The 10 best movies of 2021
For moviegoers and casual viewers, 2021 marked a slow but sure return to cinema. The reopening of cinemas has seen a gradual resurgence of long-awaited blockbusters, from ‘Dune’ to ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’. The return of the in-person festival circuit has produced many critical favorites, from “Titanium” to “Drive My Car”, while streaming services have never been more eager to put a collective foot in the season of rewards, with Netflix, for example. , releasing “The Power of the Dog” by Jane Campion and “Passing” by Rebecca Hall.
As my journey as a budding cinephile continues, I myself have seen my share of films that have inspired, fascinated, entertained and baffled me. As we begin a new year with uncertainty and hope for the future of cinema, here I present the 10 best films of 2021 (including 11 that almost made the cut). Take the trip watching these movies and then come back to reality, rewarded and a little more enlightened to deal with it.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Read the full review of The Maroon: With “Dune”, Denis Villeneuve has created an imposing science fiction film in line with his other equally impressive works. Its status as the first part of a sprawling work may strike some viewers as a long prologue representing next to nothing, but it’s honestly a better take on the mess that is David Lynch’s version. That being said, the “Dune” of Villeneuve is a grandiose spectacle whose ambition extends to the panoramic and spicy deserts of Arrakis.
“Dune” is now available for rental or purchase online.
9. West Side History
Director: Steven Spielberg
From the first frame, it becomes clear that Steven Spielberg hasn’t lost his cinematic flair in his modern update of the 1957 Broadway play, which had already been adapted for the big screen in 1961 by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise. . Thrilling, memorable and heartfelt, Spielberg’s “West Side Story” is the epic and resounding culmination of a recurring series of musicals released in 2021.
“West Side Story” is out in theaters now.
8. The Velvet Underground
Director: Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes’ first musical documentary exemplifies the unconventional style of its main subjects: the rock band formed by Lou Reed and John Cale in the 1960s that went on to smash countless boundaries for the genre. “The Velvet Underground” is more than a tribute to the band, as it also evokes a feverish atmospheric portrait of New York City by paying homage to the 1960s experimental cinema of Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage with its form. Better played loud.
Click on here to watch “The Velvet Underground” on Apple TV+.
7. The French Dispatch
Director: Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson strikes again with visually lavish delight. “The French Dispatch” reads like a charming visual representation of a particularly brilliant magazine, and while its singular, invigorating vision may end up alienating casual viewers, it’s a cinematic treat. Not that it’s entirely pleasing to the eyes at the expense of substance, as Anderson’s eclectic and quirky characters deal with the wonders and unpredictability of the world in their own entertaining way.
“The French Dispatch” is now available for rental or purchase online.
6. Soul Summer
Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Much like Todd Haynes, Questlove’s first musical documentary bursts with unparalleled energy in its celebration of a series of open-air concerts in Harlem in 1969. “Summer of Soul” features live performances by black musical legends such as Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, the Staple Singers, Mahalia Jackson and Nina Simone, intercut with interviews with musicians and fans reminiscing about the Harlem Cultural Festival. It’s a beautiful time capsule of a historical event that also shows why art – and music – matter.
Click on here to watch “Summer of Soul” on Hulu.
5. Red Rocket
Director: Sean Baker
Sean Baker’s Last Slice of Americana Life is singularly entertaining, with a wonderful performance from Simon Rex as pornstar Mikey Saber. He may be an unlikable fictional character with his sleazy and enterprising ways, but at the same time, he’s no different from many colorful characters who populate the outer fringes of American society. Saber may be emblematic of the narcissistic cycle America finds itself in, but Baker does a great job grounding him as an empathetic opportunist.
“Red Rocket” is available in theaters now.
Director: Pablo Larrain
Read the full review for The Maroon: Legacy is out of your hands once they’re gone, but Pablo Larraín rocks the late Princess Diana’s vocal suppression and strength in “Spencer.” Kristen Stewart’s performance fits the ambiguous nature of the biopic. While she doesn’t mysteriously blend into an exact replica of Diana, her humanity and hushed nature are familiar. As we follow this woman through the persecution, we sympathize with her helplessness, hoping for her peace and release.
“Spencer” is now available for rental or purchase online.
3. The power of the dog
Director: Jane Campion
Jane Campion returns after 12 years with an understated but ultimately satisfying gothic western. “The Power of the Dog” holds nothing back in silence as it strips away toxic masculinity, personified in Benedict Cumberbatch’s powerful performance as the dominating rancher Phil. With equally strong performances from Kirsten Dunst and Kodi-Smith McPhee, plus a lingering score from Jonny Greenwood, the film simmers with sexual tension, jealousy and resentment.
Click on here to watch “The Power of the Dog” on Netflix.
2. Licorice Pizza
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson presents a beautifully crafted epic tapestry of American cinema with “Licorice Pizza”. Watching it feels like chasing a cinematic pinnacle, as it explores the tricky machinations of young love as well as the relentless need to be accepted as someone. Featuring stunning performances from newcomers Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, PTA’s latest film takes a trip to a fleeting moment when adolescence made you want to conquer the world.
“Licorice Pizza” is now available in theaters.
Directed by: Julia Ducournau
Fresh off her cannibalistic debut “Raw”, Julia Ducournau presents an unpredictable and thrilling second feature. “Titane” might as well be a much-needed boost for movies this year, as it finds the French director in clear command of her lifelong fascination with gruesome body horror. Moreover, beneath the collision of industrial waste with malleable human flesh lurks an unexpected modern tale of companionship in these troubled times.
“Titanium” is now available for rental or purchase online.
Honorable mentions include:
“The Green Knight” (David Lowery), “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Shaka King), “Quo Vadis, Aida?” (Jasmila Žbanić), “Bergman Island” (Mia Hansen-Løve), “C’mon C’mon” (Mike Mills), “Pig” (Michael Sarnoski), “The Hand of God” (Paolo Sorrentino), “Shiva Baby” (Emma Seligman), “CODA” (Sian Heder), “Shithouse” (Cooper Raiff) and “Sweat” (Magnus von Horn).