Month in Review: July ’19

Well unfortunately I never did manage to come up with some kind of “celebration” post for my blog’s eighth birthday — that opportunity came and went without so much as a kazoo being tooted. Actually — that can still happen. In fact, here’s literally an entire kazoo band to make up for that:

Now, without further kazoodling, here’s what went down on Thomas J during the month of July.


New Posts

Theatrical Releases: Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Streaming: Point Blank; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

Alternative Content: The Marvelous Brie Larson #4


Good Movie, Bad Movie

Apollo 11 · March 1, 2019 · Directed by Todd Douglas Miller · A truly mesmerizing experience that’s more visual poetry than pure documentary, Apollo 11‘s “direct cinema” approach gives viewers a unique behind-the-scenes look at how the Americans successfully put men on the Moon half a century ago. Relying entirely on its breathtaking, digitally restored archived footage — some of which has never been released to the public until now — and audio recordings to deliver both information and emotion, Apollo 11 isn’t just a celebration of one of man’s greatest achievements, it’s an unbelievably effective time capsule that rockets us back to the 60s as much as it propels us into the star-strewn night sky. This is hands down one of the most insightful, hair-raising looks at any Apollo mission that I have come across. And it only goes to reaffirm Damien Chazelle’s First Man as perhaps one of the most accurate renderings we will ever get in a dramatization. (5/5) 

The Red Sea Diving Resort · July 31, 2019 · Gideon Raff · Inspired by the real-life rescue mission, code-name Operation Brothers, in which a group of Mossad agents helped smuggle tens of thousands of Ethiopian-Jewish refugees out of Sudan and back to Israel in the 1980s, using a dilapidated tourist outpost as a cover. The story it tells is absolutely inspiring, but unfortunately the execution and the performances make it all seem like a vacation. A game cast turns up but is monumentally wasted, none more than Michael Kenneth Williams who disappears for nearly half the movie. Gideon Raff plays it fast and loose with the tone, creating a Baywatch-meets-Blood Diamond-meets-Ocean’s Eleven that makes for an oft unseemly watch. Even worse, it’s pretty boring. (1.5/5)


Beer of the Month

A dangerously drinkable, unfiltered IPA from Stone. Their Fourth of July release is, I think, only the second time I’ve managed to secure one of their limited-release ‘Enjoy By’ drinks. Better late than never, because this one, at 9.4% ABV, is a Stone cold classic!


If you could only see one, which would it be — The Irishman or Ad Astra
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14 thoughts on “Month in Review: July ’19

  1. heh, I don’t get to watch most movies when they are new, unless its something that won’t stay at the cinemas like Parasite. So its not so much when they are playing for me, its when I get around to them! I’m alllways behind, I still need to see that Bundy movie. Gonna watch the Godzilla one online cos I missed it at the cinemas. I am looking forward to Crawl as well, that looked like fun, another I missed.

    Gonna watch Apollo 11 soon. I’ll put my own thoughts on the moon landings itself and try to enjoy the film for what it is. It will be interesting, both the doco and what my reaction to it is.

    I look forward to what you made of I Am Mother mate, and if you were as big on it as I was. Seems you enjoyed it hahaha from what you said, I look forward to your thoughts. We’ll have to chat about our theories as to all that happened 😉 I’d really recommend a 2nd view too

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    • Yeah same here, I was bummed that I missed it on the big screen. However the images still are breathtaking, almost surreal, at home. It’s quite an amazing documentary actually. Apollo 11 seems to tap into something really profound, despite how well documented this achievement has been through the years.

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  2. Man that end question is completely unfair! Ad Astra is easily one of my most anticipated of the year. Hopefully Brad Pitt has two great movies in 2019! And a Scorsese movie with DeNiro, Pesci, and Pacino? I mean who doesn’t see that? (Notice how I strategically didn’t answer?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I know, a theoretical toughie! (Clearly we are going to be seeing both, probably opening night!)

      The Irishman could be the years best, what with those actors and that director reunited and right back in their comfort zones. Can’t wait.

      Oh, and I also just saw the new QT movie last night. I can see how you went in for it. I enjoyed it and def thought Pitt was a highlight but I couldnt shake the feeling the movie as a whole lacked a spark of energy that’s usually present in his recent movies. I did like Once Upon a Time, though. Just not my favorite

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s funny, I think that tamer, almost slow-brewing, approach is one of the things that really attracted me. Almost saw it for a third time. Kinda wanted to after my spoiler/controversies post. So much packed into that film.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I imagine the second viewing was a bit less tense, knowing that what it was ostensibly building up to turns out to be, well…..that. I’m really torn over how he handles the Tate/Manson family thread. I totally didn’t expect that.

          The flame thrower was, however, a nice touch!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, I have to wait until November for Apollo 11. Seems like a crazy marketing choice, considering its celebrating an event in July and so few of us would have access to it through a very limited cinema release: what’s the point of a long window between a practically non-existent cinema release and a belated disc release in the Winter? At least with the Armstrong documentary film they had the sense to release the disc on the anniversary week. Oh well, that’s show business.

    Thanks for the warning re: The Red Sea Diving Resort. I’ve seen enough rubbish lately, need to get the quality-average up before I lose my faith in movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! No problem. I saw that had just literally popped up on Netflix, so I decided for once I’d get ahead of the curve and see a movie before reading a bunch of reviews. Lo and behold, it’s another Netflix almost-movie.

      Re: Apollo 11 — I don’t understand that release window at all! So is it just not getting a cinematic treatment at all? I missed it when it hit theaters here, it was only in my local cineplex for like a week I think which really boiled my parsnips. I caught up with it on CNN, and that served me well enough. I just love the presentation of it all. It’s truly eye-opening, despite how well-told that story is by now. Hope you enjoy it.

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  4. Baywatch-meets-Blood Diamond-meets-Ocean’s Eleven” sounds like a movie I’d really enjoy, but I guess maybe not! I don’t think I’ve heard a single positive word about that film anywhere. Looking forward to getting to see Apollo 11, though (it’s not out on disc here until November).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Admittedly I could have expanded on my complaints about that movie more. put that way, it does sound fun! I think it’s really the tonal clashes that do the real mission a total injustice. A.O. Scott of the New York Times wrote about a scene, I won’t spoil it, but declared it one of the most jarring tonal shifts he’s seen in years. I tend to agree with him. 1.5 is a bit on the harsh side, though. Maybe could bump that up to a 2. Either way, I was very disappointed.

      Hope you enjoy Apollo 11. The footage simply blew me away.

      Liked by 1 person

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