Sunday, June 23, 2024

List: Christian Eulinberg’s Top 10 of 2021

At the beginning of every year, there seems to be a twilight zone period where you’re able to reflect on countless hours you’ve spent sitting in front of a screen consuming your most anticipated movies. Some might let you down in the worst way imaginable. A few sleeper titles might grab your attention, while others manage to exceed your expectations. This time of year expresses what storytelling means to us and how it can shape our lives for the better.

It’s the time of year that we can absorb the stories, themes, and characters that found a way to touch the very fiber of our being. Not only is it the time for the top ten films of the year, but it is also the time where movie lovers get to acknowledge and celebrate those stories and share them with their colleagues and friends. 2021 was a fantastic year for film. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch them all, but those I did witness are pretty damn special.

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10. Eternals

Perhaps the most mature Marvel film to date. Chloé Zhao leaves an unforgettable impression on what the future of comic book movies could be. Non-linear narratives have always been one of my favorite forms of storytelling, and this journey kept me engaged from start to finish. There were a few pacing issues but that’s something that can be overlooked. The characters were well written and felt authentic. I never thought I’d see the day where Richard Madden and Kit Harrington would be reunited on screen together. I adored everyone’s performance, and this truly was one of the best ensemble casts of the year.

9. Belfast

I typically don’t care for black and white films. However, there’s something about the tone of this story that pulled me in. Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast is a personal story about his childhood and there is nothing more special than displaying the memories that make us who we are today. The run time of this film was a dream come true. I’ve always appreciated indie films that can tell a story in an hour and thirty minutes or less. It’s the perfect amount of time to experience something that is guaranteed to hold your attention and take you through the journey of Kenneth’s childhood.

8. In The Heights

Truth be told this was my number one film for the majority of the year. I’ve watched it countless times and would blast the soundtrack on my way to work every morning. Even though I cannot speak on the level of Latinx authenticity, I found this film to be a magical ride full of culture, family values, and memorable songs. Jon M. Chu did a fantastic job adapting Lin Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical to the silver screen.

7. Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry 

This was perhaps the most vulnerable artist documentary I have ever witnessed. It’s a film that captures the raw essence of what it’s like being a child riding the waves of fame. I’ve always found it inspiring to see how much time and effort artists put into their work. The documentary is about Billie’s rise to fame, from a 13-year-old girl to sweeping the 2020 Grammy Awards, and you witness every step of the journey. It’s a story for fans and aspiring artists who are looking for role models in the entertainment industry.


6. CODA

From A Quiet Place Part 2 to CODA, 2021 has been the year of deaf representation in film. I knew nothing about this film going into it and I’m glad I was able to approach it in that fashion. This wasn’t on my radar at all and I stumbled upon it on Apple TV plus and, well, I fell in love with it. It was one of the few films this year that was right up my alley. Coming of age films have always held a soft spot in my heart. Emilia Jones and Troy Kotsur’s performances rattled my soul in a way I never thought possible. It is one of the few films on this list that carries an important message about family.

5. The Mitchells Vs. The Machines

Speaking of family, If you are looking for a story about a dysfunctional ragtag group of goofballs, then look no further. I’ve been impressed with Sony Animation, they have started to make a name for themselves in a positive light. This film has heart, comedy, and the best damn tech jokes a person could ask for. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have outdone themselves with another amazing film made by weird humans.

4. Dune

‘We need to cultivate desert power” are the wise words of Leto Atreides. It has been deemed time and time again that Dune is unadaptable. It has had a horrible film history with half-baked production ventures. Fortunately, those days are over. Denis Villeneuve has cultivated his own desert power and has made the impossible happen. His adaptation of Dune makes Arrakis seem like a living, breathing location. The characters of this world are portrayed by some of the best actors that are working today. People feared that part two was never happening, but you know what I say to fear? “Fear is the mind-killer”

3. Mass

Director Fran Kanz somehow found a way to tackle some of America’s most sensitive issues and channel them into a personal, unfiltered conversation about school shootings. The concept of this film is probably one of the most interesting ones I’ve seen in a very long time. Personally. I wish this film was more accessible to the public as it projects a certain tone that viewers need to see. I think it shows an unspoken truth about the parents of the victim and the perpetrator. Ann Dowd and Jason Isaacsstole the show for me in a way I didn’t see coming. Reed Birney and Martha Plimpton also gave worthy performances as they skillfully bounce off each other’s monologues in a clever manner Mass is  the type of film that will live in your head rent-free long after it’s over 

2. tick. tick…Boom!

“Stop the clock, take time out.” This phrase is the story of every 29-year-olds life (including mine). As you can tell by my list, I am an admirer of the musical film lifestyle. tick, tick…Boom! was a film that I never thought I needed. Much like CODA, I went into this film blind with no expectations or prior knowledge of Jonathan Larson’s rock musical. This film is not only a celebration of Jonathan’s life but a realization of how precious time is, and how important it is not to take it for granted. I don’t think that there has been a better casting decision in 2021 than we have seen with Andrew Garfield in this film. He is a surprisingly good singer and nailed Jonathan Larson’s persona like no other. I could not have thought of a better debut project for Lin-Manuel Miranda to direct.

1. Spider-Man: No Way Home

My most anticipated film of the year became the best film of the year, serving critics and fans alike with a reminder of what it means to be Spider-Man. On paper, this film should not have worked. It almost seems outlandish and ridiculous to pull off, but somehow Kevin Feige and Jon Watts made it happen. This was the only film of 2021 to hit a billion dollars in the box office, and it shows. This film showcases Tom Holland’s best performance of his young career and gives us an emotionally heavy and action-packed film full of memorable moments that I will never forget for the rest of my life. 

 

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