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Added by johanlefourbe on 11 Jan 2021 01:20

Top 10 best movies 2021

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Notes: To be honest, I have to admit that I had actually never heard of the Harlem Cultural Festival that took place in 1969 but I’m not the only one. Indeed, while Woodstock became the most famous festival that ever took place, this festival was actually largely forgotten, at least, by the mainstream audience. What was even more surprising was that they actually did film everything but it took a staggering 50 years before someone finally released the damned thing. Apparently, back then, nobody cared about spreading this magnificent piece of Black power, love and creativity which was basically censored in spite of its actually very positive message. Concerning the festival itself, I have to admit that I didn’t know about half of the performers but it didn’t matter and they were all really good. The fact that appearing on this stage meant so much for them really transpired in their performances which were very often quite electrifying. Eventually, the only thing that prevented this movie from becoming really epic was the fact that they reduced 40 hours of footage to only 2 hours. I mean, the documentary about Woodstock was lasting 3 hours for a reason and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have had the same impact if it would have been shorter. In this case, with an extra hour or even more, they could have fleshed out even more some of the performances or some portraits of the artists and people involved. Still, it wasn’t a deal-breaker and the damned thing was really awesome to behold.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 124 Average listal rating (91 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7

Notes: To be honest, it really took me a while to get into it. Indeed, at first, I was wondering why I should care about the supposedly difficult life of a girl who was young, healthy, bright and attractive. The fact that she did cheat with her boyfriend in every possible way, except for having sex, with a random stranger definitely didn’t help. It’s only afterwards that I understood that it was actually done on purpose, to show that she wasn’t just another cute perfect girl in your typical romantic-comedy, that she was an actually really flawed and messed-up human being like everyone else. I just loved this slow built-up and I’m just amazed how they made me slowly invest myself in this character for who I felt very little at first. Eventually, from the moment that she dumped her first boyfriend, I finally started to care more about what she was going through and, by the time she did eat these mushrooms, I was completely sold. It was actually such a deep humanist portrait of a young woman struggling to find herself and making sense of her life. However, to be honest, I did think that the ending was rather weak though. Indeed, I wish that she didn’t end up with a really cool fancy job, like most of us do. Furthermore, to make her witness her 2nd ex-boyfriend ending with another woman with a baby (when they probably did break up because she got pregnant) was just a really awkward choice that the makers made because they explicitly wanted to go for the completely opposite that you usually get in the romantic-comedy genre. Still, except for that, the whole thing was pretty much flawless and seriously spellbinding to behold.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 55 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.6

Notes: First of all, I have to admit that I’m not really familiar with Bo Burnham’s work. Indeed, I did see his directorial debut, ‘Eighth Grade’, but that was pretty much it though. Well, this was something completely different but it was definitely quite a massive artistic tour-de-force. Indeed, while we were all stuck at home (myself, I have been working from home for more than a year and who knows when it’s going to end?), Burnham made this comedy special completely on his own in this little room but it was impressive how creative he still managed to be. Indeed, the guy was most of the time quite hilarious and, even though more than half of the duration was filled up with some songs, I actually enjoyed those which I didn’t really expect. As the weeks go by, even months, you see his hair and beard growing and he is basically telling the viewers that his mental state was actually deteriorating and you hope that it is an act so you can keep smiling but it might have been genuine after all. In this case, the whole lock-down didn’t have much impact on my lifestyle but many people did suffer severely mentally from this ‘new normal’. Even the room itself becomes some kind of character and you might wonder if its mess might reflect Burnham’s own state of mind.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 31 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.9

