Talking Movies

January 22, 2021

Top 10 Films of 2020

10) Vampires vs the Bronx

The Lost Boys meets Attack the Block? Sorta… This was a deliriously entertaining and knowing slice of genre nonsense as teenage heroes realise the gentrifying property company forcing them out is actually run by vampires.

9) Yes, God, Yes

Karen Maine’s directorial debut was uncomfortable but rewarding as Natalia Dyer’s innocent teenager gets victimised by scandalous gossip, and is sent to a religious retreat as punishment, but learns more there than was planned

8) Possessor

Brandon Cronenberg’s second film, after an eight year wait, proved he is quite good at the family business of body horror as an assassin hijacking a mark’s mind finds herself in a fight for survival as the mark and her meld eerily

7) The Boys in the Band

Matt Crowley’s 1968 play gets a second big screen adaptation, with Jim Parsons and Zachary Quinto heading the cast that gathers for a dinner party exposing the complications sinister and farcical of pre-Stonewall gay life.

6) Une Fille Facile

Rebecca Zlotowski makes the best Eric Rohmer film since he died in 2010. Mina Farid is the Cannes teenager at a crossroads who follows her glamorous cousin into high society, but like Pauline a la Plage learns too much.

5) An American Pickle

The dream team of writer Simon Rich and Seth Rogen (flexing his acting muscles) combined for a surprisingly more serious take on the absurdist comic novella Sell Out. Yes, Rogen was hysterically funny as Herschel the pickled immigrant, but he also conveyed the quiet desperation of Ben, leading to an unexpected affirmation of faith and family.

4) Wasp Network

Director Olivier Assayas made a sharp turn from last year’s French romantic comedy Non-Fiction with this multilingual sun-kissed thriller set in 1990s Havana and Miami following the exiles, spies, defectors, and double-agents playing merry hell with Castro’s regime, the CIA, and all points in between. Audaciously structured, this was always absorbing and frequently tense.

3) Spenser Confidential

Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg combined again for a thriller loosely based on the classic Robert B Parker PI creation. ‘Loosely’: because this took place in the sort of chaotic Boston milieu familiar from The Fighter, and seemed every bit as interested in setting up absurdist comedy riffs as it was in actually solving the mystery.

2) Tenet

In a normal year this film would’ve charted lower… The Protagonist’s quest to find pieces of an infernal machine dismantled in the future had a very enjoyable puzzle piece intricacy which will repay multiple viewings, but the Debicki/Branagh emotional motor did not hum, making me question whether this should’ve been a Memento noir rather than a plane-crashing blockbuster.

Cr. NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX

1) The Trial of the Chicago 7

I had the odd complaint about Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game that it wasn’t Sorkin enough. No such concerns with this courtroom drama, this is a tour-de-force of Sorkin dialogue, once intended for Spielberg to direct. Every speaking part seems to have a zinger at some point, and the political import of 1968 to 2020 leaps off the screen without any need for the occasional anachronism. I watched this twice within a week with no loss of relish for the flashback structure, the fantastic ensemble, and the trademark Sorkin sincerity.

January 20, 2020

Hopes: 2020

The French Dispatch

Wes A writes solo

50s expats en Francais

Whimsical New Wave?

 

Bergman Island

Mia Hansen-Love

mixes art and Scandi-life

Her English debut

 

Tenet

C Nolan bends time

Even more than usual

This could get trippy

Fast & Furious 9

Hmmm, no Rock, no State

Theron is back, Cena new

Can this hit the mark?

 

Bill & Ted Face the Music

Dude, at last it’s here

Wyld Stallyns write cosmic hits

Rufus promised us

 

Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise feels the need

The need for speed, and danger

Who needs damn stuntmen?

Last Night in Soho

Edgar Wright does horror

But it’s also time travel

Which means Mrs Peel!!

 

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Trials are short, talk fast

Sorkin tackles ’68

Mayor Daley rolls

 

Wonder Woman: 1984

Gal Gadot returns!

Chris Pine returns! Wait, what?! But…

Day-glo fun nonsense?

Free Guy

Ryan Reynolds is…

An NPC in a game?!

Pikachu 2 much?

 

A Quiet Place 2

Clap your hands, say yeah!

Wait, don’t do that – certain death

Silent excitement

 

The King’s Man

Where it all began

Ralph Fiennes is M, his own alpha

World War Silliness

Death on the Nile

H. Poirot returns

But will the plot stay bloody?

Watch this moustache

 

The Call of the Wild

Jack London’s classic

Harrison Ford with a beard

What’s not to like here?

 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Save us, Reitman’s son

You’re our only hope. Well, plus

Egon’s grandchildren.

Purge 5: Final Night

We saw things kick off

Now we’ll see how it melts down

Go Cady Longmire!

 

C’mon C’mon

Mike Mills rides again!

(Not the muso) We know nawt,

Save Joaquin P stars

 

Mank

Fincher’s not done yet

Netflix bankroll Welles epic

Gary Oldman the star

The Nest

Jude Law, Carrie Coon

Get some bad cabin fever

Sean Durkin returns!

 

Loveland

Ivan Sen sci-fi

Hugo Weaving back in fold

MegaCity, not Outback

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