Category Archives: Lists

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The 20 Best Movies of 2020

We find ourselves at the end of 2020, and…well, let’s not dwell on it.

I may not have set foot in a movie theater since March, but that didn’t stop quality cinema from finding its way in front of my eyeballs. I can (and will) list at least 20 films from 2020 worth watching. As with any year, there are films I’ve missed based on lack of availability and/or time, so I cannot call this list exhaustive. Still, this should give a good idea of my favorite films of the year. And this includes some honorable mentions: The Wolf House, The Nest, Da 5 Bloods, Wolfwalkers, Ema, Palm Springs, Swallow, Blow the Man Down, Promising Young Woman.

20. Bad Education

Cory Finley’s Bad Education didn’t leave as strong of an impression on me as his debut Thoroughbreds, but it nevertheless stands out as Continue reading The 20 Best Movies of 2020

The 15 Worst Movies of 2020

2020 is a difficult year to write superlatives about. Especially coming on the heels of a few bountiful years of media consumption, doing a list series for the cinema of 2020 is something I considered skipping entirely. Previous best of the year lists have witnessed a wealth of films which I greatly enjoyed (20 in 2019, 25 in 2018, and 50 in 2017). I may be able to string together a list of 20 this year, but it just feels as though I am missing some great films, some of which that aren’t even on my radar. There are always blind spots on these lists, but my access to films this year is far more limited than in previous years. But I will give it a shot, based on the 150 or so movies I’ve seen.

On the flip side, I’ve seen plenty of below average films this year. Those are inescapable. In the days of Armageddon, the media industries will continue churning out subpar claptrap filmed close enough to in focus to be considered a movie. I generally like to Continue reading The 15 Worst Movies of 2020

Fantasia Festival 2020 — Lineup Rundown

The 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival announced its third wave of titles today. The festival, which focuses on genre filmmaking and is normally held in Montreal, will take place entirely online between August 20 and September 2. Although it will be accessible only to Canadian audiences, the festival often runs quality genre films that may be good to keep on your radar for their future VOD releases.

Now that the full festival lineup has been announced, let’s take a look at a handful of titles.

 

The Reckoning (d. Neil Marshall)

The fest’s opening film comes from Neil Marshall, director of the excellent The Descent and, more recently, Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2020 — Lineup Rundown

20 Great Underseen Movies on Streaming — Hulu — May 2020

With everyone staying inside during these troubling, precarious times, finding quality entertainment with which to bide the time has become a common task. As such, there has been a deluge of publications turning out “what to watch while at home” lists. So…here’s another one.

Here are 20 of our favorite, potentially underseen movies currently available on Hulu.

 

The Art of Self-Defense (2019)

One of the cleverest dark comedies of last year, Riley Stearns’ The Art of Self-Defense blends a Continue reading 20 Great Underseen Movies on Streaming — Hulu — May 2020

COVID-19 Has Studios Sending Movies to Streaming Early. We Rank Them.

Theaters are closed. Hollywood production has ground to a standstill. Many (across many industries) are unfortunately out of work. And it is a good idea to just stay inside. With this turbulent current state of affairs, Hollywood studios are trying to recoup losses on their theatrical released films by placing them on digital VOD early.

In one respect, this is a generous offering, as it represents an essentially unprecedented choice by studios to ignore traditional windowing practices in order to give consumers access to new products. On the other hand, these releases come with lofty price tags. Given that streaming services offer plenty of feature film fare at much lower prices, it is hard to recommend anyone pay full price for the current slate of “early access” films. Some of these services are even free with ad support—Tubi, Vudu, and Crackle are perhaps the most readily available—and, with some digging, one can find a few gems.

However, for those looking for something new to watch, we have ranked the current (as of March 27) early access offerings.

 

The Unknown

The Call of the Wild ($15 purchase)

I have not seen The Call of the Wild, but I wouldn’t Continue reading COVID-19 Has Studios Sending Movies to Streaming Early. We Rank Them.

