Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

Discussions of specific films and franchises.
User avatar
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:26 am

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#51 Post by cpetrizzi » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:40 pm



Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:50 pm

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#52 Post by BrianB » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:47 pm

1. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
2. Le Daim
3. The Trial if the Chicago 7
4. Nomadland
5. The Lodge
6. Onward
7. The Last Dance
8. Weathering With You
9. Bacurau
10. Sound of Metal
Last edited by BrianB on Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:12 pm, edited 8 times in total.

User avatar
Mr Sheldrake
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 9:09 pm
Location: Jersey burbs exit 4

Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#53 Post by Mr Sheldrake » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:28 am

01. On the Rocks
02. Blow the Man Down
03. The Burnt Orange Heresy
04. Invisible Man
05. The Personal History of David Copperfield
06. Emma
07. The Lodge
08. Underwater
09. The Turning
10. Gretel & Hansel
Last edited by Mr Sheldrake on Thu Dec 24, 2020 8:04 pm, edited 15 times in total.

User avatar
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:27 pm

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#54 Post by lzx » Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:47 pm

Happy New Year!
  1. Time
  2. Zombi Child
  3. The Twentieth Century
  4. Echo
  5. First Cow
  6. Beanpole
  7. Indianara
  8. Twilight's Kiss
  9. Seven Years in May
  10. The Wild Goose Lake
Last edited by lzx on Fri Jan 01, 2021 12:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:11 am

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#55 Post by menthymenthy » Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:36 pm

1. Malmkrog (Puiu)
2. I Know This Much Is True (Cianfrance)
3. The Trip to Greece (Winterbottom)
4. The Salt of Tears (Garrel)
5. Palm Springs (Barbakow)
6. Expedition Content (Kusumaryati/Karel)
7. If It Were Love (Chiha)
8. Perdikaki (Gallagher)
9. Bad Trip (Sakurai)
10. Uppercase Print (Jude)
Last edited by menthymenthy on Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Life is one big kevyip
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:39 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#56 Post by lacritfan » Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:19 am

Vitalina Varela
Promising Young Woman
First Cow
The Whistlers
Color Out of Space
Last edited by lacritfan on Thu May 27, 2021 12:41 am, edited 5 times in total.

Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:54 am

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#57 Post by bamwc2 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:51 am

I'm a bit behind, having only seen 14 films so far in 2020. Here's my top ten list for the year. I'd be surprised if any of 2-10 find their way onto my final list. I'll update regularly.

1. The Wolf House (Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León)
2. The Vast of Night (Andrew Patterson)
3. The Traitor (Marco Bellocchio)
4. Beanpole (Kantemir Balagov)
5. Transnistria (Anna Eborn)
6. Weathering with You (Makoto Shinkai)
7. Rewind (Sasha Joseph Neulinger)
8. Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa)
9. Onward (Dan Scanlon)
10. Family Romance, LLC (Werner Herzog)

Also Good: And Then We Danced (Levan Akin), Blow the Man Down (Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy), Color Out of Space (Richard Stanley), The Whistlers (Corneliu Porumboiu)

User avatar
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#58 Post by zedz » Tue Aug 11, 2020 11:19 pm

Broken elbow + smaller-than-usual, online festival means that I got to watch all 142 films over the course of a couple of weeks and now have more than enough great movies under my belt to make a top ten. Most of these are by women, most of them are first features, and the top four are all from Latin America. If you’re not excited about the current cinema, maybe you’re looking in the wrong place?

IF I WERE THE WINTER ITSELF (Jazmin López, Argentina, 2020) – Amazing cinema that sounds oppressively academic on paper but is breathtaking on the screen. A group of people congregate in a vast run-down mansion in the middle of nowhere and set about filming reenactments of Godard’s La Chinoise, Ana Mendieta’s Untitled (Facial Hair Transplant) and Harun Farocki’s Inextinguishable Fire. Meantime, lead actress Carmen is haunted by a recently ended relationship and that distraction starts to infect the band’s quixotic project. Linear time begins to break down, and the cast seem to be reenacting their own lives as well as those classics of activist art. The whole thing unfolds in long, sensuous prowling tracking shots, and the elaborate choreography spins off into a couple of arresting dance sequences. It’s like a reflexive, slow cinema, architecture porn, musical ghost story.

SICK, SICK, SICK (Alice Furtado, Brazil, 2019) – Another young Latin American woman filmmaker making films as good as anybody alive. Furtado is clearly a disciple of Claire Denis, but who’s going to complain about another Claire Denis film in the vein of L’Intrus and Trouble Every Day? Other overt references in the film are made to Renoir’s The River and I Walked with a Zombie, but actually, it’s ultimately an adaptation of
The Monkey’s Paw.
The mood of this is brilliantly calibrated to very slowly increase the mystery and tension until the hair-raising final shot.

