Top 10 Best Movies of 2020

The coronavirus pandemic delayed many things, including the release of several movies. Subsequently, my Top 10 list was also pushed way back to March.

This list does include a couple movies that were released in the last few weeks. However, like award organizations, I’m making an exception because of the pandemic. Plus, it’s not my fault that it took forever for “The Father” to come out.

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REVIEW: ‘The Father’ is a well-made, distressing drama

The ailments that come with aging and the impacts that they can have on a person’s loved ones is shown in harrowing, heartbreaking detail in this film.

“The Father” is a drama revolving around the character Anthony (Anthony Hopkins). At the start of the film, Anthony is visited by his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman), who is concerned about how her father should be cared for.

It’s shown early on that Anthony appears to be going through dementia, and as the movie progresses, his condition worsens. As a result, Anne begins considering other options for Anthony’s care. Unfortunately, Anne’s discussion of care options brings more confusion to Anthony.

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REVIEW: ‘I Care a Lot’ crumbles due to poor writing

Sometimes there are pieces of media that just try way too hard to be edgy. “I Care a Lot” definitely joins that club.

Rosamund Pike stars as Marla Grayson in “I Care a Lot,” a woman who’s made a career as a legal guardian for the elderly. As part of her job, Grayson will get a notice from a doctor she works with stating that an elderly person can no longer live on her own, which she brings to a court.

In turn, the court will then grant legal guardianship to Grayson, allowing her to determine the care for the elderly person, which results in her putting them in an assisted living facility. It also means she has access to the elderly individual’s finances. The latest individual she decides to get legal guardianship over, Jennifer Peterson (Diane Wiest), though, just happens to have a significant connection to Russian mob boss Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage).

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REVIEW: ‘Nomadland’ is a superb film about the human condition

Director Chloe Zhao is on a roll, following up her phenomenal picture “The Rider” with one of 2020’s best films.

“Nomadland” tells the story of Fern , a woman who’s retrofitted a commercial-sized van to live out of. Fern, played by Frances McDormand, made her decision after two-life changing events occurred. One of them was the death of her husband, and the other was the closing of the main company in a small Nevada town which economically devastated the city. With nothing left, Fern decided to go out on the road.

The movie picks up with Fern working at an Amazon facility, earning paychecks during the busy holiday season. When the season comes to an end, the film follows her journey across the the Great Plains and western-mountain states. During her time living on the road, Fern meets several people who share their perspectives on life and what their plans are for the future.

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REVIEW: Character issues make ‘Over the Moon’ a misfire

The year 2020 hasn’t been my favorite for animation and unfortunately, “Over the Moon” hasn’t helped that case.

The picture, released on Netflix, tells the story of Fei Fei (Cathy Ang), a young girl who became fascinated by the Moon because of stories told by her late mother. At the film’s outset, following the death of her mother, Fei Fei is working with her father at their small pastry company.

Life seems to be carrying on for the family, but the pain of loss still lingers for Fei Fei. That pain is reinforced when her father begins spending time with a woman, Ms. Zhong (Sandra Oh), as the Moon Festival approaches. Eventually, she learns that her father plans to marry Ms Zhong, and as a result, she will likely be getting an annoying step brother in the deal.

Hoping to fix the situation, she builds a craft capable of reaching the moon to speak with an ancient being who resides there. The plan goes a little haywire, though, when it turns out her step-brother-to-be, Chin (Robert Chiu), tagged along for the ride.

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REVIEW: ‘Minari’ is a beautiful, emotional immigrant story

Definitions of the American Dream can sometimes vary, but when you see it, you know it. An audience can see it clearly in this picture.

“Minari” tells the story of David (Alan Kim), a young boy whose Korean family is moving to Arkansas. His father Jacob (Steven Yeun) and mother Monica (Han Ye-ri) both get positions at a local chicken hatchery for employment, and settle in at a rural home. Along with his parents, David’s family also includes his sister Anne (Noel Kate Cho) and grandmother Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung).

As the film goes on, it’s shown that Jacob intended to use his job at the hatchery to get some footing, and that his main plan is to create a farm on his property, where he will grow Korean vegetables. As he plants more crops, Jacob hires a neighbor, Paul (Will Patton), to help with the process. The film follows the family trying to establish their life in Arkansas and the struggles that come with it.

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REVIEW: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ is a powerful, magnetic drama

The use of confidential informants, as this film shows in great detail, can be a problematic law enforcement measure.

In this case, the movie is about informant Bill O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), a young man who is arrested for pretending to be an FBI agent to steal a car. Rather than be charged right away, though, O’Neal is given an opportunity by bureau agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons). Not long before Mitchell gave O’Neal the opportunity, J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) announced that Black Panther Illinois Leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) needed to be monitored.

That’s the job offered by Mitchell, and to avoid prison time, O’Neal reluctantly accepts. O’Neal makes his way into the Black Panthers organization and over time, establishes himself as a full-fledged member. As a result, O’Neal begins getting closer to Hampton and is able to report his findings to the FBI. However, with tensions seeming to rise all around him, O’Neal finds himself being pulled in two directions.

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REVIEW: Not much good to report in ‘News of the World’

Before there was Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Walter Cronkite, there was Tom Hanks’s character Jefferson Kidd. At least according to “News of the World.”

In the film, directed by Paul Greengrass, Hanks plays Jefferson Kidd, a former Civil War captain who now earns a living by going from town-to-town in Texas to read the top headlines and stories from the nation’s largest newspapers. Set in 1870, reconstruction is still a work in progress, with some parts of Texas remaining dangerous while others are lined with United States soldiers.

The movie picks up with Kidd on his way to a different town for another news delivery. Along the way, he finds a young girl, Johanna (Helena Zengel), who’s near a broken down wagon. From paperwork in the wagon, Kidd learns that Johanna was taken in by a Native American tribe after the deaths of her parents, and that she was supposed to be taken to surviving family members in another part of the state. Kidd is then instructed by officials to take her to reunite with her family members, which is a tough, 400 mile journey.

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REVIEW: ‘Promising Young Woman’ is pinnacle revenge filmmaking

Some take vengeance in a swift manner, while others take the long approach with a more calculated plan.

“Promising Young Woman” is about the latter, and it makes for one of 2020’s best films.

Cassandra is the main character of the movie, and is portrayed by Carey Mulligan. A medical school dropout, Cassandra lives at home with her parents and works at a quaint coffee shop. By night, though, she plays a different role. Her evenings are spent in clubs, where she pretends to be drunk until a sleazy guy decides to take her to their home. Once there, she reveals that she’s actually sober and revels in their guilt.

By the start of the film, Cassandra seems to have been doing this for a while. Her drive is the memory of her friend, who was raped in college and also dropped out before passing away. As the first act gets underway, Cassandra discovers ways she can get back directly at those who wronged her friend, as well as those who didn’t listen to her story after. At the same time, she also reconnects with another old friend from med school.

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REVIEW: ‘One Night in Miami’ is a magnificent movie

A night where Ali was fighting was probably already exciting. But what takes place in this movie between the legendary boxer and three others was extraordinary.

“One Night in Miami” is set in 1964 and mostly takes place after Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) wins the heavyweight title. Following the fight, Clay meets up with activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and NFL running back Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). On top of celebrating Clay’s win, the night also marks a turning point, where the champ is going to announce that he’s joining the Nation of Islam.

Clay’s decision then sparks debate and conversations between the four men about politics, the Civil Rights Movement and the extent to which artists and athletes should get involved. The movie features the four both finding common ground and having complete disagreements.

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