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Top 5 Friday: Best Movies of 2021 So Far

Happy Friday, folks! Oh boy it’s been a tough old week. The UK weather gave us one final, freak heatwave that’s over now, and my little girl is having a hard time. She was born a few weeks after the school cut off so loads of her friends at pre-school left at the end of summer to start proper school, and she won’t start until next September. I feel so sorry for her.

But you’re not here for my rambles, are you? You’re here because it’s Friday, it’s time for another Top 5 list and this week I’m bringing you what I feel have been the best movies of the year so far. Yes, we’re well past the halfway point of the year, but the last quarter is when all the hard-hitter movies come out so this top 5 will doubtless look completely different by the end of the year.

So here you go, my Top 5 Movies of 2021 So Far!

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#5 Oxygen – Well, this little Netflix release took me by complete surprise. I didn’t even know of it’s existence until it was there one day on my home screen. I’m so glad I gave it the chance though! If you’ve ever seen Ryan Reynolds in Buried (2010), then this is like the Sci-Fi version of that. Very claustrophobic, not relaxing in the slightest but it hooked me straight away and the twists and turns all surprised me.

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#4 The Suicide Squad – If you told me at the start of 2021 that I’d be putting The Suicide Squad in a ‘Best of’ list, I would have laughed at you. Firstly because at the time it felt like we would never be getting big releases in cinemas, but secondly because, well…we all saw the first one, didn’t we? The reboot/sequel/whatever it is surpassed the 2016 version in every single away, apart from the soundtrack maybe. They’re both great but the original soundtrack was killer.

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#3 Vivo – I’m still riding the Vivo hype train, listening to the soundtrack every single day, so just know that it took a lot for me to be sensible and not make this my number 1. Maybe it’s not the best animated movie out there (it isn’t even the only one in this list!) but I appreciate a family story and I’m a sucker for a musical, especially written and performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Give it a go if you haven’t already, it’s on Netflix and while I can’t guarantee you’ll love it, I bet it’ll make you smile.

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#2 Free Guy – I thought Ryan Reynolds was going to swoop in at the end of 2020 and save the day with Free Guy but the Delta variant had other ideas, and Free Guy got pushed back again into 2021. To say it was worth the wait is an understatement. I was expecting something generic and full of references, but something I would enjoy regardless and it ended up being so much more than that. It’s funnier than I ever thought it could be, and at it’s core it’s also a really great romcom!

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#1 The Mitchells vs. The Machines – Still haven’t forgiven the name change, Connected was a perfect name. This is actually the only movie of the year so far I’ve given a full 5 stars to. Sony Animation are on a winning streak right now and I’m excited to see what they do next. The Mitchells vs. The Machines has such a great story at it’s heart, and somehow crosses into several genres without becoming too muddled. I’ve always appreciated animated movies so this will no doubt still be in my Top 10 at the end of the year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something knocks it off the top spot.

Movie Reviews

The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021)

the-mitchells-vs-machines-movie-reviewDirector: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Animation

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Michael Rianda, Eric André, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend

Plot: Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) can’t wait to start college. Movies are her life but her parents, especially her Dad, just don’t understand her passion. In a last-ditch attempt to re-connect with his daughter, Rick Mitchell (Danny McBride) decides to cancel Katie’s flight and instead embark an a family road-trip – right in the middle of a robot apocalypse.

My Thoughts: How long has it been since the trailer for this was first released? It must be what, 2 years ago now? Back then it was called Connected, and I’ll try my hardest not to rant too much about the name change. When Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are in charge of production, you know you’re in for a fantastic animated movie, and The Mitchells vs. the Machines certainly isn’t breaking that trend. It’s a wonderful comedy all about family relationships in this modern, technology-filled world. The greatest family movies have something for all ages to enjoy, and this fits the bill perfectly.

Family road-trip comedies aren’t rare. Neither are movies about technology becoming too smart and taking over. On paper, this movie shouldn’t be so good. But then, neither should Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and that’s now arguably the world’s favourite Spider-Man movie! The Mitchells vs. the Machines doesn’t try to reinvent anything, it just takes a simple plot and injects just the right amount of heart, laughs and action. I can’t even explain it, I’ve been trying to write this review on and off all day!

It probably helps that the main character, Katie, is a huge film buff so as movie fans it’s so easy for us to relate to her. We’ve all been through that phase where we thought our parents didn’t understand us too, right? I can sympathise with that. But now that I’m a parent? I can see things from a whole new perspective! It was quite endearing to watch the horror on my husband’s face as he realised there might be a day where our little girl doesn’t idolise him anymore.

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Best Bit: I can’t pick between two moments. The first being the most obvious, it was the joke in the original trailer that’s repeated several times in the movie itself. That dog! Dog, pig, dog, pig, dog, pig, LOAF OF BREAD! It makes me laugh just thinking about it. The second was the Furby scene. Oh, to have been in the cinema for that gigantic Furby and the subtitle, “LET THE DARK HARVEST BEGIN”. It was the funniest, most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen!

Worst Bit: Okay, I’m sorry but I’m going to rant. Apparently, the original title was always The Mitchell’s vs. the Machines. But Sony chose Connected – and that’s the perfect title! It makes me think of technology, and how we’re glued to it. But it also makes me think of family connecting. It’s short and snappy and so easy to remember. I can’t for the life of me remember the final title! Half the time I can’t remember the family name and even if I do, my brain instantly goes ‘The Mitchells Against the Machines’ and I just get irrationally annoyed by these things, okay?

Fun Trivia: Katie has a “Mt. Rushmore of Director Heroes” including Greta Gerwig, Céline Sciamma, Lynne Ramsay and Hal Ashby.

My Rating: A full 5 out of 5 creepy Furbys (Furbies? What’s plural for Furby?!) that I hope don’t make a come back, because my daughter will want one and I don’t know how to say no to her.

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