Self-Care Spotlight: July 23rd, 2021

We’re barreling towards the end of summer and the tentpoles are on a roll, but there are a few other surprises for a few people who might just need something different. It seems like there are some good, even GREAT movies coming out this 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.

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

Welcome back to the end of the week!

“Snake Eyes”

No one seems to like when they make talkative characters like ‘Deadpool’ or ‘Taskmaster’ quiet so let’s get the quiet ones talking! “Snake Eyes” tells the backstory of the cool character from G.I. Joe, and I’ll acknowledge the action seems well shot and the cast seems fitting for an action spectacle.

Released in Theaters July 23rd

SC Rating: 3/5 (Entertainment/Representation)- I’ll make as small a nod to representation for east Asia as this movie is likely to, but I can’t ignore this is the box office muscle that will likely to allow you to enjoy yourself this week.

“Old”

The trailer for this cranks and escalates while characters, who just hoped for a family retreat, find clues, scares, and panic as they age and are distorted by some force in their vacation spot. The cast alone (Rufus Sewell, Vickie Krieps, Alex Wolff, Ken Leung, among others) sells me on this.

Releases in theaters July 23rd

SC Rating: 3.5/5 (Entertainment)- I am personally exhausted by mystery boxes. I don’t care what’s in them anymore. But, there is something cathartic about thrills and secrets and reveals that may give the viewer something to talk about for the next week or so, at minimum.

“Ailey”

“I wanted to do the kind of dancing (that) could be done for the man of the streets, the people. That it was part of their culture.” (Alvin Ailey)
A documentary that exploring the life of choreographer Alvin Ailey that seems to inspire in regards to one following their dreams and shaping the world to be what they want it to be.

Releases in select theaters and on July 23rd
(find at https://neonrated.com/films/ailey)

SC Rating: 4/5 (Entertainment/Nostalgia/Empathy/Representation)- I don’t know anything about Alvin Ailey, but I’m excited that I will soon. If you can watch this this weekend, it seems like the sort of thing that will drive you forward and reach beyond how you care for yourself and into how you think in other areas of life.

“Blood Red Sky”

VAMPIRE ON A MOTHER F****NG PLANE! Honestly, when I describe this it will sound like a joke: When a group, led by Dominic Purcell (Dracula from “Blade: Trinity”) hijacks a plane and shoots a woman, Nadja (like, from What We Do in the Shadows), then kidnaps her son, she must become a vampire and… save…the…day…

Releases on Netflix July 23rd

SC Rating: 3/5 (Entertainment)- This can only go one of two ways, taking a campy premise seriously and being boring, or becoming that German film you knew about when your friends didn’t that is waaaay better than “Morbius” so you get to feel like a hipster- so that’s two weekends of potential happiness vs two hours of boredom.

“Joe Bell”

The hard walk of a man who lost his son to bullying and discrimination. Mark Wahlberg and newcomer Reid Miller lead a story aimed to break and heal hearts, but it seems aimed at the right audience.

Released in select theaters on July 23rd

SC Rating: 5/5 (Empathy/Representation/Affirmation)- This has the potential to hit someone where they live, and maybe grapple with grief in a positive way.

“Jolt”

Kate Beckinsale seems to be leading another “Gunpowder Milkshake” or “Atomic Blonde,” and those movies aren’t bad. There is personal bias here, in that the premise makes me think of “Crank” and this doesn’t have the energy those directors bring to a project. But what is here seems like hard action and attitude highlighted in neon.

Released on Amazon Prime Video on July 23rd

SC Rating: 2.5/5 (Entertainment)- I would note this could feel like representation if it were more than a copy of so many other films, which sucks because I like Kate Beckinsale as an actress. And if it means supporting someone with enough money to take themselves to space… I’m going to watch “Gunpowder Milkshake.”

“The Last Letter From Your Lover”

Felicity Jones plays a journalist exploring a forbidden romance which leads her to the beginnings of a romance of her own. Well budgeted romance films seem few and far between in recent years, at least compared to the genres leading the box-office, but this feels like a chance for a few stars to shine.

Released on Netflix July 23rd

SC Rating: 3.5/5 (Entertainment/Nostalgia)- Two romances in two decades promise to reflect on love and how we communicate over time. Unless there are some hard left turns, this should be heartwarming and life-affirming.

“Mandibles”

From French director Quentin Dupieux, who previously made “Rubber,” comes a comedy about two friends…who find a giant fly.

A pull quote in the trailer reads, “’The Fly’ meets the Farrelly Brothers.”

Released in select theaters and on VOD July 23rd

SC Rating: 4/5 (Entertainment)- The premise alone sparks discussion and humor and the performances seem to ground the premise well-enough for a good promise of being entertaining, comfortable, and silly.

“Playing with Sharks”

“Every day has the potential to be a great adventure.” (Valerie Taylor)

Some people in this world are born with an instinct that tells them to explore something that no one else will explore, and the people who take those leaps are often the most inspiring and change the way we look at the world.

Released on Disney+ July 23rd

SC Rating: 4.5/5 (Entertainment/Empathy)- Yet another documentary takes a sensitive and inspiring approach to a niche interest, allowing viewers to explore another part of the world.   

“Settlers”

If the twist in this is that they’re actually still on earth in a dystopian future where this was a simulator/bubble I’m gonna be pissed. Sofia Boutella gets to act outside of being an acrobatic stone wall (see, “Kingsman,” or, “The Mummy.”) and everyone seems to be taking their role seriously. It’s a familiar story in a unique setting.

Released in select theaters and on VOD July 23rd

SC Rating: 2/5 (Entertainment)- An active reminder of current stressors and the hardships of the future, unless action-thrillers are REALLY your thing, this isn’t likely to do much to recharge you for the week ahead.

“Val”

From notorious privacy to unique intimacy, “Val” explores actor Val Kilmer as an artist and through cancer. The trailer for this alone is moving and I imagine for the right fanbase this is a welcome project. Released from Amazon July 23rd

SC Rating: 3/5 (Entertainment/Empathy)- While this seems like my kind of documentary (exploring film, actors, artists, etc.) I can understand that most people may simply be looking for a break for the weekend.

Self-care is about, quite literally, caring for oneself; 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.

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