IMMEDIATE DISCLAIMER. THESE ARE ONLY MOVIES I HAVE SEEN.
Unfortunately I can not see them all, even though I wish I could.

The Beatles: Get Back

“Documentary about the music group The Beatles featuring in-studio footage that was shot in early 1969 for the 1970 feature film ‘Let It Be.'”

Director: Peter Jackson
Staring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison
Where To Watch: Disney+
Release Date: November 25, 2021

The Beatles: Get Back is a crowning achievement in film making. Sure you can have movies that had phenomenal special effects, unbelievable writing and absurd performances, but there is a special skill to going throw hundreds of hours of archival footage and creating a coherent story. Peter Jackson and his entire crew deserve massive praise for showing an honest appraisal of what The Beatles where before and during their last final performance.

There are so many little lessons that can be taken from The Beatles: Get Back. The mannerisms of each of the musicians and the people behind the scenes who have to work to keep the stars happy and have to hide their secrets. I had no idea that George Harrison left the band for an extended time before “Let It Be” came out. I had no idea that there was going to be a sea voyage concert or that the relationships between the band members was so frayed. The Beatles: Get Back was a passion project for Peter Jackson and it shows with the pure length and time consuming editing put into the story.


Dune

“Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.”

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth, Frank Herbert
Staring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebeccau Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian
Where To Watch: Theaters & HBO Max
Release Date: October 21, 2021

Dune is massive. Dune is a crowning achievement. Dune is a science fiction epic that everyone needs to watch.

Denis Villeneuve and Jane Campion are going to be competing for Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars in my book. It is remarkable to think about everything that Villeneuve put into this rendition of Frank Herbert’s science fiction epic. Exposition moments are just as engaging as major battle pieces.

Is it even worth mentioning that the special effects and cinematography in Dune is out of this world? (Get it, the space pun. I am hilarious.). It is worth mentioning that the acting in Dune is also outstanding, highlights by Oscar Isaac and Jason Mamoa.

FULL REVIEW


Judas And The Black Messiah

“Offered a plea deal by the FBI, William O’Neal infiltrates the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party to gather intelligence on Chairman Fred Hampton.”

Director: Shaka King
Writers: Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenneth Lucas
Staring: Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback
Release Date: February 12, 2021
Streaming: HBO Max

The more I look back on Judas And The Black Messiah, the more its impact hits home. Fred Hampton’s story pulls so many strings that its remarkable Shaka King and Co. were able to make his story tangible and tellable.

Daniel Kaluuya is an absolute weapon as an actor, and it was Judas And The Black Messiah that truly illuminated that fact for me. Like Get Out (2017) was an amazing movie, and in Widows (2018) he played a menacing side character. In Judas Of The Black Messiah, it was his time to grab the spotlight and he really did blind people with his ability to inhabit Hampton. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and really could have competed in the leading category.

The screenplay of Judas And The Black Messiah also deserves praise because it makes the progression of time seem seamless. This movie, along with Nomadland (2020) used editing and clever dialogue to progress time effectively.


Power Of The Dog

“Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.”

Director: Jane Campion
Writers: Jane Campion, Thomas Savage
Staring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Release Date: December 1, 2021
Where To Watch: Netflix

The ending to Power Of The Dog is one of, if not the best endings of any movie I have seen this year. The story is hard to watch with how vulnerable it makes its main characters. Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank is downright hatable yet you are rooting for his character because of Cumberbatch’s performance. You want to see how far he can push it on the screen. Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst) is frustrating and George Burbank (Jesse Plemons) is embarrassing with his passiveness. The films rocky balance between a hard story and enjoyment level is epitomized by Peter Gordon, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee. The Power Of The Dog will stick with you and its ending will have you needing oxygen.

FULL REVIEW


tick…tick, BOOM!

“On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theater composer navigates love, friendship and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City.”

Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Writers: Steven Levinson, Jonathan Larson
Staring: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus, Vanessa Hudgens
Release Date: November 10, 2021
Where To Watch: Netflix

tick…tick, BOOM! builds up to a crescendo and the final 30 minutes are emotional and weepingly satisfying. Knowing where the story is going right from the jump, you are braced for the heartbreaking truth to come. But even when it does, it still swings at you looking for a knockout. Andrew Garfield gives a very energetic and personal performance as Jonathan Larson, one that will probably earn him award consideration. There are two supporting performances that I would even put above him; Robin de Jesus as Michael and Alexandra Shipp as Susan. They bounce off the self-absorbed character of Larson and have scenes that stick with you most because they are the most grounded in reality. They are the avatars for the audience who can’t believe in this always dreaming mentality. tick…tick, BOOM! may not be the best of the award movies this year, but it is one of the easiest plop on a scene from it and let it rewash over you.

FULL REVIEW


Honorable Mentions
  • All To Well: The Short Film
  • Fear Street Trilogy
  • King Richard
  • Last Night In Soho
  • Minari
  • Pieces Of A Woman
  • Us Again

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