YOUNG HUNTER (Marco Berger, Argentina, 2020) – As South American horror movies go, Sick, Sick, Sick has nothing on this film, and it’s another one that plays expertly with tone. It’s not actually a horror movie: it’s creepier than that. The film starts out as a tentative adolescent coming out story, incongruously paced and scored like a thriller. About halfway through the film there’s a sickening twist and a reset with a new protagonist and we’re in a noir twilight world where the actions of the first half replay as through a dark mirror. It’s a bold experiment in audience identification, and another remarkably sophisticated first film.

FIRST COW (Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2020)

IDENTIFYING FEATURES (Fernanda Valadez, Mexico, 2020) – The same subject confronted in Ai Weiwei’s boilerplate documentary Vivos is given vivid life in this first feature. It’s the simple quest of a mother trying to find out what happened to her son, who ‘disappeared’ on a bus trip to the US border, but it avoids the button-pushing clichés of a lot of crusading cinema and instead goes for slow-burn alienation as the trail gets sketchier and stranger. The unexpected reveal at the end seems more than a little unlikely, but it’s sold by a demonic flashback, and you realize that the film has, inch by inch, moved from the everyday into the mythic.

LARA (Jan Ole Gerster, Germany, 2019) – Classically mounted Euro drama that pivots on a superb performance by Corinna Harfouch as an overbearing success-focussed mother, who’s alienated everybody around her. Everything comes to a head on a very significant day. It’s a great performance, but it’s also expertly directed so that we get continually drawn in and repulsed from the character. Just when you think she’s been treated unfairly, she does something absolutely horrible. The strong ending is similar in conception to Phoenix, but very different in impact and narrative context.

THE UNKNOWN SAINT (Alaa Eddine Aljem, Morocco, 2019) – Gorgeously shot deadpan comedy about a fleeing robber who buries his loot and disguises it as a grave. He comes back to claim it years later, only to find that a mausoleum has been built over it and it’s become the focal point of a local community (who are themselves about as eccentric as the hapless thief). The laidback style is reminiscent of Suleiman (not his mediocre last film), but with a stronger narrative drive.

THE LONG WALK (Mattie Do, Laos, 2019) – Already mentioned in the sci-fi list thread. Strange and increasingly dark Laotian ghost story that meets the sci-fi brief by being set in the future and involving time travel, even though it feels nothing like most films in the genre. Uncle Boonmee meets Primer gives you some idea of its conceptual ballpark, if not its stylistic one. The Primer aspect of the film ultimately unfolds into horror, making the film even more heterogenous and its success more miraculously unlikely.

THAT WHICH IS TO COME IS JUST A PROMISE (Flatform, Italy / Netherlands / New Zealand, 2019) – The Italian experimental collective come up with a dazzling fake single shot film. In a 20-minute continuous tracking shot (compiled from different takes, for obvious reasons), the camera prowls through, over and under the island nation of Tuvalu as people go about their business. The remarkable thing is that this complex movement was shot in several passes, at times when the ground was flooded or dry. When the seawater heats up, it permeates the earth and floods the land, so the single continuous shot dissolves between takes recorded at different water levels (e.g. somebody walking down a road will suddenly be wading down a river). It’s not just a stark visual record of global warming and rising sea levels, but a mesmerising cinematic feat.

DARK CITY BENEATH THE BEAT (TT the Artist, USA, 2020) – Brisk, vivacious portrait of the Baltimore music scene that’s structured less like an expository documentary and more like a mix tape – which is really the perfect form for this kind of film. It makes you resent all those so-called music docs that aren’t wall-to-wall tunes.

Bumped to no. 11:

CHARTER (Amanda Kernell, Sweden, 2020) – Kernell’s first film, Sami Blood, was a bit of a misfire for me, a hot topic forced into the stays of a somewhat conventional period drama. This follow-up is much more assured and tougher, and is another film on my list with an opaque protagonist that’s hard to relate to. Here it’s a woman who has previously ‘abandoned’ her children and kidnaps them just as she’s about to lose custody. They hide away in the Canary Isles, and for most of the film we have great anxiety about whether or not she poses a danger to them (all we know is that she didn’t just abandon them, but also did something much, much worse – and the resolution of this mystery is one of the film’s deftest narrative tricks).


