Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020)

Down the road from Woodstock, a revolution blossomed at a ramshackle summer camp for teenagers with disabilities, transforming their lives and igniting a landmark movement.

Crip Camp is one of the most powerful films of 2020, as someone who was autistic as a child the movie really spoke to me. It tackles so much in the film it’s quite remarkable, it shows how several teens with disabilities use their activism to fight, a lot of people tend to only see people with disabilities who can’t do anything and can’t fight for themselves. This movie shows that’s completely wrong, they use their voices just as much as everyone else does, it might be harder but that’s a risk many are willing to take. The film shows so much footage and interviews these teens as well, it truly is beautiful seeing these teens use their voices and really shows a different light. There are several beautiful moments in this documentary that are truly worth seeing, the film is wonderfully done. Every single moment feels incredibly raw and truly unique, this is a film that I believe everyone needs to see, it’s one of the best films of 2020 and will definitely be nominated for best documentary.

10/10 A+

The Witches (2020)

Based on Roald Dahl’s 1983 classic book ‘The Witches’, the story tells the scary, funny and imaginative tale of a seven year old boy who has a run in with some real life witches!

The Witches did not need another remake, the first adaption was solid enough and got the job done…why do another one? This version of The Witches suffers from multiple problems, Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer do the best they can with a very poor script, some of the visuals and the makeup are kinda solid as well. But that’s seriously where it ends for me, acting wise everyone else felt way too wooden. Heck at times Octavia Spencer fell in wooden territory, the writing was just not engaging, a lot of it was typical family movie tropes that really fail to live up to the original adaption, the biggest problem this movie has is it’s too forgettable. It’s one of those movies where you watch it and then two hours later you forget 70% of what happened, outside of Anne Hathaway it really doesn’t do anything that’s going to make the viewer remember it. Chris Rock’s narration does not work at all, it feels way too out of place and does not fit the atmosphere of the actual story. A matter of fact the atmosphere of the movie is a big issue, it has no idea what it wants to be. Does it want to take itself seriously? Does it want to be some wacky family movie? It switches constantly back in forth between many different type of atmospheres, overall The Witches (2020) is completely unnecessary this is going to be one of those many cases where people are going to remember the original adaption and forget the new one as it does almost nothing to make itself standout.

4/10 D+

Cadaver and 32 Malasana Street (2020)

In the starving aftermath of a nuclear disaster, a family of three attends a charitable event at hotel, which takes a dark turn when when people start to disappear.

Cadaver is definitely not terrible, but it’s a movie full of wasted potential. There was definitely some sort of effort put into as the cinematography is actually decent and the movie has the atmosphere working for it, the problem is the acting and writing are just on the weak side. The movie becomes very predictable by the final act to the point where you can guess the ending, overall really nothing else worth mentioning. It’s one of those horror movies you will never think back to again after watching.

5/10 C

A family moving to a new house to live the dream of the big city. A house where dreams turn in nightmares.

I really spoke too soon I said Shudder picked up with Scare Me and The Mortuary Collection only to fall right back down again. This is the second to last movie on Shudder’s lineup leading up to Halloween (at the time this was written who knows they can add something at the last minute) 32 Malasana Street is pretty much every haunted house movie you have seen before, it’s sad because this is based on a true story (apparently) the problem is the movie does absolutely nothing to make itself standout from the rest of the crowd, then you have the transphobia which does absolutely nothing to impact the story. It honestly begs the question…did anybody look at it before it was released? I will give the movie this the filming is pretty nice and I do like the setting, the acting is fine enough but the writing just plays way too safe and doesn’t do anything to help this movie standout. I really don’t have anything else to say what could honestly there be more to say? There’s far better haunted house films out there that outclass this movie in every single way possible.

3/10 D-

Rebecca (2020)

A young newlywed arrives at her husband’s imposing family estate on a windswept English coast and finds herself battling the shadow of his first wife, Rebecca, whose legacy lives on in the house long after her death.

