The Films of 2021

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DarkImbecile
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The Films of 2021

#1 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Jan 01, 2021 1:00 am

Image

Swo suggested I just repost the 2020 version in full, but looking the newly announced 2021 releases over made me (naively?) hopeful that I'll actually see one or two of these in a theater, so maybe it'll do the same for you!

As always, this is the thread in which you can post your reactions to any film released this year that doesn't already have a thread created for it; if enough posts are made on the same film, a separate group of posters will meet several weeks later and decide if that film will be awarded its own thread (barring recounts or court challenges), at which point a thread will be permitted to exist about a month after that. Please limit yourself to one film per post — even if that means a few consecutive posts after a day-long trip to the multiplex (hahahahahasob) — as the mods have hard enough jobs already without having to try to split your 1,000-word treatise on the Venom sequel and Chris Rock's Saw movie into two different threads.

If all goes even marginally better than it did last year, in addition to all the unreleased films from last year's list, we might get:
  • Brady Corbet following up Vox Lux with a period drama set in the world of mid-20th-century architecture
  • Riley Stearns following up The Art of Self-Defense with a sci-fi cloning feature
  • Olivia Wilde following up Booksmart with a period domestic drama starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine
  • Julia Ducournau following up Raw with a horror mystery about a missing child reappearing a decade later
  • Daniels following up Swiss Army Man with "a sci-fi adventure comedy about a 55-year-old Chinese woman trying to finish her taxes" starring Michelle Yeoh
  • Martin Scorsese's documentary on the classic sketch show SCTV
  • George Miller's "epic fantasy romance" starring Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba
  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet's android uprising comedy
  • Park Chan-wook's detective drama featuring Lust, Caution's Tang Wei
  • Bruno Dumont's latest incisive observation on societal hypocrisy starring Lea Seydoux
  • Melanie Laurent's period drama about an escapee from a mental hospital
  • James Gray's period drama about 1980s New York, with Oscar Isaac, Cate Blanchett, Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, and Donald Sutherland
  • Steven Soderbergh's return to the crime thriller with Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Jon Hamm, Matt Damon, and Julia Fox
  • Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks
  • Jeremy Saulnier's latest violent thriller with John Boyega
  • Robert Eggers' viking epic with Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, and Bjork
  • Shaka King's depiction of the assassination of Fred Hampton, starring Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya
  • Ridley Scott's true-crime drama about the Gucci family starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Adam Driver
  • Ana Lily Amirpour's supernatural thriller starring Kate Hudson
  • Jacque Audiard's latest feature, a collaboration with co-writer Céline Sciamma and Portrait of a Lady on Fire star Noémie Merlant
  • Claire Denis' latest collaboration with Juliette Binoche set in the world of French radio
  • Adam McKay's star-studded environmental satire, featuring [deep breath] Leonardo Dicaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Ariana Grande, and others
  • Christopher McQuarrie's latest entry in the Tom Cruise-starring action series about the importance of following public health protocols
  • David O. Russell's latest drama(?) with Margot Robbie, Christian Bale, and John David Washington
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal's feature directing debut, a dark psychological drama about motherhood
  • Edgar Wright's supposedly dark time travel thriller, with Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy
  • Jane Campion's western drama with Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Thomasin McKenzie, and Jesse Plemons
  • Robin Wright's feature directing debut about a grief-stricken woman making a life-changing journey in the West, starring herself
  • Channing Tatum's feature directing debut about a grief-stricken man making a life-changing journey in the West, starring himself
  • Nicolas Cage playing himself when cast in a fictional Tarantino movie as an informant for the CIA
All this in addition to the many, many projects from the likes of ::kogonada, Tomas Alfredsson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Leos Carax, Scott Cooper, Gia Coppola, Andrew Dominik, Jonathan Glazer, Mia Hansen-Løve, Todd Haynes, Michel Haznavicius, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Adrian Lyne, Terrence Malick, Tom McCarthy, Mike Mills, Kornél Mundruczó, Sally Potter, Paul Schrader, Paul Verhoeven, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Chloe Zhao we were already anticipating from last year! Everyone is encouraged to offer their thoughts on any 2020 release that provokes a reaction, whether it's a hidden art house gem or a big budget studio disaster — you never know when you'll be the one to start a vigorous conversation on the merits of 2021's version of Hillbilly Elegy.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The Films of 2021

#2 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:18 am

Got all excited that my dream of Tom Hanks playing Elvis had finally come true, 2021 off to a rough start

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Finch
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Re: The Films of 2021

#3 Post by Finch » Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:22 am

Jane Campion is directing a western? Yes, please.

