Review: Black Widow (2021)

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. 

Review: In the Heights (2021)

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? 

Review: A Quiet Place Part II (2021)

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.

Review: Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)

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). 

Review: The Father (2020)

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.

Reviewing the 2021 Oscar-Nominated Documentaries

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. 

2021 Oscar Predictions

I’ve used some fancy, schmancy math — based on nominees’ previous wins and total nominations thus far — as well as my knowledge of what the Academy tends to like, in order to predict the nominees. Hopefully, the nominees will be more diverse and representative of what America looks like now. 

Review: I Care A Lot (2021)

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.

Review: The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021)

It’s disappointing that a movie featuring such important, relevant material — drug use, lynching, among others — can be so, well, disappointingly bad. I certainly hope Lee Daniels redeems himself after this atrocity, and that Andra Day is able to find another script and filmmaker worthy of her talent; however, she has said that this role took so much out of her that she may never act again.

Review: The Mauritanian (2021)

I was fortunate to get to watch a screening (through The Hollywood Reporter) of The Mauritanian, one of the last movies to be released during this incredibly long awards season. It’s a very powerful story, directed by veteran filmmaker Kevin Macdonald, featuring a couple of solid performances but is inconsistent in its story and execution. 

Review: Minari (2020)

Who’d have thought that Minari, a film that centers on an Korean immigrant family that tries to start a farm in Arkansas during the 1980s, would end up being the quintessential American film? It represents the American dream in ways both subtle and overt, and it irks me to no end that it has received numerous foreign film nominations, simply because a great deal of the dialogue is in Korean.