February 2020 Mini-Reviews – Academy Award Short Films – The Monolith Monsters

So, life got complicated for all of us with the pandemic sneaking out of China and places far away and into the US at the end of February and the start of March, 2020.  But until then, life and movie viewing was going on as normal –starting out with me checking out a lot of Oscar-nominated films, and even the shorts.  As usual, Oscar did pretty good.  That was… before.

But, if all of us end up hiding out in our homes for a while, that’s still a good time for watching movies, isn’t it?

Maybe you can find something you’d like to watch in my list from February.  Here we go…!

Ratings are out of five stars. Here’s what those stars mean to me…

* – This film is not good. Avoid it unless you tolerate dreck well.
** – A flawed film. You may enjoy it if you like this genre or the folks in it.
*** – A good solid film. If you like this genre, you’ll probably like this film.
**** – A superior film within its genre. Thoroughly enjoyable.
***** – An outstanding film on many levels. A great example of its genre.

Oscar Live Action Shorts **** 2019’s nominated 5 films vary from great to classic. Faves: The Brotherhood, The Neighbor’s Window.
LIttle Women **** Saoirse Ronan heads excellent class in this adapation of the classic book. Very good all around.
1919 (rewatch) ***** End to end brilliant, especially in concept & cinematography. Reminds us of the true costs of war.
Jojo Rabbit **** Black comedy where young boy fantasizes to be a perfect Nazi & Hitler’s friend. Life has other plans.
Death Sport *** Corman studio action-exploitation is a lot of fun, highlighted by Claudia Jennings’ acting & hot body.
Cherry 2000 *** 80s production values weaken this post-apocalypse story of man’s adventure to fix his robot girlfriend.
Parasite ***** Suspenseful black comedy about an unemployed family working their way into the life of rich clients.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Rew.) ***** Rewatch. Tarantino’s love letter to Hollywood in the late 60s remains brilliant. My Oscar fave.
Lost Missile, The ** Too much stock footage hurts this otherwise creative low-budget SF tale about a rocket burning Earth.
Crimson ** Starts off as a crime/caper film, ends with a bit of horror, but never commits to either. I have a feeling it would have been more enjoyable with the extra sex scenes included. Naschy, as usual, is fun when on screen.
Horror Rises from the Tomb ***** Evil warlock & witch return to the present to take revenge on descendents of their executioners. 1 of Naschy’s best. Fun.
Marriage Story ***** Scarlet Johansson & Adam Driver kill it as married actress/director couple coping with the divorce industry & their lives.
Irishman, The **** Scorsese’s look at mobsters & unions has great actors & many great scenes, but 3 1/2 hours is too long & it loses steam.
Lycantropo *** One of Naschy’s last Daninsky werewolf films has some good elements but comes off as cheap compared to previous ones.
Mole People, The **** Universal’s declining budget show a bit in this interesting world-within tale featuring cool mole-monsters & Babylonians.
When Worlds Collide **** The science doesn’t hold up, but this SF story of the world ending remains compelling & well made with good SFX.
Team America, World Police ***** Bawdy, gross, satire of jingoistic action movies – with puppets! – remains hilarious, despite the juvenile nature of many jokes.
Monster Squad, The **** Stan Winston’s shop brings Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy, Wolfman & Creature to life in fun horror comedy for kids.
Van Helsing (2004) *** Too long & has too much of everything, but with Dracula, werewolf, Frankenstein, vampire brides, etc. still fun to be had.
Lost in Space (2019) S2 **** Robinsons face hostile planets, fellow colonists, robots, &, of course Dr. Smith in a strong 2nd season of SF action.
Dragon Prince, The (S1) **** The characters make this fantasy series by the creators of Avatar, The Last Air Bender, fun to watch & easy to binge.
Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle ***** Rewatch. Full of fun characters & exciting action & has some very funny commentary on game & life in general. Love it!
Jumanji – Second Level **** Doesn’t have the surprise factor of the first film, but reprises a lot of the fun gaming roles & action & human commentary.
Sky High *** Young superhero yarn that’s very predictable in some ways, but is still filled with great actors & a lot of fun. Worthwhile.
Invisible Man, The (2020) **** Tense psychological thriller SF/horror mix updating the classic story. Woman menaced by invisible ex fights back.
One Million BC *** Dinos are big lizards & Victor Mature unconvincing cave man, but great volcano squence & sincerity carry this classic.
Birds of Prey – The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn **** Strong women, black humor, & action rule the roost, but it’s fab Margot Robbie that holds together DC’s heroinne story.
Topper Returns *** Accidentally murdered ghost meets Topper & Eddie Rochester Anderson in this fun combo comedy & old dark house flim.
Drunk Driving (short) *** In the 40s, they really knew how to make an educational video about drunk driving into a short & memorable drama.
Unliving, The ** This is mostly a soft-core film with pretty people getting naked & faking sex, but brief Naschy Daninsky werewolf fun, too.
Monolith Monsters, The **** Good acting, directing, production & memorable monster idea overcome lack of actual science. A fun semi-classic.

My yearly total got up over 70 in the second month of the year, which I guess is pretty normal for me.  Heaven only know what the next month will bring — hopefully good health for all of us, and a lot of fun movies!

Next month… Will staying indoors during the pandemic have me watching more films… or fewer?  Stay tuned, stay safe, and stay healthy!

Remember, you can support this and all my other writing work, including Frost Harrow, Dr. Cushing’s Chamber of Horrors, and more, by joining my Patreon for a buck or two a month.  Thanks!

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