Top 10 Best Films of 2021 So Far
The greatest films we could see in cinemas or on streaming platforms over the first half of the year.
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First 6 months of 2021 have gone. by, and even though the cinemas were closed for the first few months, the summer season brought them back. What's more, many high-quality films were screened in smaller club cinemas or on streaming platforms, so we had no problem choosing the 10 great ones we've liked the most so far.
10. Judas and the Black Messiah (directed by Shaka King)
It's quite clear from the title already that this is a movie about betrayal. If you know the history of Fred Hampton, the leader of a radical political and social group for black rights, you probably know what to expect from the film.
If you're not into history, a technically great biographical drama awaits you. Telling the story about how African Americans in the United States had to face, in addition to ordinary violence, assassinations by the police or the FBI.
Patience was bound to run out at some point, so the Black Panthers decide to fight for their lives, even if it takes starting a small war. The film could be more exciting, more emotional and more captivating though. Although the acting performances are fantastic, the impression quickly fades away. Due to the quality of other films this year and the theme, we decided that the film deserves its spot in a top 10.
9. Raya and the Last Dragon (dir. Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada)
We had high expectations from the movie based on the great trailers, especially in terms of animation and fighting styles. Asian characters and culture, along with the story's focus on adventure, promised an entertaining film with the potential for an original theme. In the film, Raya discovers the last living dragon, with whom she tries to save the surrounding lands from the sheer evil they're consumed by.
Actually, the film was really satisfying by the means of its animation, although it was perceptible at times that the filmmakers must've had their hands tied due to working from home. We evaluate the plot, the main characters, the conclusion and especially the acting performances of all participants positively. It's definitely one of the better Disney animated movies.
8. The Mitchells vs Machines (dir. Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe)
This animation movie is an example of how animation movies should be done. The creators of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse supported the ideas of rookie animators which turned out to be quite funny (however, this humor is not gonna sit well with everyone). Especially, it's a unique animated film about an unconventional and not quite functional family.
Despite their dysfunction, they became the last family that wasn't captured by the robots. The film has a nice message, which is presented to the viewer with an apocalyptic story about how artificial intelligence defies humanity and wants to destroy it. The trailer will introduce the film to you perfectly, and we just hope that the fresh style of animation and humor will sit well with you.
7. Nobody (dir. Ilya Naishuller)
John Wick's screenwriter and director of the famous action and revolutionary film Hardcore Henry have teamed up to create a real action hit. Instead of typical action stars, they gave a chance to Bob Odenkirk (you might know him as Saul from Breaking Bad).
The 58-year-old actor has been training hard for 2 years and it's visible in the film. His character is a former special agent who attacks a dangerous Russian gang in order to protect his family.
The film boasts one of the best action scenes of recent years (the battle on the bus) and overall very decent pace and nice characters. The action is captivating and it's perfectly filmed using some real original ideas. Unfortunately, the film is spoiled by the over-the-top finale, when the positive heroes kill dozens of mobsters, which breaks the overall authenticity of the film.
6. Pieces of a Woman (dir. Kornél Mundruczó)
We won't be surprised if actress Vanessa Kirby receives an Oscar nomination for her performance in this drama. Kirby managed an extremely demanding role, both physically and mentally. Right at the beginning of the film, her beloved baby dies just a few seconds after birth, which completely turns her life and her marriage upside down.
Did the doula fail, as a woman trained at home birth assistance? Did an accident happen? The film doesn't address the issue of the fact that some parents decide to risk the lives of mothers and children when they refuse to give birth in the hospital.
Instead, it captures the impact of the loss of the child on the whole family, especially the newlyweds. Great acting performances, authentically conceived story, interesting characters that you can relate to and hate at the same time, and the fantastic direction of the Hungarian Kornél Mundruczó. All of the above contributed to the creation of a very decent drama, whose painful introduction will break even the toughest guy.
