The Coen brothers are obviously one of the most influential and acclaimed filmmaking duos of the late 20th and early 21st Century. I have had the great pleasure of watching and enjoying several of their films, and I think all cinephiles wait eagerly every time one of their projects is announced. The Tragedy of Macbeth is, however, a special entry in their filmography since it is the first solo effort from Joel Coen. Even though his brother did not work on this film, Joel Coen didn’t lose a step. The Tragedy of Macbeth, obviously an adaptation of an oft-adapted Shakespeare play that needs no introduction, is one of the best-looking films of 2021.
Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green — Screenplay by Zach Baylin.
Reinaldo Marcus Green’s King Richard tells the story of how Richard Williams (played by Will Smith) helped to shepherd and develop the Williams sisters — Venus (played by Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (played by Demi Singleton) — on their journey to tennis stardom. His determination to make a better life for his daughters brought them far, but in order for them to take the final steps to superstardom, he had to learn how to step back a bit.
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber — Screenplay by Rawson Marshall Thurber.
Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Red Notice is an action-adventure buddy comedy film about the search for three priceless eggs once owned by Cleopatra. In the film, FBI Special Agent John Hartley (played by Dwayne Johnson) is forced to team-up with Nolan Booth (played by Ryan Reynolds), an internationally renowned art thief, in a race against time to find all three eggs before Booth’s main competitor, The Bishop (played by Gal Gadot), finds them and sells them to the highest bidder.
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik — Screenplay by Craig Luck & Ivor Powell.
A former storyboard artist, Miguel Sapochnik’s career as a director is quite interesting. His 2010 feature film directorial debut, Repo Men, was met with relatively negative reviews. Perhaps that reaction really hurt the young director, because his next move was to turn to television again and again. Sapochnik has since become a seasoned television director, and he has been involved with shows such as House, Fringe, and True Detective. But the project that he really made his name with was Game of Thrones, which he has directed some of the most famous episodes of including Battle of the Bastards, for which he won an Emmy. Now, in 2021, his second film as a director, Finch, is finally here, and, while it probably won’t be as big of a hit as he may have hoped (since it has been released on a streaming service without much fanfare), I really liked Finch. It is yet another solid star vehicle for Tom Hanks on Apple TV+ after Greyhound.
Directed by Martin Campbell (GoldenEye) — Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis.
Now that Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond appears to have come to an end after the release of 2021’s No Time To Die, I thought it would be fitting to take another look back at his first Bond-film, Casino Royale. From GoldenEye-director Martin Campbell, 2006’s Casino Royale was meant to reinvigorate the franchise and bring it into a new era distinctly different from Pierce Brosnan’s tenure that ended in 2002. With this film, the series’ new leading man, Daniel Craig, who was, bafflingly, the subject of much online and press criticism due to his blonde hair and blue eyes, proved to the world that he had the potential to be arguably the best Bond on the big screen.
Directed by Ilya Naishuller (Hardcore Henry) — Screenplay by Derek Kolstad (John Wick).
At this point, it feels like we’re being inundated with action-thriller films that are trying to ape what made John Wick a huge success and a competent film franchise on its own. While I think these kinds of films can be quite good and entertaining, I also think films like Gunpowder Milkshake or Atomic Blonde have largely missed the mark, so I have become more trepidatious with this action subgenre than I was initially. This is exactly why it was so refreshing to me that I greatly enjoyed Ilya Naishuller’s Nobody, which is yet another action-thriller in the vein of John Wick (also co-written by Derek Kolstad).
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga — Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
When I rewatched Sam Mendes’ SPECTRE the other day, I was reminded of the fact that the previous film in the Bond-franchise was released all the way back in 2015. A lot has happened since then, so much so that you may have even forgotten about all of the behind-the-scenes drama that transpired long before No Time To Die became the first major film to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After several rounds of rewrites, the shift in director, production, and the pandemic, the fifth and supposedly final film in the Daniel Craig-era of the James Bond-franchise has now finally been released. Thankfully, in spite of the real world drama that threatened to ruin it, this is actually a spy epic that is suitable as a true tribute to Daniel Craig’s bumpy but extraordinary time as the iconic agent. It isn’t the best film in the Craig-era, but it is a very memorable chapter in the franchise.
In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I once again talk about my experience of trying to catch-up on some of the 2021 films released earlier this year, but this time I also want to talk about a show that I was surprised I liked as much as I did. What did I like about The White Lotus? Is Malcolm & Marie better than its reputation? Are Antoine Fuqua and Stefano Sollima’s latest action films any good? Well, scroll down to find out what I think about all of that (and more) in yet another jam-packed edition of Additional Bite-Sized Reviews!
Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) — Screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth.
When science-fiction neophytes first lay their eyes on the marketing material for Denis Villeneuve’s latest science-fiction film, Dune, they should be forgiven, if they immediately remark that it looks like an imitation of Star Wars — or other similar films. Obviously, they would be under a false impression, but, after all, it is a little bit strange that one of Star Wars‘ most obvious sources of inspiration — Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune — has not previously generated a widely known or appreciated adaptation.
In fact, the Dune property is perhaps especially renowned for being difficult to adapt. Famously, Alejandro Jodorowsky tried but failed to get an adaptation off the ground, while David Lynch’s adaptation from 1984 was critically panned. Those ‘failed’ attempts are, in fact, more widely known than the Sci-Fi Channel mini-series that the franchise also spawned. Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have now entrusted auteur Denis Villeneuve with the job of adapting Frank Herbert’s rich, influential, and dense source material, and I think that was a very smart decision.
Directed by Lee Isaac Chung — Screenplay by Lee Isaac Chung.
Though the act of spoiling a film or a show is, to put it mildly, frowned upon, I think the general idea is that a great movie cannot be spoiled, which is to say that it will still be great even if its plot or central surprise has been ruined for you. For a while, I think I actually shared that school of thought, and I can probably name a small handful of films that I love which were actually spoiled for me. Still, I am nervous when it comes to spoilers. I remember one of my friends once spoiled the end of a game in a series that I loved (and had introduced him to), and, as a result, I didn’t finish the game for quite some time. I guess, to me, it felt like it had been ruined for me, and, alas, when I finally finished the game it didn’t leave the same emotional impact on me that it appeared to have had on him.