Category Archives: 2021 in Films
I hope you are ready for a TON of links because I was incredibly prolific in September! First off, for the Classic Film Collective I recommended Alice Guy-Blaché’s Falling Leaves and wrote a poem about the late Jean-Paul Belmondo. Podcast wise, Billy Ray Brewton joined me to talk Springsteen on Prog Save America, and I made not one, but two appearances on Blake Howard’s Zodiac Chronicle. For my column this month I spoke to Núria Frigola Torrent on her new film The Song of the Butterflies, married directing duo Gita Pullapilly & Aaron Gaudet about Queenpins, Lina Roessler about her debut film Best Sellers, and dancer-turned-director Connie Hochman talks about her debut documentary In Balanchine’s Classroom.
I also covered the Toronto International Film Festival! For The Playlist I reviewed Dear Evan Hansen, Colin In Black and White, Lakewood, The Starling, The Mad Women’s Ball, and Silent Night. For RogerEbert.com I wrote about six African films. Dispatch one: Neptune Frost, Mlungu Wam (Good Madam), and Lingui The Sacred Bonds. Dispatch two: Astel, The Gravedigger’s Wife, and Saloum. For Moviefone I interviewed kate Dolan about her film You Are Not My Mother, Agustina San Martín about her film To Kill The Beast, Camille Griffin about her film Silent Night, Edgar Wright and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns about their film Last Night In Soho, Justine Bateman about her film Violet, and Anita Rocha Da Silveira about her film Medusa.
But that’s not all! For Nerdist I wrote about my favorite recent depictions of bisexual and pansexual characters in film and television. I made my SlashFilm debut writing about the irresponsible depictions of suicide in Dear Evan Hansen and Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain. For Crooked Marquee I reviewed the delightfully deranged Palme d’or winner Titane. For Moviefone I reviewed the wonderfully queer Venom: Let There Be Carnage. And lastly, I made my InStyle debut profiling The Many Saints of Newark star Alessandro Nivola!
If you’re not completely exhausted (like I am), after the cut you can find everything I watched in September, plus as always a breakdown by decade and a brief sampling of my favorites.
Even though I took a vacation at the end of the month I managed to watch a huge amount of movies *and* do a huge amount of writing. Truly a whirlwind of activity. Over at the Classic Film Collective I recommended Sandy Wilson’s My American Cousin and wrote a poem about Liz Taylor. Podcast-wise I was pretty busy: over on my podcast Prog Save America Adam from Filmspotting chatted Genesis and my old co-worker Alex Vo chatted ELO Part II, I dropped by Lasagna Time to talk Daisies, on Screen Drafts we drafted a top six Bob Dylan movies canon, made yet another appearance over at Zodiac Chronicle, talking butts in jeans and bookish women on the Letterboxd Show, and lastly talked about Ben-Hur as a queer classic on The Queer Quadrant. Also for Letterboxd I wrote a magnum opus about butts in jeans in cinema. For Nerdist I looked at the Welsh Mythology behind David Lowery’s The Green Knight, took a look at off the beaten path movies set in video games or virtual reality, did a deep dive of all the genre films that won Best Makeup Oscars. and looked at the men who inspired Barton Fink. For RogerEbert.com I interviewed Griffin Dunne about the hidden gem Game 6 and Billie Piper about her directorial debut Rare Beasts. For The Playlist I reviewed Modern Love S2, Brand New Cherry Flavor, and The Chair. I somehow convinced Vulture to let me write about aliens on Riverdale. For Moviefone I assembled a bunch of lady assassins, and for my column I interviewed Lucy Walker about her film Bring Your Own Brigade, Siân Heder and the cast of CODA, producer Cody Greenwood and director Gracie Otto about their film Under The Volcano, and Amber Sealey about her latest film No Man of God. I hope you feel as tired after all of that as I do!
But now to the movies. . .somehow amidst all of that I also watched 77 new-to-me movies! As always, you can see the list after the cut + a handful of my favorites.
