the best summer season is on the horizon, but the movie world remains in flux, with blockbusters not only pushing back
their release dates but, in the case of Disney’s Cruella and Marvel’s Black Widow, opting to debut simultaneously in theaters and at home.
When we’ll ever get back to a real sense of cinematic normalcy remains to be seen – and is likely dependent on the ongoing vaccination rollout here
and abroad. In the meantime, though, plenty of early gems are already available, led by a collection of foreign dramas, unnerving thrillers
and inventive documentaries that are more than making up for the lack of standout major-studio offerings. For now, these are the best movies of 2021.
Things go horribly wrong in The Vigil for Yakov (Dave Davis), a young man who—having left his ultra-orthodox
Jewish community for a secular Brooklyn life—accepts a job sitting vigil for a recently deceased Holocaust survivor.
That task not only returns him to the neighborhood (and faith) he rejected, but puts him in the crosshairs of an evil demonic force that, it turns out,
plagued both the dead man over whom he watches, and his wife (Lynn Cohen), who behaves creepily around David in her darkly lit Borough Park home.
Keith Thomas’ feature debut has a great sense of its insular milieu as well as the trauma and stress of escaping an extremist religious environment,
and the writer/director drums up suspense from set pieces that exploit silence to eerie effect.
Davis’ harried countenance is the glue holding this assured thriller together, lending it an empathetic anguish that helps cast its action as a portrait of confronting the (personal and historical) past as a means of transcending, and escaping, it.
Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci don’t just craft indelible portraits of affection and grief in Supernova; they suggest, in the stillness and silence between them,
the invisible but unbreakable ties that bind them together. Harry Macqueen’s understated drama charts Firth’s Sam and Tucci’s Tusker as they
travel in their RV across the English countryside, their nominal destination a comeback concert for classical pianist Sam and their purpose a farewell tour for Tusker,
who’s beset by irreversible early onset dementia. Their story is light on bombshell incidents but heavy on quiet, barely suppressed anguish and fear,
both of which are kept at bay—if also amplified—by their enduring amour. Macqueen’s gentle and deft writing is in harmony with his imagery of his pastoral setting,
allowing his performers—Firth defiant and pent-up; Tucci brave and terrified—to fully embody their protagonists’ fraught emotional circumstances. Supernova understands
the tragedy and triumph of love, and the way in which our lives, at best, shine brightly before burning out, their dying embers touching and transforming those left behind.
This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection
Faces don’t come more sorrowful than that of Mantoa (Mary Twala Mhlongo), an 80-year-old woman whose solitary life in a rural African village
is rendered lonelier still by the unexpected death of her miner son. This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection begins with that man failing to return home,
and ends with Mantoa reuniting with the dearly departed for whom she pines. In between, it recounts—via the narration of Jerry Mofokeng
Wa Makhetha’s lesiba-playing sage—a quasi-mystical fable of grief and loss, as Mantoa and her compatriots face a crisis of disconnection thanks to news that
a dam will soon flood their land and, consequently, the cemeteries where their dead slumber. Through boxy-framed imagery that’s at once gritty and ethereal,
and a score that cries out with its protagonist’s misery, Lesotho-born director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese conjures a lightly magic-realist mood of mourning and
yearning. Disaster born from “progress” arrives at regular intervals for these forlorn individuals, none of whom are more distressed than Mantoa, embodied with a
mixture of ferocity, despair and determination by the magnetic Mhlongo.
Archaeology is the means by which the past is resurrected in The Dig, a based-on-real-events drama about the famous 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo,
which unearthed innumerable 6th-century Anglo-Saxon finds contained within an intact ship. Driven by the “hunch” of Sutton Hoo’s owner Edith Pretty
(Carey Mulligan), local excavator Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) searches for secrets buried in the mounds on her estate. Working from Moira Buffini’s script
(based on John Preston’s book of the same name), director Simon Stone crafts a supple portrait of our quest to revive yesterday through the investigations of today.
As his film expands to address the impending threat of WWII, and the way in which it impacts the circumstances of Edith’s RAF-bound cousin Rory (Johnny Flynn)
and the wife (Lily James) of a researcher (Ben Chaplin), it also becomes a poignant examination of life’s impermanence, and the importance of seizing – and cherishing –
whatever brief moments of joy and love one can. Its exquisite visuals (often indebted to Days of Heaven) enhance its graceful storytelling, as do sterling performances
from all involved, led by Fiennes in one of his most understated – and quietly moving – performances to date.
Loss leads to retreat for Edee (Robin Wright), a woman who responds to an unspecified tragedy
by moving to a remote Wyoming cabin in Land.
Willfully cut off from civilization, Edee finds her new survivalist existence more than a bit difficult,
what with the bitter cold, the sparse food (courtesy of fishing),
and the occasional outhouse run-in with a bear. In her directorial debut, Wright employs compositions
that call understated attention to the alienated anguish
of her protagonist, whom she embodies as a fragmented (and potentially suicidal) woman with a sorrow
as deep and cold as the vast wilderness.
A spark comes at her moment of wintery death courtesy of Miguel (Demián Bichir),
a rancher who revives her first literally, and then figuratively,
teaching her to hunt (as her personal Yoda) and reminding her of the vital human connection that gives everything purpose.
Guided by Wright’s expressively interior performance and Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam’s spartan script, the film captures
the universal desire for escape in the face of grief, and the way resurrection often comes
from accepting death as an inescapable facet of life. ดูหนังออนไลน์