Bo Burnham’s Inside — the comedy special he shot during quarantine, over about a year — is a difficult film to review, as it’s not so much a “film” as it is a reflection of the artist and a deeply personal piece. I’m reluctant to even classify it as a “comedy,” although it does have it share of laugh-out-loud moments.
It’s fair to say that Black Widow has been one of the most anticipated movies of 2021, and not just because of the pandemic, which delayed its release for over a year (going two years without a Marvel film is very difficult for a MCU nerd like myself, but thankfully there are several being released this year alone). This is the first [and only] time Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff gets a solo film, despite having been around since 2010’s Iron Man 2.
Is In the Heights perfect? Probably not, but it’s the perfect summer movie. It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s actually very well-made and well-acted, featuring a diverse cast and characters. Sure, it’s probably a little long, but what else do you need for a summer movie?
A Quiet Place Part II is among the many theatrical releases that got postponed due to the pandemic, and is one that almost requires this kind of viewing, as opposed to the option of viewing through any number of streaming services — not that there’s anything really wrong with streaming, but this film is one with such excellent sound design and thrilling scenes that would make it difficult to appreciate its technical qualities on a smaller screen.
It’s the kind of entertaining action/adventure flick that’s not quite good enough to stand out from others in the genre, aside from outstanding work from the cast, including Angelina Jolie in her return to acting (after a several-year hiatus).
Fact: As of this past Sunday, I watched every single film (including the shorts) nominated for an Oscar this year. It’s not usually that easy, as some films — especially international ones — may be hard to find, either in a theater or on streaming.
The Father is the last of this year’s Best Picture nominees that I’ve seen; unfortunately, it wasn’t released until last month, and only became available to rent until a couple weeks ago. You may wonder if it’s worth $20 to rent, and it certainly is, especially if you consider how much it would cost for 2+ people to go to the movies, get popcorn, etc. I watched it with my mom, and even though we had to pause multiple times — and watch over two days — I still found The Father to be an extremely effective, sympathetic, authentic portrait of living with dementia.
Remember when Parasite won Best Ensemble at last year’s SAG Awards? That was pretty dope, as the young people say. This year’s winners are both difficult and easy to predict, if that makes any sense. But, I’ll do my best.
When Oscar nominations were announced last week, the Documentary Feature category was among the most surprising; acclaimed docs like Dick Johnson Is Dead, All In, and Boys State were all shut out, in favor of five diverse films, ranging from terrific to a disappointing and ineffective. Here are my reviews of the nominees, in order from best to worst.
The dark comedy I Care A Lot from writer-director J Blakeson is based in reality, and points viewers to the sad fact that people are often taking advantage of elderly individuals with no real heirs, by posing as their legal guardians. Blakeson’s film certainly takes things to the extreme, and is a pitch-black comedy with no truly likable characters.