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Top 10 Best Films of 2021

10. West Side Story (2021)

I didn’t think we needed a remake of “West Side Story.” Turns out we needed Steven Spielberg’s remake! I’ll admit, at the start of the film I was thinking “What is happening?” I didn’t appreciate what the choreography was saying right away. But about 15 minutes into the movie, I was hooked. Spielberg created a beautiful musical with a modern-day Romeo and Juliet tale that’s sadly still relevant.

9. Pig

“Pig” is the sleeper hit that has stayed with me since viewing it earlier this year. The film follows a truffle hunter (Nicolas Cage) who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness, but must return to Portland in search of his beloved, stolen, truffle pig. I didn’t know much going into this movie, but I was quickly reminded of what a talented actor Nicolas Cage is. Even though he’s had some questionable roles, “Pig” solidifies him as one of the greats. I love the simplicity of the story, and the power behind all the performances; especially, Alex Wolff, who plays opposite Cage. You’d expect this film to go full on “John Wick”, but instead it’s more of a subtle human, drama of a man living with regret and grief.  

8. A Hero

Over the years, director Asghar Farhadi has tried to create empathy between audiences and the characters he writes. In his newest film, “A Hero”, we follow Rahim (Amir Jadidi) – A man who was in prison for unpaid debt. During his two-day leave he tries to end his prison time, but things get a little out of hand. “A Hero” is another fantastic piece of work by Farhadi. He continues to keep audiences on the edge of their seat as he constructs an intricate story that powerfully showcases manipulation through social media

7. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is another notch in the Marvel belt of quality superhero movies with fleshed out characters and heartfelt stories. In this film, Shang Chi has been secretly going by the name Shawn (Simu Liu), and spending most of his time with his best friend, Katy (Awkwafina), as a valet in San Francisco. But when they are unexpectedly attacked by his father’s terrorist organization, the Ten Rings, he is forced to return to his old home, and confront the past he so desperately tried to run away from. The film provides a well-thought-out storyline with an emotional backstory. It stuns visually with its seamless choreography and electrifying special effects. It is also the Asian-inspired action flick audiences have been needing to see as Disney continues to successfully showcase diversity and inclusion in their productions.  

6. Don’t Look Up

When two scientists (Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence) discover a comet will soon destroy the Earth, they try everything they can to warn the world and prevent the destruction. But for some reason, people won’t take it seriously. What was intended to be a social commentary on climate change, happens to also relate to our current pandemic and how society chooses to deal with or ignore a global issue. Director/writer Adam McKay creates a hilarious script featuring an all-star, talented cast. The film is timely, terrifying, and laugh-out-loud funny. It’s a comical cautionary tale everyone should watch. 

5. The Last Duel

I have no idea why this film didn’t get more award attention! Jodie Comer at the very least deserves a nomination. “The Last Duel” is based on a true story set in France during the 14th century. Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) accuses Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) of raping his wife, Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), and challenges him to a duel to the death. Damon and Ben Affleck reunite to write a gripping tale told from three different perspectives. With their words and Ridley Scott’s masterful vision, “The Last Duel” is a painful, but important reminder of the #MeToo survivors.

4. The Mitchells vs the Machines

“Mitchell’s vs the Machines was one of my early favorites of 2021. It follows Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson), a teenager who has felt like an outcast most of her life and spends a lot of her time making funny videos. She’s lost the bond she once had with her father (Danny McBride), and is looking forward to going away for college. But, in an effort to rebuild their relationship, Katie’s dad plans a last-minute family road trip. Unfortunately, this bumpy ride finds the Mitchells in the middle of a robot apocalypse, and they become humanity’s last hope. “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is original, clever, funny, touching, and an absolute blast. This is a movie both kids and adults will connect with and enjoy.  Though Katie and her dad have had their arguments, the entire family has drifted apart by burying themselves in their electronics. Katie’s mom, Linda (Maya Rudolph), is obsessed with other families’ online personas; admiring a life she wished she had. And her brother is obsessed with everything dinosaurs. Rick is the only one in the family who hates technology and enjoys more of the outdoors. It’s enough to make you think twice before pulling out your phones when you’re spending time with your family.  

