I used to go to my local cinema 90 times a year before Covid hit, this year I’ve been less than 30 times. Here is the list of 15 Best Films Watched in 2021. Also check out my list of 10 Best Films Watched in Cinemas in 2020 underneath.
Here’s the 40 best films I’ve watched on HBO Go in 2020. You can find reviews for some of them on here. If you’d like me to review any of the others, please comment below. This is a list I’ve created on my letterboxd, and thought I’d also paste it in here, just like last year.
Check out my 2019 list: https://joanneholly.com/2019/12/07/45-best-films-watched-on-hbo-go-in-2019/
I watched 91 films at the pictures in 2019, but because of the pandemic, I’ve only seen 23 films at the cinemas this year. These are the 10 best. I’ve copied this list from my Letterboxd and thought I’d post it in here. Some of these have been reviewed on here throughout the year. If you’d like me to review any of them or any other film, please leave the title in the comments.
Check out my 2019 list: https://joanneholly.com/2019/12/10/30-best-films-watched-in-cinemas-in-2019/
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I’ve been waiting for this to come out since last year. Sadly, it wasn’t much better than Corey Feldman’s last doc The Rape of Two Coreys from earlier this year. Alex Winter really should have invited him to talk about the sexual abuse him and Corey Haim endured as child actors. He also should have invited Brooke Shields and have her talk about her mother exploiting her and taking those disturbing pre-teen pictures of her since he already chose to show snippets from Pretty Baby. I wish Winter invited more than the 9 child actors that appeared in the film. There’s not much focus there either, they keep going back to drugs, not having normal childhoods, parents sacrificing their lives, parents pushing their kids for their own gain and abuse multiple times. Despite this, I still recommend you check Showbiz Kids out. This is my 10th HBO Documentary and I really liked most of them including Elvis The Searcher which I watched last week. This is also one of Cameron Boyce’s last films.
My local Showcase cinema has been showing movie goer favourites since they re-opened 3 weeks ago, and I didn’t feel like re-watching any of them, until I saw they’re showing Cinema Paradiso this weekend. I watched it many years ago on a very tiny TV screen, and this is one of the films that need to be seen on the big screen. I cried through the last 30 minutes and it was one of my favourite cinema experiences.
‘Living here day by day, you think it’s the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything’s changed. The thread’s broken. What you came to find isn’t there. What was yours is gone. You have to go away for a long time… many years… before you can come back and find your people. The land where you were born. But now, no. It’s not possible. Right now you’re blinder than I am.’
‘Who said that? Gary Cooper? James Stewart? Henry Fonda? Eh?’
‘No, Toto. Nobody said it. This time it’s all me. Life isn’t like in the movies. Life… is much harder.’
‘Get out of here! Go back to Rome. You’re young and the world is yours. I’m old. I don’t want to hear you talk anymore. I want to hear others talking about you. Don’t come back. Don’t think about us. Don’t look back. Don’t write. Don’t give in to nostalgia. Forget us all. If you do and you come back, don’t come see me. I won’t let you in my house. Understand?’
‘Thank you. For everything you’ve done for me.’
‘Whatever you end up doing, love it. The way you loved the projection booth when you were a little squirt.’
Cecile De France turns 45 today. How refreshing to see them cast a 39 year old as the love interest. Summertime is a lesbian drama about a 20 something year old Delphine who after being left for a man by her closeted girlfriend leaves her family farm and goes to Paris where she meets a 30 something year old straight woman she falls in love with, Carole. It’s the 70s and Carole fights for women’s rights to abortion and contraception. The two get together, and Carole follows the main character to the family farm where they hide their relationship from Delphine’s mother. Her mother hopes she’s going to marry a local young man and things don’t go well when she finds out. Delphine makes a decision to leave to Paris, but then changes her mind which she later regrets as per what is revealed in a letter she sends to Carole seven years later. It’s a beautiful lesbian drama I may not have ever found if it wasn’t for Mubi.
What is it with James Spader and amusement parks? Remember when his character was trying to rape and then set on fire Lori Loughlin’s character in one of my favourite films The New Kids? I know I haven’t really commented on the Lori Loughlin scandal, and I cannot really. Lori was one of my first favourite actresses and crushes for that matter, so I cannot hate her, like what the rest of the world is doing, because she’s been in some of my favourite films and I thought Full House sucked before her character was introduced, even though I hated what they did to her character after she had the twins. Anyway, this review is about Dream Lover, which also stars Twin Peaks and Riverdale‘s Madchen Amick.
Look, just cause I’m halfway pretty guys look in my eyes and think they know me. Like I’m their fantasy. I’m just a regular screwed-up person. So when you say I’m beautiful it’s like you’re not seeing me at all.
The Far Shore
This is exactly the kind of film I needed to see today. Two sisters and their mom struggle to move on from the sudden death of their father. While the 16 year old one begins a relationship with her rapist, the 11 year old one is being bullied by her nasty classmates. It’s a beautiful film and I am so glad I got to see it. Thanks, HBO!
