Here is my (purely subjective) list of works in 2021 that I was particularly excited about (and a special mention for the bizarre “ Capone ”, which actually defies classification):
10. Wrong Turn – The Foundation : As a friend of the two big slasher phases, I’ve actually been more annoyed than excited by the uninspired remakes/reboots of all the well-known genre killers for a long time. So it was a more than pleasant surprise that the original creators of the entertaining but by no means innovative “ Wrong Turn ” came up with a rabid, exciting new edition that goes its own way without missing the tone of the namesake. Would like more of that.
9. Nobody is with the calves : Even if the film won’t be in cinemas until next year (as of now: 01/20/22), this contribution from the Film Festival Cologne was one of my biggest positive surprises in 2021. What reads like tough, local drama, turns out to be a wonderfully illustrated milieu study in which the breathtaking leading actress Saskia Rosendahl delivers a performance of international top caliber.
8. The Last Duel : Even if director legend Ridley Scott has mainly attracted attention in his favorite role of the grumpy grandpa, he is still a very good filmmaker. “The Last Duel” is unusual, cleverly structured cinema that goes far beyond “MeToo in the Middle Ages” and sticks in your head with strong performances around the fantastic shooting star Jodie Comer .
7. Malignant : The return of ‘Saw’ and ‘Conjuring’ creator James Wan to the horror realm has certainly been one of the most anticipated movie events of 2021 for genre fans (including myself) . Even if the director isn’t at his best here, ” Malignant” complete horror madness of the old school, which becomes indispensable fun for lovers at the latest with its unrestrained final phase.
6. Freaky : Initially wonderfully titled “Freaky Friday the 13th,” the film mixes body swap comedy and slasher horror. Christopher Landon ‘s team finds a surprisingly homogeneous mixture of light-hearted humor and gory cinematic suspense. Coupled with the appearances of Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton , who are brimming with fun , the result is perhaps the most entertaining film of the year.
5. CODA : Apple’s record-breaking remake of the French tragic comedy Do You Understand the Béliers was the right film at the right time. The feel-good dramedy, freed from all kitsch, delivers heart, humor and the right amount of emotions. In addition, lead actress Emilia Jones puts on one of the most notable acting performances of the year.
4. The Dissident : The bestial murder of the star journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Istanbul was widely covered by the media for a while. Oscar-winner Bryan Fogel went into the background of the terrible events and shows with “The Dissident” an outstandingly researched and narrated political thriller that easily moves on a level with exceptional works like ” Citizenfour “.
3. Nobody : “John Wick” starring Bob “Saul Goodman” Odenkirk ? That sounds like a fun parody. In fact, “Nobody” is hard-hitting and completely serious action fare that took the lead actor two years to prepare. Ultimately, the uncompromising film is impressive in its straightforwardness, consistently well-rounded, and hard to beat in terms of entertainment value, which deserves an honorary award as the genuinely coolest film of the year.
2. The Father: It’s been a few months since Florian Zeller‘s adaptation of his play of the same name won the Oscars. “The Father” provides a touching and unprecedented insight into the mental life of a dementia patient. This clever film told without sentimentality has all the ingredients of a classic thanks to a series of sensational performances.
1. In the Heights: Yes, I am a huge fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s musical milestone Hamilton and was really looking forward to the film adaptation of his debut work. The end result could hardly have been more ideal. The songs, peppered with wit and social criticism and consisting of a healthy mixture of Latin American sounds and hip-hop, are perfectly accompanied by well-captured images and choreographies as well as a strong cast around Miranda’s protégé Anthony Ramos. So “In the Heights” is one of the most beautiful summer films for a long time and my personal film of the year.