It’s like almost every other week that there is a new controversy out there on Instagram or Twitter, where some account seemingly exposes people doing shady stuff, and a million people jump onto their share train, depending on whether it suits their agenda. Now, I would like to clarify right away, and I don’t justify any of the misbehavior that these accounts are trying to bring to people’s notice and neither am I trying to shame people who share posts related to their agenda. I get it, it’s only natural. But I can’t help but notice, how faulty these accusations are sometimes when there is no way to prove them, and why is it only coming from accounts of social media influencers who need followers and new trends. Again, I’m not accusing anybody, I’m just asking – what basis do you have to give out your opinions on these issues?
Most recently, two days back a post went viral across all social media platforms where a girl shared a screenshot of an Instagram group Boys Locker Room where the boys posted very objectionable content and threatened to rape a girl. Now obviously, this became a huge thing and lots of people shared it with their followers and the social media influencers got content for another week. While this definitely is a big issue and the boys in that group should definitely be taught a lesson, is this really the way to go about it? Whenever ‘leaks’ like this happen, there is an obligatory comment at the end of the post that the person is not sharing this for publicity, but she feels like people should know about this. But is it though? I mean if you tell the police or contact the journalist, your story will naturally be heard eventually. That’s why whenever there is a new controversy on the internet I just ignore it, because chances are that it just ain’t true.
So, am I saying that you should ignore everything that happens to let the people who do such horrendous stuff go away easily? No, absolutely not. I’m just asking you to wait for an official police statement and the court’s decision before you share your opinion. Shame people all you want but only when you’ve seen the whole picture. How many more people do we have to lose before we realize that the judge and jury of the public is not what the world needs?
Rating – /Must see if you’re a fan./ (Plus, it’s free you know.)
Just the day after Netflix released it’s big budget film starring Chris Hemsworth, HBO is here to compete with its Hugh Jackman and Alison Janney film based on a real life school scandal. And yeah, it’s probably the best piece of new content we have got in this time of scarcity.
The top administrators at the Roslyn, New York, school district seemed not only to understand this instinct but also to exploit it for their own personal gain. “Bad Education” explores their real-life embezzlement scheme, which came crashing down when the high-school newspaper broke the story in 2004. Spending nearly $8 million on a sky bridge to beautify a campus seems reasonable when you’re trying to exude an aura of success—when you’re the fourth-ranked district in the country, gunning for that No. 1 spot. With that much money flying around, skimming a little here and there for a bagel or jewelry or renovations on your beach house in the Hamptons is no biggie.
Director Cory Finley finds the dark humor within this scandal, which he depicts with wit, style and a terrific cast. Hugh Jackman does some of the best work of his long and varied career as the superintendent, Dr. Frank Tassone, whose charisma and polished image disguised a multitude of secrets. Jackman plays on his usual charm and looks to great effect. But there’s something sinister within the slickness that’s unsettling from the first time we see him, spritzing cologne and trimming nose hairs in the mirror of the boys’ bathroom in extreme close-up. Frank clearly cares deeply and works hard to recall names and personal details of students and parents alike throughout the district; we can still see glimmers of the calling that drew him to this challenging profession in the first place. Fundamentally, he’s a pleaser and he wants to be liked—yet increasingly, he savors the fame and power that come with being in a position of authority in an affluent community. And as Frank and his second-in-command (played brilliantly by a brash Allison Janney) find themselves squirming to survive when their $11.2 million scheme comes to light, their flaws and follies become even more glaringly evident.
Finley’s follow-up to “Thoroughbreds” one of my favorite films of 2018, doesn’t seek to dazzle with sleek, showy camerawork like that film did. But it’s similarly interested in mining the depths of out darkest impulses, and doing so with sharp satire. (Mike Makowsky, who was a middle school student in Roslyn when the embezzlement scandal broke, wrote the script.) “Bad Education” also calls to mind the great Alexander Payne film “Election” with its students who are smarter and savvier than you’d expect and teachers who aren’t as mature and responsible as you’d hope. Finley actually could have used a bit more of Payne’s sharp bite in tackling this material. Geraldine Vishwanathan radiates a quiet but increasingly assertive confidence as the high school reporter whose tough questions and thorough document searches reveal the district’s financial irregularities. Just as compelling as what she finds is her internal debate over how to handle that information. She knows what’s the right thing to do—but what if that’s the wrong move for her future?
