The Ultimate List of Best Movies of 2021 – A Must-See Guide for Movie Lovers


Experience the best 2021 movies with our list of top movies. From inspiring indie films like tick tick...BOOM and Jai Bhim, to the clash between filmmakers and producers releasing films on streaming platforms, this year has been a rollercoaster ride for the film industry. While some films intended for the big screen, like West Side Story, Last Night in Soho, and The Last Duel, may have suffered, for the major misstep by producers, blockbusters like Dune, Spiderman NWH, Free Guy, and The Suicide Squad have smashed the box office.

Here is my pick for the top movies released in 2021

Note - If you don't see your favorite movie, maybe they are in the previous or following year. Perhaps I have not yet watched it.

Comment your favorites. Bookmark to watch later and do share. Happy Surfing

1. Gintama: The Very Final (2021)

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Director: Chizuru Miyawaki

Cast: Sugita Tomokazu, Kugimiya Rie, Sakaguchi Daisuke, Ishida Akira, Nakai Kazuya

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama

My Take:

Gintama: The Final is an incredibly emotional and satisfying conclusion to the beloved Gintama series. After 15 years of following the characters on their journey, it was a bittersweet experience to watch the final chapter unfold on the big screen.

"No matter whether you win or not, there's no meaning to war." - Gintoki Sakata

The story picks up where the semi-final special episodes left off, with the remaining Tendoshou landing on Earth to resurrect Utsuro in an attempt to gain immortality from his blood. Gintoki returns to Edo after two years to destroy the central terminal, and all of the characters, from the Shinsengumi and the Odd Jobs to the shinobi 5, ninjas, and devas of the Kabuki district, come together for one final battle to save the Earth. The film's climax is nothing short of epic, with breathtaking animation and a masterfully crafted script that ties together all of the loose ends from the series.

The Gintama series has been on the air for 15 years, and the movie ends the epic journey with 350+ episodes and movies in a grand way. The film ended lavishly, with all the emotions of laughs, excitement, melancholia and bittersweet that the series shared.

The animation in the movie is simply stunning. The character animation is smooth and fluid, and the action sequences are absolutely breathtaking. The music also adds to the film's emotional weight, and it's hard not to get teary-eyed in the final scene.

Gintama: The Final is an emotional and satisfying conclusion to an epic journey. The film balances the emotional weight with the classic Gintama-style parody, over-the-top slapstick humour, and the best farewell to all the characters we love.

2. Dune (2021)

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Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-fi

My Take:

Dune (2021) is a science fantasy film set in a future where humanity has colonized several planets across the galaxy. The film takes place on the desert planet Arrakis, which is home to sandworms and the most valuable resource in the universe, “spice.” With a talented cast and visually stunning cinematography, Dune offers a unique and immersive world that will surely be remembered.

A great man doesn’t seek to lead; he is called to it.

The film’s vast scale and ambition are evident in every frame, and director Denis Villeneuve’s attention to detail is remarkable. The movie’s slow-burn storytelling creates thought-provoking and immersive scenes. The sandworms are an impressive sight to behold, and the musical score, with specially designed instruments, adds to the overall sensory experience of the film.

The Dune world is rich in visual storytelling techniques that create an absorbing and awe-inspiring spectacle. The film only covers half of Frank Herbert’s novel, and one can only imagine the creative possibilities that lie ahead in the second installment. Villeneuve’s vision of Dune is a breathtaking film worthy of the visionary Herbert’s rich, complex universe.

Dune is a must-see film for fans of science fiction and fantasy. Its immersive world and vast scale make it an unforgettable experience that should only be enjoyed in a large screen setting. The film’s slow-burn storytelling, special effects, and musical score make it a masterpiece that sets the bar high for future adaptations of the Dune series.

