The Power Of The Dog (2021) – Powerful

Released: 1st December
Seen: 4th December

It’s kind of strange to realise that Jane Campion hasn’t directed a feature film in over a decade. She’s one of those names that is on the shortlist of absolutely legendary directors even with only eight feature films to her name. She’s just one of those people who you expect a certain level of excellence from and with her first feature film in over a decade, The Power of the Dog, she reminds us why she is one of the great filmmakers of our time.

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Old (2021) – Aged Badly Already

Released: 22nd July
Seen: 2nd December

Old Info

The career of M. Night Shyamalan is certainly an interesting one, to say the least. He started with absolute bonafide smash hit The Sixth Sense and then onto critical acclaim with Unbreakable and Signs. He was heralded as a visionary, someone who would have a career worthy of envy… and then he had a decade straight of critical bombs. He’s never really made an actual financial bomb (except maybe Lady in the Water) but his name went from being a sign of potential to a red flag that you’re about to be greatly disappointed. Even when he had a mild comeback with The Visit and Split, people thought he would return to his form… and now after Glass and the film we’re talking about today, Old, I have to wonder if M. Night Shyamalan was ever actually the visionary that people claimed him to be or if he’s just a bad writer/director who got lucky with his early films.

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Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) – Love A Little Carnage

Released: 25th September
Seen: 30th November

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Info

In 2018, a little film called Venom came out and I’ll be honest, I didn’t think it was that good. I still don’t, it was badly edited and rushed with a tone that felt all over the place while also being incredibly restrained by the PG-13 rating that it was going for. It got a serious critical thrashing and was just kind of mediocre, and yet, audiences loved the thing. It made nearly $900 million at the box office and was guaranteed a sequel. I won’t lie, when I heard about a sequel, I let out an exasperated sigh because I was so sure we were going to get another bland film… and then Venom: Let There Be Carnage turns around and ends up being one of the most obscenely entertaining films of the year.

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The Guilty (2021) – All Too OK

Released: 1st October
Seen: 27th November

The Guilty Info

While some films have large elaborate casts, there are those that are designed specifically to focus on a single performance. When these are done right, they can lead to some genuinely fascinating films with incredible central performances, we had one earlier this year with Oxygen, which bore a lot of similarities to Buried. The trick is to somehow maintain an audience’s intrigue for an hour and a half with only one performer and one location. Joining that group of films is The Guilty, a film that gives Jake Gyllenhaal a chance to show off just what he can do… interesting choice to release it around the time we’re apparently meant to hate him because a song said so, but hey that’s how things happen sometimes.

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Trust (2021) – Intriguing

Released: 12th March
Seen: 24th November

Trust Info

You know, lately we’ve had a run of seriously bad sex dramas that are less sexy and dramatic and more like painful farces designed to make us pay for our sins. 50 Shades, After, 365 Days, all of them (and their terrible sequels) sexy dramatic films designed to titillate and intrigue that mostly just get on the thinking audience’s tits. They’re not good and not fun, what ever happened to fun sex dramas? Well, looks like Trust might be just barely good enough to show that there might still be some actual creativity left in this admittedly tawdry genre.

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Paranormal Activity: Next Of Kin (2021) – Dead Boring

Released: 29th October
Seen: 23rd November

In 2009, the movie Paranormal Activity was given a wide release and signalled a change in Horror movies that would almost dictate what the upcoming decade would look like. Before Paranormal Activity, the Horror genre was knee deep in so-called “Torture Porn” films that relied heavily on shock and incredibly over the top violence and gore. 

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Extinct (2021) – Holey Moley

Released: 16th September
Seen: 20th November

Extinct Info

Sometimes you just look at a poster for a film and you just know that this is going to be a bad time, you just have that undeniable feeling that whatever you’re about to go through for the next hour and a half is going to be excruciating. Upon seeing the poster for Extinct it’s hard to deny that the feeling of “Oh god” was running rampant, and that feeling only got worse upon seeing the trailer. Well, the good news is that Extinct is not as awful as one might’ve expected based on first appearances… but that’s only because it’s so middle of the road that awfulness might be an improvement.

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tick, tick… Boom! (2021) – Explosively Great

Released: 19th November
Seen: 20th November

On January 25, 1996, the musical Rent opened to rave reviews. It was written by one Jonathan Larson who sadly would never get to read those reviews or bask in the 12 year run that Rent had because on the day Rent opened, Jonathan Larson passed away due to an aortic dissection. The only other work of Jonathan Larson’s that we know of is a piece called tick, tick… Boom! which began as a one man show in 1990 and then was adapted posthumously into a small 3 person play. Well, here we are about 30 years later and that little monologue has turned into a major movie musical and… god damn I’m so glad we’ve got people doing musicals properly again, Cats had me worried we’d never get to enjoy this genre again!

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The Night House Promo Image

The Night House (2021) – Good Night

Released: 19th August
Seen: 18th November

Haunting movies are always a tough one to pull off. They tend to be a little slower to start with and at times just get a little silly because of what’s needed visually to impart the idea of a ghost moving things around. It takes something pretty special to make this genre rise above just a bunch of loud noises and slamming doors… enter The Night House, something special that rises above loud noises and slamming doors.

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Respect (2021) – Lady Soul

Released: 19th August
Seen: 14th November

Respect Info

A little over two years ago I talked about the documentary Amazing Grace, a film that documented the recording of the greatest selling gospel album of all time by the legendary Aretha Franklin. At that time we had heard about a biopic being made with Jennifer Hudson taking on the role of the legend herself and it’s hard to deny that there was some serious excitement just from that casting. That film would come to be called Respect, released earlier this year and… yep, Respect is an Aretha Franklin biopic alright, with everything that one might think of when they hear the phrase “Aretha Franklin biopic”

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