Overall, it’s a really well made and tight drama that sheds light on some important issues. You can stream it for free on HBO and it’s not like you don’t have any free time, so just log in and give it a watch. And if you’ve seen it, do let me know what you thought about it in the comments.
Nostalgia. That is what this show was for me. I was in 7th grade when I read John Green’s novel and fell in love with Alaska. Like for real, I loved her. And if it’s possible I love her even more now. For all the scenes Alaska Young (Kristen Froseth) was on screen, all I wanted to do was reach out and give her a hug. But let’s keep the stuff about why I love her for later. It is a long story (and kinda personal) and that is not the purpose of this article. Also this is not a review, I know I’m way too late for that. This post is just to examine why Looking for Alaska is the perfect example of how to adapt a popular book.
The best decision right away was to adapt the book into a limited series. When I first heard that, I was kinda disappointed as I thought a movie would bring in more viewers and make more people familiar with the source material. I know, sounds stupid but that’s what my scrawny ass believed. In hindsight, that would’ve been a really bad idea. What sets this adaptation apart from other John Green adaptations is the character development and time given to each and every side character to completely flesh them out. While both Fault in our stars and Papertowns are decent movies they are never able to figure out their characters completely. The Augustus Water from the movie is not fearless boy from book, and Margo Roth Spiegelman from the movie never represents the bad-ass she is in the book. But in Looking for Alaska every character is fully lived and realized, from the show’s lead Miles to The Colonel and even The Eagle.
Also the decision my makers to make it a limited series and not stretch it to further seasons (looking at you 13 Reasons Why), was great as it allowed for a really satisfying ending. The show really take it’s time with every bit and then ends each if them them brilliantly. It is a slow-burn, but I promise will suck you in and shatter you by the end of it. I have read the book around three-four times, so I didn’t think it was possible to feel this emotional watching those same event happen. But trust me, the cried every time a emotional scene happened, that’s how good the execution of the show is.
The show has been adapted fairly faithfully and the characters and settings are very authentic to the book. And it is one the rare occurrences, where I agree with the show every time they deviated from the book. Like the prank in last episode (no spoilers) was a brilliant idea to add to the story. Also, some characters from the book have been given extra time in the show to flesh them into more complete dynamic people, like say Dr, Hyde or Takumi, which makes the show even more compelling. And the decision to give six episodes to the “Before” part of the story and two episodes to the “After” part of the story, instead of the almost equal divide in the book, really paid off in my opinion.
I was also really surprised by the quality of the show. It is really well written and shot. The cinematography is gorgeous and the direction is really good. Also, kudos to the casting department, the cast in the show is perfect. Each actor exactly embodies the characters as I imagined them to be when I read the book. Charlie Plummer and Kristine Froseth are perfectly paired, they look beautiful and yet heartbreaking together. Special mention to Denny Love, that dude really was The Colonel and in my opinion very the the breakout in this cast. Jay Lee, Sofia Vassilieva, Landry Bender. Uriah Shelton, Jordan Connor all do justice to their roles and deliver worthy performances. So if you’re stuck home and really bored during this quarantine/lockdown just go and check out this amazing show. This show deserves to be watched.
In conclusion all I wanna say is – I love you Alaska, and I will always keep looking for you.
Rising Sun in the rear mirror. Brittle breeze sniffing on the red scarf That she wraps around her neck Hiding the tattoo she was given at birth.
The wretched river follows us right by the side Of the road we’ve been ridin’ through all night Through dark forests that smell of dead corpse Filled with fireflies and nymphs playing harps.
She looks like she was brought down from heaven Just for me, She’s the one they call by the name ‘Raven’ She’s come to set me free.
She’s more beautiful than I can comprehend Her eyes looking at me with reminiscence Her face makes me wanna sing In voices I can’t listen.
I don’t know where she’s leading me, But I want to follow her No matter how far It’s not like I have a bigger purpose to serve.
