Maybe this is a weird month to begin such a new and hefty series. A strain of blog posts listing movies I have watched for the month. But it’s not as weird as the whole year has been so let’s roll with it. Trust me, we all need a bit more distraction and excuses for comfort right now.
Though as ahem, impeccable my taste can be with the film industry, and I do believe this is a widely known stated fact of myself. Still, I also know being a connoisseur in my own movie tastes doesn’t quite equate to being a pro at this ballgame like the critics out there if you will. But I suppose some may read their reviews and certainly beg to differ.
Let’s get right to it. What I watched in November: His House, Train to Busan, The Wailing and lastly but not least, Moneyball.
His House (2020)
Synopsis: In early November, still in the spindly hands of Halloween, I decided to start the bitter month with His House. A horror about a refugee couple fleeing from a horrific scene back at home in South Sudan. Unfortunately for the couple, horror, much like the remains of webbed scars on the back of our hands, are forever present and never quite fading. For the two can’t hide and run from their past and their grievance. Making their new life in England hadn’t quite turned out as they hoped when that horror that they fled pursued them.
The Judgement: The premise of this movie pushes modern horror forwards in the right direction. I hardly see any unique British horror as a Brit myself (but please pass me a list if you can counteract this I want it!) I do want to see more and also more, just like this movie successfully fulfilled to do, exposure to racism and xenophobia within these four walls of a country. I liked it, all in all, loved how they conveyed the journey of grief, something you can’t easily translate and direct and do so correctly, on a widespread of understanding sort of scale. I didn’t get any frights, but it was down to its core more emotionally-driven than all else.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Train To Busan (2016)
Synopsis: Train To Busan is a thriller about a dad that is too busy to take care of his daughter, enough so that he had forgotten he had bought the same birthday present for her the previous year. Sadly for this little girl, that trauma of your dad forgetting the significance of your birthday wasn’t the end of it. Still, she and her dad had to also with a sudden pandemic, an outbreak of fledgeling demonic zombies nibbling the little ankles of passengers hitching the same train they’re riding. Where all she wants to do is see her Ma for her birthday!
The Judgement: What can I say? Train To Busan was on top of my to-watch list for a long time. When you know, it’s going to be something down your lane by the sight of it, when everyone is riding on that same journey of epiphany, drinking that funky Kool-Aid, well, I was willing to chug it all down with you all. And finally that, I did, got drunk on the stuff too. Train To Busan is a Korean Thriller like no other, sure we’ve seen our fair share of zombies, way too many perhaps, but to have a whimsical cast like this and yet also such emotional depth. This setting may seem satirical when pitching but will light your eyes up like Christmas lights when you see it JUST WORKS, and now you’ll be thinking “Why didn’t I come up with this?”
It’s truly something we can only admire back here in the West.
So this is, at it’s a core about an outbreak and yeah, it’s a zombie movie. Yes go on, viral outbreak, you say? Right now? Of all times you’re watching this? To be honest, I would willfully join you in your dismay, but here it was clear to me that it was going to be a therapeutic ride and that it was. At least no zombies are eating our faces up IRL right now, right guys?… Right?
Look, however, we feel about watching movies that remind us of our reality right now, this is a Korean masterpiece that shouldn’t be ignored. There were many recognisable faces from famous K-dramas and in itself warms my heart.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Wailing (2016)
Synopsis: Na Hong-jin’s Korean horror set in a small village that’s riddled with a mysterious “sickness” filling people with animalistic cravings for murder. A local policeman attempts to investigate all these horrific murders occurring within his hometown, in hopes that solving this mystery within the short time limit he has, will also help save his one and only daughter.
The Judgement: Another film with a few recognisable faces! The Wailing wasn’t my first idea of a night watch. I love me some horror as much as the next guy it’s my favourite genre of all times. Still, I remember seeing this moving advertised on Netflix a while back, I didn’t think it would suit my taste as another movie about sickness spreading around but this time more prolific I thought this would do more harm than good. But there was something there, and I can’t quite pinpoint it, maybe it’s the uniqueness of it all, the abundance of twists and turns it had taken that any good ol’ horror movie should follow to do. As soon as the opening sequence of the old man fishing came on screen, I feared this was going to be a slow-paced catastrophe. I worried a lot, and all of it was wrong, the real fear was the morbidity of the antagonist of the movie, the fear we have of judgement and doubt we have in others and expecting the worst in them. This was a grotesque movie, no doubt, and for someone not much for a stomach for that I needed something to help me claw through it, but with its fruitful story and exciting cast of characters, it made me persevere without a problem.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis: Moneyball is all about this hotshot GM and ex-baseball player, Billy Beane, who is now in charge of the low budget, Oakland Athletics baseball team. He is doing what he possibly can with that empty pocket o his and with the additional aid from computer-generated analysis to get his team out the gutter and back on top of the leaderboard after losing three high-end players.
The Judgement: “How can you not be romantic about baseball?” Is something usually spewed out in my own words day to day but with the familiar lines of hockey.
I love sports, and that includes baseball with the addition of Brad Pitt (always the charmer) this movie had all the ingredients of success.
At first glance, I decided this was a movie about money and had no remark or perspective from the players and the team, which I usually loved to see and expect from a sports movie. And I’m saying sorry to Brad Pitt now that I had feared this movie was going to be a rootin’ tootin’ snoozefest.
I remember the day I watched this, I was up early, the sun gleaming down on me lightly all set up for a good day. And if I were to start the day with a movie that said “yeah uh this player guy is better even though this other guy’s net worth says otherwise.” I think I would much rather be out back, hitting a ball against a wall for 133 minutes. But for me, oh my, was I glad to be wrong, that fear washed away instantly. Not only did hearing Beane’s daughter serenade the whole music shop with Lenka’s The Show bathed me in nostalgia for the entire morning but to also feel such intense emotional gripe with the entirety of the movie when I expected the complete opposite. There was a lot of heavy hearts, strain and confliction and hey I get it, Beane, being a GM is as tough as watching your team lose again and again. Sports movie just ugh, they do this to me and my little heart every time without a doubt. If they don’t, I know it ain’t a good sports movie that is worthy of that title—such a good job. Go, team!
Rating: 4/5 stars