Added by johanlefourbe on 6 Feb 2020 01:12
Top 10 best movies 2020
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Notes: I have to admit that I was rather sceptical at first. Indeed, I have to admit that I had never heard of this musical of even of Alexander Hamilton himself before watching this flick. To make things worse, in general, I’m not a huge fan of musicals and the idea of watching 150 mins of non-stop singing with no straight dialogue whatsoever on a single stage didn’t sound really appealing to me. However, to my surprise, I really loved the damned thing. Indeed, right from the very first song, I was impressed by the lyrics and the singing skills of this crew and I was pretty much hooked. It did help that Lin-Manuel Miranda had some major hip-hop influence for his lyrics and it was rather surprising how well it worked within such an historical context. But the damned thing was not only seriously entertaining, it was educational and, within a little more than 2 hours, you get also some fascinating crash-course about a crucial period of the history of the United States. Eventually, this movie was also a great reminder that the USA as a country, in spite of its flaws and various mistakes, remains intriguing and, to go back to its foundations and focus on its most overlooked founding father was just so fascinating.
Another Round (2020)
Notes: To be honest, it took me a while to get the damned thing. Indeed, not only I was expecting a very light comedy but I’m not a huge fan of alcohol in general. However, if it might seem to be only about a group of four rather pathetic guys who decides to get drunk because they are all stuck in some kind of middle-crisis, it went actually way beyond that. Indeed, many might make the mistake of thinking that this movie was about drinking but, in fact, it was a movie about living. Basically, life can be incredibly dull and monotonous and, if you’re unlucky, it can be terribly tough and full of hardships. Eventually, the only way to live a full life is through experiences and experiments. Basically, from time to time, we should all try to get outside this tiny little box that society has given us, to go against the rules, to push our boundaries, or simply do something rather foolish because otherwise what’s the point? Of course, as displayed in this movie, it can be hazardous or even dangerous (eventually, one of them died and two nearly broke down their family in the process) but, at least, they tried something instead of going through the motions until the very end. When the movie started, the main character didn’t drink because it was the reasonable thing to do, he didn’t want to dance and was incredibly sad. At the end, at least, he was having fun with his students (something unthinkable a while back) and he was dancing again, even if he still looked sad. Eventually, even though it might seem to be a rather silly movie promoting excessive drinking, it turned out to be a really life affirming picture, something we desperately need in this time of worldwide crisis.
The Social Dilemma (2020)
Notes: Even if I probably didn’t learn anything really new, it was still an intriguing documentary with a whole bunch of people much smarter than me. I have to admit that, at first, the content was fairly depressing and it slowly became even darker and, towards the end, it was pretty much the most nightmarish doomsday scenario that you could imagine. At least, I’m glad I’m part of the last generation which was born before the internet and the smartphones and, as a result, I don’t actually use any social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram so I didn’t really have to feel guilty while watching the damned thing. Still, as a parent, I became slightly worried for my youngest daughter though. Indeed, she is now 14 years old and pretty much spends all her free time on her smartphone so, to hear how hurtful it could be for her on so many levels was slightly distressing. Anyway, is the situation so bad after all? I mean, when I was growing up in the 80’s and the 90’s, people were complaining that we were watching too much television, then they were complaining that our video-games were just too violent,... On the other hand, in this case, the scale is actually here much bigger and the usage is also so much intense, it just never stops. Furthermore, there is also an actual conscious choice to actually manipulate the users which was never really the case with TV and video-games. Eventually, how will it all end? Difficult to say and, if you would believe some people, nobody even knows what is really actually going on anymore.
