The Banshees Of Inisherin has so many layers to it that I truly did not expect, it’s directed by Martin McDonagh (director of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths) who does a masterful job here. Instantly when the film starts you already sense a unique type of atmosphere it’s dark but at the same time very humorous as well which you easily see why that’s the case as the film goes on. The set up is quite simple Padraic (Colin Ferrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson) use to be great friends until one day Colm decided not to be friends anymore due to Padraic being “dull” so now Padraic keeps trying to talk to Colm and find out why they aren’t friends. it takes that setup and truly goes pretty meaningful and deep with it. With some symbolism and character study of the characters, plus the town they live in as well. The acting here is tremendous Collin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan truly give powerhouse performances that are very natural. Each of them truly give something unique to the film Colin Farrell gives a humorous yet honest performance of someone who is naturally upset and wants to know why their friend no longer wants to have anything do with him, Brendan Gleason plays a cross between an intimidating but also humorous performance that is truly baffling in the best possible way. Kerry Condon plays Padaric’s sister Siobhan who is very kindhearted and like the previous mentioned performances a very honest one as well, finally there’s Barry Keoghan’s performance that really is the definition of a friend, he plays Dominic who is Padaric’s friend who is always listening and is there for him. It’s truly a honest performance that is actually quite emotional. The writing is truly flawless from the character study, to the natural interactions the characters all have it’s truly the type of writing that really compliments each scene. Speaking of which the cinematography is some of the best of the year. The film was shot in Achill island which is in County Mayo the largest of the Irish isles and the beauty of it all really shows in the film. It really compliments the film’s overall beauty nature while adding very dark humor into the mix that truly works. Every shot has so much detail and a lot going on which leads to it being a massive film that the viewer can explore with the eyes, overall The Banshees Of Inisherin is one of the best films of the year, it’s one of those films that will stick with you for awhile once you watch!!
The Banshees Of Inisherin is currently in theaters.
Sundown has been on my watchlist since it released in January and I’m glad I finally sat down and watched it! I had my issues with Michel Franco’s previous film New Order but this was a massive improvement, Tim Roth does such a fantastic job here and gives one of my favorite performances so far this year. It’s a film that takes it’s sweet time to tell a story that’s quite powerful a story of a man grieving in his own way and what he plans to do for his final days, which in this case is spending time on the beach. His family however gets in the middle of it, it’s such a compelling film that has a lot of quite scenes where there’s little dialogue. It let’s the viewer absorb wants happening and how to feel, the cinematography is very well done during a lot of moments. There’s so much care and passion put into the film that leads to a ton of thought provoking and gorgeous moments! Definitely go into this one knowing as little as possible!
Huda’s Salon is actually based on a true story, something I wasn’t aware of until I watched it. The true story is very devastating with a lot of acts of cruelty and betrayal it’s even more harmful for the people who are caught in the middle of it. The film itself does a fine enough job of telling the story, but as many have said it feels very undercooked. The first act of the movie does a fantastic job of telling the viewer about the situation, how it happened and what each person is thinking. The writing is also quite great as well as thrilling, the last half of the movie is when the movie starts to hold back. There are powerful moments during the second act but they just aren’t strong enough to carry the rest of the movie to the finish line, with that said the movie isn’t bad. The acting is really strong and the atmosphere of the film is spot on. It just feels like the movie was setting up for something massive but ends with a softball.
The Sky Is Everywhere I was excited for especially after Josephine Decker’s previous film Shirley which was one of the best films of 2020. Although this movie isn’t as good it still has a lot to like about it, the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous combined with Grace Kaufman who gives such a great performance that will definitely go on to star in several other films. When the film tackles the topic of grief and and loss it hits very very hard and feels sort of relatable, in that department Josephine Decker does an incredible job. What’s holding The Sky Is Everywhere back however is the young adult type drama thrown into it, those parts aren’t very well written sadly and just aren’t engaging enough, there’s enough character moments in there that help minimize the young adult drama. But it really holds back the film from being so much more, Josephine Decker is a talented director who does engage the audience with her direction so it’s a shame to see some of the writing feel extremely weak. Despite the issues The Sky Is Everywhere is still a good movie, it’s themes of loss and grief are very strong with a very likable lead!
Death On The Nile wasn’t something I was particularly excited to watch, I liked Murder On The Orient Express fine enough but it wasn’t something that I would ever come back to. The exact same can be said with Death On The Nile, the movie opens with a very goofy backstory that I just couldn’t help but laugh at after that however is when the movie takes a good while to get going. I’ve heard the first murder doesn’t happen until like 100 pages in the book which explains why it takes awhile to get going. However the issue isn’t really the fact the first murder doesn’t happen until awhile the major issue is that the first half of the movie is just not that interesting, there’s definitely a few decent moments that come from some of the cast particularly Kenneth Branagh, Annette Bening, Emma MacKay (especially her she absolutely slays it), Letitia Wright, Sophie Okonedo and Tom Batemen. Everyone else rangers from being terrible (Gal Gadot) or nothing special at all (Armie Hammer). After the movie finally gets going it’s quite entertaining and does a really decent job of making the viewer follow the mystery, it definitely is on the predictable side even if you haven’t read the book, but that really doesn’t take away from the acting bits, some very engaging writing and some overall very strong direction. The atmosphere is also pretty strong as well, it captures the type of feel you want from a murder mystery. The visuals are a bit distracting and do not fit the movie at all, they try to go for this glossy type look which works well in other films but definitely not here. Despite Emma MacKay not getting much to do, she absolutely steals the show here, every single time she’s on screen she captures the spirit of her character and goes all out in her performance. It’s nice to see Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot again he did an excellent job in Orient Express and he does an excellent job here, especially when he shares the screen with Tom Bateman who plays Bouc. The two just work together really well and bring some genuinely funny scenes and one touching scene in particular. Overall Death On The Nile is very flawed but entertaining murder mystery, it’s not going to break any new ground and I definitely don’t see myself ever coming back to it. However it is a very decent watch and could have easily been a whole lot worse. If you liked Murder On The Orient Express chances are you will like Death On The Nile!
