Hello, dear readers! No, this month’s heatwave didn’t melt me away to nothing (though it tried its damnedest), but this is a rare sighting of a post on this blog nowadays. I hadn’t intended to be so quiet this month (well, I never do), but, you know, life. Nothing serious, just a mixture of work and personal commitments.
It’s been the same story with my film viewing, which once again fell short of my ongoing aim of watching at least ten new films a month. And as for my 100 Films Challenge, well, that’s way behind where it should be. To reach #100 in December at a steady pace, I should be at #58 by the end of July. As you’ll soon see, I’m not even close.
What I did spend a fair amount of time on this month was catching up with TV — things like Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which I seemed to enjoy more than most, and Apple TV+ spy thriller Slow Horses, which is as good as the reviews say — so I intend to refocus on films in August. We’ll see how that pans out.
This month’s viewing towards my yearly challenge
#44 Ambulance (2022) — New Film #7
#45 Johnny Gunman (1957) — Genre #3
#46 A Better Tomorrow (1986) — WDYMYHS #6
#47 Mifune: The Last Samurai (2015) — DVD #4
#48 Calamity Jane (1953) — Rewatch #7
- I watched eight feature films I’d never seen before in July.
- Four of them counted towards my 100 Films in a Year Challenge, along with one rewatch.
- Those are the kinds of numbers there’s not much to say about: they’re nothing special, but they’re not spectacularly bad, either.
- That said, I’ve slipped further behind in my 100 Films Challenge — as I noted at the start, I should be at #58 by now. I now need to watch, on average, more than 10 qualifying films each month for the rest of the year to complete the challenge.
- This month’s WDYMYHS film was John Woo’s classic action-thriller that defined the ‘heroic bloodshed’ subgenre, A Better Tomorrow.
- I remain a film behind in my WDYMYHS challenge, and now the same is true of Blindspot too, as I didn’t watch one of those this month. At least there’s still five months left for me to catch up.
- From last month’s “failures” I watched Ambulance.
The 86th Monthly Arbitrary Awards
Favourite Film of the Month
When Michael Bay is on form, there’s no action director quite like him — and, for my money, Ambulance is Michael Bay very much on form.
Least Favourite Film of the Month
Nothing absolutely terrible this month, which leads me to name Johnny Gunman for this category. It suffers for being a low-budget independent film in an era when low-budget independent films weren’t really yet a thing — it’s solid enough for the forgiving viewer, but does suffer from some weak acting and novice-like filmmaking choices. I didn’t dislike it, but, in the context of the rest of this month’s viewing, it doesn’t quite measure up.
Bickering Old People of the Month
45 Years depicts a couple’s sudden relationship difficulties after four-and-a-half decades of marriage with such scathing realism that I have to give this to The Bucket List for being fun bickering. But I think we all know which is the better film, really. Only one of them is in the Criterion Collection, after all.
Best Weather of the Month
A scathingly realistic drama about a couple having sudden relationship difficulties after four-and-a-half decades of marriage, in part because their emotional communication is inadequate, set in grey, misty, wintry countryside? 45 Years is British through and through, not least that weather. Oh, it looked so beautiful, especially watching it on a hot summer day — personally, I long for our winter to come again.
The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
After a couple of months where this category has been dominated by my ‘failures’ posts, they dipped to second place in July. Instead, the victor was something of a surprise, but a pleasant one: my review of undeservedly forgotten 1930s melodrama Bank Holiday.
Every review posted this month, including new titles and the Archive 5
More films, hopefully.