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Old 01-01-2020, 10:06 PM   #7
The Debts The Debts is offline
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Jun 2013

More to come in the future. Always look forward to these. List is done btw.


1. The Lighthouse.

How long have we been on this rock? Five weeks? Two days? Where are we? Help me to recollect.

Madness. Pure, uncut, unbound, unbridled nautical madness. If you thought Robert Eggers’ debut film was a sucker punch, The Lighthouse takes everything he built up before and makes something that could possibly drive viewers insane. Set on an island off the coast of Maine in the 1890’s, what transpires for the next two hours is watching two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) pretty much lose their minds over being stuck with their abrasive behavior, being horny, farting a lot, getting drunk, disagreeing with their methods on how to cook food and possibly being cursed by the great sea gods such as Poseidon and Proteus. However, do not let this fool you into thinking it’s a drag to watch. Eggers proves he’s got a killer sense of humor and a wonderful sense of scale, crafting a film that is a joy to watch from start to finish. And to say nothing of the dynamic duo of Dafoe + Pattinson, who might have just staked their claims for performances of the year (Dafoe in particular has a monologue that could make those with the stiffest of nerves tremble in fear). There have been many movies to come out this year, but none could top this sea adventure slathered in exquisite period detail and delightful prose. Don’t miss it.

2. The Irishman.

One of a thousand working stiffs... until I wasn't no more. And then I started painting houses... myself.

For the first two thirds of Martin Scorscese’s The Irishman, I was somewhat baffled at the claims of the film being a “mournful film” by one of the masters of cinema. It felt just as energetic and broadly entertaining as anything else he’s ever done, as it details in great length (three and a half hours, to be precise) the life of hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) and his friendship with Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). But then the final hour comes in and the film’s true colors are revealed: a bleak message film about how crime doesn’t just pay but how it can utterly destroy one’s life. Sure, you’re the big cheese in the moment but eventually, everything whittles away due to the passage of time. Sure you’ve killed people and survived prison, but you’ve driven away everyone you’ve ever loved because of the monster you are, and the history-altering crimes you’ve committed. And eventually, you’ll wind up a lonely person rotting away while the rest of the world forgets you. It’s a devastating and incredible work, made all the more worth the gargantuan running time by the terrific pacing, incredibly seamless de-aging effects and the best performances by De Niro and Pacino in years. Did I forget to mention that it’s a joy to see Joe Pesci on screen again? Because it is.

3. Gloria Bell.

Well, when the world blows up, I hope I go down dancing.

As evidenced in a lot of films, getting old can suck. But what if there’s still some fire in that belly of yours that was just as vibrant as it was in youth? That’s a question Sebastain Lelio’s remake of his 2013 film answers with style and genuine joy. In her mid 50s and single, Gloria (Julianne Moore, in one of this year’s most underrated performances) finds herself distant from her children and family but still finds ways to keep herself busy and happy between a regular 9-5 job, clubbing, dancing, enjoying sex and smoking weed. But when she comes across the charming Arnold (John Turtorro), things begin to change for her. Could she have finally found a new love in her life? But even so, conventional plotting takes a backseat to this charming slice of life venture, as we gracefully drift in and out of Gloria’s day to day life. And if you told me spending 100+ minutes of this would be one of the happiest movies I’ve seen in 2019, I thought you would have been pulling my leg. But thanks to its wonderful soundtrack (both Matthew Hubert’s score and the endless 80s flavored needle drops), Nathasha Braier’s dreamlike cinematography and Moore’s captivating work, Gloria Bell wound up being one of my most beloved cinema going experiences from this year. Even when things look down, they can always go up in an instant, and the film illustrates that point beautifully from the beautifully melancholic first frame to its triumphant last.

4. Doctor Sleep.

I’ve always called it the Shining.