Here we are at the final 30 films on the list! These are the films that I felt most strongly about and the ones going forward I’m going to be thinking about for a very long time. This was incredibly difficult to rank, so keep in mind that a lot of the placements were VERY close! Let’s get started!
30. In The Earth directed by Ben Wheatley
Starting off we have In The Earth which was a back to roots sort of film for Ben Wheatley and I’m glad he decided to do just that. In The Earth has very haunting atmosphere combined with really strong writing that brings the viewer into the film’s world, the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous it brings a hauntingly beautiful type feel to the film that gives the film so much strength!
29. Encanto directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush
Encanto was a surprise for me, the trailers made it out to be something very familiar that audiences are use to in a lot of animated films. However Encanto takes that concept of feeling left out as well as tons of family themes and does something completely different with them. I have my several problems with Disney one for example playing way too safe, however Encanto actually takes risks and does a far more deeper dive into it’s themes than a lot of other recent Disney films. The characters are lovable and memorable, the songs are some of the best from a Disney film in a very long time (special shoutouts to The Family Madrigal, We Don’t Talk About Bruno and Surface Pressure.) Encanto is a film that I’m sure will go on to be a modern classic!
28. Annette directed by Leos Carax
Annette is definitely an oddball of a film, it’s the strangest yet one of the most fascinating musicals to come out of 2021! Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard are both fantastic in their roles plus their singing voices are surprisingly amazing. The cinematography beautiful as well, especially when combined with the songs that capture so many different types of emotions throughout the film. The strongest of the bunch is definitely “We Love Each Other So Much” it’s a beautiful song that really captures the spirit of the film.
27. In The Heights directed by Jon M. Chu
In The Heights is truly a fantastic musical that captures some of the best choreography of 2021, the performances from Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins and Olga Merediz are all fantastic. The story itself is fascinating and very inspiring it truly makes you feel all sorts of emotions and gets you on your feet, it’s beautifully told from singing and the cinematography which both combined together truly makes something special. Speaking of which the cinematography is absolutely incredible it takes advantage of the setting (Washington Heights) and makes it truly special with tons of energy and passion. Which leads me to how much energy this film has which is quite great, you feel the connection between the characters who interact with each other which feels quite raw. It’s a very human type film in that aspect which is definitely a standout, the writing is fantastic it delivers on every single level and makes the character moments all the more interesting.
26. The Suicide Squad directed by James Gunn
Out of the comic book films that were released in 2021 James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad I feel was the strongest. James Gunn brings over what made the Guardians Of The Galaxy films so great and gives a bunch of these characters some very comedic and interesting elements. The cast of course is fantastic Idris Elba as Bloodsport was genius casting he absolutely slays the part and brings so much to the character. Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, John Cena, Daniella Melchior and Joel Kinnaman are all fantastic as well. The film itself is genuinely hilarious with tons of cleverly written jokes, the kills are very well done and finally the action scenes are so satisfying to watch!
25. The Mitchells vs. The Machines directed by Michael Rianda
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is the very definition of a fun film, not only that but it has a ton of heartfelt moments that truly make this film shine. Each of the characters are very fleshed out and bring a ton to the film, the animation is absolutely beautiful it has this style to it that feels very unique, it’s incredibly fast paced with a lot of different graphics and color all blended into one beautifully done film. It’s truly a wonderful film that captures the eye really well, the humor is also really great as well! Lastly what makes this film so successful is how relatable the characters were especially the father and daughter relationship between Katie and Rick. It feels very realistic and truly dives deep into it, the movie makes you feel for them both showing each side and how they feel. It’s truly an incredible breath of fresh air to see this type of family relationship done right, Abbi Jacobson and Danny McBride absolutely nail it with the voice acting they truly bring so much emotion, depth and passion to their roles and show their talent!