3. West Side Story (2021)

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Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast:Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez

Genre: Musical, Romance, Drama

My Take:

West Side Story (2021) is a classic love story reimagined for a new generation. This romantic musical film, directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, is a spectacular display of filmmaking craft that captures the heart and soul of its original source material. This latest adaptation of the Broadway musical classic features a talented cast of new actors, each bringing their own unique flair to the beloved characters. The result is a movie that is both visually stunning and emotionally charged.

All my life, it's like I'm always just about to fall off the edge of the world's tallest building. I stopped falling the second I saw you.

The film's beautiful and vivid colour palette enhances the already gorgeous sets and costumes. The film's cinematography is top-notch, capturing both the characters and the background with a rhythmic motion that perfectly embodies the energy of the musical numbers. The camera work is simply breathtaking, and it's hard not to be swept away by the visual spectacle on display.

Another film highlight is the powerful and heartfelt romance between the two lead characters, Tony and Maria. Their love story is both magical and heartbreaking, and it's impossible not to be moved by their passion and devotion to each other. The film's script also delves into important themes of prejudice and discrimination, and the portrayal of the Latino characters by real Latino actors adds an authenticity to the film that is both powerful and necessary.

West Side Story (2021) is a movie that genuinely takes gold and makes it even more beautiful. The music and choreography are just as impressive as ever, and the film's all-new cast brings fresh energy to the classic material. This movie is one of the best movies of the year. If you're a fan of romance, and musicals, you owe it to yourself to see West Side Story (2021) on the big screen. Sure, I won't forget the theatre experience of West Side Story (2021).

4. tick, tick...BOOM! (2021)

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Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus, Vanessa Hudgens

Genre: Musical, Drama, Biography

My Take:

Tick, tick...BOOM! is a musical film that follows the story of a 29-year-old composer named Jonathan Larson, who is struggling to make his mark in the theater world before his 30th birthday. The film is based on the stage musical of the same name by Larson, who is also the creator of the Tony-winning musical Rent.

"Are You Letting Yourself Be Led By Fear Or By Love?"

Andrew Garfield delivers an outstanding performance as Jonathan Larson, portraying the character's vulnerability and passion in a genuine and heartfelt way. Garfield's dedication to his singing training paid off, as his vocals were impressive and emotive throughout the film. The film's supporting cast also shines, with Alexandra Shipp and Robin de Jesus both delivering memorable performances.

The film's themes of creative passion, self-doubt, and the fleeting nature of time are relatable and universal, making the story resonate with viewers of all ages. The musical numbers, including the standout songs "Louder Than Words" and "30/90," are catchy and impactful, serving to drive the story forward while also showcasing Larson's musical talent.

It's also worth noting the significance of the film's release in 2021, which marks the 25th anniversary of Jonathan Larson's tragic death at age 35. The film serves as a tribute to Larson's life and legacy and a celebration of his enduring influence on the theater world.

tick, tick...BOOM! is a powerful and moving film that captures the essence of Jonathan Larson's life and work. It's a film that will resonate with anyone who has pursued a creative passion, and it is a testament to the enduring impact of Larson's music and storytelling. Andrew Garfield's performance is a highlight, as is the film's memorable soundtrack. Overall, tick, tick...BOOM! is a must-watch for musical theater fans and anyone looking for an inspiring and uplifting experience.

5. Jai Bhim (2021)

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Director: T.J. Gnanavel

Cast: Suriya, Lijo Mol Jose, Prakash Raj, Rajisha Vijayan

Genre: Drama, Biography

My Take:

Jai Bhim is a film that brings attention to the human rights and poverty issues that exist in Indian society. The movie is inspired by real-life cases and focuses on the story of a young lawyer, Chandru (played by Suriya), who fights for the rights of the oppressed and underprivileged in the court of law.

I don't trust luck. I trust in truth.

The film is based on the true story of a long-standing habeas corpus case that was heard in the Chennai High Court, Tamil Nadu, India. The film highlights the injustice, police brutality, and corruption that takes place in society, which goes unnoticed and unreported.