3. Our Friend

Before I gush about this film, I’m sure some of my colleagues are wondering why a movie that qualified for awards in 2020 is on my top 10 list for 2021. Well, I first saw “Our Friend” in January this year and if you check the official US theatrical release date (not TIFF or other festivals), it opened on January 22, 2021. Moving on! “Our Friend” is an incredibly moving, true story that still brings me to tears when I talk about it. Matt (Casey Affleck) and Nicole (Dakota Johnson) are a loving couple with two daughters; but when they discover Nicole has ovarian cancer, they struggle to keep their life together. When their best friend, Dane (Jason Segel) hears of the tragic news, he decides to put his own life on hold and be there for the whole family. As many times as I have seen a story about losing a loved one from cancer, I have never seen one told like this. Even though it seemed as though Dane was helping Matt and Nicole during a difficult time, in actuality, they were saving him. I think we can all relate to feeling as though a friend may not care as much as you do when you’re sick, or when you just want to feel valued. This is a beautiful portrayal of a mutually loving friendship, and the powerful affect it can have on your life.

2. Spider-Man: No Way Home

I can still remember how I felt when I first saw “Spider-Man” (2002) in theaters. I got chills, my jaw dropped a few times, and I could not stop thinking about what I had just seen. As time went on, we got more Spider-Man movies and different Spider-Man actors. I truly enjoyed them all, some more than others. But never did I think I would be treated to such a theatrical experience in 2021. I’m scared to share any details, because for those who have yet to watch, it’s best to know nothing about the plot. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” weaves together decades of characters we loved and hated to honor a true hero. Tom Holland gives his best performance to date. The film is a nostalgic gift to fans as it engages us in laughter, pulls at our heartstrings, revisits the past, and gives us hope for the future.  

1. King Richard

This probably comes as no surprise as I have raved about this movie since I first saw it. I’ve seen it 3 times, and each time I fall more in love with it. “King Richard” breaks the mold of a formulaic sports biopic. There’s a lot to learn from this film. Though it’s about the Williams sisters’ journey to greatness, it’s also a character study on a flawed man. Richard (Will Smith) is overbearing, selfish, and hard-headed. But he’s also humble, kind, and a loving father. Yes, he wants his daughters to go to Wimbledon, but his first priority for them is to do well in school and enjoy being kids. He also teaches them the importance of good sportsmanship and never forgetting where you came from.

The Best of the Rest:

11. Licorice Pizza

12. Cruella

13. Raya and the Last Dragon

14. The Lost Daughter

15. A Quiet Place Part II

16. Lady of the Manor

17. The Novice

18. House of Gucci

19. Mass

20. Language Lessons

Top 5 Worst Films of 2021

5. Without Remorse – Like a bad date with a good looking person.

4. Space Jam: A New Legacy – Do yourself a favor, just re-watch the original film and forget this exists.

3. Things Heard and Seen – What the actual hell?

2. The Comeback Trail – Luckily, for this all-star cast, most people didn’t know this ever came out.

1. Halloween Kills – An all around joke of a movie that wasn’t funny or fun.

Trevor’s Top 10

10. The Green Knight
9. Candyman
8. No Time to Die
7. The Suicide Squad
6. Don’t Look Up
5. King Richard
4. Pig
3. Spider-Man: No Way Home
2. Bo Burnham: Inside
1. Our Friend

DFW Film Critics Association 2021 Award Winners

SUMMARY OF AWARD WINNERS

2021 Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association

(Choices listed in order of votes received)

BEST PICTURE

Winner: THE POWER OF THE DOG

Runners-up: BELFAST (2); KING RICHARD (3); WEST SIDE STORY (4); LICORICE PIZZA (5); DUNE (6); NIGHTMARE ALLEY (7); THE FRENCH DISPATCH (8); THE LOST DAUGHTER (9); CODA (10)

BEST ACTOR

Winner: Benedict Cumberbatch, THE POWER OF THE DOG

Runners-up: Will Smith, KING RICHARD (2); Andrew Garfield, TICK, TICK, BOOM! (3); Peter Dinklage, CYRANO (4); Denzel Washington, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH (5)