24. Nightmare Alley directed by Guillermo Del Toro
I’m going to post my review here since I talked about this one fairly recently, all I have to add is that I’m excited to see what Guillermo Del Toro does next! The cast does a fantastic job Bradley Cooper is one of the big standouts here. He does something completely different from some of his other roles and it’s truly an amazing sight. The movie itself compliments this by showing a man who was once rational, to a power hunger man who wants money to someone who completely lost it. Bradley Cooper does a fantastic job of showing all three of these transformations in a very detailed and at times scary way. Cate Blanchett’s performance feels like a performance from the classic era of Hollywood took a time machine and transported itself to 2021. In other words the performance is incredible and hauntingly beautiful in every way possible, the rest of the cast is truly strong in Rooney Mara and Willem Dafoe (who I think was born for these types of roles) in particular. The film is hauntingly gorgeous, it’s a type of element that Guillermo Del Toro always masters at making the film look haunting but at the same time beautiful. His direction is also top notch, making the performances come off as genuine as possible while creating some real dramatized performances that feel intimidating to the viewer. It’s truly fascinating to see how much Guillermo Del Toro makes this film his own, from the different types of locations to the characters it’s absolutely wonderful to witness. The whole theme of seeing a man go from rational to completely unrecognizable truly fits Guillermo Del Toro’s style and he truly mastered it here, it’s even the little things such as a few mannerisms thrown in there that truly make this film go a long way.
23. The Tragedy Of MacBeth directed by Joe Coen
I just did a review for this one so once again I’ll post my review here as I still have the exact same thoughts as I did when I reviewed it. A hauntingly beautiful adaption to MacBeth that works on every single level. The cinematography is absolutely stunning, there are times when using black and white in some movies comes off as very tacky or just doesn’t add anything to the film. But not here, not only does it add so much to the film itself it creates a new type of atmosphere that has yet to be seen in a MacBeth film adaption. It creates this horror type feel, it’s like the characters are in a white void with a ton of fog, it’s truly captivating and immediately draws your attention. Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand give such incredible performances, both give the most Shakespearean performances you can ask for while at the same time doing their own thing. It’s a fantastic combination two incredibly talented actors with fantastic source material. Kathryn Hunter as the witches is terrifyingly incredible, she does not hold back at all when trying to scare the viewer and adds to the cinematography. Her voice perfectly blends into the film in every single way possible, the writing is straight to the point and stays true to the source material. It highlights what makes the story so great and even adds to it as well.
22. The Lost Daughter directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal
The Lost Daughter is another hauntingly beautiful film on the list, it’s a film that will give you a very detailed picture of motherhood. Once again Olivia Colman gives such an incredible performance, something about her performance here is truly special. She gives this raw performance that completely brings you into the film, Dakota Johnson and Jessie Buckley both give fantastic performances as well! The writing tackles so many genre elements in such a beautiful way, it combines drama, humor and at times disturbing moments that are genuinely haunting. It really gives you this picture of how motherhood is not easy at all, heck the movie sometimes goes into some horror aspects that I thought were very creative. There’s tons of emotional moments that really grab you into it and make you feel for the characters, as I said earlier the film is very wide. What I mean by that is the cinematography helps the viewer explore the film in a lot of ways, the setting combined with the filming truly gives you a fantastic picture it’s quite honestly breathtaking.
21. The Novice directed by Lauren Hadaway
Isabelle Fuhrman gives her best performance to date, as well as giving one of the best performances of 2021. She truly delivers in her role it’s raw, impactful and really shows how talented she really is. The atmosphere is thrilling to the point where it can almost be considered a horror film, the style of the film is up close and really beings you into what’s going on in certain scenes. The music also turns this film into a horror film by having a beautifully haunting feel to it as well as some absolute killer violins, the film heavily reminded me of Whiplash which makes sense Lauren Hadaway who directs the film did the sound for Whipslash and you can easily tell. There’s so much level of care and attention to detail as well, it’s extraordinary and leads into disturbing territory. It’s a very interesting film about self destruction and how quickly it can happen.
20. The Last Duel directed by Ridley Scott
The Last Duel is Ridley Scott’s best film in a very long time, the film is a huge build up to a brutal but fascinating battle that truly pulls you in. The cast gives some of the best performances of 2021 (Jodi Comer, Adam Driver, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) the writing is incredibly strong and compliments the film extremely well, the direction from Ridley Scott is brutal and to the point, the film itself is very well made and complexly captures the time period. As the film goes on it gets more and more suspenseful building up for the duel itself which is absolutely worth the wait!
19. A Quiet Place Part II directed by John Krasinski
A Quiet Place Part II is everything a sequel should be, it ups the ante from the first film such as the thrilling atmosphere which is still present and as terrifying as ever. It expands on the world building we see more locations and more people, how some people are dealing with what’s going on. The film focuses on Millicent Simmonds who does a flawless job in her role, she delivers on every single level, I absolutely love with what they did with her character she truly brings so much raw energy into her role to the point where it kind of brings you to tears. Cillian Murphy is also a very nice addition to the cast, he also brings an incredibly raw performance that is quite powerful, I also couldn’t help but feel this movie had a lot of The Last Of Us vibes to it which is a huge positive (especially scenes with Murphy and Simmonds together they look like they can be a really good Joel and Ellie.) Like the first film the sound is used brilliantly with tons of quite and tense moments that will definitely have you on the edge of your seat wondering “what will happen next” it’s effective on every single level, one thing that I noticed that was truly fantastic was the editing, it’s incredibly fast paced and truly incredible to the point where I found it brilliantly done. There’s something about it that really makes the film all come together and makes it that much stronger in every single way possible, the action scenes are also incredibly well done especially when combined with the editing and sound, I feel like A Quiet Place Part II gives some of the most raw and powerful action scenes I’ve seen in a film in a long time. John Krasinski truly does his homework when it comes to creating a horrifying and thrilling atmosphere, every single moment in this movie you are on the lookout because anything can happen. It’s masterful filmmaking that you really do not see all too often.
18. Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry directed by R.J. Cutler
This is an example of a documentary about a celebrity that looks at the the celebrity in question in this case Billie a lot more closely. It’s part documentary and part a coming of age story. The film truly feels like you are having a conversation with her, it’s like talking to a friend and hearing their issues and troubles. Billie talks about her Tourette’s syndrome and how she has suicidal thoughts but she expresses that through words rather than actions. One of the strongest things aspects is Billie’s beautiful relationship with her family, each of her family members taught her something for instance her mom taught her about songwriting, her dad taught her how to play the ukulele and the piano finally her brother produced her and was her songwriting cohort. The interactions between her and her family is seriously some of the most beautiful interactions I’ve seen in a long time, they all are there for each other no matter what and it’s truly a beautiful thing. It’s truly a beautiful documentary that captures some very personal moments of Billie.
17. Zola directed by Janicza Bravo
Zola might be known as the film that’s based on a Twitter thread, but I honestly feel there’s a lot more to it. As I discussed in my review Zola uses a very interesting theme which is past Vs modern The modern part being the story is taking place in modern times while the filming is the past part being that it was filmed on a 16mm camera giving it this look that it’s from the 70s or 80s. The cast all fantastic here Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Colman Domingo and Nicholas Braun all give really strong performances that truly match the film. The film itself is wild and does the source material Justice, it’s a bizarre type of filmmaking that I truly respect and has stuck with me throughout 2021!
16. West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg
West Side Story I truly did not expect to be as good as it was, Spielberg seriously hit it out of the park with this adaption. Between some of the best performances of 2021 (Ariana DeBose, Rachel Ziegler, Mike Faist and Rita Moreno) to each of the songs being a massive powerhouse combined with the cinematography that makes the film gigantic as well Spielberg’s direction. Spielberg’s West Side Story in some ways ends up topping the original film. Plus the film feels very very close to a broadway play especially with the songs, it transports you the setting. Some of the standouts include “Tonight (Quintet)”, “Somewhere”, “One Hand One Heart” and “A Boy Like That” (I swear Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose’s acting in that scene is phenomenal.
15. Tick Tick Boom directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Tick Tick Boom is my favorite musical of 2021, it’s a film that I fell in love with after watching it. Andrew Garfield gives easily one of the best performances of the year, in fact this role is most definitely going to be a highlight of his career he truly captures the broadway aesthetic type of performance that makes you feel like you are there watching a broadway show. In fact the whole film itself feels like the closest to a Broadway show, from the sets, to everyone’s acting and facial expressions it really does hit the Broadway feel out of the park. Alexandra Shipp and Robin de Jesús both do a fantastic job as well, the singing voices are all beautiful and truly make this film standout. The film itself is a huge gut punch as well especially towards the end because it is indeed a sad but very inspiring story that really hits your emotions at all times. It’s a film that truly gets to you and inspires you, in some ways I can relate to this film being worried I made the wrong choice and navigating through tough pressures. Some of the songs that really stood out to me were Why, Boho Days (truly an addicting song that’s in such a beautiful scene), 30/90 (which really feels like a throwback to the early 2000s rock music) and Louder Than Words (a gut punching song that’s just perfect.)
14. Red Rocket directed by Sean Baker
All I have to say is after watching this film you will never listen *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” the same way ever again and I mean that in the best way possible. Simon Rex who plays an ex porn star was actually a porn star before his acting career, the cast is absolutely fantastic here. Simon Rex truly gives one of the best performances of 2021, he truly invests in his role plus he adds so many layers and depth to his character it’s truly fascinating. Suzanna Son is a huge highlight of the film, she brings so much energy, love, passion and overall massive talent into the role. Her performance feels incredibly raw and fully connects with the story, her singing *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” is truly one of the biggest moments during this film and truly shines. Speaking of which the film’s use of “Bye Bye Bye” is truly masterful it’s to the point where you will be thinking about the song in a completely different way after watching the movie in the best way possible. The filming like in Sean Baker’s other films is masterful it’s shot in 16mm with several different types of lenses, it combines many different colors plus themes such as bright pinks and high skies during the daytime. Plus dreamlike blues and greens at nigh, the film is truly like an incredible painting that immediately captures the attention of the viewer. The film also feels very human we learn so much about the characters, the community of the small town and how their relationships with one another.
