Best Sci-Fi, Horror & Comic Book Movies of 2021 – The Hollywood Reporter

Another pandemic year of watching movies has passed, and it looks like there is more to watch than ever. But often it looks like filling. Where are the good things, the inspiring things, the things that dreams are made of? Don’t we need it more than ever now?

One thing that many films have done this year has been to rely on the idea of ​​the power of the outcasts, their connections, their whims, their slandered status that makes them shine nonetheless. It’s an idea that many can relate to and in some ways, with many of us getting sick or trying not to get sick, maybe we all feel a bit left out in these times, at the same time. looking for connections where we can.

Let’s take a look at the good stuff …

ten. The green knight
A24 Films

We’ll admit we were a bit of a WTF with this one, an adaptation of a 14th century poem rooted in Arthurian lore that’s trippy, hallucinatory, and confusing without a little help from CliffsNotes. It’s a knight’s quest with Dev Patel, with Alicia Vikander, Sarita Choudhury, Joel Egerton, Barry Keoghan and Ralph Ineson, but in the hands of filmmaker David Lowery, who continues to channel the vibes of 1970s films into his work. , it becomes a beautiful adult fantasy, a transporting meditation on death, inheritance, pride and courage.

9. Smart

Visions, psychic connections, not-so-imaginary childhood friends, gruesome murders, masked figures, Hammer Studios fog, art deco sanatoriums perched on cliffs, catacombs, and the kitchen sink, James Wan throws everything he wants. he can’t use to make big, mega-budget studio movies in this independently-directed New Line Cinema side-story horror project that sets him apart. It’s an opera and a soap opera, with all of Wan’s towers going up to 11.

Lazy loaded image

8. Last night in Soho
Courtesy of Parisa Taghizadeh / Focus Features

The most ambitious and mature work to date by Edgar Wright, the original filmmaker Baby Driver and Shaun of the Dead, Soho brings the London of the 1960s (or at least our idealized memory) to life in a beautifully fashionable film that is part of a ghost story, a trip back in time and a mysterious murder. It’s a delicate balancing act that is helped by stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie, who reinforce the film with their performances.

'Dune' Fremenseven. Dune

Yes, this is half of a movie. Yes, it is boring. But what half. Very few filmmakers excel at world-building like Denis Villeneuve, taking on the very difficult task of adapting Frank Herbert’s classic dense science fiction novel. There is a “roller coaster” version of this movie that a studio could have made with this story – and destroyed everything about it – but Villeneuve stays as true to the source material as possible while being true to himself, making a very Villeneuve Film which keeps many emotions at arm’s length while displaying an immersive and dazzling cinema.

6. Riders of justice

This Danish action comedy, now airing on Hulu, may seem like it’s skimping on the action or being light on the comedy, but it’s all Danish for sure. Mads Mikkelsen plays a stoic soldier who is forced to return from the Middle East because his wife was killed in a train crash. Now he’s got to deal with his grieving teenage daughter, who hates her guts, and more painfully, with a bunch of quirky losing geeks who say his wife’s death wasn’t an accident, and they’ve got the algorithms to prove it. Now he must find those responsible. I’m not sure how an American studio will approach the eventual remake, but the film works because it eschews the easy beats of revenge action movies, candidly examining the heartbreak and trauma, past and present, and showcasing the relationship between Mikkelsen and Andrea Heick Gadeberg, who plays his daughter, in a refreshing and honest way.

Lazy loaded image

5. The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Courtesy of SPAI / Netflix

The quick and clever comedic styles of producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller are ubiquitous in this Sony Animated Pictures film, which was released by Netflix. The plot centers on a dysfunctional and unruly family who become humanity’s only hope when a warm and fuzzy operating system (and its devices) turns on its users and ushers in a robotic apocalypse. The movie gives director-writers Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe a chance to tackle silly sets that poke fun at modern corporate and consumer culture, but it’s the two ideas found below that won us over: 1) the father-daughter relationship at the center of the film, and 2) the embrace of artistic or marginalized weirdos who never feel normal but find their loved ones.

Lazy loaded image

4. old henri
Courtesy of ShoutFactory

Yes, he’s got the traps of westerns seen before – the life-humbled old man who wants to be left alone but is secretly a hell of a gunslinger, the trouble that comes, the climactic shootout – but in the hands of writer-director Potsy. Ponciroli, these elements receive a new pair of boots via authentic period details and even a historic touch with a confident and measured approach. What gives the film its real grain is the grounding performance of Tim Blake Nelson, who changes from a supporting player to a leader, and gives his tired farmer a lived-in and tragic feel.

Lazy loaded image

3. Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Marvel movies sometimes work best as family dramas and this one, about a son who has to come to terms with his father and the life he left years ago, turns out to be surprisingly likable and fresh thanks to the chops brought in. by filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton and actor Simu Liu. We’re treated to an unexplored and culturally rich pocket of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we get one of the best action sequences in the MCU movies, and we get one of the most magnetic MCU villains thanks to Tony’s calm gravity. Leung. Marvel Movie of the Year.

Lazy loaded image

2. The suicide squad
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures / DC Comics

James Gunn parachutes into the blazing DC Universe cannons with a reboot remake that centers on villainous losers (or, as the movie calls them, “fucking idiots”) forced to take on doomed missions. The filmmaker explodes expectations and rules in the process. Gunn balances secular humor, bloody action with human drama and heartfelt moments, pulling the rug under the viewer in any given scene. Team delivers indelible footage, imaginative scene transitions, brings us the best Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) yet and gives us the awesome sad sack tragedy of Polka Dot Man (David Dastmalchian). The comic book movie of the year.

Lazy loaded image

1. Alley of nightmares
Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Not necessarily the most obvious choice of material, given Guillermo del Toro’s story of various characteristics of creatures, but thematically, the monstrosity of men’s hearts has always been a key feature of the filmmaker, and my boy, that- Here he has it in spades. In his most accomplished and comprehensive work, Del Toro unveils the story of a vagabond and a crook, played by Bradley Cooper, who sets up in a carnival performance, then gets rid of his family of bizarre inhabitants and geek when he learns the tricks of the trade. . Then he moves to the big city to improve his game, only to meet his equal in manipulative psychiatrist. The production design is dazzling, matched by the star cast; Cooper is a career high, David Strathairn is deeply tragic, and Cate Blanchett is a femme fatale who slipped into a Will Eisner comic book.

In the many films this year that have shown the power and love of outcasts who are willing to embrace the weird and the different, it’s fitting that it ends with a film about a man being offered. to use it, abuse it, give it up. , and pays a terrible price. Revenge of the nerds, indeed.

Daniel K. Denny