The 25 best movies of 2020 — and the 5 worst
Ma Rainey's black ass, Nomadland, Palm Springs and Soul. (Photo: Netflix, Fox Searchlight, Hulu and Disney)
Like everything else in 2020, it was a very unusual year in the cinema ... when we could leave anyway. The devastating coronavirus pandemic closed most cinemas in mid-March, releasing the titles Bad Boys for Life, Sonic the Hedgehog, Birds of Prey, Dolittle (yes, Dolittle) and The Invisible Man as the five highest-grossing films this calendar year.
Dozens of titles were delayed while others went from studios to streamers - some doing very well, like the instant vacation favorite Happiest Season, which Sony sold to Hulu, and Aaron Sorkin's Oscar nominee The Trial of the Chicago 7, the Paramount to Netflix sold.
Speaking of streamers: It was the main enemies of the cinema industry (not Tenet, sorry) who saved 2020 in film. Tons of great films were still being released, more than enough to fill an Oscar ballot (although the Academy had decided to extend eligibility for the ceremony in April through late February, undoing the typical synchronicity of year-end lists with award winners .)
Of the 25 (technically 26) films that made our list of the best films of 2020, 18 were (or will be) available in our living rooms on opening day or within weeks of a limited theatrical release. That includes six titles from Netflix, three from Amazon, three from HBO / HBO Max (including Wonder Woman 1984), two from Apple, two from Hulu, and two from Disney +. It's been a bad year for the world, but a very good year for Netflix. Here are our tips for the best (and worst) movies of 2020.
THE 25 BEST
25. Wonder Woman 1984
Why It's Great: Somewhat Lost in Hullabaloo over Warner Bros.'s decision to release the highly anticipated six-month delayed sequel to HBO Max on the same day as it hit theaters (the first of many in a controversial and shocking move by the AT&T Conglomerate) is this delightful revelation: Wonder Woman 1984 is a major improvement over Wonder Woman 2017. Perhaps even leaps and bounds on the battlefield. With all that exposure out of the way, Patty Jenkins creates a thoroughly entertaining sequel from the '80s that is exciting, impressive in its aerial scenes, funny in a daring manner (everyone salutes Kristen Wiig), and features one of the best villain turns out there DC, who is not called the Joker (everyone says hello to Pedro Pascal, who trots around the globe with the maddening welding energy that Adam Sandler had in Uncut Gems). It's too long and there are some issues with the third act, but welcome to superhero filmmaking. Jenkins deserves the greatest appearances. - Kevin Polowy
Where to See It: Wonder Woman 1984 opens in theaters simultaneously and premieres on HBO Max on Christmas Day.
24. Sound of Metal
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Why It's Great: Riz Ahmed brings the thunder in Darius Marder's blistering addiction and recovery drama that gracefully defies so many clichés of the genre. In this case, Ruben Stone is not about drugs (well, not exclusively), but about life on the street, playing ultra-loud metal music with soulmate Lou (Olivia Cooke) by his side. But then severe hearing loss forces him to make an extended pit stop at a rest home for deaf addicts, and a serious re-evaluation of life inevitably follows. With Ahmed as a soulful guide, Sound of Metal explores a world and community never before seen on screen, and you leave the film grateful - and deeply moved by the people you met along the way. - Ethan dude
Where to See It: Sound of Metal is currently streamed on Amazon Prime Video.
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Why it's great: Irish animator Tomm Moore closes his unofficial trilogy of Celtic cartoons - after The Secret of Kells 2009 and Song of the Sea 2014 - with perhaps the best of the trio. This lavishly drawn fable is set in 17th century Ireland and follows the friendship of two girls from two very different worlds. Robyn (Honor Kneafsey) is the daughter of a wolf hunter, while Mebh (Eva Whittaker) is the daughter of a wolfwalker, a human-lupine hybrid whose spirit takes on a wolf shape at night. The story covers topical issues like prejudice and the madness of the crowds in a way that both kids and adults react to, and the hand-drawn animation is beautiful to watch. It is not an exaggeration to say that every frame of Wolfwalker belongs in an art museum. - E.A.
Where to See It: Wolfwalkers is currently streaming on Apple TV +.
