I saw a little over 200 films that I’m counting as “2021” films this year. You can see the whole list here. I also had the privilege to attend a few film festivals (online and in person) and saw several wonderful films that won’t be more widely available until next year, so any of those films will count towards next year’s list. I’m not sure there is as strong a theme connecting the films that resonated with me this year as there was last year, but I will say three movies in my top five I saw in the first three months of the calendar year. I love a year when films linger that long. Please remember this is a subjective list. This is what spoke to me. Hopefully something on here speaks to you too!
I can’t believe October is already over! It was quite a month. Over on the Classic Film Collective patreon I recommended The Velvet Vampire and wrote a poem about Lon Chaney. Making my debut at Inverse I wrote about the queer subtext of Venom becoming text in Venom: Let There Be Carnage. For Nerdist I wrote about toxic masculinity in The Rage: Carrie 2, reviewed Ghostbusters: After Life, recommended some classic Japanese horror films, and the folk horror of The Wind (2019). For The Playlist I compiled a list of the best films and TV episodes about abortion access and women’s bodily autonomy, reviewed Julie Delpy’s new series On The Verge and the new YA series I Know What You Did Last Summer. I reviewed The Souvenir Part II, I profiled Leslie Jones for Emmy Mag, and spoke to Caroline Madden about her book Springsteen As Soundtrack on the latest episode of Prog Save America. For Nerdist I compiled a list of 20 new horror movies directed by women, interviewed cinematographer Marie Rusche, Marisa Silver about the new restoration of her mother’s film Hester Street, and Wendell B. Harris, Jr. about the restoration of his masterpiece Chameleon Street. Lastly, for my column I spoke to director Julia Ducournau about Titane, Maritte Lee Go about her Blumhouse film Black As Night, Claudia Llosa and Samanta Schweblin about their film Fever Dream, Liz Garbus about her latest doc Becoming Cousteau, and Joanna Hogg about The Souvenir Part II. I also launched an Instagram account dedicated to bookstores in cinema!
Now that you’re all caught up on that, as always you can find everything I watched in October plus a handful of favorites after the cut!
The second film in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is also quiet possibly the least discussed film in the series. It’s actually my favorite of the three films; I thought so when I first saw it and I still think so today. I think it’s got the hardest job of the three films. It has to follow the build up of the first film, their journey now split into multiple storylines. It also sets up the masterful conclusion of the third film. I think Jackson did a fantastic job keeping the pace and interest going throughout the film. The film also received the least Academy Award nominations of the three films (The Fellowship of the Ring received 13 nominations, winning four; The Return of the King received 11 nominations, winning in every category it was nominated including Best Picture). The Two Towers received six nominations, winning two: Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing (won), Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Visual Effects (won) and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Pianist and winner Chicago.