Top films of 2021 so far

Top films of 2021 so far

This is possibly too long a list, but screw it! No top 10s here. Now before anyone starts, some films have been excluded (they will be in a little list at the end) for I saw them last year at festivals. It seemed fair that I do this so I can highlight those films I have seen this year. There may be a different list sometime in the month about films released in 2021, for now enjoy this one! I have gone for alphabetical order, cos structure.

A Ghost Waits

Faultless performances from it’s two leads, this horror rom-com about a ghost trying to scare a down on his luck man from her house should not work, it is just too silly. Despite that, what we have here in Adam Stovall’s black and white film is a breathe of fresh air that charms the life out of you. Humanity and loneliness are central themes in A Ghost Waits leaving us with a pitch-perfect gem.

Read our review here


Gints Zilbalodis’ Away is a tour de force of animation. Dialogue free this 74 minute joy takes you on a compelling journey. This stunning film shows what is possible by one person. A film that uses minimalism in its design and becomes a marvel. There will not be many animations better than this, don’t let it sneak off without catching it.

Read our review here


A film that takes all of the visual risks, shot entirely in first and third person, Ian Scott Clement has marked himself out to be a filmmaker to keep an eye on with his experimental film. Basenji challenges you from the start and as the film reaches it’s haunting finale, you are left as exhausted as our protagonist.

Read our review here

For The Sake of Vicious

Brutal, absolutely brutal is the only way to describe this film. A film of two halves, with the first a tense filled thriller, we are then given a complete 180 with the second half that is as relentless as they come. Need a late night film to let your jaw drop to the floor with, then watch For The Sake of Vicious. Set in a small house this is the tightest of battles put on camera, a rewarding knockout of a film.

Read our review here

The Greenhouse

A film that pulls at anyone who has lost a parent or loved one. This hauntingly brilliant Australian film will hit you hard, though somehow in the most beautiful of ways. A film about LGBT acceptance, not just from family, but within oneself, The Greenhouse ambitiously packs a lot in it’s runtime, Jane Watt mesmirises.

Read our review here

In Search of Darkness 2

80s horror had a lot of films and you would have thought a four and a half hour documentary about the decade would suffice, well how about another four and a half hours and somehow this sequel tops the original. David Weiner continue’s his love letter to the genre with a documentary that expands and allows itself to step away from the formula that worked previously. For a horror fan, this is essential.

Read our review here

Lift Like A Girl

An observational documentary from Mayye Zayed that challenges gender stereotypes not just in Egypt, but around the world. A tale of how world class athletes can be formed in the humblest of beginnings. Full of wonderful characters such as the visionary Captain Ramadan Lift Like A Girl will resonate as you become obsessed with Zebiba’s journey to glory.

Read our review here

Minamata Mandala

Running in at over 6 hours, it may be an endurance challenge, but Minamata Mandala shows us the battle for justice like you may never have seen it before. The little known disaster in Japan should be worldwide news, yet this community have been left to suffer for generations. Broken down into excruciating detail, you will certainly find yourself in as much of a fury as those at the press conferences with officials.

Read our review here

My First Summer

A delicate film that is full of tenderness and love that you will fall head over heels with it. With an absorbing script and soft cinematography My First Summer hits all of the right notes. A film that really takes you by surprise, leaving a welcome imprint as it tells its story about connection. This is one to watch, I purple promise.

Read our review here

P.S. Burn This Letter Please

Jennifer Tiexiera and Michael Seligman’s P.S. Burn This Letter Please is an astounding documentary that captures its audience early and never let’s go. Full of important stories and experiences you will be left disappointed that it is as short as it is. You become so invested in this group of New York LGBTQ people who resided in New York in the 1950s that you want to learn more about them. A glorious documentary.

Read our review here

Psycho Goreman

Steven Kotanski’s practical effects laden joy of a B-movie is one that dares you not to like it. A film about a demon who is controlled by a sociopathic child is always going to do well with me. Happily this is a film that bloodily sticks the landing. We have a film that knows exactly what it is and just wants to have a ball. A reminder though, all of the practicals were done for less than £75,000… Magic.

Read our review here

Sam and Mattie Make A Zombie Movie

Most likely this will be the feel good film of the list. Sam and Mattie will have you grinning from ear to ear with their infectious enthusiasm. A documentary (and film) about two friends who just love movies. A film that is as charming as it is touching, this is a great glimpse of what can happen when family, friends and a town get together for a couple of their residents.

Read our review here

Sound of Violence

For all of the gore and horror on show in Alex Noyer’s Sound of Violence, it is the story of the tragedy of this woman that sticks with you. The desperate need to cling to the only thing gained in a moment of horror as this the post-traumatic stress and addiction sets in on our protagonist. A unique genre film that takes advantages of its inventive premise to deliver a message interspersed with some wonderfully schlocky deaths.

Read our review here

Summer of Soul (…Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

The ultimate time capsule of a moment we almost lost. Barrelling through the days and events of the six week festival we are reminded of the joy of that time for those present, yet the frustration remains, frustration that this footage was boxed up for so long, frustration that the momentum created at the festival was never able to be fully achieved at the time. A documentary with an abundance of highlights, with the importance never being lost on its audience.

Read our review here

Uncle Vanya

A cheat? Maybe, this recording of the stage play is a heart wrenchingly brilliant piece that will live long in the memory, perfectly cast, Toby Jones, Aimee Lou Wood, Richard Armitage and Rosalind Eleazar astonish as a group of people forever teetering on the edge of an emotional cliff. Aspirations, dreams and hope are cast aside for these characters in a bittersweet tragedy. An essential watch.

Read our review here

The 12th man

The harrowing story true story of Norwegian WWII spy Jan Baalsrud grips you from the first to last scene. A gem of a film that needs to find as wide an audience as possible. Thomas Gullestad is a revelation who transforms as Baalsrud’s miraculous story continues. This is a war movie that will not disappoint.

Read our review here

Films released this year that are also great…

Possessor: Uncut


Rose: A Love Story


Never Gonna Snow Again


After Love

Another Round

Mogul Mowgli

One Night In Miami


What do you think? What have I missed?

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