I have been a film critic for nearly 20 years and worked professionally, as a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association for the past 9 years. My favorite movie of all time is The Big Lebowski because it always feels new.
The first movie release of 2021 is a super fun little creature feature with a whole lot of girl power energy. Shadow in the Cloud, arriving in theaters on January 1st, does the honor of starting off 2021 with a surprise, a really fun, very silly, World War 2 creature movie that is smartly brief at a mere 82 minute runtime, and wildly fun in a low budget fashion. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Shadow in the Cloud doesn’t overstay its welcome and delivers a brisk number of twists and thrills.
Chadwick Boseman used every minute of his 44 years on Earth. He packed a lifetime of powerhouse performances into a life cut far too short. His final performance arrived on Netflix in November of 2020 and it was yet another example of his passionate, emphatic, undeniable talent. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a story of a blues legend and a blues wannabe and how each ended up where they were.
A24 is the best film distribution company in the world. I say that in all seriousness because A24 has repeatedly proven over the years that they choose only the best material for their distribution banner. A24 has released my favorite movie the year three times in the last decade. Since 2014, 21 A24 movies have made my 10 Movies of the year. No other company has had this level of consistent quality in history.
Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man is one of the most exciting movies of 2020. Released in February of 2020, the movie has not left my Top 5 movies of the year since it was released. Whannell has come into his own as a director since first debuting as the writer and star of the Saw franchise all the way back in 2004. Since then, he co-created the terrific Insidious horror franchise and went on to direct three terrific movies, Insidious Chapter 3, Upgrade and now, The Invisible Man.
No movie has occupied my mind in the way Promising Young Woman has. I watched the movie in late November with the intention of writing this review two weeks before the December 25th theatrical release date. That didn’t happen, obviously. So I decided to watch it again. Something about the movie nags at my mind. I think the movie is remarkable. Promising Young Woman is stylish, confident, well acted and memorable.
News of the World holds a particular charm for me. In my life, I have worked as a radio news reporter and the notion of how news traveled back in the pre-20th century south holds an awesome fascination for me. News of the World indicates that there was once a man who rode from town to town charging folks a dime to sit and listen to him read the newspaper and inform them about what is happening in the world outside their backyard.
Fatale stars Michael Ealy in yet another low rent thriller where he’s the victim of some crazed lunatic. Last year, Ealy was menaced by Dennis Quaid just because he and his wife decided to buy Quaid’s former family home in The Intruder. This year, Ealy finds himself menaced by two time Academy Award winning actress Hilary Swank after he sleeps with her and doesn’t tell her that he’s a married man.
To say that Monster Hunter is the best movie in the career of director Paul W.S Anderson is undeniably, damning with faint praise. When a resume contains multiple Resident Evil movies, Event Horizon and the original Alien Vs Predator movie, topping your previous work is a relatively low bar to clear. But I have come to praise Monster Hunter and not to bury Paul W.S Anderson. Monster Hunter is truly not terrible.