5. Promising Young Woman (dir. Emerald Fennell)
The plot tells the story of an adult and attractive woman, Cassandra (Carey Mulligan), who uses her appearance to entice men. Not any ordinary men. She only chooses those who have sexually harassed or directly raped women. She wants revenge on behalf of all defenseless women who have experienced something similar in their lives. Cassandra never came to peace with her best friend at school being raped by a bunch of boys.
It ruined her life, which she now fills with revenge. One day, she meets a man who can awaken her feelings and desire to live a real life. But what happens next is a mixture of intertwining genres, plot twists, and unexpected, exciting situations. The film has an incredibly strong conclusion and an important message. Also, the actors are excellent.
4. Malcolm & Marie (dir. Sam Levinson)
John David Washington is Malcolm, a successful film director, and Zendaya is Marie, his devoted girlfriend. They are returning from the premiere of Malcolm's huge hit, but something is wrong. Instead of celebrating, they argue all night and, in an effort to hurt one another, they go really deep into each other's past and problems.
Malcolm and Marie have a toxic relationship, and those who have not experienced it will never understand why the authentic depiction of such dynamic in this film is so great. It's sad when someone identifies with this story and film, like we did, but even more so when the person is able to appreciate the complexity of the story, the dialogues and the breathtaking acting performances. Malcolm & Marie is not boring and it gets uncomfortably deep under the skin.
3. Father (dir. Florian Zeller)
Anthony Hopkins won his second Oscar at the age of 83 for this drama. The plot focuses on Anthony (Hopkins) in retirement. He lives with his daughter (Olivia Colman) and her new friend from France, who she wants to move. in with But leaving Anthony alone would be dangerous. He suffers from dementia and possibly Alzheimer's disease as well.
Anthony is convinced that he doesn't need any extra care and that he can take perfect care of himself. The viewer watches the story from his point of view, so like Anthony, he is confused by what is happening on the screen. Anthony does not recognize his own daughter, forgets who lives in his apartment, and gradually fails to distinguish the reality from memories, past and fiction.
The film focuses on the hardships a person like Anthony experiences due to these diseases. It doesn't try too hard, yet it emotionally crushes the viewer at the end, when the story escalates in a dizzying way and all the pain and authentic human suffering penetrates under the skin. Hopkins certainly deserved that Oscar. In addition to great acting performances, you will also enjoy the direction and the minimalism feel that will never get old.
2. Riders of Justice (dir. Anders Thomas Jensen)
What do you get by combining the forces of Mads Mikkelsen and director Anders Thomas Jensen? A great movie. Their fifth act together surpasses even their great drama Adam's Apples. Story focuses on the soldier Markus (Mads Mikkelsen). He returns home after his wife and the mother of his daughter dies in an accident. However, shortly after the funeral, a man who survived the accident appears in front of Mikkelsen and tells him that his wife's death was not an accident.
He has no direct evidence to his claim, but he's been working with probability of chance and numbers all his life. He finds that too many almost unrealistic coincidences are part of this tragedy, and that the mob must have something to do with this event. Markus decides to neglect his mental state and the upbringing of his daughter. He charges his weapon and goes hunting for mobsters.
The Danish film is full of great ideas, brilliantly directed scenes and acting performances that up the quality of the story even higher. The film also has an excellent twist, but too much of a "dreamy" happy end. Despite of that, we really enjoyed it and we can only recommend the cinema visit. Mads Mikkelsen has done it again.
1. A Quiet Place 2 (dir. John Krasinski)
The sequel to the great thriller from 2018 didn't quite fit with everyone. In fact, it's a not very significant sequel, which doesn't fundamentally change the structure of the unit and is essentially the same. Only a different packaging. Technically, however, it still works absolutely perfectly. In the cinema we often held our breath during a few intense scenes.
John Krasinski is an amazing director and we hope that he will start making other films soon. However, we will never decline another part of the Quiet Place. Once again, we were pleased with the well-written characters and chilling scenes, that kept us glued to our seats. For us, this concept and the form of storytelling still work perfectly, so we enjoyed Quiet Place 2 to the fullest. If you want to watch the film, definitely make sure to do so at the cinema and not at home.
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