I love everything movie connected. Sitting with freshly made popcorn or other snacks, watching a new release in theaters or re-watching comfort movies from my bed, is my idea of me-time. If that sounds familiar, but maybe during the semester you lacked the time to keep up with new releases. Never fear—I got you. I asked around in my TV/Film and communications department to give you all the best quality recommendations from people who watch movies religiously. Additionally, all of them differ in their opinions, which allows for comprehensive take on cinema. So, if the winter break finally provided you with some free time, grab snacks and some friends/family and prepare yourself for a cinematic feast.
Disclaimer: No particular order exists
My personal favorite from the upcoming awards season. Sometimes in a movie, a cast member out-did themselves and sometimes you experience magnificent storytelling. Belfast doesn’t just make an impression with one element, but rather all the cinematic elements adding together to make an excellent movie. The movie tells a story of a boy living with his family in Belfast during the conflict in Northern Ireland. It provides incredible insight into a live in conflict area and how it feels to grow up in a place where your playground can turn into place of street fight easily. The movie also starts with introduction in color and as we go back in time it turns to black and white color scheme. The experimentation with black and white gave visual depth and the movie gained points for cinematography in my mind.
2. Spider-Man: No Way Home
Yes, the superhero movie. The new Spider-Man goes beyond his neighborhood and your regular superhero storytelling. The movie surprises not only with visual effects, but also Marvel out did themselves in storytelling, with many unexpected surprises, keeping the audience at the edge of their chairs.
“I think it was a great way to tie in every Spider-Man movie ever created and a huge part of what the MCU wants to do for the next generation of movies. If I had to pick a favorite movie of 2021 it definitely would be Spider-Man: No Way Home overall. As a Marvel fan, you grow up knowing the stories thinking and theorizing what will happen. This movie knocked it out of the park with expectations no one could’ve imagined,” St. John’s University sophomore Elizabeth Petrillo said.
As stressed above, this movie makes a must watch for Spider-Man fans, Marvel fans, but also everyone who loves a good action filled movie. Marvel advertised this movie’s as a very ambitious project and as someone who saw it, I can say that it lived up to the expectations.
3. French Dispatch
Don’t be fooled—while the trailer says 2020, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, this film got pushed to 2021. French Dispatch surprises the audience with the change in storytelling throughout the movie. The diversity of stories goes hand in hand with the diversity of portray as parts of the movie include animation.
“French Dispatch is everything you’d expect from Wes Anderson. Beautiful cinematography, great performances from a stacked cast and signature Anderson deadpan humor,” St. John’s University freshman Nick Gofas said.
The movie seems like an American take on European and French cinema, so if you want to venture outside of typical American storytelling you should check it out!
Dune revisited story from the book of the same title published in 1965. This movie left people impressed. From cast that includes Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa and Zendaya to music and visual effects, this movie was well thought out and a magnificently executed production.
“Dune was a fantastic peak into a very interesting fictional world that will only be expanded to give us a better visual appreciation of the world within the novels,” St. John’s University senior Jake Van Tassel said.
Thanks to modern technology, this adaptation truly allowed the viewer to transport into a whole new world. Warner Bros. Studios already approved the sequel, also based on the books, so catch up with this part before next appears.
5. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Coming back years later to bring sequels of some of the fan favorites happened quite a lot in recent years. These movies end up as successful if they manage to bring the old spark of joy to the new generation and this one did just that.
“When I saw Ghostbusters, I was very skeptical because I thought it was going to be a remake that had nothing to do with the originals. I enjoyed it very much because it showed a legacy of a new generation and also brought back the old movie in a sense. The new beginning of Ghostbusters can now have a whole trilogy, I feel. It left a mark on the viewers where you have the nostalgia of what you originally saw and grew up with, to now knowing the new actors that portray new stories,” Petrillo said.
Yes, the sequels don’t always live up to the expectations, but this one surprised everyone. Connecting the past with the present and looking into future, multiple generations can enjoy Ghostbusters together.
A Disney and Pixar animation for everyone and my personal favorite to win the Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. If anyone ever tells you only children can watch animations, this one proves them wrong. It tells us the story about fear of rejection and people’s willingness to protect themselves from that hurt and rejection. At the same time Luca, ends up also representing that we can accept those who differ from us and live together happier if we just try. Yes, some of these motives we know from other animations, but the Italian sunshine and pasta gives it a very heartwarming take on it.
7. No Time to Die
No spoilers, but the producers and actor himself announced a quite long time ago that Daniel Craig will finish his time as James Bond with No Time to Die. Every time producers face a dilemma of how to say goodbye to someone who played the role for so long, the threat exists that the goodbye won’t live until its expectations.
“No time to die is a great ending to the Daniel Craig bond era. It feels like classic Bond mixed with modern action. Makes the goodbye really worth your while,” Gofas said.
Say goodbye to Daniel Craig’s Bond with this one and you will get an incredible action movie. Moreover, if you want to do a Bond marathon, I recommend you do one with all with Daniel Craig this break as the producers managed to create a consistent storyline throughout all of them.
Marvel fans can’t complain about a bad year. Eternals divided the critics, but the movie achieved new level of universal storytelling. Firstly, you don’t need to watch all of the other Marvel movies to understand this one. Secondly, Eternals made history as it changed the appearance of original comics characters to reflect the society around us. For example, Ajak the leader of the group ended up being a Mexican woman, portrayed by Salma Hayek, and not as white male. The movie also features the first ever deaf superhero played by Lauren Ridloff. It gives everyone a chance to see themselves on the screen, all with twist and turns that will keep you interested. Bonus points: Chloe Zhao, an Oscar winning director, directed this so the visuals won’t disappoint you.
Disney’s Encanto made history as studios first animation set in Latin America—Colombia, to be precise. It marks a great step in representation, by going back to native beliefs and stories of magic. The movie tells a story of extraordinary family in which each member has a special gift, except of Mirabel, but these gifts like in case of Bruno lacked family acceptance by the family. This story about family, gifts, magic and acceptance, makes a perfect movie for whole family to watch.
Pig, a new movie starring Nicolas Cage, in which the actor plays a retired police officer. After death of his wife his character cuts himself off from the society, unlike the usual characters portrayed by this actor.
“His only purpose to life becomes the pig he uses to hunt for truffles to sell. After it is kidnapped, he goes on the hunt to find those who stole it from him. It is a great story that is truly different than anything the actor has ever done and has you feeling emotional the entire movie,” Kaht said.
If you are looking for something new away from the loudest titles of the year, this movie makes of a great venture outside the typical pick, while delivering amazing acting performance. You can watch it from the comfort of your home on Hulu.
If you didn’t hear about a movie called WanadaVision, don’t be surprised—it’s a TV show. This Marvel production became the first to be nominated for Primetime Emmy’s and the first show to win four creative Emmy’s. Both Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany got nominated for Golden Globes, and it’s first tv show in eight years to get a Grammy nomination for a Best Song Written for Visual Media. WandaVision doesn’t tell you a regular superhero story; instead, it explores characters psychology in a way that ends up being a treat to generations of TV creation. The set, costumes and impeccable acting makes the show worth a while for everyone—not just Marvel or superheroes fans.