Making a sequel to one of the most legendary horror films of all time takes balls. Serious goddamn balls. And yet somehow, against all odds, Mike Flannagan did it. Not only did he make it but he also made it pretty goddamn great, satisfying both Stephen King himself and the Kubrick estate with this patient and unsettling adaptation of King’s novel, which picks up years after the original Shining. Danny Torrence (Ewan McGregor, providing some really quiet and low key charm with this performance) has been trying to deal with the trauma of the events of the Overlook hotel for years, finding himself resorting to drugs and alcohol to bury the pain. When he finally finds his footing for the first time in ages, his peace is disturbed when a malicious group of vampiric Shiners called The True Knot begins to target a little girl he’s made friends with named Abara (Kayleigh Curran). Soon, he must fight the dangers he’s been warned about for a long time and in doing so, must also confront the horrors he’s had to live with. In a way, Doctor Sleep functions as the Blade Runner 2049 of horror movies: A sequel that probably didn’t need to be made but was anyway and turned out better than any one of us could have expected. And you can bet your bottom dollar I’d be up for doing a double bill of this and original in the future. In a year where we got a glut of King adaptations, this was easily the best of the bunch and further evidence that Flannagan is one of the better directors of the horror genre around.

5. Apollo 11.

One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.

In a way, I’m not entirely sure how to describe what it’s like watching Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary on one of mankind’s greatest achievements, outside of one simple word: Awe. Just absolute awe. It really does feel like I haven’t seen something like this before: No talking heads, no recreations, no narration - just a straightforward yet absorbing depiction of what the historical 1969 launch was like with footage we have and haven’t seen before, coupled with just enough theatrical bells/whistles (such as a top notch sound mix that makes you feel like you’re there and Matt Morton’s supremely awesome synth score) to make this more of an experience than an educational film. I’m honestly at a loss for words on how to put it, but all I know is that I sincerely regret missing out on what must have been a monster of a theatrical showing to make even the grandest Hollywood spectacles look tame by comparison. Plonk yourself down and crank up the sound system for this sucker, it’s an inspiring ode to those who look to the stars.

6. Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus.


Invader Zim was one of Nickelodeon's strangest, meanest and unique shows wherein they let Johnny The Homicidal Maniac creator Jhonen Vasquez have carte blanche to create a cartoon for a younger audience. His idea? To make it about an incompetent alien invader disusing himself as a regular human kid to conquer the Earth, a planet loaded with beings just as stupid (if not more so) as he is, with a paranoiac named Dib being the only one in his way. Years after the show unceremoniously ended (though it lives on in comic form), Vasquez returns to the series to give it the finale(?) it deserves. To describe what transpires in the special would ruin the fun but let it be known that Zim (Richard Steven Horowitz) has a new scheme for world domination and it’s just as insane, hilarious and twisted as one can hope for. But the most surprising thing about this special is the heart it shows, something that was never in the original show. Don’t let that scare you away however; this merely helps compliment the special rather than bog it down. And if you were to tell me that this was it for the evil alien gremlin, I’d be a-okay with it.

7. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum.

Sometimes, you just gotta cut a mother****er.

It took me a while, but I’m finally on board with this extremely silly, viciously violent and exhilaratingly stylistic action franchise. Parabellum is the best installment yet, cranking up EVERYTHING to 11 and never stopping for a single moment to breathe: You want to see Keanu Reeves fight against the guys from The Raid films in a tower similar to the one from Skyfall’s beloved Shanghai sequence? You got that. Have the urge to view Halle Berry send specially trained dogs to maul people’s crotches on command in Casablanca? Got ya covered. Need to marvel at seeing our titular protagonist deal with finding ways to kill enemies immune to his signature headshot kills? No problem. There’s also a knife fight in a museum, Keanu vs a giant while using only books as weapons, a horse vs motorbike chase, the aforementioned mutts and enough bloodshed to cause an overload at the blood bank. Even the Concierge at The Continental gets in on the action! After a certain point, you just have to go with the flow of something this over the top and if director Chad Stahelski + writer Derek Kolstad can somehow keep it going with the eventual 4th installment, then I’ll be on board and then some.

8. The Peanut Butter Falcon.

Friends are the family you choose.

