With lockdown slowly beginning to lift and cinemas reopening their doors, audiences have been allowed to pick up some popcorn and a Tango Ice Blast before hitting the big screen to check out some of the newly-released feature-length offerings of 2021.
Sure, we’ve not seen as many movies as we would have liked to in 2021 just yet, but that doesn’t mean we’ve not been keeping an eye on exactly which films have made their release. Here are the seven best new films of 2021 so far!
7. Army of The Dead
Hitting Netflix in mid-May, Zack Snyder made his directorial return for a zombie story like none other. Army of The Dead followed a group of ragtag heroes who come together in the hopes of retrieving $200 million sitting in a vault in the centre of Las Vegas. With the city in ruins following the outbreak of the undead however, it turns out to be a deadly and dangerous mission unlike anything they've ever embarked on before.
An all-star cast, including Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick and Ana De La Reguera come together to bring Snyder's characters to life, in what is undoubtedly one of the year's most visually-stunning movies.
Disney continued on with their live-action tellings of stories that fans are either familiar with, or including characters that have already made their mark in film history. This time came the turn of the 101 Dalmatians villain herself, Cruella.
Played by Emma Stone, we got to see exactly what it was that turned Cruella into the puppy-murdering psychopath that we're all used to seeing on the big screen. The film also starred the likes of Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Emily Beecham and Paul Walter Hauser, making for a compelling and thrilling watch, from beginning to end.
5. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga returned to their landmark roles of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, in the most chilling offering of the main Conjuring series to-date. Based on the real-life story of a murder which led to the first time a suspect in the United States would claim demonic possession as a defence, scenes of said possession would leave us feeling haunted for many days after our initial watch!
Wilson and Farmiga were joined in the cast by Ruairi O'Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook and Julian Hilliard, whilst the always-awesome Michael Chaves served as director.
4. Raya and The Last Dragon
Disney have really served us some beautiful animated features in the past, and Raya and The Last Dragon is no different. Moving and emotional, it showcases the journey of our titular hero as she attempts to track down the last dragon, who can aid her in stopping sinister monsters from threatening the fantasy land of Kumandra.
Diversity is something that has been sorely lacking in Disney films of the past so, to see the likes of Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang, Benedict Wong, Gemma Chan and Daniel Dae Kim amongst those who lent their voices to this feature was a very welcome firm step forward for the company.
Disney also delivered with the recently-released Luca, which tells the story of a young boy who turns into a sea creature when he gets wet. Afraid to let the world know who he really is, he lets his best friend in on the secret and begins to learn that just a single person can change your life forever.
This coming-of-age fantasy flick is relatable on a whole stack of different levels. We of course all had to battle our own demons in our youth, but the LGBTQ+ community in particular are finding they are able to relate to this tale, of having to hide ones true self from the world for fear of neglect and ridicule. Whether or not that’s what Pixar were going for, it’s still a beautiful message in the end.
2. Batman: The Long Halloween Part One
Another animated film release here, this time with Batman: The Long Halloween Part One. Based on the critically-acclaimed maxi-series by Jeph Loeb and stunningly-illustrated by Tim Sale, director Chris Palmer had a challenging job in adapting it for the screen; but he absolutely pulled it off.
Jensen Ackles and the late Naya Rivera give stunning performances as Bruce Wayne aka Batman and Selina Kyle aka Catwoman respectively, whilst the likes of Josh Duhamel, Billy Burke, David Dastmalchian, Troy Baker, Amy Landecker, Julie Nathanson, Jack Quaid, Fred Tatasciore and Alastair Duncan round out the cast. Bring on Part Two!
1. In The Heights
If you needed an uplifting film to get you out of the funk that the past 16 months plus has put you in, then look no further than In The Heights. This big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical is without a doubt going to be celebrated for years to come, thanks to its stunning group numbers and vocal performances.
With Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera and original Broadway star Olga Merediz reprising her role as Abuela Claudia, the movie is one that you'll want to watch over and over again. It’s utterly gorgeous.
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