She shines with a glistening glow As the newborn sun kisses her face. “Your life’s shorter than your shadow, Ever wonder why you’re here, what’s your place?”
Born in the city of bones, I have never been bold All my life I have done as I was told. The thought of my place in this world never appeared Or it did, and I taught myself to not think hard.
She turns her head and whispers, staring into my soul “I know you have stories to tell, Sing them to me all”
I have always had a guitar I want to play it to her And even though I never learned to play it I hit the strings, making up words to go with it.
“Sing to me, that’s all I ask of you When the time comes, you will leave and forget all about me But I want you to remember the songs you sing right now Keep em’ and one day when you’re old, sing them in memory of me.”
“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns The man who sits on his throne, as the whole world burns”
There is a wall that separates us, And yet brings us all close. The only ones who survive inside Are the ones who can take its brute force.
I’ve been stuck inside for a lil’ while now, But I’ve already started to loose my mind It’s like a never ending void of snow, No way to get out, from all sides it’s confined.
Outside the walls, in the enchanted forest, The bewitching sirens call out my name, In their angelic voice that seduce even the purest, The ones who can’t resist their temptations, go insane.
Stuck in this strange world, I dunno where else to go, Roaming in this lonely land like a hungry wolf lookin’ for some dough, But there ain’t no prey waiting for me, Ain’t nobody missin’ me, But I don’t mind it, it’s the fate I chose for me, I convince myself I need no friends, I need no company, I got me, and that’s plenty.
I’m not the only one in here, though The place’s filled with travelers from all across the land, But they speak in tongues I don’t know, Faceless creatures of the night, walking in quicksand.
I wonder if they can see me, Or am I just like em’, a wandering ghost? Is this some kinda purgatory? I wonder how many like me, does this place host?
Heard a voice inside me sayin’ “Isn’t this what you wanted? A peace of mind, Away the from all the things you called wicked.”
The place doesn’t bother me, it’s only the people who matter, You only start valuing someone, once they go missin’. As only the desert man values a drop of water, For the seamen have plenty to drown themselves in.
These walls cannot drive us crazy, These walls cannot institutionalize our thoughts the way they want, These walls cannot make us weak and lazy, And These walls sure can’t contain me, I’m too big for em’ to command.
Buckle up and all count your doors (Hey!) I’m gonna open every one of em’, I’m sure (Hey!) Don’t sit around (Hey!) and waste your time (Hey!) waiting for your moment to come. (Heyyy!) Buckle up all and leave your homes (Hey!) I’m gonna roam till there’s no where else to go. (Hey!) I’ll dance (Hey!) I’ll smoke (Hey!) I’ll make you all let go (Heyyy!) On this trip of life!
So, the quarantine boredom has finally caught on to me. I love watching movies and have been doing just that all day. But today, after evening, I really wasn’t in the mood anymore. So I got my stuff and made this painting. It ain’t anything special, but do let me know what you think of it in the comments.
So, who’s sitting in their homes wasting all of their time watching movies? Just me, eh? Oh my bad. But still you must be getting bored stuck up in your apartment and must be looking out for some kinda source of entertainment. And trust me, ain’t no harm in passing your time watching movies in this panicky times. So, what movies should you see?
You have probably seen the big budget CGI blockbusters like Endgame or The Lion King. Also, you have probably checked out the award biggies like Once upon a Time in… Hollywood, Joker or 1917. And since almost everybody has Netflix, you must’ve seen Marriage Story or The Irishman (even though you didn’t sit through all 3 and half hours of it). But 2019 was a great year for movies, and you probably didn’t see a lot of the great ones overlooked by the audience at the theaters or on streaming. Well then, this coronavirus pandemic might have finally given you the time to check out this underrated gems from last year. So here are 18 overlooked movies from 2019, you must check out:
After 2017’s brilliant “It Comes at Night”, director Trey Edward Shults returns with this epic emotional journey of a suburban African American family as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the wake of a tragic loss. The movie is brave and bold in storytelling and the way it is structured. There’s a huge risk that’s taken midway through the film, and it definitely pays of. Though a sports movie at heart, Trey’s meticulous detailing and examination of love and family life will surely touch your heartstrings and maybe force a few ears down your cheek.
