We are halfway through 2021 and so far, we have presented you with the best films and shows that have released this year. But apart from the popular ones, there are some precious little gems that somehow miss our attention amid the barrage of content that hits our home screens every week. So, we decided to jot down some of the best titles that we have seen this year that did not make as much noise, but deserve every bit of your attention.
Here’s a list of shows and films that you might have missed in 2021 but could find a place in your watchlist.
The Disciple: Netflix
This Chaitanya Tamhane directorial follows Sharad who has devoted his life to the training of classical music under the guidance of his Guru. Sharad is a purist and looks down upon those who try to gain fame through their art, or try to modernise it. He follows the lesson of Maai, a mystical guru whose teachings are full of secrets that have only been passed down secretly. The Disciple is a meditative experience that will allow you to get soaked in by the world of classical music.
Invincible: Amazon Prime Video
While it is not nearly as subversive as Amazon’s own The Boys, the animated adaptation of eponymous Image Comics series, Invincible serves as an entertaining solution to what James Cameron called ‘Avengers fatigue’. Like The Boys, it is self-aware and winks at the superhero tropes but still feels like its own thing. It also has a classic hero’s journey, which the Eric Kripke creation is not particularly interested in. To put it simply, Invincible is a lot of fun.
Directed by Amy Poehler, Moxie might look like another run-of-the-mill high school film but it deserves to be this generation’s Mean Girls, in terms of popularity of course, not qualitatively. Moxie deals with the subjects of feminism, women empowerment, and creating sisterhood better than any mainstream film that we have seen in the recent past. The films stars Hadley Robinson in the lead role who starts circulating a magazine at school highlighting the bad behaviour of a so-called popular boy. When a rape victim comes to out her, she finds the purpose of her magazine and creates a movement out of it.
The Power: BookMyShow Stream
Directed by British filmmaker Corinna Faith in her directorial debut, The Power is a brilliantly crafted concoction of supernatural and mundane kind of terrors. It’s set in 1974’s London during the Three-Day Week period, lasting from January to March, which was marked by nightly blackouts as part of measures to deal with economic crisis. Rose Williams was excellent in the role of Val, a new nurse who is forced to work both day and night shifts at a London hospital. Her first night became a terrifying ordeal for her that was both entertaining to watch and also unsettling due to its real-world allusions.
For All Mankind Season 2: Apple TV+
Created by Ronald D. Moore, best known for his work on Star Trek, For All Mankind has a tantalising premise that states that what if the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union never ended and it was the USSR that succeeded in the first manned mission to moon instead of its Cold War rival, thus gaining an edge. The series delivers on its logline big time. It will appeal to practically anybody, be it space enthusiasts, science or history buffs, or those just looking for something good to watch. It is carefully crafted alternate history TV show that has become only better in the second season.
The Mitchells vs the Machines: Netflix
This Netflix animated film sadly did not find many takers in India. That’s a shame, because it is one of the most original, inventively animated and cleverly written non-Pixar animated film in years. It is also the quintessential family movie of the year. Produced by the duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the film features a dysfunctional family that inadvertently becomes the last line of defence for humans against invading AI machines led by Alexa like voice-assistant PAL. The animation is a pleasing combo of hand-drawn art and computer-generated images.
Cherry: Apple TV+
Starring Tom Holland, Cherry has been directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and despite the names on its poster, the film did not get the kind of attention it deserved for its content. Here, Holland plays a war veteran who is suffering from PTSD and eventually gets addicted to opioids, because of his prescription medication. To support his drug habit, he has to eventually resort to robbing banks and goes deep down the rabbit hole. With Cherry, the Russo Brothers presented a very relevant and timely take on drug addiction.
Big Shot: Disney+ Hotstar
This sports comedy-drama stars David E. Kelley, Dean Lorey and Brad Garrett stars John Stamos in the lead role. The show follows a basketball coach who finds himself coaching a group of high school girls after his career goes haywire. The show sees them forming friendships as they create a united team lead by a new coach who soon becomes their mentor.
The One: Netflix
This series on Netflix is based on the principle that every single person on the planet, has their soulmate and with the right technology, one can find that soulmate. The One, a technology company cracks the code and have a hit on their hands that has made them exceedingly rich in a very short time but the cost of this success is extremely high as they have lost friends and love. The show hinges on the concept of ‘soulmate’ and treats it like a mystical connection.
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