Netflix and is currently the most critically panned movie in the entire franchise. Does it deserve that kind of treatment? Is the film really bad enough to deserve to be relegated to the trash heap of cinema history? Kind of, but only because it’s kind of bland.

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Point Blank (2019) – Half Points

Released: 12th July
Seen: 9th August

In 2010 the French film À bout portant came out to critical acclaim. Known overseas as Point Blank, it’s a story of a nurse who gets dragged into a world of dirty cops and gangsters when his pregnant wife is kidnapped and he’s under orders to break a known hitman out of prison. Not only did it get a lot of praise but there have been multiple remakes in South Korea, Bangla, a Tamil-language remake and there were even plans for a Bollywood remake, although I can’t find if that one ever got made. With so many countries remaking it you can almost tell that there was an inevitable remake to come from America because subtitles are hard to read and originality is not required anymore so instead let’s take something that was relatively popular somewhere else, slap America on it and we’re good to go… I mean, it’s not great but I’ve seen worse translations.

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See You Yesterday (2019) – Timely

Released: 17th May
Seen: 8th August

The concept of Time Travel in cinema is one of the most fun and irritating plot concepts we’ve ever come up with. Fun because it allows us to explore history and do variants of “Person from today is stuck in the past” stories that present a fish out of water narrative. Irritating because, every single time it happens, people try to logic the hell out of the time travel and explain why it wouldn’t work that way as though time travel was an actual thing and not a storytelling device meant to act as the most threadbare framework for an actual story. This was evidenced earlier this year with Endgame where people ignored the larger story about acknowledging the past of an entire universe of characters and showing the drastic change and growth of everyone involved and instead said “Actually it makes no sense that they all travelled like that, time travel doesn’t work that way” in a whiny high pitched voice, not unlike Urkel with his testicles in a vice. In case it isn’t obvious, I do not care if the Time Travel element doesn’t make sense because it never has to. It is a variation on the MAGIC SCIENCE that was used in Happy Death Day 2U and nothing more. Now that we have all that out of the way, let’s talk about one of the newest entries into the Time Travel genre and the first Netflix film since Someone Great that actually got a reaction out of me.

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Secret Obsession (2019) – I’ve Got A Secret

Released: 18th July
Seen: 5th August

I almost feel bad for taking so many cheap shots at Netflix and their original films. I’ve lambasted them, I’ve mocked them, I’ve put them on my “worst of” lists but I swear I don’t do it intentionally. Netflix probably makes the exact same amount of good and bad films as any other distributor… the catch is that a bad Netflix film is one you can only see on Netflix with a Netflix branded logo right up the top hammering home just where you saw it. I also don’t mind that they have bought so many subpar films, they have to do their best to try and outright own as much content as they possibly can since they’re having content pulled by their corporate partners who are trying to make their own service. Hell, they just lost all of Disney’s stuff while Disney prepared for Disney+, I can’t imagine that Fox properties will stay on there for long thanks to the Disney merger and CBS is pulling a ton of its stuff too in preparation for whatever they’re doing with their own platform. I get that Netflix is trying to maintain a large number of films and aren’t that fussy about the quality… but god damn I wish they’d maybe try a little harder to not pick up the scraps that fell off Lifetime’s table.

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The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019) – DIVE DIVE DIVE!

Released: 31st July
Seen: 4th August

In the 1980s there was a huge refugee crisis in Sudan. Thousands of Ethiopian Jewish refugees fled persecution by making an arduous trip to Israel. To help get these refugees from Sudan to Israel, Mossad agents set up a fake hotel as a cover that they used to keep eyes off them while they were sneaking large numbersof refugees to somewhere safer. The entire endeavour was lead by a man named Gad Shimron and he, along with his team, saved over 12,000 people from persecution. It’s a story that Gad put in a book called Mossad Exodus or you can read a condensed version in an article from The Sun. To quote the end of the article “It is, [Gad] says, important to remember that the bravest people in the story aren’t the Mossad operatives but the Ethiopian Jews who endured endless hardships trying to reach Israel by land, sea or air — uncomplaining men, women and children who crowded into trucks, small boats or planes with no guarantee of safe passage.”… but Hollywood decided that they could get Captain America to play a Mossad agent and that changed the focus considerably.

