Aaron’s Top Ten of 2021
10. The Power of the Dog
As a revisionist western tackling the idea of the very masculine rancher, the way this story unfolds leaves plenty to consider and more rewards when prompted to reconsider.
9. Last Night In Soho
Pushing certain cinematic limits is not new for Wright, but his efforts to tell a more mature story focused on trauma (with help from co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns to add a solid additional perspective) allows this hip horror flick to have a level of edge and messiness well-suited for a time in need of stories that don’t always have clear answers.
8. In the Heights
Jon M. Chu’s years as a director of Step Up films and smaller dance-related efforts paid off well in this vibrant look at a struggling community, or perhaps it all comes down to Jimmy Smit’s booming voice, as he wishes “good morning” to Usnavi.
7. Licorice Pizza
Paul Thomas Anderson’s most wholesome film, with tremendous lead performances from Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman guiding the film along its affecting path.
6. A Hero
When it comes to making contemporary dramas, I’m not sure there’s a better filmmaker currently out there than Asghar Farhadi. Whether or not A Hero is his best film since A Separation, it’s another fantastic example of what Farhadi can do when he’s at his strongest – pull a wide array of emotions out of everyday circumstances.
The scope of Dune is incredibly from a visual level for sure, though I was equally impressed with how involved I felt with the machinations in place to create this universe and envelope me in the Shakespearean-level drama taking place.
4. The Mitchells vs The Machines
Directors Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe found plenty of ways to make me smile with this dysfunctional family road trip movie packed with so many laughs and ideas that I know I’ll still be discovering more gags as time goes on.
3. The Green Knight
A visually ambitious work of art centered around an excellent Dev Patel, in a film packed with double meanings and effective uses of practical and visual effects allowing for an eerie atmosphere that is somehow otherworldly and earthly.
2. Judas and the Black Messiah
An electrifying feature full of great performances, excellent cinematography to truly capture the time and the mood, and a level of tension that does well to match up to what was in the air at that time, thanks to the aptitude and authority of a revolutionary mind.
1. Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
It already works as a terrific music-based documentary, but it’s even better when realizing how innovative Questlove is to use these performances as segments to push into the different things going on with black culture during that time. As I continue enjoying the fact that his footage was discovered and shown back to surviving band members and attendees alike, it’s something I’ll continue to appreciate when it comes to what cinema can provide.
Check out Aaron’s full list here – https://weliveentertainment.com/welivefilm/aarons-top-ten-favorite-films-2021/