This is going to be weird- I'm throwing up two Best of 2021 lists The second list- which hits tomorrow is the BEST OF THE BEST with no further break downs other than they were the best, favorite and most thought about films of the year. None of those films are on this list because they went beyond classification.
This list on the other hand are those films that would go on to a list of the best film in certain categories. If I was doing a Best Action Film list, these would be on it. And so on across the board. Normally I would group them together and call them the FILM FINDS but I wanted to mix things up.
Shorts mix with features because a film is a film. The same thing with animation. A great film is a great film. If anyone wants to say these film was on the best of the year list- go right ahead because they are
MOST IMPORTANT FILMS OF 2021
BEANS-Based on a true story it shows how racism turns people into monsters
THEY ARE TRYING TO KILL US-the vital story of how bad for us food is going to poor communities and effectively killing them
ZERO IMPUNITY is a look at sexual violence across the globe. It will curl your toes
PUNCH 9 FOR HAROLD WASHINGTON-the story of a man who changed the would by kicking open doors and making it so Blacks could be mayor of Chicago which lead to Barrack Obama in the White House
THEY WON'T CALL IT MURDER-The story f five people killed by the police
ALL OF THESE SONS - the story of programs aimed at ending gun violence in communities.
THE BEST ACTION FILMS
DANGEROUS- One part family drama, one part thriller, one part action makes for a heady mix with broken bones
ESCAPE FROM MOGIDISHU- True story of the delegations from North and South Korea fighting to get out of a city under siege. Its all about the characters.
THE PROTEGE-Maggie Q is an assassin out to avenge the death os mentor Samuel L Jackson. Great stuff with one of Michael Keaton's best roles.
DIE IN A GUNFIGHT-Romeo and Juliette retold by cool people with guns. I loved it.
TRIGGER POINT- Barry Pepper gets pulled back in to the black ops life when a friends daughter goes missing. Its just entertaining.
ONE GRAVE FOR 3 MEN- hit man is pulled off vacation to clean up a mess and it all goes horribly wrong
BABY MONEY-needing quick money a couple agrees to help with a heist and it all goes wrong
MAFIA INC- based on a Canadian crime family this is one of the best mob films in years
CO-OP- a short about a robber picking the wrong place to ply his trade
JOINT- a rethinking of the yakuza drama as an ex-soldier needs quick cash and goes back to the life
TIME-old assassins do unexpected things
NOBODY- Bob Odenkirk action hero
THE HARDER THEY FALL- one of the best westerns in years is full of characters you love and set pieces that make you go wow.
THE BEST HORROR FILMS
THE MEDIUM- a film crew profiles a small ton shaman- big mistake
SLAPFACE-awesome examination of the consequences f our action as a witch kills anyone ho rongs a young boy
PEPPERGRASS- more thriller than horror film, this tale of robbery gone wrong is awesome if you accept it for what it is
HELLBENDER- one of the best openings in years leads into the story of some witches raising a young girl in an intentionally sheltered life
BULL-A hitman returns for revenge-what seems to be a crime drama is something darker
ULTRASOUND- the less you know the better it is tale that starts with a man getting a flat tire- you're on your own.
CAVEAT- a man is tasked with watching a young girl who is chained inside her house. Creepy beyond words.
THE BEST DOCUMENTARIES
LIFE OF CRIME 1984-2000-a film record of the cost of crime on three friends
GRANDPA WAS AN EMPEROR-portrait of a woman looking into the legacy of her family and finding surprising things
EXPOSING MUYBRIDGE-a loot at the man who gave us "motion" pictures and so much more.
KURT VONNEGUT UNSTUCK IN TIME- meta doc about the director trying for 40 years to finish a documentary about the great author. It somehow makes perfect sense
THE RESCUE-the best thriller of the year is a true one
JANE BY CHARLOTTE- a daughter looks at her mother and finds surprising things.
ASCENSION- The class divisions in China are worse than you thought
CLAYDREAMS- Magnificent portrait of Will Vinton will move you
THE FIRST 54 YEARS- a warning of the dangers of being n occupier as revealed by the action of Israel in Palestine
LISTENING TO KENNY G-more than just a portrait of an artist but a look at how we view the people who make art
CITIZEN ASHE-portrait of tennis star Arthur Ashe who changed the world his own way
SKIDROW LOS ANGELES-stunning look at life on the streets. It will break your heart
HOLY FRIT- What does it take to make the world's biggest stained glass window/
BAD ATTITUDE THE ART OD SPAIN RODRIGUEZ- portrait of an artist who changed how we see the world
FAYA DAYI- stunningly beautiful tone poem
AMY TAN- a look at a writer that speaks volumes about not just the woman at the center but ourselves
18th AND GRAND- the story of an arena where all sorts of magical things happened
NORTH BY CURRENT- portrait of a family becomes something greater as the story turns into something else
ATOMIC COVER UP-the true story of what happened when we dropped the bombs on Japan
LATIN NOIR- South American mystery writers tell their stories and we are enthralled
IRMI- portrait of a woman who has led a remarkable life
THE BEST MUSIC FILMS
THE JOB OF SONGS-Magnificent look at one town in Ireland and the music they make.
GRIDLOCKED- portrait of a band as just guys
SUMMER OF SOUL- joyous celebration of a music fest few knew was happening at the same time as Woodstock
LIKE A ROLLING STONE THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN FONG TORRES- portrait of man whose love of music changed how we her the world
BUDDY GUY BLUES CHASE THE BLUES AWAY-lovely portrait of a man and his music
THE CONDUCTOR-story of a woman who broke the glass ceiling in classical music and changed the world
BITCHIN THE SOUND AND FURY OF RICK JAMES-focusing mostly on the music this doc sets the record straight about how he changed what we listen to which gets lost in the tales of his personal life
THE BEST DRAMAS
LIVE HEALTH- In the age of covid an online therapist needs connection. Tim Cox kicks it out of the park
TALE OF THE KING CRAB- echoing back to the great epics of Italian cinema this is the story of one man living life his way
MOGUL MOWGLI-moving story of a rapper and his family when illness strikes
NO MAN OF GOD-the FBI man and the serial killer in an acting masterclass
HELLO TAPIR-a young boy deals with the death of his dad and we are made better for it
DEATH AND THE LADY- animated story of a woman who is visited by death
SOUNDTRACK TO 16-the story of what it's like to be 16 told by directors to watch who aren't much older than 16.
SINGLE- the story of a woman who needs to be accepted for who she is
MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE- a feel good joy
MASS-an acting masterclass will leave you shattered as the parents of a murder victim confront the parents of the killer. I was left without words and never reviewed it.
POUPELLE OF CHIMNEYTOWN is a magical animated film that sings that has moments of pure magic and deep emotion