Suriya delivers an excellent performance, portraying the character of Chandru with conviction and empathy. He captures the essence of the character perfectly and brings a level of emotional depth to the film. The rest of the cast also delivers strong performances, adding to the authenticity and realism of the movie.

The courtroom scenes are intense and gripping and bring to light the human rights violations and poverty issues that plague Indian society. The film successfully captures the essence of the struggles of the underprivileged and how difficult it is for them to receive justice in a corrupt and flawed system.

Jai Bhim is a powerful film that highlights the importance of fighting for justice, even in the face of adversity. The movie shows how a dedicated lawyer can significantly impact society and bring about change. It's a must-watch for its powerful plot and Suriya's strong performance.

6. Don't Look Up (2021)

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Director: Adam McKay

Cast:Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill

Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-fi

My Take:

Don't Look Up is a film that expertly explores the issue of denial in relation to science and the consequences of not heeding warnings of impending natural catastrophes. The film portrays a world that is so fixated on its own political agenda and individual interests that it fails to act on the threat of a meteorite heading toward the Earth. Much like how many people ignored science and the advice of scientists during the pandemic. The film's political satire does not shy away from depicting how some politicians would instead use issues like climate change to gain votes rather than making any significant changes.

The truth is way more depressing. They're not even smart enough to be as evil as you're giving them credit for.

The film makes a clear connection between the denial of the meteorite threat in the movie and the denial of climate change in the real world. The characters in the film who are supposed to be in power and capable of taking decisive action instead choose to ignore the looming disaster in order to protect their own self-interests, similar to how many politicians and leaders have chosen to ignore climate change, even in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence. The mainstream media, too, is portrayed as a commodifying force, fixated on ratings and profits rather than the truth, a theme that is also relevant in the context of climate change reporting.

The film is a sobering reminder of the dangers of ignoring science and the disastrous consequences of such ignorance. It is also a call to action, urging people to listen to the science and to demand accountability from those in power. The fact that the film was made and released during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw many people deny the science and ignore the advice of scientists, makes the film's message even more poignant and relevant. Don't Look Up is a must-see film that combines satire, humor, and a vital message about the state of our planet and the way we treat science and scientists.

7. Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (2021)

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Director: Kôtarô Tamura
Cast: Kaya Kiyohara, Taishi Nakagawa, Matsutera Chiemi, Kengo Kawanishi
Genre: Romance, Drama

My Take:

In "Josee, the Tiger and the Fish," audiences are treated to a heartwarming coming-of-age story beautifully portrays young love's challenges and triumphs. The film centers around Josee, a young woman who uses a wheelchair, and Tsuneo, a university student. As they navigate their feelings for each other, they embark on a journey of self-discovery, understanding the importance of following their dreams and embracing the strength of true love.

The film's animation is a visual masterpiece, capturing breathtaking landscapes and creating vibrant, relatable characters. The art style balances whimsical elements with a touch of sophistication, employing a diverse color palette that brings the world of Josee and Tsuneo to life. Accompanied by a charming and emotionally resonant soundtrack, the animation serves as a feast for the eyes and enhances the film's overall emotional impact.

"Josee, the Tiger and the Fish" is commendable for its authentic portrayal of disability. Rather than defining Josee solely by her wheelchair use, the film celebrates her resilience and strength, emphasizing her journey toward embracing life to the fullest. This empowering message underscores the film's narrative and is a source of inspiration for viewers of all ages. With its touching story, relatable characters, and captivating animation, "Josee, the Tiger and the Fish" is a must-watch romantic anime.

8. Drive My Car (2021)

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Director: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Cast: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tôko Miura, Reika Kirishima, Masaki Okada
Genre: Drama

My Take:

Drive My Car is a 2021 Japanese film directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi. It is based on a short story by Haruki Murakami. The film centers around a stage actor and director, Yusuke Kafuku, who is dealing with the loss of his wife and an unfaithful past. He takes a job as a driver and travels to Hiroshima to rehearse a play, where he meets his driver, Misaki. Misaki becomes the catalyst for Kafuku to confront his past and come to terms with his grief.

