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Here’s the list and a little bit of what I said about each film *except for Dune which I did not review.
Number 10 – BEING THE RICARDOS: “We see when Desi and Lucy first meet. She notices he’s continually flanked by young women. He draws them in, and they follow him around like the remora to the shark. It makes her ill, but she knows she has what it takes to get and keep him. These girls don’t have anything she doesn’t have; all told, they have a hell of a lot less. She asks him to use a line on her that he has yet to be used on anyone else. She’s hooked. And you see that he loves her.”
Number 9 – DUNE: Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Present a Legendary Pictures Production, a Film by Denis Villeneuve, “Dune.” The film is slated to be released in select theaters in 2D and 3D and IMAX and on HBO Max on October 22, 2021 and will be available on HBO Max’s Ad-Free plan in 4K UHD, HDR10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos (English Only) on supported devices for 31 days from theatrical release.
Number 8 – MASS: “You may think that you wouldn’t like this film very much, but you will. Yes. It’s four people sitting in one room, hashing out whether a killer should have been born or not. But listening to the dialogue is all that’s needed. Jay tells Linda and Richard about the trail of blood his dying child left behind for people to see as he attempted to live.
His words describe the situation remarkably well, so much so that you don’t need to see anything play out. Why? You can see it in your mind perfectly fine. The question is, can these people move on? Can they find forgiveness and release the pain they’ve held onto now that they’ve expressed themselves?”
Number 7 – TICK, TICK, BOOM!: “I feel it worth mentioning that in 1996, Larson was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and several Tony Awards for “Rent.” Director Lin-Manuel Miranda is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner, as well. The star in his film about Larson’s journey is an Academy Award nominee and Tony Award winner, too. That’s a lot of talent for one story. Think it’s going to be good? If you said, “Yes,” you’d be correct. The list of performers in this film is a mile long. I won’t get into them all, but you’ll love some of the surprise appearances. One of the easiest to spot was Joel Grey, who played Jonathan’s father, Allen.
I’ve mentioned the talent as a reason to see this, but if you liked “Rent,” you can’t miss out on this. Suppose you’re a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda. In that case, this is his directorial debut, so have faith in his abilities and see this at a theater near you; if you’re lucky enough to be in a city where it’s playing. Or watch it on Netflix, starting today, November 19. Watch the credits for actual footage of Jonathan Larson himself.”
Number 6 – C’MON C’MON: “There’s so much to unwrap in this movie. There’s a lot of devotion, growing and love, which will not be lost on the audience. It’s written and captured very well, in gorgeous locations, with an intimate cast who believes in the project. When Johnny reads to Jesse from the book “Star Child,” it’s such a memorable scene that they included some of the lines in the official trailer. Watching it play out onscreen was beautiful and it’ll work to get anyone to the theater to see this, where I suggest you catch it when it comes out. Be prepared for the emotional ending because as Johnny recognizes he wouldn’t make the best of fathers; Jesse gets the picture that he still has a lot of growing up to do.
HALF WAY THERE...
Number 5 – WEST SIDE STORY: “Through dance and song and watching Rita Moreno’s ‘Valentina’ do her best to make the neighborhood a better place, one hoodlum at a time, the story unfolds. It was mystifying watching her scene with the new version of her old self, though it was heartbreaking seeing her age show, especially in a close-up of her hands. That said, she still has it.”
Number 4 – PIG: “With great depth, Nicolas Cage plays a man who lives alone in the wilderness of Oregon. He desperately searches for his beloved truffle foraging pig when she’s kidnapped, always knowing she meant a lot to him, but never realizing just how much. I can’t help but think we’ll see Cage picking up a trophy for this brilliant performance”
Number 3 – TRAGEDY OF MACBETH: “Reciting the dialogue beautifully here, Denzel will blow you away with his skillful acting once again. Only now, he’s using Shakespearean tongue, as a power-hungry man plotting the assassination of a king.”
Number 2 – RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON: “I’ll end this by suggesting that you see this and as quickly as possible. It’s beautiful, it’s powerful, and it’s for everyone. Though I’m an admitted wimp, I was moved to tears.
What drives the movie is that the backstory is exceptionally well told. The characters are fantastic, the score is gorgeous, marvelous visually, and it handles subjects that touch us today in an almost subliminal way. It’s remarkable how a Disney film can say and achieve so much in such a short amount of time. The themes presented in the film need some attention from the human race, so it’s not at all a bad thing. They will be noticed and absorbed.”
NUMBER ONE – BELFAST: “Well, you’ll know one of those groups only a few moments into the film. That would be ‘cinematography.’ When “Belfast” begins, it starts by getting a glimpse of what Belfast looks like today. Then, in an artful and beautiful way, we transition to 1969 by slowly moving over the “Peace Wall.”
The movie is beautifully shot primarily in black and white. What color you do see is used to pull your attention away from the main storyline for a moment. This is done to encourage your imagination in the thought that this is all coming from fading memory.
Branagh uses a great deal of humor to tell this tale. Rather comical is the relationship between Buddy (played by the vibrant and enthusiastic young actor, Jude Hill, who plays the young version of the filmmaker), and his Pop (Hinds) and Granny (Dench). They help guide him through the difficult time he’s having after falling in love for the first time. There’s a scene about seating arrangements where they give him his first lesson on how to manipulate the system to get what he wants most.”
*WHICH FILMS MADE YOUR LIST???
The Year of 2021 has now ended. Most people are breathing a sigh of relief. But the “Year of Living Pandemically” has shown that movie theaters and Hollywood are (in general) not to be counted out. The biggest problem for the Theaters is “The Rise of the Streamers”. The next biggest issue for Hollywood is the lack of originality.
Which movies stood out in 2021?