I honestly thought I posted this at the start of August, but here it is: 11 films in the July fight.
#FF23 Blackberry is a dramatisation of the rise and fall of RIM, and the Blackberry phone.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
Baruchel is good, but Howerton has never been than as the sociopathic executive who gets them early success. The film drags a little towards the end, but is very solid up until then.
#FF23 Fool's Paradise is about Hollywood and stardom.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
While Charlie Day's physical performance is good, there's not enough of a plot or decent characterisation to make the film work. It feels cobbled together from a bunch of worse drafts. For a comedy there are few laughs.
Smoking Causes Coughing
#FF23 Smoking Causes Coughing is an odd, French comedy.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
It treats it's over-the-top premise (a Power Rangers like group on a team bonding camping session), with seriousness, even as things get weirder. It slides from this into a bunch of side stories that are a mixed bunch
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One
#FF23 Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One is the kind of big action we like to see in theatres— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
Bloated by having to explain the unusual (and eye-rolling) villain, when the set pieces kick off it's worth the wait. Cruise shows his trademark commitment to the stunts.
#FF23 The Flash has a handful of good ideas and fun action, squandered in a mess of a flabby film.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
Keaton is great, but ultimately just in the movie as fan service (though not the most egregious). The visual effects are often terrible: like a bad Unreal engine demo.
How To Blow Up A Pipeline
#FF23 How To Blow Up A Pipeline is a smart, focussed, methodical film about... well, blowing up a pipeline.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
The structure, going back and forth between character's back stories, works well; the pacing is tight without being frantic; and the story pans out nicely.
#FF23 Oppenheimer is a surprisingly intimate film for Nolan, focussing more on the man himself than the wider action around him.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
Murphy puts in a career-best performance, shining in an absolutely stacked cast. Downey Jr too. At three hours, it moves quickly.
#FF23 The Out-Laws is a fairly flimsy comedy about in-laws who are bank robbers.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
There's a bunch of flab in the middle here, but it's fun if forgettable and lightweight. Brosnan seems to be having some fun at least.
They Cloned Tyrone
#FF23 They Cloned Tyrone is an odd mix: at times a broad, goofy adventure, at others a little darker, with clear nods to blaxploitation films, and an underlying message around race in America.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
Boyega, Foxx, and Parris all put in good performances that make it work.
The Artifice Girl
#FF23 The Artifice Girl is an excellent sci-fi indie about AI and trauma.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
The second act is a little expositional, but the first and last acts of the three act structure are fantastic. Weighty ideas from which the director/write/star doesn't flinch.
An excellent feature debut.
#FF23 Barbie is an outrageously big take on the franchise.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) July 30, 2023
Robbie and Gosling are perfectly cast with their completely bought-in performances; it could've been goofy in less capable hands. Funny, knowing, with a good message. Doesn't know how to end but has fun on the way
The July Winner
Some very good films this month, but the winner for me is Oppenheimer; Nolan’s most interesting work in a long time.