The cigarette smoking scene in the film has been hailed as one of its highlights. The scene is a long, unbroken take of actress Toko Miura smoking a cigarette while delivering a monologue. The scene lasts for around 12 minutes and is a masterclass in acting and cinematography.

The film features stunning performances by the cast, especially Hidetoshi Nishijima as Kafuku and Toko Miura as Misaki. The film is shot beautifully, with stunning scenery and clever use of framing and color.

Drive My Car is a slow burn, but it rewards those who stick with it. It’s a deeply emotional film that explores grief, loss, and the power of art. The film has been praised for its novelistic structure, which allows for exploring the characters’ inner lives and motivations. Highly recommended for those who enjoy character-driven dramas and quiet, introspective movies.

9. C'mon C'mon (2021)

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Director: Mike Mills

Cast:Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffmann, Woody Norman, Scoot McNairy

Genre: Drama

My Take:

"C'mon C'mon" is a beautiful and emotionally rich film that explores the complex relationships between family members. Joaquin Phoenix gives a beautiful performance as Johnny, an artist tasked with caring for his nephew, Jesse, while his sister deals with personal issues. The Bond that develops between Johnny and Jesse is the film's heart, and their conversations are often touching and poignant.

The film also touches on the importance of connection and empathy in our lives, particularly when we are often distracted and disconnected from the world around us. The scenes where Johnny interviews children for his project are particularly moving and highlight the importance of listening and understanding others.

"C'mon C'mon" is a unique and refreshing film that is not for everyone, but for those who appreciate thoughtful and reflective storytelling, it is a must-see. The black-and-white cinematography is beautiful and adds to the film's melancholy and introspective tone.

10. Inside (2021)

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Director: Bo Burnham

Cast: Bo Burnham

Genre: Music, Comedy, Drama

My Take:

Inside is a tour-de-force one-man show by comedian Bo Burnham. Filmed entirely in his home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Burnham explores themes of isolation, anxiety, and creativity. The special is both hilarious and thought-provoking, with Burnham using his signature wit and musical talents to comment on the absurdities of modern life.

What sets Inside apart from other comedy specials is Burnham's technical prowess. He wrote, directed, edited, and performed the entire show by himself, showcasing his immense talent as a multi-hyphenate artist. The special is filled with creative and surreal touches, from Burnham's use of lighting and sound to how he manipulates his image on the screen.

Throughout the show, Burnham references the pandemic and its impact on the world, but he also delves into deeper existential questions about life and art. The special is a testament to the power of creativity and how it can help us navigate difficult times.

Inside is a remarkable achievement that showcases Burnham's immense talent and creativity. It's a unique and refreshing comedy special that's unlike anything else out there. Inside is worth checking out.

11. In the Heights (2021)

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Director: Jon M. Chu

Cast: Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Genre: Musical, Drama

My Take:

Lin-Manuel Miranda's romantic and passionate script, "In the Heights (2021)," is refreshing and joyful to watch in this summer heat.

From the creator of the cultural phenomenon "Hamilton," based on the Tony, Grammy awards winning stage musical, "In the Heights (2021)" follows the story of a corner in the Washington heights in New York centers on various characters pursuing their dream for a better life. Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner, saves every penny for his dreams of returning to his island and restoring his late father's business in the Dominican Republic. His eyes always gaze at the gorgeous girl Vanessa (Barrera), working in the neighboring beauty salon, who aspires to be a fashion designer. Meanwhile, Nina (Leslie Grace) has returned to the neighborhood with news of her dropping out from Stanford. Everyone has dreams of their own; how many will accomplish.