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senseabove
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Re: The Films of 2021

#4 Post by senseabove » Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:17 am

LWLies’ rundown of 100 films to look forward to in 2021: Part 1 and Part 2

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captveg
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Re: The Films of 2021

#5 Post by captveg » Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:49 pm

Netflix pushing their 2021 schedule with this new trailer. Gotta admit, there's more in there than I expected drawing my interest.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The Films of 2021

#6 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:57 pm

Oof, I had the opposite experience watching that. I mean, I'm somewhat interested in O2, Kate, and Don't Look Up just based on casting, but aside from Malcolm and Marie this looks like the worst Netflix slate in years

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Never Cursed
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Re: The Films of 2021

#7 Post by Never Cursed » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:03 pm

Yeah, most of those films look quite bad, and further I don't know if I like how Netflix is releasing them in much the same way that Lifetime releases movies

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captveg
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Re: The Films of 2021

#8 Post by captveg » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:17 pm

On average I've seen 2 or 3 Netflix films a year for the last couple years. There's around 5 in that trailer that have at least a little interest from me, so that's the level of "more" I have, for full context.

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Persona
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Re: The Films of 2021

#9 Post by Persona » Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:24 am

The Netflix thing is about as ho-hum a sizzle reel as possible, but I will admit that the refreshingly wordless clip of DON'T LOOK UP enticed me for an Adam McKay ensemble-palooza more than I was prepared for.

That said, the reel also didn't do much of anything to highlight the stronger faction of their releases this year. I don't think they are gonna have much in the way of awards bait or those sort of crown jewels they had in these past few years from Cuaron and Scorsese and Kaufman, but I am really looking forward to the Showalter, Dosunmu, and Campion and I think the B-movie genre fare seems a little more intriguing than their usual with KATE, NIGHT TEETH, FEAR STREET, etc.

But yeah, the stuff front and center in the clip is a yawn besides the McKay.

Reading about the Campion has me very stoked for it. A lot is gonna hinge on Cumberbatch's performance, which I think could easily go either way between making the movie or breaking it and I really have no clue if the Batch can pull it off. One fortuitous thing was Paul Dano dropping out and being replaced by Jesse Plemons, which I think is a huge upgrade for the role. On the downgrade Elisabeth Moss was replaced by Kirsten Dunst, though Dunst is certainly capable of doing a great job.

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Brian C
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Re: The Films of 2021

#10 Post by Brian C » Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:50 pm

News of the World (Paul Greengrass)

Change-of-pace film for Greengrass about an old man on a long, slow journey that feels like it's trying to emulate David Lynch's The Straight Story in some respects, but it lacks that movie's elegance and charm. This is a role that Hanks could play in his sleep - it's pretty much the archetypical Hanks role - and the film hits every narrative and thematic beat exactly how anyone would expect. It's a movie astonishingly short of surprises, but in case you need a cheat sheet to what the movie's trying to say:

War --> bad
Racism --> bad
Child rapists --> bad
Child labor --> not great but these are simple folk
Violence --> oh we're ever so weary of all the violence in the world, unless it's heroic, then it's kinda neat
The US treatment of American Indians --> bad, of course, but also because of the film's premise, hoo boy do we ever not want to open that can of worms
Wastefully killing bison --> sad
Rickety old wagons --> use with caution
Reading --> good

I guess I would think a lot more highly of the film had the filmmakers been a little more willing to get their hands dirty. What if the Hanks and Greengrass hadn't been so insistent on the main character being such a Decent Man? There are a lot of unavoidable echoes of The Searchers here, but that movie faced attitudes that were contemporary to the setting in a way that Greengrass mostly sidesteps, which seems overly convenient to me. There's not much indication that people in 1870s Texas might have looked askance at a little girl that only speaks Kiowa, even if they do stare a bit when she eats with her hands. And then the movie wraps things up in a way that feels frustratingly - even insultingly - easy.

