It’s been a tough year (again) for Hollywood.
While movies about events such as Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Spider-Man: No Way Home packed them up in theaters, moderately large-scale musicals, dramas, and indies struggled to seduce anyone. get up off the couch. …
But there were outstanding titles in 2021, even if they often didn’t show at the box office.
So here are my 10 best films of 2021, a year in which my two best films were selected from overseas.
“Drive my car”: Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s deep adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s story is a cinematic masterpiece, a film so observant, wise and compassionate that you’ll want to reference it again and again in the years to come. Epic in length (3 hours), this methodically evolving handsome man focuses on an actor-turned-director (Hidetoshi Nishijima) who is struggling with a difficult romantic past while working on the production of Uncle Vanya. Taking this subtle premise, the great Hamaguchi continues to reflect insightfully on the human condition, clarifying guilt, love, vulnerability, creativity, and the urgent need to connect after tragedy. This is a work of humiliating art.
“Worst Man in the World”: Here they pull out all the plots of a romantic drama, when an unlucky woman in love is torn between two lovers, beautiful spellcasters. This premise is as worn out as an old paperback copy of Pride and Prejudice, but there is nothing mechanical in the literary hands of director and co-screenwriter Joachim Trier, not even time. Renate Reinswe shines with Juliette Binoche’s radiance as the brave, aimless Julie, a career woman who doesn’t seem to be able to figure out exactly what she wants. Her lightheadedness is the perfect crescendo for Trier’s Oslo trilogy, his fun and sexy take on the volatility of life. Gulf movie fans, look for this movie coming here in February in theaters.
“Red Rocket”: Meet Mikey, the former porn star who can’t stop manipulating everyone around her. The unfortunate chameleon is one of the most intriguing characters in the 2021 film, and was played entirely by San Francisco native Simon Rex in what could very well be the play of the year. Sean Baker (The Florida Project) serves up another hot, savory slice of American pie that is rarely offered in mainstream Hollywood. Mikey’s desperate, deceptive position, which is trying to assert itself, is shocking and even terrifying, while Baker tries very hard to show us a small Texas town that is trying to survive in these politically unstable times. Baker is an American treasure that sheds light on those who cling to the periphery, real characters who are categorically ignored by too many films, too many politicians, too many other Americans.
“The strength of the dog”: In Jane Campion’s bold, sexually charged gothic western, nervous from start to finish, the protagonist is captured by madness and masculinity. Benedict Cumberbatch, a trapped, furious Montana rancher who aims his brutal buckshot at his brother’s (Kirsten Dunst) and her son’s (Cody Smith-McPhee) fiancée, curls up and hits like a rattlesnake. Campion’s harsh tale has a venomous bite, along with astounding cinematography and storytelling with a Shakespearean sweep.
“Come on, come on”: Berkeley native Mike Mills takes a laughable premise – a workaholic uncle (Joaquin Phoenix) becomes the de facto parent of his earliest nephew (Woody Norman) – and turns it into a gentle meditation on how we need to learn and cherish each other. Filmed in black and white, it’s like Riding a Car because it celebrates the need for human connection and challenges our preconceptions. This is a pleasant reminder for a nation divided to stop fighting and start caring about the world we want to leave for the younger generation.
“Passing”: Actor-turned-director and screenwriter Rebecca Hall takes us to 1920s Harlem, where two former best friends (played by Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga before fame) are reunited. The problem is that one of them is now posing as white, and this does not suit the other. Hall and her actors fill each exchange with a lingering scent of sensuality as this deeply sad story deepens into the hatred that lives within us all.
“Dune”: Can you really consider a movie that suddenly stops halfway through a top 10 review? Come on, when Villeneuve is the director. The Canadian innovator shed the kitsch of David Lynch’s early shaky adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 classic science fiction novel and delved into an emotional, dark epic about a noble guy named Paul who enters a power struggle on his desert home planet Arrakis. … Dune is one of the best films of 2021, a technical marvel that harbors its soul in its droning car.
“Pizza with licorice”: Paul Thomas Anderson swaps his usual harsh and gloomy landscape for something fun and casual in this growing up game set in the frisky San Fernando Valley in 1973. Bradley Cooper, filled with compelling retreats and retreats, screams like John’s roar. Gruber in White Pants – “Pizza” tosses so many ingredients into the blender that he can’t help but wander. What’s the difference? At the heart of this magical pinball game is the insane crush between an adventurous teenage star (Cooper Hoffman) and an aimless young woman (Alana Haim). This pair is the dynamite in Anderson’s most animated film since Boogie Night.
The Lost Daughter: In a sensational and daring adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s daring novel, frustrated mothers are unleashed. When a trio of dynamite actors – Olivia Coleman, Jesse Buckley, and Dakota Johnson – do some of their finest work, Gyllenhaal’s flashback (she wrote the screenplay) escapes the Hallmark Channel cliché as we meet a single mother who is haunted by her past. another is trapped by her present; and another who is trying to swim in difficult waters with her daughter and the child’s fiery father. This is a powerful film that will take you to the most unexpected places.
Summer of the Soul: The musicals have not received high box office receipts this year. But this documentary knocked us out of the park and got us back on our feet. A tribute to Questlove for one of the finest multi-day concerts few of us have ever heard of – the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival – comes alive with archival footage. Among the sensational performances, Questlove recounts how the mainstream media spilled most of their ink at the Woodstock Festival about 100 miles away, but ignored something extraordinary happening at Mount Morris Park. Without a doubt, it was one of the most inspiring events of 2021.
The Tragedy of Macbeth, Bergman’s Island, The Alley of Nightmares, The Fallen Guy, The Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, CODE, Bow, In the Heights, Run, Nine. Days “,” The Boy Behind the Door “,” Attica “,” Bad Luck or Crazy Porn “,” Hand of God “,” Hero “