Lockdown has given us all the free vacation we yearned for years. If you are wondering what to binge-watch in this season, Redbox has some of the most amazing films for your fix. From mega-blockbusters to underrated hidden gems, like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Toy Story 4, it is all here. We have brought you the collective list of some of the masterpieces of 2021. Be it horror, thriller, romantic of comedy, here is a compiled list of all the binge-worthy movies on Redbox.
Best Movies To Watch on Redbox (January 2021)
1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie
Rating: 85% Rotten Tomatoes
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s ode to the Los Angeles of 1960s. It is is his love letter to the golden yet disturbing era of Hollywood. The movie brings back the old school glitz and glamour of the industry even though it ended in violence. Tarantino returns with a fresh and funny period drama. With phenomenal performances from its lead and supporting cast, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood deserves its righteous place in the biggies. The movie laces upon its loopy ends mixing life and art into one huge wild frame. Tarantino’s love for Los Angeles is evident through his earlier films. In his return to LA after Kill Bill, the director seems to come with a refreshing new take on his beloved city.
The movie is a 60s blast through long roads imprinted with Hollywood’s mark and movies. Vintage cars, violence both direct and indirect, stories weaving together to make it an exciting and exhilarating watch. The film follows Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) as a talented yet alcoholic television star and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) his old stuntman and a full-time assistant.
In another frame is Sharon Tate an upcoming movie star played by the lovely Margot Robbie, who lives down the street to Rick Dalton. The movie takes leisurely pleasure in moving through the 1969 era of Hollywood. The raw scenes, the dancing through the different stories, and the old rock music blasting through every car of LA is Tarantino’s remembrance of his favourite city. The narrative builds up to the precise moment when all different stories come together to cross paths as one. The occasional strangers,
the neighbours, and their history recreate and revive to make it one of the funniest and exciting climax. Tarantino manages to pull off the film by pure show of his love for the era and successfully bringing it back to life.
2. The Lighthouse
Director: Robert Eggers
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Valeriia Karaman
Rating: 90% Rotten Tomatoes
Lighthouse is smart, it dreadful and so masterfully performed that despite its self-indulgence it manages to suck you in deeply. To the best efforts of Robert Eggers, Lighthouse makes you feel like you are experiencing someone else’s nightmare. The film brilliantly uses sound designs and background score to make your experience seem real and frightening. Coupled with the amazing performance by Robert Pattinson and William Dafoe, the story follows two sailors fighting on the edge of their sanity, pulling the audience with them. The film does not speak much through words and soon you realize why.
From the word go, lighthouse sucks you in the monotonous life of Thomas Wake and Ephraim Winslow like it’s your own. The film explores with a single focus man’s relationship to the sea,
especially in the eye of unrelenting labour. The film follows a crazy, unusual yet dangerous relationship dynamic between its lead character. They shift between partners to abusers in split frames. The film is nothing but two guys in search of finding the lighthouse i.e. if death and insanity don’t reach them first.
3. Uncut Gems
Directors: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie
Stars: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Eric Bogosian
Rating: 92% Rotten Tomatoes
Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner is a compulsive diamond gambler knee deep in debt to his brother in law Aron played by a slimy Eric Bogosian. In order to pay the exorbitant amount Howard does what any adrenaline junkie does, he plays huge bets against high risks. There is an expectation that Howard will manage to pay off the huge debt in one go but that itself is a fantasy. He is too embroiled into the world of gambling to come out better. Josh Safdie thrives on the anxiety, capturing the inertia of Howard’s life. The movie follows each scene in a thematic metaphorical manner. Even the title uncut gems indicate not a real gem but rather a Howard’s burning core.
Uncut Gems sucks you into the madness and cacophony of Howard’s addiction to gambling and his need to win. The power of earning diamonds is hypnotizing and wholly symbolic. Uncut gems have its character suffer through “gold sickness” which is its connection point. The film is not a cautionary tale about the vices of gambling, it is instead an experience and reality check into the experience of a real-life gambler.
Director: Jordan Peele
Stars: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
Rating: 93% Rotten Tomatoes
‘Us’ like Get Out is an expansive philosophical horror thriller. It doesn’t match up to its predecessor because it does not have to. It clarifies what Get Out already implied. Jordon Peele’s filmmaking resemblance to Hitchcock is uncanny, always on point waiting to be addressed. Us is unsettling, with Peele exploring existential terrors and possession. It does not miss a beat in timing, eeriness, and its precise capabilities of actors. The film is a mix of tones and moods. Broad outright humour died down
by deflection and detail. Lupita Nyong is extremely remarkable in playing a young girl possessed by a dark and deranged evil doppelganger. The character brings in a depth of emotions and feelings that have you screaming and shrieking and just as it might be happening around you.
Us is a family comedy studded with dread. A full-fledged sci-fi horror flick experienced by the Wilson family. A Calming matriarch Adelaide played by the best Lupita Nyong’o, gregarious dad Gabe (Winston Duke), daughter wise beyond her years Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and an innocent younger brother, Jason (Evan Alex). Us follows a pattern that ‘Get Out‘ already established. People boxing others into narrow perspectives only to kick hold them responsible when things turn bad. With Us Peele masters the art of making the entertaining and thoughtfully disturbing genre of cinema.
Director: Ari Aster
Stars: Florence Pugh, Liv Mjönes, Jack Reynor
Rating: 93% Rotten Tomatoes
Midsommar thrives on tragedy and pain. The film dives deep into the sense of grief and loss that wrenches one’s heart. Even the defeated sighs, the low sobs, and the empty gazes scream viscera. It is everywhere. Midsommar is a grief soaked story of ancestral vulnerability, demonic mythology, and all things scary. Filmmaker Aster follows a terrifically apocalyptic sacrament that dazzles around dying relationships. Like his previous film ‘Hereditary’, we are thrust in to film suffocated by a ravenous family. The film gives us respite only in brief flashes on comedy, as if to take quick shallow breaths in between the horrors.