I guess what I'm saying is that the movie never defines the stakes very forcefully and never feels all that interested in the characters. Instead it feels annoyingly like allegory, a will-they-make-it-or-won't-they narrative that dutifully stops now and again to impart a lesson but never stops to care about how things will play out even if they do make it and how these people will be affected. There's just no way to think that the toll of the events leading up to and portrayed in the film won't have a long-term traumatic impact on everyone involved, and there's no simply no interest, either. Instead we get a movie that is piously "relevant" but with massive blind spots in its moral vision, and ignoring moral complexity in a movie with obvious intentions to impart a moral message just seems kinda pointless.

Finally, a pet peeve - when did actual landscape photography in film go out of style? This movie is a complete mess of ugly CGI outdoor photography. Is it really that hard and that expensive to do some location scouting and get some 2nd-unit aerial shots of the landscape?

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Re: The Films of 2021

#11 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:17 pm

Godzilla vs. Kong looks genuinely fun.

I was a big fan of 2014's Godzilla, which was far better than it had any right to be. Kong: Skull Island was dumb fun. Godzilla: King of the Monsters, on the other hand, was a pretty boring trainwreck.

I have hope that this one will be good time.

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Re: The Films of 2021

#12 Post by knives » Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:21 pm

Admittedly I’m biased in favor of Kaiju, but I thought the sequel was fun and did a good job utilizing the essence of some of the nuttier originals.

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Re: The Films of 2021

#13 Post by Big Ben » Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:46 pm

I'm pleased that the movie is not advertising itself as anything other than exactly what it is. I have a sneaking suspicion that King Kong and Godzilla will not be the only Kaiju in the film however. \:D/

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Persona
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Re: The Films of 2021

#14 Post by Persona » Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:00 pm

THE WHITE TIGER (Bahrani)

The incessant voice-over narration undermines this movie so badly. I picture the exact same movie without the V.O. and it registers as something sorta great in my mind. The narration cages the picture and the viewer together into such a narrow space of engagement and interpretation. It erases any potential for subtext or ambiguity. Why do good filmmakers still do stuff like this in 2021?

Still, on the film's other merits (it's never less than interesting and involving and pretty well-made), I have to give it a frustrated thumbs up.

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Re: The Films of 2021

#15 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:53 am

Saint Maud

Those always on the lookout for the next great A24 horror film needn't look further than Rose Glass' first feature, and if she doesn't get the same boosted recognition and opportunities as Ari Aster (after this far-superior film to Hereditary in nearly every way), then there's no hope for gender equality even in the indie sphere. This masterpiece is doing so many things at once that it's hard to describe without seeing for yourself, but I will say (very briefly outside of a spoilerbox, where the bulk of any sensitive writeup must shelter itself) that the film takes a necessary risk in treating spiritually and faith very seriously while also acknowledging the power and reality of subjective experience with equal gravity, which allows the weight bared to trigger behavior in a manner that’s understandable and frightening simultaneously.
SpoilerShow
Early on, we witness visual touches of lighting hitting the walls as Maud feels God around her while ascending the staircase. This is only the first instance of a series of technical choices that signify this subjective truth for Maud through her perceptions, just as our blueprint for viewing the world becomes colored based on belief and emotion, a psychosomatic exhibition of the soul’s schema. This is Maud’s reality, not because she’s crazy but because one’s reality is always skewed, and a film that approaches her psychology without judgment or ‘other’ing Maud as different than us (her condition is not glaringly only rooted in mental illness, a common default for genre films like this conscientiously avoided here), is a courageous and respectful move. It's also all the more terrifying because Maud’s tendencies for isolation, and the ensuing obsessions and compulsions, broadly mimic many of our own in the western world, and her dangerous delusions (if one reads them as such) when actualized are more extreme versions of what we are all potentially capable of if dealt a different set of cards.

