With a global pandemic wreaking havoc on the global box office and our ability to watch movies on the big screen, it became a year of watching whatever we could at home. With some streaming services offering up titles as premium rentals on their service or launching their originals. It also saw a movie we’d never thought would get released… get released.
Some titles ended up on multiple lists and one list is vastly different from the rest. Without any further ado whatsoever I present our 2021 top 10 films.
Justin covered multiple festivals for us this year and, as such, saw a much more varied list of movies then the rest of the EyeCrave.Net team.
Here is his top 10 in no particular order:
- Alone With You
- Green Knight
- I’m your Man
- Language Lessons
- Licorice Pizza
- Red Rocket
- Tick Tick Boom
Alexander, being in France, faced different obstacles than those of us in Canada faced. His access to the movies was different, but he still managed to see Dune three weeks before North America and if I’m not mistaken, it’s his favourite of the year. Here is his list, in no particular order.
- Dear Future Children
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- The Last Duel
- No time to Die
- Last Night in Soho
- Free Guy
- The Mitchells vs the Machines
- Little Fish
Honourable mention: Mogul Mowgli
Axel is returning in a limited capacity next year to EyeCrave.Net. His witty and stylish posts and reviews have been missed. To get you ready for the return of the Arthur Ellis Award nominated writer, Axel provided us with his TOP 10 of 2021.
10 The Velvet Underground – Todd Haynes somehow nails the nihilistic post-hippy, pre-punk aesthetic and lost intellectualism of vintage NYC and the most influential underground band in rock history.
9 The Suicide Squad – Is there anyone out there who didn’t need this R-rated super-romp rollercoaster of violence and comedy from Jimmy Gunn to ease our apocalyptic growing pains? John Cena is hereby anointed King of R-Comedy Action, and D**k eating on the beach.
8 The Harder They Fall – Despite the basic revenge plot and a teetering mountain of clichés that could have become a catastrophic rockslide at any moment, this turns out to be the most badass and excitingly revisionist western in years. The explosively talented cast turns it into a masterpiece of the genre.
7 Black Widow – Scar-Jo finally gets her chance to shine in the MCU, post-Captain Marvel, and delivers an equally girl-powered piece of excellent action and edge-of-your-seat thrills. Florence Pugh proves to be the perfect successor for the title of Black Widow, and David Harbour steals all the scenes with his hilariously gruff and oblivious Red Guardian.
6 The Mitchells vs The Machines – The hopeful, cheery beauty of this animated family road-trip, apocalypse survival, man vs machine, daddy-daughter comedy is exactly the film 2021 needed, even if it isn’t what most of us may have deserved. If there’s any justice, this one will go down as a new classic.
5 The Sparks Brothers – Edgar Wright explores the weirdest band you’ve quite possibly never heard of, despite their 50+ year career. An exceedingly fun combination of footage, animations, and interviews with almost every musician in the history of modern music, all extolling the virtues, and explaining the hidden influence of Ron and Russell Mael, the maestros behind Sparks.
4 Boss Level – Joe Carnahan at the top of his action game, with a bazonkers Groundhog Day meets Edge of Tomorrow video game adrenaline thrill ride. Full to the brim with action clichés, and all the things that make other action flicks boring as hell, this one elevates everything to an art form, with Frank Grillo proving once again that he’s the modern Last Action Hero. Also, added points for the criminally under-employed Naomi Watts and the legendary Michelle Yeoh.
3 Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings / Gunpowder Milkshake – Double extra Michelle Yeoh action! As a lifelong fan of the Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu comics, I was trepidatious at best about the MCU adaptation, but director Destin Cretton and his fantastic cast – including Yeoh, Simu Liu, and a totally charming Awkwafina – crafted an exceptional and beautiful film that finally mainstreams Asian culture and action in a way that has been waiting to happen since Bruce Lee and Enter the Dragon. Gunpowder Milkshake, on the other hand, is the female-led, racially inclusive mixture of John Wick and The Expendables that proves that sisters can not only do it for themselves, but do it better too.
