Monday, September 13, 2021

2021 Movie Guide

Coda - 4 Stars - APPLE TV - A 17 year old girl discovers her passion for singing in Coda, which stands for Child of Deaf Adults. Break out star Emilia Jones soars in this heart warmer about the tension between ambition and family duty.  With Marlee Matlin.  Possibly the year's best movie.  

Summer of Soul - 4 Stars - HULU - One of the greatest concerts films ever culled from footage shot during the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival - a series of free concerts held over six weekends in a Harlem city park. The music captures the great cultural changes in society during that time.  The footage intended for syndication languished in the wake of Woodstock - held the same summer.  This is better.  

Come From Away - 4 Stars - APPLE - Video of the Broadway Performance, based on the story of the people of Gander, Newfoundland, who take in 7000 residents on 9/11.  Uplifting. 
Worth - 3 1/2 Stars - Michael Keeton as Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer who distributed payments to victims of the 9/11 attack.  A memorial to 9/11 from a different angle that stay human and avoids sentimentality.  Surprisingly touching.  

Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar - 3 1/2 Stars - HULU. Gloriously silly comedy with Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo.  A Saturday Night Live Skit write large.  

No Sudden Move - 3 Stars - HBO Max - Old school crime caper directed by Steven Soderbergh.  Don Cheadle wriggles in and out of trouble in a plot much larger than he knows.    

In the Heights - 3 Stars - DISNEY PLUS - Written before Lin-Manuel Miranda stunned the world with Hamilton, In The Heights feels less ground breaking but entertaining nevertheless.  Family and romance and the dream of a better life motivate the residents of Washington Heights.  Some of the musical numbers would make Busby Berkeley proud. 

Annette - 3 Stars - AMAZON PRIME - Wildly creative musical with Adam Driver as an aggressive comic who marries opera star Marion Cotillard.  Their daughter inspires murder and exploitation. 

Respect - 2 Stars - THEATERS - Jennifer Hudson covers Aretha Franklin's greatest hit in a by the book bio-pic.  Long and slow and a little too pat telling a rise and fall and rise again tale.  

The Green Knight - 2 Stars - THEATERS/ON DEMAND - Widely praised fantasy with Dev Patel as Sir Gawain who faces beheading by the Green Knight.  Dark, slow, and tedious.  

Reminiscence - 1 Star - HBO MAX - The excellent Hugh Jackman can't save this run of the mill sci-fi film noir, with Rebecca Ferguson as a femme fatale with an agenda.