The film follows Florence Pugh, as a grieving lead marked by unspeakable scar and grief. Her character is strictly emotional, raw like the stuff of your nightmare. Florence plays Dani who goes on an adventurous trip with her academic friends to get away fro the horror of her bipolar sister. Victimized people soon begin to vanish one after the other as an unsettling and uncomfortable climax dooms upon Dani and her boyfriend Christian. Aster has you hooked to place you can neither stay in nor escape from. That is perhaps the mastery of his filmmaking. A psychedelic nightmare, Midsommar has you stuck in a strange cultural nightmare where you are marred by unthinkable dread. Just when you are about to choke, the film releases you from its grasp into a free fall.
Director: Autumn de Wilde
Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Miranda Hart
Rating: 87% Rotten Tomatoes
Emma is based on Jane Austen’s novel which has been played multiple times over the years. In this adaptation by Autumn de Wilde, a happily single Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy), is a mistress of an English country estate. Her day consists of ego-driven matchmaking schemes. Emma is a glorious brat, used to the male attention but ever so slightly cunning. The film follows a matchmaking trivia which in the hand of amateurs can turn in heartbreak and disdain. Jane Austen masterfully put that into paper and with Autumn’s execution, the film managed to be all part glorious. Her take on Austen’s novel is frenzied and complicated, graceful yet comedic.
The film has a charm that makes it instantly likeable, the performances are excellent throughout. Each actor holds his own depth and brings in some of the most phenomenal displays of emotions. Emma is Jane Austen’s final book as a writer and its only fitting that it ends with a period. The filmmaker understood this, the mood and ambience of an Austen narrative. Of marriages and promised happily afters, to sexual heat and romantic chemistry between her characters.
7. Toy Story 4
Director: Josh Cooley
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michal Key, Jordan Peele
Rating: 97% Rotten Tomatoes
Toy Story 4 was perhaps the most highly anticipated movie. What makes it even more exciting is the riveting storytelling woven deep into its emotional narrative. The film is all heart and it is pure joy to watch the makers continuing to keep it that way. The film rather than dwelling on the past focus on what comes next. Instead of revolutionizing anything, the film thinks about the logical progression of the story. Toy 4 is spectacularly animated, though it might not reach the heights of what Toy story 3 achieved, it’s still pretty close.
The film deals with the emotional subject of longing and loneliness. What happens when after being a favorite toy you are discarded in a closet for time to time nostalgia. Toy story has an amazing casting voice over. Tom Hanks as Sheriff Woody in his career-best, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Keanu Reeves as Duke Kaboom, Annie Potts as Little Bo-Peep and so many more. Toy Story is definitely among the must-watch animated in the 50 years of cinema.
8. The Beach Bum
Director: Harmony Korine
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Martin Lawrence, Zac Efron, Jonah Hill
Rating: 56% Rotten Tomatoes
If there is one thing you know for certain in this film is to not take it seriously. If not for anything else watch it for Matthew McConaughey’s transcending performance. You can never be sure if you are supposed to take him literally or otherwise. The film is irony personified throughout. Matthew plays the title character Moondog a poet and novelist whose only motivation is positivity and harmony. His character is overzealous and hyperactive. He sings his lines, he doesn’t walk like most people, instead, he jumps and swivels.
Korine establishes early on that Moondog needs money to maintain his boho lifestyle and it is only interesting to watch his burnout. The film is solely focused on Moondog’s gaze and experience of himself. Completely self-driven and absorbed, Matthew keeps on believing life is all about fun despite tragedies and ironies befall him from everywhere.
9. The Farewell
Director: Lulu Wang
Stars: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin
Rating: 98% Rotten Tomatoes
What says real bond than family, facade, and lies? These are perhaps the shallow basis of the film. On a closer look, it is emotionally intricate and deep storytelling. The push and pull between what is right and the familial bond are explored ever so masterfully. Every little detail, every perceptive note drives home. The film casts an amazing ensemble with Awkwafina leading in her remarkable role as Billi. “The Farewell “follows closely how two cultural shifts can play into deciding the fate of the family matriarch who is soon going to die. Instead of planning for a funeral, the family decides to hold a wedding as “more than cancer, it the fear that kills them,” says Billi’s mother (Diana Lin).
Director Lulu Wang constantly juggles between cultures, tragedy, secrets, and joy. It’s a story made up of her own personal roller coaster of loss. The film is filled with comedy and heart to heart emotional scenes that are sure to tear anyone up. There are moments meant to make you uncomfortable and yet it remains one of the most intimate and painful comedies.
10. The Invisible Man
Director: Leigh Whannell
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman
Rating: 91% Rotten Tomatoes
Created with amazing direction and superb camerawork, the films underlined performance
and treatment of its character makes The Invisible Man a true shrieky ride. The film has a #MeToo horror spin in a combo of some genuine horror elements in the mix. Cecilia lives in a posh Beverly Hills-esque place and an incredible fortune left by her abusive ex who was also a brilliant scientist. Cecilia goes with the follow not once expecting the horror that is to follow. People around her are convinced she has gone nuts while Cecilia fails at making them understand.
Leigh Whannell is credited for writing stories like Saw and Insidious.
The story is tight and the vulnerable yet determined performance by Elizabeth Mos makes the trauma and horror immensely believable in the scenario. The film’s narrative is breathtakingly suspenseful and intriguing. There is enough number of shockers in there to give you a trail of goosebumps. The invisible man is never precisely where we expect him to be. We begin to doubt ourselves; just like Cecilia and in our tension do we least expect the nightmare that catches us off guard.
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