After a brief hiatus, the Buffed Film Buffs are back and better than ever. A couple of writers took the time to compile the new releases they are most excited about this year, and the reasons why. Read on to find the Buffed Film Buffs' most anticipated movies of 2021.
The French Dispatch, dir. Wes Anderson
I first fell in love with the world of Wes Anderson and his films on a sluggishly long flight to Vietnam, when I decided to put on The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) to pass the time. Yes, the experience of watching a film on a plane for 20 hours is rather stifling and almost nauseating in a sense. No, I did not pay it any mind, as the sinister comedic characters and saturated color palettes enthralled me for the next 2 hours or so. Since then I have been on the constant look out for Anderson’s upcoming releases, and seeing The French Dispatch continuously delayed over the past couple years, I am in great anticipation over its theatrical release, which will hopefully not be long after its release in Cannes this July.
Last Night in Soho, dir. Edgar Wright
I’m really looking forward to this release, especially with having become a fan of Anya Taylor-Joy’s fantastic performances in works such as Split (2017) and The Queen’s Gambit (2020). Edgar Wright has yet to disappoint me either with his directorial work in Baby Driver (2017) and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010). Although I am not the biggest fan of horror and jump scares, I still can’t wait to devour the film this Halloween, nightmares and all.
A Quiet Place Part II, dir. John Krasinski
I had the pleasure of seeing John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place (2017) in theaters on the day of its release a few years back. The eerie silence and the amazing sound design in the theater room left me more in awe than I was terrified. That, in combination with the tragic family story, left me wanting more. I must know the fate of Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds’ respective characters. The film is one of my favorite examples of horror that is not meant to only scare, but also compellingly explore the effects of spine-chilling sound, and silence at that. That being said, I am looking forward to being spooked and wonderstruck again this summer.
Looking down the barrel of what’s sure to be a historic year at the movies for reasons that are self-evident, it’s difficult to decide what most excites me. Whether it be the newest from the sole great director of superhero films (James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad), the celebrated returns of some of the most abrasive working filmmakers (Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix Resurrections and Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta come to mind), or even something that I’m irrationally pumped for (Jungle Cruise, directed by modern trash auteur Jaume Collet-Serra and with a script by Blade Runner 2049 scribe Michael Green), this cinematic year offers myriad temptations. However, I’m limited to three proper selections, and I’ll remain a good sport.
Prisoners of the Ghostland, dir. Sion Sono
The first of these is certainly the strangest, being Sion Sono’s new English language film from one of Japan’s finest. Behind some of my favorite movies, notably his rap opera magnum opus Tokyo Tribe, Sono is among those who deserve the qualifier “not for everyone,” though he is most certainly for me. Even the basic setup has my name written all over it: Nicolas Cage is in a place called Samurai Town and Bill Moseley has strapped bombs to his testicles. What’s not to like? If only my friends at other publications would risk their jobs to send me screeners.
Macbeth, dir. Joel Coen
Next up is a movie that’s not remotely surprising to anyone who knows me, has read my writing, or follows me on Letterboxd: Joel Coen’s Macbeth. My favorite play and one of my favorite stories period, I’ve watched a fair number of Macbeth screen adaptations, some of which I adore (Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and the Playboy production are my favorites), the set up is just too good for me to be angry. With Denzel Washington as the mad king and Frances McDormand as the queen, the extensive use of soundstages, and a reported ninety percent of the play’s original dialogue left intact, I’m more than just anxious to see what the elder Coen has been cooking up.
Cry Macho, dir. Clint Eastwood
My third and final pick is Clint Eastwood’s incredibly titled Cry Macho. The product of a recent obsession with Eastwood’s directorial work (if you haven’t yet, watch his masterpiece Bird) and one I’m more than willing to defend against the skeptical or unconverted, Cry Macho seems to be eulogy of sorts for the western. Apparently about a character played by the ninety year old Eastwood bringing a child from Mexico to the United States, the film seems to share DNA with another one of Eastwood’s greatest works, 1993’s A Perfect World. Cry Macho is set up to be one of the best in Eastwood’s long and illustrious career. I can and will cry macho.
