Time for the traditional HMC Boxing Day round up of new films that have found their way into the screening room this year and made sufficient impression on me that I feel they deserve another mention. In terms of movies released and festivals held, 2021 was a vast improvement over 2020, with things feeling as if they were getting back to (almost) normal. Many festivals provided digital alternatives for those still not prepared to venture back into the auditorium, and often the digital lineups were different from physical ones.
And so we come to the films I found the most things to like about this year. The rules stay the same - each film had to have been shown in the UK for the first time, either cinema, festival, disc release or streaming service. And big budget major studio successes don't get a look in because everyone will already know if they want to see NO TIME TO DIE, DUNE, or SPIDERMAN NO WAY HOME.
But wait! I hear you cry. What of the worst of the year? The bit that seems to be the favourite according to many readers. Well, I didn't watch anything too deserving of being dragged over the coals, which probably reflects my viewing habits more than the fact that there was definitely a lot of rubbish out there. However there were a couple of films worthy of mention, both because their directors fall into the could do / have done better category. So let's have a couple of awards:
Yes James Wan, I like a lot of the films you've made but not MALIGNANT, and not even rabid fans claiming 'it's deliberately supposed to be this bad' had me buying that this one was any good. Mind you, there's so much awfulness to delight in with this one that not for one moment might it be considered dull. Awful, yes, all the way through in fact, but never dull. And so many questions! Which director does James Wan really want to be? Stuart Gordon? (The beginning of this) ELM ST era Wes Craven? (Lots of this) Or Dario Argento at his convoluted worst? (You'll know. Believe me you'll know). So many lines of dialogue clamouring for the coveted 'Worst Of 2021' award! So many actors determined to deliver those lines as appallingly as possible! No spoilers in this review because for the true Bad Film Fan this one is a feast indeed waiting to be discovered. Take heart that the appallingly misjudged opening 10-15 minutes is merely a hint of the dreadful delights to come, because believe me it gets even better / worse.