It’s also very specific to the religious, and when Maud explains to one character that this is “life or death,” the open-minded viewer can understand that she is earnest rather than solely delusional. I was reminded of a comment I read years ago on a message board about near-death experiences that quickly turned into a conversation about faith.. One devout Catholic poster explained in the most transparent and self-aware message why they forcibly tried to convert their friends to the point of driving them away. The explanation was something to the extent of “I truly believe that if they don’t accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior that they will be tortured in hell for eternity. Not just a little while but eternity, and even though it pains me to make people feel uncomfortable and it’s lonely to lose friends, it feels like an impossible obligation to ignore when I really believe -to the point of ‘knowing’ this as 'truth'- that this will be their fate. Truly loving someone is trying to protect them despite the impact it has on me selfishly.” It was much more intricate and humble than that, but even if I can't personally comprehend that point of view, it changed the way I looked at the imposing sectors of devoutly religious, and I think this film empathizes with that perspective using a considerate method that few films bother with, because few filmmakers can access the temperament to extend such an olive branch.

On one level, Maud is unmistakably suffering from mental illness, but the film leaves open the possibility (I'd argue probability) that this could be only partially sourced in the cognitive realm, and trauma-reactive rather than an actual schizophrenic disorder. Much of Maud's psychology is relatable: she suffers an acute psychological crisis, turns to faith, and quickly disposes of it in the film's terrific and surprising second act. Maud reacts based on abandonment, from a sensitivity to not getting what she feels she deserves -but that 'deserve' is just a defensive ruse for rationalizing away the emotional bottom, that she needs belongingness and meaning. This is where the film becomes reminiscent of the exceptional The Blackcoat's Daughter, as Maud seems to be shifting partners to the devil. She resigns her morals and exposes herself as an empty shell of a person, whether having sex with strangers or trying to get in on laughing at a neighboring table’s conversation, so lonely and desperate for purpose, and willing to give herself up to whoever -or whatever- will accept her.

The depressing truth here is that the “meaningful relationships” she seeks cannot occur on her terms, as she tragically realizes when speaking with her replacement nurse. Maud doesn't have the social skills to execute a normalized path to support, and must return to faith as a crutch - however, her subsequent questioning of faith points to a self-awareness and more complex portrait of a woman struggling between authentic faith and mental illness. This could be a real spiritual experience with God (and Satan, holy shit) or merely psychological defense mechanisms. Her two different color eyes as she stares off into the sky near the end feel like a symbol of this bifurcated truth. The fact remains that whether or not God is real or in her imagination, she’s still alone and her loneliness drives her to unbearable pain. In that sense, this is a film much like Perkins' with a sicker twist that's apatheistic: regardless of the nature of God's existence, this woman is fucked. If He is real and speaking with her, or if it's all in her mind and there is no God, either way she's doomed. Furthermore, the devil doesn't accept her to begin with, and the unsettling implication that arguably trumps Perkins' reveal rests with the notion that nothing exists to offer this reprieve, even as just a taste, and God may stand in for the Devil in that film as a cruel, manipulative, and ultimately neglectful parent. Though Glass rejects the tangibility of The Blackcoat's Daughter's reality, and it's all the more ungrounding and psychologically destructive for the choice to stew in conclusive purgatory.

