The December Film Fight ended up being a big one: 12 films in all.
#FF21 Surge isn't what I expected and you should go in largely blind.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) December 11, 2021
Ben Wishaw is great, both frightening and vulnerable as the situation continues. That's enhanced by the discordant audio, and tight camera angles that make the film claustrophobic.
The Power of The Dog
#FF21 The Power of The Dog is an excellent, compelling film.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) December 11, 2021
Strong performances from all of the leads mix with beautiful visuals.
The script is the real winner, though: lots of little turns that were signposted, in retrospect. Will reward a repeat viewing.
#FF21 Infinite was worth than I expected, and my bar was set very low.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) December 11, 2021
Poorly shot action, bad acting and dialogue, and a silly plot that doesn't hold up its own premise particularly well; a "clever" concept that never delivers on anything it sets up.
In The Earth
#FF21 In The Earth takes Ben Wheatley back to quiet, creeping, horror.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) December 11, 2021
The small cast, remote location, and weird moments give the whole thing an otherworldly feel.
There are a few moments that are a little cliched, but an enjoyable and uncomfortable watch overall.
The Card Counter
#FF21 The Card Counter left me colder than it intends.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) December 11, 2021
Despite a solid cast, the performances don't work: a flat affect as disjointed dialogue is delivered without care, to a disconnected soundtrack. The threads of the story don't cohere, and nothing satisfies.
Bad and boring.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
#FF21 Spider-Man: No Way Home is a good Marvel film in its own right and a nice cap on an ongoing story.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) December 20, 2021
While it can be self-indulgent, the nods and winks to the past generally work well. The plot is a little overstuffed and the editing a bit loose, but it works.
The Matrix Resurrections
#FF21 The Matrix Resurrections is so much worse than the sequels.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 1, 2022
Barely a plot, slapped together with bad dialogue, uninteresting action, poor acting (Moss excluded), uninspired visuals, a wonky conceit, and pointless callbacks and characters, strung out for too long.
Don’t Look Up
#FF21 Don't Look Up is a fine, but broad, piece of satire.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 1, 2022
It lacks any sort of subtlety but is an infuriatingly accurate take on how the world handles crisis. A strong cast, and snappy pacing, make this a pleasant viewing experience.
#FF21 Azor is a study in disaffected politeness covering up societal evils.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 1, 2022
Following a Swiss banker during the Argentinean regime change, as he goes on social visits to politely discuss a number of concerning issues without discussing them. Beautifully shot and told.
Seven Stages of Achieving Eternal Bliss
#FF21 Seven Stages of Achieving Eternal Bliss has a good premise: a weird cult wanting to kill themselves in a couple's bath tub.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 1, 2022
Heavy handed progression, and uneven performances, detract from what could've been a solid comedy.
Being The Ricardos
#FF21 Being The Ricardos is a fascinating look at Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 1, 2022
It's clearly a Sorkin film: the "one vital week" structure, studded with flashbacks, a great cast delivering snappy dialogue, and solid visuals. A fun drama. A serious comedy.
#FF21 Encounter is a disturbing, skin-crawling look at losing your sense of self.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 1, 2022
Riz Ahmed is excellent, but it's the shot choices and editing that bring out the creeping tension of the unseen threat. You'll see where it's going quickly, but that scarcely matters.
The December Winner
With some very strong contenders, this should have been a tough choice but The Power Of The Dog is a clear winner for me. It’s a must-see film that you should go into blind.