You ever watch a movie where you said afterwards “Man, I wish that was longer”? That was my girlfriend and I’s immediate reaction towards Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz directorial debut which focuses on the misadventures on Zak (Zack Gottsagen, in a wonderful debut role), a young man with Down Syndrome living at a retirement home with dreams of becoming a professional wrestler someday. Soon, he breaks out of the center he’s living at, and encounters a petty criminal/fisherman named Tyler (Shia LaBeouf). At first, Tyler is hesitant to befriend Zak, but like any good buddy yarn, they begin to form a bond stronger than any blood relation could ever form. And what happens over the course of 90 minutes is some of the sweetest, most gosh darn wonderful comedy-dramas you will see all year. From the film’s laid back yet consistently moving pace to Nigel Bluck’s terrific cinematography to an absolutely game cast (which also includes Dakota Jonson, Bruce Dern and Thomas Haden Church). In particular, this might sport career best work from LaBeouf, who has come a long way from his Transformers days.

9. In Fabric.

The hesitation in your voice, soon to be an echo in the recess in the spheres of retail.

There is weird art house horror films and then there’s Peter Strickland’s In Fabric. The premise alone is enough to raise eyebrows (A size 36 dress that haunts and eventually kills its owners that was made by a coven in charge of a department store) but the tone and vibe the film lets off is truly bizarre. From menstruating mannequins to deliberately off kilter dialogue that goes into comedic territory and exceedingly surreal images, this is a horror flick that is far removed from anything in the mainstream. But for those willing to gel with its oddness, you will be richly rewarded. It’s so much fun to watch with the colorful characters, incredible style and haunting score. And while the film doesn’t fully match up in its qualities in both halves (which from what I understand stemmed more from budgetary reasons than anything pertaining to the actual script), it manages to satisfy in a way that most esoteric horror films don’t seem to actually do. It’s weird, it’s creepy, it’s funny but above all, it’s one of the best of the year and a perfect film to view after the Christmas season.

10. Parasite.

They are nice because they are rich!

Every once in a while, there’s a movie that has a massive amount of pre-release hype for it, whether it be from festivals, early screenings, reviews, word of mouth or what not. Sometimes these films can live up to the hype while others do not. But Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite most certainly does. This is a crafty, twisty, tightly-wound hilarious blast of a thriller, as we see two different families, one poor (the Kims) and the other rich (the Parks), engage in a form of covert class warfare as the former infiltrates the latter and laps it up in luxury until certain things begin to happen, and that is all I will say in regards to the plot. This is one of those movies that the less you know, the better because what happens is some of the most delightfully dark thrills you’ll see in a movie all year with a razor sharp script and how it really plays with who you should be rooting for. Bong has always been a director I’ve liked but not fully embraced but I feel safe in saying this is his best yet. Believe the hype on this one.

11. Toy Story 4.

I was made to help a child, I don't remember it being this hard.

The older one gets, the more one comes to realize how weirdly horrifying and philosophically strange the Toy Story films are, especially considering that its comes from the Disney corporation and that these films are fully aware of said ideas. Thankfully, these films are graceful and heartwarming enough for them to be easily consumed for all ages, from young to old. And this fourth installment continues the tradition when Woody (Tom Hanks, honestly doing one of his best performances) is confronted by a toy his new owner Bonnie made called Forky (Tony Hale), a plastic spork who really wants to be thrown away into the trash rather than being played with. While the film isn’t without its flaws (there’s a series of elaborate set pieces that seem to be there to fill space rather than actually contribute to the story and Buzz’s character gets something of a downgrade), this is just as wonderfully written and emotionally genuine as any other previous installment. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was crying at the end, especially the final coda. And can I just say that this is Pixar’s best looking movie to date? They’ve always been innovators in the medium of animation, but what they’ve pulled off is frighteningly photorealistic at times. Here’s hoping for better memories for all.

12. Us.

We are Americans.

