September 2021 Viewing Recap + Movie(s) of the Month

september watches

HAPPY FALL, everyone! I’ve actually put out my Fall floral decór with pumpkins on my front porch and swapped out my door wreath with sunflowers, pinecones, etc. Autumn is my favorite season here in Minnesota and we get such gorgeous Fall foliage this time of year, so we’re heading out to a state park up north to marvel at the changing Fall colors!

Ok, now on to the movie report… 

NEW TO ME MOVIES

I actually didn’t get to see as many new movies this past month, not sure why… but hey, I did get to see No Time To Die at least a week earlier than most, so yay!

Minari (2020)

Minari-film-Korean-family

I saw this on the plane back from LA earlier this month and really enjoyed it. I love the performances, esp. Steven Yeun and Yuh-Jung Youn who won an Oscar for her role. Now, I honestly am not sure if this film is THAT good that it’s Oscar-worthy though, but given how few Asian-centric films are recognized, I can’t really complain that it was nominated.

Here Today (2021)

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Crystal is a wonderful performer, and he + Haddish definitely make for a winning comedic pairing, so I’m glad I saw this one.

Full Review

Shang-Chi (2021)

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It’s massively entertaining with dazzling action sequences + fight choreography. Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh automatically add immense gravitas just by being present in this film and I’m happy to say I’m impressed with Simu Liu as an action hero.

Full Review

The Eyes Of Tammy Faye (2021)

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Despite the extensive amount of Jessica Chastain‘s screen time, in the end it’s a pretty thin character study, as I don’t think I know that much more about Tammy Faye than I did before I saw the film.

Full Review

Being James Bond

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A brief 46-min retrospective doc where Daniel Craig candidly reflects on his 15-year tenure as James Bond. It includes never-before-seen archival footage spanning from Casino Royale (2006) to No Time To Die (2021), though given its brevity, it’s not exactly a deep dive into Craig’s Bond career as I had hoped it would be.

The Guilty (Danish film)

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Nordic thrillers are quite popular in Hollywood, hence the countless remakes from Danish productions, but star power and bigger budget don’t always translate to better films. I’m very curious how the Netflix film will fare compared to this one.

Full Review

My Name is Pauli Murray (doc)*

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Review upcoming…

Honest Thief

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My hubby and I actually enjoy Liam Neeson action movies! Thankfully there are TONS of them, ahah. Yes there’s a certain formula to them but some of the plots are actually amusingly-clever, and Neeson is a reliable action star. I might do a Neeson action series review compilation one of these days, but I still need to watch Run All Night, A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Commuter and The Marksman.

No Time To Die

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Review coming this weekend… in the meantime, I invite you to check out two Bond related posts from last week: Top 15 Daniel Craig’s JAMES BOND Moments and Ranking Daniel Craig’s Bond Movies.

Good On Paper*

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I haven’t had much luck with Netflix’s rom-com but I was curious to check this one out after seeing the trailer. Firstly, I knew the smiling-too-much guy is a fraud right away, so it’s just laughable that the protagonist didn’t pick up on it for weeks! In any case, I thought Iliza Shlesinger (who wrote and starred in it) is pretty funny… oh and did Margaret Cho lose a lot of weight recently? In any case, it was entertaining enough… glad it’s only 92 min long so it never overstayed its welcome.

Food Club* (Danish film)

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I wanted to see a female-directed film on the last day of the month (and I’m still one movie short for the month)


52 films by womenMovies indicated with * (asterisk) indicates those directed by women. I managed to only three films directed by women in September, gotta do better this month! I am hopeful I can actually complete the 52 Films By Women challenge by the end of the year.


TV SERIES

Apple TV+ FOUNDATION (2021)

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I will review this once the series wrapped, but so far I enjoyed the first two episodes and can’t wait to see more! Check out my in-depth post on the sci-fi series here, based on the highly-influential Isaac Asimov’s books that apparently inspired Star Wars, Dune, etc.

Marvel’s WHAT IF? (2021)

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Though I’m not always fond of every single episode (can’t even think of my fave episode on the top of my head), I do marvel at the spectacular animation of this series. The visuals are truly a marvel, I even think some of the animated characters are better looking than the actors playing them (*wink* Hawkeye *wink*). I also LOVE Jeffrey Wright‘s voice as The Watcher narrating the series and his character finally getting some action in the latest episode.

Ted Lasso – season 2 (2021)

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I love the Rebecca-centric episodes and the latest, No Weddings and A Funeral is such a hoot!! There’s definitely shades of Richard Curtis’ rom-coms in there, and the 80s kid in me rejoice hearing Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up!


