The Films of 2020

Discussions of specific films and franchises.
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Leave Her to Beaver
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Re: The Films of 2020

#76 Post by soundchaser » Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:45 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:53 pm
Yes, God, Yes was a surprisingly sensitive portrayal of emerging adulthood within a bubble that doesn't reinforce typical sexual development but still retains the other universal social maladies that don't discriminate during those formative years.
I liked this film quite a bit, though I really, really wish it trusted its audience more. It operates in this weird gray area of hoary clichés and genuinely surprising humanism — although maybe the fact that in high school I went on (and led!!) similar retreats to the one presented here means I knew a few of the things that had to be spelled out for those who might not. But wow, Natalia Dyer is *excellent,* and everything in the last twenty minutes is worth the previous missteps (numerous though they may be).
Last edited by soundchaser on Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Films of 2020

#77 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:01 pm

Yeah the film never strays into any territory that would make it stand out loudly but I admired the surprisingly gentle path it took, even if that meant less risks that could have spelled greatness.

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Re: The Films of 2020

#78 Post by Wowee Zowee » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:26 am

The Nest (Sean Durkin)

I have been eagerly awaiting Durkin's return to feature length films since his 2011 debut "Martha Marcy May Marlene", which caught me completely off guard in it's non-linear unvieling of psychological terror and isolation. Now, after the longest absence of a theater going experience in my life, I happily returned to the empty Landmark to watch his quiet, equally brilliant second feature.

The film is told mainly from the point of view of Allison, played to icy perfection by Carrie Coon, who is the wife of a 1980s businessman and mother of two. Near the beginning, her husband (played brilliantly by Jude Law) presents an "opportunity" for the family to leave the United States and move to his home country of Britain, where a lucrative job awaits. But like Durkin's first film, nothing is really as it seems, and the layers of marital deception are slowly peeled away over the course of the film. Where "MMMM" had a non-linear structure to creepily reveal the effects of PTSD and the origin of our title character, here, everything is linear as we slowly get a picture of what kind of man Jude Law's Rory is, and the world he has created for his wife and children. Through small actions (like two family photographs), little lines of dialogue, or even a brief soccer match in the beginning ... we start to realize like Allison the charade going on around her. Durkin does some nice things with close-ups, particularlity with Coon, that help establish her character as a reluctant, manipulated victim who slowly starts taking control of her own life. And Law's general charm and charisma are perfect for this "Greed is good" type of character.

Durkin does some nice things behind the camera to create a sense of unease. The film almost feels like a horror, with ultra slow zooms, autumn-esque cinematography (that also captures the time period quite well), and an almost atonal music score. The country estate where the family settles is perfectly utilized, with it almost becoming it's own character commenting on the deceit within its walls. This film might be too quiet for some, and I can imagine it leaving most viewers with the sense of wanting more. I really liked this almsot chamber-piece/character study of a marriage, a family, caught up with the idea of success and the lies it creates. An interesting, slow burn of a movie that reminds me of films from decades ago. Like his first film, I am sure it will reward on a rewatch.

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Re: The Films of 2020

#79 Post by Nasir007 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:23 pm

Enola Holmes

A YA movie on Netflix. Don't quite know why I saw it but it is nice enough. I do think it takes forever to get going, the "adventure" doesn't start until about 20 minutes in. I think that's a huge mistake. The young count is the main plot basically and the start of that plot coincides with the start of the adventure, so again, your main plot doesn't start until 20 mins in.

But once it does start, it is pleasant enough. And the film is engaging in that it has many things going on - there are several subplots. There is the aforementioned young count plot, there is the disappearance and search for Enola's mother which seems like it will be the main plot initially but is discarded part way through, there is the impending reform bill, there is the suffragette movement, there is the story of her brothers and her coming-of-age and development of life purpose and of course the overarching feminist angle. The film juggles all these things rather well and mostly resolves them satisfactorily while also leaving room for a sequel.

This movie does for Brown what Brooklyn did for Ronan - turns her into a full blown leading lady fit to carry films. She's charismatic and you can definitely see a movie star in there. The design and photography are appealing.

I can't say I really cared for the post modern touches - there is constant voiceover, constant flashback, constant talking to the audience, constant diagrams etc. on screen and constant trivia - a la Lars von Trier in his last 2 films. It is harmless enough and lets Brown's personality shine through, but I think the movie might have worked without them as well though I could be mistaken. It does rely heavily on Brown' charm.

And finally, the film's most spectacular aspect might be the original score. I think it is rather memorable and works very well.

A good harmless family entertainment. I think the message is nice and should speak to young girls particularly. Better than the shit disney puts out for young girls.

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Re: The Films of 2020

#80 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:47 pm

zedz wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 11:19 pm
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.
I found this film more interesting than enjoyable, but it accrues energy that builds worlds on its ideas in an elliptical fashion, and I get the feeling that revisits will do it great justice. Essentially this is yet another broad-minded and brilliant Argentinian film, creating labyrinths of cerebral material that cannot contain the emotion within its walls, which inevitably cuts through and disintegrates the attempts at tangibility. Early on, two of the actors discuss how Godard’s film questioned the limitations of intellectualization in activism, and this film’s reflexivity seems born from the idea that the filmmaker can try her best to implement versatile arrangements to convey insight, but these tools of medium cannot adequately evoke the enigmatic emotions swimming around in the conflicting experience of true psychosocialspiritual dysregulation.

Here that example is post-breakup mourning, and the hypothetical phrasing of the title hints at the powerlessness to overcome the inherently nebulous direction in even beginning a formulation beyond obscurity. Or perhaps it’s the final surrender that grows to greater and vaguer signifiers, an exhausted attempt at seasonal metaphor that is eventually externalized into actuality, featuring another extreme attempt to achieve finality, and finally a return to the inability to escape the experience as soon as Carmen tries to sit with her own thoughts.

Resurrecting these artistic works of activism, and contextualizing their restrictiveness against an overwhelming reality-testing/destroying psychological state, helps redefine the constraints of our own activism in regards to our agency, as well as the subjective realities that are so saturating they highlight objectivity as superficial and leave those realities obsolete. The dance scene to the Ameno remix is the best moment in the film, and I wish there were a few more of these scenes, even if its inclusion as an isolated extravagance mirrors Portrait of a Lady on Fire's own musical impact due to its segregation.

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Re: The Films of 2020

#81 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:50 pm

Watched The Trip to Greece on Hulu last night. I guess this is going to be the last one. Each of the sequels to the original 2010 film feel a bit more safe and predictable than the first one did, funny and pleasant to take in with some more serious undertones here and there. Still got my fingers crossed that Criterion will do a big box set of the series as there's a lot more in what I've seen of it as a TV series compared to movies.

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Re: The Films of 2020

#82 Post by ianthemovie » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:52 pm

I wonder if anyone else has seen Dean Kapsalis' The Swerve. Apparently it was made in 2018 but was only recently got a (streaming) release. It showed up on my radar because it has gotten a couple of rave reviews and so has something like a 90 on Metacritic. It sounds to be an intriguing and dark psychological thriller/horror movie. Can anyone speak to whether it's worth checking out?

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Re: The Films of 2020

#83 Post by senseabove » Wed Oct 21, 2020 3:19 pm

Apple has picked up Todd Haynes' Velvet Underground doc.

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