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- Best of the year that was the worst 1/2 -
Dear Film Enthusiasts,

As 2020 edges closer to it's highly awaited conclusion. I'm looking back at some films that caught my eye this year and stayed in the memory banks. I'll make it a two-parter with another newsletter next week, and ill be publishing them one by one on my Instagram channel so you can always join the conversation over there ;) 
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Tuesday 15th December

The best of the year that was the worst

 
It wasn't the greatest but at least on screen, it's been a good year! In no particular order here are some films from 2020 that I found interesting:

His House

A spooky thriller about a refugee couple and the horrors that plague them following a traumatic escape from war torn Sudan. The couple must prove their worth to unforgiving officials as by assimilating into English society and showing they can take care of a derelict council house. An unrelenting demon puts their lives and their futures at risk by forcing them to confront their conscience.

Where to watch: Netflix.

Possessor

Readers of the last newsletter will be aware of this visceral sci-fi thriller from son of David Cronenberg, Brandon’s second feature. A cold but faltering assassin tries to navigate a depressingly familiar dystopian world of corporate espionage and technophobia. Eerie vibes akin to Johnathon Glazer’s Under the Skin this one is more of a gory thriller but heavily influenced by great sci-fi minds.

Where to watch: In Cinemas now.

Da 5 Bloods

It’s no rare opinion to consider Spike Lee a true master of cinema. Da 5 Bloods is Spike at his best. Despite Netflix allowing a 2 hours 35 runtime, the film is in no way indulgent or demanding. Shot in a unique pseudo-documentary way the film is perfect for Netflix and perfect to binge watch. Due to this unique format it’s hard not to becomes extremely attached to the aging African American comrades as they revisit Vietnam to search for the remains of their friend and hero who died in battle (played by the late great Chadwick Boseman who tragically died this year). The film shows how the Vietnamese astoundingly hold no grudges to the GI’s whatsoever. That the Viet Cong and American Troops were the true victims of the war and the US Armed Forces where architects of disgusting unanswered for crimes to humanity. Such crimes are not limited to their disproportionate conscription of African American to the conflict. As Spike reminds us in the closing credits; ‘23% of combat troops in Vietnam where African American, while only 11% made up the US population.’ Documentary learnings aside this is also a gripping action film with a big heart. One of the best films of the year.

Where to watch: Netflix.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

This one has divided opinion since its release in September. Some consider it a masterpiece, others another pretentious effort from Charlie Kaufmann in his third time directing his own work. Film critic Jack Howard said earlier this year that he believes Kaufmann’s script deserved a better director. I believe Kaufmann is one of the best screenwriters of his generation. I also believe that his best work has been directed by others, namely Spike Jonze (See Adaptation and Being John Malkovich). My favourite aspect of ITOET: The car scene in which Jessie Buckley & Jessie Piemons frenetically dissect the mythology within John Cassavettes’ A Woman Under the Influence. My least favourite aspect: The fact that unless you’re familiar with the material, there’s at least 7 minutes that won’t make any sense. At 2 hours 15, this is an example of Netflix facilitating flawed, pretentious, ambitious and highly indulgent art cinema. It’s terribly, terribly demanding and far from my favourite film of the year but it just might be a masterpiece still. I think it’s worth the watch, but It depends how you like your movies. If you want them to make you feel insignificant or dumb, it might not be for you.

Where to watch: Netflix.

Make sure to check back next week for 5 more inclusions!

 
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