Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick the Best Movies of 2021 – The Hollywood Reporter

The shrunk back to multiplexers predicted in early 2021 hasn’t quite come to fruition, and the post-pandemic landscape for theatrical releases remains an uncertain blur, with the appearance of variation Omicron is not capable of increasing speed.

However, our move away from our TVs and laptops and back into actual movie screenings provided an invigorating jolt to weary film critics, as did the return of the film. Cannes, returns after a year in limbo with one of the strongest editions in recent memory.

Likewise, the fall festival trails in Venice, Telluride, Toronto, and New York, all of which distribute their jewelry, show that the anxiety pervading the crew over the past 18 months has not affected affect creativity. All but one of my Top 10 and one Honored Mention came from those festivals, or from Sundance and Berlin earlier in the year.

There are several other people I would love to include that have been narrowly pulled out – one of them is by Jonas Carpignano A Chiara, Paul Schrader’s Card counting machine, Robert Machoian’s The death of two lovers, Rose Glass’ Saint Maud, by Edgar Wright The Sparks . Brothers, Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby, Oliver Hermanus’ Moffie, Sian Heder CODA and Michael Sarnoski’s haunting debut, Pig, led by Nicolas Cage with his best performance in years.

I was paired with one of the year’s most widely acclaimed critics, Paul Thomas Anderson Licorice pizza, which feels more like a twisty detail sequence than an interconnected story. But its reminiscent feel of a place and vibe – the San Fernando Valley in the early ’70s – and the compelling gift of Alana Haim, who holds the screen with effortless command in an electric role Her first photo, provided much to enjoy.

In terms of studio releases, a weak villain and a slow mid-section stopped There’s no time to die from the leading Bond role, but the action thriller gathers steam in its emotional ending, ending Daniel Craig’s 007 tenure with a powerful opening.

While we’ve all grumbled about superhero movie world domination, I found a lot of fun with my surprise in this year’s three MCU specials – Black Widow, the eternal and especially the delightful sight of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Read on for my picks for the best of the year, followed by my brilliant colleagues Jon Frosch, Lovia Gyarkye and Sheri Linden. – DAVID ROONEY

first. Drive my car
In Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s quietly ravishingly stunning work based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, the death of his wife leaves an experimental theater director – played by Hidetoshi Nishijima with veiled stoicism intricate depths – to process his pain through art with his multilingual ability to stage Uncle Vanya. But it is in the deepening relationship he forms with a protected young woman appointed as his chauffeur, and that a shared sense of loss emerges in the rhythmic daily rides. their love in his beloved red Saab, whose symphony explores the mysteries of human connection revealing its shimmering truth about forgiveness.

2. The power of the dog
Jane Campion’s first feature in 12 years was to leave her forensic studies of female psychology, and instead delve into equal visions of corrosive masculinity and repressed sexuality. Unlike any other Big Sky Western, this 1967 adaptation of Thomas Savage’s novel uses Benedict Cumberbatch as rugged Montana rancher Phil Burbank and Jesse Plemons as the gentleman’s older brother. George, who upsets the equilibrium in the family when he brings home his fragile wife Rose. , performed by Kirsten Dunst with aching flair. Rose falls prey to Phil’s cruel games, but her sensitive son Peter, in a Kodi Smit-McPhee knockout performance, defies expectations by shifting the balance of power. force, turning the chamber drama into a startlingly eerie revenge thriller.

3. World’s ugliest person
An important realization for me watching Joachim Trier’s melancholy account of the mess we create in our lives as we grope about ourselves is how rarely we get a comedy-romance where the protagonist’s abrasive edges are left unsharpened. Played by the brilliant Renate Reinsve with a chic exterior and troubled interior, Julie shows no remorse for her mistakes as she engages in a skirmish between two men, Anders’ successful older cartoonist. Danielsen Lie and bartender Herbert Nordrum are pleased. The pressing nature of time haunts Julie, but Trier deftly widens the lens as she confronts unresolved issues from her past and navigates broken sadness to glimpse a future. that she can finally own her choices.

4. Parallel mothers
Pedro Almodóvar is one of the most generous of contemporary directors, taking on lovable roles for an informal office company of which Penélope Cruz, as well as Antonio Banderas, are a core member. . And as he did with Banderas in Pain and glory, he convinces the pinnacle of his career from Cruz in this sumptuous melodious drama about the tangled knots of past and present. She plays Janis, a photographer who delves into painful family history when she becomes pregnant with a child with an archaeologist overseeing her case; A friendship formed in midwifery with a young mother adds a layer of turbulent mystery.

