2021 Reviews

[8] Just as she did with The Piano nearly thirty years ago, director Jane Campion exposes the tragic consequences of rigid gender conformity in The Power of the Dog. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as a deeply closeted gay cattle rancher in 1925 Montana. When his brother (Jesse Plemons) brings his new bride (Kirsten Dunst) and her effeminate son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to live with them, Cumberbatch cruelly …

[5] Spoilers ahead. A group of immortal beings called Eternals were sent to Earth centuries ago to fight a bunch of monsters called Deviants so the human race could survive and thrive. After all the monsters were vanquished, the Eternals lived among the humans for eons and kinda fell in love with them. So it really sucks when they learn they’ve been lied to by …

[8] Hollywood often waters down characters and storylines to make them universally appealing. Filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson with Licorice Pizza, or David O. Russell with Joy and The Fighter, are challenging that notion with stories of tremendous specificity — specificity of character, location, obstacle, and endeavor — that find universal appeal without dilution. In pursuit of that specificity, Anderson casts two unknown actors as …

[7] Tom Holland, my personal favorite Spider-Man, returns in his third official film — although his character has also appeared in many other Marvel movies that don’t have his name in the title. This time, the young webslinger is dealing with the fallout from the last film, chiefly that his secret identity has been revealed to the world and everyone thinks he’s a bad guy. …

[7] In this satiric dark comedy from director Adam McKay (Vice, The Big Short), Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence star as astronomers trying to warn the planet of an extinction-level comet headed straight for Earth. Meryl Streep plays a Trump-like narcissistic president who at first doesn’t want news of the comet to tank her presidency, but then ends up using the crisis to try and …

[6] McKenna Grace stars as twelve-year-old Phoebe, the granddaughter of a recently-deceased hermit she discovers has a connection to the original film‘s Ghostbusters, who have long since disbanded. When her mother inherits the grandfather’s decrepit farmhouse, Phoebe learns he wasn’t the mad man people thought he was. He was actually doing everything in his power to stop an ancient evil from taking over the world. …

[5] Keri Russell stars as a rural Oregon middle-school teacher who grows concerned for a troubled child (Jeremy T. Thomas) who exhibits signs of domestic abuse. But the boy’s reality is far worse than she suspects. With the help of her sheriff brother (Jesse Plemons), she discovers the boy’s family is somehow connected with mythic, supernatural monster that begins preying on the town. Antlers delivers …

[5] Director Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival) takes a stab at delivering Frank Herbert’s dense, complicated science-fiction novel to the big screen. Dune centers around a teenaged royal named Paul Atreides (Call Me By Your Name‘s Timothée Chalamet) whose family is chosen by the galactic emperor to oversee production of the universe’s most valuable substance, the spice melange, on the desert planet Arrakis, nicknamed …

[4] Star Daniel Craig exits the James Bond franchise in his fifth entry, No Time to Die. Craig’s Bond begins the film in peaceful, secluded retirement. But when an old friend and comrade (Jeffrey Wright) summons him back into service, he finds himself up against a new ultimate bad guy (Bohemian Rhapsody‘s Rami Malek) with a new evil plan involving DNA and genocide. Along the …

[6] It’s weird that we now live in a time when a studio is willing to make the same movie twice, only a few years apart and call it by the same title. But here’s DC’s The Suicide Squad… again. This time it’s written and directed by James Gunn, who brought Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to life in a fun and heartfelt way. With …

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