Most Anticipated Films of 2021 – Part 2

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Come, I Will Take You There (directed by Alain Guiraudie)

Alain Guiraudie directed the amazing queer take on Hitchcock in Stranger by the Lake that pushed boundaries and delivered a fantastic suspense story. This next feature follows a young man who begins to develop feelings for an older sex worker. At the same time, the city they live in experiences a violent terrorist attack. It’s also a Christmas movie. All these disparate elements intrigue me and knowing what he was able to do in Stranger by the Lake I am interested to see how Guiraudie blends them all together to make something remarkable.

Continue reading “Most Anticipated Films of 2021 – Part 2”

Most Anticipated Films of 2021 – Part 1

If you enjoy what you read here on PopCult, please think about becoming a supporter on my Patreon. I want to grow this blog into something special in 2021. To learn more about the exciting reward tiers that let you decide what we will feature check out my Patreon page.

So many of these movies were set to come out in 2020 but got pushed back and who knows what will happen if COVID-19 still lingers by the spring. I expect we won’t be seeing an end to the virus anytime soon so the virtual distribution model may be how many of these come to be watched.

Minari (directed by Lee Isaac Chung) – January 26

A year ago at Sundance, Minari premiered and won the two major awards of the festival. The plot follows a South Korean-American family that moves to Arkansas to pursue success. The grandmother of the family arrives a little after and her presence upends life for some but improves circumstances for others. Expect to see a review of this film on the blog extremely soon.

Continue reading “Most Anticipated Films of 2021 – Part 1”

My Favorite Films of 2020

She Dies Tomorrow (directed by Amy Seimetz)

From my review: She Dies Tomorrow is a profoundly impressionistic film, and writer-director Amy Seimetz is disinterested in conventional explanations or standard narrative structures. This is a mood piece that seeks to explore the ways people process a direct confrontation with their own mortality. Part of what Seimetz is doing is looking at how people choose to spend their time when they know they are going to die. Amy loses all sense of direction or priorities and just wastes away. She mentions being sober for a considerable amount of time but has given it all up now that she believes her life is over.

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My Favorite Film Discoveries of 2020

These are movies that were new to me in 2020. This year was the first time I watched them and they stuck out as pictures that were my favorites, ones I highly recommend and would revisit myself.

Neighbors (1981, directed by John G. Avildsen)

From my review: In the same way that Kubrick played with distorted space in The Shining to subconsciously unsettling the audience, there’s play with time going on in Neighbors. Earl eventually becomes disoriented and has to ask his wife what it is after so many starts and stops on his way to finally settle down for the night. She tells him it’s two in the morning, but soon after, he ends up paying Vic a visit. When he emerges from that bizarre conversation, the birds are chirping & it’s sunny outside. These are not continuity errors but intentional distortions […]

Neighbors is a bizarre, disturbing film, and it’s a shame that so many production elements weren’t there to make it something better. I could easily see Tim & Eric remaking this novel and doing it right. If you’ve seen their Bedtime Stories horror anthology, it traffics in the same territory. The difference is that those comedians understand how comedy works, and Avildsen seems entirely out of his element. I would say Neighbors is most definitely worth a watch because it is unlike most films. It has piqued my interest in the novel, which I’ve heard is much better than what was adapted on film.

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My Favorite Anti-War Films

War is Hell. War is a racket. War is a problem that humans could get rid of and maybe will one day. Here are some films I think captures the darkness of war and the impact it has on human beings. If you have other movies you think are great anti-war pictures, leave them in the comments below. I might give them a watch.

Paths of Glory (1957, directed by Stanley Kubrick)
Stanley Kubrick made no bones about his stance on war in this film, Dr. Strangelove, and one more we’ll talk about down the list. Paths of Glory takes place in France during World War I. Kirk Douglas plays Colonel Dax, a military leader trying to keep his men from getting killed needlessly. The Generals decide to send a division on a suicide mission to slightly push back German forces. Everything descends into chaos, and in the aftermath, one general decides to court-martial 100 men for cowardice to cover his own ass. Dax explodes against his superiors and fights for his men, knowing it will fail. The final scene of this film is a powerful moment, a solemn quietness that belies the heavy cloud over young men unaware they are about to be sent to die.

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Even More Anticipated Movies in 2020

So there were a few more movies coming in 2020 that are worth mentioning. Extremely excited for these.

Annette (TBA, directed by Leos Carax)
Leos Carax gave us the remarkable Holy Motors in the last decade. He looks to kick off this one with a musical starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. Plus, this will be Carax English-language debut. Driver plays a stand-up comedian married to a world-famous opera singer, plated by Cotillard. They give birth to a daughter who has some unique ability. My guess is that it will have something to do with her voice?

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Best of the 2010s – My Favorite Films of 2019

The Farewell (directed by Lulu Wang)
From my full review:
Wang is very obviously influenced by contemporary European cinema in her shot composition, specifically the work of Ruben Ostlund. There are lots of intentional off-center shots with characters cut off on the sides of the frame or barely peeking up from the bottom. Wang uses her composition to bring out the humor and poignancy of scenes, for example, allowing an opera-singing performer at the wedding to underscore her cousin’s sloppy drunken crying fit in the middle of the banquet hall. There’s an absolutely fantastic slow-motion medium shot in the third act of the family walking towards the camera that is framed and scored to perfection. For a second film, the technique on display is remarkable. These are not the most dynamic scenes, people sitting in a room and talking, yet the cinematography is gorgeous.

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My Most Anticipated Films of 2019 – A Look Back

Blossoms (dir. Wong Kar-wai) 
Changed to a web series, yet to be released.

Brightburn (dir. David Yaorvesky)
Great concept, terrible execution. Check out my review.

Climax (dir. Gaspar Noe)
Some people love it, others despise it. I found it entertaining and wonderfully weird. Check out my review.

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Movie Review – Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Written by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

With a sleek new Enterprise, the Next Generation cast set out on their second film, fully realized as a big-screen product. While the budget is bigger and the stakes are higher, something is lost in the process. It’s that distinct sense of a family. The focus is narrowed to Picard and Data, while the rest of the crew become supporting to minor players in these characters’ stories.

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