Boss Level

My Favourite Films of 2021

Another odd year in terms of film releases. In the UK cinemas were shut until around May and what makes up my top ten of the year are a combination of streaming releases, films I saw at film festivals, and ones that were released in the cinema. These are in no particular order but they are all films that I thoroughly enjoyed for various reasons – some made me happy, some made me sad, and some made me feel both happy and sad during their runtime.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
I did not know what to expect going into Shang-Chi but I had a total blast with it – in fact, it’s the only film I saw more than once in the cinema and I rewatched it at home over Christmas and enjoyed it even more. The characters and their relationships stay at the heart of everything, even when things get a bit CGI-heavy in the final act.

Moxie
I read and loved the book years ago and thought this was a great adaptation. The young cast were great and though the feminist themes are as heavy as a sledgehammer I thought managed to cover intersectional feminism in a fun but understandable way for teens.

Spider-Man: No Way Home
This was so full of nostalgia and I absolutely loved it. Still haven’t managed to see No Way Home again but I really want to as that was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in the cinemas in ages.

Everything in the End
An end of the world film full of melancholy and human connection and it just worked so well. it especially resonated now after what I’ve experienced during a pandemic.

F9
Was the latest Fast and Furious film the most over the top and ridiculous yet? Yes. Did I enjoy every second of it? Also, yes. I love this franchise and the latest instalment was everything I loved about it cranked up to 11. The villain was lacking a bit but I loved Han coming back and his pseudo-daughter and how Mia returned too.

Boss Level
I’ll watch pretty much anything Frank Grillo is in and Boss Level was great. It’s fun, innovative, interesting and just pure entertaining. I enjoyed how you learn the rules of this world pretty quick but there’s still things for you to figure out.

Beyto
I absolutely fell in love with this film and its three main characters. It’s about Beyto, the only son of a Turkish migrant family who falls in love with his swimming coach Mike. When his parents find out they plan to marry him to his childhood best friend Seher in order to solve the perceived problem. This unlikely love triangle is so sad but hopeful at the same time and I loved all three of them and it’s one of those films that when it ended, I’d love to see what the three of them are up to in a few years’ time.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye
This isn’t released till February here in the UK but I got to see it at a film festival and had such a great time with it. I didn’t know the people and events it was based on but I loved both Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield’s performances.

Tick, Tick… Boom!
Andrew Garfield really had a great year. I have not seen RENT (movie or stag version) nor is my musical theatre knowledge that great so I knew next to nothing about Jonathan Larson before watching Tick, Tick… Boom! Turns out I loved the songs and the story and how relatable it was. It’s funny and sad but hopeful and yeah, Andrew Garfield was fantastic and has a wonderful voice.

The Rescue
One of the last films I watched in 2021 and it was a great choice to round out the year. incredibly gripping and interesting documentary about how the boys football team was rescued from the caves in Thailand. The reconstructions were so well done and how it showed how the help came from the most unexpected places shows how people are good actually.

What were some of your favourite films you saw last year?

REVIEW: Boss Level (2021)

Retired Special Forces officer, Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo), is seemingly trapped in a never-ending time loop that restarts as soon as he dies.

I shall start off this review by saying perhaps you shouldn’t read this review. Because Boss Level is one of those films that is truly a delight and perhaps works even better when you know nothing about it. All I knew was that it starred Frank Grillo (an actor I always like) and I’d seen some positive buzz about it on my Twitter feed. But I enjoyed this film enough to want to write about it so do read on if you fancy learning about why Boss Level worked for me.

Boss Level begins by throwing you right into the time loop with Roy. By this point he’s died over 100 times and can predict and counter the moves of his attackers. His dry narration sets the tone of the film and shows just how bored he is of going through the motions. People are trying to kill him and he doesn’t know why and sometimes he doesn’t even care. By starting the story after Roy is used to his predicament, you’re learning about any new occurrences as he does and it adds to the mystery of it all.

Boss Level is also really fun and often funny. The fights, car chases and shootouts are great, and as there’s so much trial and error for Roy as he goes through certain scenarios (the error leading to his death again) you get to see how his skills grow as he learns what works and what doesn’t in a fight. The editing between the different loops as Roy gets further and further before dying is great too. How the film never over explains things and manages to briefly show you the steps Roy has taken since waking up without it ever getting boring is impressive. It trusts the audience to understand the time loop scenario (as there’s been many a time loop film) so if we join Roy in a loop further along, we have a good idea of what he’s already had to do since it’s pretty much the same every time.

The humour comes from Roy’s attitude to this situation he’s in, and from a lot of his deaths. Some are so sudden and unexpected while others he just sighs and waits for it to happen. Frank Grillo’s voice suits the almost wry narration style perfectly and he looks good doing a lot of the fight sequences himself. There are times where the tone gets more sombre, almost naturally there’s a lost love, but Grillo handles those moments well too.

Boss Level is action packed and innovative. The reasoning why Roy is stuck in a time loop is slowly revealed and the action and fights are always entertaining. Boss Level is just a real good time and it’s one of the first new-to-me films I’ve watched in a while that I’ve fully enjoyed and not just thought was simply fine. Honestly, I was starting to think I didn’t know how to like films anymore! 4/5.