Directed by Ben Affleck — Screenplay by Alex Convery.
Ben Affleck’s AIR is a biographical drama about the origin of the highly successful original AIR Jordan basketball shoe, which was designed with Michael Jordan in mind when he had yet to actually play an NBA game. It follows Sonny Vaccaro (played by Matt Damon), a basketball talent scout for Nike, as he tries to convince first Nike and then Michael Jordan and his parents, including his mother Deloris (played by Viola Davis), to choose Nike, which was, at that time, not the massive company that it is today, as his brand of choice. There are, however, quite a few obstacles that Sonny must overcome. Jordan allegedly prefers Adidas, Nike likely cannot afford to compete with Adidas for his signature, Nike is considering axing their basketball division, and Sonny doesn’t have the best relationship with Jordan’s agent (played by Chris Messina).
Directed by Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect) — Screenplay by Mark Hammer.
The start of the new year is going by so fast. I’m still trying to catch up on some late 2022 releases, just as I’m trying to see notable 2023 releases. Well, one of the films I missed in January was Amazon Prime Video’s release of the Jennifer Lopez-led action rom-com Shotgun Wedding. I’ve now finally had the chance to check it out. And, well, in spite of a relatively star-studded cast, it’s mostly just ‘okay.’ It’s nowhere near as good as the films it’s clearly modeled after.
Show Developed by J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay — Season Directed by J. A. Bayona, Wayne Che Yip, and Charlotte Brändström.
Late next year we’ll be twenty years removed from the release of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. That means it’ll also be twenty years since ten-year-old me sat in a theater and sobbed as Frodo said his goodbyes. Peter Jackson’s first three films in the Tolkienverse fully got me. I remember asking my mother if movies would ever get that good again, and she assured me that they would. She was right.
However, you wouldn’t know it from Peter Jackson’s second Tolkien trilogy, the prequel films, The Hobbit trilogy. Those three films disappointed someone so deeply emotionally invested in the universe so much that I chose not to see all of them immediately as they were released in theaters. So, I was skeptical when it was announced that a return to Middle-Earth was on the horizon at Amazon Prime Video. However, while it suffers from some notable problems, I think the first season of The Rings of Power mostly works. In any case, I’m happy to say that I loved being back in a universe that I didn’t realize I had been missing for quite some time.
Series Developed by Eric Kripke — Season Three consists of 8 episodes.
These days superhero shows are a dime a dozen. There’s the Arrow-verse, the Netflix-era Defenders Marvel series universe, the Disney+ shows, and so much more. There are so many that I can’t say I’ve seen all of them, even though I once was very much into following all of these superhero shows. These days it’s like the second you blink, that one superhero show you once watched a couple of episodes of now has had close to ten seasons and it feels like no one has noticed. For superhero die-hard fans, select shows are must-watch. These must-see shows are things like Peacemaker and the ever-growing streaming series corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but then there’s also this other show developed by the creator of Supernatural, Eric Kripke, and produced by the brilliant comedic minds of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. I am of course talking about Prime Video’s The Boys, the one major superhero show that you can’t watch with your family without getting some awkward silences or looks. It’s a terrific show that I can’t believe exists, and this third season of the show was its very best thus far, even though the season peaked a couple of episodes prior to its season finale.
In 2021, both the film and television industries tried to play catch-up after films or seasons had been delayed and pushed out of 2020. This meant that Succession: Season Three finally came out this year, for example. But something new also happened in 2021. That year marked the debut of Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe Live-Action series, and we got a lot of those, most of which I really liked. So, today, let’s have a look at what shows I thought were the very best in 2021.
It is kind of incredible just how much streaming services have overtaken the top tier of what we still refer to as ‘television shows.’ Perhaps we need to find another name for these series. Some of them are released all at once, some are released week-by-week, but almost all of the shows on my list were released on streaming services, and, in my case, I watched all ten of my top ten television shows on streaming services. In the 2020-edition, there are plenty of ‘familiar faces,’ as it were, but it’s also the first time that both Apple TV+ and Disney+ have made an appearance on any of my end of the year-lists. But where do the top shows on these relatively new streaming services land on my top ten, and what is the best show of the year? Let’s have a look!
Several years ago, there was a time when me and my father would watch and rewatch science-fiction films so much so that we knew the dialogue by heart. I can’t possibly tell you the amount of times that I’ve seen, for example, Stargate, which I have a lot of love for. When I was a kid, my father would always steer me towards horror or science-fiction films, and therefore it was a great joy for me to be able to watch this film with my father. Although I had some problems with the film, I genuinely had a lot of fun with it, and I know that if I were still a kid today, then he and I would watch The Tomorrow War over and over again.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald – Screenplay by M.B. Traven, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani.
Kevin Macdonald’s The Mauritanian is a legal drama based on Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir Guantanamo Diary. The film tells the true story of Mohamedou’s experience as a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, in which he was subject to so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ which essentially amounts to torture. The film juxtaposes the perspectives of two lawyers — Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Nancy Hollander (played by Jodie Foster) — who are both trying to make sense of exactly what made Mohamedou (played by Tahar Rahim) confess to crimes of terrorism. To do so, Nancy and Stuart must try to gain access to thousands of redacted classified documents.
When British filmmaker Sir Steve McQueen makes a film, you pay attention. McQueen has quietly become one of the best directors of his generation with critical darlings such as the perhaps underseen Michael Fassbender-led films Hunger and Shame, the Oscar-winning Solomon Northup-biopic 12 Years a Slave, and his 2018 heist film Widows, which did not get the awards attention it deserved. In 2020, McQueen released a collection of films — an anthology — titled Small Axe at film festivals and later on, for example, BBC or Prime Video (on the Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s streaming service in my territory).
Directed by Darius Marder — Screenplay/Story by Darius Marder, Abraham Marder, and Derek Cianfrance.
If I’m not mistaken, Darius Marder’s first narrative feature film, Sound of Metal, was originally slated to be released in Danish theaters in December of 2020. However, when all of Denmark’s theaters were then ordered to close due to another lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the film was basically put in some sort of limbo. This week, on April 12th, 2021, I finally got the chance to watch one of my most anticipated films of the 2020 awards season, when it was released on Amazon Prime Video. In short, it was definitely worth the wait.