Like the perfect tagline "Turn on the volume on Your Dreams" speaks for "In the Heights," the film perfectly captures the script's spirit. Adapting a film from stage work is always a daunting task; if it's musical, many traps from stage script and direction into film gets the impression of watching set pieces rather than a narrative film. Rather than avoiding "In the Heights," it uses these traps for its gains, leading to capture the essence of stage musical and narration film much of the credit gained from Lin-Manuel Miranda's modern and energetic writing and passionate characters.

Whether you are struggling to attain your dreams, shifting your dreams, or deserting your goals for a reason, "In the Heights" will be relatable in certain parts of everyone's life.  To be clear, this is not a flawless artistic musical with characters following their dreams, like "La La Land (2016)". But at this moment, where theaters are opening gradually after the second wave of covid and in this summer heat, "In the Heights (2021)" is unique, refreshing, and joyful to watch.

12. CODA (2021)

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Director: Sian Heder

Cast:Emilia Jones, Daniel Durant, Troy Kotsur, Eugenio Derbez

Genre: Drama, Comedy

My Take:

CODA (2021), Child of deaf adult, follows a young teenage girl, Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones), who has a passion for singing but is terrified to pursue her dream. As Ruby is the only hearing person in her family, she assists with the family fishing business as an interpreter and plans to join it full-time after finishing high school. That all changes when she enters the school choir, run by Bernardo Villalobos (Eugenio Derbez); he encourages Ruby to audition for Berklee College of Music and offers her private lessons to prepare.

Cliché as it sounds, predictable in every turn still CODA (2021) never feels like another coming of age film; CODA feels sincere, endearing, and charming to watch. The performance by the cast, especially actors played for the Ruby Rossi family, are given their best, and the fact they are also Deaf in their real lives gives a look of authenticity like last year's best film, "Sound of Metal (2020)". Emily Jones played the lead role, spent nine months learning American sign language, having singing lessons, and learning how to operate a fishing trawler; all her effort did pay off. Director Sian Heeder put her heart into the film, and the perfectly paced and beautiful cinematography is impressive.

13. No Time to Die (2021)

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Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Cast: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Rami Malek, Lea Seydoux

Genre: Action, Thriller

My Take:

No Time to Die (2021) is a gripping spy thriller that delivers a fitting conclusion to Daniel Craig's tenure as James Bond. The film features all the hallmarks of a classic Bond movie - thrilling action sequences, exotic locations, and a touch of romance. However, what sets this film apart is its exploration of Bond's personal life as he grapples with the consequences of his past actions and the prospect of a new future.

The movie begins with Bond coming out of retirement to help his former CIA friend Felix Leiter rescue a kidnapped scientist. However, their mission turns south when Bond discovers a sinister plot by a tech genius named Safin to unleash a deadly virus on the world. Bond must race against time to stop Safin and his army of supporters while confronting the betrayal of his former love interest, Madeleine Swann.

The film boasts an impressive cast, including Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. The standout performance, however, comes from Rami Malek as the enigmatic villain Safin. Malek delivers a chilling and memorable performance as a man driven by his own twisted sense of justice.

The film's action sequences are top-notch, with breathtaking stunts and intense hand-to-hand combat. Using an IMAX camera adds an extra layer of immersion, making the audience feel like they are right in the middle of the action.

No Time to Die is a fitting send-off to Daniel Craig's iconic portrayal of James Bond. It delivers all the excitement and entertainment you expect from a Bond movie while exploring new territory with its personal and thematic elements.

14. Belle (Ryuu to Sobakasu no Hime) (2021)

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Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Cast:Kaho Nakamura, Ryo Narita, Shota Sometani, Tina Tamashiro

Genre: Adventure, Drama

My Take:

Belle (Ryuu to Sobakasu no Hime) is a visually stunning animated film that explores the themes of virtual reality and online identity. The film is directed by Mamoru Hosoda, produced by Studio Chizu, and marks its 10th anniversary.

