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August Movie Log

Here is a list of everything I've watched in the month of August 2020...

I would say this month was a pretty even balance of all genres except for the eight sci-fi films and television series, but overall pretty versatile. From horror to romance, a war film and superheroes, I've almost checked off every niche. As a victim of rewatching syndrome this month was refreshing.


As with all my monthly logs, here are my top first time watches of the month...


Normal People

wow.

An exploration in the beauty and genuine rawness of relationships in today's society while normalizing our universal human fears in the most comforting way.


On a surface level, Normal People is a love story about two students in opposite classes, set in a small Irish town. Underneath all the layers, the series is about the complexities of human emotion and the experience of feeling lost in an alienating world.


Besides the performances and cinematography, the essence and world of these characters is actually brought out through the soundtrack, using a blend of Irish and popular American artists. The use of local Irish artists added to the realism of the space, however, the modern songs from artist like Frank Ocean, Selena Gomez, and RYX grounded the show adding to the relatability. Basically I'm just telling you to add it to your summer playlist.

The show feels very observational for the audience. Viewers are brought into the world of these characters through long p.o.v tracking shots and camera placement in a space. The framing at sometimes unconventional, especially for a romantic drama television series, but natural to the human eye. There's such a simplicity to the show as a whole were every detail from colour choice, lighting and framing and has a great impact


The scenes are uniquely paced, playing out in real-time, with little to no editing. It captures reality allowing characters time to think, react, and process, for a naturally unique experience. There is no hiding any awkwardness and the show does not shy away from silence.


What makes this series so special is how organically the relationship is captured. I don't often watch this genre a lot but Normal People has exceeded all my expectations.


Check out my full blog post (here)

4/5


Devs

alex garland. enough said.

Devs is an excellent thought-provoking modern sci-fi mini-series that focuses on themes of determination and exploration of free will. It requires patience and an empty mind to thoroughly enjoy. In the long run, the series won't disappoint, and worth the watch.


There is a well-paced, slow-burn momentum that for anyone familiar with Garland's work is a custom to. It's understated in the most thrilling way. It's from the mastermind behind 2014's ExMachina and 2018'a Annihilation, so you just know your in for something mindblowing. It's evident that the series deeply favours aesthetics...maybe even more than the overall plot clarity or characters.


However, the imagery is quite stunning in a typical sleek, techy, Garland way. Large imposing trees with neon LED halo rings, empty rooms with warm circular pulsating lights and a giant statue of a little girl... yea that one is a bit weird I'll give you that.

Devs has an ambitiously modern sci-fi look for a television series and coming from mainly working in a film medium, it's clearly evident that Garlands cinematic standards have remained the same, but honestly, I'm a sucker for aesthetics and this show delivers.


The answers to the questions posed are brought fourth quite early in the series, where more time is spent in the contemplation of what the answers actually mean. Dev's keeps the audience curious. As a fan of Alex Garland work, I can't recommend this enough as a workout for your brain. Check out my full in-depth non-spoiler review (here)

3.9


Umbrella Academy Season 2

soundtrack. soundtrack. soundtrack.

Do I prefer season one, absolutely, however this season we got to explore the characters as individuals spending more time with them one on one versus as an ensemble.


I'm a harsh soundtrack critic and it can either make or break any series, this season absolutely did not disappoint and quite possibly made top ten on my ultimate soundtrack list. From Backstreets Back to Bad Guy, Adele’s Hello and Booney M's Sunny. The mix of 60's soul and covers of today's hits, elevated the series completely. It effectively uses music to propel the storyline, to a point where it saved the season.

As with many superhero genre sequels, Umbrella Academy falls into the overstuffed subplots of new characters who don't really need to be involved. Low-stakes sideline stories drag out valuable time in the episodes while getting slightly caught up in it's own style.


However, the success of the series is all due to the likeability of the characters. There's a rare unique energy to the show whereby simpling situating three characters in a hair salon, dancing and goofing around is as equally entertaining and rewarding. It's fun and stylish, everything you can ask for. If you're looking for a new series, that's energetic and exciting, add this to your binge list.

3.9


In Fabric.

oh A24, how I love you so.

A throwback to classic Italian 70's horror films, In Fabric focuses on a department store run by witches who curse a single red dress in-store. The dress has unpleasant and sometimes violent effects on its wearers, but the film isn't truly about the dress itself but a character study on the purchasers.


It has an excellent visual style with a retro throwback soundscape. Although this was shot in 2018, the film executed an effective 70's style, with transition work and colour. It reminds me of Dario Argento Suspiria, but not as good.

In Fabric is surreal, sensual and actually seriously funny. It's a very unique and interesting concept with more potential than it's final delivery. It's good, but there's missing something that would elevate the overall effectiveness of the film. There's a gap between the bizarre mysteries and the cinematic style that's restraining the overall accomplishment of the films set up.


Without a doubt, the film is not for everyone, you'll find yourself thinking 'are they really going there? oh they are, and there it is, and it happened." If you appreciate 70's or classic Giallo horror films, you'll like this movie. Even if it's not the right fit maybe slip it on and give it try, side effects not included.


3.2/5


 

And that's August!


Some other honourable mentions for the month are Starfish and The Wind that Shakes the Barley








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