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Film Daze’s Favorite Films of 2021



The ever-indecisive staff picks a few of our favorite watches from the past year…


Katie Duggan

I saw Titane in October 2021 as part of the New York Film Festival, and although there were countless more films to see during the remainder of the festival and the year, I knew that it would be my favorite of the year. I just had such an intense visceral reaction watching it unfold on the screen — wanting desperately to shut my eyes, but also being completely unable to look away. As the lead actors noted during a Q&A at the screening I attended, director and writer Julia Ducournau left no room for improvisation — everything was meticulously planned and choreographed, and there were no surprises for the cast. Yet there are plenty of shocks and discoveries for the audience, as this bold body-horror film has surprisingly tender moments of finding familial connection in the most unexpected places. This is a film about transformations and transitions, about leaving the family you were born into for a family you make. Ducournau uses many of the same gestures she used in Raw, but deepens her exploration of the themes of transformations and evolutions, metamorphosing to find one’s true form. Love or hate the admittedly out-there subject matter, Titane is the work of a filmmaker fully in command of her craft, and Julia Ducornau leaves me anxiously awaiting what comes next. 



Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller

I have already written up my worshipful thoughts on Rebecca Hall’s Passing, and I am delighted to report after two more viewings post-Sundance 2021, her radiant film remains my number one of the year. My second choice is also something I’ve written on before, and having watched Ilya Naishuller’s Nobody at least three times this year I also still admire that film’s unrelenting bombast and winking efficiency. My other favorite of the year has to be the absurdly tongue-in-cheek House of Gucci, which, despite some major drawbacks in certain casting and makeup choices (you know who I mean), is a delightfully shameless soap opera of eye-catching style, robust silliness, and effective performances. It’s truly a matter of a team understanding the assignment brilliantly (for the most part), including my frontrunner for comeback-of-the-last-half-decade, Mr. Al Pacino, doing marvelous work combining a newfound cuddliness with his classic, beloved gravitas. He even roars! Major shoutouts to my close fourth and fifth choices, two swiftly-plotted, wonderfully-acted empathy-generators: Philip Barantini’s Boiling Point and Jon Pollono’s Small Engine Repair. And finally, even beyond Nobody, economic pulp yarns did well this year, from Guy Ritchie’s amusingly restrained, well-composed Wrath of Man to Potsy Ponciroli’s tightly-wound hidden gem Old Henry. Check ‘em out. Good stuff.

My list:



Emily Jacobson

As each passing year comes to a close, I look over the list of movies I’ve enjoyed throughout its run and am met with a crisis every time about which films I’ve loved the most. However, a resounding “number one” tends to find its way to my heart, and this year that was Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. The film is perfectly crafted as it slowly unravels the tightly wound rope it has around the audience, until the final frames reveal what has been there all along. It is truly spectacular, and a tremendous return from Campion after her 10-year absence from cinema. My extremely close second pick is the debut feature of Emma Seligman, Shiva Baby. Ever since the film was released in the first half of this year, it has not left my mind. The single location set dark comedy is so wonderfully written and paced that despite the never-ending feeling of disaster, it is certainly a joy to watch. The final film that cracked my top-tier rankings of 2021 is, yes, the worm movie. Dune is just so beautifully made, with so much love for the source material and the craft that it is hard to not be astounded by the final product. As a fan of the book, Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation is utterly sublime, creating a digestible world that is true to the book as well as standing on its own as a cinematic piece of art. I would feel bad not to mention a few other standouts from the year, particularly Benedetta – which is a blast – and C’mon C’mon, which made me cry multiple times and want to move to New York. Despite another hard year, 2021 was still a knockout for cinema. On to the next one!



Veronica Phillips 

Michael Sarnoski’s Pig –  For your first watch, Pig is enjoyed best by knowing as little as possible. On each subsequent watch, Pig is about finding something new to resonate with — regarding grief, or love, or food, or the shifting and sometimes impossible nature of both forgiveness and justice. At one point our protagonist, ex-chef and widower Robin Feld, offers a nugget of haunting wisdom: “We don’t get a lot of things to care about.”  

Pig takes unexpected, twisty, heart-cracking-open turns, all centered upon the few things that Robin has got to care about. It’s a cinematic experience perhaps most succinctly distilled up by a mid-film monologue performed in a sterile restaurant by a waitress with an uncanny smile: “We all have a set of held beliefs about the world around us. To challenge them is to acknowledge our foundation is sand, but it opens us up to something greater. To pure connection. To true life.” Pig is about pure connection and true life — it’s about the delight and horror of accepting that one may find and potentially lose the things we get to care about, and about the love, connection, and mercy that withstands in spite of it all. 