22.American Utopia and Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee Double Feature)
American Utopia and Da 5 Bloods. (Photo: HBO / Netflix)
Even a global pandemic couldn't stop Brooklyn's favorite son. Spike Lee was on double duty in 2020, first showing his version of a Vietnam War image on Netflix's Da 5 Bloods, in which a dazzling ensemble led by likely Oscar nominee Delroy Lindo covers a group of vets returning to Vietnam Hunt for long lost treasures. (The late, great Chadwick Boseman plays his friend and captain in flashbacks.) Lee followed up the film with a filmed version of former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne's previous stage show American Utopia for HBO. While it may seem unsettling to step out of the jungles of East Asia into the confines of a Broadway theater, the director never missed a beat. Lee understands what Shakespeare wrote so long ago: The whole world is a stage ... and he will always be one of our favorite players. - E.A.
Where to See Them: Da 5 Bloods is currently streamed on Netflix and American Utopia is currently streamed on HBO Max.
21. Borat Subsequent Film
Borat Next film: Pregnancy Center
Why it's great: What did you accomplish during the lockdown? Sacha Baron Cohen went and shot an entire secret sequel to Borat. While its brutal Kazakh journalist may not feel as fresh the second time around (especially after the insane news cycle of the past four years), there are three simple reasons why Part 2 at least lives up to its predecessor. One of these is the arrival of breakout star Maria Bakalova, who manages to outshine (and shock) her onscreen dad as the ambitious Tutar, aka Sandra Jessica Parker Sagdiyev. Second, in addition to being a fire, the film also has a surprisingly cute father-daughter redemption story. And finally, of course, it's the most famous and impressive sequence in the film, starring Bakalova and Baron Cohen with Rudy Giuliani To Catch a Predator. Whether or not Guiliani “just pissed” (and there are plenty of other things to answer for), the fact that they are so easily deceived by the former New York City mayor and the outgoing president's closest ally could put in an interview by simply "Patriot" in the name of their fake news agency, should alert everyone. - K.P.
Where to Watch It: Borat Subsequent movie is currently streamed on Amazon Prime Video.
20. The midnight sky
The Midnight Sky (Trailer 2)
A lone scientist in the Arctic attempts to contact a crew of astronauts who are returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe. George Clooney plays and directs.
Why It's Great: George Clooney has had his ups (Confessions of a Dangerous Ghost, Goodnight and Good Luck) and downs (Leatherheads, The Monuments Men) as a filmmaker. The midnight sky qualifies as an instant high. The magnificently shot and terrifying post-apocalyptic thriller takes place in a not too distant future, in which one of the last inhabitants of the earth (Clooney, who looks like Syriana gruff) has to try to warn a returning spaceship, turn around and restart on another planet . The eco-warning story is clear, but the film proves to be strangely prescient even in the age of COVID-19, and includes one of the most shocking sequences you'll see in any movie this year. - K.P.
Where to See It: The Midnight Sky is now set in (very) select theaters and is getting widespread on Netflix.
19. Crip Camp: A revolution for the disabled
How the real "Crip Camp" sparked a disability rights revolution
James LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham, co-directors of the acclaimed new documentary "Crip Camp," explain how their film's theme, Camp Jened, inspired a generation of activists that led directly to the passage of the Disabled Americans Act in 1990.
Why It's Great: James LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham's inspirational documentary, produced by Hollywood newcomers Barack and Michelle Obama under their Higher Ground Productions banner, is one of the most iconic documents to be unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It begins with a sweet and charming look at Camp Jened, a 1970s summer camp for disabled teenagers run by hippies who haven't been to Woodstock. Ultimately, LeBrecht (an alum from Camp Jened) and Newnham offer a moving and vital look at how many of the camp's attendees and advisors, including the unstoppable force, Judy Heumann, led the long struggle for civil rights for disabled people that culminated in the seminal Americans with Disabilities Act 1990, turning 30 in July. - K.P.
Where to Watch It: Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution is currently streamed on Netflix.
18. The 40 year old version
The 40 year old version
The frustrated New Yorker Radha, who is nearly 40 and still struggling as a playwright, turns to another type of stage and awakens a rapper alter ego named RadhaMUSprime. As her resurrected artistic voice blossoms, Radha must learn to reconcile her two roles and two unique New York art scenes. In her debut film, writer and director Radha Blank plays the deeply personal lead role, a magnetic presence with a unique perspective that creates a film that is a new addition to the New York can of life
Why It's Great: Straight out of Broadway, Radha Black used her own experience as a struggling playwright as the basis for this hilarious and moving portrait of an artist's mid-life crisis. Schwarz photographs her hometown in beautiful black and white - an obvious nod to Spike Lee's classic debut "She's Gotta Have It" - and shows how creative guys can be her worst enemy while aiming directly at the various goalkeepers who keep fresh Voices tell their truths to the New York audience. The film culminates in a wild parody of a musical theater flop that is up there with Springtime for Hitler. A wise Broadway producer would be wise to put Radha Black and Lin-Manuel Miranda together asap. - E.A.