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Otherhood (2019) – Eh

Released: 2nd August
Seen:3rd August

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is no job on earth harder than being a mother. It’s a 24/7 job that starts the second the child is born until the second one of the two people involved in the mother/child dynamic is no longer on the earth. Mothers will do anything for their children, including taking part in an elaborate bribery scandal to get their obscenely well off children into expensive colleges that they don’t deserve to attend. Mothers truly are something special, and they remain mothers even when their children have moved to another town and begun living lives that are completely separate from their parents. Of course, sometimes kids can be jackasses and forget to call their mothers while they’re off living their lives. When that happens there’s only one thing to do… an elaborate comedy about invasion of privacy that ends up going well for everybody!

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The Perfection (2019) – It Played Me Like A Fiddle

Released: 24th May
Seen: 11th June

The genre of Horror comes with many subgenres, a lot of flavours that keep it interesting. The genre itself is so extraordinary and wild that it can go from the mental destruction caused by a Psychological horror to the elaborate gore of a slasher, to the homemade hell of Found Footage. Every subgenre has its own little quirks and tricks, its own landmark films and dedicated fan base. Heck, even fans of the horror genre have subgenres they love and ones they loathe. I, for example, am a big fan of the fun cheesy slashers but I always get irritated by found footage films. So, what sub-genre would I put a movie like The Perfection into? Is “HOLY SHIT” a subgenre? Because I believe I want to make it a subgenre.

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Wine Country (2019) – *Insert bad wine pun here*

Released: 10th May
Seen: 11th May

Wine Country

Sometimes, in order to make a good comedy, you just need a good comic actor and let nature take its course. Half of the movies by people like Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy are testaments to just what you can do when you get someone who is naturally funny and let them loose on film. So when the basic description of a film can be boiled down to “half a dozen of the funniest women on SNL go to Napa and drink wine for 90 minutes” I was all in, it’s a simple plot that is basically designed to have the actresses show off just what they can do and to come up with some good comedy… I mean, I’m sure that was the intention but let’s talk about the execution of that idea.

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The Perfect Date (2019) – Maybe Not Perfect, But Good

Released: 12th April
Seen: 6th May

The Perfect Date Info.png

Yesterday I talked about a little Netflix teen comedy called The Last Summer that, while watchable, lacked a real cohesive plotline and likable characters despite the actual charm of the lead cast. It cannot be understated just how important those two things are in a teen rom-com, they basically are what will give the movie an audience that goes beyond the specific demographic that will watch every single one of those movies. So what would happen if we take a similar cast from The Last Summer, including a different Riverdale alum, but make all the characters charming and likable while also allowing them to interact through a cohesive plot that doesn’t make me want to rip my eyeballs out with tweezers? Well, that’s when you get The Perfect Date.

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Isn’t It Romantic (2019) – Heartwarming or Heartburn?

Released: 28th February
Seen: 5th March

Isn't It Romantic.png

This review was going to start with a paragraph that would try to discuss the concept of postmodernism, originally I would go through the concept and throw out a few assorted examples like Duchamp’s “Fountain” or the movie Scream and then create this elaborate explanation about how it’s self-critical and how no one understands it. This is how a lot of my reviews begin, a tangential observation about the general concept of the film that is meant to provide context and to have something that appears before the “Read More” text on the main page. This allows me a chance to not only give a point of reference early but to make use of a stupidly expensive degree that I will probably never get to use in any other context… and that, my dear reader, is a postmodern version of the opening paragraph to a movie that clearly is trying to be a postmodern critique of romantic comedies.

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