July 2019 Mini-Reviews – The Big Heat to Capsized: Blood in the Water

Yow!  August is almost done, and I almost forgot to put up my review/watch list for July.  But, here it is — just in time!

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve decided to include movie-length TV shows in my reviews.  To give myself more flexibility in my watching, I think in future I’ll also include long TV storylines (as I’ve done with Doctor Who in past) and serials, when I’ve finished them, as well.  That means, among other things that Sapphire and Steel will show up next month.  And when I start re-watching Dark Shadows again, I may include each 40-episode (IIRC) set as I finish it.  I really want to watch DS again, but if I do… Well the movie count will drop,

Only 28 films this month, but there was also SHARK WEEK, in which I reviewed all the new programs.  Hopefully, you saw those SHARK WEEK reviews here.  August has more films for sure, for those of you concerned about such things.  😉

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.

Big Heat, The ***** Glen Ford as tough police detective who gets his life in a whirlwind by investigating an apparent suicide. Fine noir.
Endeavour: Deguello ***** Murder at a library & disaster at a housing complex lead Morse to discover the secret of an unavenged death.
Spider Man: Far from Home **** Spidey wants a romantic (school) vacation with MJ, but Nick Fury & Mysterio have different ideas. Great action.
Shrek 2 *** Shrek & Fiona settle into married life, but with her parents cause unexpected complications. Funny in spots.
Piranha DD (non-3D version of 3DD) *** Blood, boobs & laughs in this sequel with an “adult” water park  invaded by prehistoric fish. Panabaker shines.
Game Night *** A good cast gets some laughs in this twisty, turny action comedy. Not as good a a real game night, but amusing.
War of the Worlds ***** Pal-Haskin classic pits humans against amazing martian war machines. Oscar SFX look great in 4k restoration.
Forbidden Planet ***** The 50s gender roles grate, but the rest of the film remains an amazing, thoughtful, SF classic. Great score, too.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers ***** Even with the studio-required framing sequence, this is still the best version. Amazing blend of paranoia & chills.
Nun, The *** Fairly standard spooky monastery haunted by evil nun spirit vs. novice & priest. Atmosphere & a few good jumps.
Crawl **** Good summer action-horror with heroine trying to rescue her dad from both hurricane & swarms of killer gators.
Trip to the Moon, A ***** Georges Milies’ classic 1902 1-reeler about crazed professor/wizards who get shot to the moon & find strange life.
Robin Hood (2019) *** Remaking Robin Hood for the modern era doesn’t completely work, nor does adding Zorro elements. But still fun.
Pacific Rim: Uprising (rewatch) *** Giant bot vs. bot action replaces the giant monster battles of the 1st film, which is disappointing. But not terrible.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald *** Rowling packs lots of characters & situations into the film, but doesn’t get you up to speed in the film itself. Not bad, with some great acting, but certainly better if you’ve got all that Harry Potter history fresh in your had.
Village of the Giants (Sven) *** Amusing Bert I. Gordon flick with town taken over by amoral hippies grown to giant size by Ron Howard potion.
League of Their Own, A ***** There are a few perfect baseball films & this is one. Great cast. Great dialogue. Great direction. Great story.
Lifeforce *** Like this film & the nudity is fun, but was there a version with fewer rural possessions that moved more quickly?
Cosmic Monsters (a.k.a. The Strange World of Planet X) ** Sexism & likely bug cruelty make this film hard to watch, despite sincere acting. Dodgy SFX & bad science, too.
Thing from Another World (The) ***** This classic never gets old. Great cast. Great dialogue… Just everything great, including alien. Doesn’t get better.
Five Million Years to Earth (Quatermass & the Pit) ***** Hammer’s 3rd Quatermass film is the best with strong cast, direction, cinematography, & visionary Kneale story.
Place of One’s Own, A **** James Mason & wife hire a companion who activates the spook in their new house. British with chilling moments.
Klondike Kate *** Wronged hotel heiress teams with sneaky Gable-look-alike to try & regain “their” saloon from Sheldon Leonard.
Bad Times at the El Royale **** Memorable characters with hidden agendas meet at hotel that straddles CA/NV state line. Hitch meets Tarantino.
Piranha 3D (non-3D version) **** Gory, funny, exploitation film with plenty of action & nudity, but also clever & well made fish vs. Spring Break flick.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ***** Tarantino’s affectionate look at late 60s & early 70s Hollywood, an aging actor, & the world around Sharon Tate.
Making of Piranha 3D ***** Series of mini-docs make a comprehensive whole longer than the film looking at every aspect of the films making.
Capsized: Blood in the Water *** Discovery Channel Shark Week movie is low budget but sincere & not too melodramatic shipwreckees vs. sharks.


That’s it for this month.  I think I watched a few more films in August, but next month will tell.

Hopefully, you’re finding these mini-reviews interesting, and even finding some new things to watch.

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!


About Steve Sullivan 411 Articles
Stephen D. Sullivan is an award-winning author, artist, and editor. Since 1980, he has worked on a wide variety of properties, including well-known licenses and original work. Some of his best know projects include Dungeons & Dragons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dragonlance, Iron Man, Legend of the Five Rings, Speed Racer, the Tolkien RPG, Disney Afternoons, Star Wars, The Twilight Empire (Robinson's War), Uncanny Radio, Martian Knights, Tournament of Death, and The Blue Kingdoms (with his friend Jean Rabe).