BEST ACTRESS

Winner: Kristen Stewart, SPENCER

Runners-up: Olivia Colman, THE LOST DAUGHTER (2); Jessica Chastain, THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (3); Lady Gaga, HOUSE OF GUCCI (4); Nicole Kidman, BEING THE RICARDOS (5)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner: Kodi Smit-McPhee, THE POWER OF THE DOG

Runners-up: Troy Kotsur, CODA (2); Ciaran Hinds, BELFAST (3); Ben Affleck, THE TENDER BAR (4); Jesse Plemons, THE POWER OF THE DOG (5)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner: Ariana DeBose, WEST SIDE STORY

Runners-up: Kirsten Dunst, THE POWER OF THE DOG (2); Aunjanue Ellis, KING RICHARD (3); Caitriona Balfe, BELFAST (4); Ruth Negga, PASSING (5)

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner: Jane Campion, THE POWER OF THE DOG

Runners-up: Steven Spielberg, WEST SIDE STORY (2); Kenneth Branagh, BELFAST (3), Denis Villeneuve, DUNE (4); Paul Thomas Anderson, LICORICE PIZZA (5)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Winner: DRIVE MY CAR

Runners-up: A HERO (2); THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD (3); THE HAND OF GOD (4); FLEE (5)

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Winner: SUMMER OF SOUL

Runners-up: FLEE (2); THE RESCUE (3); PROCESSION (4); VAL (5)

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Winner: ENCANTO

Runner-up: THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES

BEST SCREENPLAY

Winner: Jane Campion, THE POWER OF THE DOG

Runner-up: Paul Thomas Anderson, LICORICE PIZZA; Kenneth Branagh, BELFAST (tie)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Winner: Greig Fraser, DUNE

Runner-up: Ari Wegner, THE POWER OF THE DOG

BEST MUSICAL SCORE

Winner: Hans Zimmer, DUNE

Runner-up: Jonny Greenwood, THE POWER OF THE DOG

RUSSELL SMITH AWARD (best low-budget or cutting-edge independent film)

Winner: FLEE

6th Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards Nominations

Los Angeles, CA (Monday, October 18, 2021) — The Critics Choice Association(CCA) has announced the nominees for the Sixth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards (CCDA). The winners will be revealed at a Gala Event on Sunday, November 14, 2021 at BRIC in Brooklyn, NY.

The Critics Choice Associationwill once again be honoring the year’s finest achievements in documentaries released in theaters, on TV and on major digital platforms, as determined by the voting of qualified CCA members. 

This year, the Critics Choice Documentary Awards proudly has its first Presenting Sponsor, National Geographic Documentary Films. 

Catalyst Sponsors for the Sixth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards are HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, and Showtime Documentary Films.

Last year at the Fifth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Dick Johnson is Dead took home the CCA’s top award for Best Documentary as well as the Best Director award for Kirsten Johnson.

The nominees for the Sixth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards Presented by National Geographic Documentary Films are:

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)

Attica (Showtime)

Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)

The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films)

A Crime on the Bayou (Augusta Films/Shout! Studios)

Flee (Neon)

Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+)

The Lost Leonardo (Sony Pictures Classics)

My Name is Pauli Murray (Amazon Studios)

Procession (Netflix)

The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)

BEST DIRECTOR 

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)

Liz Garbus – Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)

Jessica Kingdon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)

Stanley Nelson and Traci A. Curry – Attica (Showtime)

Jonas Poher Rasmussen – Flee (Neon)

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)

Edgar Wright – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Jessica Beshir – Faya Dayi (Janus Films)

Rachel Fleit – Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+)

Todd Haynes – The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

Jessica Kingdon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)

Kristine Stolakis – Pray Away (Netflix)

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

(Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)

Edgar Wright – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY 

Jessica Beshir – Faya Dayi (Janus Films)

Jonathan Griffith, Brett Lowell and Austin Siadak – The Alpinist (Roadside Attractions)

David Katznelson, Ian Seabrook and Picha Srisansanee – The Rescue

(National Geographic Documentary Films)

Jessica Kingdon and Nathan Truesdell – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)

Nelson Hume and Alan Jacobsen – The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (Bleecker Street Media)

