We have all seen the film where a man, starting with nothing, fights and claws his way to the top using nothing but his wits, guts and sheer determination. "The White Tiger" takes this recognizable story and turns it on his head, creating a film that subverts audience expectation and creates an unforgettable movie-going experience.
Serious warning: The first 30-minutes of "Pieces of a Woman" is incredibly hard to watch, especially for anyone who has ever suffered any sort of loss. You've been warned.
That being said, watching actress Vanessa Kirby pick up the pieces of her life after an unthinkable tragedy destroys it, is an absolutely riveting experience that makes "Pieces of A Woman" a vital watch for anyone looking to fill out their Oscar scorecards.
MILD PLOT SPOILERS TO FOLLOW:
There isn't much that Regina King can't do. In the last year alone, the 49-year-old actress won an Emmy (HBO's "The Watchmen") and an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress for "If Beale Street Could Talk"). Now, she takes a turn in the director's chair, heading up the film adaptation of the stage play of the same name, "One Night in Miami," proving that there are no limits to her unquestionable talents.
Say hello to Carey Mulligan, your 2020 Best Actress, for her unpredictable, deliciously wild role in the ambitious crime-drama, "Promising Young Woman."
Filmmaker Steve McQueen ("Widows," "12 Years a Slave") has put together a fascinating collection of five, separate, distinct films for Amazon Prime Video.
These five films - known as "Small Axe" - are technically being billed as a mini-series, despite none of the "episodes" featuring any of the same characters. To settle the matter, here is an excerpt from IndieWire as to whether "Small Axe" is technically a series of movies or a TV mini-series:
"When it comes to “Small Axe,” one thing is clear. Amazon Studios is submitting the series for Emmys, not Oscars. And until the Film Academy introduces an anthology series category, that‘s where “Small Axe” belongs."
They compare "Small Axe" to other anthology series like "Black Mirror" or "The Twilight Zone," shows with thematic commonalities but that do stand-alone. And it is true that "purpose" matters when it comes to the upcoming, delayed Oscars...in order for a film to be eligible, it doesn't necessarily have to have played in theaters, but it does have to have intended to play in theaters. That right there should end the debate on where "Small Axe" qualifies.
Whether they are technically movies in the traditional sense, or whether they are TV episodes, there is no debating that these are some of the most powerful stories you will witness in 2020. They are timely, often poetic and strongly linked thematically, and all take place in roughly the same place in England, featuring West Indian immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s and their struggles against police brutality, racism and injustice.
Read on for a quick overview of each "episode" in the "Small Axe" series:
Through no fault of its own, "Greenland" is not exactly the movie that the world needs right now. Delayed from its original theatrical release and now landing on VOD, a disaster movie about an apocalyptic event wiping out humanity isn't exactly the kind of film that offers an "escape" during a global pandemic. At a different time, it might be a passable popcorn blockbuster, but in 2020, its just a major bummer.
There is a timeless quality to "Martin Eden," a film shot and produced in modern times but with a look and feel as if it might have been made several decades ago. The young actor at its center, Luca Marinelli, gives an amazing, lived-in performance that deserves all the praise it's been getting...its no wonder that Marinelli won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival, and that his name might be one that Americans will need to learn come Oscar season.
South Korea produced last year's Oscar-winner for Best Picture, "Parasite," against all odds. That film was the South Korea's first in history to garner any accolades from the Academy, so naturally in its wake, people have been awaiting the next gem to come out of the country. That gem has arrived with "Beasts Clawing at Straws," a black-comedy crime thriller that will be available on VOD Tuesday, December 15th, 2020, and is most-worthy of seeking out.
Paul Greengrass does not make dull movies. Call any film in his filmography what you want - from his three "Bourne" films to "22 July" to "Green Zone" to "United 93" to you name it - but they are full of action and drive. "News of the World" definitely fits into the Greengrass film canon, with a stellar performance by Tom Hanks leading the way. But while Greengrass's latest effort is far from dull, it's also a bit too hollow to rank among his best work.
Earning the acclaim of being the very first movies shot in LA during the pandemic, "Songbird" already feels like a fossil of a film. This muddled, mess of a horror-thriller seems to be cashing in on COVID-19, as surely its big draw is its apparent "relevance" to the moment.
There may not be a more irrelevant film this year.
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