Written by: Matt Patti | December 21st, 2021
After a down year, in terms of film output, due to the coronavirus pandemic, I was greatly looking forward to 2021. Not only were there many movies that were supposed to have been released in 2020 that would be pushed to this year, but 2021 had its own great slate to offer, as well. In fact, there were so many major films that came out this year that I found it difficult to keep up with them all and admittedly missed quite a few that I would have liked to see. Nevertheless, I was still able to still catch a vast array of amazing offerings, from indies to blockbusters. The below list is comprised of a combination of some films I’ve reviewed for Film Festival Today and some that I have not. For those I have reviewed, I have hyperlinked the titles to my reviews. For those I have not, I provide a short summary of my thoughts and link to the movie’s website. So, without further ado, enjoy the Top 10 films (in order of preference) from what I have seen in 2021!
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (Jon Watts): With Spider-Man being my favorite superhero—and growing up with the many film and TV iterations of him—my excitement for this film and the return of many iconic villains from those earlier films was sky-high. Not only does the film deliver on an exciting, nostalgia-filled journey, but also, to my surprise, the film contains exquisite character development and heavy emotional weight, with an outstanding performance by Tom Holland and many mature themes that seal it as not only the best film of the year, but the best Spider-Man film of all time.
- The Night House (David Bruckner)
- Dune (Denis Villeneuve): Stunning cinematography, impressive worldbuilding, exceptional performances, and the masterful direction of Denis Villeneuve combine to make Dune one of the best science-fiction films of recent years.
- A Quiet Place Part II (John Krasinski): Though not quite as refined as the first film, A Quiet Place Part II is an excellent continuation of the franchise that still offers the suspense and thrills of the original while expanding upon its unique, enthralling world.
- Godzilla vs. Kong (Adam Wingard): King Kong and Godzilla have been on a path to collision ever since Universal started its “Monsterverse” with 2014’s Godzilla and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island. This clash of titans was well worth the wait, as not only do the action sequences not disappoint, but the film also lets each monster’s personality shine through to extremely satisfying results.
- Malignant (James Wan): A love-it-or-hate-it film that has proven very divisive amongst audience members, Malignant is a very unique breath of fresh air for the horror genre. Suspenseful, mysterious, and filled with James Wan’s signature flair and a jaw-dropping third-act twist, Malignant is a memorable horror film that is a pleasure to see released in today’s world, even if it is a much different film than I, and many others, expected.
- I Care a Lot (J Blakeson): Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage excel in their respective roles as a crooked legal guardian and Russian mobster. A dark comedy and crime-thriller hybrid, the film shines a harsh light on the cruel, unbelievable schemes that the elderly sometimes fall prey to and how some people make a living by taking control of other people’s lives.
- The End of Us (Steven Kanter/Henry Loevner)
- Superhost (Brandon Christensen)
- Army of the Dead (Zack Snyder): A zombie film that is unlike any other I’ve seen, Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead thrills with a mixture of horror and action, and contains intriguing characters, the most surprising of which are a vast array of unique, distinct zombies, adding a human-like element to the undead.