The final image seals this fate in the most cynical and horrifying transition imaginable- because it's not only selling us the power of the mind to recontextualize experience as serene when we're suffering, but demonstrating that part of her is actually experiencing that suffering. At least I take it to mean as much -and perhaps this pre-credits shift is actually emulating her own consciousness as she leaves -or is abandoned by- a state of grace into corporeal horror, or perhaps this is her burning in hell now dead (the black background is admirably obscure as either smoke on the beach or a separate unearthly space)- but that ambiguity of consciousness' potential as subjectively strong could be seen as equally optimistic; though on a purely allegorical level that parting image seems to be emblematic of Maud's tormented soul, screaming below the spiritual and psychological protective layers of barely-fastened resilience. The film even leaves enough room for a reading of an anti-Young Pope version of the struggle of sainthood! And quite honestly, if we're meant to balance two truths- that Maud is delusional and also that her experience is so real to her that it is real and meaningful in the only way that counts- then she is struggling with sainthood, even if that struggle is hers to witness alone.

I’m sure these readings are coming, but I think it’s a mistake to simply pathologize Maud even if her behavior is objectively harmful. The film goes to great lengths to refrain from dehumanizing her dignity and worth and takes an esoteric route that finds itself touching on the familiar tribulations of lonely individualistic cultural trauma in addition to her specific existential circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not endorsing her ‘way’, but the film is asking us to expand our scopes to see both her worldview and default to our preconceived judgments at once- the latter being unavoidable yet the former sadly intolerable for many rigid audience members. Hopefully viewers will be able to hold these two contradictory views together and meet the film on its singular level of brilliance and confrontation by way of diplomatic provocation.

Lastly, as I alluded to earlier with the question-mark of Satan's presence, this film has the most jarring and upsetting jump scare I've ever had the pleasure/excruciation of experiencing- not only because of its power but because the scene continued relentlessly within this internal logic afterwards with no break from the terror- planting us right into Maud's inability to escape the situation herself. I have a high tolerance for cinematic fear, and have found myself nearly impossible to actually be "scared" in horror movies, but I was visibly shaking for the remainder of the film and several hours later my heart's still racing.
The visuals and the pacing are masterful, and those looking to see Jennifer Ehle finally get her chance to chew scenery in a meaty role won't be disappointed, but it’s Morfydd Clark who is an absolute revelation. A new star has been born. This film is much more contained than the typically expansive turnouts from the studio, but as an externalization of the psyche it's just as sweeping and soaked in ideas as the smartest from the distributor. Is this the best A24 horror movie yet? Maybe not, but it's so close that it hardly matters. The two sister films can duke it out for who's first in line for their spot in hell.

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Re: The Films of 2021

#16 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:28 am

JakeB wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 4:54 am
We were lucky last year in the UK that Saint Maud got a release when cinemas were open again, so I managed to see it at a local multiplex before everything got closed again.

No spoilers here but I'll say I thought the visuals were top notch, and the performances were really good. My criticism is that the plot felt a little too slight, and I didn't love the conclusion. I went in blind and it was a nice surprise to see it was shot in Scarborough, which is just up the road from me on the East Coast. I may rewatch!
I'm envious, I'm sure it was a treat! I also didn't watch a trailer and went in completely blind which was definitely the right way to go. As to your criticism, I thought the film was implicitly rebelling against a standard scopic A24 horror plot but the psychological methodology of narrative delivery amplified it to be as vast as any of those other pics, making the conclusion all the more cathartic when seen as stemming from ambiguous territory.

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Re: The Films of 2021

#17 Post by yoshimori » Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:07 pm

Saint Maud looks fun. Certainly likely to be worlds better than the utterly cliche new Ben Wheatley horror, In the Earth, that premiered at Sundance this week. What an unexpected disappointment that festival has been. The Sono-Cage thing, Prisoners of the Ghostland, has none (zero) of the poetry and psycho-sexual intensity that makes Sono's version of Grand Guignol work. It's like a Mad Max movie written by Tarantino fanboys and directed by Miike's dull-witted nephew. The Wong Kar-Wai produced Thai film, One for the Road, is super-slick and utterly vacuous. A paint-by-numbers plot -- a young man dying of cancer enlists his former best friend to go on a road trip to help him reconcile with his former girlfriend -- sketched out by someone who can only count to two. Several other shows ooze the traditional Sundance sap. The best I've seen so far, Debbie Lum's doc on SF's majority Asian-American Lowell High School, Try Harder, accessed the details of the lives of the school's cream-of-the-crop student body, their parents, and teachers, but its diffuse response to the drama that it sets up -- implying that the prestigious high school's failure to get more than one kid into each of Harvard and Stanford is a veiled racism -- ignores, among other things, top colleges' reluctance to reward those who've already had the best educational opportunities. The impossibly narrow goals the school and (some of) the parents set and then ludicrously expect the kids to achieve are a real shame ... because most of the kids, none of whom is prepared for barrage of rejections he or she inevitably receives from the "dream" schools, seem like genuine treasures.