Featuring an impressive ensemble cast that includes Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (It Comes at Night), Sterling K. Brown (This is Us), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Broadway’s Hamilton), Taylor Russell (Lost in Space), and Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird), each and everyone gives an extraordinary performance. Especially Sterling K. Brown who is definitely robbed of an Oscar nom.
Despite the positive press, the turbulent family drama didn’t make many waves at the box office when it hit theater screens in November of 2019, most likely due to its limited release and restrained marketing campaign. The movie is available on Apple TV and Amazon for rent.
2. Doctor Sleep
Doctor Sleep is probably the most high profile movie on this list. But when the sequel to The Shining makes only $70 million at the box office, it’s definitely underwhelming, especially when it’s so good. Mike Flanagan was given an almost impossible task – to follow Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece and at the same time stay true to Stephen King’s original novel (since King very publicly hates the Shining, which he maybe even he should). And yet somehow, Mike Flanagan pulls it off. Doctor Sleep is both a worthy sequel to Kubrick’s movie and King’s novel. I have been a fan of Flanagan’s direction and editing since Oculus, and he definitely doesn’t disappoint here. Ewan McGregor is really good as Danny, and I love how the story deals with his character and it’s one of my favorite things about the movie. Both Rebecca Fergusson and Kyleigh Curran are fantastic in their respective roles. And for the horror fans out there, yeah the scares in this film are really good too. So make sure to check it out if you haven’t already. It might not be as good as The shining, but it’s the next best thing.
3. High Life
I love space movies,and High Life takes a giant leap ahead of the others in its genre. Unfortunately, many missed out on the visually moving, emotionally stirring, and deeply haunting film in favor of other movies that debuted on April 5, 2019.
Robert Pattinson leads the movie, helmed by 35 Shots of Rum director Claire Denis, as Monte, a man who is on death row for killing his friend when he was a child. Monte, his fellow inmates, and their criminal supervisor Dr. Dibs (Juliette Binoche) are carrying out a dangerous mission in space, hurtling toward a black hole for reasons not initially explicitly known. The journey doesn’t end well, and the path that the prisoners walk along is just as devastating. Told in a nonlinear fashion, High Life follows Monte as he attempts to learn what actually happened to the other inmates aboard the ship while caring for his infant daughter, Willow, who was born during the mission under chilling circumstances.
4. Under The Silver Lake
Mitchell’s It Follows was one of the best debuts of all time, his sophomore outing, Under the Silver Lake is a movie that only a certain few will like, but if you like it you’ll love it. Fortunately, I just love this movie. David Robert Mitchell’s modern-day neo-noir started off with plenty of hype, playing in competition at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Originally scheduled for a June 2018 release, the film was pushed back so that Mitchell could do another edit, and after further pushbacks, it was released in America to next to no fanfare on April 2019. Critics either loved or hated this one, with little space in-between, but nobody could deny the dizzying ambition on display. Andrew Garfield plays Sam (and he knocks it out of the park), a slacker with an interest in conspiracy theories who sets out on a strange quest after his neighbor (Riley Keough) mysteriously disappears. The movie is very influential for me and I find something new every time I watch it.A lot of Under the Silver Lake is deliberately aggravating but if you stick with its heightened style and accept its inherently baffling nature, you may discover something special.
5. The Nightingale
Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut, The Babadook, was one of my favorite films when it came out and since then it has become a horror classic (and a fabulous LGBTQ+ icon!) Following that up, Kent decided to take a totally different direction and directed one of the most brutal but crucial films of the year in The Nightingale. Set during the Van Diemen’s Land Black War – a period of violent conflict between the Aboriginal Australians of Tasmania and the British colonialists – Irish convict Clare Carroll (played by Aisling Franciosi) works for the British Army in the hopes of seeking freedom for her husband and infant daughter.
After the sadistic Lieutenant Hawkins and his soldiers violently rape Claire and kill her family, she decides to seek revenge with the help of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy. Out of all the films on this list, The Nightingale is easily the toughest to watch. Deeply vicious, immensely disturbing, and hugely controversial for its extreme depictions of rape and violence, this is a story of deep anger that could never be downplayed or softened for general audiences. It takes no prisoners because war and colonialism never did, and Kent has no interest in sugar-coating the heinous crimes of British colonialism against the Aboriginal people of Australia. In that aspect, its bravery cannot be undersold.