Ben Wheatley’s adaption of Rebecca I’ve been keeping flipping my opinion on, probably somewhere down the line I’m going to most likely rewatch it again. But for now I can definitely say that there was a lot to like about it but at the same time there is a lot that could have been so much better. The best things Rebecca has going for it are the costumes and the cinematography, they both blended very well together and created some beautiful scenery. The acting from Armie Hammer and Lily James were both solid, but that’s where it ends for me everyone else did a fine enough job but nothing mind blowing. I think the biggest issue this film has is it just doesn’t have the atmosphere, this is especially not going to win many people over who absolutely loved Alfred Hitchcock’s version. The atmosphere isn’t the same and doesn’t really have a unique feeling to it at all. It comes off as this type of atmosphere that would be in any other movie like this one. With that said Rebecca is not a bad film Ben Wheatley definitely does a fine enough job (he’s done far better however) I recommend giving it a go if your curious!

6/10 C+

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (2020)

Based on the infamous 1969 trial of seven defendants charged by the federal government with conspiracy and more, arising from the countercultural protests in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The trial transfixed the nation and sparked a conversation about mayhem intended to undermine the U.S. government.

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 was definitely one of my most anticipated films of the year, it’s about the 1968 trial of seven men who along with several protestors protested the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Several different things happened all at once Martin Luther King Jr (killed April 4th 1968) and Robert F. Kennedy (killed June 6th 1968) were both assassinated, The Vietnam War was taking place during the time and much more. Now on to the film itself which is quite powerful, one of the strongest things about this film is the acting and the writing, Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Strong, Mark Rylance and Frank Langella were the standouts. They all truly did a fantastic job, they all portrayed the actual people quite well and not to mention they looked exactly like them too. The writing I was very impressed by, yes there are some cinematic moments that didn’t actually take place but from what I counted I believe there were only two or three incidents, one of which is really not a huge change. Plus the scenes themselves are still quite great, the music is really well done especially combined with the filming and the tension in the courtroom it leads to several powerful speeches. The Trial Of The Chicago 7 is also has the fastest 2 hours and 10 minutes in a movie I have seen in awhile, mostly due to how invested you get into the film. The court case has a lot turns and so many events that happened to the point where you feel like this was a very short film. The ending is going to be a hit or miss for some people, but for me I thought it was pretty well done. The build up to that moment was perfect and the delivery was both mesmerizing and beautiful! The Trial Of The Chicago 7 makes us look back at a fascinating piece of history that is very relevant today, in fact when you finish the film you are pretty much left saying “not much as really changed at all” it truly is a special type of film! When it comes time for award nominations this will definitely be a frontrunner! Give this one a watch!!

10/10 A+

David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020)

Singer David Byrne and a group of international musicians perform songs from the hit Broadway musical “American Utopia.”

I’m going to keep this brief as David Byrne’s American Utopia really speaks for itself. Earlier this year we had a recording of Hamilton and now we have one of American Utopia! I really want to point out that it was a very clever idea that combine both Spike Lee with his direction and mix with it David Byrne, the end result is quite beautiful. Spike Lee makes sure to capture everything and when I mean everything I mean everything, from the movement of the performers, to the beautiful and powerful music it’s truly an amazing performance. The “say his or her’s name” segment is my absolute favorite it’s a huge reflection on current events and really makes sure to tell the viewer on why it’s important. What I absolutely love about this is that it delivers powerful messages through the music, it doesn’t need a lot of dialogue it shows and tells and that is a truly fantastic way of showing your message. I said in my Hamilton review that the running time went by extremely quick and didn’t feel like a very long movie, well this is the exact same case here with American Utopia. Even though it has a running time of 2 hours and 15th minutes it goes by quickly, it’s mostly due to the performance pulling the viewer into it, you feel like your sitting there watching it in person having a blast. Speaking of having a blast this performance is a blast, another thing I absolutely love is how American Utopia combines both fun and meaningful moments, neither of them out balances the other it truly is mesmerizing! Overall American Utopia is fantastic truly one of the highlights of the year that I recommend!!

10/10 A+

Clouds (2020)

Young musician Zach Sobiech discovers his cancer has spread, leaving him just a few months to live. With limited time, he follows his dream and makes an album, unaware that it will soon be a viral music phenomenon.

