ENJOY THE MOVIES
What are the best films out of this year's Cannes Film Festival? Which ones should you be taking an interest in? What films should be a priority for you to see? After 12 days at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, after 30 screenings, it's time to present my 2021 list of my Top 10 Favorite Films. This was my 11th year back to this festival, and I love being there in the middle of the buzz, seeing films all day every day non-stop. These ten listed below are the ones that connected with me emotionally or intellectually, and I hope you'll consider watching a few when they arrive in your neighborhood. They are worth the wait. Even after cancelling the fest last year due to the pandemic, there were many impressive films in Cannes this year. I'm glad I could be there and catch up with cinema again. This is my final recap of Cannes 2021 - don't miss any of these below.
"Cinema is not dead," proclaimed Thierry Frémaux during the announcement of the official selection for the 2021 Cannes Film Festival a few months ago. He was right, of course, but we already knew that. Cinema will never die! It just took a little break during the 2020 pandemic year, with cinemas closed worldwide. But filmmakers were still working on films - finishing up post-production from their homes, or even filming new projects when they were finally allowed to resume production (with masks required along with extensive safety protocols). Aside from the 2020 Venice Film Festival held last September, which still took place in-person despite no vaccines available yet, the 2021 Cannes Film Festival is technically the second major film festival to resume "normal operation" following years of shut downs and pandemic restrictions worldwide. They wanted to get back to how it used to be, with 100% full cinemas, and thankfully nothing bad happened.
We're back again in the South of France for the glorious and grand 2021 Cannes Film Festival. The fest reluctantly cancelled last year due to the pandemic and due to an inability to figure out how to come up with some kind of alternative festival (a virtual version or a delay or anything else that wouldn't risk the safety of the attendees). Last year during the usual Cannes dates in May, I watched a series of Cannes Film Festival-esque films and wrote a tribute to the magic of the festival. This year we're finally back in action. The biggest difference is that the festival is now taking place in July instead of May (but only for this year). It's sunnier, there are more tourists around, and the COVID-19 pandemic is still ever-present. But… I couldn't resist the temptation, and I had to come back. Just to see some films, catch up with old friends that I haven't seen for a while, and relax in the Mediterranean (though there's not much relaxing when I'm seeing four films a day).
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Please support us! Anything you can spare makes a huge difference. Just like many other websites before us, we're diving into the membership world. FirstShowing.net originally launched back in June of 2006 (believe it!), so this marks our 15th year and we're still going strong despite many ups & downs. We've changed and evolved over the years, we've grown and shrunk, and our focus now is different than it was 10 years ago. But more than anything: we love movies. Always and forever. And we want to share our love of movies with everyone else who loves movies. If you're a regular reader, if you visit this site to check the release schedule or latest trailers or new short films, please consider supporting the website so we can continue to operate as one of the finest independent movie blogs around. We really want to stick around here for another 15 years.
Movie poster fans, this one is for you!! Our friends at PosterSpy.com are about to launch their second art book featuring a remarkable collection of art and details from many illustrators / creators from around the world. Their new book is called The Art of Movie Posters, and it's not just a collection of art, but also a behind-the-scenes look at the process and how posters are made. Jack Woodhams, founder of PosterSpy, states: "I'm delighted to finally release a new book full of incredible art by valued members of the PosterSpy community and beyond… When trying to figure out the type of book this would be, it was clear from the start that I wanted to showcase sketches and include personal artist commentary, ensuring the book is not only great to look at, but one that can educate and inspire too." It will sell for about £45 (~$62 USD), but you can pre-order it online now for -£10 less and it will begin shipping at the end of the summer. And yes, it ships worldwide and features talented artists from around the world. Get a first look at the new book below.
Let them fight…! And then become best friends…! The moment I got this email, I knew I had to feature this book somehow. It's just the most adorable, cutest, funniest movie tie-in I've seen and I totally love it and I want everyone to get copies of it. So here we are! It's time for a contest! FirstShowing is proud to giveaway three copies of the new Godzilla vs. Kong tie-in kids book titled Godzilla vs. Kong: Sometimes Friends Fight: (But They Always Make Up). Yes, this is real, and if you don't win here you can easily get your own copy on Amazon or Bookshop or wherever books are sold near you. It has been a long time since we've hosted a contest, but this one is worth it. Especially because I can't wait to see Godzilla vs. Kong! It opens (in theaters + on HBO Max at the same time) very soon and it's going to be an epic rumble. More info below.
The fans were victorious. Zack Snyder's Justice League is finally upon us. After a four year journey that originated with director Zack Snyder departing the project due to a family tragedy, the four-hour superhero epic defied all odds and expectations and arrived streaming on HBO Max this past weekend (watch the final trailer again). No longer besmirched by Joss Whedon's neutered version of Justice League from 2017, Zack Snyder's Justice League (formerly known as "The Snyder Cut") restores his epic vision for the superhero film, and it is a victorious triumph for perseverance and for the vision of an auteur who never gave up.
Ohhh my Studio Ghibli, you make my heart flutter, always and forever. As part of promotion for the entire Studio Ghibli collection (sans Grave of the Fireflies) on HBO Max, the streaming service has made a video for YT that is nothing but – exactly as the title says – "30 Minutes of Relaxing Visuals from Studio Ghibli." And it's just heaven. I know, I know, it's just a YouTube promo and supercut of some of the most peaceful scenes from Ghibli films, but I love it anyway. And we all need some peace right now, with a tumultuous and deadly and deranged world out there. I have been collecting random tidbits of Ghibli art in folders on my computer for years, but this is a dream mashup - putting all the most beautiful shots into one calming video.
The 2021 Sundance Film Festival wrapped up last week after a series of virtual premieres and localized "satellite" screenings around the country. Now it's time to present our Best of the Fest list. I was able to catch a total of 44 films this year, watching online from home (to stay safe and sound). But I couldn't catch everything and missed a few films getting tons of good buzz (as is always the case). Nevertheless, I saw a great deal of outstanding, high quality features this year. I am presenting one big list of my 10 favorite films - a mix of docs and features. All of these below are worth watching, and I highly recommend seeking them out. I'm glad Sundance continues to program some of the best films all year, as well as more innovative, unique, challenging, experimental, and totally wild & crazy features from all around the world. Below are my favorites, the films that connected with me and have remained on my mind all the way through the festival.
Back to Sundance we go for another year of discovery and amazing films. What's on the line-up this year? Even though Sundance is operating as a smaller festival mostly with virtual screenings (and satellite venues around the US) this year, due to the ongoing pandemic keeping things shut down and unsafe, they're ready to premiere a whole batch of new films anyway. Out of the 74+ films showing at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, I've picked 10 films that I'm looking forward to seeing the most. To keep things well balanced, I've chosen 5 feature films and 5 documentaries from the line-up. I'm still looking forward to so many of these and I don't think there's anything to worry about this year - the festival is featuring some fantastic films to discover. As usual with Sundance, you never can really tell what'll good or bad, but here's my picks anyway.
What a year 2020 was. A year unlike any other, full of tragedy and chaos, but despite all of that - the magic of the movies still brings us together. One of the annual must-see best of the year lists is a video countdown made by my colleague David Ehrlich (follow him @davidehrlich). He counts down his 25 best films of the year in a video edited together with footage and music from the films. It's one of the best ways to look back at the year, but also to celebrate how beautiful and mesmerizing and moving and magical each of these films are. David's Top 25 of 2020 is as diverse as always, and you will likely discover a number of films from this video. A handful of my favorites are featured as well, including Minari and Babyteeth and Lover's Rock.