What I Watched in August

Movies

The Titan – This starts with an interesting idea, but it never really develops beyond that. I mostly just found it dull, which might be partly on me but it is at least partly on the movie. *1/2
Mission Impossible: Fallout – read review here. ****1/2
Dude – An occasionally raunchy coming of age story the most interesting part of which is that it focuses on high school age girls instead of boys, as is the usual. It mostly works, but ***
Come Sunday – This details how pastor Carlton Pearson came to excommunicated by his church. It is a mostly solid meditation on faith with most of the interest generated by the cast. **1/2
The Dark Knight – yup, it is still really great. *****
The Time Machine – There is a lot about this movie that doesn’t work, including some of the CGI, but I can’t say I wasn’t entertained. Mostly that is due to how fun Guy Pearce is to watch. He works perfectly as a Victorian era time traveler. I don’t agree with some of the choices the movie made with its adaptation, including ending with heroic genocide, but as a fan in general of early 00’s blockbusters, it was fine. **1/2
Duck Duck Goose – A Netflix original kids movie that doesn’t have much to offer. I was in for the voice of Jim Gaffigan, but this isn’t a Pixar “for kids of all ages movie,” this is a kids movie as in from ages 4-7, no one older need apply. I guess there is stuff small kids would laugh at, but there is nothing interesting or original about it. **
Flavors of Youth – This is an anime anthology, with three segments each set in a different Chinese city. None of the segments are masterpieces by any stretch, but each one of them is enjoyable. This is well worth a watch. ***1/2
6 Balloons – A movie about addiction that maybe just didn’t hit me at the right time. While preparing for a birthday party she is throwing for her boyfriend, a woman discovers that her heroin addict brother has relapsed. So instead of getting her party ready, she tries to help her brother. But there really isn’t anything she can do for him. It is painful to watch and more than a little heartbreaking. ***
BlacKkKlansman – review coming soon ****1/2
Buckaroo Banzai Across the EIghth Dimension – I had heard of this movie, but never seen it until a couple of weeks ago when I fired it up on Amazon Prime. I was not disappointed. This movie seems desperate to show in every crazy idea the screenwriter could come up with into one movie and one character. It is shocking how well this bloated grab bag of ideas holds together. Every scene there is something new and interesting happening, often without comment as though the various bits of craziness are just everyday occurrences. Still, it lacks a cohesion of the best 80’s movies of this ilk. ****
The Spy Who Dumped Me – review coming soon. ***
Cowboy Bebop The Movie – I took my brother to see this in the theater. Walking in I would swear I had seen it before, but that was apparently not the case. It is really good. It is just an extra long episode of the show, but Cowboy Bebop is great show. You might want some foreknowledge about who the characters are before going in, but it is a complete story. Really, the more I think about it the more I like it. It is just a really well made sci-fi sort of noir mystery. ****1/2
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – You can probably tell from the title whether or no this movie is for you. It is a period piece romance with a story within a story structure dealing with the Nazi occupation of Guernsey during WWII. Lily James is great, as is Matthew Goode. I don’t that there is anything really special about it, but it scratches a certain itch and it worked for me.****

TV

Midsomer Murders S5-6 – I watched some more of this. I still don’t really have a lot to say about it. It is largely well made but I have not thought about the show for a second when it wasn’t on the screen.
Schitts Creek S1-3 – This show has a terrible title, a title that kept me from watching it despite liking Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara. Fortunately, I heard other people raving about and finally gave it a chance. The title is easily the worst part of the show. It is some weird mix of Arrested Development and Parks and Rec. It is a story about a rich family brought low, but is also a show about developing a small populated by some kooky characters. Through these first three seasons it just keeps getting better, especially after the show figures out what it is doing with its characters. It develops into something with that warmth of Parks and Rec built around a family that becomes genuinely likeable. It is good stuff.
The Keepers – I was not as enthused as I expected from this true crime show. Each episode seemed too long to me. There were significant gaps from when I started from when I finished, which didn’t help my engagement with the show. Overall, it just felt a little short on true substance.
Disenchantment – After the first batch of episodes I still wonder what this show is going to be. I say this first batch is roughly on par with revival Futurama. To me that is mostly a good thing, it might not reach the heights of the best but it is still very entertaining. This show seems to want to have more of a central narrative than Futurama did and after seeing the end if this first batch I am very curious to see that develop. Otherwise, it is a solidly good, mostly pretty funny show that has yet to have a real standout moment or episode. I liked it a lot anyway.
Insatiable – I see what this show is supposed to be and at times it nearly gets there. But its satire is too scattershot and often too broad to work. It seems to want to be something like Riverdale, but as a completely campy send up, but it takes more than half the season to find its footing and even then has plenty of miscues. I understand why the creators were kind of defensive about the fat shaming stuff, because that is really not what the show is. Except for the occasional moment, mostly offhand jokes, when that is what the show is. It does start developing into something interesting in the latter half and I was prepared to give the show a tentative recommendation, but then the last 20 minutes or so of the last episode happened and I am out. The show crossed a line it can’t walk back and I am not interested in following. This show isn’t worth it.

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