The film tells the story of Suzu, a teenage girl who feels disconnected from her real-life friends and family. She finds solace in the virtual world of "U", where she becomes the singing sensation, Belle. As Belle, Suzu has a massive following, and her fans adore her. However, as she becomes more popular, she realizes the darker side of online fame.

The animation in Belle is simply breathtaking, with vibrant colours and stunning visuals that bring the virtual world of "U" to life. The musical sequences are awe-inspiring, with catchy songs that will have you tapping your feet. The film's message about the dangers of online addiction and the importance of real-life connections is timely and relevant in today's world.

Belle is a beautifully observed, dazzlingly animated sci-fi fairy tale about our online and offline double lives. It's a meticulously crafted, albeit not totally original, critique of internet culture that will leave you thinking about the film long after it's over. The songs are amazing, and the visuals are simply spectacular.

15. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

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Director: Jon Watts

Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Willem Dafoe

Genre: Action, Adventure

My Take:

Spider-Man: No Way Home is an epic and nostalgic film that delights Marvel fans. The introduction of the multiverse is a game-changer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and including previous Spider-Man actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield was a nostalgic treat for longtime fans. The return of the iconic villain Green Goblin, played by Willem Dafoe, was also a standout moment in the film.

You have a gift. You have power. And with great power, there must also come great responsibility.

The secrecy surrounding the film's production and the return of previous actors created a lot of anticipation among fans, and the film did not disappoint. The actors reprised their earlier roles easily, and the chemistry between the three Peter Parkers was a film highlight.

The reveal of Peter Parker's identity was a shocking and emotional moment that set up an exciting direction for the character in future films. The action sequences were well-executed and exciting, with the final battle being the film's standout moment.

While the film's first half was a bit slow, the second half made up for it with emotional and entertaining moments. The film balanced nostalgia with new storylines and characters, creating a satisfying conclusion to the current Spider-Man trilogy.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is a must-see for Marvel fans and a worthy addition to the franchise. The introduction of the multiverse opens up exciting possibilities for future films, and the return of previous actors adds a nostalgic touch to the film. The film is a big blockbuster with heart and soul and a fitting conclusion to Tom Holland's portrayal of the beloved web-slinger.

16. Last Night in Soho (2021)

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Director: Edgar Wright

Cast: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery

My Take:

Last Night in Soho (2021) is a stylish and thrilling murder mystery film directed by Edgar Wright, set in the vibrant and historical district of Soho in London. The film stars Thomasin McKenzie as an introverted protagonist named Eloise who finds herself transported back to the 1960s and becomes entangled in the dangerous world of her idol, a singer named Sandie (played by Anya Taylor-Joy).

The film features some impressive technical work, including the use of practical effects for the scene where Eloise first sees Sandie through the mirror, which was achieved by using twins James and Oliver Phelps to play the cloakroom attendant. After an early film cut, director George Miller was so impressed by Taylor-Joy's performance that he immediately offered her the leading role in his next film, Furiosa (2024).

Last Night in Soho has been described as an underrated and beautiful thriller film of 2021. The plot is cleverly executed, and the film is full of color and darkness, with dazzling and sometimes frightening moments. However, sometimes it feels the film's style and slickness can sometimes overshadow the story's substance.

17. Shyam Singh Roy (2021)

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Director: Rahul Sankrityan

Cast: Nani, Sai Pallavi, Krithi Shetty,

Genre: Romance, Drama

My Take:

Shyam Singh Roy (2021) is a Telugu language film that stars Nani, Sai Pallavi, and Krithi Shetty in leading roles. The movie tells the story of a man named Shyam Singh Roy, who lived in Kolkata in the 1960s and contributed to society in his unique way.

There is nothing wrong with standing up for the right, even if it is against God.

Sai Pallavi, as always, was outstanding in this film. Her beauty and acting skills shone through in every scene, and she effortlessly portrayed her character's emotions. Nani, too, put up an excellent performance, especially in his mass role, where he looked and acted more maturely than ever before. The chemistry between Nani and Sai Pallavi was electrifying, and their performances together made the movie worth watching.

