Best Movies of 2021

  1. Quo Vadis, Aida?: This harrowing tale of one woman’s choice to save her family or save as many people as she can during the Bosnian War is as powerful as a film can get.
  2. Mass: Two sets of parents meet after one of their sons has killed the other in a school shooting to figure what happened. Along the way, they are forced to answer questions that are painful and difficult.
  3. Spencer: This fictional take on Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) and what might have occured during Christmas in the early 1990’s is a unique take on the myth of the late royal.
  4. Belfast: A young boy is growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the late 1960’s. As he starts to transition from a child to a young adult, he begins to realize that nothing is ever a simple as it seems to be.
  5. Black Widow: After ten years, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) finally gets the movie she should have gotten. Trying to atone for her past while living in the present, she must face reality and make up for mistakes.
  6. Framing Britney Spears: This Hulu documentary took viewers in the life and career of Britney Spears and how it has changed since her father took control over both.
  7. West Side Story: Steven Spielberg’s adapation of this beloved musical takes it into the 21st century while retaing its message about prejudice and lack of opportunity.
  8. The Eyes of Tammy Faye: Jessica Chastain not only brings Tammy Faye Bakker back to life, she reveals the real person behind the punchline.
  9. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: This latest addition to the MCU is more than just the first all Asian cast. It is the story of a complicated father/son relationship and a young man who cannot run from his fate.
  10. Moxie: A shy teenage girl stands up to the sexist bullshit at school and empowers her fellow female students in the process.
rajanrathodfilms GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
This will be my last post of 2021. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing tonight, have a safe and happy New Year. See you in 2022.

Black Widow Movie Review

No one’s past is crystal clear. It is full of potholes, bad memories, and mistakes that still linger in our minds. When facing our past, we can either run from it or face it.

The new Marvel movie, Black Widow, premiered two weeks ago. It takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. The film opens on an average American suburban family in Ohio sitting down to dinner. But dinner is cut short when their true identity as Russian spies is revealed and they must hightail it out of the US. It then cuts to the present. Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) has discovered a conspiracy that is tied to her previous life as an assassin and spy. When she becomes a target, she must turn to the family that was assigned to her by the spy agency. Her younger sister, Yelena (Florence Pugh), father Alexei (David Harbour), and mother Melina (Rachel Weisz) have all gone their separate ways. Revealing the source of the conspiracy and ending it requires more than a physical coming together as a group, it means facing the unhealed emotional wounds that still linger.

This movie is amazing. The action and stunts are well balanced with the humor and the emotion. As an audience member, I saw the main character as more than a superhero who is able to save the day. I saw a woman who is conflicted about both her present and her past. She makes the difficult decision to look at what she has done square in the eye instead of running from it. It a lesson that goes well beyond the genre and movies in general.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Black Widow is now in theaters.

P.S. Stay for the mid credit scene. The wait is long, but it is worth it.

What Took So Long For the Black Widow Movie to be Made?

For the last ten years, movie fans have come to expect a new Avengers film every year or so. All of the major male heroes (with the exception of Hawkeye) have had at least one stand-alone film over the course of those ten years.

For most of the franchise, Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) was the only woman on the team. Up until very recently, she was also without a stand-alone film of her own. The trailer was released earlier this week for Black Widow.

The movie looks fantastic. The supporting cast (Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour) looks equally fantastic. But I have to question why it took so long for Marvel to greenlight a Black Widow film?

It feels like an afterthought. Its as if Marvel is trying to stretch the franchise as far as it can go instead of following the natural narrative. This film feels like it is akin to a child giving in to the pressure from their parents to eat their vegetables. I wish it was not this way, but this is the reality that we live. Women still have to fight for the opportunities that come naturally to men.

This movie is on my must-see list for 2020. But being that it will not be released for another 6 months, we can only speculate about this film. My hope is that it does well and finally breaks the glass ceiling on female superhero films once and for all.

Avengers: Infinity War Movie Review

For ten years, Marvel Studios has been telling the individual stories of their heroes. Last week, Avengers: Infinity War hit theaters, bringing all of their heroes together in one film.

Thanos (James Brolin) is known as a destroyer of worlds. He is on a quest to locate all of the infinity stones. When one has all of the stones, they are guaranteed limitless power. It is up to the Avengers and their allies to prevent Thanos from collecting all of the stones and gaining that power. If they cannot stop Thanos, then life on Earth as they know it to be will cease to exist.

A general rule of thumb when it comes to the number of characters is that the smaller the list, the better. Too many characters with varying narratives can often confuse the audience. But somehow, the screenwriters were still able to create a compelling narrative with the large cast of characters. Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), etc are all given equal screen time. Another general rule of thumb is to limit the length of the script. The movie clocks in at just under three hours.

I would remiss in saying that I would not bring young kids to the movie because it has certain adult elements in terms of language that a young child might need an explanation for. It also goes without saying, at in my mind, that I would not see this movie unless I had at least some knowledge of the narrative and characters from the previous films or the comic books.

But other than that, the film is entertaining and enjoyable.

Avengers: Infinity War is presently in theaters.

P.S. Am I the only redhead who is a little perturbed that Black Widow is now a blonde?

Star Wars And Feminism

Star Wars, despite the appearance of being the standard science fiction boys club, has a strong feminist streak. Even with the lack of female characters, the simple act of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) grabbing the blaster and shooting at the storm troopers in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope forever changed how women are portrayed in the science fiction genre.

Unfortunately, that feminist streak does not extend to all areas of the Star Wars Universe.

Any Star Wars fan knows that with the premiere of the movie comes the plethora of new merchandise. The one question that fans, especially young female fans, were asking was #WheresRey.

Hasbro claimed that they withheld from producing Rey merchandise because they did not want to give away the plot before the film’s premiere.

Pardon my French, but that is b*llshit.

This is not the first time Hasbro has done this.

With the release of the most recent The Avengers film last year, many fans asked the same question with the lack of the Black Widow action figure.

Wake up Hasbro. It is the 21st century. There is absolutely nothing wrong with boys playing with a female action figure. Women are just as loud and proud (and shockingly have money to pay for memorabilia) about their fandoms as men. It’s time they were represented in the toy stores.

In related news, NY Post columnist Kyle Smith called out the fact Carrie Fisher is no longer the younger woman that she was when A New Hope premiered (again, shocking). Her response is brilliant.

News flash, we all get older. Our bodies change.  The figure we had at twenty may not be the figure we have at fifty. Ms. Fisher is also a mother. Having a child forever changes your body.

Kyle Smith, being a man, will never have the experience of being a woman who is judged by her looks and put aside after a certain age because she has gotten older.

Bravo, Carrie Fisher.

Star Wars is 39 this year.

There is no one on the planet who does not know something about the series. It’s legacy of feminism and strong women will live on and continue to inspire women to speak up and fight for what they believe in.

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: