I watched a bunch of movies in 2021, many new releases and since so many things come to streaming quickly now I was able to watch plenty of new movies. Here are my favorites:
10. Rurouni Kenshin: The Final
9. Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning
I’m putting these two together since I watched them back to back and they are part of the same story. The 4th and 5th movies in the live-action Rurouni Kenshin series they finish the story and then give a prequel to all of it. The Beginning does a great job of having a similar ethereal feel to the prequel anime OVA called Samurai X in the US. The Final is the final arc of the anime which I had not seen but was a fun ending to the series.
8. Black Widow
Finally a movie for Black Widow, she deserved one a long time ago. Florence Pugh and David Harbour made this movie, though. The scene they had together was the best part of the movie.
7. Bo Burnham: Inside
Bo Burnham’s special released on Netflix was the right kind of commentary in the middle of the pandemic. I like watching media where someone is slowly going more insane over time and this fulfills it. Bo basically locks himself away for a year creating the entire special himself in his home. He accomplished something special. Welcome to the Internet in particular is outstanding but so much of the special is outstanding.
Malignant is crazy. You think you can see where it is going and it goes completely past it in the end. It’s a bit of a slog for the first two-thirds of the movie, but that last third, oh boy is it something else. Just thinking about it I kind of want to rewatch it.
5. Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time
The finale of the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, something we’ve been waiting over a decade for. It was every bit as big and incomprehensible as you’d expect. We got an ending though and it was wonderful and much more positive than we got the first time around.
4. The Matrix Resurrections
This came out at the end of the year but was pretty great. A lot of meta commentary on the Matrix in general, a lot of commentary on media in general. Another one with a more positive ending than we got the first time around. Keanu and Carrie were both great reprising their roles. Just a fun one in general.
3. The French Dispatch
Now talking about fun movies, The French Dispatch is probably the movie I came out the other end feeling the happiest. Wes Anderson has a style and if you are into it, this movie is perfect. The anthology format of the movie works really well and I’d love to see him do some more movies this way.
I’ve seen the David Lynch Dune and I like it, I get the criticism of it, but I still enjoyed it. This is better. Separating the story into two movies was a great choice because we can live in and experience the world more. Dune is one of the sci-fi novels that influenced all other sci-fi so it needs to be done with respect and that’s what was done here. Hopefully the sequel will do the same.
Every so often Nic Cage has to remind us that he is pretty good at acting. Pig always feels like it’s on the edge of turning into a John Wick ripoff but it never does. It’s telling a similar story, but it’s not telling that story. It’s a beautiful story about grief and learning to deal with grief and Nic Cage plays it to perfection. He’s not manic, he’s subdued and even when he gets going it’s in a way that doesn’t feel like a crazy person. This is definitely my favorite movie of the year.