The 10 Best Movies of 2021: a hasty prediction

At the start of a new year it's always fun to make predictions of what might be worth getting excited about and what we've enjoyed most from last year. But considering there's not so much to be excited about from 2020 as far as movies are concerned (a few exceptions of course), I'm going for something a little more drastic.

Let's pretend that 2021 has come and gone. Perhaps we've seen all of these films, perhaps we haven't seen any of them - who knows? I'm taking a stab at what might just be the best of the bunch. The best films of both 2020 and 2021 so to speak.

Here are the 10 films I think we'll all be heaping praise on by the time we get to New Year's Eve again. Hopefully we'll get to see them either in cinemas or on streaming at some point in the year.

10 - No Time To Die (April)

It feels like decades since Billie Eilish released her theme song for Daniel Craig's final soirée as James Bond. But that shouldn't take away from how good this is likely to be. You've got Daniel Craig saying goodbye, Bohemian Rhapsody's Rami Malek having a go at the 'big bad' and a whole roster of acting talent that will give us a bit of fast-paced sophistication for a couple of hours.

It would be easy to think that a year of delays would take away from the hype-factor, I mean it has had plenty of time to die. But I take the stance that James Bond is a firmly placed establishment in British cinema, and there'll be no taking away from that.

9 - The Suicide Squad (August)

James Gunn, director of the more vibrant films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Guardians of the Galaxy), has jumped ship to DC Extended Universe. I think? Their 'universe' is considerably messier than that of Marvel Studios. Without the fresh outlook of Margot Robbie I'm not sure where they'd be now. The introduction of James Gunn looks to fix their troubles with a remake of 2016's cinematic calamity, Suicide Squad.

Now called THE Suicide Squad, Gunn seems to have taken all the good of the original and turned it up a notch. Colour, a huge ensemble, no Jared Leto and good humour appear to be running riot. The Suicide Squad could easily change the DCEU forever.

8 - The Last Duel (October)

Ridley Scott, the filmmaker behind Gladiator and Alien, is in the process of directing a medieval epic starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer. Need I say more? There's no trailer, no poster and nothing to see other than an October release date.

So how can anyone know this will be good?

If the book is anything to go by then it seems pretty epic. It's about a fight to the death between Matt Damon and Adam Driver, two conceited French knights. Ben Affleck plays King Charles VI and Jodie Comer is Marguerite de Carrouges, wife to Matt Damon's character. Of course, the boys are fighting over a girl. Has Ridley Scott still got it or is he outdated? I think The Last Duel might prove he has.

7 - Luca (June)

The image to the left is from Luca, Pixar's offering in Summer 2021. From first glance it doesn't look anything like recent films such as Soul or Onward does it? That's exactly why I think that this film will garner a lot of attention. The vibrant style of animation seeks to truly innovate away from Pixar's typical style.

Luca centres around a young boy living on the picturesque Italian Riviera. He shares adventures with his newfound best friend, but a dark secret about his true identity looks to threaten their bond. It seems like a warm, nostalgic, personal look at childhood that many people can enjoy.

6 - Last Night in Soho (July)

Last Night in Soho is another remnant of 2020 and sees Edgar Wright of Cornetto Trilogy fame going full psychological horror.

The Queen's Gambit's Anya Taylor-Joy stars as a young wannabe fashion designer who mysteriously enters the 1960s to encounter her idol. I think this is going to be her year if anyone's. She's got a lot going on and is prolifically talented. Put her alongside Edgar Wright's fast-paced style with Dame Diana Rigg's final role and we're sure to have something to behold.

He's done horror-comedy, but this will be Edgar Wright going full scare-factor. I'm sure this will be a lot of people's favourites come December.

5 - The Northman (N/A)

Anya Taylor-Joy will hopefully appear again in 2021 alongside a star-studded ensemble including IT's Alexander Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and Ethan Hawke. This Viking epic about a Nordic prince out to avenge his father's murder will be psychological-filmmaker Robert Eggers' third feature film.

After directing critically acclaimed films such as The VVitch and The Lighthouse, he's firmly solidified himself as one of the best up and coming filmmakers today.

Shooting completed in December 2020, so it's not wild to presume that we'll be seeing it at some point around October-time, considering Covid's impact.

4 - Judas and the Black Messiah (February)

Inspired by true events, Judas and the Black Messiah is based on the life of Fred Hampton, chairman of the Black Panther Party in late 1960s Illinois. Lakeith Stanfield plays an informant for the FBI, tasked with taking him down.

Why might this be considered any good? Because Daniel Kaluuya.

Much like Olivia Coleman, Best Actress of 2019, his humble beginnings in That Mitchell and Webb Look has led to a very prosporous career. Now he looks set for Oscars-galore and this might just be the one. With an impressive supporting cast, he can be given the space to shine. It looks tense, it looks insightful, it looks like it'll be a thrilling watch. If you need more convincing, I'd suggest watching Johnny English Reborn and Queen & Slim. He's got range.

3 - Dune (October)

The top 3 kicks off with Denis Villeneuve's first in a two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert's 1965 sci-fi epic - Dune.

I read the book last Summer in anticipation of the film and I must admit that it's not going to be easy to take on. It's a complex world that's filled with history and lore, and a story that would be hard to visually replicate. But that's where Denis Villeneuve shines, especially with the help of Hans Zimmer, the greatest composer of our lifetime.

Villeneuve made one of the best sequels ever put to screen in 2017's Blade Runner 2049, even if it didn't do so well at the Box Office. With a similar team and a huge cast starring Timothée Chalamet, he might just pull this off. Only if Warner Bros. can market the film effectively.

2 - The French Dispatch (May)

The second best film of 2021 has the biggest cast of the lot. Luckily I don't have to write all their names down as each one is featured in the poster here other than Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan and Willem Dafoe.

Wes Anderson, director of Fantastic Mr Fox and The Grand Budapest Hotel, is back with a mixture of live-action film making and animation (and his biggest ensemble yet). His quirky films are the easiest there are to watch. In tricky times like these a warm, easy watching and people-oriented movie is what everyone could really do with.

Anderson's tenth feature film has been coined as a "love letter to journalists", set in a fictional 20th-century French city. Here's hoping it provides the escapism we need.

1 - Nomadland (February)

The top pick here is a calculated one. Nomadland won the people's choice at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Golden Lion in Venice to name but a few. It's been released to streaming in the US to serious critical acclaim and is now being linked to 'the big one' at the Oscars in April. So it's safe to presume that this might be a great film.

Nomadland stars Frances McDormand as a woman who leaves her small town to travel around the American West as a nomad. Promising fantastic visuals, themes of belonging and a leading lady with an excellent track record, I'm looking forward to seeing what Nomadland has to offer.

So there's what are destined to be the ten best films of 2021 in my opinion. The Warner Bros. decision to put everything on HBO Max and the fact that this particular service isn't widely available in the UK yet isn't something to worry about. It certainly doesn't mean we won't see anything here.

It's likely that if cinemas aren't open then we can prepare to see a lot of these becoming available on a streaming service near you. Which ones they'll be on is yet to be determined, but now is the time to invest in streaming.