13. Pig directed by Michael Sarnoski
Pig is a thought provoking film that really explores each and every character as closely as possible, it takes a simple premise of a pig being stolen and turns into a character study and self journey piece. Nicolas Cage and Alex Wolff are both quite fantastic this is easily one of Cage’s best roles in his career, the chemistry between the two is very raw plus their characters feel like real people. Speaking of which if there’s one word to describe Pig it’s the word raw, there’s so much sense of realness to the film of two men talking to each other and going through their own problems that the audience learns about as the film goes on. When you give Nicolas Cage a great script he can turn that into one of the best performances of the year. There is so much to talk about his character Rob and his journey throughout the film as well as the other characters he meets, the stories they share, the interaction between them and his conversations with Amir (Alex Wolff). The pacing is absolutely perfect in every single way possible, as I said earlier the plot of the movie expands as it goes on and starts becoming something quite different. The final act is sad yet quite wholesome as well, it was truly a beautiful way to wrap the story and show the paths the characters take, what they learned throughout the journey and show how they felt about the journey, the writing is seriously some of the best it truly is something special that you don’t see or hear every day, it’s the type of writing that gets you to feel what the characters are thinking and how they feel as well.
12. The Green Knight directed by David Lowery
David Lowery takes everything about the fantasy genre and makes it his own, even though the film is an adaptation Lowery still brings his own style to it to make it unique. It’s about a young man’s journey of what it really means to become a knight, which he slowly realizes that throughout the film. Dev Patel gives an outstanding performance that truly shines and is a perfect fit for the type of character, the cinematography is absolutely beautiful creating a world that’s absolutely captivating. Truly a fantastic film that captures the fantasy genre in every single way possible.
11. C’mon C’mon directed by Mike Mills
Mike Mills continues to be a director who truly captures the human emotion, family relationships and what makes us human. C’mon C’mon sets up a simple story Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) looks after his nephew Jesse (Woody Norman) while Viv (Gaby Hoffmann) is away to help Paul (Scoot McNairy). But the film evolves from much more than that, it tackles several subjects such as how much Adulthood can put a dent in how we understand childhood, showing how children are very complex and how they’re still figuring out who they are, how curious about the world they are and a lot more. The performances are truly special Joaquin Phoenix and Woody Norman on screen together is truly beautiful, friendship the two build over the course of the film feels very organic something you would see from a uncle and nephew who are trying to understand one another. Both of which show each other new things, talk about their personal issues to one another and share there thoughts about the future. Speaking of which the interview scenes of Johnny interviewing kids and teens about what they think about the future and how it can effect all of us is truly beautiful. It explores how these kids are thinking and feeling, how they want change the world for the better it really shows how complex children can really be. Gaby Hoffman is truly fantastic here as well, like Joaquin Phoenix and Woody Norman she gives a very powerful and beautiful performance that truly captures motherhood and how hard it can really be, finally there’s this human element to the film. C‘mon C’mon is a very human film it understands our relationships with our families can be/are as well as how meaningful they can be/are, combining those moments with black and white plus gorgeous cinematography captures moments with a family almost like looking through old family photos. Looking back and sharing memories about a aunt, uncle, grandpa, grandma ect is truly some of most fun moments you could have. The black and white cinematography compliments that real well and makes it all the more meaningful!
10. Mass directed by Fran Kranz
Mass is the definition of a film that completely destroys the viewer, it’s a powerful film that that shows two sets of parents sharing their views on a school shooting that happened. Each of the characters go through tons of development which is quite honestly some of the best I’ve seen in a film for awhile now, each of the characters discuss with one another about their views, what should be done, what could have had happened to prevent the shooting from happening and tons of grief as well. The writing is just simply powerful there’s no other word to describe it, you feel every single word from the film and it often gave me goosebumps. Mass is also very depressing and it’s the very unfortunate reality of the aftermath of these tragic events. The performances from Jason Isaacs, Ann Dowd, Martha Plimpton and Reed Birney are all absolutely incredible and the definition of raw.
9. Nine Days directed by Edson Oda
Nine Days is another gut punching film that really makes you think about the choices you made in life. It tackles so many different types of topics that truly succeeds in capturing the viewer. There were moments where I found that Nine Days speaks to me on a personal level which made the experience all the more powerful to the point where I cried, feeling like you aren’t good or enough or you have those moments where you think you have nobody who supports you/likes you when in reality that’s not true is something that has happened to me quite a few times. And I feel this film does a pretty great job of explaining that situation, it’s a very depressing yet very thoughtful film that really gets to you. Of course there’s the performances that are just simply fantastic, Winston Duke giving one of the best performances of 2021 and the character development that was given to his character was breathtakingly beautiful. Nine Days is the definition of beautiful filmmaking that truly sticks with you.
8. The Power Of The Dog directed by Jane Campion
Jane Campion creates a masterpiece that’s a very powerful film in every single way possible. From the performances such as Benedict Cumberbatch who plays a character who has dealt with pain, there’s also agony and a lot of other emotions that help build his character. It’s a very interesting character study of him and he has this journey about his emotions. Kristen Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee are both fantastic, they each bring something truly special to the film, Dunst giving a very raw and classic western type feel performance that feels like it’s out of the classic black and white film era. And McPhee giving a performance that follows Cumberbatch’s character that is just as interesting and as powerful. The film itself has a old soul to it, it feels like it’s straight out of the classic film era with some darker twists, the style the film went for which was being violent without being violent was done in such a unique and interesting way. The film shows that violence can come in many different forms, most of it here is done psychologically which fits the film quite well. The cinematography compliments the whole theme as well with beautiful shots and a dark atmosphere that brings a ton suspense and mystery to the film. Jane Campion’s direction is brilliant she really hits it out of the park when it comes to bringing a sense of rawness to the film, she also makes every character as interesting as possible. Giving them a ton of development, with monologues, quiet scenes and heavy hitting moments that really capture the important parts of character development in film.
