The Atlantic Daily: Watch Four of the Year’s Best Movies at Home

Our critic recaps an odd but enthralling year in cinema. Plus: Consider the magic of the spider.

Our culture writer David Sims has dropped his picks for the 10 best movies of 2021. You may not recognize all of the titles, some of which have yet to be widely released. But four are ready now for your at-home viewing pleasure. Read these excerpts from his list, or his original reviews, linked below.

The Power of the Dog

“Jane Campion’s first film in 12 years, available to stream on Netflix, is worth the wait. It’s an adaptation of Thomas Savage’s novel of cruelty and bittersweet heartbreak in the American West, delivered with Campion’s inimitable majesty and attention to nuance.”

Read David’s full review.

How to watch: Stream on Netflix

The Green Knight

“David Lowery has long had a talent for taking well-known film aesthetics and grounding them with an earthy humanity … The Green Knight, however, is the movie he was born to make—a perfect match of visual splendor and the petty concerns of personal honor.”

Read David’s full review.

How to watch: Rent online

The Card Counter

The Card Counter follows a professional gambler and former military interrogator (Oscar Isaac) who tries to earn a glimmer of redemption for his wartime sins, even though he knows that the odds are stacked against him … What follows is a sad ballad rendered beautifully by a master chronicler of American antiheroes.”

Read David’s full review.

How to watch: Buy online


“There’s a world where this is my favorite movie of the year, but I’ll know for certain only once I can see Denis Villeneuve’s complete adaptation of Frank Herbert’s totemic sci-fi book (Dune: Part Two is thankfully on the way). Still, even though Dune tells just half the saga, it is magnificent, luxuriating in the details of royal families conducting intergalactic intrigue and warring on a mystical desert planet.”

Read David’s full review.

How to watch: Rent online

Prefer to binge a network or streaming series? Check out our list of the 16 best TV shows of the year.

Mitch McConnell is shown in the middle of the photo. Blurred images of other people surround him.
(Stefani Reynolds / Bloomberg / Getty)

The news in three sentences:

(1) The FDA authorized Pfizer booster shots for millions of teenagers. (2) The parents of a student who was shot last week at Oxford High School sued the school district and its employees. (3) The Senate held a vote that advanced a debt-ceiling compromise.

Today’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Revisit the year’s most visually arresting moments. Our senior editor Alan Taylor recaps 2021 with a three-part photo series. Start here.

A break from the news:

Spiders can fly, using electricity.