I haven’t seen Nicolas Saada’s Taj Mahal, but my dad said it was better than this one. I’ve now added it to my watchlist. The racist British woman who panics and accuses a lady for working with terrorists because she speaks their language and then asks Dev Patel’s character to take off his turban was so inappropriate and realist at the same time. What is she even doing in Mumbai? She does understand she’s not in England, so of course people will be speaking their language. Dev Patel has had a wonderful career since his time on Skins. He played the Slumdog, he was in both Hotel Marigold films, he was in Lion with Nicole Kidman and now Hotel Mumbai.
Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind
Oh please, we all know he did it. Not much to say about this one. Natalie Wood was a bright light and just think of all the roles she would have played in her 50s, 60s, 70s. It’s tragic to think her story ended there, in the middle of the ocean. Her older daughter looks strikingly exactly like her. I have so many films to watch in my immediate watchlist, but I’m tempted to see Natalie’s entire filmography. I’ve only seen 6 of her films in total, from smaller ones like Inside Daisy Clover to big hits like Rebel Without a Cause or West Side Story. Speaking of West Side Story, I cannot believe Spielberg is making a remake. Why on earth do we need a new version of one of the biggest and most popular films? And just because teens these days won’t reach for a film from 20 years or more?
Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd make awesome gay dads and I would watch this as a TV series. Kate Walsh has a very small part in it. One of my most favourite actresses, Julianne Moore said earlier this week that she would not have taken the role of one of the moms in The Kids Are Alright now, because she’s not gay and that role should have gone to a gay actress. Isn’t that the whole point of acting? If this was a rule now, I probably would have never seen The Children’s Hour, Boys Don’t Cry, Disobedience, The Favourite or so many more of my favourites. She never said anything about her other lesbian roles, in Freeheld or The Hours. Lisa Cholodenko, who co-wrote and directed The Kids are Alright and is a member of LGBT said that both Julianne and Annette Benning could have fooled anyone with their wonderful acting, so it doesn’t matter because they were believable. She also said they were thinking of sending the script to Jodie Foster, who is gay or bi, but chickened out. Either way, I would love the film because both Jodie and Julianne are two of my three favourite actresses (Sally Field is one of the three too). There aren’t that many famous openly lesbian actors in their fifties, so I don’t think The Kids Are Alright would have been such a hit, because who would have played Jodie’s counterpart then? Ellen or Jane Lynch?
Lili Taylor’s audition piece for The Conjuring. It’s a good horror focusing on vampirism, and it tries to be even better with its black and white artiness.
‘We drink to escape the fact we’re alcoholics. Existence is the search for relief from our habit, and our habit is the only relief we can find.’
‘What’s gonna happen to me?’
‘Read the books. Sartre, Beckett, Burroughs. Who do you think they’re talking about? You think they’re works of fiction?’
I wrote this review over the course of a few days, while watching Stromboli starring Ingrid Bergman, Scorsese’s Raging Bull and listening to Taylor Swift’s Folklore.
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Little Bryce Dallas telling her dad Ron Howard he’s embarrassing her by filming her is one of the two highlights of this doc from Bryce. The second one is a video of a dad destroying his teenage son’s PlayStation with a sledgehammer. I liked Dads, but just as you’d expect, there’s nothing new here. The only thing I’ve learned from this film is that Will Smith’s got three children, not two.
‘You’re embarrassing me.’
I was thinking of watching this at the movies, but it was only on for a week and I saw that it was at 8% on Rotten Tomatoes, so I chose to stay home. The only two things I liked about this film are the Panic Room reference and how the bully didn’t even remember the main character’s name. That’s the thing, bully forgets the minute they’re done bullying, while the bullied is scarred forever.
‘I feel just like Jodie Foster in that Jodie Foster movie.’
‘Why Am I So Romantic?’ is a catchy song. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I think this is my first The Marx Brothers film? Which is weird seeing how my dad is always on about them and yet I’ve never come across their films on TV? Thanks, Mubi for correcting that and for never failing to educate me!
Gretel and Hansel
Not as good as the Blackcoat’s Daughter, but it has a lot of potential and is better than I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House. I collected an A1 poster for this film from my local cinema, it’s black and dark yellow and has the grandma pulling a long lock of hair from her mouth.
Back To The Future
Are you telling me Robert Zemeckis really believed we would be flying our cars in 2015? Reality must have hit him hard. Ever since I watched Back to the Future as a kid, every time a kid asked me what year I would time travel to if I could, I’d say I’d want to meet my parents when they were teenagers. Then again, they grew up in different cities and there’s a 4 year age gap between them. None of the kids ever got the reference. I’ve always loved the first film and was never a fan of the other two. I would rate the sequel at 6/10 as It’s always annoyed me that they couldn’t find enough interesting things about the future, so they went back to 1955 again?, and the last one, which I found pointless, at 4/10.