5. Daughter is gone
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s solid debut as writer-director transports Elena Ferrante’s novel to a Greek island, where Olivia Colman’s divorced scholar Leda seems to define a person motherly companion on Dakota Johnson’s visit to America. Offering an exploratory, often exploratory perspective on its reflections on women’s relationships, motherhood, and women’s struggle to create a professional space outside of it, This film’s dark dream delves into Leda’s murky interior through another startling Colman performance, balanced out in flashbacks by Jessie Buckley playing the character during her younger years. that.

6. Souvenirs: Part II
A rare sequel that rearranges and expands on the original in illuminating ways, Joanna Hogg’s autobiography portrays a young filmmaker trying to bounce back from a toxic relationship that ended. ended in tragedy, like Drive my car, a catalytic discovery of the healing power of art. Honor Swinton Byrne once again brings the emotional transparency and rawness beneath the opulent reserve of the director’s alter ego as she traverses the difficult line between skill and realism, the insecurities and creative visions.

7. West story
Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner reimagine the 1961 classic that combines the Technicolor excitement of large-scale classical musicals with a clear contemporary awareness of the complexities of racial intolerance. ethnicity and the importance of showing dignity. The Puerto Rican characters in this Manhattan gang clash are given dimensions they’ve lacked before, but then everything about this breathtaking remake is bursting with new life, including tragic romance.

8. Small Maman
Many movies have crossed the two-hour mark this year, some less legitimate than others. Céline Sciamma follows her international foray, Portrait of a woman on fire, with this perfectly compact curio, wrapped in 73 minutes just more than many filmmakers can explore at any length. The time-matrix magic of a girl who first experiences loss and reunites with her biological mother as a child in the woods seems counterintuitive to Sciamma’s lame naturalism. But the dream logic of childhood games is translated here into tangible everyday terms, finding wonder in simplicity.

9. Pass
Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga bring to the heart of fluttering emotions in writer-director Rebecca Hall’s first delicate adaptation of Harlem Renaissance author Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel about two black women in two different countries. the “color boundary” side. The evocative atmosphere of New York’s Jazz Age – rendered in richly textured black and white – ripples with the constant threat of people being unmasked in a thoughtful consideration. unique and moving identities in relation to race, gender, class, and sexuality.

ten. Macbeth’s Tragedy
Joel Coen’s take on the Scottish play is furious and fleeting, heartbreaking and elemental, immediately takes its place among Shakespeare’s great screen adaptations, with its alluring chiaroscuro visuals. book that evokes Dreyer. As the murderous Scots-turned-king and the manipulative wife fueling his thirst for power, Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand lead a super team that embodies not only ruthless ambition but a Race panic against time to secure their place in history. And what Kathryn Hunter, playing all three witches, achieves with her diminutive physique and harsh husky voice is phenomenal.

Honorable mention: Numbe compartmentr 6, Escape, Green Knight, The hand of God, I bring you with me, Identifying characteristics, Spencer, Summer of the soul, The Velvet Underground, Zola

Jon Frosch’s Top 10
first. The power of the dog
2. Drive my car
3. West story
4. Souvenirs: Part II
6. Spencer
7. Annette
8. Daughter is gone
9. Bergman Island
ten. Summer of the soul

Honorable mention: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Number of compartments 6, French Dispatch, Moffie, Parallel mothers, Pass, Saint Maud, A Son (Un fils), Sublet, Summer of 85

Lovia Gyarkye’s Top 10
first. Drive my car
2. The power of the dog
3. Faya Dayi
4. Pass
5. Summer of the soul
6. Parallel mothers
7. Ailey
8. Human
9. Spencer
ten. Green Knight

Honorable mention: Succession, Jockey, Daughter is gone, Plan B, Prayer for the Stolen, Progress, 7 prisoners, Shiva Baby, Sample, Zola

Sheri Linden’s Top 10
first. Summer of the soul
2. The power of the dog
3. Drive my car
4. Pass
5. Number of compartments 6
6. Daughter is gone
7. West story
8. Every light, everywhere
9. He is my man
ten. Human

Honorable mention: Atlantis, Azor, Cyrano, Haunting dream, Jockey, The death of two lovers, sheep, Small Maman, Progress, What do we see when we look up at the sky?

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