Happy New Year everyone! These are my favourite films released this year. There are some big films I didn’t have the time to see, because I also review books, I’m still in university, and I have a lot of responsibilities. Still, I’m proud of this Top 10 (which actually has a few movies with low Rotten Tomatoes scores.) Hope you enjoy!
If you would like to read all my reviews, you can find them at either one of these sites: weldonwitness.com or the one we’re on: williammcginnbooks.wordpress.com
Also, I have a YouTube video up with this list, and you can click here if you’d rather watch that instead of reading my list. With that said, let’s begin!
As much as I like Rebel Wilson as an actress, a lot of the recent stuff she’s been in, especially How to Be Single, I’ve hated. When I saw she had a lead role in another Valentine rom-com, I had skepticism but complete curiosity. Turns out, I felt I had to put this in my Top 10 somewhere. It’s a satire of romantic comedies, displaying how they sometimes go towards unrealism and with stars of only specific shapes and sizes, while not disregarding what they always have going for them at their best: making you hopeful for love. Not to mention a trick this movie does which had me roaring in laughter every time.
You should understand going in this is a 140-minute drama. If you can accept this is one of those meaning-of-life films, you just might love it like I did. This coming-of-age story about a grieving little kid struggling with the world post the death of his beloved mother has terrific timing on plot development, acting that never misses the mark, and a climax that put protagonist Theo in bad danger and made me deeply concerned for him. I didn’t think I would like this film at all, but it was when Glenn Gould was mentioned, a world-famous pianist I’m actually related to, that I thought, Maybe I shouldn’t assume too quickly.
Harriet Tubman was a true hero who will one day be on America’s 20-dollar bill. I felt this movie could’ve been longer with a better climax. That being said, I never wanted it to end. Cynthia Erivo couldn’t have been more perfect for the part of the woman who saved dozens of trapped black American slaves and led movements and causes more important than anything in my entire life. It’s action-packed, heartbreaking, deeply scary for its resemblances to the world of today, and uncomfortable for how many people were completely fine with saying one of the worst nicknames in history as a part of their regular lives.
Some kid’s films shouldn’t be underestimated. Kids are often just beginning to see the true evil of the world and are trying to navigate when they don’t feel taken seriously and powerless against tyranny. The Kid Who Would Be King is a blockbuster that takes the hope kids have of defeating the evil of the world and brings it fully to life. I knew nothing going into this film, and just when it seemed over and done with, things were only heating up.
A terrific dessert after the big blowout that was the last Marvel Cinematic Universe production. Except, this Spider-Man entry stands out on its own. Not only is it easily one of the best movies of the year, it’s my favourite Spider-Man entry so far, even better than Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 and Into The Spiderverse. After the news Spider-Man would be cut from the MCU, I looked back on Far From Home and realized how this film was so incredible, I really felt it a shame to end it off after everything it established. So thank goodness we get another in 2021!
You may or may not have heard of this. It’s the biggest movie of the year in China right now. My roommate introduced me to this film, and it’s my favourite animated movie of the year. It’s a story about toxic masculinity, discrimination, biased fear, unforgiven history, and most importantly, the importance of the love a mother has for her child. I can’t wait to see it dubbed in English, but I sincerely hope the script is not made more children-friendly. That wouldn’t do justice to the gravity of this story.
I seriously do not understand how overlooked Disney’s first live-action adaptation of the year was. As someone who never saw the original film, this live-action Dumbo story reminded me of the joy I think about upon the idea of flying on my own like a bird. I still sometimes dream I can, and it’s wonderful. I also loved the development and dimension of Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, Colin Farrell and Eva Green’s characters, the CGI Dumbo was completely adorable, and its emphasis on the functions of independent zoos and the abusive treatment of animals were the main reasons it became an instant favorite!
3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
I enjoyed all the modern Star Wars movies, some more than others. My favourite is still The Force Awakens, but this chapter – er, episode – gave me the most joy since that first chapter into the new generation of Star Wars. A generation that has shown quite the division. What I loved most about this episode was its sense of the war, and the events of the other two entries, with an aura of Rogue One and Solo included, coming to a close, and how much fun Rey, Finn, Po and Chewie have together infiltrating the First Order. And the last shot is the definition of beauty and awe.
What a glorious movie! Avengers: Infinity War (as well as the other movies where he had a cameo) brought a sensational antagonist into the mix, and what was so grand about Thanos was his motives were anything but black and white, and troubling but grounded in a harsh reality. I’m not saying his motives were correct, but overpopulation and resource shortage is a massive issue. I was concerned this big blowout would not talk about what it’s like after a major loss, when superheroes have to cope with the fact they failed. And it really worked. I loved the whole three-hour picture, my favourite scene definitely being Scott Lang reunited with his now-grown-up daughter. My heart was at an utter still. The movie’s celebration of all that came before it and its clear love of everything that makes the superhero genre amazing made it deserving of the highest-grossing film of all time. Not as good as #1, though.
I used to be a huge Pokemon fan, around the time when the Diamond and Pearl show and video-games were out. But after the series restarted for the fifth time with Black and White and it was announced the next series would be in the 3DS that I didn’t have, I eventually gave up on the series, realizing not only had I grown out of it, I was really disappointed in its shallow story structure. I felt the Pokemon universe had so much more potential than constantly following the footsteps of Ash Ketchum when he can never win a league, and Detective Pikachu was the movie I wished for at that age. It was absolutely everything I could’ve ever wanted. For the first time, I actually felt the Pokemon world was completely taken seriously like it should’ve. There are several nods to back when Pokemon was first fresh and brand new. We get to explore the lives of regular people living and making money in the Pokemon world, something often disregarded in the series and games. The CGI Pokemon were all adorable and fierce whenever they had to. Ryan Reynolds was absolute boss as Pikachu. Its human cast is full of life. I saw this movie three times in the theatre, something I’ve never done before. It’s boss, and you don’t have to be a devout Pokemon fan to enjoy it!
So what were some of your most favourites? I’m also working on my Top 10 Worst list right now, which I’ll have posted in about an hour. Hope to see you there as well!