2 Spider-Man: No Way Home – As a web-head since birth, and as a Dad taking his equally web-headed kids to the first in-theatre movie in literally years, The Spidermen Movie had a lot to live up to. Tom Holland and his usual coterie of teenage compatriots does a fine job here, but it was the multiversal elements with the old villains and other surprises that had us actively holding ourselves down in our seats, holding our breath, and cheering in more than one part. Absolute fan-boy dream come true.
1 Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror – From Canadian documentarian and horror-scholar Kier-La Janisse (and, full disclosure, edited by my old buddy Don Adams) this three-hour documentary on the history of Folk Horror seems daunting, but is so expertly crafted and so lovingly detailed that it goes by like a dream, covering everything from the 60’s British stalwarts like Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man, through various cultures and timelines that have unveiled a world of weird, wonderful and terrifying traditional and cultural stories the world over all the way up to the new wave of films like Midsommar and Curse of La Llorona. And, if you’re a freak like me, you can get a super-deluxe 15-disc box set from Severin Films called All The Haunts Be Ours that includes Woodlands Dark along with 19 rare and mostly otherwise unavailable films from around the world that are touched on in the documentary.
Shane MacDonald – Owner
2021 was a hard year for me to narrow down my list to just 10. There were some movies I really enjoyed that fell of the TOP 10 list. Movies like: Eternals, Raya and the Last Dragon, The Suicide Squad, Finch and Army of Thieves all missed the cut, but I discuss them often with friends and family. However, despite the pandemic this was a great year for film.
10 Army of the Dead – Zack Snyder’s return to zombies is a much more layered film that at first glance. Zombies from space, robot zombies, smart zombies, dumb zombies, time loops… It’s a rewatchable heist movie that leaves you asking questions.
9 Cruella – Without a doubt Cruella had one of the best movie soundtracks of 2021, but it was also a great flick as well. It was much better than I thought it was going to be thanks to strong performances from Emma Stone and Emma Thompson.
8 Werewolves Within – Finally, a movie based on a videogame that was just straight fun to watch. Although, I had the digital screener for 4-days I watched it 3-times just to enjoy the ride.
7 Free Guy – Ryan Reynolds being Ryan Reynolds in the right role is awesome. From RomComs to an action star I honestly can’t get enough of his deadpan humour. He’s accompanied by Jodie Comer who steals nearly every scene she’s in. The supporting cast is fun, and the Channing Tatum cameos… LOL.
6 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Going into to this film I knew very little about Shang-Chi, but was excited after having watched Simu Liu in several seasons of Kim’s Convenience. Plus, Awkwafina , Michelle Yoeh and Tony Leung… amazing cast. Amazing film. Amazing cultural filled MCU movie.
5 Ghostbusters: Afterlife – The Ghostbusters sequel we deserve. Jason Reitman and his co-writer, Gil Kenan, just gave us a lesson on how to create a new entry into a highly classic film franchise. Afterlife not only manages to pay homage to the original films but also relaunch the Ghostbusters’ intellectual property. For me the last attempt failed because it attempted to reuse the exact same gags that were successful in 1984 instead of trying to be its own thing.
4 The Mitchells vs The Machines – I almost stole what Axel wrote, but this animated daddy-daughter/family road-trip/survive the apocalypse comedy is exactly the movie we need this year. The story is goofy, fun, and imaginative and is burned into my memory for life.
3 DUNE – part one – I’m one of those people who loved the original movie with its cheesy visual effects. However, Villeneuve’s DUNE filled a few gaps in the story for me while being both visually striking and engaging. It’s masterful storytelling and visuals have already gone down as some of the best we’ve ever seen on film.
2 Spider-Man: No Way Home – The multi-verse is real and its incredible invitation into the MCU. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked and was on the edge of my seat for so much of the movie. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man had the rug pulled out from under him and had to grow up fast… and somehow the action-packed film was filled with just the right amount of story to weave it all together.
1 Zack Snyder’s Justice League – This is the movie I wanted to see in 2016. Maybe not this 4-hour version, but the one with heart, story and loads of action. For the first time in History a director was able to restore his vision before it was lost, and Zack Snyder milked every minute he could out of what he had shot in 2016 before having to leave the project due to a family tragedy. This movie is a love letter to superheroes.
There you have it, our TOP 10 of 2021. What made your list?