Taking a break from my scheduled programming to shift gears and look at the best movies that came out/I saw this year.
10. Tenet (PVOD)
As much as I'd have loved to put this higher up on the list, a movie shouldn't take multiple viewings in order to be understandable. I get not treating your audience like they're idiots, but the fact is that the movie explains everything, it's just hidden beneath layers and layers of subtext and musical stings that make the whole thing feel like Nolan is just screaming at you, calling you stupid. That said, Tenet's ambition as a film that tries to distinguish itself from the myriad of high-octane sci-fi can't go unnoticed.
9. Borat 2 (Prime Video)
We needed this. We really, really needed this.
8. Spree (Hulu)
This was a late entry (I just caught it this weekend on Hulu) but my goodness is Spree a fun ride. The movie is told entirely through a livestream of a ride share driver who wants to go viral, but he's got... less than orthodox ways of doing so. The message itself isn't too deep, and has the potential to veer into r/PhonesAreBad territory, but it's a thrilling movie that I think does quite a lot with Joey Keery's acting chops.
7. Palm Springs (Hulu)
As much as I love anthologies - and I do - I love Cristin Milioti more. This was a fun spin on a rom-com that made the most of its premise, something that a lot of films (like Happy Death Day) do not. It doesn't focus too much on the "why" and more about the "what", as in: "What are these two going to get up to next?" Plus, the onscreen chemistry between Andy Samberg and Milioti is just adorable.
6. The Lovebirds (Netflix)
If you read my Best of Netflix article, you'll know I adore this movie.
5. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Netflix)
What's not to love about this movie? It came at just the right time and had just the right ~vibe~ for a post-Lockdown #1 atmosphere. The original songs were pretty good as well, especially Húsavik, which in my view should legitimately win Best Original Song at the 2021 Academies.
4. The Invisible Man (NowTV, Hulu)
Blumhouse doesn't always get it right, but when it does, it really does. This is a modern take on a classic story that really, genuinely holds up a mirror to the world. It's timely, scary and fundamentally an exciting movie to watch for a few reasons. The action sequences are spectacular, but even more of a feast for the eyes are the camera movements, which use robotics to really achieve a level of precision that a dolly simply can't reach.
3. Onward (Disney+)
This movie, I saw about 3 days before cinemas closed in the UK. I had an entire IMAX screen to myself which was very needed because I bawled my eyes out. With Pixar, you generally know that the movie is going to be good. Some, like Toy Story 4, are narratively good but technically phenomenal; Onward is the reverse of that. Given the release schedule, it almost feels like Pixar made an intentional choice to not go strong with its animation because that gives way to the story, which was simple but outstandingly and magically effective.
2. Run (Hulu)
I was such a huge fan of Searching that when I heard Aneesh Chaganty was already working on another movie, starring Sarah Paulson no less, I was eagerly waiting for its release. Then, COVID-19 happened, and the movie was moved to Hulu pending a November release. Well, November came and I saw. This was an amazing movie with a basic premise, which isn't inherently bad, it just means that it has to use that premise really well. I'm working on a spoiler-filled review of that so you can understand why I can't put it as my #1 for this year. But a huge shout out to Kiera Allen, who I don't think has ever acted in a feature before, and knocked it out of the park.
1. Parasite (Prime Video, Hulu)
Of course. There has never been a movie I think I've enjoyed as much as Parasite. The fact that I saw it in January of this year and I'm still talking about it, and rewatching it maybe once each month; this is an excellent movie. You know all about Parasite, it's the first ever non-English Language movie to win Best Picture, and what a well-deserved winner it was. This movie made me feel grateful to be able to have seen it. If you're on the fence about watching a movie with subtitles, don't be. This movie could have been completely silent and allowed the score to carry you through it, and it still would have been at the top of my list. Every single thing about this movie is perfect which is why it has to score:
Let me know what you think of this list! Do you agree; do you disagree? Comment down below or Tweet me (@StreamingBuffer)!
Until then, happy streaming!