Monthly Film Roundup: December 2021

Films Watched: 28

How Many Were First-Time Watches: 20

Best Films: West Side Story (2021), tick, tick… BOOM! (2021), Cabaret (1972)

Worst Film: Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)

New Releases: West Side Story, The Guilty, Home Sweet Home Alone, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Red Notice, The Matrix Resurrections, Don’t Look Up, The King’s Man, Val, The Last Duel, tick, tick… BOOM!


Enemy (2013)
Denis Villeneuve once again delivers a brilliantly immersive thriller, that is as psychologically haunting as it is intellectually perplexing. Well performed and stunningly shot, it makes for a fascinating watch

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
By significantly expanding the universe, the Wachowskis loose most of the mystique and intrigue of the first film, but the grand ideas and exciting action set pieces mean it does at least pass the time nicely

Blood Simple (1984)
The exciting debut feature of The Coen Brothers displays their immense talent at the embryonic stage of their careers, and shows how they were always destined to become the market leaders in small-town thrillers

Daisies (1966)
A surreal Czechoslovakian satire exploring the female stereotypes of 1960’s Europe. Filled with hypnotic imagery and bizarre sequences, it’s a strange but enjoyable watch

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
75 years later, this life-affirming movie remains a bonafide masterpiece. Jimmy Stewart delivers a career best performance, using both his great comedic timing and powerful emotions, and Frank Capra directs the drama as beautifully as the more fantastical elements

Fitzcarraldo (1982)
An epic sprawling film from Werner Herzog, with an intense central performance from Klaus Kinski. It takes a while to get going, but once it’s does, the film becomes a testament to it’s impressive technical feats and entertainingly original plot

The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
The final part of the original trilogy is better than the second instalment, but mainly because it’s simpler and more enjoyable. That said, it’s still full of issues, inconsistencies and unexplainable moments

Die Hard (1988)
In this wonderful Christmas favourite, Bruce Willis delivers a knockout performance as a down-on-his-luck New York cop whose Christmas wish is to reconnect with his wife and kids
Also, he stops a terrorist attack in one of the best action films ever made

West Side Story (2021)
Spielberg’s musical debut is a roaring success, with breakout star Rachel Zegler delivering a stunning performance. Updated politics and additional scenes, blended with an expertly directed musical touch, all make for a spectacular new adaptation of the Broadway classic

The Guilty (2021)
Hooked by a great central performance, The Guilty is a brilliantly gripping thriller from the director of ‘Training Day’. Its simple and sometimes predictable story does not detract from the well crafted drama that keeps you hooked for the full 90minutes

Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)
The talent in front of the camera are wasted by the lacking of talent behind the camera. Badly written, over directed and blandly shot, this is a sequel whose occasional laughs are too few and far between

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
A fun and energetic, if repetitive, sequel. Uber festive and slapstick, but too often it treads old ground that the original did better

Spider-Man (2002)
Spider-Man’s cinematic debut is a fun, vibrant and energetic romp. It brilliantly balances entertaining action set pieces with a sweet coming of age story, and helped pave the way for Hollywood’s current comic book obsession 

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Its over reliance on fan-service was always to be expected, but otherwise this is an entertaining film that boasts a brilliant cast and a fun premise – even if ‘Spider-Verse’ did it far better three years ago

Cabaret (1972)
A remarkably progressive musical drama from Bob Fosse. Brilliantly adapted from the stage musical, it made a star of Liza Minnelli as a fabulous bohemian living in Berlin through the rise of the nazi regime. It well balances humour and drama, using the musical numbers as ironic metaphors to reflect the darker plot occurring outside the Kit Kat Klub

The Deer Hunter (1978)
An impressive sweeping drama exploring the traumas of the Vietnam war. Rather than focussing on the conflict itself, the film deals with the lives of the soldiers before and after, to far more emotional effect 

Red Notice (2021)
Star power leads this otherwise by-the-numbers action comedy. The Rock and Ryan Reynolds have great chemistry, but the fun premise and gags starts to wear thin by the double-crossing third act

Meet the Parents (2000)
It’s sequels may be sketchy, but the original in the hit comedy trilogy still holds up. De Niro and Stiller make a great opposites-attract pair, and the jokes come thick and fast 

Meet the Fockers (2004)
It’s certainly repetitive and not as good as the first instalment, but the sequel benefits from fabulous new additions to the cast that continue the awkward hilarity of parents meeting

The Matrix Resurrections (2021)
I kinda loved this film. It’s really odd, and long, and pretty dumb, and it makes some decisions that I think were misguided at best. Honestly, it might even be the worst Matrix sequel. But the cast are all great (particularly Neil Patrick Harris), and it’s unique ideas continue to bewilder and amuse

Love Actually (2003)
The Pulp Fiction of rom-coms remains an absolute treat. Sure, it’s ridiculous, and soppy, and slightly dated. But when all guns are blazing towards a singular loving message, you can’t help but get swept up

Fighting with my Family (2019)
Florence Pugh kicked off her killer year with a brilliant British biopic from Stephen Merchant. Uplifting and funny, it’s a fantastic showcase of the talents in front and behind the camera

Wild Rose (2018)
Jessie Buckley delivers an all-singing powerhouse performance as the titular Rose. A by-the-numbers but brilliantly entertaining musical drama. 

Don’t Look Up (2021)
Adam McKay delivers another remarkable political satire. It’s a little heavy handed, and is certainly drawn out too long, but that doesn’t distract from some phenomenal casting and a timely take on the doomsday plot

The King’s Man (2021)
Perhaps as a fan of the franchise I could come off as too lenient, but this prequel makes a fabulous addition to the series. It swaps some of the more ludicrous action set pieces of its predecessors for a richer plot full of fun shocks and surprises, and though Ralph Fiennes is a great lead, Rhys Ifans steals the show as Rasputin.

Val (2021)
A revelatory documentary about the star of stage and screen. Val Kilmer’s own home-video footage makes up most of the film, creating a far more emotive angle to the story of his filmography and personal life

The Last Duel (2021)
A sweeping medieval epic that tackles a dark and timely subject with respect and grandeur. The cast perform well under Ridley Scott’s direction, and the film benefits from stunning production design 

tick, tick…BOOM! (2021)
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut is a stunning showcase of his talents. Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical is brought to life beautifully, with Andrew Garfield delivering a show stopping performance

Thanks for reading all my monthly film roundups in 2021! It’s been a blast. Be sure to come back tomorrow for my review of 2021 in film!

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