It’s perhaps an understatement that 2020 has not been a great year for anybody.
Thankfully, it’s been a very good year for movies and music (even though performing artists and theatres are struggling to keep their heads above water). Listed below are a number of this past year’s finest films and albums, to keep you occupied until the lockdown ends:
Richard Stanley’s H.P. Lovecraft adaptation The Colour Out Of Space is a wonderfully weird cosmic horror freak-out featuring Nicolas Cage at his most bizarre.
In the opening scenes of Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy, former Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood is once again on a quest.
When we first see him, he’s travelling on foot along a desolate shore, his baggy garments resembling a cloak, on the way to meet his estranged father who’s reached out inexplicably after a decades-long absence. The scene has a certain dreamlike quality, which seems comparatively normal as the film descends wholeheartedly into insanity.
Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) finds our anti-hero finally freed (quite against her will, I might add) from a life-defining toxic relationship; it also sees the character released from the constraints of Suicide Squad.
If you believe the reviews, The Turning is a turn-off.
Audiences and critics seem to be united on that. The ghost story earned an “F” rating on CinemaScore. One writer for the Irish Times claimed that the film was such a “waste of time,” readers shouldn’t even bother to skim his review.
I’m not going to say these people are wrong, just that it would be a mistake to listen to them. While not perfect, The Turning is visually striking, well-acted, consistently scary and surprisingly potent, with a palpable sense of menace building throughout.
Breaking Bad fans were treated to a long-awaited coda this year with El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.
I probably say this every year, but it’s been a good year to be a movie fan.
One Cut of the Dead is a brilliant long con of a movie, with a lot of heart and even more guts.
Craig Brewer’s Dolemite Is My Name is a loving biopic of Rudy Ray Moore, the comic and Blaxploitation star often deemed “the Godfather of Rap.”
The thing about Ford v Ferrari is that Ferrari isn’t really the villain.
James Mangold’s film chronicles the Ford Motor Company’s efforts to bolster their public image by beating Ferrari at the gruelling twenty-four hour Le Mans race. But by the time unpredictable driver Ken Miles faces off against the Italian carmaker, we’re just satisfied that he’s prevailed over his naysayers at Ford.
The posters for Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit describe it as “an anti-hate satire,” which seems like a pre-emptive reassurance to anyone caught off-guard by its jarring opening scene: a nervous ten-year-old boy anxiously preparing for his first day at a Hitler Youth camp.
It’s probably best to go into Robert Eggers’s latest film blind – although after seeing it, I’m happy to report, I still couldn’t tell you what precisely was going on.