A Decade of Film in Review (Best Movies of the 2010s?)

Earlier this year, I toyed with the idea of writing the semi-obligatory “Best of the Decade” list. What films were the best in this arbitrary chunk of time we call the 2010s? The USA Today did it. The A.V. Club did it. The New Yorker did it. Wired did it. IndieWire did it early. CineFiles should at least attempt to do it, too.

I made a list on Letterboxd. It started at around 400 films. I winnowed it down to roughly 200. I could copy those films into a traditional list. Write a pithy blurb here and there. Attach some pictures. But I hesitated. And hesitated. Tweaked a ranking here or there. Again, hesitation. Ultimately, it just didn’t happen.

moonlight-2017-oscar-predictions-mahershala-ali-best-supporting-actor

The question that kept catching me, preventing me from doing any real work toward a Best of the Decade list, was: “Why bother?” This list represents Continue reading A Decade of Film in Review (Best Movies of the 2010s?)

The 20 Best Movies of 2019

It is that time of year again. Time to create an exceedingly subjective, by-no-means exhaustive list of the “best” movies of 2019. 2019 was a good year in film. There were plenty of strong contenders for this list (find my full ranking of 2019 films at Letterboxd). I could have stretched this list out to 30 or 40 films, but I decided to keep it short and sweet. I just crammed in as many honorable mentions as felt appropriate, instead.

You can find my candidates for worst movie of the year here.

Honorable Mentions: American Factory, Apollo 11, Arctic, Ash is Purest White, Birds of Passage, Hail Satan?, A Hidden Life, Horror Noire, Midsommar, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, One Cut of the Dead, Rolling Thunder Revue, The Souvenir, The Vast of Night, Wild Rose

 

Continue reading The 20 Best Movies of 2019

Top 10 Worst Films of 2019

Update – December 21, 2019, 8:00 pm: Cats was added to Dishonorable Mentions

2019 was a very good year for movies. In my opinion, there are (at least) three masterpieces coming out of this calendar year. But every film cannot be a masterpiece. Some films fail, are made poorly, or are downright offensive. 2019 had plenty of those, as well.

You can like what you like. I won’t stop you. If you like any of the films on this list, that’s fine with me (if you like the number one film, though, maybe we shouldn’t hang out). These are simply my personal least favorite films of 2019.

Dishonorable Mentions: The Angry Birds Movie 2, Cats, Fractured, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Guns Akimbo, Hellboy, The Lion King, Miss Bala, Pet Sematary, Replicas, The Upside, What Men Want

10. The Curse of La Llorona

There is a long history of La Llorona, or “The Crying Woman,” in film. But the figure of urban legend was not well known by American audiences before Continue reading Top 10 Worst Films of 2019

2019 CineFiles Awards — Best Films of the Year

I do a lot of awards season coverage on this site (admittedly, much less of it this season). For the amount of attention the Academy Awards is given on CineFiles, I don’t always agree with the choices the Academy makes. As such, in this end-of-year sprint to catch up on as many movies as possible, I decided to put together a ballot of my own personal favorites of the year.

The ballot covers all Oscar categories except the three short film categories, as I have seen only a small number of short films this year. Other films I find noteworthy—including my favorite short film of the year—are given Continue reading 2019 CineFiles Awards — Best Films of the Year

All Black Mirror Episodes Ranked (UPDATED for Season Five)

Note: this article is updated from an article originally published on Jan. 2, 2018.

Black Mirror is one of the highest rated, most buzzed about shows on Netflix. If you haven’t heard about it by now, you likely don’t have an internet connection…which is to say, you’re not reading this right now…nevermind.

With season five having dropped today, it seems as good a time as any to rank the 23 episodes of the show, from worst to best.

For an episode-by-episode review of season four, click here. For season five, click here.

 

23. Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too

Taking the often recycled Black Mirror concept of Continue reading All Black Mirror Episodes Ranked (UPDATED for Season Five)