7. Dune directed by Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve continues to show he’s one of the best directors working today, Dune is a masterful film that is both beautiful visually as well as how incredibly well done the storytelling really is. The character development is absolutely top notch mixed with tons of fantastic performances that really standout. It’s a visually and masterfully crafted film that does a fantastic job of getting the viewer to invest in the characters. An absolute crowning achievement!
6. Spencer directed by Pablo Larraín
Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Princess Diana is her best performances and is quite honestly one of the best performances I’ve seen in a film and that’s no exaggeration. She captures every single detail about Princess Diana especially the looks and mannerisms, which add much more power to her role. The writing is absolutely flawless, it goes beyond being a biographical film. The writing becomes hypnotic to the ears, with a dreamlike to state to it while also feeling incredibly raw. Speaking of which you can not convince me that Spencer isn’t part horror, one of the major points of Spencer was to show how Isolated Diana felt from the royal family. Spencer does this in a very nightmarish but fascinating way that gets pretty psychological. The filming combined with the location also feels like a dream mixed with a nightmare, there’s this sense of loneliness you get from Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Princess Diana. You really understand why she felt isolated and why she wanted out of the royal family, Pablo Larraín’s direction is absolutely fantastic. He brings much fascinating elements to the film such as dreams, sense of loneliness, nightmares and rawness that hits you like a truck. Spencer is a powerful film that’s effective from beginning to end.
5. Licorice Pizza directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson once again does a successful job of bringing the viewer into his world and the film’s world. In this case 1970s San Fernando Valley it instantly draws you in with beautiful filming and incredibly well done shots. The film itself feels very dreamlike but at the same time feels very real once it starts to get down to the meat of the film. Alana Haim gives one of the best performances of 2021, this is her debut role and her talent is on full display. She goes all out with her performance and truly delivers. She plays Alana a character who is still trying to figure herself out in the world, then there’s Cooper Hoffman (the son of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman) who is absolutely fantastic as well, he plays Gary Valentine a teen who’s very charismatic. Gary is 15 and Alana is 25 it’s story about how said relationship can’t happen (due to obvious reasons) but tells that in a interesting way, both capture the mannerisms of a teen and adult and show how completely different each one is. The style of the film is truly beautiful, it’s shot on 35mm film while using older lenses in order to create the film’s 1970s texture or give it that type of feel. The film at times feels like a fairytale mainly due to the style of the film and the brilliant screenplay from PTA, the writing truly reflects the 1970s and goes for an incredibly raw feel that’s all the more powerful. The editing is spot on, it helps create a ton of character moments that give the viewer a lot of information about the characters, how they feel, what they are thinking and so on. It’s one of the strongest cases of character study I’ve seen in a film this year, Bradley Cooper is also an incredibly fun addition to the cast. He truly brings a lot of energy and humor to the film that truly captures the film’s mood, the use of color is masterfully done. So many scenes pop out to the viewer and many more scenes just stick with you.
4. Shiva Baby directed by Emma Seligman
Shiva Baby is one a chaotic, stressful and anxiety inducing film that works in every single way possible. It captures everything that happens which is quite a lot in just 77 minutes, every performance feels authentic, particularly Rachel Sennott who Is most definitely going to have an amazing career and Molly Gordon. Rachel Sennott puts so much strength into her role and her performance eventually builds up to scenes with tons of anxiety inducing scenes that feel claustrophobic, which I actually related with quite well. You know that feeling at a gathering and too many people are talking to you at once, so you zone out and then just break down? That I related to so well, it’s happened to me multiple times before and the way Shiva Baby portrays that very situation is just as anxiety inducing and chaotic as it really is. Emma Seligman does a flawless job as the director and writer, she brings as much realism as possible to this film. Seligman takes a gathering and makes it as real as possible, a majority of Shiva Baby is set at a Jewish funeral service and really does fantastic job of showing each and every detail. The combination of the film exploring bisexuality and anxiety is masterful, there’s so much care and careful analysis the different situations that take place during the film and Rachel Sennott’s character Danielle. Despite the film being anxiety inducing there’s a ton of humor that truly works! Shiva Baby is a film I have never stopped thinking about since I saw it, it really excites me to see what Emma Seligman and Rachel Sennott will do next!