Notes: Of course, the first thing you might think is that it was a gimmick to tell a documentary as an animated feature but I think it worked so well to handle this sensitive material. It was something that they already did with ‘Vals Im Bashir’ which was also a really haunting movie. In both movies, the advantage with this approach is that it does create a surreal vibe which does fit with the traumas experienced by the main ‘character’. In this case, it also allowed to keep their identity strictly anonymous. In general, this approach provided a lot of flexibility for the makers and you might wonder why it’s not used more often. Indeed, it’s always a drag when a character has to be played by at least 3 different actors because there is no way that they will look a like. Furthermore, some scenes were so distressing, nightmarish would be actually a better word, you might wonder if it would be doable with some very young actors or if you should inflict this on such young actors. Eventually, this movie is not really an easy watch, it was in fact super intense and I think it will take me a while to let go of the whole thing. I wonder if people who are so against immigration would be able to watch this movie, listen to this dramatic tale and still decide afterwards to look the other way. The bottom line is that, no matter the drastic measures you might take, people will keep making such extremely hazardous journey because they basically have no hope. Most of them probably don’t realize how poorly they will be eventually received which is so heartbreaking and shameful for me. That this guy was also a homosexual on top of everything he already had to face was almost too much to handle.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5

Notes: Asghar Farhadi delivered here another fascinating humanistic tale and the end-result was once again quite spellbinding to behold. In fact, the story itself which was based on something that apparently really happened in Iran was not the most interesting aspect in this movie. As usual with this director, what was mostly interesting was the attention and depth he gave to the characters, especially the main character. Indeed, the guy was quite charismatic with his gentle smile but, fortunately, he turned out to be so much more complex than just a pretty face. Indeed, at first, you obviously root for the guy but, eventually, even if he was never really dishonest, he was never completely honest either. I mean, what if these gold coins would have been enough to cover his debt? What if his debtor would have accepted the 70.000 tomans and let him pay the rest over time? In these cases, it would have been really doubtful that he would have given them back to their rightful owner. There was also the fact that he got into an ugly fight with Bahram which displayed how flawed and also self-centered he was. But, on the other hand, are you sure you would handle much better such a situation? Indeed, with almost all conflicts, we are all always convinced that we are doing the ‘right’ thing at least for our own benefit but, as displayed in this movie, what is right and what is wrong is highly subjective. Eventually, you get such a mirror effect and it made me reflect on my own life wondering if I really did act the right way during such major conflicts.
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Notes: I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Fred Hampton and it was really neat to learn more about this inspiring guy. Indeed, that he had accomplished so much and that he had reached such wisdom at such a young age was just really impressive and it would have been interesting to find some actors who were actually around the same age of their characters (Indeed, Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield were both at least 10 years older than their characters). Still, there is no denying that Kaluuya and Stanfield both delivered such strong performances, they were both quite pitch-perfect and seriously spellbinding to behold. So, the whole thing was strong and delivered an important message in the process and, yet, it was still missing something to completely win me over though. First of all, even though it was dealing with a really interesting story, the whole thing was still rather predictable. Indeed, from the moment you see Bill O'Neal meeting FBI agent Roy Mitchell for the first time, everything else happening afterwards was hardly surprising. I wonder also if it wouldn’t have worked better if it would have been more nuanced. Indeed, even with the most controversial black character, Bill O'Neal, they displayed a lot of compassion (basically, the guy was pressured by the FBI to work for them) whereas most of the white characters didn’t get the same curtesy. I mean, Martin Sheen was praised for his performance playing some kind of monstruous version of J. Edgar Hoover but, to be honest, it was borderline caricatural. Anyway, even if it was maybe not a masterpiece, it was still a fascinating tale with 2 awesome performances.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 53 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.6

Notes: I have to admit that Rebecca Hall really impressed me with her directorial debut. Indeed, she gave such a heartfelt and fascinating look on the complexity and the hardship it might entail to be black or Mixed-race in the US back in the 20’s (but you could say that it still does apply for today I’m afraid). Of course, at first, you would be inclined to blame Clare for the choices she made but it is actually fairly easily to judge her if you (like myself) are white and have enjoyed all the privileges of the white middle-class through your whole life. Furthermore, even though Irene made a more moral choice, she hardly seemed to be happier than her friend. And that’s the heart-breaking conclusion made by this movie, the fact that every black and woman are stuck in some jail, no matter the choices they might make on how to live their lives. Indeed, what choices do they have? Since they are black, they always will be at best marginalized, bullied, discriminated and, in the worst-case scenarios, they might even get killed by some angry mob or some average cop just because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. By pretending to be white, even it might seem to be morally wrong, there would be some clear advantages to be part of the ruling class. However, as displayed in this movie, by making this choice, they would just end up in another kind of cage. Another option might be to actually leave the country, an option argued a couple of times by Brian, Irene’s husband. The only thing I was missing was that I never really understood why Irene and Brian were so obsessed by Clare though but it was definitely not a deal-breaker.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 110 Average listal rating (79 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Belfast (2021)