Where to Watch It: The 40-year-old version is currently streamed on Netflix.
17. Totally under control
Totally under control
On January 20, 2020, the U.S. and South Korea discovered their first cases of COVID-19. However, 9 months later, the novel Coronavirus claimed the lives of nearly 200,000 Americans and caused staggering economic damage, while there were no significant lockdowns in South Korea and only 344 people died in an urbanized population of 51 million. Where did we go wrong? As the presidential election approaches, Americans are increasingly angry at the lack of clear leadership and endemic bottom
Why it's great: Alex Gibney, Suzanne Hillinger and Ophelia Harutyunyan arrived just three weeks before the presidential election and were clearly targeting the Trump administration's botched response to the coronavirus, which has now killed over 300,000 Americans - or as Gibney tell you becomes 20 percent of the world's COVID-19 deaths, even though the United States makes up only four percent of the population. This is one of the many damn statistics in this film that will long serve as a document for posterity too. Comprehensive, insightful, and probably quieter than most expect, it's like watching the captain of the Titanic and his crew head straight for the iceberg for two hours. Totally annoying, absolutely indispensable viewing. - K.P.
Where to See It: Totally Under Control is currently streamed on Hulu, Amazon, and other major platforms.
16. Charm City Kings
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Why It's Great: Written by Sherman Payne, directed by Angel Manuel Soto, and produced by Barry Jenkins (in case you need more credit), this poetic drama follows a trio of young teenagers from Black Baltimore whose interest in urban dirt biking later caught up with them got into more than a few illegal and dangerous activities. It's easy to compare it to '90s reference points like Boyz N the Hood and Juice, but there's an undeniable originality in the stylishly captured story, especially in the way that Charm's famous dirt bike culture is portrayed City introduces and expertly interwoven in a tough condition. profound implications for the coming-of-age story. - K.P.
Where to see it: Streaming on HBO Max.
15. The Chicago Trial 7
The Chicago Trial 7
What was intended as a peaceful protest against the Democratic National Convention of 1968 turned into a violent clash with the police and the National Guard. The protest organizers - including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale - were charged with conspiracy to cause a riot, and the subsequent trial was one of the most notorious in history.
Why It's Great: There are at least seven dynamite performances in this tense and timely retelling of the Vietnam War protesters (and a Black Panther) embroiled in a ridiculous court case after a fateful night at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Sacha Baron Cohen (at one year, razor sharp like the outspoken Yippie founder Abby Hoffman), Eddie Redmayne (as the flammable Tom Hayden), Yahya Abdul-Mateen (as the boiling Bobby Seale) and Mark Rylance (as the shaggy dog ACLU ) Attorney William Kunstler) are front runners among them. The writing and governing are also on point, as expected, and master word smith Aaron Sorkin quickly turns into a hell of a filmmaker on his second attempt after Molly's play. - K.P.
Where to watch it: The Chicago 7 test is currently streamed on Netflix.
"Hamilton" is the story of America that America tells today. With a score that combines hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, "Hamilton" recorded the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theater - a musical that had profound effects on culture, politics and culture had education. The film was shot in June 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Broadway and takes its audience into the world of the Broadway show in a uniquely intimate way.
Why it's great: In a perfect world without COVID, the filmed version of this Broadway sensation would have hit theaters this fall. Instead, the pandemic sparked a revolutionary idea: why not launch on Disney + before the weekend of July 4th at no additional cost to subscribers? And so, folks, dozens of Americans spent their vacations brushing up on their US history in the company of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., and the rest of the original cast. The footage was filmed live over several performances in 2016 - back when the only way to take part in the founding father's action was to rob a Brink truck - the footage is a seamless showcase of robust storytelling and contemporary creativity (see : Rap fights! Duels! Love! Thomas-Jefferson-as-Prince and grumpy King George!). In a year of bleak box office action and streaming controversy, Hamilton's release was possibly the only real "event" watch of the pandemic. Way to get the job done. - Erin Donnelly
Where to watch it: Hamilton is currently streaming on Disney +.