This month I watched quite a bit more films (I curbed my rewatch of The X-Files, but it’s still happening. Trust.) But before we get into the log, here’s a recap of all the writing I did this month. For The Classic Film Collective I recommended a great silent film and wrote a poem about Merle Oberon. On my podcast Prog Save America I had director Allan Arkush (Rock and Roll High School, Get Crazy) on to talk about being a teen Bob Dylan fan in the 60s and working at the Fillmore East, and I had Amanda from the podcast Discord & Rhyme talk about The Moody Blues. Speaking of podcasts, I joined Ryan from the Matineecast to talk about Zola. For Nerdist I wrote about crazy credits, the classic films that may have inspired Captain America: The First Avenger, and Arthurian adaptations you may have forgotten about. For Moviefone, I wrote about Zola & American Honey, films that inspired The Last Letter From Your Lover, and interviewed Shahad Ameen about her film Scales, Leigh Janiak about the Fear Street Trilogy, Augustine Frizzell about The Last Letter From Your Lover, and Sonia Kennebeck about Enemies of the State. For The Playlist I reviewed This Way Up season 2, The Last Letter From Your Lover, and The Pursuit of Love. For RogerEbert.com I wrote about how the doc about Anthony Bourdain is a disaster. Lastly, one of the pieces I am the most proud of yet, for Musings I wrote about how Ethan Hawke has infused autobiography into his body of work.
As always, after the cut you can find everything I watched in July as well as some of the highlights of my month in film.
So this month I watched far less than in previous months because. . .I watched four whole seasons of The X-Files! It has been years since I rewatched that show (I watched from the day it aired during its original run on TV!) and I feel real hard into a re-watch, which sort of distracted me from my new-to-me goals. That said, I am about forty films shy of 8,000 films watched! I’ll have to make sure #8000 is something really special.
Here’s a look at everything else I did this month! On my podcast Prog Save America I spoke with WilliamScurry about prog rock album art, Rich Bunnell about ELO, and Robert Daniels about Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline”. Over on the Classic Film Collective I contributed a monthly movie rec, wrote a poem about Marilyn Monroe, and joined Jill Blake on the Watch With Jen podcast to talk about Girlfriends. Over at Nerdist I celebrated the 20th (!!!) anniversary of Moulin Rouge! with a look back at the drama of an Ewan McGregor Yahoo! group of which I used to be an active member, for Pride Month I explored the queerness of Venom and looked at 23 of the earliest queer films from the silent and pre-code eras. For my Moviefone column I interviewed Tove director Zaida Bergroth, Skater Girl filmmakers Manjari & Vinati Makijany, Good On Paper director Kimmy Gatewood, I Carry You With Me director Heidi Ewing, and took a look at documentaries about Rita Moreno and Jane Fonda.
As always, after the cut you can find everything I watched in June + some of my favorites from the month.
May was a pretty busy month for me. It started with the tail end of the Atlanta Film Festival (one of those last films made my favorites list for the month) and ended with me writing my very first professional film (and TV!) reviews. So in case you missed it, here is everything I wrote in May: movie recs and a poem over at the Classic Film Collective, I profiled Marielle Heller for Netflix Queue, I interviewed Aubrey Plaza for RogerEbert.com, dropped several more episodes of Prog Save America, speaking of podcasts I talked small town cinema on Movies With Gravy, still talking Zodiac with Zodiac Minute, talked the sled scene with Citizen Kane minute, for Moviefone I wrote about women who made films while pregnant for Mother’s Day, curated a watchlist for The Fast Times, for Nerdist Vampire Week I wrote about vampire films directed by women, Jean Painlevé’s Le Vampire, and the horniest Dracula movie of them all, for The Playlist I reviewed Natalie Morales’ directorial debut Plan B and the new YA show Panic, and lastly for my Moviefone column I interviewed Gia Coppola, Haifaa al-Mansour, and Danielle Lessovitz, and wrote about a couple of rock docs.
