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Best Movies of 2021

2021

Movies in theaters were back in 2021! But, because of the persisting fear of COVID, there were a lot of films that were still released on streaming platforms alongside or in lieu of theaters. For this reason, this year’s list will include movies I saw in the theater as well as through streaming. So here it goes, I’m going with a top 14 (it’s my blog and I can do what I want) – 

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There are movie experiences you never forget and seeing Dune: Part One in IMAX was one of those experiences for me. This, like Star Wars, is a movie that was made to utilize the theater in every way possible. Villeneuve immersed you in sound and spectacle in ways difficult to describe and are better experienced. There are movies made from books where they might not be 100% faithful to the source, yet the soul of the source is fully felt throughout the movie, Dune is one such film. Hands down, best picture of the year and it will leave you eagerly anticipating part two. Don’t miss The 602 Club review!

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This is a beautiful film about loss, life, forgiveness and the connections between all of us. Nicolas Cage has never been better in this movie about a world class chef who has left it all for solace in the woods outside of Portland. He spends his days truffle hunting with his faithful pig and when that pig is murdered it leads Cage’s character on the hunt for the killer. This might sound like the strangest movie of the year, but it is well worth your time and can be found streaming on HULU. 

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Kenneth Branugh’s love letter to the city of Belfast is devastating. It is a movie about the impact of home and the loss felt when we find it needs to be left. The performances are outstanding by everyone here. This is also one of the most beautiful movies of the year, almost completely in black and white, the cinematography is stunning. Well worth your time. 

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The Dig is based on the novel by John Preston which reimagines the discovery and excavation of Sutton Hoo. As with the films before it on my list, it is another who’s cinematography is absolutely stunning. Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes give outstanding performances as kindred spirits who find ways to support one another when no one else believes in them. You can find the film on Netflix!

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No movie has been more of a cultural force than Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Since the debacle of Joss Whedon’s version in 2017, fans have mobilized on social media with the hashtag #ReleasetheSnyderCut. Turns out, fans were right. Snyder delivered the goods, proving that he knew what he was doing all along. Building perfectly on Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman, ZSJL thrills in this expansive, 4 hour epic. DC Comics would do well to learn their lesson and give fans the end of the Snyderverse with the second and third Justice League films. This is the best and most ambitious comic book movie ever made. Don’t miss the episode from Snyder Cuts and The 602 Club

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This may be the most esoteric film on my list. This movie is adapted from the 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Dev Patel gives a phenomenal performance as the title character. This film is about the arrogance of youth and misunderstood manhood.  It’s incredibly shot and stunning to look at. The more I thought about this movie, the more it stood out to me. I know I’ll be returning to it soon.

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Wes Anderson is back in what may be the most Andersonian film he’s made. This movie is a series of short stories meant to mimic the style of the magazine it is about. There are three sections, “The Concrete Masterpiece”, “Revisions to a Manifesto” and “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner”. I enjoyed the first and the third the best, personally. This will not be a movie for everyone but I found it utterly delightful. 

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Yes Ridley Scott made a lot noise about how and why his film underperformed at the box office but that should not distract from how good this movie is. Once you get past the terrible choices they made for Damon and Affleck’s hair in the film, you’ll be immersed in a movie that is all about the truth. I was stunned with how moving the film was. It is split into three parts, each one telling the story of what happened from the points of view of the three main characters. This is not a movie for the faint of heart, but I think it is worth watching and discussing. 

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If there was a movie I thought never needed a sequel it was A Quiet PlaceIt was just so perfect and I just couldn’t imagine it being followed up and being half as good. Thankfully, John Krasinski proved me to be completely wrong in his second directorial effort. A Quiet Place: Part II is not just good, it is as good as the original. Like the first film the performances are outstanding and the cinematography is gorgeous. I’ve rarely been so happy to be proven wrong about a film. Don’t miss The 602 Club review. 

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The final film in the Daniel Craig era has finally been released. I’d been waiting for this since April of 2020 and it was my most anticipated movie of the year next to Zack Snyder’s Justice League. I really liked this movie and I felt like it wrapped up the story for Craig’s Bond very well. I love that he has a full arc, from start to finish with his version of the character. Craig gives this movie everything he has and leaves nothing on the table. If this was the last James Bond movie, it is a fitting end to 60 years of the character. Don’t miss The 602 Club review! 

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This was one of the last films I saw in the theater this year and may be the most surprising. I saw this in the final week of 2021, sandwiched between Licorice Pizza and Nightmare Alley, two movies that I thought might make this list. Neither of them did but The King’s Man does. I’ve not really liked the previous entries in this series, they’ve felt like ridiculously over-the-top, Roger Moore Bond films. The King’s Man is a prequel to the other two movies and is what I’d hoped they would be. It is a more serious and earthbound film, that has a much more constant tone throughout than the first two. It’s also a movie that has heart. I’m actually excited to see it again and it’s one I’ll be adding to my collection once it is released for home. 

q48q205top181I’ve not really liked the previous MCU films for the character of Spider-Man. He’s never felt like Peter Parker because they’d stripped him of the emotional core that makes the character who he is. Thankfully this has been rectified in No Way Home. This is another film in 2021 that knew exactly how to use nostalgia perfectly. If only the Star Wars sequels could have been this good. The movie is not without its issues but it comes together in the end, well. Don’t miss The 602 Club review. 

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These days almost every movie that comes out is based on some kind of IP, thankfully Free Guy is not. This movie is so much fun and has so much joy to it. There are some incredible themes of true love, redemption and salvation in it as well. This was one of the feel good movies of the year and perfect for the whole family! Don’t miss The 602 Club review!

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I was really worried about this movie going into it. The previous Ghostbusters movie had been such a train wreck so I didn’t know what to expect with this one. Honestly, it was wonderful. This is proof that you can do nostalgia right. Afterlife pays homage to the past and also introduces a whole new generation of characters perfectly. In all honestly, I hope this is the final film in the series because I don’t see how they can improve on this (even though I know it will not be). Don’t miss The 602 Club review. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Dream Horse
  • Stillwater
  • Nobody
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Army of the Dead
  • King Richard

Worst Movies of 2021:

  • The Eternals 
  • Mortal Combat 
  • Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard