Why Did You Kill Me? (2021) – Seemed Like A Good Idea

Released: 14th April
Seen: 31st May

Why Did You Kill Me? Info

The crime documentary is definitely having a major resurgence right now, in no small part thanks to Netflix who seems to churn out a new one every other week. This kind of makes sense for a streaming platform desperate for unique content because in theory these are simple things to make. Find a weird murder with a lot of twists and turns, have relatives and police officers describe the events as they remember it, maybe hire some actors to recreate certain elements, wait for the editor to put it all together and you have a movie. What sets them apart is how weird/interesting/disturbing the crime is and the general presentation of the information. So, with a film titled “Why Did You Kill Me?” basically begging for attention, does it deserve it?

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The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021) – The Animated Charmer Of The Year

Released: 30th April
Seen: 2nd May

The Mitchells vs the Machines Info

Sony Animation has had something of an interesting history in regards to their output over 20 films. They’ve run the gamut when it comes to quality, from the objectively awful fare like The Emoji Movie to some of the best animation in history with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Slowly they’ve gone from an animation company people would cringe about to one that actually gets a lot of excitement going with their new releases. So, where does The Mitchells vs the Machines fall in regard to the rest of Sony Animation’s output? It’s borderline perfect.

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Over The Moon (2020) – Out Of This World

Released: 23rd October 2020
Seen: 5th April 2021

Over The Moon Info

When it comes to the Oscar race this year for best animated film, it feels like Soul is the foregone conclusion. It’s kind of hard to beat a film that was so funny and poignant with such impeccable visuals and was such a cultural event. However, the race isn’t quite over yet and I would like to offer a wild card entry that might sneak in at the last minute, that being the Netflix original film Over The Moon.

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The Minimalists: Less is Now (2021) – Minimally Good

Released: 1st January
Seen: 2nd January

When I think about minimalism, I tend to think about it in conjunction with the art world. My brain instantly goes to works by the minimalists like Barnett Newman’s Voice of Fire, which is a 5-metre high painting of two dark blue lines with a bold red line right in the middle. Well, it turns out that minimalism is also a lifestyle movement now which basically means to have nothing in your home that you don’t have an actual use for (so bye-bye to that Funko Pop collection).

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Da 5 Bloods (2020) – Bloody Good

Released: 12th June
Seen: 27th June

Da 5 Bloods Info

Throughout the year, I keep a document listing every film I see. I do this mostly as a refresher for when I make my end of year lists and the Oscar predictions, since some films may have been amazing but because my memory is so iffy sometimes I may not think about it right off the bat. I also keep a second list, a ‘potential best and worst’ list so if something stands out as particularly good or particularly bad then I won’t forget it when the time comes to make those lists. By June of last year, I had a top 10 best list I could’ve posted and still had to make some really painful cuts. This year? I barely have a top 5 I feel that confident about, that’s how empty this year has felt. You can undoubtedly blame most of this on the current plague we’re experiencing that has pushed so many films back over a year and only left us with streaming films. Add to that the general rule that the prestige films tend to wait until around the time the Oscar nominations are being sorted out and it’s been a slow year and someone needed to throw something out to fill the void… enter Spike Lee.

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The Last Days of American Crime (2020) – Absolutely Criminal

Released: 5th June
Seen: 11th June

When it comes to single sentence movie concepts, it’s hard to deny that “The government is about to implement a device that makes it impossible to do crime, so what would the last crime ever committed look like?” is a fantastic concept. The idea alone promises a fascinating film, maybe something like Minority Report or even the later Purge movies that had some elaborate plot device around how crime is handled and used that to discuss serious real-world issues. It promises a fun movie, possibly futuristic and certainly a little bombastic. I mean, this is a film about the last crime that can physically be committed in the United States, surely that crime has to be something elaborate right? Well, turns out… no, no it doesn’t mean that. In fact, somehow a film that’s been gifted an idea so good that it should be impossible to mess it up managed to mess up in every way possible.

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The Wrong Missy (2020) – The Wrong Movie

Released: 13th May
Seen: 17th May

The Happy Madison film company logo might as well be the poop emoji for what it represents as a marker of quality. Every now and then they’ll release something decent, the corn kernel of their cinematic output that’s just overwhelmed by a monsoon of shit that spews out of that company like water from a fire hydrant. It’s almost like they’ve set a challenge to make the laziest comedies known to man and milk people’s love for a pack of former SNL bad boys as much as they can. Their films are also, effectively, creative excuses to go on long trips on company money to fancy locations where they can basically have a vacation between making what they claim is a movie. Since the end of 2015, shortly after the release of the infamously awful Pixels, every movie from Happy Madison is a Netflix exclusive but because Netflix doesn’t seem to have quality control, we get films like The Wrong Missy which are almost clinically designed to make me hate life itself.

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Becoming (2020) – It Becomes Something Good

Released: 6th May
Seen: 8th May

In November of 2008, America did something amazing. They elected their first black president, a major moment in history and a presidency that would’ve been important just for that alone if all Obama had done those 8 years was sit in the White House and eat cheerios. With Barrack Obama becoming president, this also meant that his wife Michelle Obama would go down in history as the first black woman to be first lady, another monumental moment on its own before you even factor in what was done over the next eight years. 

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Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020) – Touching and Important

Released: 25th March
Seen: 6th May

Crip Camp Info

In 1971, almost a decade before summer camps became associated with hockey mask-wearing murderers, there was a place called Camp Jened. This camp was a little different from a lot of other camps, in that it had a heavy focus on disabled kids who would be able to have a normal camp experience. They’d play ball, go swimming, catch crabs, all the things that one normally associated with going to summer camp back in the 1970s. It was a place where these kids could just be like any other kid without anything holding them back, because back in 1971 there still wasn’t an American Disabilities Act and the outside world effectively segregated them due to their physical and mental disabilities… eventually, the kids at Camp Jened would have enough of this system and went from camp goers to activists who fought the government and won.

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