However, the film's first half was average, with the plot between Nani and Krithi Shetty's characters feeling like a filler and unnecessary. The focus was mainly on establishing the love triangle between the three characters, which didn't add much to the storyline. On the other hand, the second half of the film was terrific, with its fast-paced action sequences and emotional moments. However, it would have been even better if it had explored more about Shyam Singh Roy's character and contribution to society.

The film's music and cinematography were commendable, with the songs adding to the overall narrative and the visuals capturing the essence of Kolkata in the 1960s. The film's climax was an emotional rollercoaster, leaving the audience in tears.

Shyam Singh Roy is a film worth watching, primarily for the performances of Nani and Sai Pallavi. The film's first half could have been better, but the second half makes up for it with its engaging storyline and emotional moments. Overall, Shyam Singh Roy is a movie that will leave you with a sense of satisfaction and a few tears.

18. Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

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Director:  Shaka King
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons
Genre:  Biography, Drama, History

My Take:

Daniel Kaluuya gives an electrifying performance in the powerful story of black panther leader Fred Hampton. This is the story of betrayal from the government to people, surviving to moral, self-centered to revolution.

Judas and messiah a biographical story of Bill O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), a petty criminal involved in murdering black panther party leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya). In the late 1960s, police arrested Bill for stealing a car. FBI Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) offers to drop charges if he works undercover to imprison Fred Hampton. With no choice left in his hands, Bill O’Neil begins infiltrating the Panthers in order to win his freedom. While Fred Hampton, deputy chairman of the national BPP (Black panther party), is working on a free breakfast, medical program. And forming Rainbow Coalition (multicultural movement).

Daniel Kaluuya’s performance and his powerful monologue are what hold the movie for me, an incredibly portrayed, powerful revolutionary character in his career-defining role. Lakeith Stanfield reunites with Daniel after “Get out.” Stanfield is already a rising star, even with the character that isn’t written with the same care as Hampton’s. Stanfield gives the best performance as deprived Bill O’Neal balances his emotions of guilt and dishonesty in order to his freedom. To my surprise, the romance arc between Fred and Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback) perfectly blends in the story giving a soft side of Hampton and dramatizing the movie. Unfortunately, Dominique Fishback has only a little screen time.

Bill O’Neal to the FBI, when he asked why not a gun or knife, he said: “A badge is scarier than a gun.” There is no need to say Fred Hampton and BPP’s story is powerful, relevant, and inspirational. Judas and the Black Messiah is succeeded when it focuses on BPP and Hampton. But it couldn’t make me invested in the Bill O’Neil character, which is the movie’s primary story. The script doesn’t seem to balance its narrative between the two. The underdeveloped characters in the FBI department and scenes between O’Neill and Roy are not as impressive as possible, which resulted in a bit of a tedious second act right after Fred was arrested. However, after that movie immediately picks up pace giving a Kickstarting film of 2021.

19. Nightmare Alley (2021)

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Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Rooney Mara
Genre: Drama, Thriller

20. King Richard (2021)

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Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Cast: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport

21. Licorice Pizza (2021)

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Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn
Genre: Comedy, Drama

22. Belfast (2021)

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Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Jude Hill, Lewis McAskie, Caitríona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Jamie Dornan
Genre: Biography, Drama

23. The Worst Person in the World (2021)

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Director: Joachim Trier
Cast: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum, Hans Olav Brenner
Genre: Drama, Romance

24. Stillwater (2021)

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Director: Tom McCarthy
Cast: Matt Damon, Camille Cottin, Abigail Breslin
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

25. Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

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Director: Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada
Cast:  Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure

My Take:

“Raya and the Last Dragon” is a gorgeous surprise after all the awful live-action remakes from the dictator studios, sorry I mean Disney studios. Delighted to see an original movie after four years from Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Kumandra, prosperous land where humans and magical dragons lived together in peace and harmony. The peace was threatened by the mysterious evil plague Druun, turning all living things into stones as it touches. The last dragons standing used their magic to create a powerful orb that destroyed Drunn and saved Kumandra. Dragon’s act of self-sacrifice for peace didn’t last long because humans behaved like humans, selfish. Five hundred years on, Kumandra has split up into five lands along with the orb split into pieces. Raya, the orb guardian, is on a mission to track down the legendary last dragon to obliterate the Druun that returned and restore the lost unity.

