2021’s films ranked

This ranking includes only new theatrical or VOD releases that debuted in the US between January 1st and December 31st, 2021, and hence eligible for the OFCS and AWFJ awards; some films released in the UK without US releases (and so ineligible for those awards this year) may also be included, for my own bookkeeping purposes.

Films released between March 1st and December 31st, 2021, are eligible for the Academy Awards. (This accounts for last year’s eligibility period being extended to February 28th, 2021.)

This ranking is still ongoing.

Links go to my review. Numbers after each entry are Date First Viewed/US Release Date/UK Release Date; year is 2021 unless otherwise noted.

Films without theatrical releases are typically not eligible for year-end awards like the Oscars, but that rule has been amended this year because of the shuttering of cinemas during the crisis, as they were in 2020. In the listing below, a film’s release was theatrical unless otherwise noted:

° indicates a film released direct to streaming


other yearly rankings:
2022 | 2020
2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010
2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003


green light
worth paying multiplex prices for

[5 stars]
The Power of the Dog (11.23/11.17/11.17)
Passing (10.29/10.27/10.27)
Flee (10.16/12.03/02.11.22)
The Lost Daughter (10.13/12.17/12.17)
Pig (07.26/07.16/08.20)
Riders of Justice (05.21/05.14/07.23)
The Card Counter (09.04/09.10/11.05)
Belfast (10.13/11.12/01.21.22)
In the Heights (06.08/06.10/06.18)
Nowhere Special (07.15/TBA/07.16)
Minari (04.22/02.12/04.02°)
Silent Night (11.24/12.03/12.03)
Boiling Point (11.29/11.19/01.07.22)
The Reason I Jump (06.13/01.08°/06.18)
Mogul Mowgli (10.02.20/09.03/10.30.20)
A Quiet Place: Part II (05.18/05.28/06.03)
Judas and the Black Messiah° (02.09/02.12°/03.11)
My Rembrandt (01.07/01.06°/TBA)
Bank Job (05.27/TBA/05.28)
Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts 2021 (93rd Academy Awards) (04.20/04.02/04.02°)
Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts 2021 (93rd Academy Awards) (04.19/04.02/04.02°)

[4.5 stars]
Don’t Look Up (12.25/12.10/12.10)
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (11.04/11.19/11.26)
Nightmare Alley (12.31/12.17/01.21.22)
The French Dispatch (10.05/10.22/10.22)
The Mitchells vs the Machines° (01.22.22/04.30/04.30)
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché (02.01.22/02.02.22/03.05)
tick, tick… BOOM! (03.23.22/11.12/11.12)
Dune (10.05/10.22/10.22)
The Delivered (aka Fanny Lye Deliver’d) (10.12.19/01.15.21°/06.26.20)
I Blame Society° (02.11/02.12/04.19)
Spencer (10.17/11.05/11.05)
Sweat (06.22/06.18/06.25)
Lamb (10.15/10.08/12.10)
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (09.28.10/09.25.19/09.25)
The Nowhere Inn (09.24/09.17/10.29)
Benedetta (10.15/12.03/04.15.22)
Candyman (08.22/08.27/08.27)
Little Girl (Petite Fille) (07.07.20/09.17/09.25.20°)
True Mothers (01.23/01.29/04.16°)
The Father (01.23/02.26/06.11)
Identifying Features (01.16/01.22/05.02°)
A Crime on the Bayou (06.16/06.18/TBA)
Cowboys° (02.06/02.12/05.07)
Test Pattern (02.13/02.12°/TBA)
I Care a Lot° (06.30/02.19/02.19)
Slalom (02.11/04.09/02.12°)
Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (05.07/04.23/01.31.22°)
MLK/FBI (01.18/01.15/01.15°)
Together (08.13/08.27/06.17°)
Bo Burnham: Inside° (06.01/05.30/05.30)

[4 stars]
Mass (01.22.22/10.08/01.21.22)
Stray° (10.05.20/03.05/03.26)
The Suicide Squad (07.31/08.06/07.30)
Eternals (11.10/11.05/11.05)
Censor (09.15/06.11/08.20)
The Tragedy of Macbeth (10.17/12.25/12.26)
Copilot (09.09/TBA/09.10)
Luca° (06.26/06.18/06.18)
Copshop (09.19/09.17/09.10)
Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer (06.16/06.18°/TBA)
Shiva Baby (04.02/04.02/06.11°)
Raya and the Last Dragon (03.07/03.05/03.05°)
The Body Fights Back (07.20/07.13°/TBA)
Godzilla vs. Kong (03.31/03.31/04.01)
’Til Kingdom Come (02.25/02.26/01.19°)
Sing 2 (02.11.22/12.22/01.28.22)
Supernova (10.09.20/01.29/06.25)
Two of Us (01.30/02.05/07.16)
Own the Room° (03.17/03.12/03.12)
Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2021 (93rd Academy Awards) (04.06/04.02/04.02°)

