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December 15, 2021

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Andrew Del Monte

Can't wait to catch up on so many of these films! Dying for Memoria to come to Vancouver.

If you haven't had a chance to see it, I recommend Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy. I liked it a little more than Drive My Car, which is saying a lot.

I think this year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar should be shared by the two American sailors in Wife of a Spy.

Titch

Wow - what a great list! Amazing that you managed to see all these in a cinema. We haven't had a fraction of them over the pond. But is Cry Macho really worth buying? Haven't seen it yet but a lot of reviewers said it was Clint's weakest offering since the train to Paris one. It's just come out on 4K UHD so I might be tempted, seeing how you never let me down

Glenn Kenny

Well, my review gives a pretty accurate account of what the movie is like — and what it’s like is to my mind pretty unusual — and if that appeals, go for it. (Also I’m not sure I saw every single one of these pictures in a cinema.

MW

I guess it was another down year when I think of the overall release schedule here in the States, but with peaks like Memoria, Drive My Car and Days (which to be fair hit the festival circuit last year), it didn't seem so bad to me. Those were three of the greatest filmgoing experiences I've had in recent memory.

I also have a soft spot for Întregalde because if I'm not mistaken, it still hasn't landed an American distribution deal, but it was a highlight at the NYFF - thoroughly unpredictable, I thought I was going to hate it as I was watching it but it wound up becoming deeply moving. (More impressively, what seemed irritating was actually necessary in making what it had to say so convincing.)

Montage_Matt

Nice to see Undine and Salt of Tears make it. Undine especially is terrific. It has made few lists however.

George

I saw Cry Macho and Last Night in Soho in theaters. Plan to see Nightmare Alley and Licorice Pizza on the big screen, too.

Cry Macho is fascinating if you've been going to Clint Eastwood movies for more than 40 years (as I have). Otherwise, no idea how you'd react. You may like it or may find it unwatchable. Guess you'll have to see it.

Titch

Cry Macho is duly ordered. There are quite a few very old directors, with a 40+ year career, still chipping at the coal-face. Woody Allen's last few I really didn't like much. Roman Polanski's J'Accuse (The Dreyfus Affair) was only released on blu-ray in France. My French is non-existent and the blu-ray doesn't have English subtitles but it is apparently excellent. And Sir Ridley Scott keeps banging out an odd assortment of movies at a breakneck pace. Did you see House Of Gucci?

But I was really coming back to the comments to recommend my year's best: the Swiss thriller Azor, by first time director Andreas Fontana. It's on MUBI. It helps to keep in mind what was going on in Argentina in 1980 and that smiling, polite and well-dressed Swiss bankers are the most amoral human beings on Earth, despite appearances.

George

Haven't seen House of Gucci or The Last Duel, but I should.

I never discourage anyone from seeing any movie. Even if I didn't like it, someone else might get something out of it.

Nightmare Alley opened today on exactly one screen in my city. The others are apparently reserved for Spider-Man.

George

After seeing the box-office numbers, I'd better catch Nightmare Alley tomorrow. In a few days it will be reduced to one showing a day -- if it's still in town.

Releasing that movie against a Spider-Man sequel was aggressively dumb -- the dumbest strategy I've seen since Fox (pre-Disney) released Rules Don't Apply to every multiplex in the land, like it was a freakin Harry Potter movie.

Titch

Just seen West Side Story and was really disappointed. The first boring Steven Spielberg film I've seen in eons. He simply can't film a musical, despite having unlimited resources at his disposal. His remake doesn't belong on the same list with About Endlessness and Titane!

George

Saw Nightmare Alley and was not disappointed. It's great. See it.

xmas hangover

"Nightmare Alley opened today on exactly one screen in my city. The others are apparently reserved for Spider-Man."

Really disappointing to hear. I'm not exactly a Marvel fan, but I enjoyed the Sam Raimi films even when I stopped reading the comics (at least the first two, never saw the third). I didn't watch another Spider-Man movie until my nephew wanted to see the recent one with Misterio, and it was worse than I could have imagined. In memory, the Raimi films reminded me of how comics could be appealing - they were superhero fantasies, but Raimi's films didn't expect the audience to be dumb nor did they pretend to be much more than what they were.

The newer film was comparatively joyless and absolutely repulsive the second you put ANY thought into it. The whole setup had the world mourning the death of Tony Stark (equally presented as an arms inventor - even arms dealer - as well as a super hero) who has secretly built a device that could let anyone kill anything on Earth with little thought - even less than that, as Spider-Man nearly does by accident. We really want to celebrate Stark as some kind of holy saint after he unleashed that on to the world? Even a movie intending to be 'mere entertainment' should know better - the first [i]Iron Man[/i] film would've been knowing enough to avoid that.

George

Looks like the promised "wide release" of Licorice Pizza isn't going to happen. In Tennessee, where I live, it's only showing in Nashville and a couple of other large cities.

One thing I've noticed about the "best of 2021" lists -- I've never seen such a divergence between the movies critics like and the movies that people are actually paying to see. A lot of films on these lists are the movie equivalents of literary novels that win awards and critical acclaim, but are unknown to the general public.

I suppose that's always been true to some extent, but it seems more pronounced this year. I've never seen so many critics ignore everything at the multiplexes (except for West Side Story) and load their lists entirely with arthouse fare. As someone who tries to believe in movies as a POPULAR art form, this is disconcerting.

Titch

One you missed - which I'm sure would have made your list - is the Finnish "Compartment No.6", Finland's hope for the foreign language Oscar. You enjoyed director Juho Kuosmanen's 2016 "The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki". Another really well-filmed and directed movie from Kuosmanen.

Glenn Kenny

I only just now saw "Compartment," which I'm reviewing for Ebert. So I'll consider it a 2022 release...

George

One critic made this depressing (but probably realistic) prediction:

Five years from now, it will be impossible to see a non-IP movie at a chain-owned multiplex.

Aside from streaming and festivals, the only outlets for original (non-franchise, non-sequel, non-remake) movies will be independent theaters and arthouses -- if any are still around, outside of New York.

J. Hoberman was right when he said, decades ago, that Disney is the official culture of America.

Titch

America is rapidly turning into a cultural wasteland. Even Spielberg has now made a colossal failure (for Disney), so in five years, the only thing going on at American multiplexes will be Spiderman reboots. I predict that Glenn's future year-end lists of noteworthy theatrical releases are going to be very short. Thank Heaven for Europe and governments who fund art and cinema. I just saw Annette (physical blu-ray not released in the USA) and the credits listed a truly staggering amount of funding entities.

George

Good and great movies will always be made. The question is: will people be able to see them in theaters, if they don't live in a city large enough to support showings of indie, foreign and "art" films? All the studios are now following Disney's franchise-only policy.

I used to look forward to January, because that's when my midsized city got the prestige Oscar-bait movies. Not this January. It's been Scream, The 355, Sing 2, and Spider-Man running forever.

George

And I liked the new Spider-Man movie, as I've liked several superhero movies. But I like other kinds of movies, too. I'm afraid that in the near future, we'll only get one kind of movie at multiplexes -- the kind that makes the most money.

Mixxerly

America is rapidly turning into a cultural wasteland. Even Spielberg has now made a colossal failure (for Disney), so in five years, the only thing going on at American multiplexes will be Spiderman reboots. I predict that Glenn's future year-end lists of noteworthy theatrical releases are going to be very short. Thank Heaven for Europe and governments who fund art and cinema. I just saw Annette (physical blu-ray not released in the USA) and the credits listed a truly staggering amount of funding entities.

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