3. Titane directed by Julia Ducournau
Titane is a very different type of disturbing film, it’s disturbing yet very wholesome at the exact same time. Agathe Rousselle and Vincent Lindon easily give some of the best performances of 2021, the rawness, power and just overall talent their performances show is quite amazing, they both truly capture the viewer’s attention and bring you into the film. Everyone else in the film does a fantastic job as well, each giving really interesting performances that add to the overall film, the atmosphere is very interesting while it is suspenseful and definitely does keep you wondering what’s going to happen next, it’s the type of atmosphere you wouldn’t think of when you think of the word disturbing. In some parts of the film it’s a wholesome type atmosphere that actually gets you to feel for each of the characters, the writing is masterful it’s filled to brim with interesting dialogue, emotional scenes that actually punch you in the gut and disturbing scenes that will most definitely disturb you. The music is pretty incredible as well, it adds so much to the film and adds to the weirdness as well! Lastly there’s Julia Ducournau’s direction is hands down some of the best direction I’ve seen in a film in quite some time, every scene feels important and adds so much to the story, the themes that get explored such as gender-bending and psychopathic violence are done incredibly well with care to them. There’s a ton of quiet moments between the characters are some of the most powerful, the body horror aspect takes things in a entirely new direction that the subgenre really hasn’t explored yet. It’s truly a masterfully directed film that reminds me of why I love film so much. Titane doesn’t just rely on gore or violence to be disturbing, it has many different themes that it explores wonderfully and throws in some wholesome scenes in it to make it standout from a lot of disturbing films.
2. CODA directed by Siân Heder
CODA has never left my mind since I saw it last January at Sundance, it’s a powerful film that means so much to me on every single level. It’s beautiful representation when it comes to deaf actors, Emilia Jones’s singing voice is absolutely beautiful especially her cover of “Both Sides Now.” Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant and Marlee Matlin are all fantastic and truly give some of the most touching performances from 2021. CODA is such a beautiful coming of age film that will make you feel so many emotions. Truly one of the most memorable and absolute beautiful films of 2021!
1. Last Night In Soho directed by Edgar Wright
Edgar Wright tackled the horror genre and truly made it into a very haunting experience. It’s a film that combines haunting imagery, nostalgia and music to create a absolutely top notch film on every single level! The performances are quite fantastic Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor Joy preform beautifully together, both give very raw performances that truly show talented they both are. The cinematography is absolutely beautiful, it takes advantage of the location and makes a ton of beautiful stylistic choices, it’s also one of the most visually haunting films of the year. Last Night In Soho is a haunting film that uses very creepy visuals and a haunting atmosphere to give chills down the viewers spine. The music very creatively used, Anya Taylor-Joy’s version of Downtown is truly beautiful her voice perfectly fits the 60s vibe the film is going for. Speaking of which Last Night In Soho is a beautifully haunting love letter to the 60s that says nostalgia is a killer and can be quite disturbing. Finally there’s Edgar Wright’s direction which is truly fantastic, he takes the horror genre and does something completely different and masterful with it, Edgar Wright also knows how to make a film disturbing without relying on a bunch of gore, it’s mostly all in the atmosphere combined with the music that is addicting and hypnotic.
And that is the end of The Best Films Of 2021 list!! I hope you all enjoyed!!
This definitely shouldn’t be a surprise, the writings were right on the wall as soon as this movie released. Not a single movie in 2021 held a candle to how horrible Music really is. We should start right from the beginning of why this movie is such a failure, first and foremost the casting. When the first trailer was released for Music there was a lot of concern and backlash when it was shown that Maddie Ziegler plays an autistic person…this was just the tip of the iceberg. When Sia was asked about this she made a ton of different excuses and stories that didn’t add up, now instead of you know taking the criticism like any person should. Sia decides to tell an autistic actor who gave very fair criticism “maybe you are just a bad actor” and not only does Sia say that. She goes on a rant and responds with “Grrrrrr. Fuckity fuck why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY.” Gee Sia I wonder why people are reacting this way, maybe it’s because you are acting so unprofessional and bashing the very community you supposedly made this movie for?
What made this situation even worse was Sia’s fanbase who rather than actually listen to autistic people (such as myself) about how this movie is dangerous and not representative of Autistic people decided to attack, send death threats and try to take people’s Twitter accounts down over criticism. It really showed that not only stan culture is a huge problem but it also shows how normalized ableism really is. When I wrote my piece about Music I got my fair share of messages saying disgusting garbage that I don’t want to repeat here, when Music finally did release it was completely destroyed across the board and rightfully so. I don’t like rooting for a movie to fail, but this was an exception.
Now let’s talk about the movie itself, for starters as I hinted at before Music was not made to be representative of Autistic people it was made for Neurotypical people who like to boast about how they sat with an autistic person at a lunch table once and never spoke to them again. Then they proceed to share this movie and say how “powerful it is.” Heck sometimes these said people flat out bully autistic people but swear up and down they care. Music is inspiration porn and it doesn’t even try to hide it, let’s talk about the acting..it’s dreadful there isn’t one performance here that feels genuine, Maddie Zegler looks like she doesn’t want to be there (and given the fact she was pretty much forced into this role I don’t blame her.) Kate Hudson is dreadful and Leslie Odom Jr’s performance is very awkward. The direction from Sia is quite honestly some of the worst I’ve ever seen from a director, there isn’t any amount of care, talent or interest shown. I also don’t care if Sia claims she did “years of research” because her directing or the movie doesn’t show that at the slightest. For starters the “meltdown” scenes are played as entertainment it straight up mocks real situations like this and there’s no lesson learned. Then there’s the prone restraint scene, when I first watched this movie back in February I had to pause the movie for a good five minutes because I was so angry about this scene. Prone restraint has KILLED autistic people and has been proven time and time again that it shouldn’t be done, so what does the movie do? It basically says “this is what you do to autistic people when they are going through trauma or a bad episode.” What this tells me is Sia didn’t bother to do any research, or didn’t bother to make her direction into something that could be learned.