In 2017, Jordan Peele struck gold with Get Out, a film that etched itself into mainstream American culture and established Peele as more than a geeky funny man who’s good at doing impressions and satire. In 2019, he returned with another socially conscious literal stab at the horror genre with his sophomore effort Us. In turn, his goals went from the social horrors of liberal racism and body swapping to class politics and murderous dopplegangers. On a simple vacation weekend for the Wilson family, they find their peace is hideously disturbed by a group of red jumpsuit wearing maniacs that come off as deformed mockeries of their original personalities. But this simple home invasion premise slowly but surely morphs into something stranger, more violent and downright apocalyptic. Much has been said about Lupita Nyong'o’s double work as Adalaide and her hoarsely verbose opposite Red and rightly so, but the real winner here is Peele, who ups his game from his original film in nearly every way from from cinematography to performances to sheer nightmarish imagery. While it’s less audience friendly than its predecessor (many debates have been had in regards to how the film plays with logic and the third act), I for one found it largely enthralling, especially the last shot, and it makes me excited to see what Peele will deliver in the future.

13. Ad Astra.

We’re all we’ve got.

You would assume that James Gray’s Ad Astra would be a pulse pounding space thriller based on the marketing, and the kind of things that show up in the movie such as moon buggies, space pirates, science experiments gone wrong and fist fights in zero-g. But it isn’t. Far from it, in fact. What we have here is more or less a contemplative Sci-Fi drama that’s actually about an astronaut (Brad Pitt) with nerves of steel who’s not afraid of any of these things but instead is afraid of confronting his father or, even worse in his eyes, becoming like him. It’s an odd thing to see in a Science Fiction film but Gray makes it work with a sincerity that’s as powerful as anything else he’s made, with terrific production values from visuals to Max Ricther’s score and Brad Pitt’s understated but soulful performance that shows both his leading man magic and genuine acting chops. This was my most anticipated of the year and while it didn’t fully live up to my expectations, it still gave me a wave of melancholy that I have come to expect from the director. I hope that repeat viewings will unlock more of what I missed on my initial viewing.

14. Glass.

This wasn’t a limited edition; It was an origin story the entire time!

Finales are truly a tricky thing to pull off for anything, whether it is a TV show, a multi part film series and even just a simple straightforward trilogy. But for my money, M Night Shyamalan delivered on his promises of concluding the superhero saga he started since 2000’s Unbreakable and 2017’s Split. This is the Crisis Event of the Eastrail 177 trilogy, as Shyamalan pits David Dunn/The Overseer (Bruce Willis), Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Beast (James McAvoy) and Elijah Price/Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) in a nut hut as they find themselves being challenged by Dr. Elle Staple (Sarah Paulson), who’s trying to convince the trio that they’re not the superbeings they actually are. It’s an idiosyncratic spin on the genre amidst the CG spectacle and macguffin hunt plots that the genre is loaded with, more interested in the psychology of its characters and small scale setting than anything else. It’s often weird, clunky, and the ending will not satisfy everyone but it did me and it gave me a glimmer of hope for the superhero/comic book genre for it to do better. Here’s hoping it can.

15. Midsommar.

We only do this every 90 years.

After busting his foot through the door with last year’s grotesque shocker that was Hereditary, Ari Aster proves he wasn’t going to slow down with his follow up film Midsommar, which in his words would be a “Wizard of Oz for perverts”. And he made true on his claims with this very long and patience-testing but also visually arresting and emotionally distressing horror epic, which combines the typical tropes you’d see out of pagan horror classics like The Wicker Man with a really dark break up story that dabbles in the themes of toxic relationships and grief. We watch the relationship between Dani (Florence Pugh, in a truly powerhouse performance) and Christian (Jack Raynor, playing the king of Bad Boyfriends) crumble during a festival run by a cult in Sweden. For horror junkies worried they won’t get their fill amidst all of the relationship drama, don’t worry, Aster has you covered: ritualistic sacrifices, orgies, head-smashing, psychedelic drug trips, violent imagery and particularly pitch black humor, all building to a climax that is as stressful as it is cathartic. Aster claims he wrote the film during a bad break up he was going through and based on what I saw, I hope to God the guy is feeling better now than he was then.

16. JoJo Rabbit.

"Yeah, I know, definitely not a good time to be a Nazi.”