The Twin Towers scene stunned me. Aerosmith providing soundtrack for this film including their hit song ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ for scenes including ones with Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv makes me wonder whether Liv was cast first, or whether Aerosmith were asked to record the soundtrack before she was cast, either way a fine example of nepotism, and I’m not even bothered. I didn’t like the film though, what a waste of 2.5h. If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you watch the first 8 minutes, which include the fictional destruction a meteor attack brought on New York and then you may as well switch it off.
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A female suddenly becomes allergic to the environment. Her husband and doctors are convinced it’s psychological. Possibly the best time to re-visit this Todd Haynes masterpiece starring his muse, Julianne Moore. I never realised how much weight Julie had to drop for this role. I read that she felt awful and pledged to never lose or gain weight for a role ever again. I hate how misleading this poster is, it’s not a post apocalyptic film.
We witness a day in the life of a film producer’s assistant as she gets on with her daily tasks and questions her boss’s integrity when it comes to hiring another assistant. In one of the first scripts since the Me Too movement, the assistant, decides to go to HR and raise a complaint against her boss, even though she has no proof and doesn’t even know if anything has happened. Her current and future jobs are threatened and she backs down. My favourite scene has got to be the one at the very end when she talks to her dad and her dad tells her how proud her parents are of her. That ached, because it’s true, our parents don’t know half of the shit we go through, because we want to protect them and we want to protect the image they have of us, no matter how fake it is. The film ends with the girl witnessing a suggestive scene through a window with his boss and a very poor wanna be actress and her walking back to her flat. I love Ozark, but this is amazing too. I can’t wait to see Julia Garner get an Oscar one day. This film also made me want to check out Casting JonBenet, a Kitty Green film I’ve been putting off for 3 years now. My dad didn’t like this film at all.
Our Little Sister
Three adult sisters attend their estranged father’s funeral. They meet their half sister and offer to take her to live with them in this old traditional Japanese house their mother left them. I would have never known about this wonderful gem if it wasn’t for Mubi. I’ve updated my 100 Favourite films of the decade, sacrificing a less perfect title.
When her new friends mistakenly take her for a boy, an 11 year old girl tries to figure out whether she’s a boy, or if she’s just a tomboy. The secret comes out and her little sister is very supportive, their mother is not accepting. It made me think of Boys Don’t Cry and I loved every minute of it! This is my 4th Celine Sciamma film, I still haven’t seen Girlhood (come on Mubi, please add it already!), and I’m mesmerized by every single one of them.
Aliens land in South Africa, people are not kind to them and keep them locked, experiment on them and kill them without a good reason. A male accidentally sprays a liquid on himself and his arm turns into a claw. While being chased by humans, he befriends an alien, and screws him over, but in the end they reconcile. The man turns into an alien ‘The Fly’ style while humans think he’s disappeared. He waits for his friend to come back in 3 years and help him, but we never see what happens. Peter Jackson didn’t plan a sequel, but the ending is very sequel’y. It’s a good movie, but why is it one of the 1000 movies we need to see before we die? I also didn’t know Nathalie Boltt, who plays Cheryl’s mom on Riverdale is South African until I IMDB’d her while watching this film. I laughed when they announced on the news that the main character is wanted for shagging an alien and then everyone he ran into asked him about his sexual preferences.
‘I would never have any kind of… pornographic activity with a fokkin’ creature.’
While waiting for the galleries to re-open take a virtual step into the London’s National Gallery and follow the staff as they go on with their daily tours and activities. The restoration process looks fascinating. I’ve been to Trafalgar Square so many times, yet I’ve never found time to visit the National Gallery. I mean, I took advanced Visual Arts in secondary school and an Art History elective in my first semester of uni for crying out loud. I need to find time. The film is 3h long, and I would advise you fast forward through the staff meeting parts.
Don’t Talk to Irene
Irene is a fifteen year old girl who wants to be a cheerleader. She only has one friend, an imaginary friend, Geena Davis. If you love Geena Davis, you’ll love this! Geena Davis herself admits that Earth Girls Are Easy was a stupid film. She also mentions many of her other films, most notably A League of their Own and Thelma and Louise. I did find it disappointing that the girl wasn’t in love with Geena. Why else would you convince yourself you’re actually talking to your favourite celebrity, while in fact you’re talking to a poster on the wall.
Brian De Palma still at it with the erotic thrillers. I didn’t like the film that much while I was watching it, but now when I look back, It wasn’t that bad. The title itself is just a click-bate though. There is a lesbian plot in this and you won’t be surprised until you finally see how they chose to play it out. I wonder if this film is why Rachel McAdams was cast in Disobedience. I remember seeing an interview on Youtube where Rachel Weisz said McAdams got the job because of her acting in Spotlight. This is my least favourite film of De Palma’s and yet I still want it on DVD.
What do you want?
I used to want to be admired.
I admire you.
Well, now I want to be loved.
Friday Night Lives