2020 AUGUST MOVIE RANKINGS
Now we’re cooking with gas. This past month, I got to check off a few films from my ever-growing watch list (the one on my phone, not the short-list on the website), the best of which coming from the Wes Anderson marathon. That was such a treat, and if you have not seen the films I reviewed for it, I implore you to; they are a wonderful viewing experience to be had. The rest of the features are relatively fresh, ranging different genres and tones. Really, it wasn’t that bad of a month for quality of films (at least, the ones I’ve seen). With theaters now opening back up, I look to catch a few newer releases this September, so be on the look-out for those (who could pass up “Tenet” in the theater?).
55%= Burnt Popcorn
Pros: Solid voice acting, some funny moments, there are some featured Hanna-Barbera characters, and the animation is good (for the most part).
Cons: Injects every “new” trend you can think of into the narrative horribly, doesn’t have a sense of time (Shaggy had the latest iPhone when he was both a kid and adult), the gang is split up for most of the adventure, and the Hanna-Barbera characters could have been utilized better.
#9- “X-Men: Dark Phoenix”
69%= Burnt Popcorn
Pros: Good acting, gives a better glimpse to the backstory of Jean Grey, has some cool action sequences (the train especially), amazing score, and good cinematography.
Cons: The villains are lackluster, Quicksilver is side-lined, the characters (for the most part) seem about worn out in the narrative sense (Magneto in particular), and there wasn’t much excitement with this outing. It kind of just hobbled along to the finish line.
#9- “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”
69%= Burnt Popcorn
Pros: Reeves and Winter still have great chemistry, it’s funny, the addition of Death is genius, takes a different direction you would expect, has a cool use of color/lighting in some sequences, and has a fun final song.
Cons: The story can waver from time to time, with the journey taking way longer than the destination (the final fight lasts a second compared to the work to get there). What also hinders this feature is its lack of the moralistic value that was found in the first feature.
#8- “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”
74%= Juicy Popcorn
Pros: Entertaining, funny, iconic characters (and excellent chemistry), fun use of history/time travel, and an easy, mindless watch.
Cons: As the pros state, it’s mindless entertainment. With that comes plot holes, inconsistencies, and coincidental circumstances.
#7- “An American Pickle”
76%= Juicy Popcorn
Pros: Fresh idea, awesome opening (especially with the cinematography), solid performance from Seth Rogen, and overall entertaining.
Cons: The plot seemed to get repetitive in its second act, Ben was a rather flat character compared to his great-grandfather (granted, he had a decent pay-off by the end), and as the film progresses the laughs become less and less.
#6- “The Daytrippers”
86%= Juicy Popcorn
Pros: Raw filmmaking style/acting, strong performances, engaging story, and hilarious.
Cons: The handheld can become a bit too much in certain scenes (sometimes, the focus was completely soft for long stretches of time) and the ending is… well, okay, I guess? It will surely take a second viewing to assess fully.
#5- “Bad Education” (2019)
87%= Juicy Popcorn
Pros: Terrific acting, riveting story, surprisingly funny, good score, and solid cinematography.
Cons: There were a few story elements I didn’t care for, and the ending scene didn’t seem needed (though I did like the bizareness of it, the tone was definitely different from the rest of the film).
#4- “The Darjeeling Limited”
88%= Juicy Popcorn
Pros: Great lead performances (and the characters are well-written), fun/memorable moments, and beautiful cinematography/production design.
Cons: The story is pretty loose as the narrative is mainly built around moments than an overarcing theme.
#3- “The Royal Tenenbaums”
91%= Juicy Popcorn
Pros: Whimsical, interesting set of characters, aesthetically pleasing, wonderful cinematography, great song choices, and an all-around entertaining family affair.
Cons: Because there were so many characters, there wasn’t as much time given to all of them (like Ben Stiller’s Chas) as I would’ve liked.
#2- “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”
92%= Juicy Popcorn
Pros: Bizarre, hilarious, well-acted, wonderful array of characters, unpredictable, engaging story, different style from all Anderson’s work, interesting use of stop-motion, and killer set of music (from David Bowie, no doubt).
Cons: Took a second watch for me to fully grasp/appreciate (but… that’s not too much of a problem).
#1- “Ford v. Ferrari”
94%= Juicy Popcorn
Pros: Envigorating action scenes, awesome cinematography, great performances (Damon and Bale have stellar chemistry), motivating theme (gotta love patriotism/friendship), and a downright amazing ride.
Cons: Listen here pal, do I always have to give a con? The film isn’t perfect. It’s villain plays by the textbook, as does the structure of the movie. But do we expect anything more?
Juicy Hall of Fame Inductee– “Rushmore”
97%= Juicy Popcorn
Pros: Beautiful… just beautiful. The characters, cinematography, acting, moments; they are some of Anderson’s best and most endearing because the lead figure of Max is so intriguing, and the conflict he creates for himself is entertaining. Not to mention, the ending made me tear up.
Cons: The cutting together of title cards (to represent the seasons) are spaced out so far apart they are forgettable/jarring, but that is more so a nitpick than anything (and it’s not even that bad).
Whaddaya know? Another recent Best Picture nominee takes the month (am I becoming predictable?). “Ford v. Ferrari” will face “1917,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Parasite,” “Uncut Gems,” “Silence,” “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” “A Ghost Story,” “Prisoners,” and the rest of the month winners to decide who will be the next Movie of the Year!