Whew. And now to everything I watched in May! After the cut, as always, you’ll find the list, a breakdown by decade, and a handful of my favorite first time watches!
In April my freelance writing kept on keeping on. I’m going to recap it all here in case you missed it! Since it was a five Friday month, I spoke to five different women directors (and two men) for my Moviefone column: Emma Seligman, Charlène Favier, Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher, Marilyn Agrelo, and Shari Spring Berman and Robert Pulcini. I also took a look back at the career of Joan Micklin Silver. A few Old Hollywood nerds got together and launched the Classic Film Collective on Patreon. Join at any level and you can read out monthly film recs and each month I’ll be contributing a poem. In April I wrote a poem about Lana Turner! I was a guest again on the Zodiac Chronicles podcast. And speaking of podcasts, the first two episodes of Prog Save America are out! In episode one Arianny Pilarte joins me to talk about Bruce Springsteen and New Jersey. In episode two I’m joined by Jill Blake as we count down our top ten rock flute tracks! For Nerdist I wrote about unicorns, Lina Wertmüller, and movie stunts. Lastly, I made my debut at Bright Wall Dark Room with a very personal essay about The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) and forgiveness.
Of course, aside from all that writing I also watched a metric ton of movies! Yes, you will see after the cut that I watched a whopping 123 new-to-me films in April! How? Why? Click on the cut to find out!!
First and foremost, I did a lot of writing and podcast guesting in March. For Moviefone I wrote about women directors who should get Oscar nominations this year (spoiler alert: two of them did!!) and 7 Riot Grrrl films to check out. For my Moviefone column Female Filmmakers in Focus I wrote about Amy Poehler’s Moxie & Tanya Hamilton’s Night Catches Us, Natasha Kermani’s Lucky and interviewed its cinematographer Julia Swain, I interviewed Phobias directors Camilla Belle, Maritte Lee Go, and Jess Varley, and I interviewed Slaxx director Elza Kephart. I made my debut at Ebert Voices taking a look at how the landscape for films directed by women has changed since I embarked on my #AYearWithWomen project in 2015. For my debut at Nerdist I wrote about how Philip K. Dick influenced The Weeknd. For my debut at debut at Vulture I wrote about three of my favorite working actors: Tzi Ma, Shea Whigham, and Luis Guzmán. For my debut at Crooked Marquee I wrote about why I love (and miss) Meg Ryan (you’ll notice I watched A LOT of Meg Ryan movies this month). Podcast-wise I joined Ryan at The Matinee to talk Oscars (we’ve been doing this for a decade now!!), I joined Jen Johans on her podcast Watch With Jen to talk about the rebel girls of Daisies, Foxfire, and Skate Kitchen, and lastly I dropped the trailer for my new music podcast Prog Save America, which will be launching later this month. Can you believe even with all of that I still watched A LOT OF MOVIES. So as always, after the cut you’ll find everything I watched in March, a breakdown by decade, and I highlight some of my faves.
February came and went so fast I feel like I have whiplash and I fear the bulk of 2021 will follow suit. Thankfully, there’ll always be movies to distract from the abyss that is time. Along with watching far too many films in February, I also started a column at Moviefone called Female Filmmaker In Focus which you can read here and I wrote about the movie parallels in the videos for The Weeknd’s After Hours which you can read here. As always, you can see everything I watched plus a breakdown by decade after the cut.
My watching as I dove head first into the New Year followed a few distinct phases. For the first week or so I did not have a working computer, so rather than relying on streaming I delved into the wild world of blind-bought Blu-rays that had been piling up (mostly from Kino, Twilight Time, and Criterion). You can also detect some frantic catching up on films on the Criterion Channel that expired at the end of January, films on Netflix that I had actually watched months ago back when that was my job, a deluge of screeners for Best International Oscar contenders (lots of free screenings of those popping into my inbox; I was overjoyed!), and lastly a handful of films from the Sundance Film Festival. As always, I’ll highlight a few favorites after the cut.