Emiliano Villanueva – A Cop Movie (Netflix)

Pete West – Puff: Wonders of the Reef (Netflix)

BEST EDITING 

Francisco Bello, Matthew Heineman, Gabriel Rhodes and David Zieff – The First Wave (National Geographic Documentary Films)

Jeff Consiglio – LFG (HBO Max and CNN Films)

Bob Eisenhardt – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)

Affonso Gonçalves and Adam Kurnitz – The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

Jessica Kingdon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)

Joshua L. Pearson – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)

Julian Quantrill – The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime)

BEST NARRATION

9/11: Inside the President’s War Room (Apple TV+) Jeff Daniels, Narrator

Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films) Vincent Cassel, Narrator & Mark Monroe and Pax Wassermann, Writers

The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films) Alex Gibney, Narrator & Writer

The Neutral Ground (PBS) CJ Hunt, Narrator & Writer

The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime) Pearl Mackie, Narrator & Oliver Kindeberg, Peter Middleton and James Spinney, Writers

Val (Amazon Studios) Jack Kilmer, Narrator & Val Kilmer, Writer

The Year Earth Changed (Apple TV+) David Attenborough, Narrator

BEST SCORE

Jongnic Bontemps – My Name is Pauli Murray (Amazon Studios)

Dan Deacon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)

Alex Lasarenko and David Little – The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (Bleecker Street Media)

Cyrus Melchor – LFG (HBO/CNN)

Daniel Pemberton – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)

Rachel Portman – Julia (Sony Pictures Classics)

Dirac Sea – Final Account (Focus Features)

BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY 

Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)

The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime)

The Real Right Stuff (Disney+)

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (HBO Documentary Films)

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)

Val (Amazon Studios)

The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

BEST HISTORICAL OR BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY

Attica (Showtime)

A Crime on the Bayou (Augusta Films/Shout! Studios)

Fauci (Magnolia Pictures/National Geographic Documentary Films)

Final Account (Focus Features)

Julia (Sony Pictures Classics)

My Name is Pauli Murray (Amazon Studios)

No Ordinary Man (Oscilloscope)

Val (Amazon Studios)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY 

Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry (Apple TV+)

Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James (Showtime)

Listening to Kenny G (HBO Documentary Films)

The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)

Tina (HBO Documentary Films)

The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films)

Enemies of the State (IFC Films)

Four Hours at the Capitol (HBO Documentary Films)

Influence (StoryScope, EyeSteelFilm)

Mayor Pete (Amazon Studios)

Missing in Brooks County (Giant Pictures)

Nasrin (Hulu)

Not Going Quietly (Greenwich Entertainment)

BEST SCIENCE/NATURE DOCUMENTARY

Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)

Fauci (National Geographic Documentary Films)

The First Wave (National Geographic Documentary Films)

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (Bleecker Street Media)

Playing with Sharks (National Geographic Documentary Films)

Puff: Wonders of the Reef (Netflix)

The Year Earth Changed (Apple TV+)

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY 

The Alpinist (Roadside Attractions)

Changing the Game (Hulu)

The Day Sports Stood Still (HBO)

Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possible (Showtime)

LFG (HBO Max/CNN Films)

Tiger (HBO)

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY 

Audible (Netflix)

Borat’s American Lockdown (Amazon Studios)

Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis (Netflix)

Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol (The New York Times)

The Doll (Jumping Ibex)

The Last Cruise (HBO Documentary Films)

The Queen of Basketball (The New York Times)

Snowy (TIME Studios)

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECTS OF A DOCUMENTARY (HONOR)

Ady Barkan – Not Going Quietly (Greenwich Entertainment)

Selma Blair – Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+)

Pete Buttigieg – Mayor Pete (Amazon Studios)

Anthony Fauci – Fauci (Magnolia Pictures/National Geographic Documentary Films)

Ben Fong-Torres – Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres (StudioLA.TV)

Val Kilmer – Val (Amazon Studios)

Ron and Russell Mael – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)

Rita Moreno – Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It (Roadside Attractions)

Valerie Taylor – Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story (Disney+)

Never Have I Ever Season 2 Interview w/ Cast

Mindy Kaling’s hit Netflix, comedy series is back! Season 2 of “Never Have I Ever” offers more laughs and romance than the first. The show is inspired by Kailing’s own childhood. It follows the complicated life of a modern-day first generation Indian American teenager. I spoke with the cast of the show to discuss whose voice would calm them down when feeling stressed, characters they saw themselves in when growing up and more.

