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.
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.
Notes: The most bewildering thing was that it took a whopping 30 years until Anthony Hopkins was finally provided with a part which was actually worthy of his tremendous talent. Indeed, the guy was just amazing and gave here one of the most pitch-perfect performances even delivered on the silver screen. Beside Hopkins at the top of his game, it was also a rather fascinating movie about dementia. Indeed, one of the usual stereotypes about people suffering of Alzheimer's disease is that they don’t remember anymore who their loved ones actually are. In this case, they went much deeper than this cliché and displayed that, the more confused Alzheimer’s patients get, the more they lose their grip on time and space. This process is probably also speed up by moving to a retirement home but to keep such a high maintenance patient at home might not be a better option, I’m afraid. Eventually, that’s probably what happened at some point, the main character was brought to a retirement home, maybe weeks before, maybe months before, but instead of making some new mental landmarks, like we all do, his scrambled brain never managed to handle this big change in his life. This whole process was so well displayed and it was just so heart-breaking to see this man who might have been brilliant at some point desperately shouting ‘I’m an intelligent man’, without mentioning the ending scene during which he cries for his mother.
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: The damned thing turned out to be quite sad and depressing, that’s for sure. Eventually, the most nauseating thing, at least for me, was the toxic masculinity constantly surrounding these poor girls. Seriously, it was pretty much everywhere, at school, at work, at home, in the public transports, … Even the seemingly gentle guy in the bus had a rather creepy agenda and helped them out just because he wanted to ‘score’. Of course, you might argue that not all guys are so bad but I’m afraid this description might not to be so far from reality. Concerning the whole abortion thing, well, it’s rather sad that, after years of women fighting to have the rights to make their own choices regarding their own body, it seems that the US are now going backwards on this matter. What they seem to forget is that an abortion will always be a traumatic experience and, by making the whole process more and more awkward and complicated, it only makes the whole experience even more awful for all these poor girls and women, as displayed in this movie. Still, even if the movie was well made and newcomers Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder both gave some really strong performances, was this movie much better than any other movies dealing with teenager abortion released during the last 30 years? Indeed, at the end of the day, it was a little bit dry and the fact that you never get to learn these two girls outside this major tragedy probably didn’t help. Anyway, it was still a really solid drama though.
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.
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.
Notes: Well, this movie seemed to be based on the vigilante genre, a typical US genre which is, 90% of the time, just completely predictable and, as far as I’m concerned, so tedious. However, in this case, they did add a massive dose of Scandinavian black humor and this mix was just so entertaining and simply irresistible. Indeed, the end-result was a fascinating combination of tones and genres such as action, thriller, comedy and drama, sometimes happening all together in one single scene. For me, the best example and the highest point in this movie was the moment when Lennart put his pants down after being chased by Mark on some field in the countryside which was at the same time hilarious but also one of the saddest things I have ever seen. Still, even if this freewheeling approach was very often fascinating, it also had its downside. Indeed, the end-result was so absurd that it did feel really random and randomness is not the same thing as actual depth. Furthermore, even though I really enjoyed this group of misfits, f*ckups and losers who were all so complex, by focusing instead on only 2 or 3 characters, it would have been more focused and probably even more effective. Anyway, I still really enjoyed this absurd black comedy which completely reinvented one of the most boring genres.
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