Alisha Mughal

The Medium: From the makers of The Wailing and Shutter comes this under-appreciated, blood-soaked gem. It’s a found-footage horror about a shaman in Northern Thailand whose young niece begins showing signs of what she (the shaman) believes is an inheritance of the gift of shamanism. But things slowly, almost imperceptibly, take a turn for the worse and it becomes clear that something sinister is possessing the young girl. Exploring intergenerational trauma, motherhood, and testing familial ties, all as it asks the question of whether there is goodness or godliness in the world, The Medium is a terrifying, unrelenting look (we can’t but bear witness) at what it means to be a good woman. This is a truly underrated gift that 2021 gave us.

Having premiered at TIFF, Huda’s Salon is the filmic equivalent of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Beginning in occupied Palestine inconspicuously and at a snail’s pace with inane salon chatter, which in hindsight seems a respite, the film swiftly turns into a thriller so taut it holds your throat in a vise grip for the rest of its duration. Simultaneously exploring the everyday effects of war, how it ravages a psyche, and its ideological inanity and effetism, Huda’s Salon is powerful and heartbreaking, ultimately the most unique film to have emerged from 2021’s TIFF. 

Another horrific gem, The Night House is a showcase of Rebecca Hall’s delicate deftness as an actor. About a woman in the aftermath of her husband’s suicide, her discovery of his increasingly disturbing secrets, this film asks us what we miss when we’re caught up in our own spiraling minds, all as it charts the taboo contours of depression and suicidal ideation. A stunning modern-day take on the haunted house trope, this film is like a puzzle box that rewards with every subsequent visit, even if every rewatch takes a bit of your soul with it. 

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures







House of Gucci

Boiling Point

Small Engine Repair

Wrath of Man

Old Henry

The Power of the Dog

Shiva Baby



C’mon C’mon

The Medium

Huda’s Salon

The Night House

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Jennifer Aniston & Kids: What The ‘Friends’ Star Has Said Over The Years About Not Having a Family



Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston is fine being on her own and has often expressed disdain for being constantly questioned about that decision. Here we break down all the moments the actress has spoken out about her choices.

Jennifer Aniston, 52, has famously never settled down with a family of her own. After years of scrutiny and questioning about her decision to not have children, we’ve gathered all the moments the Friends actress has spoken out against the rampant sexism still prevalent in our culture and how her not having kids shouldn’t even be a “famous” thing to take note of in the first place.

For her next relationship, she wants things to happen naturally

Jennifer Aniston attends the 75th Anniversary celebration of NBC at Rockefeller Plaza, NY, 2002 (Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock).

For right now, the Morning Show actress is single and happy to be so — even though her friends have offered to set her up before. “Not right now,” she told radio host Howard Stern in October 2019 after he offered to find a great guy for her. “But listen, I just don’t like being set up. I don’t like it. Hate it.”

Moreover, Jen also revealed to PEOPLE in June 2021 that she’s “absolutely [not]” interested in using dating apps. “I’m going to just stick to the normal ways of dating. Having someone ask you out. That’s the way I would prefer it,” she dished to the outlet, also sharing that walking down the aisle for a third time is “not” something she’s considering.

“Oh God, I don’t know,” she joked. “I’m interested in finding a fantastic partner and just living an enjoyable life and having fun with one another. That’s all we should hope for. It doesn’t have to be etched in stone in legal documents.”

Her friends and family have pressured her in the past 

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston arrives at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards, 2020 (Shutterstock).

“I don’t have this sort of checklist of things that have to be done and if they’re not checked then I’ve failed some part of my feminism, or my being a woman, or my worth or my value as a woman,” she explained to the outlet. “I’ve birthed a lot of things, and I feel like I’ve mothered many things. And I don’t think it’s fair to put that pressure on people.”

… And she’s kind of over that pressure 

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston at the 4th Annual Patron of the Artists Awards, 2019 (Matt Baron/Shutterstock).

“[I don’t] like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women — that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated. I don’t think it’s fair,” Jen said in an interview with Allure in December 2014. “You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t mothering — dogs, friends, friends’ children.”

She added, “This continually is said about me: that I was so career-driven and focused on myself; that I don’t want to be a mother, and how selfish that is.” The Cake actress also added to PEOPLE in 2014 that there are “a lot of reasons” someone could not be having children, “and maybe it’s something that no one wants to discuss.”

She’s happy to make her own decisions 

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston pictured in 1998 (John Barrett/Shutterstock).

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter last December, Jen noted that she “used to take it all very personal,” but has since moved on. “It’s like, ‘You have no clue what’s going with me personally, medically, why I can’t … can I have kids?’ They don’t know anything, and it was really hurtful and just nasty,” she explained.

