With 5 Honorable Mentions
74% Rotten Tomatoes 58% Metacritic 5 stars
Antonio LeBlanc is a Korean adoptee raised in a small town in the Louisiana bayou. He’s married to the love of his life, Kathy, and raising his beloved stepdaughter, Jessie. Struggling to make a better life for his family, he must soon confront the ghosts of his past after learning that he could be deported from the only country he’s ever called home.
This film has a great message about family and what is considered citizenship. Justin Chon is a revelation as an actor as well as a director. This is such an ingenious film. Focus Features dropped the ball on pushing this film for awards. It has a distinct style that I haven’t seen in any film before or after this year.
Release date: September 17, 2021 (USA)
Directed by Justin Chon
The Michell’s vs The Machines
97% Rotten Tomatoes 80% Metacritic 4 1/2 *s
Young Katie Mitchell embarks on a road trip with her proud parents, younger brother and beloved dog to start her first year at film school. But their plans to bond as a family soon get interrupted when the world’s electronic devices come to life to stage an uprising. With help from two friendly robots, the Mitchells must now come together to save one another — and the planet — from the new technological revolution.
What a nice family-oriented animated film. Lord and Miller captured this whole sci-fi vibe while also capturing the family dynamic. The animation is like nothing I’ve ever seen before as well. This should win the Best Animated Feature Academy Award in 2022. This film was so much fun. Netflix has a winner on its hands.
Initial Release Date: April 23, 2021
Directed by Michael Rianda
86% Rotten Tomatoes 77% Metacritic 4 1/2 *s
A semi-autobiographical film which chronicles the life of a working class family and their young son’s childhood during the tumult of the late 1960s in the Northern Ireland capital.
This film is a nice slice-of-life story about Kenneth Branagh’s childhood growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland in the tumultuous time of the ’60s and ’70s during the Irish civil war. It has great performances from newcomer Jude Hill, Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds, Caitriona Balfe, and Judi Dench, as well as beautiful cinematography, a great score, and music by Van Morrison. It will surely garner a lot of Oscar buzz.
Release date: September 2, 2021 (USA)
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
A Quiet Place II
91% Rotten Tomatoes 71% Metacritic 5 stars
Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.
Starting where the last one left off, John Krasinski knows how to cut the tension with a knife. It’s so good, almost as good as the original film. Millicent Simmonds is amazing in this the second film in the story. The visual effects, cinematography, and acting by all are very good. This film looks and sounds amazing.
Release date: May 28, 2021 (USA)
Directed by John Krasinski
The Green Knight
89% Rotten Tomatoes 85% Metacritic 5 stars
King Arthur’s headstrong nephew embarks on a daring quest to confront the Green Knight, a mysterious giant who appears at Camelot. Risking his head, he sets off on an epic adventure to prove himself before his family and court.
This is one of the best-looking films all year. The score and look of the film are nothing compared to the tension it has throughout. You can cut it like a knife. Dev Patel gives the performance of his career. David Lowery has made an absolute masterpiece on all levels.
Release date: July 30, 2021 (USA)
Directed byDavid Lowery
96% Rotten Tomatoes 86% Metacritic 5 stars
10: The Rescue
‘The Rescue’ chronicles the dramatic 2018 rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach, trapped deep inside a flooded cave.
What an incredible true story. What went on to rescue these people from this cave system in the Philippines was incredible. The filmmakers did a great job covering this story from all angles. This is an amazing achievement in filmmaking. This is what documentaries are supposed to be like
Release Date: October 8, 2021 (USA)
96% Rotten Tomatoes 80% Metacritic 5 stars
9: A Hero
A man in prison for debt tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint during a two-day leave, but things don’t go as planned.
Asghar Farhadi has created another uniquely Iranian story in this film. He can create stories everybody can get behind while also creating great films as well. The fact that there are no known actors in the film helps the viewer get behind his stories, even more, that way.
Release Date: January 7, 2022 (USA)
Directed by Asghar Farhadi
70% Rotten Tomatoes 60% Metacritic 5 stars
8: Being the Ricardos
In 1952, Hollywood power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz face personal and professional obstacles that threaten their careers, their relationship, and their hit television show.
Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed this film about a week in the lives of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, their tv show, and everything that when along with it. The film has great performances from Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons, and others. The crafts are off the chain as well.
Release Date: December 10, 2021 (USA)
Directed by Aaron Sorkin
80% Rotten Tomatoes 68% Metacritic 5 stars
7: Nightmare Alley
In 1940s New York, down-on-his-luck Stanton Carlisle endears himself to a clairvoyant and her mentalist husband at a traveling carnival. Using newly acquired knowledge, Carlisle crafts a golden ticket to success by swindling the elite and wealthy. Hoping for a big score, he soon hatches a scheme to con a dangerous tycoon with help from a mysterious psychiatrist who might be his most formidable opponent yet.
Guillermo del Toro has done a great job taking a pretty standard film from 1947 and turning it into a beautiful noir. The acting by all is great, but especially by Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett. The set production, production value, and cinematography are incredible in the film. It’s a great reboot.
Release date: December 17, 2021 (USA)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
91% Rotten Tomatoes 71% Metacritic 5 stars
6: Spider-Man: No Way Home
With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, our friendly neighborhood web-slinger is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life as Peter Parker from the high stakes of being a superhero. When Peter asks for help from Doctor Strange, the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
What a great culmination of twenty years of Spider-Man films. The action scenes were amazing, the visuals were very seamless as well. The drama, comedy, and suspense were all perfectly mixed to make an overall great film. This is the best comic book movie of the year.
Release date: December 17, 2021 (USA)
Directed by Jon Watts
95% Rotten Tomatoes 88% Metacritic 5 stars
5: The Power of the Dog
A domineering rancher responds with mocking cruelty when his brother brings home a new wife and her son, until the unexpected comes to pass.
Jane Campion adapts this book about a man with toxic masculinity perfectly. Benedict Cumberbatch is incredible in the role of Phil Burbank. The rest of the cast is great as well. The film looks absolutely gorgeous to behold. The score by Jonny Greenwood was very haunting as well.
Release date: November 17, 2021 (USA)
Directed by Jane Campion
98% Rotten Tomatoes 90% Metacritic 5 stars
4: Drive My Car
An aging, widowed actor seeks a chauffeur. The actor turns to his go-to mechanic, who ends up recommending a 20-year-old girl. Despite their initial misgivings, a very special relationship develops between the two.
What an absolute masterpiece of a film. It has a great relationship between chauffeur and passenger. The layers of the story were terrific. The performances were amazing by all. The direction was perfection personified. This is the movie people need to see right now.
Release date: November 24, 2021 (USA)
Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
92% Rotten Tomatoes 90% Metacritic 5 stars
3: Licorice Pizza
Alana Kane and Gary Valentine grow up, run around and fall in love in California’s San Fernando Valley in the 1970s.
This has two revelatory performances by Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman. Paul Thomas Anderson may have made the best movie of his career. This coming-of-age story in L.A. as a film I never saw coming. I loved it so much though. PTA captured youth perfectly in this ’70s period piece.
Release date: November 26, 2021 (USA)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
91% Rotten Tomatoes 76% Metacritic 5 stars
2: King Richard
Armed with a clear vision and a brazen, 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his two daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on tennis courts in Compton, Calif., Richard shapes the girls’ unyielding commitment and keen intuition. Together, the Williams family defies seemingly insurmountable odds and the prevailing expectations laid before them.
Will Smith is a tour de force in this film. It’s one of the best sports films in recent memory. He absolutely becomes Richard Williams. The drive he has to make his children successful was something of a miracle. The mix of heart and family drama was great. The comedy added a little levity to a pretty dramatic story.
Release date: November 19, 2021 (USA)
Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green
83% Rotten Tomatoes 74% Metacritic 5 stars
Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their own fear will survive
This is a film that has so many amazing aspects to it. The visuals are stunning. The entire look from the spacecraft, costumes & hairstyles, and everything involving the production value was the best of the year. The performances by this massive cast were all terrific. The action scenes were impeccably done as well. This film is a masterpiece on all levels.
Release date: October 22, 2021 (USA)
Directed by Denis Villeneuve