I really wish Disney advertised this movie a whole lot better, the most I saw it being advertised was a quick ad on TV when I was watching the Billboard Music Awards. Clouds is a pretty solid movie that really surprised me, it’s based off of a true story about a teenager who discovers his cancer has spread and only has a few months left to live. Knowing this he follows his dreams to make a music album, it’s a very sad but inspiring story. It really helps that the acting is really solid, Fin Argus, Sabrina Carpenter and Madison Iseman are all really strong in their roles. The music is wonderful it fits the tone of the film perfectly and really makes you feel all types of emotions, the direction from Justin Baldoni is also really great as well, he previously directed Five Feet Apart which I thought was just okay so this is a huge step up. A lot of people are going to compare this to I Still Believe but I do feel like Clouds is the far better film, I Still Believe definitely had it’s moments but I feel like it’s just nowhere near as strong as Clouds. Clouds has a lot of heart and soul put into it, the only main criticism I do have is that it did not need to be 121 minutes long. I’m not even entirely sure what the choice was to make it that long, but thankfully the pacing is nice and smooth so it doesn’t feel extremely long! Overall Clouds is a really great film and one I definitely recommend!!

8/10 B+

Blackpink: Light Up The Sky (2020)

Chart the meteoric rise of the South Korean girl group BLACKPINK in director Caroline Suh’s documentary.

BlackPink: Light Up The Sky is fascinating look at four young women who formed a group and a lot about each other them. BlackPink debuted their single album “Square One” in August of 2016, then on October 2nd 2020 they released their debut studio album called “The Album” (the film was released just under two weeks after The Album on Netflix) BlackPink has turned into a very successful and gained a massive fanbase, the group consists of Jisoo, Jennie, Rose and Lisa. Now let’s get into the documentary itself which is quite fantastic, what I instantly really like about the film is how it introduces all of the girls and tells a lot about each of them. Including their personalities which are all fantastic and all of the girls come across as genuinely great people who absolutely love their fans. In a lot of ways this film is truly inspiring, all of the girls give this inspirational feeling to the viewer and show they want to accomplish their dreams. Director Caroline Suh makes sure that the viewer gets a lot of detail of member’s personality, energy and understand why they decided to become singers. For a film that is only 79 minutes long it gets a lot out there and does it in a very fast but beautiful way, the editing is spot on it truly wraps everything together really well, the film also has been described as an endearing film that emphasizes each member’s individually. Which I completely agree as I said before it really takes each member and really explores the said member and by the end you will feel fully connected with each member. It also helps that Jisoo, Jennie, Rose and Lisa all seem very charming, inspiring, hilarious and seem like genuinely great people. Earlier this year we had Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana which is still one of my favorite films of the year and I said it is definitely going for Oscars. Well I truly hope BlackPink: Light Up The Sky does the same, it truly is a fascinating film and definitely one of my favorites of the year! Give this one a watch!!

10/10 A+

Kajillionaire (2020)

A woman’s life is turned upside down when her criminal parents invite an outsider to join them on a major heist they’re planning.

Kajillionaire is definitely an interesting movie, for starters Evan Rachel Wood and Gina Rodriguez are both fantastic in their roles especially Evan Rachel Wood who really brings a lot of depth in her role, the direction from Miranda July is pretty strong she tells a very interesting story that’s very captivating. My main criticism with the film is at does go through this very weird tone shift towards the end, I definitely understand what the movie was trying to go for but I really don’t think there was enough build up to that tone shift, it feels very out of place and sort of just came out of nowhere. But besides that Kajillionaire is a very interesting film, this is going to be one of those films that is not going to be for everyone. But I do at least recommend giving it a look if it interests you.

8/10 B+

Totally Under Control (2020)

An in-depth look at how the United States government handled the response to the COVID-19 outbreak during the early months of the pandemic.

Totally Under Control is a documentary that kind of just popped out of nowhere all of a sudden, which it’s understandable of why it did. Totally Under Control was a film made in secret over the last five months, it has tons of interviews with former CDC members and plus several people coming forward and telling their accounts. If you go into Totally Under Control expecting a new big story or a big bombshell you are going to be very disappointed, because a majority of the stuff told and shown in this documentary is either common knowledge or things that already have been reported on. What makes this movie interesting however is how all of this information is stitched together and it’s all presented right here. I also do want to say that there is a lot more information that this movie didn’t cover out there about COVID-19 and how piss poorly politicians handled it, but I definitely understand why not everything was included. If anything it’s nice the movie is there so people who want to do research have a nice documentary that tells a good chunk of information. As far as filmmaking goes it’s pretty solid, the editing is very clean, the film definitely will make you angry and want to throw something across the room. Overall a pretty important documentary that really shows how certain politicians messed up. I just do wish the trailer this documentary didn’t sell it as a “this never before talked about events that this movie is going to expose.”

8/10 B+