Finally there was also no excuse
Run released in November 202 which starred Kiera Allen a actress who uses a wheelchair, it was met with very positive reviews (one of my favorite films of 2020)
A Few months before The Sound Of Metal was released and that had deaf actors plus Riz Ahmed was actually taught sign language for his part in the movie. Sound Of Metal went on to getting nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars!
Best Summer Ever was released 2 months later in April which actors and actresses who have disabilities the film was reviewed very positively and is one of my favorites of 2021! (I highly recommend checking it out it’s quite amazing)
CODA which was released in August 2021 had def actors and is a film that was met with so much love and care that it could end up in the Oscar’s best picture lineup (its doing very well this award season)
So it’s amazing to me how Sia miserably failed at doing research, it just leads back to my main point about this movie….a lack of research and caring. From it’s acting, writing and directing Music is by far the worst movie of 2021 and is something I truly hope nobody ever repeats again.
This might not have damaged Sia’s career but this movie sure did destroy not only her credibility but her reputation as well. And that is why Music is the worst movie of 2021..
Paul Thomas Anderson once again does a successful job of bringing the viewer into his world and the film’s world. In this case 1970s San Fernando Valley it instantly draws you in with beautiful filming and incredibly well done shots. The film itself feels very dreamlike but at the same time feels very real once it starts to get down to the meat of the film. Alana Haim gives one of the best performances of the year, this is her debut role and her talent is on full display. She goes all out with her performance and truly delivers. She plays Alana a character who is still trying to figure herself out in the world, then there’s Cooper Hoffman (the son of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman) who is absolutely fantastic as well, he plays Gary Valentine a teen who’s very charismatic. Gary is 15 and Alana is 25 it’s story about how said relationship can’t happen (due to obvious reasons) but tells that in a interesting way, both capture the mannerisms of a teen and adult and show how completely different each one is. The style of the film is truly beautiful, it’s shot on 35mm film while using older lenses in order to create the film’s 1970s texture or give it that type of feel. The film at times feels like a fairytale mainly due to the style of the film and the brilliant screenplay from PTA, the writing truly reflects the 1970s and goes for an incredibly raw feel that’s all the more powerful. The editing is spot on, it helps create a ton of character moments that give the viewer a lot of information about the characters, how they feel, what they are thinking and so on. It’s one of the strongest cases of character study I’ve seen in a film this year, Bradley Cooper is also an incredibly fun addition to the cast. He truly brings a lot of energy and humor to the film that truly captures the film’s mood, the use of color is masterfully done. So many scenes pop out to the viewer and many more scenes just stick with you, Licorice Pizza is one of the best crafted films of 2021 and it’s easy to see why, from the filming, editing, color, story, acting and so on. PTA truly creates a film that is truly special, it’s the type of filmmaking that truly makes you proud to be a fan of film!
The last half of 2021 has really delivered a ton of surprises when it comes to film and Encanto is absolutely no exception. Before going into the film I was prepared for another nothing special about it Disney film that wouldn’t do anything interesting. Encanto is quite different, first off the characters are all actually really well done. The writing for this film feels much more grounded and feels like the writers wanted to give the characters their own personality and dive more into said personalities rather than just list them and that’s it. It really dives deep into family themes such as relationships and how families can be flawed, when you compare Encanto to a lot of other Disney films that have released over the last few years you can tell it’s very different. The world building is also quite incredible, it shows both the light and the dark side of the world and establishes early on how much the world means to the characters. The music is some of the best from a Disney film in quite awhile, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s choice of music is absolutely spot on and matches the tone, energy and style the film is going for. Which leads to the cast who have beautiful singing voices and completely hit it out of the park when it comes to emotions, each song really hits the viewer with a different emotion. As well as each song having it’s own identity with a lot of energy and strength put into them, overall Encanto is truly a charming film that surprised me. It’s one of the best films of the year make sure to watch this one.
Let’s just get right into it, Don’t Look Up is a film that is just a complete and total mess. A few things I actually do like include, Jennifer Lawrence’s performance which it’s great to see her get back into acting it’s just such a shame the movie itself isn’t good. I liked the more quiet moments between the characters, during those moments it felt like the movie was trying to say something meaningful but then goes right back to being a unfunny satire. Lastly there’s the final 20 or so minutes that were genuinely interesting with actual decent writing and character moments….it’s too bad the rest of the movie couldn’t had been like that. As for the rest of the movie it’s a complete and total mess, I understand that the movie isn’t trying to be subtle at all, but this just goes beyond that. It treats the audience like they are dumb and explains way too much meanwhile trying to be a satire that isn’t funny at all. Most of the performances are terrible, while some are definitely better than others a lot of them feel either phoned in or just reach the line of coming off as very annoying. Lastly it feels way too long with such dreadfully slow pacing, there’s a ton of scenes that could have easily been cut and feel like nothing more than to act like it’s somehow having a hidden meaning. Overall Don’t Look Up is a complete and total mess, which like Being The Ricardos I have no idea why this is being celebrated when it comes to the award season.