Overview: October 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 October 2020, among other things, I wrote about the best performances that Mads Mikkelsen has ever delivered.

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 have written 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.

The Babysitter: Killer Queen, dir. McG, 2020, Starring Judah Lewis, Jenna Ortega, and Emily Alyn Lind:

I actually quite enjoyed the original The Babysitter, but I was trepidatious about the sequel. I didn’t think I needed it, and, well, it turns out that I didn’t. All in all, Killer Queen is more of the same, but the sequel is not as engaging or entertaining as its predecessor. The reference humor can feel somewhat forced here, and some elements in the story feel overly convenient. But, admittedly, the film is better than I thought it would be, in some part due to Emily Alyn Lind and Jenna Ortega’s fairly entertaining performances. Ultimately, there’s a good chance that fans of the first film will have fun with Killer Queen.

Unpregnant, dir. Rachel Lee Goldenberg, 2020, Starring Haley Lu Richardson, Barbie Ferreira, Breckin Meyer, and Giancarlo Esposito: 

I really like road trip movies, as they tend to allow for some fun and entertaining character moments. Unpregnant is a road trip film about Haley Lu Richardson’s 17-year-old character, Veronica, decision to travel across the United States to have an abortion. Alongside her childhood best friend played by Barbie Ferreira (who Richardson’s character has grown apart from), Veronica gets into difficult but entertaining scenarios as they cross state lines. I liked the film, however, there are a couple of plot developments that disappointed me. I think it’s a real shame that the film includes some very predictable forced drama in the film’s final act, and there are also scenes involving Breckin Meyer’s character that I thought felt so over-the-top that the absurdity of the new predicament made the film lose its hold on me. Nevertheless, Unpregnant is, again, a charming road trip film with some genuinely delightful scenes between the main characters. I definitely see why the film has been compared to Booksmart, I just don’t think Unpregnant is as successful as Olivia Wilde’s first film as a director.

Rebecca, dir. Ben Wheatley, 2020, Starring Lily James, Armie Hammer, and Kristin Scott Thomas:

So, here’s the thing. I’ve never seen Hitchcock’s 1940s adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s novel Rebecca. This also means that I may one day find the urge to do a comparative review of Hitchcock’s 1940s film and this Ben Wheatley adaptation. But, since I won’t be writing that article in the immediate future, I do want to talk briefly about this film here.

On the surface, Wheatley’s Rebecca seems like something I’d enjoy. The Manderley castle is a great location, I like the film’s cast, and I think the story is pretty interesting. But the film started to lose its hold of me pretty quickly. The opening of the film really had its hooks in me, as it showcased a blossoming romance between Lily James and Armie Hammer’s characters. Their costumes were great, their fling was gripping, and these scenes’ shiny and euphoric look kept me intrigued about the film’s narrative arc. But once the new happy couple reached their castle, the film started to lose me. Frankly, it started to feel too slow, and Hammer’s character became annoyingly distant. Other than the costumes, Kristin Scott Thomas’ performance ended up being the only really memorable thing about this otherwise fairly bland film.

Kadaver, dir. Jarand Herdal, 2020, Starring Gitte Witt, Thomas Gullestad, and Thorbjørn Harr: 

Kadaver, writer-director Jarand Herdal’s feature-length directorial debut, is a Norwegian straight-to-Netflix post-apocalyptic horror film. I often get excited by intriguing horror movie concepts such as the one found in Kadaver. Herdal’s film is about a mysterious charitable event at a hotel in the aftermath of some post-apocalyptic event. In post-apocalyptic Norway, food is scarce and entertainment is a thing of the past, but a hotel owner has changed all of this. He holds these charitable events at his hotel where he serves food and asks his guest to enjoy live theater in the halls and rooms of the hotel. But when guests start to disappear during the live theater, one family becomes suspicious about the intentions of the hotel owner. If the concept is the best thing about this otherwise unmemorable post-apocalyptic horror film, then the worst thing about the film is the predictability of the film’s narrative arc. It also doesn’t help that the family is so gullible at the start of the live theater. So, yeah, while I thought the concept was neat, I can’t say that the film really worked for me in the end. But if you need something new to watch this Halloween, then perhaps Kadaver is what you’re looking for.

Oblivion, dir. Joseph Kosinski, 2013, Starring Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau:

Look, I know it’s a small role in a science-fiction film with relatively mixed reviews, but it must be so much fun for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to look back on Oblivion. I mean, he looks like a cool anime character, and he gets to act in scenes with Morgan Freeman and Tom Cruise. That’s pretty neat. From this day forward, I will try to remember this movie as the movie where Nikolaj “Nattevagten” Coster-Waldau shoots Tom Cruise’s character in the chest. Also, I have to say that I actually dug this movie. It’s not a great science-fiction film, but I definitely should’ve watched it sooner. This was right up my alley.

Lovecraft Country, Season One, 2020, HBO, Starring Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Wunmi Mosaku, and Michael K. Williams: 

Misha Green’s adaptation of Matt Ruff’s 2016 fantasy horror novel of the same name is pretty great. I think the series worked really well. The show focuses on how its main characters both experience racism in America and fantasy predicaments and creatures, and, even though the series may have peaked in its jaw-dropping series premiere, the show kept me hooked until the very end of the first season. Smollett, Majors, and Mosaku all really impressed me here, and I also thought that Jamie Chung was flat-out fantastic as Ji-Ah in the episode ‘Meet Me in Daegu.’ Not all of the episodes were great — there were ups and downs — but I thought it was at least always interesting. I’d be interested in a second season, especially if we get more episodes like the excellent premiere and ‘Meet Me in Daegu.’

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

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

One thought on “Overview: October 2020

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