6. Blinded by the Light
I love this love this movie for many reasons and if you are an Indian/Pakistani with a passion for art you’ll definitely love it too. At the intersection of Bruce Springsteen’s heart-tugging lyrics and the life of a teen in 1980s England is a story of self-discovery, coming of age, and the transformative power of a chorus that begs to be belted out loud. From director Gurinder Chadha, Blinded by the Light tells this very tale: contemporary rock fan and aspiring songwriter and poet Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra), the son of two Pakistani immigrants living in the south east of England, discovers Bruce Springsteen and is suddenly struck with a feeling he’s never experienced before.
Though “The Boss” and the wide-eyed teen lead two very different lives, Javed finds all too relatable Springsteen’s lyrics of wanting to break free from his small town and make a name for himself. His parents (Kulvinder Ghir and Meera Ganatra) and his best friend Matt (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) may not understand, but Javed feels like he was born to run — outside the city limits of Luton, away from his traditional family values, and into a world where his dreams can become reality.
7. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
France, 1770. Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Héloïse is a reluctant bride to be and Marianne must paint her without her knowing. She observes her by day, to paint her secretly.
The movie is French, so they definitely fall in love and what develops is one of the most touching and heartwarming relationships put on film ever. The two actresses do work I can’t even comprehend and the direction is just off the charts. Celine Sciamma shoots very frame like it’s a painting and the effect is astounding. Please give this beautiful movie a watch, you’ll not be disappointed.
8. Fast Color
Im a huge comicbook nerd and love CBMs. And superhero movies are the talk of the town right now yet, one of the greatest superhero films of 2019 was one the vast majority of moviegoers completely missed out on. Fast Color, directed and co-written by Miss Stevens filmmaker Julia Hart, stars The Cloverfield Paradox actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ruth, whose seizures cause massive earthquakes, and Orange Is the New Black alum Lorraine Toussaint as Bo, Ruth’s mother who has the ability to disintegrate and reassemble objects with her mind and to see “the colors” — vivid flashes of light.
9. Don’t Come Back From the Moon
Starring Rashida Jones as Eva Smalley and James Franco (who I just adore) as her husband Roman Smalley, Don’t Come Back from the Moon is as deeply affecting as its title suggests. The film, an adaptation of Dean Bakopoulos’ novel directed by Bruce Thierry Cheung, angles itself from the perspective of the Smalleys’ 16-year-old son Mickey (Jeffrey Wahlberg), who is grappling with feelings of intense abandonment after his father becomes the latest man in their California town to pack his bags and leave, vanishing without another word. In short the kinda movie I’ll see.
It sounds like the logline of a new paranormal sci-fi series, but Don’t Come Back from the Moon is rooted in a harsh reality: the fathers and husbands in the rundown desert community walk away from their lives because they have nothing better to do — because they don’t care that they’re leaving behind boys who must turn into men before their time, and children who don’t know why their dads always end up “going to the moon.” As Eva resists the urge to self-medicate with alcohol, Mickey looks after his younger brother Kolya (Zackary Arthur), explores his sexuality, and lets his angst manifest in a rebellious streak — the whole time weaving a tale that’s “piercingly observant about the fragility of the family foundation.”
Released in a limited run in mid-January, Don’t Come Back from the Moon has garnered sweeping praise from critics, who regard the film as “poignant and visually striking,” “an artful and affecting mix of harshly defined specifics and impressionistic storytelling.”
The perfect film for people like you and me, who busted their ass last year for getting into the colleges of their dream. The flick follows do-good best friends Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), who make the shocking realization that while they were hitting the books in the hopes of getting into good colleges, their peers were partying hard and gaining entry into those same universities. Motivated by a desire to prove themselves as carefree and a burning need to never be inferior to their classmates, Molly and Amy try to shove four years’ worth of rule-breaking fun into a single night. As you watch the pair attend parties, learn new slang, get in trouble with the law, face their fears in more ways than one, and finally come of age, you’ll laugh, cry, and wish your last day as a high school student was even one-tenth as interesting and life-changing as Molly and Amy’s blowout envoi.
