We’ve done the worst, now let’s get to the best movies of 2021! First up, Kevin’s picks…
Spider-Man: No Way Home
The best Marvel movie since Endgame, the best Spider-Man live action movie since Spider-Man 2, and the best Spider-Man movie since, um, Into the Spider-Verse, No Way Home is a delight for die-hard obsessives like myself aa well as newbies to the wider cinematic canon. As Spider-Verse put the focus on Spider-Man and what it means to take up that mantle, No Way Home acts as the perfect companion piece about what it means to be Peter Parker. True to form, it sucks for Peter, while being wildly entertaining for us.
The Night House
I kept waiting to forget about The Night House. I thought it would fade in my mind as just a really good character piece for the always brilliant Rebecca Hall. It wouldn’t let me go. Horror can come from many places, but one of the most effective is the corruption of love. Love is the engine for all the horrible things in this film, the vulnerability it creates, and how it shapes grief. The Night House is a brutally effective story about how love can be a weakness and a strength depending on who or what tries to manipulate it.
The Night House is my favourite supernatural horror of the year but Shiva Baby is the best horror movie overall – and it’s supposed to be a comedy. Following a Jewish woman as her complicated life unravels in front of her family and friends, at someone else’s funeral for good measure, Shiva Baby is that wonderful mix of cringe and slow-motion car crash. I would take on any demon, any slasher villain, any damn Babadook, before I would wish myself in this kind of scenario. Utterly thrilling in all of the most uncomfortable ways.
Dennis Villeneuve continues his ridiculous hot streak with his most ambitious and most misguided film yet. Instead of getting shafted in every way possible like David Lynch’s version of Frank Herbert’s novel, the Arrival director created not only a brilliant epic blockbuster, taming supposedly unfilmable novel by adapting its first half, he also reminds us why cinema is so fucking amazing in the first place. No-one makes a movie alone, and Dune’s fabulous creative team helped Villeneuve create one of the most vivid universes seen on the big screen. If Dune doesn’t sweep all of the technical categories at the Oscars then there is no justice.
The Kid Detective
There might be an article exploring The Kid Detective in more detail, because this one snuck up on me hours before the end of 2021. But for now I’ll just say that this movie, which stars Adam Brody as a burned out P.I. renowned and hated for his exploited youth as an adolescent sleuth, ticks a lot of my boxes. I love neo-noir stories, I love comedies about depressed emo boy loners made by people who have read the same Raymond Chandler books as I have, and, as a huge fan of noughties teen dramedy The OC, I love Adam Brody. I don’t just love this movie, I wish I made it. For The Kid Detective to beat Dune for my pick for the best of 2021 is down to one simple truth: I love being pandered to.
What films are you already in love with from 2021? Let us know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this article and want to see more stuff like it, please consider supporting us on Ko-Fi.
By Kevin Boyle
(header image via The Guardian)