Tuesday, February 15, 2022

2021 Film Log

After not seeing a movie in theaters in 2020 after March 8, last year found me tentatively returning in June and then typically seeing two or three films per week. After getting back into a consistent moviegoing routine and finding theaters mostly empty, which I admit made me more comfortable, I was up to see pretty much whatever would help me maximize my AMC A-List membership. My decisions of what to watch weren’t made completely indiscriminately. In the Now Playing days I still might have convinced myself to see PAW Patrol: The Movie to be on top of all new wide releases but not now. Nevertheless, I was still willing to take chances on some stuff that I didn’t have high hopes for, like the Escape Room sequel and programmer fare like The Protege, or which had been bludgeoned critically, like the awards-striving dud Being the Ricardos and the misguided adaptation of stage musical Dear Evan Hansen. The only time I balked at going was when Spider-Man: No Way Home was packing theaters amid the omicron variant’s rise. Usually I was seeing films with a handful of people around me, so that blockbuster could wait until crowds shrank after the holidays. 

My limited availability to go to the movies and inconvenient showtimes meant I only made it to arthouse and repertory film venues twice in 2021. For instance, would I have liked to have caught Bergman Island and The Velvet Underground? Yes. At 10 p.m. on a weeknight? No. Still, I am kind of surprised that there are a decent number of smaller or more idiosyncratic films I managed to watch amid the big studios’ releases. There’s a lot of chaff on the theatrical portion of my viewing list, but then again, there always was when I was seeing more than this when the TV show was in production or when I last posted something like this in 2018.

Theatrical - 2021 U.S. Releases (61)

-Annette (Leos Carax, 2021, France/Belgium/Germany/United States/Japan/Mexico/Switzerland)

-Antlers (Scott Cooper, 2021, United States/Mexico)

-Becoming Cousteau (Liz Garbus, 2021, United States)

-Being the Ricardos (Aaron Sorkin, 2021, United States)

-Belfast (Kenneth Branagh, 2021, United Kingdom)

-Black Widow (Cate Shortland, 2021 United States)

-Candyman (Nia Da Costa, 2021 United States/Canada)

-The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021, United States/United Kingdom/China/Sweden)

-C'mon C'mon (Mike Mills, 2021, United States)

-Copshop (Joe Carnahan, 2021, United States)

-Cruella (Craig Gillespie, 2021, United States)

-Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood, 2021, United States)

-Dear Evan Hansen (Stephen Chbosky, 2021, United States/Japan)

-Don't Breathe 2 (Rodo Sayagues, 2021, United States)

-Dune (Denis Villeneueve, 2021, United States/Canada) - IMAX

-Encanto (Jared Bush, Byron Howard, and Charise Castro Smith, 2021, United States)

-Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (Adam Robitel, 2021, United States/South Africa)

-Eternals (Chloe Zhao, 2021, United States)

-The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Michael Showalter, 2021, United States)

-F9: The Fast Saga (Justin Lin, 2021, United States)

-The Forever Purge (Everardo Gout, 2021, United States)

-Free Guy (Shawn Levy, 2021, United States)

-The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun (Wes Anderson, 2021, United States)

-Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Jason Reitman, 2021, United States/Germany)

-The Green Knight (David Lowery, 2021, Ireland/Canada/United States)

-Halloween Kills (David Gordon Green, 2021, United States)

-House of Gucci (Ridley Scott, 2021, United States/Canada)

-In the Heights (Jon M. Chu, 2021, United States)

-Jungle Cruise (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2021, United States)

-King Richard (Reinaldo Marcus Green, 2021, United States)

-Lamb (Valdimar Jóhannsson, 2021, Iceland/Poland/Sweden)

-The Last Duel (Ridley Scott, 2021, United States/United Kingdom)

-Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright, 2021, United Kingdom)

-Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2021, Canada/United States)

-The Lost Leonardo (Andreas Koefoed, 2021, Denmark/France)

-Malignant (James Wan, 2021, United States/China)

-The Many Saints of Newark (Alan Taylor, 2021, United States)

-The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski, 2021, United States)

-The Night House (David Bruckner, 2020, United Kingdom/United States)

-Nightmare Alley (Guillermo del Toro, 2021, United States/Mexico/Canada)

-Nine Days (Edson Oda, 2020, United States)

-No Time to Die (Cary Joji Fukunaga, 2021, United Kingdom/United States)

-Old (M. Night Shyamalan, 2021, United States/Japan)

-Parallel Mothers (Madres paralelas) (Pedro Almodovar, 2021, Spain)

-Pig (Michael Sarnoski, 2021, United States/United Kingdom)

-The Protege (Martin Campbell, 2021, United States/United Kingdom)

-A Quiet Place Part II (John Krasinski, 2020, United States)

-Raya and the Last Dragon (Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada, and John Ripa, 2021, United States)

-The Rescue (Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, 2021, United Kingdom/United States)

-Reminiscence (Lisa Joy, 2021, United States)

-Ron's Gone Wrong (Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine, and Octavio E. Rodriguez, 2021, United States/United Kingdom)

-Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2021, United States)

-Space Jam: A New Legacy (Malcolm D. Lee, 2021, United States)

-The Sparks Brothers (Edgar Wright, 2021, United Kingdom/United States)