13. News of the world
News from all over the world
Five years after the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks), a widower and veteran of three wars, drifts from town to town as a nonfiction narrator, sharing the news of presidents and queens, glorious feuds, devastating disasters and gripping adventures from around the world . In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna (Helena Zengel, System Crasher), a 10-year-old who was taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own
Why It's Great: In this slowly building western drama, patience rewards a traveling newsreader and combat veterinarian (Tom Hanks) who has to transport a young girl (Helena Zengel) across a treacherous post-Civil War Texas border. As the bond between our two travelers and the stakes builds, it becomes an increasingly emotionally rich and agonizingly tight story from Bourne, United 93 and Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass. Spread the word. - K.P.
Where to See It: News of the World opens in theaters on Friday, December 25th.
12. First cow
"First Cow" star Orion Lee on working with co-star John Magaro
Orion Lee discusses the differences between him and John Magaro's characters in A24's "First Cow". He also talks about his belief that raising a person determines the type of person they become.
Why It's Great: A decade after Meek's Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt is returning to the Oregon border for another stunning 19th-century piece. John Magaro and Orion Lee star as two pioneers who change their luck when they jointly sell baked goods with fresh milk from the region's lonely cow played by the erupting cattle artist Eve. But the smooth narrative of the film is secondary to Reichardt's main interest: creating a multilayered evocation of a long gone and distant America. - E.A.
Where to See It: First Cow is currently streamed on Hulu, Amazon, and other major platforms.
11. Boys State
Boys State is the sensational winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at this year's Sundance Film Festival. It's an entertaining and enlightening immersion in a week-long annual program in which thousands of Texas high school graduates gather for an elaborate mock exercise: building their own state government. Filmmakers Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine closely follow the escalating tensions that arise within a particularly exciting gubernatorial race and train their cameras on Unfor
No documentary has managed to capture the political mood (and divide) of America more this year than Boys State, a film in which Donald Trump and Joe Biden are not mentioned. Instead, it follows students from Boys State, Texas, the American Legion's annual nationwide program, in which representatives from various high schools form a bogus government. We meet teenagers who feel compelled to misrepresent their attitudes on issues like abortion - "That's politics, I think," says one candidate for office - and use divisive campaign tactics. The Sundance Prize winner is both devastating and hopeful as he exposes the ramifications of the broken American government and gives optimism to our next generation of leaders. - Raechal Shewfelt
Where to watch it: Boys State is currently streaming on Apple TV +.
10. The invisible man
The thriller "The Invisible Man" examines the terror of domestic violence
The cast of the horror film "The Invisible Man" talk about the film's hidden message of domestic violence. Elisabeth Moss plays Ceclila Kass, a woman who is chased by her abusive ex who no one can see. The actress told Yahoo Entertainment, "The idea that a woman is not believed is very relevant right now." She adds, "There is emotional abuse, psychological abuse, gas light, bullying ... it can be incredibly harmful to people." Director and writer Leigh Whannell explains that Moss contributed a lot to the film from a story perspective. As he developed the character, Whannell said, "I've found out she's escaping this toxic relationship. You're finding out how scary and widespread it is."
Why it's so great: Anyone who is easily scared should watch this thriller during the day. Elisabeth Moss is as fantastic as ever, like Cecilia, a woman whose abusive husband has just died but who she still feels everywhere. When she insists he is still alive for her friends and authorities, they tell her that she is losing her mind - a possibility she has also considered. Is it all on Cecilia's mind or did her ex keep his promise that he would be there to torture her if she ever tried to leave? To see the answer is deliciously terrifying. - R.S.
Where to Watch It: The Invisible Man is currently streamed on Hulu, HBO Max, and other major platforms.
9. never seldom sometimes always
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Why it's so great: Escapist entertainment isn't. Eliza Hittman's devastating drama follows a rural Pennsylvania teenager (Sidney Flanigan) who, after discovering she is pregnant and with the help of her cousin (Talia Ryder), goes on a desperate odyssey to New York City to attempt an abortion. Like the Anti-Juno in tone and resolution (but certainly not in quality), it is one of those quietly impactful films that is driven not by dialogue but by the story, emotions and superbly understated performances of its two main characters. This can haunt you for days. - K.P.