Soggy Bottom, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
I always enjoy PTA movies, as I believe the vast majority of people do, but his most recent feature, Phantom Thread (2017), proved to be my absolute favorite. I have full confidence in this next release, which brings him back to his roots: the San Fernando Valley. There is very little available information on this one besides it being about the plight of a teenager entering the acting world in the 1970s. I’m expecting a more reserved Boogie Nights, with its fair share of Los Angeles lifestyle satire and multi-arc crossovers. Bradley Cooper is set to star as a Hollywood film director, and Benny Safdie as a local politician. Otherwise, the cast is made up of relative unknowns. I’m stoked about the Anderson-Cooper collaboration, and I already know it's going to have that classic PTA tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Regardless if it replaces Phantom Thread as my favorite PTA movie, it is bound to be immersive and entertaining.
Zola, dir. Janicza Bravo
Ever since Riley Keough’s turn in American Honey (2016), she’s become an actress I’ve loved to loathe. Her impressive character skills will be on full display as the antagonist in Janicza Bravo’s Zola, a breakout of Sundance 2020 that will finally see the theater in June. This is Bravo's feature follow-up to 2017's Lemon, after which she directed a few episodes of Mrs. America. The story is based on a Twitter thread, which should tell you all you need to know about potential hijinks of two pole dancers going on a road trip. The movie hasn’t got overwhelmingly good ratings, which doesn’t surprise me given the ridiculousness of the story. I’m not even sure if it’ll be for me. But it's got an insanely intriguing trailer, comedy legend Nicholas Braun stars, and Ava DuVernay even approves. I’m looking forward to taking my girlfriends to see this on the big screen.
House of Gucci, dir. Ridley Scott
Everyone shut up! Adam Driver and Lady Gaga will be dressed in Gucci for two hours and there might even be some plot in there, too. Ridley Scott has always been pretty hit or miss, but I think his hits are the majority. He capably handles very diverse material, and with a story as interesting as this one, I have no doubt that I will be suitably entertained. Dariusz Wolski as cinematographer is a trusty collaborator of Scott, and, oh look- Al Pacino is in there too! This is going to be an actor’s movie, and I apologize for my lack of critical skepticism. It’s Adam Driver and Lady Gaga in Gucci!
What Do We See When We Look in the Sky? dir. Alexandre Koberidze
I felt a little bit guilty about picking so many mainstream releases, so I decided to throw in a Georgian film I had heard some positive buzz about from Berlinale 2021. It’s a soft love story with relative unknowns, and apparently very beautiful Kutaisi scenery. It’s got a dark, folklorish twist which will definitely be something I go into blind. Here’s to hoping it gets a U.S. release!
Dune, dir. Denis Villeneuve
As much as I don’t like to admit it sometimes, I’m truly a sucker for sci-fi and fantasy. Being both a fan of the book written by Frank Herbert and director David Lynch, I was rather excited to watch the 1984 movie, and was surely entertained by its cheese, but disappointed in its lack of meaningful and not cringe-worthy content. Looking at the trailer and seeing everybody who’s involved in the 2021 remake, I’m truly excited for Dune. Denis Villenueve can hopefully bring his special director’s touch to make another phenomenal science fiction film following Arrival and Blade Runner 2049.
The French Dispatch, dir. Wes Anderson
Another movie on my list starring Timothee Chalamet, this upcoming Wes Anderson film follows a wide array of American journalists stationed in France. The cast features many Wes Anderson veteran actors, such as Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Frances Mcdormand, Edward Norton, and Adrien Brody, but the cast list only grows from there, featuring Chalamet, Elizabeth Moss, Benecio Del Toro, and Sariose Ronan. Delayed due to the pandemic, this was supposed to come out last year. One thing I know for sure: Wes Anderson can do no wrong, and this movie is set up for success.
The Green Knight, dir. David Lowery
My last movie is another one delayed from 2020, The Green Knight, a modern retelling of the Arthurian tale of King Arthur’s nephew, Sir Gawain. Gawain in this story has to seek out and confront the “emerald-skinned” Green Knight, “the tester of men,” who we can get a quick glance of in the trailer for the upcoming film. The Green Knight is directed by David Lowery, director of 2017’s A Ghost Story, the existential fever-dream that occurs when Casey Affleck’s character in that film turns into a Charlie-Brown-esque ghost. From the looks of the trailer, this film seems to be a lot more suspenseful and filled with action than A Ghost Story, but the cinematography style is quite similar between both of Lowery’s movies. It should make for an interesting and hopefully epic cinematic experience.
There you have it! The most anticipated of the year for the Buffed Film Buffs. Do some research and let us know what you're most excited about!
-Jocelyn, Chance, Lydia, and Spencer