REWATCHES

King Kong (2005) | Robocop (1987) | Octopussy (1983) | La La Land (2016)  | Pacific Rim (2013) | Skyfall (2012)

Some fun rewatches this month! I watched King Kong in the hotel after we went to Universal Studios Hollywood. I actually like that Peter Jackson-directed movie a lot even though it didn’t do well at the box office. Coming back from L.A. where we visited the Griffith Observatory, I was in the mood to see a movie with great scenery of the city of Angels, hence La La Land. Pacific Rim is one of those movies I’d watch for no reason as it’s just so fun and entertaining. Seeing Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam together makes me wish they’d both be cast in a Bond movie!

As for Robocop, we actually rewatched this on the big screen as my hubby’s colleague actually has this monthly movie night where he rented a theatre showing older classics. It’s still way better than the remake. 

Lastly, I rewatched two Bond movies in anticipation of No Time To Die of course. I had rewatched The Living Daylights in August, and was hoping to catch Licence To Kill this past month but didn’t get to it so I’ll rewatch it soon!


SEPTEMBER MOVIE(S) OF THE MONTH

It’s another tie this month… I simply cannot pick one over the other as both are entertaining and meaningful to me.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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No Time To Die


Well, what did you watch last month and what’s YOUR favorite film(s) you saw in SEPTEMBER?

FlixChatter Review: Den Skyldige (The Guilty – 2018)

A few days ago I saw the trailer for Netflix production of The Guilty starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Soon I learned it’s actually a remake (surprise, surprise) of this Nordic version which won the Audience and Grand Jury Award at Sundance. Thankfully this movie is available in HULU, so I decided to give it a watch.

This film is a study in minimalism that less is more. The set is pretty austere, just a small dispatch call center with a few call operators, that’s it. The premise itself is a simple one as well… police officer Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) has been assigned to dispatch duty, but things unexpectedly escalates when he answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. I love the slo-burn build up that Swedish writer/director Gustav Möller sets up here, working from a script written by himself and Emil Nygaard Albertsen. He’s got the self assurance of a more seasoned filmmaker even though this is his feature directorial debut. He’s only got one other credit directing a short film, which is even more impressive.

dispatch center

The night starts out pretty routine, as Asger answer calls from people who got mugged at the red light district which displays that he’s not the most empathetic dispatcher. It make sense once it’s revealed this isn’t Asger’s regular job and that he’s got a court appointment the next day. What that court appointment is for isn’t revealed until later, but for most of the film, the drama revolves around the conversation between Asger and a woman named Iben (voiced by Jessica Dinnage). At first, everything points to a kidnapping… a woman in a domestic violence situation kidnapped by her abusive husband, leaving their young daughter and a baby boy alone at home. Asger even gets to speak with the daughter, Mathilde (voiced by Katinka Evers-Jahnsen) as it confirms his suspicion further than Iben is in extreme danger under the clutch of a violent man. Well, or so he thought.

the guilty Danish film

Nothing is what it seems in this film, even the title itself had me pondering as I was watching it… who is actually the guilty person? As Asger breaks protocol in trying to help Iben, he asks for help from his partner Rashid (voiced by Omar Shargawi) which drops subtle hints as to what the court appointment is all about. Well, the answer emerges as the film reaches its climax. I gasped as the truth was revealed as to what was actually happening. The deceptively simple script tackles not just one but two concurrent narratives Iben’s and Asger’s, and makes it a pretty gripping ride.

The entire time, all we see is Asger who only has the phone as his only connection to the outside world. The entire thing is contained in a single location, the protagonist only moves from the main call center to a smaller office a few steps away. Cedergren delivers a solid performance that manages to keep my attention here as pretty much the only face on screen. The set-up reminds me of a similar film starring Tom Hardy called Locke, where all we see is him in a car talking to unseen people on the phone for about 90 minutes. Cedergren isn’t quite as charismatic as Hardy but he’s definitely effective in portraying the evolution of his character.

The Guilty Cedergren

Films like this only works efficiently when you’ve got a sharp, astute script… how refreshing to see a film where the writing is the best special effects. Even without seeing the supposed crime being shown on screen, the dialog between the characters allow our imagination to fill in the details. Kudos to Möller for keeping the suspense level high all throughout the third act, with subtle emotional touches throughout that feels organic without resorting to over-sentimentality.

I’m very curious how the Netflix film will top this one. Apparently the streaming giant spent $30 mil for the rights to this thriller, on top of the actual budget to get Antoine Fuqua as director and the star studded cast. Nordic thrillers are quite popular in Hollywood, hence the countless remakes from Danish productions, but star power and bigger budget don’t always translate to better films. As The Guilty proves, the minimalist approach can make a great impact when a shrewd script and superb performances meet.

4/5 stars


Have you seen THE GUILTY? I’d love to hear what you think!