Notes: Well, the guys from Pixar have done it again. Indeed, they have produced yet another masterpiece. Of course, the animation was gorgeous, I wouldn’t expect less from them, and the jazz music was really sweet as well, but, above all, the depth of the story and the themes developed was just really impressive. You might argue that it might be too similar to ‘Inside Out’, Pete Docter’s previous directing effort, but I didn’t bother me. Basically, this movie was some kind of a mix of ‘Inside Out’ with ‘Coco’ and ‘Up’ with some body-switching as well. Regarding the body-switching thing, you can imagine that they could have made the whole movie about this (how many movies have been made around this concept?) and it would have been still fairly successful anyway. However, and that’s where the movie really stands out from the competition, they went just way beyond that. Basically, they tackled the biggest question ever which is ‘What is the meaning of life?’, even if both characters were not even aware of this quest and this journey was just quite spellbinding. I also really appreciate the fact that, even though the main character seemed to be a decent guy, he was also flawed which made him so much more human and identifiable. Basically, the damned thing was just fascinating to behold.
Notes: First of all, What a year for Chloé Zhao! She was supposed to release her first huge blockbuster with 'Eternals'. However, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, it was postponed until late 2021 but, in the meantime, she managed to make and release this much smaller indie feature which turned out to be one of the most talked about movies during the awards season. On top of that, I have always been fascinated by such alternative lifestyles so I definitely had some rather high expectations. Well, even though I thought it was indeed a beautiful movie with another pitch-perfect performance from Frances McDormand who’s apparently challenging Meryl Streep for the title of best actress alive, to be honest, it didn’t really blow me away though. Of course, you could argue that nothing much really happened through the whole thing but it didn’t really bother me. It might have to do with the fact that, even though McDormand was brilliant through the whole thing, even though her character went through some life changing events, she didn’t seem to really evolve after all. Eventually, the biggest issue was maybe the fact that every single person on the road was just so freaking nice. I mean, I have to admit that this lack of conflict was refreshing but, to be honest, it seems rather unlikely that none of them had a bad bone whatsoever. Eventually, even if it was unintentional, it did turn the whole thing into some kind of commercial for the nomadic lifestyle. Still, even though I wasn’t completely sold, it was quite fascinating to see these people taking some distance from our rather decadent capitalistic way of life and seeming pretty happy in the process.
Notes: Well, unfortunately, even though I really admired the work done, to be honest, I can’t say I was really blown by the end-result though. I mean, as usual with David Fincher, it was visually really impressive and I loved the way he tried to reproduce the vibe of a movie from the same time period. Furthermore, Herman Mankiewicz was an interesting character and Gary Oldman gave another really strong performance. However, the first issue was already the fact that, beside Mankiewicz, none of the other characters were developed whatsoever. However, the biggest problem was that, even though this movie was obviously a passion project for Fincher (it was even written by his father years ago), it was interesting at best but never really fascinating, I’m afraid. In a sense, you could compare it to ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ which was basically Tarantino’s love songs to the end-60’s Hollywood, in this case, Fincher brought us back to the 1930's Hollywood with his meticulous attention to the details but, just like with Tarantino’s acclaimed opus, I just didn’t care much like they both did. Furthermore, concerning the conception of ‘Citizen Kane’, it didn’t go really deep after all. I mean, basically, Mankiewicz locked himself up in some lodge in the middle of nowhere and delivered one of the best screenplays ever written, that’s it. Anyway, even if I didn’t care much the material, it was still another fine directing effort by David Fincher.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)
Notes: To be honest, I have to admit that I was at first not really interested as I expected it to be another predictable vintage flick about Blues. And, indeed, during the first scene, you get to see Ma Rainey and Levee performing on stage, the tension between them was just so obvious and the whole thing seemed to be about a talented jazz musician and his jealous band leader. Fortunately, it went just way deeper than that and, at the center, you had Chadwick Boseman who not only delivered his very last performance but, actually, the very best performance of his tragically short career. To think that the guy was in the middle of his battle against cancer will working on his movie was not only quite mind-bkowing but also did add another tragic layer to this tormented character. Indeed, at first, Levee might seem to be another cocky trumpet player but he turned out to be so much more complex. Basically, even though the guy had some skills and seemed to be confident, he had been also heavily traumatised by life in general and, if you expect this movie to end up with a glorious happy-ending with Levee becoming the next Jazz sensation, you will be quite disappointed. In fact, while all the black characters were constantly cracking jokes, you could feel that under the surface, they were actually all some damaged goods and they were actually almost constantly functioning in survival mode. Concerning Viola Davis, she gave here also another strong performance but even though this woman was just as complex as Levee was, I think she didn’t get enough running time to fully develop her character. Anyway, the damned thing turned out to be much more interesting than I expected and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you want to see Chadwick Boseman shining one last time.
