Overview: July 2020

Overview provides my readers with a brief overview of the articles or reviews that I have written, as well as additional bite-sized thoughts on films or shows about which I do not intend to write thorough reviews. In July 2020, among other things, I wrote about films from directors such as Brian De Palma, Roman Polanski, and Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Published Reviews and Articles

It would make me very happy if you would support my blog by reading these reviews, lists, or articles in the near future.

What I Didn’t Write About

I watch a lot of films and shows each and every month, but I don’t write extensive, complete reviews about everything that I watch or rewatch. So, in this section of Overview, I will write a few brief additional thoughts on content about which I don’t intend to write full reviews now or in the future. However, I may have watched something this month that I do want to review in the future, in which case I will not make note of it here.

Ju-On: Origins, Series, 2020, Netflix:

– Like I wrote in my review of Nicolas Pesce’s American reboot of The Grudge, even though Pesce’s film was a huge disappointment, to me, I think that the Ju-On: The Grudge franchise is incredibly effective. It is a very frightening series of films, and it almost never fails to creep me out. So, I was very happy to learn that a Japanese series based on the franchise was hitting Netflix in July. Come to think of it, it is really weird that we get both an American and a Japanese version of, or approach to, this scary movie franchise in the same year. In any case, I have ‘good news’ for fans of the franchise because the Japanese Netflix series isn’t just better than Pesce’s Americanised reboot, I also think it is undeniably creepy and disturbing. I watched the entire mini-series (or season?) in one sitting, and I thought it was engrossing, creepy, and disturbingly gruesome. The show definitely benefits from the fact that even though it consists of six episodes, each episode is only thirty minutes, or so, long. This is a must-watch for horror aficionados, but it’s also possible that it’s too much for some audiences. In fact, even though I actually think Ju-On: Origins is a solid series, I wouldn’t recommend the show to most people. It is somewhat convoluted, and it is definitely very grisly. It’s so gruesome, in fact, that I think even some horror movie aficionados will have a tough time with some episodes. If you think you have the stomach for it, and if you’re a fan of the franchise, then this thoroughly disturbing series may be exactly what you need right now, but, and this is important, it definitely isn’t for everyone.

The Morning Show, Series, 2019, Apple TV+:

– I have to say that I thought the first episode of this show was underwhelming back when it was first released, but I have since found the time to give it another chance during the COVID-19 Pandemic. I don’t think it’s a capital-G ‘great’ television show, but I do think it gets better in large part thanks to its A-list ensemble cast, which is spearheaded, obviously, by Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. However, I have to say that the best performance in the first season was, in my opinion, given by Billy Crudup, who seems to have found great enjoyment from playing his mischievously sarcastic and devious character. I still don’t think Apple TV+ has developed a truly great show yet, but The Morning Show, Defending Jacob, and Servant are all decent-to-solid shows, some of which I am interested in seeing additional seasons of. Who knows, The Morning Show could become even better in a second season. It could pay off. Here’s hoping.

Dracula, Series, 2020, Netflix:

– I know. The BBC/Netflix series Dracula starring Claes Bang was released many months ago, but it recently occurred to me that I never found the time to write about it on my website. But I actually have a good reason why I never posted a review of the series. You see, when Dracula was released on Netflix, I was a teaching assistant at an Upper Secondary School in Denmark, for the purpose of gaining work experience as a teacher. I actually used this series (and films such as Crimson Peak) to teach students about horror, gothic horror, and film analysis. It was definitely a great experience to teach students about film analysis, history, and English, and I hope to do it again someday. But did I like the series? Well, yes and no. I thought it was a really good show to use in class, but I have to say that, as a critic, I only really loved the first episode. I, frankly, didn’t like the time jump at all. With all of that having been said, though, I thought Claes Bang delivered a great performance as the titular character, and I will probably always have good memories of the series due to my time as a teaching assistant in late 2019 to early 2020.

I Know This Much Is True, Mini-Series, 2020, HBO:

– The final show that I want to talk about in this article is Derek Cianfrance’s adaptation of the Wally Lamb novel of the same name. This is a really difficult show to watch, but I was hooked on it from the very first episode. It’s a really interesting but bleak mini-series about family history and brotherhood that knocked the wind out of me again and again. This is another fantastic Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine; The Place Beyond the Pines) heartbreaker. Again, this show is so difficult to watch that it’s almost tough to recommend. Make no mistake, this is a fantastic show but it is challenging and heartbreaking and tough. It also features the best performance that I have ever seen Mark Ruffalo give. He is incredible as the Birdsey twin brothers. His is a genuinely awards-worthy performance.

But that’s not all I watched this month. For a complete list of my Letterboxd diary for July 2020, click here.

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

One thought on “Overview: July 2020

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