It’s difficult to oversell just how incredible Booksmart is, how heartbreaking it is knowing that it didn’t make tens of millions of dollars, or why you should see it, like, yesterday. So, we’ll let Little White Lies’ Hannah Woodhead do the talking for us: “Booksmart feels like a watershed moment for the next generation.”
11. Last Black Man Of San Francisco
Exalted as “one of the best movies of 2019 by a long shot,” if not the top film of the year, The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a rousing, soul-stirring, haunting effort from Joe Talbot. Talbot makes his directorial debut with this drama partly based on the life of Jimmie Fails, a black man trying to reclaim his childhood home in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, California. Jimmie’s best friend Montgomery “Mont” Allen, played by White Boy Rick and Captive State actor Jonathan Majors, accompanies him on his quest to recoup ownership over the Victorian house his grandfather built. What follow are discoveries about identity, truth, and belonging in a city they no longer feel has any space for them.
The film — which also stars powerhouse talents like Danny Glover, Mike Epps, Tichina Arnold, Rob Morgan, Thora Birch, and Finn Wittrock — left critics moved when A24 released it in a limited launch on June 7. Its scenes filmed and its story told beautifully, The Last Black Man in San Francisco bursts with emotion, grapples with life truths, and has the makings of an unforgettable classic. The pic definitely isn’t one to miss (though many did miss out on it when it hit cinemas), so catch it as soon as you can.
12. Wild Rose
If you are like me and you love British dramas about awkward young people, this movies this right up your ally. An invigorating take on the star-is-born tale, Wild Rose puts aspiring country star Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley) up on stage, then draws the curtain back to show what life beyond the twangy tunes and cowboy boots is really like. You see, Rose-Lynn isn’t your typical doe-eyed country musician with a dream in her heart and a guitar in her hand — she’s also Scottish, an ex-convict, and the mother of two children. Struggling to make ends meet, to avoid falling back into the habits that landed her in jail in the first place, and to realize her ultimate goal of becoming the next Dolly Parton, Rose-Lynn hits a crossroads when the doors that lead to a better life finally open… and draw her away from her kids.
13. The Farewell
Released by A24 in a limited run on July 12, The Farewell centers on Awkwafina’s Billi, an aspiring Chinese American writer, and her family, who are shocked to learn that their beloved Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) — Mandarin for “grandmother” — is dying. Billi’s parents Haiyan (Tzi Ma) and Jian (Diana Lin) notify her just days after she’s turned down for a writing grant that Nai Nai has terminal lung cancer and only a few months left to live.
Billi’s family decides not to tell Nai Nai of her impending fate. They repeatedly deceive the ailing woman in an effort to realize the old adage about ignorance being bliss, ultimately scheduling a wedding for Billi’s cousin Hao Hao (Chen Han) as a way to unite the family for one last celebration before Nai Nai passes. However, Billi is uneasy about lying to her grandmother and ends up disobeying her family’s request, showing up in China to rock the boat.
A gripping mystery-drama from director Julius Onah, Luce picks up ten years after the adoption of Luce Edgar (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a bright boy born in war-torn Eritrea who has become a respected debater at his high school, an all-star athlete, a beloved member of his Arlington, Virginia community, and, of course, the pride and joy of his parents Amy and Peter Edgar (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth). Luce’s dazzling reputation takes an unexpected hit after he submits an assignment — an essay written in the voice of 20th-century political revolutionary Frantz Fanon — to his history teacher Harriet Wilson (Octavia Spencer). The underlying message of Luce’s essay causes immediate concern, and when Harriet searches through Luce’s locker to see if there are any clues to explain the young man’s alarming remarks, she discovers something far worse than words on a page.