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Notes: Since his impressive come-back with ‘BlacKkKlansman’, I was quite eager to check Spike Lee’s following directing effort. Well, eventually, it turned out to be a more complex movie than his previous one which was nice but, as a result, I did struggle a bit to get a good grip on the whole thing. I mean, there was so much stuff going on, most of it was pretty good, but I wonder if it wasn’t maybe too much. On the other hand, if it would have been only about some vets going back to Vietnam to find some lost gold, something entertaining but fairly generic, it wouldn’t have been enough. There were also some rather bewildering artistic choices. For example, why did they keep the same actors to play themselves in the Vietnam war scenes instead of hiring some younger actors? Maybe it was to argue that they actually never left Vietnam which was probably the case for Paul? On the other hand, I’m glad he didn’t try to CGI them like they did for ‘The Irishman’. Indeed, even if Scorsese's movie was a critical success, the end-result never looked really convincing and Lee probably saved several millions of dollars this way. Still, the material was quite strong and certainly really topical regarding what’s going on in the world following the death of George Floyd. Finally, even if there were maybe too many characters involved, Paul did stand out and, in my opinion, Delroy Lindo probably gave here the best performance of his career.
The Speed Cubers (2020)
Notes: First of all, I have to admit that I have always been fascinated by the Rubik’s Cube, even if I kind of suck at the damned thing (I can manage to do one color without too much trouble but I never managed to go further than this, I’m afraid). Anyway, the biggest appeal of this documentary was above all to get acquainted with two legends of this sport and their inspiring relationship. Indeed, with this kind of tales, there is always some jealousy, backstabbing or even some cheating involved but none of that was present here. I think it was also more interesting that, eventually, at that specific moment, none of them became the world champion after all. Anyway, Feliks Zemdegs (by the way, this guy has the probably the coolest name ever) seemed to be such a genuine nice gentle guy. I mean, to see him crying not because he might loose but because his biggest opponent might suffer was just quite heartbreaking but also quite beautiful to behold. To be honest, I wish they did develop more his relationship with Max Park though. I mean, all their interactions were always so short, so fleeting, it might as well being staged for this documentary. In the same way, everything we learned about Max Park was always told indirectly. Indeed, it was always someone else than Max himself that would tell us what he would actually think of feel. Of course, I do understand that the guy is terribly autistic but I wish they found a way to have his direct testimony. Anyway, even if it was maybe not really groundbreaking, I actually really liked the damned thing though.
Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020)
Notes: To be honest, even though I did like it, I have to admit that I was actually expecting more from the damned thing. I mean, Dick Johnson seemed to be a great guy and I’m glad for Kirsten Johnson that she seemed to have such a great relationship with both her parents but I’m afraid I was never really grabbed by her movie. I was also not sure about the final act. It’s not that I thought it was shocking, it’s more that it all felt rather misleading to me. I mean, Kirsten Johnson might argue that she made this movie to help her father to prepare for the end of his life but I think it was pretty obvious that he did it more as a favour to her then actually for himself. In my opinion, in fact, this project was made partially out of a sense of guilt from Kirsten Johnson who mentioned that she didn’t have any footage of her mother when she was still Alzheimer free. As a compensation, she then decided to make a full-length feature focusing on her father before he became seriously demented. Still, there is no denying that the damned thing was really original, in fact, it was a unique picture, and only therefore, it gets some extra points from me.
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