Journal: 2020 in Film Jan 9, 2021 16:10:05 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jan 9, 2021 16:10:05 GMT -5
My Favorite Films of 2020:
Alan Kim in Minari.
1. Minari: Tenderly made and textured with Malickian landscapes, Lee Isaac Chung's Minari is a humanist marvel. It boasts many moments where feeling and empathy supersede dramatic theatrics. Above all, it deals with the very real effects of assimilation: both of a family coming to America intent on harvesting their own American dream and a man becoming one with his family. It's the kind of film that's gentle on the soul yet lingers in the mind.
My full review of Minari: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/6602/minari
2. Shithouse: Don't be fooled by its acidic title: Shithouse is a disarmingly sweet film about a sensitive soul navigating the treacherous waters of college. Among everything it does well, perhaps its best play is positing its dichotomous leads in an empathetic way, justifying their respective outlooks to life and romance in a refreshingly mature manner. In many ways, this film felt like a documentary of my first year of college, however I promise that's not the sole reason for my high praise.
My full review of Shithouse: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/6574/shithouse
3. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: With Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, all eyes will understandably be on Chadwick Boseman, who gives the performance of his career, making it all the more upsetting it will be his last. Ordinarily stoic, Boseman is loose here; a freewheeling fool you can't tell nothing. His contagious spirit despite his own naivete makes him likable in spite of himself. Levee is a damn good musician, but as much as he loves to scold others for stepping on his fancy yellow shoes, he steps on his own feet more than anyone ever could. Boseman is magnetic, and it yet again reminds us we don't fully appreciate what/who we have until we don't.
My full review of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/6603/ma-raineys-black-bottom
4. The Invisible Man: If you're going to dust off an age-old property — or any property you're looking to remake — this is how you make it shine. One of the many superb elements of The Invisible Man is you can view it through multiple lenses. It's effective as a surface-level work of horror/mystery and doubles as an unnerving look at the lingering effects of traumatic experiences and gaslighting. Moreover: it finally allows the great Elisabeth Moss a wider audience that will hopefully grant her the mainstream recognition she deserves.
My full review of The Invisible Man: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/6393/invisible-man-2020
5. Driveways: As someone whose hermetic aunt with pack-rat tendencies just passed away earlier this year, Driveways hit closer-to-home moreso than I was expecting. The fact that its release comes not even a month after the death of esteemed character-actor Brian Dennehy makes it all the more poignant. A quiet film whose litany of small moments add up to a larger whole, Andrew Ahn's sophomore effort is a sneakily dense film about the value of intergenerational friendships and taking time in being comfortable in your own skin.
My full review of Driveways: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/6449/driveways-2020
6. The Platform: Perhaps amidst a global pandemic, where in America, the divide between income inequality and access to healthcare has never been more glaring, a film where cannibalism and self-sacrifice is at the forefront is what we need. The Platform blends the contemptible human behavior of Lord of the Flies with the uncomfortable truths of capitalism ala Parasite and produces a nasty picture with some Samuel Beckett sprit added.
Check out my review of The Platform on Sleepless with Steve: youtu.be/cm7DXz4MLvg?t=896
7. Palm Springs: Palm Springs isn't your conventional Groundhog Day knockoff. Don't let your cynicism convince you otherwise. Co-writer Barkabow and Andy Siara find numerous ways to invite themes of relationships and existentialism into the familiar formula. This could very well be the most original American comedy since Colossal with its subversion of the time-loop concept and its whip-smart attitude. In a time when we feel like every day is bleeding into the next with little difference, seeing the formula evolve to include themes of love and existentialism (done well too) is inspiring, coupled with some career-best-level performances.
My full review of Palm Springs: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/6481/palm-springs-2020
8. Bad Education: Cory Finley follows up his directorial debut Thoroughbreds with another great tale of unchecked sociopathy. Bad Education is a subdued look at two kinds of corruption: the kind entirely motivated by self-interest and status and the insidious kind, justified by those who convince themselves they have the best interest of others in mind. Hugh Jackman, in one of his finest performances, proves he truly is the greatest showman.
Check out my review of Bad Education on Sleepless with Steve: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybgv07oLMxk
9. Never Rarely Sometimes Always: If ardent pro-life people — or even those susceptible to have a hazy opinion on abortion — would cough up a measly six bucks to rent Never Rarely Sometimes Always, they might see the issue is not black-and-white. And, too, see a breakout debut performance from Sidney Flanigan. Not since Quinn Shephard in Blame have I seen a new actress make such a splash with her first notable role. Sometimes too broad and shortchanging in the depiction of its characters — particularly the males — but always engrossing.
My full review of Never Rarely Sometimes Always: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/6467/never-rarely
10. Class Action Park: Class Action Park should stand as the quintessential work on the notorious amusement park responsible for many rip-roarin' good times but also a slew of injuries and deaths. Tucked away in the plains of Vernon, New Jersey, Action Park was like a right of passage for teenagers looking for an afternoon of unregulated fun. It was a popular attraction for local kids as well as those from neighboring New York and Connecticut during the 1980s when "here for a good time, not a long time" should've been the decade's unwritten motto. Class Action Park works as both a trip down memory lane and a painful reminder of the reality that people did indeed die at the amusement park. Even in people's fuzzy, nostalgic memories, both of those thoughts can and should coexist.
My full review of Class Action Park: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/6513/class-action-park
Honorable Mentions: Charm City Kings, Finding Yingying, Mank