Where to See It: Never Seldom Sometimes people are always streaming on Hulu, HBO Max, and other major platforms.
8. Happiest season
Meeting your friend's family for the first time can be difficult. It's even harder to come up with a suggestion at their family's annual Christmas dinner - until you find out they don't even know she's gay. When Abby (Kristen Stewart) learns that Harper (Mackenzie Davis) has kept their relationship a secret from her family, she begins questioning the friend she thought she knew. HAPPIEST SEASON is a romantic vacation comedy that hilariously captures the range of emotions associated with wanting your family.
Why it's so great: Happiest Season is the first lesbian-romantic comedy and also the first same-sex vacation rom-com to be produced by a major film studio. But beyond its cultural significance, it could also become an instant vacation classic. Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis play a couple from Pittsburgh who visit their parents for the first time over Christmas, where the political aspirations of their Conservative father have forced them to hide the nature of their relationship. The hilarious and heartfelt film, directed by Clea Duvall, feels groundbreaking yet timeless, like Meet the Parents over Christmas, with a long overdue gay twist in broad rom-com. Stewart and Davis lead a stellar cast, but it's Mary Holland (who co-wrote the script with Veep costar Duvall) who delivers the funniest performance of the year as Davis' lovable oddball sister Jane. - K.P.
Where to See It: Happiest Season is currently being streamed on Hulu.
7. Promising young woman
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Why it's great: After The Invisible Man, Promising Young Woman became the second high-profile #MeToo revenge thriller of 2020 and the most important of its kind to date. The thriller was written and directed by actress, filmmaker (and Killing Eve creator) Emerald Fennell and plays the routinely excellent Carey Mulligan as an ex-medical student who fakes poisoning to teach potential sexual assailants a crucial lesson. Fennell references high profile real-life cases like Brock Turner and Nate Parker to create a vibrant, subversive, darkly comical, and ultimately haunting story of trauma, empowerment, and comeuppance. - K.P.
Where you can see it: Promising young woman opens in cinemas on Christmas Day (natch).
6. Palm Springs
Why It's So Great: Let's face it, we all had a gritty Groundhog Day - at home on a repetitive cycle of pointless routine, from the zoom calls to the tired take-out. This made Palm Springs one of the most insightful, relatable movies of the year, and arguably the breakout movie of the summer. This Hulu feature is an existential entry in the déjà vu genre and finds Andy Samberg, Cristin Miloti and J.K. Simmons relived the worst wedding ever while challenging the meaning of life, love ... and quantum physics. Palm Springs delivers a lot of heart and a message we can all leave behind: Life may suck now, but at the end of the tunnel there is light. - Marcus Errico
Where to Watch It: Palm Springs is currently streaming on Hulu.
Good for the 'Soul': How Pixar's Latest Version Could Help the Country Heal
Pixar's new film Soul deals with particularly important and philosophical topics: life, death and what happens before and after. The star-studded cast recently spoke to Yahoo Entertainment about how the film comes at a time when the country really could use some healing. "People hurt and we need a good deed," said Jamie Foxx, who voices the main character, Joe. "Sit, escape, laugh, decompress, whatever you do. [Soul] is a Christmas present that continues to be unwrapped." "Quarantine has forced people to find out what their true happiness is," said Questlove, who voices the character Curly. "And this film will really confirm it for you."
Why it's so great: The folks at Pixar will be the first to tell you that their first Black Lead adventure is long overdue. But beyond the cultural significance of their 23rd feature film, which follows a seedy middle school music teacher (Jamie Foxx) who falls through a manhole and ventures to The Great Beyond that same day, he eventually scores the jazz club gig of his dreams The Animation Giants Have also delivered one of their most thoughtful, life-affirming, inventive and amusing contributions, proof that every minute is lived to the fullest. Bonus points for the Pizza Rat Cameo and taking back the Jazz by Ryan Gosling. - K.P.
Where it's streamed: Soul premieres on Disney + Christmas Day.
Minari is a delicate and full story of what roots us. He follows a Korean-American family who move to a tiny farm in Arkansas in search of their own American dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their cunning, smelly, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amid the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of the family and what really makes a home.
