Top Films by Year

In the Same Breath – 9

I thought I didn’t need, or want, to see anything more about Covid but was totally transfixed by this documentary based on the outbreak as it happened in Wuhan. To have simply obtained the footage of Chinese citizens struggling to obtain medical treatment, of hospitals trying to provide care, and of officials trying to sanitize […]

White Lotus – 7; Unforgotten – 8

We watched both six-parters in tandem as they were released Sunday nights on, respectively, HBO and PBS. As usual, the American series was populated by broad caricatures, while the British presented complex and real people. White Lotus can be forgiven its lack of subtlety, as it aimed for social satire, and a week at the Four […]

Summer of Soul – 7

I marveled at the quality of this documentary: the concert footage from 50 years ago was phenomenal, and the larger story of Black history and culture was woven in seamlessly. The crowd shots, albeit a tad repetitive, were worth the price of admission, as was Sly and the Family Stone’s rendition of “Everyday People.” In […]

In the Heights – 6.5

Not exactly Rent, not quite West Side Story, but a clear precursor to Hamilton. The story was far too thin to support the boatload of production numbers that followed on each other’s heels–so many that, despite their individual brilliance, they became tiresome. “How about a good song, instead of another ensemble dance?,” I found myself thinking. Unless you […]

Small Axe – 9

Although I gave Mangrove my vote for (co-)best film of 2021, I haven’t separately reviewed the other four installments of Steve McQueen’s five-part reminiscence of West Indian life in racist London in the ’70s and ’80s. Each film stands on its own, although all share a common venue and sensibility: Black Londoners trying to get along […]

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