2021 was the return to some semblance of normalcy for watching films in theaters. Many of the biggest blockbusters that were held over from 2020 finally saw theatrical releases this year, though they were plagued by controversial decisions by major studios (particularly Warner and Disney) to stream their films virtually at the same time, threatening to significantly decrease the chances that moviegoers would head back to cineplexes. Nevertheless, we got a chance to screen far more films in actual theaters than via streaming, which makes this year’s reviewing experience considerably more conventional.
We didn’t do a 2020 Top 10 for the year, solely because we didn’t see enough movies to make that worthwhile – or fair, to whatever extent that can be presumed from the subjective nature of film criticism. If we had, however, the #1 spot would have gone to “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which stood apart as one of the most powerful, important, thought-provoking works of the last several years (and one that ought to be required viewing at some point in the educational system). Expectedly, as we’re probably known for in the Phoenix Critics Circle, we had little love for the most critically lauded films, such as “Nomadland” and “Mank,” though “Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Judas and the Black Messiah” (crossing over to this year, thanks to a nebulous release schedule) received decent marks.
As for 2021, we’ve once again shifted away from amusing but overrated pieces like “The Power of the Dog,” “The Lost Daughter,” and “The Green Knight” in favor of more straightforward, story-driven examinations of characters, love, and loss. Check out The Massie Twins’ Top 10 below and click on the titles to read the full reviews!
– Mike Massie