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AV Brew: The Best And Worst of Film 2021

What we loved, and utterly hated, in the cinema last year…

With the pandemic in full swing, this has been a weird year for movies. In some ways even more strange than 2020 as we went back and forth between open and closed as COVID variants popped up like Lokis, but there were some amazing films that made it through and some truly hot garbage. Here’s our picks for best and worst of 2021!

Best:
Spider-Man: No Way Home

Alley: This was by far one of my favorite Spider-Man movies and Marvel movies. Yes, the fan service was heavy but didn’t feel rammed down my throat. This was the Marvel movie we needed. The cheering. The tears. The pure joy of MCU storytelling leading us towards phase 4. Stan Lee would be proud.

Sherri: Marvel has been doing a fabulous job of making the movies that were not originally part of their planning part of MCU canon. This film also gave us closure on some lingering issues in the other versions of Spider-Man. Loved it.

Brook: Phase 4 started with some average to decent films, but No Way Home was the best addition since Endgame. It was a love letter not only to all things Spider-Man but also to those who’ve watched the rest of the “spider-verse” films since 2002.

Ron: Anyone who knows me knows I am one of the biggest Spider-Man marks around. When I saw Into the Spider-Verse I thought I would never see it in live action. I was wrong. No Way Home gave me everything I never realized I wanted in a live action Spider-Man film, and it sets up the opportunity for more films starring Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield, as well as Daredevil & Venom in the MCU.

Belle: I went into this movie both fully spoiled and underwhelmed by Far From Home on almost every level. I left this movie filled with joy, sadness and having cried and laughed for over two hours straight. This may be the best superhero film since Spider-Man: Into The SpiderVerse and one of the best films of the year, hands down.

Alley
Worst: GI-Joe: Snake Eyes
Why: I really wanted to like this movie even though I’m not the biggest GI-Joe fan but honestly, the new Mortal Kombat had better acting and character work. The film at least had good action scenes, but even that couldn’t save it. I judge this movie like it was a pit of anacondas: I want no parts of it.


Mary
Best: Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings; Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Why: SCATLOTTR – the fighting choreography, the mythology, the costuming, the complex family dynamics, the cinematography, the music — everything was immaculate and seriously raised the bar for future MCU projects

GBA: I laughed, I cried no less than three times, the throwbacks and Easter eggs had me smiling, it truly felt like a sequel that paid homage while still branching into its own thing organically. I immediately wanted to buy another ticket and rewatch the second it was done

Worst: The Tomorrow War
Why: Terrible from start to finish. Just….god awful. Every action movie rolled into one in the worst way. The writing was terrible, the plot was predictable and didn’t make sense, and it was far too long for the mess that it was.



Sherri:
Best: Don’t Look Up
Why: I’m trying to figure out why the critics don’t like this film. The plot works, the acting works, the story works.

Worst: Sweet Girl
Why: …apparently every male action hero must make this particular movie: a man with a special set of skills who has to avenge something. This was a waste of Jason Momoa.



Brook
Best: Encanto
A heart-wrenching, magical tale set to the backdrop of Colombian culture, music, and artwork, this film delighted on every level. From the fantastic cast, to the songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, it brought tears to the eyes of anyone who could relate to the struggles of family.

Worst: Deadly Illusion & Thunder Force
Why: DI– An attempt at a Stephen King-esque psychological thriller, this movie failed on every front. The worst gaslighting wasn’t for the primary character, but for the audience, led on a wild goose chase that never really led anywhere.

Thunder Force – I love Ocatvia Spencer and can take Melissa McCarthy in certain roles, but neither could save this halfhearted attempt at comedy. The jokes never got above grade school level and the story was so full of tropes, it became a carbon copy of everything before.



Belle:
Best: The Green Knight & Passing
Why: TGK – One of the most visually stunning films I’ve seen in a long time, The Green Knight is a sumptuous, head tripping retelling of one of the oldest, weirdest and beautiful chivalric poems of all time. With a cast led by the amazingly gifted Dev Patel, in full, luscious, dark fairytale prince mode, and directed by David Lowery this film is still sitting with me months later. Every time I watch it I notice new things and it sparks another discussion with others about what it truly means to be honorable and, far more importantly, good.

Passing, based on the short novel by Harlem Renaissance writer Nella Larsen and directed by Rebecca Hall, is deeply, brutally personal for both ladies. Larsen, who was of mixed race, and never fully accepted by either her Danish or West Indian family wrote Passing as a way to quantify her experience in both worlds, for good and bad. For Hall, who recently came to terms with finding out that the reason she never knew her mother’s family was because they were black, this film was a way for her to process having grown up a typical ‘English Rose’ when she was actually far from it. Anchored by phenomenal performances from Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, two actresses whose own family histories are steeped in similar backgrounds, this film is clearly a labor of love from start to finish and does not shy away from the very real conversations about race and identity that still hold to this day.

Worst: The Last Duel & House of Gucci
Why: Ugh. I’ve been saying this for a while now but clearly Ridley Scott needs a time out. Beyond his inherent racism, (no, I haven’t forgotten Exodus: Gods and Kings and neither should you), his latest two movies are exhausting, over the top, messes. Whether it’s The Last Duel aka R*pe as Backstory: The Movie or House of What Even Is This?, I haven’t been this bored yet weirdly infuriated watching a film in years. That it happened twice from the same director is just insanity.

These are our picks for the best and worst of film in 2021, what are yours?

Let us know in the comments!

About belleburr (489 Articles)
Actor, writer, singer
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