Monday, January 3, 2022

Top 10 Favorite New Discoveries of 2021

According to: Selina

10 Mass Hysteria (2019)

Reviewed on: October 22, 2021
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rated: TV-MA
Length: 66 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 4
Cat’s Rating: 3.5
IMDb Blurb: A group of Salem witch trial reenactors find themselves at the center of a modern day witch hunt.
Upon first look, Mass Hysteria seems to be a home-brew kind of film. Don’t let that deter you.
The script and plot make it more than just watchable.
It’s still a little on the corny side, but something you can return to time and time again. It has cult-quality.
9 Save Yourselves! (2020) 

Reviewed on: January 27, 2021
Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi
Rated: R
Length: 93 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 3.5
Cat’s Rating: 3.5
IMDb Blurb: A young Brooklyn couple heads to an upstate cabin to unplug from their phones and reconnect with each other. Blissfully unaware of their surroundings, they are left to their own devices as the planet falls under attack.
Cat was a bigger fan of Save Yourselves! than I was, but I see where she’s coming from.
Upon looking back, I do remember this movie more fondly than I thought I would. The tribble-like aliens, the exceptionally bleak ending juxtaposed against an otherwise funny flick… it definitely had unforgettable aspects to it.
At the very least, there was no way to predict what was going to happen at any point in Save Yourselves! For no other reason, that makes it worth the watch.
8Hayop Ka! (2020) 

Reviewed on: August 1, 2021
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Romance
Rated: TV-MA
Length: 73 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
IMDb Blurb: In this adult animation, perfume sales cat Nimfa is torn between her macho askal boyfriend and a charming, philandering business dog.
I came across Hayop Ka! in my Fantasia Film Festival travels and it knocked me right out of my socks.
Despite some cultural stuff that flew above my head, the story really had me. I don’t know what I was expecting from an animated film of this type, but it was so much more.
It was closer to an anime than any kind of animated movie produced here in the states (in feel, not style). In design, it was all its own thing – gorgeous, but with a hand-drawn kind of flair. It felt both old-fashioned and updated at the same time.
It’s not an easy production to get your hands on in the west. You may need a VPN, but it’s worth it.
7 Greenland (2020) 

Reviewed on: April 7, 2021
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 119 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 4
Cat’s Rating: 3.5
IMDb Blurb: A family struggles for survival in the face of a cataclysmic natural disaster.
I expected Greenland to be basic. I thought the script would be copy and pasted tropes, with decent action. Instead, I got a story that concentrated heavily on the human aspect of a horrific situation.
It was more of a thinker than expect – but still badass.
6Hunter Hunter (2020) 

Reviewed on: April 14, 2021
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 93 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 3.5
IMDb Blurb: Joseph and his family live in the remote wilderness as fur trappers, but their tranquility is threatened when they think they are being hunted by the return of a rogue wolf, and Joseph leaves them behind to track it.
I heard people raving about Hunter Hunter for weeks before I got my hands on it. After a slow start, I didn’t quite get why – and then the thrills picked up and never stopped again.
The ending of Hunter Hunter is something I will never forget for as long as I live.
5 Kakegurui (2019) 

Reviewed on: August 12, 2021
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: TV-MA
Length: 119 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
IMDb Blurb: Hyakaou Academy is an institute where the academic ranking is based on the pupils' gambling winnings. Yumeko is new to the academy. Her pretty enchantress looks are only surpassed by her voracious appetite to gamble it all and win it all.
I fell in LOVE with Kakegurui.
The moment I found out it was a live action film based on an anime, I went searching for the show. I was thrilled to find it was on Netflix. I haven’t started watching it yet, but it immediately found its way onto my watch list.
Kakegurui as an adaptation is not something I can speak to. As a stand-alone film, however, it was insanely good. The second one, which came out this year, is even better.
If you’re a fan of anime-style movies, there’s no way you can miss this one.
4Spontaneous (2020) 

Reviewed on: May 28, 2021
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Romance
Rated: R
Length: 101 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
IMDb Blurb: Get ready for the outrageous coming-of-age love story about growing up...and blowing up. When students in their school begin exploding (literally), seniors Mara and Dylan struggle to survive in a world where each moment may be their last.
The title of Spontaneous was spot on.
What started out as a teen dramedy romance, turned into something completely different about three quarters of the way through. A genre change is not a simple thing to successfully accomplish. In this case, it worked.
Spontaneous told a fresh story. It had some pandemic-like aspects, but it was otherwise like nothing I had ever seen before.
3The Amusement Park (1973) 

Reviewed on: June 7, 2021
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 52 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
IMDb Blurb: An elderly gentleman goes for what he assumes will be an ordinary day at the amusement park, only to find himself in the middle of a hellish nightmare instead.
The lost George Romero film had me intrigued from the moment I got Shudder’s e-mail about it. I don’t think I have ever requested a screener so quickly.
What I found was a deep, and unforgiving, look at how the world treats its elderly residents.
The Amusement Park utilized troubling imagery to get its point across. If nothing else, it was a solid reminder as to why Romero is considered one of the greatest of all time.
2 Promising Young Woman (2020) 

Reviewed on: January 14, 2021
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 113 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 4
Cat’s Rating: 4
IMDb Blurb: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who crossed her path.
I got to see Promising Young Woman in theaters.
More than once, I’ve explained why I love a good revenge story, but this one goes so deep into the revenge aspect that the main character almost becomes an antagonist herself. She’s still easy to relate to, but she’s significantly flawed and it’s those flaws that drive the story.
The movie was a little divisive among critics. Some believed that the ending was a bit convoluted – and it was. Never-the-less, I still think what happened really fit the film and brought the lesson to a close.
1Detention (2019)

Reviewed on: October 8, 2021
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 102 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
IMDb Blurb: In 1962 Taiwan during the White Terror martial law period, Fang Ray Shin, a female student at the hillside Greenwood High School is attending counselling with teacher Mr. Chang, and they gradually fall in love. It was a dangerous period where sensitive books were banned and free speech were restricted, but Mr. Chang secretly organized a study group for banned books, together with fellow teacher Miss Yin and male student Wei Chong Ting.
No one expects much out of a video game movie. In this case, however, they made something special.
Detention was outstanding. The entire world was portrayed as terrifying, even before the supernatural aspects kicked in.
Now, I’ve played the game. I LOVE the game. So, one could think I might be a bit bias toward it. Cat, on the other hand, had never heard of Detention before this film. She still adored the movie just as much as I did. And, because they went deeper into the story than the game did, Cat didn’t end the flick feeling like she’d missed something.
Detention was, by far, the best horror movie we saw this year.

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