It goes without saying that this semester has been one of the roughest to date with Capitol riots, vaccination rollouts, an unforgiving ice storm, no spring break and a lot of other crazy stuff. It’s been difficult for everyone, but thankfully, the spring semester’s end is on the horizon and summer is nearly here. That means we can all finally chill out, relax and catch up on the latest offerings in film and television this summer.
So, without further ado, I’m here to give you the rundown of the best movies and television series (in no particular order) from 2021. The return to true cinematic normalcy may be far off, but these six pieces of media feel like they are here to remind us that, in the end, everything will be ok.
1. "Derek DelGaudio’s In & of Itself" (dir. Frank Oz)
When I tell you that nothing can prepare you for this masterful performance from unconventional storyteller and magician Derek DelGaudio, I mean that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to prepare you. Wholly humanistic, it’s a beautifully emotional experience about the concept of identity and how we are more than what other perceive us to be. Now streaming on Hulu.
2. "The White Tiger" (dir. Ramin Bahrani)
Undoubtedly the most overlooked film on this list, "The White Tiger" is an engaging and telling drama about the unjust caste system in India and the plight its lower class faces. Starring Adarsh Gourav and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the film follows the rise of an ambitious Indian driver who cunningly connives his way to the top of the social stratosphere. Streaming now on Netflix, this politically astute drama is certainly worth a watch.
3. "Judas and the Black Messiah" (dir. Shaka King)
Shaka King’s "Judas and the Black Messiah" is an immaculately electrifying work of filmmaking of biblical proportions. From the title alone, the literary parallels between the Greatest Story Ever Told & the assassination of Fred Hampton, the savior of inner Chicago, are near impossible to overlook. The allusions in this film were outstanding, heightened by the captivating lead performances (just give Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield all the awards). Beautifully photographed and lit by Sean Bobbitt, the heartbreakingly relevant film inspired me, angered me and engaged me so much.
4. "It’s a Sin" (dir. Peter Hoar)
Unabashedly proud and poignant, "It’s a Sin" is an emotional and outstanding fivefold drama that stunned me from frame one. Set between 1981 and 1991 during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the UK, this beautifully tragic story of friends Richie, Jill, Roscoe, Colin and Ash will surely never leave my mind or my heart. You can find it streaming on HBO Max.
5. "Zack Snyder’s Justice League"
Look, I already praised this film in my previous rev rank for it. However, I will reiterate that "Zack Snyder’s Justice League" is a triumphant, mythic and astounding feat of superhero filmmaking. I adored it despite its overlong runtime that somehow blew by. It’s streaming on HBO Max along with the rest of the DC Extended Universe.
6. "Allen v. Farrow" (dir. Kirby Dick & Amy Zierling)
Viewer Discretion is Advised
Fully comprehensive and thorough, "Allen v. Farrow" is not at all an easy watch. It’s painful, uncomfortable and sickening to watch at times, but it is impossible to look away from. Now streaming on HBO Max, the four-part docuseries explores the allegations of sexual abuse made against Woody Allen in 1992, and the truth is far worse than I could have ever imagined. I stand with Dylan Farrow.
- "WanadaVision" (dir. Matt Shakman)
- "I Care a Lot" (dir. J Blakeson)
- "Murder Among the Mormons" (dir. Jared Hess & Tyler Measom)
- "Bad Trip" (dir. Kitao Sakurai)