Movieman630 has written 9 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ during 2021.

  • From Russia with Love

    From Russia with Love

    ★★★★½

    From Russia With Love is fascinating to watch as a sort of "Bond before Bond." Though some of the expected tropes are present here, they wouldn't be fully realized until the following film, making this film somewhat of an outlier of the series. There are no grandiose villain lairs, the names are not all that suggestive, and the action is mostly saved for the third act, making most of this film a more muted and Hitchcockian espionage thriller. Somehow, though…

  • The Last Duel

    The Last Duel

    ★★★★½

    The Last Duel is a very powerful, well made film that manages to effectively connect a medieval story into the context of the modern day. The film is told in three stories, one from each main character's point of view. Thankfully, each story is stronger than the previous. The film also avoids the common pitfall of Rashomon stories, wherein they often feel overly repetitive. Though each story tells the events that build up to the duel, only a few of…

  • For a Few Dollars More

    For a Few Dollars More

    ★★★★½

    Set smack in the middle of "A Fistful of Dollars" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," For a Few Dollars More fittingly serves as a transition film between the two. Narratively, it is far more in line with its simple predecessor. There is some intrigue happening within the plot, but it is ultimately a rather straightforward narrative that hits the ground running pretty quickly.

    That said, it is clear that Sergio Leone was still perfecting his craft at…

  • The Suicide Squad

    The Suicide Squad

    ★★★★½

    Man, I can't remember the last major blockbuster to have this much personality. Far from a "film by committee" this really feels like the brainchild of a storyteller with a unique brand of weirdness. James Gunn wonderfully blends his own oddities with the skeleton of a 70s men on a mission movie, with the cherry on top being the clear creative freedom he was given.

    Honestly, I could go into the strong performances, the perfectly odd storytelling structure, the strong…

  • The Green Knight

    The Green Knight

    ★★★★½

    This is a hard film to review. It’s a film, much like Lowery’s own A Ghost Story, that is far more effective in retrospect than during the viewing. It is a dense film, one that seems meandering until the end brings everything into focus. It’s a film that I know will reward repeat viewings more than the first. It is a film of meaning, and ideas, and themes that take quite a bit of time to really sink in. The…

  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story

    ★★★★½

    This is a tough film to rate. One could argue that it doesn't really have a plot, but that would be sort of missing the point. We are viewing the passage of time from the perspective of a character who has come to the end of theirs. The film is an experience more than a story, an attempt to bring a mood to the concepts of death and afterlife. It's at once deeply emotional and very cold and clinical. All…

  • Another Round

    Another Round

    ★★★★½

    Another Round shows the benefits of telling a relatively simple story with a deft directorial hand. The plotline of the film, which involves four high school teachers attempting to be constantly drunk in order to see if it will improve their lives, never overcomplicates itself. Instead, director Thomas Vinterberg simply sets it up, then uses it to examine the lives and regrets of these four men.

    Of course, it doesn't hurt that one of these men is played by Mads…

  • One Night in Miami...

    One Night in Miami...

    ★★★★½

    One Night in Miami provides a very strong example of how to turn a play into a film without losing what made the play so special. Though the film retains the dialogue driven nature of the stage, the directing makes decisions that allow the story to more effectively use the medium of film.

    Most notably, the film allows for a sense of intimacy in a way a play would struggle with. In theater, one must play to the back row,…

  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always

    Never Rarely Sometimes Always

    ★★★★½

    Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a surprisingly gut wrenching watch at times. The film so subtly and realistically depicts the hardships that women can face in modern society that it can be difficult just to make it to the end of the film. Because of that difficulty it is all the more important to make it to the end.

    One sequence in particular really shows the strengths of the film. An entire conversation is filmed with a static camera on…