These are the films that were released widely (theater, DVD and free streaming) in 2021 that I saw in 2021, ranked. Links to my reviews where I could (WordPress doesn’t make it easy). Your comments are welcome.

(Note: I know some of these films were already up for Oscars because they made the festival circuit or were briefly streamed. I didn’t have access to those films in 2020 – nor did many folks – so I’m including them in my 2021 list.)

Nomadland – ruggedly beautiful

Judas and the Black Messiah – deep themes but slightly pedantic

A Quiet Place Part II – brilliant editing and true emotion

Riders of Justice – crossfire of complexity and comedy

Here Today – pithy and poignant

Old – M. Night Shyalaman at his best

Willy’s Wonderland – example of what a B movie can be

Minari – poetic but sad and ambivalent

The Truffle Hunters – quirky story of men, dogs

Fear of Rain – actually interesting teen drama

In the Heights – happy and hopeful, not heavy-handed

The Mauritanian – solid, formula legal procedural

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar – funny but uneven and mean to Midwesterners

Cry Macho – Eastwood Canon Revisionism Tour continues

The Little Things – hauntingly unsatisfying police procedural

Dream Horse – sweet, simple heartstring-pulling sports flick

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 – scientific sleuthing that strikes a nerve

Love Sarah – comfortable rom-comish predictability

Above Suspicion – Emilia Clarke’s redneck intoxicates

Reminiscence – Less confusing than “Inception”

Respect – the story doesn’t do justice to the music

Breaking News in Yuba County – fascinating train wreck of annoying characters

The Courier – standard spy thriller that takes a dark turn

The Many Saints of Newark – bites off more cannoli than it can chew

The God Committee – TV-ish, but surprisingly satisfying

The Virtuoso – sloppy but interesting

Stillwater – takes a dark turn, craps on American values

Profile – intense story with unlikeable characters

French Exit – slow build to a weak payoff

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard – more Hayek, less inventive

Every Breath You Take – by-the-book family endangerment with Ordinary People twist

Those Who Wish Me Dead – action mashup with a huge loose end

Wrath of Man – typical Guy Ritchie, but without the joy

The Protege – Maggie Q saves it from mediocrity

Four Good Days – well made but exhausting to watch

Dear Evan Hansen – more depressing than Four Good Days, better than Crisis

Crisis – slightly better than mediocre, suspenseful yet depressing

Lansky – Keitel is great, the rest, not so much

The Marksman – mediocre ripoff of Last Blood, Gran Torino

12 Mighty Orphans – classic, inspiring sports-flick mediocrity

City of Lies – murky, based-on-a-true-story celebrity murder procedural

Death in Texas – preposterous but engrossing mediocrity

The Seventh Day – middling horror set up as police procedural

Die in a Gunfight – easy-on-the-eyes mediocrity

Zone 414 – mediocre sci-fi that ends with a thud

Voyagers – predictable and pedantic, but well produced

Queen Bees – mediocre geezer rom-com, but harmless

Born a Champion – baseline mediocrity

Till Death – Megan Fox mediocrity, plus it’s gross

Trigger Point – also mediocre, but ending is a dud

Midnight in the Switchgrass – also mediocre, but better stars than Redemption Day

She Ball – also mediocre, but more mind-numbing than Till Death

Redemption Day– also mediocre, but more derivative than Born a Champion

The Survivalist – pandemic mediocrity of bad shooting, worse plot

Equal Standard – amateurish

13 Minutes – perfect storm of preposterous plotlines, bad acting

Catch the Bullet – also amateurish, but more boring than Equal Standard

Vanquish – implausible action, incompetent star

Girl in the Basement – shouldn’t even be a movie