LAST AND FIRST MEN (Jóhann Jóhannson, Iceland, 2020) - Johannson's first, last and only feature is old school hard science fiction. Tilda Swinton calmly speaks to us from 2000 million years in the future about our demise while Jóhannson calmly investigates the ruins of an extinct species. Structured more like a piece of music than a conventional narrative, and the music is as strong as you'd expect from this composer. Hypnotic and assured if you're up for the challenge.

KALA AZAR (Janis Rafa, Greece, 2020) – Raw and strange Greek drama about a pair who pick up dead pets for cremation. They also have an under-the-table sideline in roadkill. They’re the main strand in a film that gives a vivid, visceral portrait of the rural region in which it’s set and the animals that cohabit with its human beasts. It’s more of a mood piece than a developed narrative, though things do come to a dramatic head in an unexpected but retrospectively inevitable manner.

PARADISE DRIFTERS (Mees Peijnenburg, Netherlands, 2020) – Bleak, confident drama about three marginal characters thrown together by happenstance on a dodgy cross-European journey. Things unfold unexpectedly, and the filmmaking syntax keeps us off-balance by abruptly cutting to black before scenes seem to have naturally ended.

THEY CALL ME BABU (Sandra Beerends, Netherlands, 2019) – A spoken narrative about the experiences of an Indonesian nanny taken back to Holland by her employers is accompanied by repurposed period (early 20th century) home movie footage. It’s a rich exploration of ideas of colonization and self-determination on several levels.

IN THE NAME OF THE LAND (Édouard Bergeon, France, 2019) – Classically mounted “farming is hell” generational drama that gets way, way darker than I expected and ends with a delicately placed icepick in the heart.

SOME KIND OF HEAVEN (Lance Oppenheim, USA, 2020) – Morris-esque documentary about the world’s largest retirement village in Florida. The film transcends kitsch (which is there all across the background for the taking) by focusing on three characters who are outsiders in different ways and offer unusual and fascinating takes on the bizarre artificial world in which they’ve found themselves (or not found themselves).

THE SURROGATE (Jeremy Hersh, USA, 2020) – Stylistically flat indie satire that works because of a funny, smart script predicated on thorny ethical dilemmas and some great performances. Felt like a US indie from the 90s, which was actually quite nice.

PERFECT 10 (Eva Riley, UK, 2019) – Let’s face it, nowadays there are a lot of young filmmakers who make better Ken Loach films than Ken Loach.

LESSONS OF LOVE (Malgorzata Goliszewska / Kasia Mateja, Poland, 2019) – Sweet documentary about an elegant older woman finding love, that gains a valuable extra dimension as we slowly realize that her tentativeness is because of the long, abusive marriage she has (almost) escaped.

KIDS RUN (Barbara Ott, Germany, 2020) – I found it hard to empathize with the too-hapless protagonist, but this was a very assured, gritty debut directorial effort.


FAMILY MEMBERS (Mateo Bendesky, Argentina, 2019) - Low-key black comedy about siblings 'trapped' in an idyllic beach town and, more to the point, in the house of their dead mother.

TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH (Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Japan, 2019) – Comic whimsy isn’t what I expect from this director, which might be why this is possibly the film of his I’ve enjoyed the most to date.

ZERO (Soda Kazuhiro, Japan, 2020) – Sequel to the great 2013 observational documentary Mental. Like that film, this one stages a striking reveal in the second half that completely changes our view of the subject. Soda’s work is a lot like Fred Wiseman with a twist of Kazuo Hara.

KIDS (Michael Frei, Switzerland, 2019) – Hilarious minimalist animation that’s no doubt grimly allegorical.

TENCH (Patrice Toye, Belgium, 2019) – The kind of film that you watch through your fingers. A young paedophile is released on a technicality and struggles to curb his desires, while being pestered incessantly by the neglected and needy little girl next door. Just about every aspect of this film is painful to experience, but it’s an impressive achievement by the director and cast.

DRAMA GIRL (Vincent Boy Kars, Netherlands, 2020) – Bizarre, dry docudrama in which a young dancer stars as herself in reconstructions of her life story, with actors playing her parents and partners. Because she’s edited certain (painful) details out of her filmic life story, some of the crucial scenes seem poorly 'motivated'. The film consists of rehearsals of the ‘scripted’ biographical scenes (delivered with a blunt, Straubian mise-en-scene), ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage of the cast and crew discussing the scenes, and interviews with the star about how fucking weird it all is.

