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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 38 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.9

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 102 Average listal rating (73 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5

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 32 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 6.9 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 43 Average listal rating (27 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5

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 60 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 6.7 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.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.7

Notes: Eventually, the Dutch master didn’t disappoint, at least, not me as it turned out to be a massive Verhoeven festival. Indeed, he went pretty much all the way with some over-the-top hallucinations, violence, blood, full frontal nudity and some good old sex. Seriously, even if probably not everything did work, the whole thing was still seriously intense. Eventually, he gave us all the various ways anyone at the time might approach religion (as a real vocation, as a capitalist enterprise, as a powerful political weapon, as a simple way to get fed or a way to escape a toxic household). What I enjoyed the most was how ambiguous Benedetta was until the very end. Indeed, was she some kind of con artist? A complete lunatic? Another sexually frustrated nun? An actual prophet who could communicate with God, somehow? Or maybe it was a combination of all this all together. Well, you won’t get any easy answer which was the movie’s biggest strength but also its weakness. Indeed, at the end, all the other characters’s thoughts, feelings and motivations were pretty clear but Benedetta remained an impenetrable wall which was slightly frustrating and, yet, it made her rather fascinating. I also think that the whole lesbian relationship was not very well linked with her religious ‘awakening’. The best thing that I can think of was that, by being touched by Bartolomea’s love, she was then more able to get in touch with God? Or maybe, after all these years of sexual abstinence, it pretty much blew up her fragile mind? Anyway, even if it wasn’t flawless, Verhoeven delivered here another intense roller coaster.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5

Notes: As usual with Paolo Sorrentino, the damned thing was visually really strong, especially the opening scenes, and the guy always provides a fairly mesmerizing mood. Furthermore, I have to admit that the beginning was actually quite hilarious, even if I did have a hard time to keep track of all the characters involved and what was actually going on. Unfortunately, they didn’t keep up this energy much longer and the rest of the movie was then intriguing but, to be honest, not much more than that. There was also the issue of the main character, obviously based on Sorrentino himself. I mean, afterwards, I understand that the guy was someone who was more an observer, noticing all kinds of interesting and odd things about anyone crossing his path which eventually will be really helpful when he would become a film director at some point. However, even if I did appreciate the fact that Sorrentino made sure that this younger version of himself was not displayed as some kind of genius, it did backfire since he was really passive and not really fascinating after all. Furthermore, his aspiration of becoming a film director completely came out of the blue and I think it was the first time I saw someone dreaming of becoming a film maker who had actually watched so very few movies (a fact acknowledged by the character himself). The fact that the guy would eventually become one of the most heralded Italian directors was even more frustrating, at least, to me who has watched more than 6000 movies so far. Anyway, even if it didn’t completely win me over, it was still a very well made film.
johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 148 Average listal rating (113 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 0
Luca (2021)

Notes: As usual with Pixar, the damned thing was just so gorgeous to look at and, especially during this pandemic during which many of us spent hours even days cloistered in our homes, it was really neat to spend some time in such a cute Italian village from the 50’s/60’s. Then, at the centre of this tale, you had this beautiful friendship between these 2 boys who were basically lonely and it was just really neat and relatable to see them having so much harmless fun during some kind of summer holiday. Seriously, it was probably the most beautiful relationship delivered by Pixar since the love story in ‘Up’ involving Carl Fredricksen and his wife. So, it was really closed to be a homerun, once again for Pixar and, yet, something was still missing though. Eventually, in my opinion, the only thing that really prevented the damned thing from maybe being a masterpiece was the fact that these boys were some sea-monsters. It’s not that this aspect of the story really bothered me, it’s just that, in my opinion, it didn’t add anything really interesting to this really sweet bromance. Sure, it probably made the whole thing more appealing for the young kids but I'm more used to get this kind of gimmicks from Disney and not from Pixar. Anyway, it was still a beautiful tale.
johanlefourbe's rating:

Notes: Well, the intro focusing on Tony Leung’s backstory was really neat and to see the Honk Kong legend for the very first time in a US blockbuster was already quite mind blowing. The transition with the present time worked fine as well and the action scenes that followed were pretty much some of the best delivered by the MCU so far. Indeed, Marvel had promised a martial-arts extravaganza and they definitely did deliver. It was also a nice surprise that at least a 3rd of the dialogues were actually in Mandarin. On top of that, Awkwafina was a perfect sidekick, as usual. Unfortunately, from the point Shang-Chi’s family was finally reunited, the whole thing really lost some steam though. I mean, first of all, if his father knew all along where he and his sister were, couldn’t he find another less convoluted to get them back? Anyway, after that, the whole story turned out to be after all about releasing some rather random monster so there could be at the end another huge fight involving all these characters. Seriously, how many times do they have to conclude their movies exactly the same way?!? It’s not that it was boring, it was still quite entertaining but, to be honest, it wasn’t exactly thrilling either. Anyway, even though it didn’t turn out to be such a game-changer after all, it was still a solid Marvel blockbuster after all.
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