A fairly good start to the year despite, or maybe because of, the lack of cinemas. I’m keeping the change I made during lockdown: rather than fairly strictly new releases from the last month or so, it’s anything since all of this started since timeliness is less relevant. I’ll start disallowing the older films in that at some point.
I watched 11 new films in January.
#FF21 Saint Frances is a film dealing with issues that we don't talk about enough, while deftly not making a big deal about them unless it matters.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 4, 2021
It's at times funny, heartbreaking, sombre and joyous.
I don't think there was a single scene that didn't work.
#FF21 Babyteeth is an incredible yet difficult film about a dying teen and her longing for a relationship with a man whose life is in ruins; captured in moments that are both sad and relatable.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 4, 2021
It explores different kinds of vulnerability perfectly.
An excellent but uneasy film
#FF21 Rogue City spends its first half as a dull, overwrought action film about corrupt cops and double crosses.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 10, 2021
It gets better towards the end, with some decent sequences, but not enough to wade through that terrible first half.
Pieces Of A Woman
#FF21 Pieces Of A Woman opens with a stunning, devastating, tearjerking, masterclass of a one-shot, showing a home birth.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 10, 2021
It falters after that. Great performances start to serve an uninteresting family drama, rather than the intimate portrait this should have been.
#FF21 Superintelligence is an entirely forgettable, and laugh-free, comedy about an AI who needs to be convinced to not kill humanity.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 10, 2021
The cast are solid, but given absolutely nothing to work with; with several plot points that seem at odds with everything else.
Outside The Wire
#FF21 Outside The Wire is a pretty middling action film. The two leads turn in decent performances, but the plot is muddled and the action badly shot; far too cut up to be exciting.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 17, 2021
The anti-war message is interesting, but heavy handed.
Forgettable but fine.
#FF21 Soul is as incredibly designed and animated as you expect from a top-tier Pixar movie.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 17, 2021
The cast, the music, the mood; all great. A fairly minor criticism would be that it feels like the Pixar formula: fantastically executed, great message, but nothing new.
Ham On Rye
#FF21 Ham On Rye matches the loose feeling, end-of-school indie (Dazed And Confused) with something quite different.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 24, 2021
Playing expectations and anxieties around the importance of these days vs the reality, we see a second half that deftly turns a little dark.
#FF21 Arkansas wraps its plots up a little too neatly, but is a surprisingly enjoyable, slice-of-life tale of two drug dealers, their mentors, and more.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 24, 2021
The tone is a little tongue-in-cheek, some charm, with a more brutal streak mixed in.
Worth your time.
One Night In Miami
#FF21 One Night In Miami is a good feature debut: looking at a shared night between Mohammed Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 31, 2021
It's stage origins are clear: this is performance-forward, and location-limited. This mostly works, but at times the energy dips.
#FF21 Synchronic sees Benson/Moorhead work through the daily drudge of life as a paramedic, brotherly friendship, and living with your choices; with a strange twist.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 31, 2021
A little dreary, but that's kinda the point. The two leads are solid.
Go in as cold as you can, to enjoy it most
The January Winner
There’s some really good options for January, but I think I’m going to go with Babyteeth.