MI VIDA (Norbert ter Hall, Spain / Netherlands, 2019) – Elderly woman finds herself during sunny Spanish jaunt. Normally I’d run a mile from a film that looked as ‘inspirational’ as this, but seeing absolutely everything meant I had to cross its path, and it was actually smart and delightful. There’s an inevitable scene that the film gravitates toward (shy widow / courtly, dapper, available older gentleman) and then tacks rapidly away from in a delightful moment that finally won me over. Cadiz looks spectacular. Who wouldn’t want to run away there?

KING OF THE CRUISE (Sophie Dros, Netherlands, 2019) – Smooth, sly documentary about Ronnie Reisinger, a massively obese elderly American who cruises around the world posing as a “Scottish baron”. Spoiler, I guess, but you’d have to be extraordinarily gullible to fall for his line. You worry that the film has nowhere to go beyond abject gawking at one truly ugly American once you figure out what’s going on, but the film is very carefully structured to stage further reveals that give us a much more nuanced character portrait. My new visual image of purgatory is a cruise like this, seated next to Baron Ronnie in his kilt and cape at the captain’s table.

CODED BIAS (Shalini Kantayya, USA, 2020) – Smart, thorough documentary about racist algorithms. The worst kind of algorithm.

EXILE (Visar Morina, Germany, 2020) – Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Unnerving (if a little over-egged) Kafkaesque vision of workplace discrimination gone worse. There’s a well-used plot twist in here that’s spruced up quite well, and an ominous suspended ending that works better for me than quite a bit of what led up to it.
Last edited by zedz on Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 11:06 pm

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#59 Post by felipe » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:59 am

1. Blow the Man Down
2. Hamilton
3. Welcome to Cechnya
4. Boys State
5. First Cow
6. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
7. Rewind
8. Palm Springs
9. Corpus Christi
10. Babyteeth

Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:46 am

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#60 Post by JakeB » Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:39 am

1. Vitalina Varela
2. I'm Thinking of Ending Things
3. Bacarau
4. Little Joe
5. The Assistant
6. Uncut Gems
7. Parasite
8. Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Liked: 1917, Talking About Trees, Les Miserables, The Truth, Krabi 2562, Ms Slavic 7, Blow the Man Down

To watch: And Then We Danced, Dogs Don't Wear Pants, Moffie, Fanny Lye Deliver'd, A White White Day, Make Up, Proxima, Babyteeth, Tenet, Monsoon, She Dies Tomorrow, Colour Out of Space, The Orphanage

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:12 am

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#61 Post by Calvin » Sun Dec 13, 2020 4:01 pm

1. About Endlessness (Andersson)
2. Vitalina Varela (Costa)
3. Normal People (Abrahamson/Macdonald)
4. Babyteeth (Murphy)
5. Da 5 Bloods (Lee)
6. Wolfwalkers (Moore/Stewart)
7. The Queen's Gambit (Frank)
8. Lovers Rock (McQueen)
9. David Byrne's American Utopia (Lee)
10. Himala: Isang Diyalektika ng Ating Panahon (Diaz)

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:03 am
Location: LA CA

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#62 Post by yoshimori » Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:34 pm

Limiting myself to the movies I first saw this year. [I saw, and quite liked, Deerskin, among others listed in this thread, last year.]

Though I wouldn't call it a banner year for film - indeed, none of the new crop of movies I saw this year blew me away - there were, surprisingly, ten works I'd probably recommend among them. They are:

Khrjanovsky, Dau. Degeneratsia
Yerzhanov, A Dark, Dark Man
Hertzfeldt, "The World of Tomorrow episode 3: The Absent Destinations of David Prime"
Triet, Sibyl
Larrain, Ema
Devos, Hellhole
Fukada, Yokogao [A Girl Missing]
van Horn, Sweat
Sono, Escher-dori no akai posuto [Red Post on Escher Street]
Khrjanovsky, Dau. Nora Mama

User avatar
Toland's Mitchell
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:42 pm

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#63 Post by Toland's Mitchell » Thu Dec 24, 2020 2:46 pm


Athlete A
The Father
First Cow
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
The Invisible Man
Palm Springs
Sound of Metal
Last edited by Toland's Mitchell on Sat May 22, 2021 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:14 pm

Re: Dynamic Top Tens of 2020

#64 Post by Ribs » Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:59 pm

Took me a bit longer than usual per my insistence on only seeing new release movies theatrically, but I’m all caught up now.

01 Martin Eden
02 The Nest
03 Nomadland
04 On the Rocks
05 First Cow
06 Tenet
07 One Night in Miami...
08 The Father
09 The Forty-Year-Old Version
10 News of the World

Post Reply