New from Kevin Wozniak on Kevflix: Best Movies of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival has officially come to a close and what a festival it was. Though being virtual and not being able to go to the mountains of Park City this year, I thought that the festival was really good this year.  The quality of films was excellent, the software the festival used to stream the films worked seamlessly, and the scheduling allowed you to see a lot of movies.  I was able to view 31 feature films and eight short films at this year’s festival and there a number of films that I liked and a few that I loved.  I was most impressed with documentaries at this year’s festival and was able to view more foreign films, which was awesome.

You can find my reviews from this year’s festival here, but here are my picks for the best movies and performances of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

 

 

 

 

TOP 10 MOVIES

 

STRAWBERRY MANSION (Ley Line Entertainment)

10 – STRAWBERRY MANSION (Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney)

  • A weird, dreamy, brightly colored love story.

 

 

PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND (XYZ Films)

9 – PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND (Sion Sono)

  • Nicolas Cage is at his Cageiest in Sion Sono’s wild, violent, gorgeous apocalyptic samurai western ghost story.

 

HIVE (Ikone Studio)

8 – HIVE (Blerta Basholli)

  • Winner of best film in the World Dramatic section of the festival, Hive is a quiet, effective look at an Albanian woman (an outstanding Yllka Gashi) making a name and business for herself in a society where men look down on women.

 

ON THE COUNT OF THREE (Valparaiso Pictures)

7 – ON THE COUNT OF THREE (Jarrod Carmichael)

  • Led by an firy performance by Christopher Abbott, Jarrod Carmichael’s directorial debut is a darkly funny, gripping story of a suicide pact between two friends.

 

CODA (Apple)

6 – CODA (Sian Heder)

  • As big of a crowdpleaser as I’ve seen in a long time, CODA is a smart, funny, heartwarming look at a hearing girl living in a deaf family.

 

CAPTAINS OF ZA’ATARI (Ambient Light)

5 – CAPTAINS OF ZAATARI (Ali El-Arabi)

  • Hoop Dreams-like sports documentary about two refugees trying to make it into professional soccer.

 

 

MASS (Gersh)

4 – MASS (Fran Kranz)

  • An acting and writing masterclass, Mass is a powerful film about two sets of parents who meet each other after a horrific tragedy.

 

CUSP (Kislevitz Films Inc)

3 – CUSP (Isabel Bethencourt, Parker Hill)

  • A documentary in the vein of Andrea Arnold, Cusp is a hot-blooded, unfiltered look three Texas teenage girls growing up in a male-dominated world.

 

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (Warner Bros.)

2 – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (Shaka King)

  • Daniel Kaluuya gives a towering, Oscar-worthy performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Shaka King’s riveting biopic.

 

FLEE (Neon)

1 – FLEE (Jonas Poher Rasmussen)

  • This masterful animated documentary portrays the refugee experience better than any film I’ve ever seen.  An astonishing film in every sense.

 

 

 

JOCKEY (Sony Picture Classics)

BEST OF THE REST

 

BEST DIRECTOR: JONAS POHER RASMUSSEN, FLEE

Runner Up: Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah 

 

BEST ACTOR: CHRISTOPHER ABBOTT, ON THE COUNT OF THREE

Runner Up: Clifton Collins Jr., Jocky

 

BEST ACTRESS: EMILIA JONES, CODA

Runner Up: Yllka Gashi, Hive

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: DANIEL KALUUYA, JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

Runner Up: Reed Birney, Mass

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: MARTHA PLIMPTON, MASS

Runner Up: Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah

 

BEST SCREENPLAY: MASS

Runner Up: CODA

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: STRAWBERRY MANSION

Runner Up: Eight for Silver

 

BEST SCORE: JUDA AND THE BLACK MESSIAH 

Runner Up:  Strawberry Mansion

 

BEST MIDNIGHT MOVIE: PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND

Runner Up: Violation

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY: FLEE

Runner Up: Cusp

 

BEST FOREIGN FILM: FLEE

Runner Up: Hive

 

BEST SHORT FILM: YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND

Runner Up: The Fourfold

 

LEAST FAVORITE: PLEASURE

Runner Up: A Glitch in the Matrix

 

 

 

CENSOR (Protagonist Pictures)

OVERALL RANKING OF EVERY FEATURE FILM I SAW

1 – FLEE

2 – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

3 – CUSP

4 – MASS

5 – CAPTAINS OF ZAATARI

6 – CODA

7 – ON THE COUNT OF THREE

8 – HIVE

9 – PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND

10 – STRAWBERRY MANSION

11 – SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)

12 – EIGHT FOR SILVER

13 – JOCKEY

14 – STREET GANG: HOW WE GOT TO SESAME STREET

15 – MISHA AND THE WOLVES

16 – LAND

17 – HOW IT ENDS

18 – VIOLATION

19 – CENSOR

20 – FIRST DATE

21 – THE WORLD TO COME

22 – R#J

23 – MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE

24 – CRYPTOZOO

25 – KNOCKING

26 – PASSING

27 – IN THE EARTH

28 – WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR

29 – PRIMETIME

30 – A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX

31 – PLEASURE

 

 

YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND (Steel Drum in Space)

SHORTS RANKED

1 – YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND

2 – THE FOURFOLD 

3 – THE AFFECTED

4 – WIGGLE ROOM

5 – DOUBLESPEAK 

6 – UP AT NIGHT

7 – GNT

8 – THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER’S HAND

 

 

 

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