-Spencer (Pablo Larrain, 2021, United Kingdom/Germany/United States/Chile)

-The Suicide Squad (James Gunn, 2021, United States)

-Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Questlove, 2021, United States)

-Titane (Julia Ducournau, 2021, France/Belgium)

-Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Andy Serkis, 2021, United States)

-West Side Story (Steven Spielberg, 2021, United States)

-Zola (Janicza Bravo, 2020, United States)

Theatrical - Older Films (2)

-Cooley High (Michael Schultz, 1975, United States) - 35mm

-Ghost in the Shell (Kôkaku Kidôtai) (Mamoru Oshii, 1995, Japan) - IMAX

Perhaps the list becomes more interesting when turning to what I chose to watch at home. Here the choices are subject to my whims, like when I started an impromptu Hayao Miyazaki retrospective or recorded some murder mysteries from Turner Classic Movies.

Blu-ray (21)

-A Brief History of Time (Errol Morris, 1991, United Kingdom/Japan/United States)

-Bill & Ted Face the Music (Dean Parisot, 2020, United States)

-The Brood (David Cronenberg, 1979, Canada)

-Castle in the Sky (Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta) (Hayao Miyazaki, 1986, Japan)

-Chungking Express (Chung Hing sam lam) (Wong Kar-Wai, 1994, Hong Kong)

-Devi (Satyajit Ray, 1960, India)

-Dune (David Lynch, 1984, United States/Mexico)

-Eyes without a Face (Les yeux sans visage) (Georges Franju, 1960, France/Italy)

-The Host (Gwoemul) (Bong Joon Ho, 2006, South Korea)

-Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no takkyûbin) (Hayao Miyazaki, 1989, Japan)

-My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro) (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988, Japan)

-Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no tani no Naushika) (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984, Japan)

-The Parallax View (Alan J. Pakula, 1974, United States)

-Porco Rosso (Kurenai no buta) (Hayao Miyazaki, 1992, Japan)

-Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) Hayao Miyazaki, 1997, Japan)

-Le samouraï (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967, France/Italy)

-Seconds (John Frankenheimer, 1966, United States)

-Taste of Cherry (Ta'm e guilass) (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997, Iran/France)

-Tenet (Christopher Nolan, 2020, United States/United Kingdom)

-Throw Down (Yau dah lung fu bong) (Johnnie To, 2004, Hong Kong/China) (Blu-ray)

-The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988, United States)

Streaming (6)

-Chronicle of a Disappearance (Elia Suleiman, 1996, Israel/United States/Germany/France/Occupied Palestinian Territory)

-Divine Intervention (Yadon ilaheyya) (Elia Suleiman, 2002, France/Morocco/Germany/Occupied Palestinian Territory)

-It Must Be Heaven (Elia Suleiman, 2019, France/Qatar/Germany/Canada/Turkey/Occupied Palestinian Territory)

-Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro) (Hayao Miyazaki, 1979, Japan)

-The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (John Lounsbery and Wolfgang Reitherman, 1977, United States)

-The Time That Remains (Elia Suleiman, 2009, France/Belgium/Italy/United Kingdom/United Arab Emirates/Occupied Palestinian Territory/Israel)

TV (3)

-Clue (Jonathan Lynn, 1985, United States)

-Murder by Death (Robert Moore, 1976, United States)

-Ten Little Indians (George Pollock, 1965, United Kingdom)

I’ve added the countries of origin as a data point I thought might be interesting to tabulate, although some of what’s listed above demonstrates how difficult it can be to determine where a film is “from.” I’ve made my best guess in breaking out the primary country of origin, so this is anything but exact in a number of instances. For example, Annette gets attributed to France, the latest James Bond film to the United Kingdom, and The Lost Leonardo to Denmark. It’s no surprise that U.S. titles lead the way, though.

Primary Country of Origin

-Canada: 1

-Denmark: 1

-France: 4

-Hong Kong: 2

-Iceland: 1

-India: 1

-Iran: 1

-Japan: 8

-Occupied Palestinian Territory: 4

-South Korea: 1

-Spain: 1

-United Kingdom: 9

-United States: 59

As my viewing was mostly in theaters, it’s also expected that most of what I saw were new releases. I’m a little surprised I didn’t watch anything before 1960.

Year/Decade of Release

-2021: 61

-2020: 2

-2010-2019: 1

-2000-2009: 4

-1990-1999: 7

-1980-1989: 7

-1970-1979: 6

-1960-1969: 5

One of my 2021 goals was to try to watch bodies of work. Like most New Year’s resolutions, that one flopped, although I didn’t get about halfway through Hayao Miyazaki’s filmography before getting distracted by sports of British panel shows available to stream. The Elia Suleiman online retrospective was the closest I came to achieving what I set out to do, although his oeuvre is also small. Ridley Scott and Edgar Wright just happened to put out two films in 2021. While I didn’t go through all of his films, the Errol Morris films I watched filled in some big gaps of what I haven’t seen.

Directors with Multiple Films

-Hayao Miyazaki: 7

-Errol Morris: 2

-Ridley Scott: 2

-Elia Suleiman: 4

-Edgar Wright: 2

Eventually I’ll post a best of 2021 list, although I feel in no real hurry to do so. If the Academy Awards can get pushed back to almost April, I think my list, which will incorporate 2021 films seen this year, can survive a delay.

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