The most applaudable thing is they entirely cut off the romance. There is no need for a charming prince to save our princess Raya (energetically voiced by Kelly Marie Tran, from Star Wars: The Last Jedi). Raya is a badass, masterfully skilled in martial arts; it’s attractive to see her in combat, whether with her sword or hand to hand. However, the story isn’t as well developed as our lone Warrior Raya. The plot isn’t intriguing as act one, the backstory. It gets incredibly predictable and formulaic when the quest for orbs begins. And the humour, punchlines are entertaining most of the time. Still, I prefer it to have a little more action or depth to the plot with active dialogues like Pixar movies. Regardless of that, the theme of the film is impressive. The theme of unifying a nation with love, trusting others is a worthy lesson for the kids and adults as our world seems hopelessly divided.

The breathtaking fight choreography and colourful visuals are the best I’ve seen in Disney animation. Much of this Stunning look benefits from the architecture from Southeast Asian settings. The movie is directed by Don Hall (of Big Hero 6 and Moana) and Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting). One of the most poignant scenes for me is the finale, the fearsome battle between Raya and Namaari. And the mature emotional ending. But the transition between them is poorly written. Overall the tone seems inconsistent because of the formulaic flow.

An immediate standout of the film is James Newton Howard’s music. From “The Fugitive” to “Dark Knight,” an eight-time Oscar nominee probably will become nine with the upcoming awards for “News of the World.” Here the beautiful, heartwarming music score enhanced the magical scenes with dragons and elevated the action scenes.

“Raya and the Last Dragon” action-packed entertainer with stunning visual choreography and exciting music by James Newton Howard. It could’ve been so much better if not for the repetitive screenplay. Must watch for kids, worth watching for adults.

26. The Suicide Squad (2021)

Blog Post

Director: James Gunn

Cast: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Daniela Melchior

Genre: Drama

My Take:

Deliberately WTF moments, blood-splattering action, and a colourful direction from James Gunn are pretty entertaining, but plot-wise, the movie felt like a bunch of good scenes that were put together.

Suicide Squad (2021), the tenth film in DCEU written and directed by James Gunn, is a soft reboot of the Suicide Squad (2016). The story follows intelligent officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), who assembles a team of supervillains on a suicide mission to destroy the laboratory on the island, Corto Maltese. The government of Corto Maltese plotting a threat to other nations with the project named StarFish. Ironically, the murderers, convicts (suicide squad), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Bloodsport(Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena) and others are on a mission to save the earth.

The characters actually die, and it truly feels like an actual suicide squad film. Characters from King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) like to eat humans, Ratcatcher 2 controls rats, Polka-Dot Man, yeah, he shoots polka dots, somehow James Gunn fanatically balances the movie with the obscure characters and nihilistic humour. The over-the-top bloody gruesome violence just feels fitting for the film. The song choices and the wacky characters, and the dumb dialogues are refreshing. The freedom given to James from studious is well utilized.

Even in the dreadful film Suicide squad (2016), instantly forgettable film Birds of Prey, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn amazed the audience with her crazy performance. In the hands of James Gunn, Margot Robbie and Idris Elba as Bloodsport shined every scene they were in. The huge miss for the movie is the plot; over the two hours, the plot-wise movie never felt compelling, the drama with characters never ripped, and with the weak antagonist and some forced humour, Suicide squad (2021) feels like a bunch of good scenes put together nothing more.


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