Overall I feel that 2021 wasn't quite as good a year for films as 2020, but I suppose that can be expected given how much COVID impacted the industry in general. This year we're seeing some films that were delayed from last year.
The one I'll start out with is one that's special, at least to me, because a friend made it, and my wife and I are in it for a small three seconds.
You often hear about cat ladies, but Cat Daddies is a documentary about guys and their cats.
Directed by friend Mye Hoang, I've been following the progress since before it even started filming. COVID turned it into a different film from what it was planned to be. The film she ended up with feels a lot more personal than it may have been. I was lucky to see it on the big screen in Austin having missed its premiere here in Dallas since I was out of town the day it screened.
You may be able to catch it at a film festival near you, but I'll post about it again once it's generally available somewhere. Really proud of the work Mye, her husband Dave, and especially cameraman Robert Bennett put into this film.
Films from November/December
- The French Dispatch is Wes Anderson's newest. You are either a huge fan of his or you hate his films. I'm a fan. I still like The Grand Budapest Hotel more, but this film, really an anthology of short stories, was Anderson at his most magical.
- Finch is a small, charming film about a man and his robot. Entertaining watch if you happen to have Apple+.
- Shin Godzilla was my Godzilla's-birthday selection for seeing at the theater when The Alamo put together its series of films for the celebration. Wow. It's really a re-telling of the original film for modern times. And hits you like the original must have hit viewers when it was first released. Really impressive.
- Jungle Cruise is Disney's attempt to turn another of their park rides into a movie franchise. I enjoyed it, but it's nowhere near the original Pirates of the Caribbean. I'd probably watch a sequel though if it comes out.
- Ghostbusters: Afterlife was so much better than I'd have ever thought it would be. Sure, reflecting on it, there was a lot of stuff that can be called fan service which is only in the film for the nostalgia. Regardless, I enjoyed the hell out of it. Had a grin on my face almost the entire film.
- Stunt Rock (1978) is, I guess, a quasi-documentary/fictional film about Australian stunt man Grant Page. The film has stunts and rock-n-roll. So aptly named movie.
- Spencer is about the last few days in Pricess Diana's life leading up to her eventual divorce and separation from the royal family. It does an incredible job of portraying what it must have felt like for her. And Kristen Stewart's performance was impressive. Really rooting for her to get awards for that role.
- Spider-Man: No Way Home had moments, but not my favorite in the series as it felt more like world-building for the next onslaught of Marvel films. A few really great scenes, though. The film that takes the Tom Holland Spider-Man out of high school into adulthood.
- The Matrix Resurrections was a bit of a let-down for me. I'm a huge fan of the first film, but felt the same about the other two films in that trilogy. It was okay to visit, but ultimately I could have done with the film existing.
- Encanto was fun. Disney animation.
- Don't Look Up sums up how I think most of the world has felt over the past few years. Rather than COVID, it's a meteor or comet that's going to collide with the planet. But the way the world deals with it is how I'd expect the world to react given the way we've reacted to COVID. Only with much more dire consequences.
- Last Night in Soho was really good. Another great entry in the filmography of Edgar Wright. Love the look of the film and how it lulls you into what at first seems a fantasy world which turns into nightmare.
- Licorice Pizza is the last film I saw of 2021 and may well be my favorite. One of those films you just lose yourself in.
Dismember the Alamo
At Halloween time every year, the Alamo has a horror film festival. It's usually sold out by the time I get around to getting any tickets, but this year I was able to snag one.
Most years, I think there are four or five films, but due to COVID concerns they didn't want to make it too long, so there were only two.
- Boardinghouse was up first. Hilariously bad in a way that seeing this with a crowd amps up the funness.
- Bubba Ho-tep is just a fun film. Also being centered in East Texas, not far from where I grew up, it's extra special. And as an anniversary showing, we were surprised with a pre-recorded interview and commentary from the director and the two stars.
Films from Reel House screenings
Due to some of the travel I mentioned elsewhere, I missed a screening or two, but here are the ones I was able to see.
- Tales from the Crypt (1972) was something I probably watched a really long time ago. Was really good.
- Soylent Green (1973) The classic. People still refer to the movie title and I'm sure not many of them have even seen the film or what soylent green (the product, not the film) really is.
- Parents (1989) was pretty boring. Feels like it should be a fifteen-minute short. At a full movie length, it felt like it was six hours at least,
- My Dinner with Andre (1981) is literally about two guys having dinner and the conversation they have. About as fun as that sounds. If you pay attention though, you may get something out of it. But if there's potential for distraction, there's no way you'd make it though.
- Anomalisa (2015) is a creepy film made with puppets. There's a bit going on here including the main character who is a motivational speaker who has a condition where almost everyone sounds and appears as if the are the same person. Well, with the exception of Lisa, who's a bit of an anomaly. Thus, Anomalisa.
A screening I missed was of The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover although I did catch a small part of it. It's been a while since I saw the film, but I did give it a 4.5 start rating on Letterboxd. It's a great, iconic, film, but you may want to avoid eating right beforehand or during it...