The 7 Best Southern Hollywood Movies of 2021: Spotlighting Local Cinema Gems of the Year | Movies / TV


Well, some years are better than others, and 2021 was a lean year. This includes local movie releases.

And, so, while for the last fifteen years or so I’ve usually brought you an end-of-year list of my 10 favorite local films, I’m truncating it to seven films this year, just to make sure that only the best of the best. make the cut.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, it’s just that kind of year.

7. “Palmer”

Certainly, this Justin Timberlake drama set on the North Rim deals with a well-worn theme, telling the story of an emotionally battered adult rescued by a precocious child. But just because we’ve heard variations on the same theme before doesn’t mean that it flows automatically. The important thing is how well it fills in the blanks. In the case of “Palmer,” which is directed by actor-director Fisher Stevens, it does it just well enough – with a load of good intentions to go with it – for enjoyable but low-calorie viewing.

Where to watch: Stream on Apple TV +.

“Mary Queen of Vietnam”

Screenings at 6 p.m. on November 9 and 11, Elmwood Palace.

6. “Mary Queen of Vietnam”

Named after the Catholic Church in eastern New Orleans around which much of the local Vietnamese community revolves, this hour-long documentary – directed by Bao Ngo, and written and produced by the filmmaker ” Belizarius the Cajun “Glen Pitre – is a cleverly put together film and local history lesson about the Vietnamese diaspora after the United States withdrew from Saigon in 1975.

Equally important to the local audience, it also offers viewers a colorful and lively celebration of one of the newest flavors of New Orleans cultural gumbo.

Where to watch: is not currently displayed.

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“Buddy Guy: The blues chases the blues”

Screenings at 8:30 p.m. on November 6, AMC Elmwood Palace.

5. “Buddy Guy: The blues chasing the blues”

Legendary Louisiana blues guitarist Buddy Guy – who’s influenced everyone from Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughn and Carlos Santana – gets a long-awaited feature in this performance-packed documentary. Built around new and archival interviews as well as never-before-seen concert footage, the film from directors Devin Amar, Matt Mitchener and Charles Todd – who starred as part of PBS’s “American Masters” series before making his Local debut in November at the New Orleans Film Festival – is a musical tribute to the Lettsworth legend, who, at 85, continues to do his thing.

Where to watch: Currently not playing.


“The neutral ground”

Screenings at 2:30 p.m. on November 6, Orpheum Theater.

4. “Neutral earth”

Affable, persuasive, and thoughtful at the same time, “The Neutral Ground” is the skillfully crafted genre of film that has a singular way of making you laugh and squirm a little in your seat at the same time, then walk away eager to speak. from what you just saw. Directed by former “Daily Show” producer CJ Hunt, it’s an often humorous and surprisingly personal film that uses the struggle to remove New Orleans landmarks in 2015-2017 as a stepping stone to a wider examination of it. ‘much of America’s refusal to accept, let alone confront, its racist past and present. Granted, that’s a lot of territory to cover, but Hunt is proving to be an excellent tour guide on this leg of the trip.

Where to watch: Streaming on YouTube and Google+.


Alicia Vikander and Justin Chon star in the drama “Blue Bayou”, which Chon also wrote and directed. Chon’s film was shot in New Orleans at the end of 2019.

3. “Bayou blue”

Writer-director-actor Justin Chon’s independent drama shows what can happen when a filmmaker is sufficiently diligent, observant enough, and willing to immerse himself in local culture and surround himself with a largely local crew. Of course, New Orleans is simply the setting for Chon’s story, about a child born in Korea adopted by an American family who, now an adult, faces deportation. But Chon is a storyteller smart enough to take advantage of the city’s personality and textures to give his film a very specific and very authentic sense of place.

Where to Watch: Available on most major streaming platforms.

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Joaquin Phoenix and Woody Norman in “C’mon C’mon” at the New Orleans Film Festival.

2. “Come on, come on”

Joaquin Phoenix stars in this tender-hearted and painfully honest coming-of-age movie set partly in New Orleans in 2020, but 9-year-old actor Woody Norman is the real eye-opener. Going hand in hand with the much more seasoned Phoenix, it provides writer-director Mike Mills’ film with its heart and soul, helping it capture both the joy and the terror, the wonder and the frustration of parenthood in one. intelligent and moving package.

Where to Watch: Available on most major streaming platforms.

chief great black hawk

A still from the Indian Mardi Gras documentary ‘Big Chief, Black Hawk.

1. “Grand Chief, Black Hawk”

In an environment awash with documentaries on Indian Mardi Gras culture, director Jonathan Isaac Jackson’s “Big Chief, Black Hawk” – which premiered at the American Black Film Festival in November – stands out not only for its superb cinematography and its poetic feel, but also for its point of view. From a storytelling standpoint, it follows the experiences of teenager Terrence Williams Jr., aka Big Chief T of the Black Hawk Hunters gang, as he and his tribe prepare for Mardi Gras 2021. But at the core, it’s a film about Mardi Gras Indians presented in the voice of the Mardi Gras Indians – that is, in the voice of Black New Orleans, which, rare as it is, gives the film a sense of authenticity. which goes hand in hand with its skillful coverage of the past, present and future of one of New Orleans’ most cherished cultural traditions.

Where to watch: Coming soon.

Mike Scott can be contacted at [email protected]

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