The Prime 7 Hollywood South movies of 2021: Spotlighting native cinematic gems from the 12 months that was | Films/TV

Nicely, some years are higher than others, and 2021 was an off 12 months. That features native film releases.

And, so, whereas for the previous decade and a half I’ve normally supplied you a year-end checklist of my 10 favourite native movies, I’m truncating it to seven movies this 12 months, simply to ensure solely the very best of the very best make the minimize.

I’m certain I don’t must let you know, it’s simply been that form of 12 months.

7. “Palmer”

Admittedly, this north shore-shot Justin Timberlake drama traffics in a well-worn theme, telling of an emotionally beaten-up grownup saved by a precocious little one. However simply because we’ve heard variations on the identical theme earlier than doesn’t routinely sink it. The essential factor is how nicely it fills within the blanks. Within the case of “Palmer,” which is helmed by actor-director Fisher Stevens, it does it simply properly sufficient — with a boatload of fine intentions to associate with it — to make for pleasing if low-calorie viewing.

The place to observe: Streaming on Apple TV+.


‘Mary Queen of Vietnam’

Screens at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 and 11, Elmwood Palace.

6. “Mary Queen of Vietnam”

Taking its title from the Catholic church in japanese New Orleans round which a lot of the native Vietnamese neighborhood revolves, this hourlong documentary — directed by Bao Ngo, and written and produced by “Belizaire the Cajun” filmmaker Glen Pitre — is a well assembled and domestically centered historical past lesson on the Vietnamese diaspora following America’s withdrawal from Saigon in 1975.

Simply as importantly for native audiences, it additionally gives viewers a colourful and vigorous celebration of one of many latest flavors in New Orleans’ cultural gumbo.

The place to observe: Not at present exhibiting.

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‘Buddy Man: The Blues Chase the Blues Away’

Screens at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 6, AMC Elmwood Palace. 

5. “Buddy Man: The Blues Chase the Blues Away”

Legendary Louisiana blues guitarist Buddy Man — who has influenced everybody from Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughn and Carlos Santana — will get a long-overdue, feature-length profile on this performance-rich documentary. Constructed round new and archival interviews in addition to beforehand unreleased live performance footage, administrators Devin Amar, Matt Mitchener and Charles Todd’s movie — which performed as a part of PBS’ “American Masters” sequence earlier than making its native debut in November on the New Orleans Movie Pageant — is a suitably foot-stomping musical homage to the legend from Lettsworth, who, at 85 years outdated, simply retains on doing his factor.

The place to observe: Not at present taking part in.


‘The Impartial Floor’

Screens at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 6, Orpheum Theatre.

4. “The Impartial Floor”

Without delay affable, persuasive and considerate, “The Impartial Floor” is the form of deftly constructed movie that has a singular approach of creating you chortle and squirm just a little in your seat on the similar time, after which stroll away keen to speak about what you simply noticed. Directed by former “Each day Present” producer C.J. Hunt, it’s an typically humorous and surprisingly private movie that makes use of New Orleans’ monument-removal struggle of 2015-2017 as a springboard into a bigger examination of a lot of America’s refusal to simply accept, a lot much less confront, its racist previous and current. Admittedly, that’s a whole lot of territory to cowl, however Hunt proves to be a wonderful tour information on this leg of the journey.

The place to observe: Streaming on YouTube and Google+.


Alicia Vikander and Justin Chon star within the drama ‘Blue Bayou,’ which Chon additionally wrote and directed. Chon’s movie was shot in New Orleans in late 2019; it may be seen on most main streaming platforms.

3. “Blue Bayou”

Author-director-actor Justin Chon’s impartial drama demonstrates what can occur when a filmmaker is diligent sufficient, observant sufficient, and keen to immerse himself in native tradition and encompass himself with a largely native crew. Granted, New Orleans is solely the setting for Chon’s story, a few Korean-born little one adopted by an American household who now, as an grownup, is dealing with deportation. However Chon is sensible sufficient of a storyteller to leverage the character and textures of town to lend his movie a really particular and really genuine sense of place.

The place to observe: Obtainable on most main streaming platforms.

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Joaquin Phoenix, Woody Norman  in ‘C’mon C’mon’ on the New Orleans Movie Pageant.

2. “C’mon C’mon”

Joaquin Phoenix stars on this tenderhearted and achingly trustworthy coming-of-age movie shot partly in New Orleans in 2020, however 9-year-old actor Woody Norman is the actual revelation. Going toe-to-toe with the way more skilled Phoenix, he gives writer-director Mike Mills’ movie its coronary heart and soul, serving to it seize the enjoyment and terror and wonderfulness and frustration of parenthood in a single good and affecting bundle.

The place to observe: Obtainable on most main streaming platforms.

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A picture from the Mardi Gras Indian documentary ‘Large Chief, Black Hawk.

1. “Large Chief, Black Hawk”

In an setting awash in documentaries about Mardi Gras Indian tradition, director Jonathan Isaac Jackson’s “Large Chief, Black Hawk” — which had its world premiere at November’s American Black Movie Pageant — stands out not just for its attractive cinematography and poetic really feel, but in addition for its perspective. From a storytelling standpoint, it follows the experiences of teenager Terrence Williams Jr., aka Large Chief T of the Black Hawk Hunters gang, as he and his tribe put together for Mardi Gras 2021. However at its root, it is a film about Mardi Gras Indians offered within the voice of Mardi Gras Indians — that’s, within the voice of Black New Orleans, which, uncommon as that’s, lends the movie a way of authenticity to associate with its deft protection of the previous, current and way forward for considered one of New Orleans’ most cherished cultural traditions.

The place to observe: Coming quickly.

Mike Scott might be reached at [email protected]

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