One of the most delightful, impressive, heart-warming and optimistic productions you will ever witness comes to Apple TV+ this weekend. "Come From Away" is a Tony-winning musical that was filmed and made into a movie (just like "Hamilton" was for Disney+ in 2020), and it comes just in time for the 20-year anniversary of 9/11.
Yes, the "feel good" movie of the year centers around one of the worst, horrific tragedies in American history, and if there was ever something that this divided nation should be able to agree on, it's that "Come From Away" is an absolute treasure and should be seen by every American...despite it taking place in Newfoundland, Canada.
I've always been a sucker for "coming-of-age" movies, but "Coda" is a fresh and endlessly compelling entry into the genre, made great by the performance of 19-year-old Emilia Jones (Kinsley from Netflix's "Locke & Key").This isn't the first film Jones has appeared in, but it is destined to be a game-changing one for her promising, budding career.
"Coda" killed earlier this year at Sundance, and now we know why: It's simply one of the best films of 2021, living up to all of the hype.
The premise of "Fathom" (coming to Apple TV+ on Friday, June 25th) seems like one that is ripe for exploration in a documentary film. It follows two scientists on opposite ends of the world as they try to understand how humpback whales communicate with one another.
Unfortunately, this film gets too far into the sea-weeds, wrapped up in the analytical minutiae of their quest and never giving casual viewers anything to become excited about. The whales themselves could have carried this movie by themselves, so why does "Fathom" feel so land-locked?
It was inevitable that when you direct the highest-grossing film EVER - "Avengers: Endgame" - that your follow-up film would be destined to pale in comparison. But for Anthony and Joe Russo, who have risen to fame and fandom after directing a slew of beloved Marvel movies ("Captain America: Winter Soldier," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame" among them), "Cherry" is more than a step-down, it is a baffling fall from grace.
Billie Eilish is about the biggest star on the planet at the moment, the singer/songwriter sensation who at age 15, uploaded a song to SoundCloud ("Ocean Eyes") and went on to become one of the most iconic and beloved stars of her generation. Her second album, 2019's "When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" was one of the best-selling album of 2019, with her number-one hit "Bad Guy" going platinum ten-times-over.
She's won two American Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards and five Grammys...becoming the youngest and only the second-ever to sweep the four major Grammy categories - Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year - in a single year (if you're wondering who the first person to do this was, it was Christopher Cross in 1980).
Eilish did all this before turning 19...and the most fascinating part of her deeply-compelling, revealing new documentary, "Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry" (debuting on Apple TV+ on Feb. 26th), is just how glaringly adolescent Eilish still is. Despite being responsible for lyrics and vocals far beyond her years, we see Billie having boy trouble, getting her driver's license, handling the tremendous physical and emotional pressures that come with fame and fortune, and obsessing about Justin Bieber.
In other words, she's just your average teenager, other than the fact that Billie Eilish's talents as an artist are anything but average.
Justin Timberlake has proven that he is a man of many talents, and he doesn't let us down with his solid dramatic performance in "Palmer" (new on Apple TV+ on Friday, January 29th, 2021). But the film itself is bland and uninspired, and even Timberlake's performance is just not enough to save it.
You don't quite realize how "soft" and watered-down animated films in America have become over the years, until you see a film from overseas. Cartoon Saloon and Mélusine Productions (an Ireland-Luxembourg-France co-production) brings us the original Apple TV+ film, "Wolfwalkers," a film that is definitely family-friendly but that doesn't shy away from more mature themes.
Plus, it's an absolute stunning visual achievement.
What happens when 1100 young men get together for a Summer leadership program in Texas, where they must run a successful political campaign and elect a "Governor"? The alarming and fully immersive documentary "Boys State" answers this question and gives us insight into how messy our system really is.
When you've achieved Tom Hanks-level status, you expect greatness. Whether that's fair or not, Hanks does have his pick of material at this point in his career, so you know he's going to be invested no matter what he chooses to do. With his latest film, "Greyhound," you can tell that this was a story near-and-dear to him...heck, Tom Hanks doesn't just star in this, he even wrote the screenplay. This just feels sub-par given the production value...it's a big, loud war movie that forgets to make us care about its subjects.
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