Why It's So Great: The eighth Sundance premiere on our list, and the very best. Writer and director Lee Isaac Chung tells this deeply personal story of a Korean family who moved from California to rural Arkansas in the 1980s when their father (Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead) considers affordable farmland and a trailer home to be his best option to make the American dream come true. Like life itself, the film is alternately sad, sweet, and painfully funny (if Robert De Niro would call the war with grandpa the war with grandma), not to mention gloriously filmed, profound and deeply moving. A real gem. - K.P.
Wo Sie es sehen können: Minari wurde am 11. Dezember in sehr begrenztem Umfang vor einer breiteren Kinoveröffentlichung am 21. Februar 2021 eröffnet.
3. Eine Nacht in Miami
Eine Nacht in Miami (Teaser Trailer 1)
Die Geschichte spielt in der Nacht vom 25. Februar 1964 und folgt einem jungen Cassius Clay (bevor er Muhammad Ali wurde), als er aus dem Miami Beach Convention Center als neuer Weltmeister im Schwergewicht hervorgeht. Trotz aller Widrigkeiten besiegte er Sonny Liston und schockierte die Sportwelt. Während viele Menschen in Miami Beach schwärmen, um das Spiel zu feiern, verbringt Clay, der aufgrund der Segregationsgesetze aus der Zeit von Jim Crow nicht auf der Insel bleiben kann, die Nacht im Hampton House Motel in einem von Miamis Histori
Warum es so toll ist: Regina King ist ein nationaler Schatz. Der Beale Street Oscar-Gewinner und Watchmen Emmy-Gewinner gibt 2020 mit dieser hoch aufragenden Adaption von Kemp Powers (er selbst hat ein Jahr mit Superkräften zwischen Miami und Soul) das beste Regiedebüt eines Schauspielers im Jahr 2020, das eine Fiktion erzählt Bericht über einen realen Hang zwischen den amerikanischen Ikonen Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) und Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.). Geben Sie diesem eine 30 Minuten Zeit, um sich zu drehen, und Sie werden von der schwelenden Spannung und dem phänomenalen Verhalten überwältigt sein, bevor der musikalische Höhepunkt des Films Ihnen drei Minuten lang Schüttelfrost beschert. - K.P.
Wo Sie es sehen können: One Night in Miami wird am Weihnachtstag in ausgewählten Theatern eröffnet, bevor es am 15. Januar bei Amazon Premiere hat.
Der Film folgt Fern (McDormand), einer Frau, die nach dem wirtschaftlichen Zusammenbruch einer Firmenstadt im ländlichen Nevada ihren Van packt und sich auf den Weg macht, um ein Leben außerhalb der konventionellen Gesellschaft als moderne Nomade zu erkunden. Der Film zeigt die echten Nomaden Linda May, Swankie und Bob Wells als Farns Mentoren und Kameraden bei ihrer Erkundung der weiten Landschaft des amerikanischen Westens.
Warum es so toll ist: Frances McDormand lässt diese drei Werbetafeln aus Missouri in ihrer Rückansicht und bereist den Rest des Landes in Chloé Zhaos durchdringendem, einfühlsamem Roadmovie. Umgeben von seinem Stern und ihrem gelegentlichen Reisebegleiter David Strathairn mit einer Mischung aus echten Nomaden, die #VanLife leben - die wenigen glücklichen nach persönlicher Wahl, viele mehr nach harten wirtschaftlichen Realitäten - webt Nomadland einen Wandteppich dessen, wie der amerikanische Traum aussieht Wie in einer Zeit, in der die Kluft zwischen Hab und Gut größer geworden ist als je zuvor. Während Zhaos weitläufige Weitwinkelaussichten auf Amerikas Landstraßen und Bergketten dazu führen, dass Sie die große Leinwand in großem Maße vermissen, wird die kumulative emotionale Kraft des Films Sie zu Hause immer noch überwältigen. - E.A.
Wo Sie es sehen können: Wenn Sie Nomadlands einwöchige virtuelle Veröffentlichung verpasst haben, die am 4. Dezember begann, wird der Film am 19. Februar 2021 im Kino veröffentlicht.
1. Ma Raineys schwarzer Hintern
Ma Raineys schwarzer Hintern
Die Spannungen nehmen zu, als sich die bahnbrechende Mutter des Blues und ihre Band 1927 in einem Aufnahmestudio in Chicago versammeln. Nach August Wilsons Stück.