Notes: Since I kept hearing some really good things, I had some rather high expectations but, to be honest, I didn’t expect to be blown away like this. Indeed, it turned out to be quite a rollercoaster of emotion. The recent war in Ukraine also added an extra emotional layer as, in any war, the biggest victims are always the children as, any war, civil or not, is something completely incomprehensible for them. Above all, it completely shatters their world as it was clearly displayed in this movie. So, after reading this, you might expect a heartbreaking drama but it went so much further than that. It was also so sweet and displayed that Belfast, before it was destroyed by decades of conflict, was actually a bright community where kids and people lived in peace and harmony in spite of the economic hardship. As a result, as a viewer, you want them to leave as soon as possible because we all know what will eventually happen but it was easier said than done for this family who loved their lives in this city and would have to leave everything behind for a (probably hostile) new country. And, yet, in spite all this, it was often actually quite hilarious because you see everything through the eyes of this funny little boy whose innocence had not been completely tarnished by this dreadful conflict. Of course, you might praise his parents for doing the ‘right thing’ by not taking sides but it is anyone guess how they long they could have remained neutral without facing the consequences. Eventually, the result was Kenneth Branagh himself, a heralded British director and actor who, after all these years, finally decided to look back at this pivotal moment in his life.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 56 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.4

Notes: To be honest, I’m rather surprised that this movie has mostly received some poor reviews (only 53 Metascore) since I really enjoyed the damned thing. First of all, I have to admit that I had never heard of Mohamedou Ould Slahi before but it probably allowed me to enjoy more this movie. Indeed, this lack of knowledge did allow me to appreciate the approach they chose by not showing right away if Mohamedou might be guilty or not as it remained rather ambiguous, at least, during the 1st half. Eventually, just like the defence and the prosecution, we slowly discover that Mohamedou might not only be innocent but that the US army actually never heard had any proof against him at all even though they kept him captive for years and even tortured to him to achieve some baseless and ridiculous confessions. Of course, you might argue like many critics that it was actually nothing new but I don’t agree. Indeed, they are actually still 40 prisoners in Guantamo Bay right now and this movie displayed in a powerful way how the US, in spite of their incredible resources, waged a senseless war on terror by terrorizing 1000’s of innocent people themselves. The fact that Kabul and Afghanistan in general has just fallen back under the Taliban regime after 20 years of US occupation made this movie even more topical. At least, even if the reviews were rather harsh, everybody seemed to agree that Tahar Rahim delivered another strong performance here and the guy was indeed pretty much pitch-perfect.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 69 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.1

Notes: This movie has been compared with 'Slumdog Millionaire' and, while the comparison is understandable, I still think that both movies were vastly different. Well, even though I did like the realistic approach chosen by Bahrani, I still think that the opening scenes were rather misleading. Indeed, I assumed that Balram, with his wit and intelligence, would manage to find something brilliant to make a fortune but, instead, we find out that he was actually after all a petty thief who became rich only after murdering his master. Of course, it did follow the realistic approach chosen for this movie but, as a result, it was rather difficult to root for the main character. In fact, this critic could be also extended to the other characters as they were all rather common and average after all. Indeed, you might think that Ashok and his wife Pinky were better than the rest as they seemed to be gentler and more respectful towards Balram. However, they eventually represented the modern Western attitude which is to show a polite front and be always politically correct, when in fact, we are all in fact extremely selfish and self-centred. Still, even though the whole thing might be really dark and pessimistic, I did appreciate that they didn't put any gloves on and displayed that, if you are born on the wrong side of the tracks, becoming a criminal might be eventually the only option you have to really improve your future.
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