Self-Care Spotlight: July 16th, 2021

The week has been as difficult just as it has all too quickly passed, and this weekend you may be looking for some comfort or peace of mind, maybe even an escape.

Welcome back to the end of the week!

Here I offer predictions for new releases with the hopes that it will point you, the reader, to engage with the movie that will best serve your needs, encouraging all of you, in some way, to take care of yourself.

Categories of Self-Care: These are a list of ways I feel one may benefit from viewing movies as a form of self-care. A sort of short-hand for what is “valuable” about each story.

Affirmation (makes you feel “right” or “correct”)
Empathy (learning or personal growth)
Representation (feeling represented or understood)

Without further ado, here are the movies of the week:

“Gunpowder Milkshake”

An outstanding cast bodes well for a neon-splattered action movie in the vein of ‘John Wick,’ ‘Everly,’ and ‘Baby Driver.’ The trailer alone is a bit of a romp and Karen Gillan seems to take her role seriously as the lead. Here’s hoping for action scenes to be edited with some breathing room (wide shots, fewer cuts).

Released on Netflix July 14th

SC Rating: 4/5 (Entertainment, Representation)- Following ‘Black Widow,’ reviews have been somewhat favorable for this outing and so for anyone who needs a thrill, or to scratch an itch not fulfilled by Marvel’s outing, this seems likely to work for you.

“Escape Room: Tournament of Champions”

It’s hard for a popcorn-horror movie to score well with critics (look up some of your favorites), and this has had a mixed reception, particularly being compared to ‘Cube’ but not really to ‘Saw.’ This dynamic is what intrigues me. If there is enough to care about even one character, the weight and intrigue of solving complex traps feels like a good formula for thrills and scares.

Releases in theaters July 16th

SC Rating: 2.5/5 (Entertainment)- The premise is being stretched in the name of a sequel “having” to be “bigger” and “better”, but you still may find worth in the time you’ll spend watching this. However, keep scrolling for the horror installment I would recommend more for the brief time you have for a break.

“Space Jam: A New Legacy”

I must begrudgingly admit that, where the first ‘Space Jam’ suffers from struggling with a second-hand effort at the magic of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit,’ LeBron James seems invested in his voice-work and the technical side of things may have come a long way. Still… Michael Jordan transcended Basketball fame, and Warner Brothers even knows people have not been watching Looney Tunes, hence the BTS inclusion of other properties including Pennywise and The Mask.

Releases in theaters and on HBO Max on July 16th.

SC Rating: 2.5/5 (Entertainment, Nostalgia)- There is the convenience of streaming something new, colorful, and likely funny in at least one or two places. This will likely suit a family with younger children well, and if you need a break from any sort of seriousness, this could very well be your guilty (or not) pleasure for the near future.

“Die in a Gunfight”

Despite a trailer that seemed trimmed to hide a more somber tone and lighting for a more gritty, mid-late 2000’s era action thriller, combining ‘Romeo and Juliet’ with something like ‘Layer Cake’ or ‘Lucky Number Slevin,’ this features a cast of somewhat overlooked talent. If it can deliver the sardonic, almost campy tone implied in advertising, it may be a dark sort of fun.

Released in select theaters and on VOD July 16th

SC Rating: 1.5/5 (Entertainment)- If this appeals to you, think of the movie it feels like, and know that movie is likely drawing you to this… then maybe watch that movie… the one you thought of.

“The Hidden Life of Trees”

“Life -affirming” feels like a good tonal compliment to a “cautionary” documentary about forest life, nature, it’s richness and will to survive, and what we can learn to change the way we interact with the world around us. Released in select theaters on July 16th

SC Rating: 3.5/5 (Empathy)- If you are seeking this out in one of the select theaters in which it will open, you know what you want, and this will likely feel fulfilling. The book it is sourced from has already influenced human engagement with nature.

“Mama Weed”

The trailer for this movie is a steadily building ball of attitude and positive energy. Originally released in France last year, this is a story about a translator for the police who decides to involve herself in the drug trade she’s helping regulate. Shot like a warm indie-crime-comedy, this feels endearing and… smarter than me.

Released in select US theaters on July 16th then on VOD starting July 23rd

SC Rating: 4/5 (Entertainment)- Some people have a subtitle-barrier installed in them, and in style this isn’t making waves for originality, but the performances and direction make this feel more earnest than something like “Die in a Gunfight.”

“P   I   G”


Released in select theaters July 16th

SC Rating: 3/5 (Entertainment)- This feels like good weather signs for a perfect storm. The cinematography and seriousness with which the subject matter (someone has Nicolas Cage’s pig…) is handled makes it a gamble, to be sure, whether this will simply be a pretty movie that makes no waves, a shockingly, entertainingly bad performance in the lead, or a meaningful, simple story driven by the only actor who could understand the assignment this well.

“Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain”

“Some of you might ask, ‘How is this food-related?’ …F*** if I know.” (Anthony Bourdain)
An insight for the mind and life of a talented adventurer and chef, ‘Roadrunner’ feels, at minimum, like the material will be presented with a steady, effective creative hand on the lens and in the editing room.

(Also, insert joke here about how I prefer this ‘roadrunner’ to that from “Space Jam 2″…)

Released in select theaters July 16th

SC Rating: 3.5/5 (Entertainment/Nostalgia/Empathy)- This seems to be for those of you who want to be moved. Who feel life is moving too fast and we’ve lost too many people, regardless of what you may have felt about them before.

“Fear Street Part Three: 1666”

Aaand the reason I am here this weekend. Personally, ‘1994’ reignited some hype in myself about the unsteady ground on which a well-executed slasher can leave me standing. ‘1978’ has continued to earn praise for this Netflix “event” and part three is here to take its’ final test with the audience: conclude this story in a way that makes us feel it was worth our time. Released on Netflix July 16th

SC Rating: 4/5 (Entertainment)- With the constant shift in setting, I can never fully commit to telling horror fans they’ll get what they want, even based on the previous installments. This rating is higher particularly because of the catharsis a story can bring when one has become invested over time, and this ride has been a pleasant surprise at minimum.  

Self-care is about, quite literally, caring for ones’ self; learning, growing, changing, or, sometimes, settling into a safe, comfortable place to laugh, cry and love or feel loved. I hope this series will serve as a weekly reminder that we deserve care and to give care where needed, while celebrating the power of telling stories and a little movie-magic.

Thank you for reading, and even if you don’t watch any of these this weekend, take care!

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