As my top films of 2021 are on the way, I felt the need to bring attention to some very good films that just missed my “10 Best” but are worthy of mention and exist as important marks in 2021 cinema.
There were films of superbly crafted Action, psychological Horror, insightful, wild, and funny Queer Horror, New Wave Documentary, and serious independent gems that were challenging, impactful, and spoke to our current societal woes. Each of these films left its mark in one way or another, but this group of 10 are ones that slipped too far under the radar of audiences.
Overlooked and under-promoted all, I hope this article will help them to find a larger audience.
“The Awakening of Lilith”- Steven Adam Renkovish
(A film with an unnerving sense of nightmarish isolation. The type of Horror film that creates a proper mood and slowly seeps inside your mind. An intimate, disturbing, and skillfully crafted character work and mood piece.)
“Beans”- Tracey Deer
(A moving film infused with powerful truths about America and its history and foundation of segregation, told through the eyes of a young Mohawk girl during the Oka Crisis.)
“Bergman Island”- Mia Hansen-Løve
(A fascinating and literate film that lives in the heart of Ingmar Bergman’s cinematic influence. A smart film that patiently reveals its excellence and fully blossoms into a deep portrait of Art and what inspires us.)
“Death Drop Gorgeous”- Michael J. Ahern, Christopher Dalpe, & Brandon Perras
(A wild and unique “Queer Horror” ode to 80’s Slasher films that wears its individuality as a badge of honor. Performed to the hilt by its great cast of newcomers, this is a wickedly funny and a fierce blast of infectious fun.)
“Escape From Mogadishu”- Ryoo Seung-wan
(A riveting Action/Drama rich in character and political relevance. A serious political message blended with creative and smart action sequences that are thrilling while keeping themselves grounded. The film is a masterstroke of editing and stunt design.)
“I’m Fine, (Thanks for Asking)”- Kelley Kali & Angelique Molina
(A beautiful film that finds strength in character and gives back to its audience by spreading hope for us all.)
“Jockey”- Clint Bentley
(A film rich in detail set in the world of horse racing. Meditative filmmaking allows for deep characterizations. A quiet and modest work featuring a career-best performance from Clifton Collins Jr.)
“Like a Dirty French Novel”- Mike Cuesa
(An absurdist and surreal antidote to the cookie-cutter cinema of today. This is unlike anything released in 20121. A wild “Pulp Noir” infused with the “Grindhouse” spirit, Cuesa’s film has untamed energy that excites and entertains.)
“The Sparks Brothers”- Edgar Wright
(A fascinating look and a fascinating band. A film filled with humor and intelligence and great music. Wild, funny, moving, and intelligent. As is the film, so is the band.)
“Wild Indian”- Lyle Mitchell Corbin Jr.
(A raw and intense work that tears into the emotions of its characters. A film about a tragedy that also coaxes the good out of broken souls.)