As I expected with COVID-19 still being very much out there and continuing to kill and disable, there were quite a few films pushed to 2022 and beyond. However, this was a much better crop of movies than what we got in 2020. Below are just brief thoughts and links to the full reviews of movies I saw. Then we have the ones I haven’t seen yet split into “will eventually” watch and “not likely” piles. These all come from the Most Anticipated Films of 2021 (2) posts made last year.
Nightmare Alley (*** 1/2) – Grateful this movie introduced me to the original. Very good remake.
C’mon C’mon (****) – Mike Mills just keeps becoming a better and better filmmaker.
Minari (*** 1/2) – Good performances from everyone, I just didn’t find the plot very engaging, sort of predictable.
Nomadland (****) – Chloe Zhao just shoots stunning film, putting herself in position to be the next Malick (poetic moviemaker).
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (** 1/2) – I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was. CG Harold Ramis drove it over the edge for me, one of the most craven things I’ve seen in a movie.
Last Night in Soho (***) – Technically it’s spectacular, Edgar Wright is a fantastic cinematographer. Storywise…incredibly muddled and not satisfying.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (*) – I hate Marvel. They sapped all potential from the one movie of theirs I was excited about this year. Overblown CG, devoid of genuine human emotion.
Old (**) – At this point, I’m just watching M. Night movies to see how much more crazy he’s become. This one isn’t his worst, but extremely far from his best.
The Suicide Squad (****) – By far, my biggest surprise of 2021. Leave it to James Gunn to save this franchise from the garbage heap. Let’s hope Warner Bros. can keep it going in 2022.
Candyman (*** 1/2) – So visually satisfying and the cast is fantastic. The biggest problem with this film is the script which feels very unclear by the finale.
Dune (*** 1/2) – Extremely well made adaptation that manages to fix some of the pacing/exposition problems of Lynch’s. I am more looking forward to Part 2, as it is where the story gets really good.
Annette (*** 1/2) – Very weird, but extremely satisfying. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Leos Carax and Sparks. The best scene is the finale in prison where our title character delivers an incredible singing performance.
The Card Counter (****) – Paul Schraeder is making great movies these days. This one continues exploring similar themes as Taxi Driver but with a much more nuanced character.
Don’t Look Up (*** 1/2) – These days, satire works best as a full hand slap across the face. The Dr. Strangelove of Climate Change movies. It’s no surprise the media don’t like this one.
The French Dispatch (****) – Wes Anderson is just so good and here he stretches himself with a series of short pieces. Few directors today know how to block a scene or use production design as well as Anderson.
The Green Knight (**** 1/2) – One of the best Arthurian adaptations. It doesn’t just retell the story, but finds interesting new ways to explore it’s themes from a modern viewpoint.
Licorice Pizza (**** 1/2) – P.T. Anderson never fails to delight. This return to the Valley is full of familiar shades with a strange love story and a love letter to the 1970s.
Zola (**** 1/2) – The best portrayal of communication on the internet we’ve ever had. This takes a Twitter thread and elevates it to a level of cinema that feels so refreshing.
|Didn’t See, But Will||Didn’t See, Probably Won‘t|
The Souvenir Part II
|No Time To Die|
In the Earth
The Woman in the Window