15. The Souvenir
Another one of those “every frame a painting” movies, featuring captivating performances from real-life mother-daughter pair Tilda Swinton and Honor Swinton Byrne (who also star as mother and daughter in the film), The Souvenir follows a young woman named Julie who forms an unhealthy relationship with a much older man while attending film school. Based partially on writer/director Joanna Hogg’s own experiences at film school, The Souvenir weaves its narrative together using loose, dreamy stitches, relying on the audience to fill in the purposeful spaces it leaves as it skips through time in uneven strides. The result is an often painful and occasionally abstract coming-of-age tale that wrestles with addiction, ambition, and destructive romance that feels more like remembering an experience than telling a story.
The Souvenir may not be the best movie night pick for a casual film fan, but committed cinephiles should expect to be blown away by its strong performances and expert filmmaking. While this critical gem didn’t fare so well during its limited theatrical run, you can catch up with it in the comfort of your own home, since it’s now streaming on Amazon Prime
16. Honey Boy
When I first heard of this movie, I dismissed it as a vanity project for Shia LaBeouf. I mean nn paper, Honey Boy seems like the type of film that shouldn’t work at all, the type of self-indulgent and overly personal fare that is much more therapeutic for the filmmaker than entertaining for an audience. And yet, somehow, the Shia LaBeouf-penned film (in which he also stars as his own father) manages to defy expectations, delivering a deeply personal and introspective film that also works as a nuanced examination of a dysfunctional father-son relationship and a thoughtful commentary on child actors in Hollywood.
In a loose recounting of LaBeouf’s own childhood, Honey Boy mostly follows 12-year-old television star Otis (Noah Jupe), who lives his life between comedy sets and a seedy motel room, which he shares with his father, James, a former rodeo clown who now makes his living as Otis’ chaperone. James is several years sober, but still fails to give Otis the love and affection he craves, offering up hefty helpings of criticism and outright hostility instead. Yet, as the adult Otis (Lucas Hedges) reflects from rehab (the setting in which LaBeouf also wrote the screenplay), he can’t completely write his father off, much as he may want to, and still finds himself yearning for some sense of connection.
Fortunately for the majority of people who missed Honey Boy in theaters, the film is now streaming on Amazon.
17. The Lighthouse
Is the Lighthouse about two people going mad in a deserted Lighthouse, or an allegory for the revolutionary story of Prometheus? Whatever be the case, this movie might just be my favorite movie of last year.
Directed by The Witch filmmaker Robert Eggers, who also co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Max, The Lighthouse is a surreal and disturbing “descent into madness,” with standout performances from both Pattinson and Dafoe. It may be a little too bizarre for the casual film fan — one critic called it a “visceral assault on the senses,” with others warning that it is “rough going” and “the opposite of a crowd-pleaser” — but these appear to be features, not bugs, playing into the overall effectiveness of the film. But while The Lighthouse performed respectably for a film of its size, it was still not widely seen by movie-going audiences as a whole, despite its warm reception from critics.
In 2021, Robert Pattinson will make his (hopefully) triumphant return to major franchise fare — after previously appearing in both the Twilight and Harry Potter films — when he’ll star as Bruce Wayne in The Batman. After plenty busy with several smaller, artistically ambitious films that challenge both actors and audiences alike, let’s hope he makes for a great Batman.
18. The Wind
2019 was hardly short of horror films, from the continued domination of Blumhouse to It: Chapter 2 following up one of 2017’s biggest hits and concluding one of horror fiction’s most popular stories. There’s always space in the calendar for a horror title to plug a gap in-between blockbusters. Still, more than a few slid under the cracks when they easily deserved a bigger audience. Emma Tammi took her story to the American frontier of the 19th century with The Wind. A Midnight Madness selection from the previous year’s Toronto International Film Festival, The Wind perhaps suffered from too many comparisons to Robert Eggers’s The Witch.
It’s not hard to see why those parallels were drawn but they did a disservice to Tammi’s film and her intent. Focusing on two couples who live in solitude on a vast unpopulated area of New Mexico, The Wind sees them possibly tormented by a poltergeist or prairie spirit seeking to cause havoc. At its heart, this is a film about women’s struggles in an isolated world where their fears are dismissed and gaslighting often drives them to ruin. Tammi’s directorial debut reveals her to be an assured filmmaker with a strong grasp over theme and craft, and her characters are all richly drawn in ways that often subvert horror viewers’ expectations.