IMMEDIATE DISCLAIMER. THESE ARE ONLY MOVIES I HAVE SEEN. Unfortunately I can not see them all, even though I wish I could.
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
I have written about Dune extensively so it comes as not surprise that it arrives as one of my top five favorite movies of 2021. I am still in awe of what Denis Villeneuve was able to do putting this gorgeous piece of art on the screen in a coherent and fun manner. Rewatching the action set pieces, it is amazing how fluidly it tracks every key moment and allows for the viewer to linger on it. It is a calming refresher from the quick cut action that is prevalent today.
Best Adapted Screenplay is going to be a power house category at the 2022 Academy Awards. Dune merits consideration and if it is not nominated, then we riot. Dune will also get recognition for special effects, sound and I would argue for cinematography as well. Dare I say that Dune reminds me a little of Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)? I don’t think that Dune is going to be nominated for 13 awards, but here are just the hypotheticals for the franchise starter: Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Design, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and best Visual Effects. That is is nine. Nine legit categories it can be nominated in.
Fear Street Trilogy
Director: Leigh Janiak
Writers: Zak Olkewicz, Leigh Janiak, Phil Graziadei
Staring: Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, McCabe Slye, Gillian Jacobs
Release Date: July 2021
There is nothing like a good movie surprise. The Fear Street trilogy arrived on Netflix in mid-July and it became appointment viewing for me after Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021) started playing. Hearing Leigh Janiak tell her story about how it was made on The Ringer’s The Big Picture podcast, one can tell that this trilogy was crafted to be a concise, fluid story. Each movie is made a little bit different and honors the style of horror the time period of the movie usually portrays. Janiak made new teen scream movies that both honored and invigorated the genre.
One other thing about this trilogy is that people who have seen it all have a different opinion on how they rank the different movie movies in terms of quality and entertainment. I would rank them Part One, Part Three and then Part Two. You can make the argument for any, but all are enjoyable.
Last Night In Soho
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Staring: Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, Anya Taylor-Joy, Diana Rigg
Where To Watch: Theaters
Release Date: October 29, 2021
Gusto and confidence are things veteran filmmakers stamp their movies with. I don’t think any movie was as confident as Edgar Wright’s Last Night In Soho. Wright, in his writing and directing style, diverges from his comfort clothes and takes a bold attempt at a different story, one that involves murder, broken dreams and corrupt morality. Last Night In Soho is a time-bending thriller pins the audience on its heels for its entirety.
I am personally a fan of Thomasic McKenzie now with this performance. She was vulnerable as the titular character Eloise, but not in wearily or wimpy way. Her vulnerability stems from learning the horror story of 1960s dreamer Sandie, who is played by Anya Taylor-Joy. Together they stitch together a wonderfully shot somber tale of what it means to have your dreams destroyed by other’s selfishness and one’s own inhibitions.
Last Night In Soho will stick with you like a bad hangover. You’ll be asking yourself questions as to how and why things happened, but regardless you are ecstatic as to how things played out.
No Time To Die
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Ian Fleming
Staring: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Winshaw, Naomie Harris, Christoph Waltz
Release Date: October 8, 2021
This one is about the movie theater experience.
No Time To Die had a massive load on its shoulders and the weight kept on growing as its release date continued to get pushback. Daniel Craig’s swan song also had to rebound from the disappointing Spectre (2015) and reeducate the viewers of what the hell has happened in this rendition of Bond’s journey. Not an easy task.
No Time To Die lived up to the hype and created a top two movie theater experience for me in 2021. The action is fierce and one can tell that Craig is having gun in his final go-around as the classic England spy. The plot is fine, the villainy is classic, but the amusement level is great. Let the beautiful scenes wash over you and let the Bond theme carry you to that shy grin you know you want to let loose.
The Power Of The Dog
Director: Jane Campion
Writers: Jane Campion, Thomas Savage
Staring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Where To Watch: Netflix
Release Date: December 1, 2021
Oh this ending. Oh, this god damn ending. The Power Of The Dog steadily builds up the dread and its payoff is orgasmically innocently malevolent. Oh this ending. It is the best ending to any movie I saw that was released in 2021. The ending is satisfactory in every way and treats the audience like intelligent humans rather than entertainment seeking mongrels.
Also let’s get this straight. Benedict Cumberbatch gives the performance of the year as Phil Burbank. He is atop the pedestal, but he is joined by Kodi Smit-McPhee on the medal stand. Jane Campion makes this tale of tragedy beautiful with the vistas of the western atmosphere. The Power Of The Dog is something that I will be recommending to anyone who asks. Give me vulnerable humans betrayed by their own openness to love surrounded by amazing landscapes and scared by emotional pasts!
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