Films in 2021: October

It’s officially the best month of the year, November, aka Noirvember! Before I do my annual deep dive into film noir, let’s do a quick recap of October, which ended up being quite an eventful month. As I mentioned in last month’s post, I kicked off October with my in-person return to the New York Film Festival! I saw eight films over the festival’s last ten days, which is also the most time I’ve been able to spend at NYFF, so that was a real treat. I saw several filmmakers and cast members at most of the screenings, which I highlighted on my Instagram here. Shortly after returning home from NYC, I made my second guest appearance on Ryan McNeil’s podcast The Matinee, wherein we discussed Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond in No Time to Die. You can listen to the episode wherever you get your podcasts, or right here. So between that and NYFF, as well as a few other new releases, I actually spent quite a bit of time inside a movie theater in October! It’s really great to be back enjoying movies on the big screen. So with that said, let’s take a look at everything I watched over the last 31 days.

New-to-Me: 55

Re-Watched: 17

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1910s – 0
  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 2
  • 1940s – 3
  • 1950s – 3
  • 1960s – 4
  • 1970s – 11
  • 1980s – 10
  • 1990s – 5
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 2
  • 2020s – 14

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. The Power of the Dog (2021)
  2. The French Dispatch (2021)
  3. C’mon C’mon (2021)
  4. Passing (2021)
  5. Petite Maman (2021)
  6. Parallel Mothers (2021)
  7. The Lost Daughter (2021)
  8. The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)
  9. News from Home (1977)
  10. Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
  11. The Living Daylights (1987)
  12. Licence to Kill (1989)
  13. No Time to Die (2021)
  14. GoldenEye (1995)
  15. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
  16. The World Is Not Enough (1999)
  17. Die Another Day (2002)
  18. Bergman Island (2021)
  19. River’s Edge (1986)
  20. Over the Edge (1979)
  21. It’s Alive (1974)
  22. Burnt Offerings (1976)
  23. The Last Duel (2021)
  24. Too Many Girls (1940)
  25. Forever, Darling (1956)
  26. Du Barry Was a Lady (1943)
  27. The Big Street (1942)
  28. Dune (2021)
  29. The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
  30. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
  31. The Fury (1978)
  32. Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
  33. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  34. Raw (2016)
  35. Titane (2021)
  36. Possession (1981)
  37. The Fly (1986)
  38. The Beast Must Die (1952)
  39. The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971)
  40. Blood and Black Lace (1964)
  41. Perfect Blue (1997)
  42. Twisted Nerve (1968)
  43. The Fog (1980)
  44. Carl Laemmle (2019)
  45. Drácula (1931)
  46. Fat City (1972)
  47. The Collector (1965)
  48. Last Night in Soho (2021)
  49. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
  50. Demon Seed (1977)
  51. Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
  52. The Exorcist III (1990)
  53. The Raven (1935)
  54. The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
  55. The Fly (1958)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

The Power of the Dog (2021)

The Power of the Dog (2021), directed by Jane Campion

There was no better way to kick off my New York Film Festival experience than with Jane Campion’s first feature film in 12 years, The Power of the Dog. Right now it’s my favorite 2021 release, and I’m impatiently waiting to watch it again, hopefully in theaters before it hits Netflix. I was completely captivated by the film, from the cinematography and score to the performances from the main quartet of Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. It’s a fascinating look at masculinity and desire set against a Western atmosphere. I also must add how much admiration for Jane Campion grew over the course of seeing this film, hearing her and the cast speak about it after the screening, and then listening to her talk about it more along with her career with Sofia Coppola at a special talk at NYFF. Not to mention also hearing her speak about her Oscar-winning masterpiece The Piano at a separate screening in New York City. It was really a wonderful weekend just being in the presence of a master filmmaker, and I look forward to finishing up her filmography and revisiting her other films in the future.

Petite Maman (2021)

Petite Maman (2021), directed by Céline Sciamma

My other favorite NYFF discovery was Céline Sciamma’s follow-up to her acclaimed film Portrait of a Lady on Fire (which I first saw at NYFF two years ago). Petite Maman is smaller in scale compared to her previous film, but it nonetheless reaches the same emotional highs through an engaging coming-of-age tale tracing family and friendship, and memory and grief. Running at a brisk 72 minutes, it’s a profound, tender film worth spending time with.

The Fly (1986)

The Fly (1986), directed by David Cronenberg

I dedicated much of the latter half of my viewings in October to the spooky season, and my favorite horror watch of the month was David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly. The last new-to-me movie of the month was actually the original version from 1958 which I also enjoyed, but the 1986 film takes the edge for me mostly thanks to Jeff Goldblum in a truly terrific performance. He’s someone who naturally oozes charisma no matter the role, but I was really mesmerized by his work here, and not just because of the physical transformation his character makes as the film progresses. Even through the excellent, Oscar-winning makeup, he’s able to display the emotions his character is experiencing, making it my favorite Goldblum performance. It’s also always a treat to see Geena Davis on screen, who is great on her own and when sharing scenes with Goldblum.

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