“Never Have I Ever” season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.

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THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER | Dallas Virtual Screening

Register to get access to the virtual advance screening of Netflix’s “The Last Letter from Your Lover”. To watch the film from home and attend the screening on July 21st RSVP HERE by Tuesday, July 13th. Please note the screening doesn’t require a Netflix subscription to view.

THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER

A pair of interwoven stories set in the present and past, THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER follows Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones), an ambitious journalist who discovers a trove of secret love letters from 1965 and becomes determined to solve the mystery of the forbidden affair at their center. As she uncovers the story behind Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley), the wife of a wealthy industrialist, and Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner) the financial journalist assigned to cover him, a love story of Ellie’s own begins to unfold with the assistance of an earnest and endearing archivist (Nabhaan Rizwan) who helps her track down more letters. Based on the novel by JoJo Moyes and directed by Augustine Frizell.

THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER Releases on Netflix on July 23rd

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Movie Review: The Mitchells vs. The Machines is Heartfelt Entertaining Journey

The movies of 2021 have had a slow start. Aside from “Raya and the Last Dragon”, there’s not a whole lot of stand outs. But Netflix’s new animated, action-comedy, “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is easily one of the best films of the year.

Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) has felt like an outcast during most her teen years. She spends a lot of her free time making funny, unique videos of her brother Aaron (Michael Rianda) and their dog. Though she has a loving family, she has yet to find “her people” that share her similar artistic interests. Her dad, Rick (Danny McBride), especially seems confused by Katie’s “art” and worries making videos won’t be a profitable way to make a living. This doubt is part of the reason why Katie and her father always butt heads, and no longer have the bond they once shared when she was a little a girl.

As luck would have it, Katie gets accepted to her dream film school. She’s already clicking with her future classmates, and can’t wait to fly off to orientation. But her father has another idea in mind. In order to rebuild their relationship, he cancels Katie’s flight; and plans a surprise road trip for the whole family to spend one last hurrah before they drop Katie off to college. An already bumpy ride turns into a disaster when the newest service of AI robots- known as the PAL go haywire, and all humans are under attack by the robot mercenaries. And somehow, the only people that can now save the world are the Mitchells!

“The Mitchells vs. The Machines” has a lot of shining parts. Directors/Writers Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe have created a film that is original, clever, funny, touching, and an absolute blast. This is a movie that both kids and adults will connect with and enjoy. Yes, though Katie and her dad have had their arguments, the entire family has drifted by burying themselves in their phones and electronics. Katie’s mom, Linda (Maya Rudolph), is obsessed with other families’ online personas; admiring a life she wished she had. And her brother is obsessed with everything dinosaurs. Rick is the only one in the family who hates technology, and enjoys more of the outdoors. It’s enough to make you think twice before pulling out your phones when you’re spending time with your family.

I know Danny McBride is funny, but this is hands down his best role. He is hilarious and endearing. He’s the parent that we either have or we hope to be. His desire to rebuild his relationship with his daughter is incredibly moving. And his character is only elevated by his on screen wife. Rudolph plays a badass mom who might have some insecurities but she loves her children and will stop at nothing to protect them. Of course, the star of the film, Abbi Jacobson is fantastic. She’s a character you empathize with and root for.

A good number of laughs in the film can be credited to Olivia Coleman who does the voices for the digital villain PAL AI system. She’s snarky, yet serious. The very idea of her character is terrifying, but seeing such a villainess in the form of a phone is extremely comical.

The film never veers off course. From the start you’re immediately engaged by this quirky family, and quickly taken on an exciting adventure. Take in all the gorgeous animation scenery, and enjoy every thrilling stop. “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is wild and fun ride everyone should take! 

