The attention to ‘80s period detail is impressive, so Shoplifters of the World might work as a nostalgia piece for some, but probably only kindred spirits who share Kijak’s gushing admiration for The Smiths and an equally lowly opinion of anyone who only know “How Soon is Now.” Frequently interspersed with video and interview footage of the band, the film mostly preaches to the converted. Everyone else might find it kind of pretentious.
Despite an harrowing final act, Minari concludes with a quietly optimistic denouement, more hopeful than heartbreaking. Very deliberately paced, it ain’t the kind of film one would frequently revisit, but most could probably relate to its story and themes…Korean or not.
The narrative begins to unravel near the end, mainly because it’s so loosely-knit to begin with. But until then, Lapsis is chock-full of satiric commentary, mostly about conformity and greed. Quantum could just as easily be Amazon, Nestle, Apple or the phone service I have the privilege of paying 200 bucks a months for…companies whose monopolizing business practices not-only go unquestioned by John Q. Public, we’re ultimately unable to avoid them. For a grassroots piece of budget-conscious sci-fi, Lapsis ends up being surprisingly perceptive.
Judas and the Black Messiah is also massively entertaining. Not only does it shine a light on an important African-American revolutionary – and reminds us that not much has changed since then – the film features vivid, engaging characters, authentic dialogue & production design and a killer soundtrack (both the score and H.E.R.’s Oscar winning song, “Fight for You”). Easily one of 2020’s best.
Extraordinarily poignant without ever lapsing into heavy-handed sentimentality (though the temptation had to be strong), Nomadland has the viewer poised for an emotional crescendo that never actually comes. Instead, the story defies expectations by coming full circle without any kind of obvious resolution. But that’s only on the surface. Upon reflection, we realize we have been experiencing Fern’s character transformation and life-changing epiphanies the entire time.
While not quite the horror film one might have been hoping for, The Reckoning tells an interesting story, features a couple of despicable antagonists and comes to a satisfying conclusion. It may not have werewolves, cave-dwelling mutants or cannibal road warriors, but it’s certainly Neil Marshall’s best work since those days.