A fairly respectable month, with 10 films in July.
Family Romance, LLC
#FF20 Family Romance, LLC is a fascinating look at Japanese businesses who rent family members, like a father for your wedding.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 5, 2020
Presented in a documentary style, the drama that unfolds is subtle and human. Herzog makes his protagonist relatable, despite his business.
#FF20 Wasp Network has a good first hour, setting up several characters in this story about how the Cuban government would infiltrate organisations in Florida.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 11, 2020
The second hour? Feels like they really need a lot longer.
Solid performances, but doesn't really get time to develop.
#FF20 Hamilton lives up to its reputation as an exceptionally polished musical, mixing styles to create something fresh.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 11, 2020
Even at 3 hours, it rushes a lot, with a lot of tell-don't-show storytelling. Lots of characters, particularly the women, are pretty flat.
Good but flawed.
The Old Guard
#FF20 The Old Guard lives up to its billing: a Summer blockbuster for lockdown. Not as spectacular as it might be, but never looks cheap.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 12, 2020
The premise is decent, but some of the worldbuilding a bit heavyhanded. Some decent action. Some not so decent.
Fun enough for two hours.
#FF20 Palm Springs sits neatly in one of my favourite tropes: time-loops. This is Groundhog Day at a wedding, if Andie MacDowell's character was also in on the loop.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 12, 2020
Funny, sweet, dumb, inventive, and with a bunch of neat twists.
Samberg and Milioti make this great.
#FF20 The Assistant is a look at how people become complicit in sexual harassment, through utter mundanity and bullying.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 19, 2020
The first 30 minutes work without words: painting a picture of the drudge of office life, with clues sprinkled around.
Fantastic performances. Must see.
Nobody Knows I’m Here
#FF20 Nobody Knows I'm Here is about a reclusive former child singer.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 19, 2020
Each new bit of information about his circumstances complicates the story just enough to make it interesting again.
Good lead performance. Ends at the right time. Worth seeing.
#FF20 VFW is about veterans protecting a girl from drug-fuelled, almost zombie-like punks.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 26, 2020
It's intentionally trashy, b-movie fodder. Grim, gory, and over-the-top in every respect.
The dialogue is awful and the characters unpleasant. Decent practical effects.
#FF20 Only is about a global pandemic that infects women, and a couple fighting for survival.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 26, 2020
It's a not particularly subtle take on patriarchy and misogyny, going back and forward over the first year after the outbreak.
Okay in most regards.
The Night Clerk
#FF20 The Night Clerk is a dull, lifestyle movie that has somehow got a solid cast.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) August 1, 2020
That said, the cast are given very little to do, other than crawl through the boring, predictable plot at a snail's pace.
Entirely forgettable. Avoid.
The July Winner
Tough to pick between the three films that stood out, but I think it has to be The Assistant. Fantastic but understated performances that show us how we become complicit in things with which we disagree.