Selbst wenn es nicht Chadwick Bosemans endgültige Leinwandaufführung enthalten würde, würde George C. Wolfe's bewegende Adaption von August Wilsons Tony-Gewinnspiel immer noch ganz oben auf unserer Liste stehen. Der Film spielt an einem heißen Sommertag im Chicago der 1920er Jahre und befasst sich mit so vielen Themen, mit denen wir uns im Laufe des Jahres 2020 auseinandergesetzt haben, von der gelegentlichen Ausbeutung schwarzer Männer und Frauen durch die Gesellschaft bis hin zu Doppelmoral zwischen Farbkünstlern und ihren weißen Kollegen . Viola Davis verschwindet in der Rolle der echten Blues-Sängerin Ma Rainey und wird von einem großartigen Ensemble unterstützt, zu dem Colman Domingo und Glynn Turman gehören. Aber alle Augen werden offensichtlich auf Bosemans lebhafte Darstellung des Trompeters Levee gerichtet sein, dessen große Ambitionen kopfüber in eine große Tragödie geraten. That the actor left us so soon is a tragedy in and of itself; thankfully, we have this movie — and the rest of his career — as a reminder of his massive talent. — E.A.
Where you can see it: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is currently streaming on Netflix.
THE 5 WORST
5. New Mutants
Maisie Williams, Henry Zaga, Blu Hunt, Charlie Heaton and Anya Taylor-Joy in New Mutants. (Photo: Disney)
What sounded like a slam-dunk premise — a superhero horror movie about a group of adolescent mutants coping with terrifying new powers featuring a cast of rising stars (Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Blu Hunt) — instead became the sad epitaph for 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, playing out like a watered-down YA One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with decidedly unfrightening CGI monsters. Undoubtedly the most memorable thing about New Mutants is its tortured trip to release; between re-edits, Disney’s acquisition of Fox and the coronavirus pandemic, the film was originally slated for theaters in 2018 and bounced around the schedule for years before limping into theaters in August. Maybe it should have stayed on the shelf. — M.E.
4. Fantasy Island
Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell and Michael Peña in Fantasy Island. (Photo: Sony)
There was very good (The Invisible Man), very OK (The Hunt) and very bad (Fantasy Island) from horror powerhouse Blumhouse Productions in 2020. Imagine the 1970s TV show but with Ricardo Montalbán replaced by Michael Peña, a misfiring horror remix that’s never scary, filled with unintentional laughter and a zombie surgeon. Here’s to next year’s TV reboot washing away the taste of this rotten tomato in 2021. — K.P.
3. Artemis Fowl
Nonso Anozie, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad and Ferdia Shaw in Artemis Fowl. (Photo: Disney)
You know you’ve made a bad movie when the most talked about aspect online involves Josh Gad playing a dwarf named Mulch Diggums who farts dirt out of his butt. Disney surely had an easy decision moving this Harry Potter-light turkey from theaters to its streaming platform, and will likely take a mulligan on its franchise potential. But hey, at least they don’t have to worry about it competing with Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars for eyeballs. As for the rest of us? We’ll always have Mulch Diggums and his dirt-farting. — K.P.
2. The Secret: Dare to Dream
Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas in The Secret: Dare to Dream. (Photo: Roadside Attractions)
Here’s the secret behind The Secret: Dare to Dream — it’s a Lifetime movie disguised as a major motion picture. And not even a genuinely awesome Lifetime movie like Mother, May I Sleep With Danger or that KFC mini-movie with Mario Lopez as Colonel Sanders! No, this snoozy family drama is content to coast by on admittedly pretty Louisiana scenery and our residual goodwill for scenes of Katie Holmes standing on docks by bodies of water. With apologies to Paula Cole, we didn’t want to wait… for this movie to be over. — E.A.
Robert Downey Jr. in Dolittle. (Photo: Universal)
Tony Stark died for this?! After bidding adieu to the MCU in Avengers: Endgame, Robert Downey Jr. decided to try his hand at kid-friendly fare with this ostensible comedy based on the classic British stories about a Victorian vet who talks to animals — a role previously played by Rex Harrison in the 1967 musical and Eddie Murphy in a franchise-spawning 1998 reboot. But from Downey’s weird Welsh accent to the crudely rendered CGI critters to the feckless fart jokes, everything about this Dolittle is a disaster. Let’s just say we don’t love it 3,000. — M.E.
— by Ethan Alter, Erin Donnelly, Marcus Errico, Kevin Polowy and Raechal Shewfelt
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