—and its central detective, Benoit Blanc, played by an unrestrained and over-the-top Daniel Craig, whose exaggerated Southern drawl is both ridiculous and strangely endearing. Ben Affleck gives arguably one of his best performances in Gone Girl, the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s thriller about Nick Dunne (Affleck), a man who finds himself as suspect number 1 after his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike) disappears. Streaming services continued their dominant ascension with The Power of the Dog, Coda, and The Mitchells vs. the Machines all placing in the top 10 Best Movies overall of 2021.
After more than 16 months of streaming at home, I went to a theater to watch Matt Damon sing the white-guy blues in “Stillwater.” The movie was poky and trite and irritating, and I reviewed it accordingly. And while I regretted it wasn’t better, I was still grateful because it sent me back to theaters, big screens and other moviegoers. Jamie Ballard (she/her) is a freelance writer and editor who covers news, lifestyle, and entertainment topics, including sex and relationships, TV, movies, books, health, pets, food and drinks, pop culture, shopping, and personal finance.
Lawrence helped unify Arab tribes during WWI in a struggle against the German-allied Turks. The movie is a masterclass in scope and scale—filling the scene with http://myonlinecommerce.com/ vast desert locales so massive you can almost feel the radiating heat. It took home a boatload of Oscars after its release, and it’s not difficult to see why.
The “O Captain, My Captain” closing moment is an all-time reach-for-the-Kleenex scene. It’s rare to have no idea where a movie is going or what’s going to happen, but to still understand that you’re watching pieces being set up to collapse spectacularly. That’s what it’s like watching Korean director Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite, a social satire that is simultaneously funny and sad and genuinely surprising. The less you know going in, the better, so you can fully appreciate the inevitable roll towards tragedy, and the completely head-spinning twists and turns along the way. It’s almost a cliché in and of itself to include Citizen Kane on a list of best movies, but…there’s a reason why it’s always there.
Toy Story clearly established that it wasn’t just a technical animation marvel—it’s a poignant story about identity and nostalgia. Sure, it’s set in high school, and, yes, it mines the trials and tribulations of teen life for laughs, but that’s where the similarities end. Heathers is a pitch-black satire about a rebellious couple (Winona Ryder and Christian Slater) who decide to push back against the tyrannical popular kids—unfortunately, it leads to murder. It’s high school as a bizarre fever dream, with a unique style and language all its own (“What’s your damage?”). Four boys in the 1950s set off on a sunny afternoon to see a dead body.
Duke takes what could have been a standard villain and makes him something truly memorable. This is one of director Spike Lee’s greatest and most iconic movies, with an incredible cast (including a then-unknown Samuel L. Jackson). Though it was made just two years after Star Wars, Alien couldn’t be any more different. A dark and paranoid horror thriller set in space, it’s about a small crew on a merchant vessel that accidentally picks up a parasitic alien organism which proceeds to stalk and kill them one by one. It’s infamous for the “chest burster” scene (which still makes you jump, even when you know it’s coming), and for introducing Sigourney Weaver’s iconic Ellen Ripley. There have been sequels and spin-offs, but the original remains a tight and terrifying classic.
Everything that comes to mind when you hear the words “Martin Scorsese movie” is encapsulated in Goodfellas. Based on the true life story of former mobster turned informant Henry Hill, Goodfellas is bolstered by a trifecta of lead performances from Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, and of course, Joe Pesci, whose “I’m funny how? Gripping, expansive, even hilariously (but darkly) funny at times, it’s Scorsese at his finest.
What’s amazing (and startling) about this satirical movie from the ’70s is not just that it’s still relevant, but that it may be even more so now. Set out to memorialize the glories of an embattled art form, and you may end up contributing to its obituary. Not that I think the movies are dying, any more than they have been dying for the past 90 years or so, as they were fatally menaced by sound, television, corporate greed and audience philistinism. The movies are always turning into something else, even as they drag their history along with them. Old styles persist alongside new possibilities, and originality finds a way to assert itself amid the thunderous conformity of the franchises and the howling wilderness of the algorithms. Neither does the proliferation of movies that evoke the wonder and glory of the movie past.
A murder mystery where the mystery is beside the point, The Thin Man is all about watching William Powell and Myra Loy play off each other like expert tennis players—his Nick Charles lobs up some snark, her Nora Charles returns with a witticism. Nick is a semi-retired private detective, and Nora is his wealthy, restless wife. This is a classic that feels more modern and progressive than its 1930s birthdate would initially suggest. A young boy named Elliot from a nondescript California suburb befriends a squat—but friendly—alien left behind on Earth, and together the two try to reunite the straggler with his people. Flying a bike across the moon, to the uplifting score, to the repeated phrase “E.T. Just have tissues handy, because this sad movie goes straight for the heartstrings.
- Each story is a self-contained vignette, and the mix of humor and melancholy wins you over each time.
- Hilariously spoofing cop and action movie cliches, Hot Fuzz has endlessly quotable lines and some of the best sight gags and physical comic timing you’ve ever seen.
- Not only do you not need to be a fan of Sparks–the L.A.-via-London band led by siblings Russell and Ron Mael–to enjoy The Sparks Brothers; you don’t even have to know who they are.
- I don’t think it means what you think it means.” Always worth it, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
However, the correct translation is also a bit of a spoiler—knowing there’s going to be more than one thief sets you up (even unwittingly) for the film’s incredibly moving and disheartening ending. A classic of post-war Italian neo-realism, Bicycle Thieves is about a down-on-his-luck man raising a son who needs a bicycle to eke out his meager living. When it’s stolen, he goes on an increasingly frantic search to track it down. It is really hard to sum up Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but at its core it’s about a man named Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and a woman named Clementine Krucynski (Kate Winslet) who, after breaking up, have medical procedures to remove their memories of each other. The depiction of memory and memory loss is expressed through mind-blowing visual tricks and suggestion. Carrey and Winslet seemingly swap personas—this time, Carrey is the dramatic heavyweight and Winslet is the flippant wildcard.
Its soundtrack awash in era-specific deep cuts, Last Night in Soho is a cautionary tale about the dangerous allure of nostalgia that nonetheless radiates affection for ‘60s Soho’s electric energy. Reveling in its own deliriousness, it’s a mash-up spearheaded by an enchanting Taylor-Joy as a specter whose dashed dreams are the stuff of nightmares. Loss leads to retreat for Edee (Robin Wright), a woman who responds to an unspecified tragedy by moving to a remote Wyoming cabin in Land. Willfully cut off from civilization, Edee finds her new survivalist existence more than a bit difficult, what with the bitter cold, the sparse food (courtesy of fishing), and the occasional outhouse run-in with a bear. In her directorial debut, Wright employs compositions that call understated attention to the alienated anguish of her protagonist, whom she embodies as a fragmented (and potentially suicidal) woman with a sorrow as deep and cold as the vast wilderness. A spark comes at her moment of wintery death courtesy of Miguel (Demián Bichir), a rancher who revives her first literally, and then figuratively, teaching her to hunt (as her personal Yoda) and reminding her of the vital human connection that gives everything purpose.