[3.5 stars]
Encanto (01.15.22/11.24/11.24)
Jockey (11.17/12.29/TBA)
Mayday (10.04/10.01/04.04.22°)
The Matrix Resurrections (12.26/12.22/12.22)
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (09.06/09.03/09.03)
Jungle Cruise (07.25/07.30/07.30)
The Perfect Candidate (04.02.20/05.14/03.27.20)
Stowaway° (04.22/04.22/04.22)
Moxie° (03.07/03.03/03.03)
Mothers of the Revolution° (09.29/10.19/10.18)
Les nôtres (06.16/06.18/TBA)
Malignant (09.12/09.10/09.10)
Cinderella° (08.31/09.03/09.03)
The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (06.27/07.09/04.04.22°)
King Richard (11.09/11.19/11.19)
The Tunnel (Tunnelen)° (04.08/04.09/09.21.20)
My Zoe (02.19/02.26/10.05.20°)
Chasing Childhood (06.23/06.25/TBA)

yellow for maybe
worth seeing, but wait for DVD, unless your favorite actor is in it

[3 stars]
Titane (09.30/10.01/12.26)
High Ground (05.14/05.14/05.26)
Mothering Sunday (10.28/02.25.22/11.12)
The Ice Road° (06.25/06.25/06.25)
Ron’s Gone Wrong (10.21/10.22/10.15)
Best Sellers (09.16/09.17/10.18°)
No Time to Die (09.30/10.08/09.30)
Till Death (07.06/07.02/10.01°)
Queenpins (09.08/09.10/10.29)
Rose: A Love Story° (10.13.20/10.01/04.05)
The Orphanage (02.27/03.02°/TBA)
Land (03.02/03.12/05.28)
The World to Come (03.05/03.12/07.23)
Worth (09.08/08.27/08.27)
#Like° (01.26/01.26/11.01)
Vivo° (08.07/08.07/08.07)
A Glitch in the Matrix (02.04/02.05/02.05°)
A Castle for Christmas° (12.19/11.26/11.26)
The Eyes of Tammy Faye (09.17/09.17/02.04.22)
Fathom° (06.24/06.25/06.25)
Mothering Sunday (10.28/02.25.22/11.12)

[2.5 stars]
Paper Spiders (05.06/05.07/TBA)
Confetti (08.19/08.20/TBA)
Zola (06.28/06.30/08.06)
Being the Ricardos (11.30/12.10/12.10)
The Many Saints of Newark (09.20/10.01/09.22)
Reminiscence (08.16/08.20/08.20)
Black Widow (07.03/07.09/07.07)
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (11.18/11.19/11.18)
Little Fish (02.10/02.05/05.10°)
Charlatan (07.01/07.23/06.28°)
Shepherd (11.26/TBA/11.26)
Munich: The Edge of War (01.14.22/12.31/01.07.22)
The Last Bus (08.26/02.18.22/08.27)
Long Story Short (07.08/07.02/09.03°)
House of Gucci (12.28/11.24/11.26)

red for no
give it a miss

[2 stars]
Cyrano (12.19/12.??/02.25.22)
Great White (07.20/07.16/05.17°)
Joe Bell (07.19/07.23/TBA)
Old (07.22/07.23/07.23)
The Tomorrow War° (07.02/07.02/07.02)
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (08.17/07.23/08.18)
Gunpowder Milkshake (08.07/07.14/09.17)
Who You Think I Am (Celle que vous croyez) (04.09.20/09.03/04.10.20)
Naked Singularity (08.13/08.06/01.02.22°)
The Little Things° (02.28/01.29/03.11)
Free Guy (08.05/08.13/08.13)
Zack Snyder’s Justice League° (03.20/03.18/03.18)

[1.5 stars]
Cruella (05.30/05.28/05.28)
Last Night in Soho (10.29/10.29/10.29)
Undergods (09.02.20/05.05/05.17)
Jolt° (07.27/07.23/07.23)
Red Notice (11.12/11.05/11.05)

[1 star]
Encounter (11.21/12.03/12.03)
Settlers (07.27/07.23/07.23)
The Voyeurs° (09.11/09.10/09.10)
Black Friday (11.22/11.19/02.11.22)
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (05.29/06.04/05.26)
The Exception (Undtagelsen) (01.22/TBA/01.22)
A Perfect Enemy (07.14/06.11/07.05°)
Locked Down (03.18/01.14/03.11)
We Need to Do Something (09.05/09.03/10.25°)
Bliss° (02.06/02.05/02.05)
Fast 9: The Fast Saga (06.21/06.25/06.24)
Space Jam: A New Legacy (07.13/07.15/07.16)

[.5 stars]
Violation° (03.26/03.25/03.25)
Thunder Force° (04.12/04.09/04.09)
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (06.14/06.16/06.14)
The Virtuoso (05.02/04.30/05.10°)
Black Easter° (aka Assassin 33 A.D.) (06.30/06.24/06.24)

[0 stars]
Infinite° (06.07/06.10/10.01)
Peter Rabbit 2 (aka Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway) (05.20/06.11/05.17)
Karen (09.02/09.03/TBA)
The Unthinkable (05.06/05.07/direct to VOD)