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Re: The Films of 2021

#18 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:31 pm

Not sure exactly where to put this, but Under the Grapefruit Tree: The CC Sabathia Story is apparently on HBO now, and from everything I've heard it's a really terrific depiction of addiction and recovery. This article by fellow addict-in-recovery Ryan Hockensmith is quite powerful, and he uses his personal experience in very raw and honest way to debunk myths and reinforce the hard truths of the process related to addiction. Highly recommend people read it.

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Re: The Films of 2021

#19 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:17 pm

My daughter somehow got ahold of the Roku remote and accidentally purchased Greenland, the new Gerard Butler disaster movie. I was about to return it (just like I did when she accidentally bought Avengers: Infinity War a few years ago), when I thought: Eh, why not keep it. I like disaster schlock.

To my surprise after tonight's viewing, it is not that schlocky and not actually terrible. It's more focused on the protagonists' race against the clock, and against other people, than it is on comet-collision money shots. This makes for an effectively intense viewing.

That said, it's certainly not great. The dialogue is ham-fisted and bad, and the movie seems uninterested in exploring any interesting questions inherent in its set-up...
SpoilerShow
...the set-up being that the U.S. government has selected just a special few people, our main characters among them, to survive the apocalypse.
That doesn't lead to any cogent commentary or ethical questions; it's little more than a surface-level gimmick meant to provoke the expected drama.

But it doesn't suck. It's not Geostorm, is all I'm saying.

Still, probably shoulda gotten the refund.

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Re: The Films of 2021

#20 Post by tenia » Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:30 am

I watched Greenland a few weeks ago with my GF, and we both found it quite mediocre overall. It's indeed a very shallow and superficially written movie, that also feels particularly out of its time, ressuscitating the old "asteroid disaster" movie to jumpstart the movie's catastrophes while we're in a world that have plenty of already existing starting points for disaster movies. It's a weird thing to ressurect right now, as if a global pandemic or climate change weren't relatable points to use instead of sheer fantasy. I guess it's simply because it's more practical cinematographically, allowing for very specific events.

Then, it's indeed centered on the characters but it's quickly a bit easy to understand we're still in a typical "action" movie where they're pretty much invincible, and that it's a 2hrs movie that doesn't explore much of its setup and developments, it all goes quickly and superficially from a scene to the next with its brain turned off.

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Re: The Films of 2021

#21 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:11 pm

TheKieslowskiHaze wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:17 pm
My daughter somehow got ahold of the Roku remote and accidentally purchased Greenland, the new Gerard Butler disaster movie.
A likely story! :P

I am shying away from Greenland (what was that quote from Slacker's card game: "withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy") mostly because having a lead actor who seems very tied to right wing movies and evangelical Christian themes (as in Machine Gun Preacher) helm an end of days disaster movie without comment (and even receive unqualified praise from mainstream outlets such as Mark Kermode) seems concerning. I mean I know there are not that many films out there currently and as much as I love disaster stories (I'm reading my way through The Day of the Triffids at the moment which also features a flawed main character who has to leave half of the people he meets to their inevitable dire fates) that does not mean that we all have to uncautiously dive straight into Gerard Butler's burly arms for comfort.

So I'll probably just re-watch War of the Worlds, Deep Impact and 2012 again if I want to achieve the same effect.