Rating: 5/5

www.netflix.com/TheMitchellsVsTheMachines

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Zack Snyder’s ARMY OF THE DEAD New Trailer

From filmmaker Zack Snyder (300, Zack Snyder’s Justice League), ARMY OF THE DEAD takes place following a zombie outbreak that has left Las Vegas in ruins and walled off from the rest of the world. When Scott Ward (Dave Bautista), a displaced Vegas local, former zombie war hero who’s now flipping burgers on the outskirts of the town he now calls home, is approached by casino boss Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada), it’s with the ultimate proposition: Break into the zombie-infested quarantine zone to retrieve $200 million sitting in a vault beneath the strip before the city is nuked by the government in 32 hours. Driven by the hope that the payoff could help pave the way to a reconciliation with his estranged daughter Kate (Ella Purnell), Ward takes on the challenge, assembling a ragtag team of experts for the heist. They include Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera), an ace mechanic and Ward’s old friend; Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), a zombie killing machine; Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), a cynical helicopter pilot; Mikey Guzman (Raúl Castillo), a go-for-broke influencer and Chambers (Samantha Win), his ride-or-die; Martin (Garret Dillahunt), the casino’s head of security; a badass warrior known as the Coyote (Nora Arnezeder) who recruits Burt Cummings (Theo Rossi), a slimy security guard; and a brilliant German safe cracker named Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer). Scott finds an unexpected emotional hurdle when Kate joins the expedition to search for Geeta (Huma S. Qureshi), a mother who’s gone missing inside the city. With a ticking clock, a notoriously impenetrable vault, and a smarter, faster horde of Alpha zombies closing in, only one thing’s for certain in the greatest heist ever attempted: survivors take all.

ARMY OF THE DEAD is directed by Zack Snyder (who also served as director of photography) with a screenplay by Snyder & Shay Hatten and Joby Harold from a story by Snyder. The film is produced by Deborah Snyder, p.g.a.; Wesley Coller, p.g.a.; Zack Snyder, p.g.a. The film also stars Richard Cetrone and Michael Cassidy.

In Select Theaters May 14 and on Netflix May 21, 2021. Check out the new trailer below!

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Movie Review: “Bliss”

Amazon Studios new sci-fi thriller, “Bliss” is a mind-bending headscratcher. The film follows Greg (Owen Wilson) who, after losing his job and recent divorce, discovers he’s been living a computer simulated world. Susan Stephens shares her thoughts on the film along with suggestions of two romances to watch during this Valentine’s Day weekend.

“Bliss” is available to stream on Amazon Prime February 5, 2021.

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Fifth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Award Winners

(Los Angeles, CA  – November 16, 2020) – The Critics Choice Association (CCA) has unveiled  the winners of the fifth annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards, which recognize the year’s finest achievements in documentaries released in theaters, on TV and on major digital platforms, as determined by the voting of qualified CCA members. 

Dick Johnson is Dead takes home the most prestigious award for Best Documentary Feature as well as Best Director for Kirsten Johnson.  

My Octopus Teacher wins the awards for Best Cinematography and Best Science/Nature Documentary.

“We couldn’t be more excited about being able to celebrate such a diverse group of films and filmmakers and subjects this year of all years, on the fifth occasion of the CCDAs, and with 2020 being what it is,” said Christopher Campbell, President of the Critics Choice Association Documentary Branch. “The world needs this variety of storytelling now more than ever, and all of these documentaries moved us in unique ways. We are proud that we could still support these films and share the best of the best with nonfiction fans. Our only regret is that we couldn’t do so while also honoring the talented artists and their incredible work in person.”

Though this year’s gala event was not held in person due to the ongoing pandemic, special acceptance videos from each of the winners can be found by clicking their links below. 

To view ALL of the acceptance videos, please click HERE.

To learn more about the Critics Choice Documentary Awards, see the full list of nominees, and all of the winner acceptance speeches, visit the Critics Choice Association website.


