It’s hard to believe that another year has come to an end. In some ways, it was like I blinked and 2021 was over. Starting out in another lockdown (which definitely impacted my maintaining this blog) was rough, but then halfway through, movie theatres opened up again. Nothing will ever beat walking into that large auditorium, settling into those chairs and buckling in for a life changing journey.
2021 brought many great films that certainly made making this list a difficult task. Some I forgot along the way. Some made themselves known to me more recently. And others I wish I could erase from my memory all together. There are also a few that I think I generously rated, but what can you do?
So without further ado, here are my top 5 best and worst of the year.
When Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), an astronomy grad student and her professor Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) discover a comet within the solar system, they can’t believe their eyes – until they realize that it is on its way to Earth. Upon embarking on a media tour that takes them to the White House, it seems that nobody really cares that they are all going to die. With only six months until the comet makes impact, Kate and Randall will do whatever they can to get the world to just look up.
Don’t Look Up seemed so promising. The cast, which boasted big names such as Meryl Streep, Cate Blancett, Jonah Hill, Tyler Perry, Kid Cudi and Ariana Grande, was one that grasped my attention as soon as the trailer hit Netflix. And I almost hate to admit it, but this movie was just such a miss for me. I guess I can’t really say I’m surprised since it’s not a subject I am very familiar with, however, I still wanted to give it a go.
Films with so many famous people in it are not always successful. This was one of them. Some characters had more screen time than others and some were also not very likeable (though I think that was kind of the point?) I must admit that Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence had good chemistry together. I also loved seeing Meryl Streep portraying The President.
While this was pegged to be a comedy, I did not think it was very funny. Sometimes humor tends to go over my head and I found myself missing out on the various supposed jokes.
Overall, I understand what Don’t Look Up was trying to achieve, I’m just not sure it landed all too well. I expected much more from the movie and can’t help feeling disappointed since it was my last film review of the year.
Following the events of Far From Home, Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) identity as Spider-Man has been revealed to the world. Life as he knew it with his aunt May (Marisa Tomei), his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and his girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) is no more. When Peter sees the lives of the people he loves becoming impacted by his choices, he knows he needs to make things right. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has the power to make everyone forget that he was ever Spider-Man. But when the spell goes wrong, the multiverse opens and with it comes many foes.
I feel like I am incredibly late in both watching and reviewing Spider-Man: No Way Home and let me tell you, it killed me. I was worried so much that I would be spoiled and my experience of watching would therefore be ruined. I am happy to report that that was not the case. And if I’m being entirely honest, the wait was actually worth it.
Without giving too much away, I have to say that everything about this movie exceeded my expectations. It was funny, it had many thrilling moments and some crazy action sequences all in true Marvel fashion. It seemed like the stakes were raised higher than ever before and I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through.
Spider-Man: No Way Home seemed like an ending of sorts, though I hope that isn’t true. I’ll be the first to admit that I was hesitant about Tom Holland at first, but he really impressed me with each and every instalment. Hopefully it won’t take too long until we see him and the rest of the gang back on our screens again.
Adapted from the 1957 musical, West Side Story has been reimagined for a new generation. Following the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two street gangs in New York City, everything changes when Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler) fall in love. They’re willing to give it all up to be together regardless of how their friends and family may feel.
I surprised myself when I added this new version by Steven Spielberg to my list. While I am a huge musical lover, I was never a fan of the original. There was something about it this time around, though, that captured my attention and I had a feeling I would regret it if I missed out.
My mind was blown by some of the performances. Rachel Zegler was the perfect choice for Maria. Her breakout role was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and I bet she is going to be everywhere from here on out. Rita Moreno, who starred as Anita in the original, had a special role this time around. I love how she was the guiding light for many of the characters and she even got her own song! The standout for me, however, was Ariana DeBose. She was so impressive that I hope she’ll get some award nominations.
At the end of the day, I am so glad that I took another chance on this musical. Something about it was different and really touched me. I even cried when it was all over and the people in my theatre room clapped. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. Who would have thought?
Tired of his family’s judgement on his single status, Peter (Michael Urie) begs his best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) to come home with him for Christmas so they can pretend to be in a relationship. The plan seems perfect since everyone in Peter’s family thinks they should end up together anyway, until his mom Carole (Kathy Najimy) interferes and sets him up on a blind date with her trainer James (Luke Macfarlane), causing everything to go haywire.
Single All The Way is a great holiday rom-com and I love that it is Netflix’s first with same sex representation. Despite the predictable storyline, I was still swept up in the joy of it all. The scene, in particular, of Peter dancing with his two nieces to my favorite Christmas song My Only Wish (This Year) by Britney Spears will live rent free in my mind for months to come.
I have to give a special shout out to the cast. Not only was the chemistry between Michael Urie and Philemon Chambers adorable, but some of the supporting members were too good for words. Kathy Najimy shined as Peter’s mom. I loved her meddlesome ways and how supportive she was of her son. Jennifer Roberston of Schitt’s Creek fame was hilarious as Peter’s sister Lisa and who could forget Jennifer Coolidge as Peter’s aunt Sandy? The woman is amazing in everything she does and this was no exception.
Everything about Single All The Way was perfect and just what we need for this time of the year. There may not be anything special about it, however, it will leave you feeling all warm in fuzzy inside.
The Madrigals, a family who live in the Columbian mountains, inhabit a magical house. The magical house has given each child a gift over the various years, from super strength to the power of healing. The only child who never received a gift was Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). Always feeling as if she was left out, Mirabel finally sees purpose in her family when she discovers that the magic is in danger and she takes it upon herself to save it.
I had no idea that Encanto would leave such an impression on me, nor that it would touch me in the way that it did. The story was intricate and unique with many captivating characters. Pepa (Carolina Gaitan), Bruno (John Legizamo) and Isabela (Dianne Guerrero) were among my favorites, but I connected the most with Mirabel. Her desire to fit in and establish her place in her family was all too familiar to me and I loved how realistic she seemed.
Lin Manuel Miranda was behind the soundtrack and he once again excelled in the department. The songs were fun and catchy and I appreciated the fact that there were some Spanish pieces thrown into the mix.
The colorful pallet of the film was unlike anything I had seen before. The house, in particular, seemed to come from a dream. Having the chance to see into each child’s room added to this feeling.
Disney has done it again. I don’t know how they keep me coming back for more and yet here we are. Encanto really had it all. Not only was there an exciting story, it also reinforces the importance family and being proud of who you are. I highly recommend it!