“Although I haven’t seen a tabloid in so long. Am I still having twins? Am I going to be the miracle mother at 52?” she said jokingly. “It’s the same with Dolly Parton; Dolly Parton never had kids. But are people giving her s–t for it? No, no one’s tried to put her in a white picket fence.” 

Moreover, the Dumplin actress wrote an open letter to The Huffington Post in 2016 that clearly and beautifully made a statement about the sexist double standards placed on women with regard to having families and raising children. “We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child … that decision is ours and ours alone,” she wrote. “We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”

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Jennifer Lopez’s Kids: Everything To Know About Her Twins Emme & Max



Jennifer Lopez’s Kids: Everything To Know About Her Twins Emme & Max

Jennifer Lopez shares two teenaged twins with ex-husband Marc Anthony — learn everything about Max and Emme here.

Jennifer Lopez, 52, has worn many hats in the entertainment industry, including actress, singer, dancer, producer, clothing designer and perfumer — but no title means more to her than “mom.” The Bronx native is the mother to twins Max and Emme, 13, with her ex-husband Marc Anthony, 53. Find out everything you need to know about the teenagers here.

When were Max and Emme born?

Jennifer married Marc just months after her first split from Ben Affleck in June 2004 (they divorced, however, in 2014). The two had been romantically linked in the past, and had previously collaborated on Spanish language duet “No Me Ames” on her 1999 debut album On The 6. Three years after the secretive wedding, the Maid In Manhattan star announced she was pregnant on Nov. 8, 2007.

A pregnant J.Lo is seen with ex Marc Anthony in 2007. (Broadimage/Shutterstock)

The then 38-year-old broke the news while she was on the joint El Cantante Tour with Marc in Miami after weeks of speculation. “Marc and I are expecting a baby!” she said as Marc cradled her bump. “We are happy…This is a special time in our lives. And we waited until the last show to tell you,” she said.

Just weeks before she gave birth, J.Lo’s dad David Lopez confirmed his middle daughter was expecting not one, but two babies. “Yes, twins…The thing is in my family, my sister also had twins, so it’s a hereditary thing,” he said on Spanish-language show Escéndalo TV. “I’m very proud. Jennifer has yearned to be a mother for many years.”

The This Is Me…Then singer gave birth to Max and Emme on February 22, 2008 in Long Island, N.Y. The world waited just four short weeks for the first glimpse at the beautiful twins, who were featured on a March 2008 cover of PEOPLE magazine in a worldwide exclusive.

Years later, Jennifer reflected on finding out she has having twins in a YouTube video dubbed Twin Talk with a then 11-year-old Max and Emme. “When I realized I was pregnant, I was in Portugal. I was doing a big show and I had just went away for two days. When I sat there, I was in my hair and makeup trailer, and here’s what I felt,” she said to them. “In my belly, I felt a flutter. I felt like a little butterfly in stomach, and immediately I knew I had life inside of me. I knew it. It came right into my head.”

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Jennifer is seen with Max and Emme at the Pegasus World Cup in Hallandale Beach, Florida in Jan. 2020. (Larry Marano/Shutterstock)

It was at the doctor’s office she was told the news. “The doctor says, you see that right there, that little grain of rice? That’s the baby. You see this other little grain of rice over here? That’s the other baby,” she explained. “I was like ‘What.’ I started laughing hysterically. I just laughed out loud, I couldn’t believe it. And that’s how I found out I was having twins.”

Max and Emme over the years

The “coconuts” (Jen’s nickname for them) have grown up in the spotlight, often being photographed with their superstar mom and her various romantic partners, including ex-boyfriend Casper Smart, who she dated from 2011 to 2016, ex-fiancé Alex Rodriguez, who she was with from 2017 – 2021, and rekindled beau Ben Affleck, who she reunited with in 2021.

Notably, Max and Emme were very close to Alex’s daughters Natasha, 16, and Ella, 13, who they were often pictured with in media and on their mom’s social media channels. In 2021, they’ve been spending a fair amount of time with Ben’s kids Violet, 16, Seraphina, 13, and Samuel, 9, who he shares with ex-wife Jennifer Garner, 49.

As a result of Bennifer’s rekindled romance, Max and Emme have been spending more time in Los Angeles compared to Miami, where their father Marc calls home, and Alex also maintained a residence (their mom also owns a $32 million Star Island home in the southern Florida city). Ahead of the 2021-2022 school year, J.Lo was also spotted checking out various exclusive private schools around Los Angeles, presumably to enroll the twins closer to her home in Bel-Air (and closer to Ben, who lives in Brentwood).