The winners of the fifth annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards are:


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix)

BEST DIRECTOR
Kirsten Johnson, Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix)

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Melissa Haizlip, Mr. SOUL! (Shoes in the Bed Productions)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Roger Horrocks, My Octopus Teacher (Netflix)

BEST EDITING
Lindy Jankura, Alexis Johnson and Alex Keipper, Totally Under Control (Neon)

BEST SCORE
Marco Beltrami, Brandon Roberts and Buck Sanders, The Way I See It (Focus Features)

BEST NARRATION
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (Netflix)
   David Attenborough, Narrator
   David Attenborough, Writer

BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY
MLK/FBI (Field of Vision/IFC Films)

BEST HISTORICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY 
John Lewis: Good Trouble (Magnolia Pictures/Participant)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY (TIE)
Beastie Boys Story (Apple)
The Go-Go’s (Showtime)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY
Boys State (Apple)

BEST SCIENCE/NATURE DOCUMENTARY
My Octopus Teacher (Netflix)

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY (TIE)
Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes (HBO)
Athlete A (Netflix)

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY 
St. Louis Superman (MTV Documentary Films)
(Directors and Producers: Sami Khan and Smriti Mundhra. Producer: Poh Si Teng)

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECTS OF A DOCUMENTARY (HONOR)
Dr. Rick Bright – Totally Under Control (Neon)
Steven Garza – Boys State (Apple)
The Go-Go’s – The Go-Go’s (Showtime)
Judith Heumann – Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (Netflix)
Dick Johnson – Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix)
Maggie Nichols, Rachael Denhollander, Jamie Dantzscher – Athlete A (Netflix)
Fox Rich – Time (Amazon)
Pete Souza – The Way I See It (Focus Features)
Taylor Swift – Miss Americana (Netflix)
Greta Thunberg – I Am Greta (Hulu)

About CRITICS CHOICE AWARDS

The Critics Choice Documentary Awards are an off-shoot of The Critics Choice Awards, which are bestowed annually by the CCA to honor the finest in cinematic and televised/streaming achievement. Historically, the Critics Choice Awards are the most-accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.

The 26th annual Critics Choice Awards will air LIVE on The CW Network on Sunday, March 7, 2021, with acclaimed film, television, and stage star Taye Diggs returning to host for his third consecutive time.  The show will continue its combined Film and Television awards format, honoring the finest in both cinematic and televised/streaming achievement.


About CRITICS CHOICE ASSOCIATION (CCA)

The Critics Choice Association is the largest critics organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 400 television, radio and online critics and entertainment reporters. It was organized last year with the formal merger of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, recognizing the blurring of the distinctions between film, television, and streaming content. For more information, visit: www.CriticsChoice.com.

Movie Review: “Holidate” is the Holiday Cheer we Need this Year

Netflix has so graciously brought back the romantic comedy genre with a slew of rom-coms to choose from their library. Just in time for the holiday season, they have treated us with another delightful romance with the new film, “Holidate”.

It’s Christmas Day and Sloane (Emma Roberts) is, once again, being hounded by her family to meet someone and settle down before she gets “too old”; and becomes like her aunt Susan (Kristin Chenoweth). Instead of listening to her mom, she is inspired by her aunt’s holidate. Susan brings a different man to each holiday event, allowing her to avoid feeling lonely while having no emotional attachment.

After a horrible Christmas, Sloane runs into, Jackson (Luke Bracey), another lonely single looking to date with out the commitment. They soon pledge to be each others’ platonic plus ones for every holiday in the year ahead. The film is as predictable as it sounds and is self-aware of that, pointing out that in every rom-com the two leads don’t have real obstacles. And in the “Holidate”, it’s pretty clear that there is no real issue besides the default “scared of commitment”.

What “Holidate” does offer is two strong romantic leads with great chemistry and hilarious banter. Emma Roberts shows off her comedic chops and Bracey might actually give Chris Hemsworth a run for his money. We all, at some point in time, have felt lonely during the holidays, and a holidate is a fun concept to see played out. It’s entertaining to see these how these two celebrate each occasion together. Who knew there were so many holidays?!

There are some messages you can take away from the film, like don’t let the of fear of getting hurt stand in the way of a potential love. But, you shouldn’t go into this film expecting anything deep. This is more of a raunchy, well-made Hallmark Christmas special. It’s a lighthearted escape that reminds us of how we use to celebrate the holidays before tragic times.

Rating: 4/5

“Holidate” is available on Netflix October 28, 2020.

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