2020’s

[9] Before seeing The Northman, I already considered director Robert Eggers the most exciting director working today. His debut film, The Witch, is my favorite film of the 21st century thus far, and The Lighthouse is a fascinating follow-up. With The Northman, Eggers is three for three. Based on the same Scandinavian legend that inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Northman offers the director a broader canvas …

[6] I like all the Scream movies, and I’m happy to say that trend continues with this fifth entry in the franchise. Not that the fuel tank isn’t getting low. While the original movie marries an inspired script with tight direction and terrific casting, the sequels have largely skated by on the merits of charismatic stars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette. They were …

[8] Just as she did with The Piano nearly thirty years ago, director Jane Campion exposes the tragic consequences of rigid gender conformity in The Power of the Dog. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as a deeply closeted gay cattle rancher in 1925 Montana. When his brother (Jesse Plemons) brings his new bride (Kirsten Dunst) and her effeminate son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to live with them, Cumberbatch cruelly …

[5] Spoilers ahead. A group of immortal beings called Eternals were sent to Earth centuries ago to fight a bunch of monsters called Deviants so the human race could survive and thrive. After all the monsters were vanquished, the Eternals lived among the humans for eons and kinda fell in love with them. So it really sucks when they learn they’ve been lied to by …

[7] Director David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac) makes a socio-political hero out of Herman J. Mankiewicz in this biopic that chronicles the boozy screenwriter’s tribulations writing Citizen Kane. Gary Oldman plays ‘Mank,’ who we first meet laid up in bed with a broken leg, tasked with writing Kane during sixty days of physical and alcoholic recovery. Flashbacks uncover the inspiration behind the script, based on …

[5] If you threw every horror movie since 1960 into a blender, there’s a chance it would come out looking like this offering from writer/director Ti West (Sacrament, House of the Devil). A group of young people rent a cabin from a really old couple in rural Texas. They don’t tell the owners that their plan is to shoot a porno movie on the estate, …

[8] Hollywood often waters down characters and storylines to make them universally appealing. Filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson with Licorice Pizza, or David O. Russell with Joy and The Fighter, are challenging that notion with stories of tremendous specificity — specificity of character, location, obstacle, and endeavor — that find universal appeal without dilution. In pursuit of that specificity, Anderson casts two unknown actors as …

[7] Tom Holland, my personal favorite Spider-Man, returns in his third official film — although his character has also appeared in many other Marvel movies that don’t have his name in the title. This time, the young webslinger is dealing with the fallout from the last film, chiefly that his secret identity has been revealed to the world and everyone thinks he’s a bad guy. …

[7] In this satiric dark comedy from director Adam McKay (Vice, The Big Short), Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence star as astronomers trying to warn the planet of an extinction-level comet headed straight for Earth. Meryl Streep plays a Trump-like narcissistic president who at first doesn’t want news of the comet to tank her presidency, but then ends up using the crisis to try and …

[6] McKenna Grace stars as twelve-year-old Phoebe, the granddaughter of a recently-deceased hermit she discovers has a connection to the original film‘s Ghostbusters, who have long since disbanded. When her mother inherits the grandfather’s decrepit farmhouse, Phoebe learns he wasn’t the mad man people thought he was. He was actually doing everything in his power to stop an ancient evil from taking over the world. …

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