Beyond being photographed extensively over the years by paparazzi, and being center stage on their mom’s Instagram, the two have also been on red carpets! The twins made their red carpet debut at just seven, attending the 2014 premiere of their mom’s animated flick Home.

1644472241 714 Jennifer Lopezs Kids Everything To Know About Her Twins Emme
Max and Emme attend the 2015 premiere of J.Lo’s animated flick ‘Home’ at 7 years old. (Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

Emme stepping into the spotlight 

Following in the footsteps of her performing grandma Guadalupe and superstar mom, Emma stepped into the spotlight in a big way at the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show! The then 11-year-old impressively sang alongside Jennifer, who co-headlined the performance with Shakira.

1644472241 200 Jennifer Lopezs Kids Everything To Know About Her Twins Emme
Emme performs with Jennifer at the Super Bowl in Feb. 2020. (Mario Houben/CSM/Shutterstock)

Emme popped out to sing a few lines of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” — remixed with J.Lo’s Latina anthem “Lets Get Loud” — blowing the audience away! “If you wanna live your life/Live it all the way and don’t you waste it,” she sang of her mom’s song while positioned in a cage, along with other children on stage. The moment was intentionally political, and a strong statement in response to former President Donald Trump’s immigration policy which separated families at the U.S./Mexico border.

“All I want my girls, the little girls on stage with me and all over the world to know is how to use their voices and be proud of everything they are,” Jennifer said after the performance. “Other people can try to build walls, keep us out or put us in cages. We are proud to recognize that all of us together are what makes this beautiful country truly great.”

Emme’s unique style 

In 2021, Emme embraced a totally unique style of her own! The gorgeous teen decided to rock a funky, shorter due, and embrace her natural curls. Earlier in the spring, she also died her hair blue, which she debuted at a Nobu Malibu dinner for aunt Lynda Lopez‘s birthday early on in Ben and Jennifer’s rekindled relationship.

The 13-year-old has also been channeling the ’90s in a series of retro inspired looks, including loose fitting jeans, vintage t-shirts and argyle sweaters, Vans sneakers and plenty of overalls.

1644472241 133 Jennifer Lopezs Kids Everything To Know About Her Twins Emme
Emme goes shopping with her mom in Jan. 2022 in Beverly Hills. (Broadimage/Shutterstock)

In advance of the release of film Marry Me, Jennifer talked about how Max and Emme are both finding their “own identities” with Jimmy Fallon. “[They’re like] ‘It’s my life, I have my own identity, I am who I am, this is what I feel about the world, this is what I think.’…They need to distance themselves [from me],” she said, explaining that they are now “adult people in a little body.”

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Billie Eilish & Brother Finneas Meet President Joe Biden At The White House – See Photo



Billie Eilish, Finneas

Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas made a pit stop at the White House while on the singer’s world tour, taking a sweet photo op with President Joe Biden.

As Billie Eilish, 20, continues her Happier Than Ever world tour, she and her brother Finneas decided to make a brief pit stop at the White House — to visit President Joe Biden of course! The newly Oscar nominated singer and her sibling posed with the 46th president as he shared the moment to social media. “When I heard my friends @billieeilish and @finneas were in town for a show, I knew I had to invite them over to the White House,” he captioned the post. “Great to see you and your family — and I’m glad you got to meet Commander,” he wrote, speaking of the family’s new German Shepard puppy.

“Billie Eilish, Finneas and their parents Maggie and Patrick were invited to pay a visit to the White House today to meet President Biden,” an official confirmed to PEOPLE of the visit. “Billie and Finneas were supporters during Biden’s campaign and the Biden family have been long time fans of their music. Billie is in D.C. for her world tour, playing at the Capital One Arena tonight.”

Billie notably voiced her support of the president for the 2020 campaign. More recently, she also petitioned in November — along with Joaquin Phoenix and several other celebrities — for the president to break from tradition and send a pardoned turkey to a sanctuary for Thanksgiving.

For the photo op with POTUS, Billie showed off her notably jet black locks — a hairstyle switch she underwent recently and shared in a Feb.1 Instagram post. Not only was her new color jet black, but her bangs were super cool. They were extra short in the center of her forehead but turned into curtain bangs on the sides of her face.

Tons of fans rushed to the comments section to gush about her new look. One fan commented, “MY FAV HAIR COLOR,” “So gorgeous,” and one person even wrote, “BLACK HAIR ERA IS BACK.”

Meanwhile, just two weeks ago, Billie secretly had her hair dyed red for a week before she dyed it brown. She changes her hair color so often, we’re honestly no longer surprised! But she always manages to perfectly pull off her hairstyles, of course.

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