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Re: The Films of 2021

#22 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Fri Feb 05, 2021 8:29 pm

colinr0380 wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:11 pm
TheKieslowskiHaze wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:17 pm
My daughter somehow got ahold of the Roku remote and accidentally purchased Greenland, the new Gerard Butler disaster movie.
A likely story! :P
Scout's Honor, I tell you!
colinr0380 wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:11 pm
I am shying away from Greenland (what was that quote from Slacker's card game: "withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy") mostly because having a lead actor who seems very tied to right wing movies and evangelical Christian themes (as in Machine Gun Preacher) helm an end of days disaster movie without comment (and even receive unqualified praise from mainstream outlets such as Mark Kermode) seems concerning. I mean I know there are not that many films out there currently and as much as I love disaster stories (I'm reading my way through The Day of the Triffids at the moment which also features a flawed main character who has to leave half of the people he meets to their inevitable dire fates) that does not mean that we all have to uncautiously dive straight into Gerard Butler's burly arms for comfort.

So I'll probably just re-watch War of the Worlds, Deep Impact and 2012 again if I want to achieve the same effect.
Though the movie has no overt politics, there is an undeniably a ring-wing vibe to the whole thing. It fetishizes the military and pick-up trucks, and there are a few uncritical references to the Good Lord.

But I'm mostly struck by the movie's elision of any exploration of privilege:
SpoilerShow
Our basically white* and obviously wealthy protagonist couple is selected by the government to be among the few deemed worthy to survive. This is supposedly because, we hear later, Butler's job as an architect would be important in the post-apocalypse. This plays as a tacit defense of classism; there is no invitation to think critically about a system that deems nice, white, rich families worthy of survival.

This is made much weirder by the fact that the family is helped, numerous times, by families and people of color (people, I should point out, who were not selected and thus presumably die shortly after their acts of kindness). A black military woman tries to help lady-protagonist, a black guy helps Butler out in a scuffle, a black man rescues lady-protagonist during a pharmacy shoot-out, and a hispanic family gives lady-protagonist a ride when she gets separated from her son.

This is a movie where we are expected to root for our wealthy white heroes who are helped along the way by doomed POC. And these POC are in the movie not as fully realized characters but as mere devices to be used by the privileged protagonists. There is no sense that the movie understands the optics of this or is interested in our thinking critically about it in any way.

I do not know what to make of all that. It's just weird.

*(the actress who plays lady-protagonist is a Brazilian-American of Italian descent)

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Films of 2021

#23 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Feb 06, 2021 12:17 am

colin -- in regards to recent disaster shows, did you check out Japan Sinks 2020 on Netfllix -- not my favorite Yuasa, but I found it worth watching overall. It has a few tangential tie-ins to the old live-action film, but is otherwise an independent story in the same setting as the original film.

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colinr0380
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Re: The Films of 2021

#24 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Feb 06, 2021 1:49 am

I'm afraid I'm not on Netflix so was not aware of it, though it looks interesting (as does Devilman Crybaby, his previous Netflix show) and I think Yuasa's work is always very experimental and daring.

I keep hoping that some label will start releasing some of the older Japanese disaster movies such as Kinji Fukasaku's 1980 Virus. At the moment I'm only really familiar with the comic take on disaster films with The World Sinks Except Japan (put out by Synapse Films on DVD in the US a while back as part of their Minoru Kawasaki collection), and the Japanese take on disaster through video games such as Tokyo Jungle or the Disaster Report series.

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knives
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Re: The Films of 2021

#25 Post by knives » Mon Feb 08, 2021 8:04 pm

Drat, I had this big write up of Mike Cahill’s Bliss as a Bukowski-esque refutation of Voltaire that got eaten up. The film will probably get the reputation as this year’s Serenity and on the surface it does earn that, but the cumulative effect of Cahill’s optimism on a highly depressive world makes as satisfactory an argument against happily ever after as Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast.

The issue for the film is that the first half before it plays its hand is unsatisfactory at fulfilling what feels like its potential as the scenes of Wilson as a schizophrenic burden for his daughter are great whereas the science fiction antics with Hayek lack pleasure. The damned nature of being removed from the mundane is the point though and I hope others will see that.

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