It says something about the quality control of Kiwi writer-director Taikia Waitti that even a film like this I think is his weakest effort so far, and yet it still trumps 90% of the films I’ve seen this year. On paper, this whimsical tale of a 10 year boy (first-timer Romain Griffith Davis who gives a remarkable performance) fully indoctrinated into the Nazi idology during the final months of WWII should sound like a mess between its shifts of tone, the imaginary best friend he has being da Fuhrer himself (played by Waitti himself no less) and overall handling of the Holocaust. But thankfully, what we have here is one of the most sincere and genuinely endearing films of the year. There’s so much to love: The goofball humor, the Wes Anderson-esque approach to shooting, musical choices that range from period-appropriate to anachronistic and a top-to-bottom cast fully committed to the material. I know the film has become something of an “enemy” during the awards season, but I find that insulting to give a movie this genuine in its feelings and messaging a bad rap. Bring the family to this one folks, it’ll work like a charm on ‘em.

17. Dragged Across Concrete.

"There’s a lot of imbeciles out there.

Ever since it was shown at the Venice Film Festival in 2018, S. Craig Zahler’s Dragged Across Concrete has been raked through the coals by several media outlets for being some kind of right wing action movie due its top billed performers (Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn), its touchy subject matters (police brutality, crime, racism), the long running time (159 minutes) and graphic violence. Yet to dismiss the film because of those attributes is in my eyes reductive, because Zahler isn’t making something to make you feel good about yourself; He’s making a down and dirty, genuine exploitation film in nearly every regard and a damn good one at that, as he details something of a hyperlink story between two cops (Gibson and Vaughn) let off of the force due to how they did their job, an ex-con (Tory Kittles) struggling to provide for his family, a bank teller (Jennifer Carpenter) on maternity leave trying to get back to her job and a gang of gimp mask wearing thugs (Thomas Kertchman, Primo Allon and Matthew MacCaull) that are as robotically ruthless as they are efficient. All these stories culminate in a way that’s provocative, tightly written and consistently engaging from frame one. Some would say they don’t make movies like this anymore, but I think Zahler has a thing or two to say about something like that.

18. The Last Black Man In San Francisco.

"You don't get to hate it unless you love it."

You know the old saying “Home is where the heart is”? Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man In San Francisco feels like the cinematic version of that old quote. And my, what a version it is. Though it is a little thematically vague in some ways, especially towards the end, this is an often heartfelt and gorgeous tale of best friends Jimmie and Mont’s (Jimmie Fails and Jonathan Majors, respectively) attempt to reclaim the former's childhood home in the ever-changing social climate of San Francisco. For a first timer, Talbot shows a considerable eye for making the more rough areas of the famous city look like a beautiful dream (with obvious inspiration from Barry Jenkins but with enough differences to separate itself) while his performers showcase a low key but affecting presence. And out of all of the movies I've seen this year, I doubt any of them could muster an amazing soundtrack like this does. In particular, there's a cover of "When You're Going To San Francisco" that's so good it could make ya weep. It’s a loving tribute to all walks of life in the city, whether they be black, white, male, female, old or young.

19. Ready or Not.


In-laws can suck. Like, really, really suck. And what’s a worse case scenario when dealing with the ones who don’t like you? Why, they also want to kill you too! Such is the case with Grace (Samara Weaving) as she joins the Le Domas family with new beau Alex (Mark O’Brien). As part of the tradition of joining the family, she is made to play a game. However, instead of it being something simple like Checkers or Old Maid, it’s a particularly deadly game of Hide & Seek. And what transpires for the next 90 minutes is some of the funniest, gleefully playful and straight up entertaining genre thrills you could ask from a movie like this. Directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (also known as Radio Silence) do a great balance of gore and giggles, while Weaving definitely shows the talent from her uncle does not fall from the tree. Then there’s the ending, which should hopefully go down as an all timer for the genre. With any luck, it will.

20. The Farewell.

Okay, when were you guys going to tell me this? How could you let me find out like this?

What’s worse than finding out a loved one of your family is sick and may die at any time? All of that but not being allowed to tell them. That is the main crux of Lulu Wang’s autobiographical comedy-drama as it details the perspective of Asain-American Billi Wang (Awkafina in what might be career best work) finding out her grandmother Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) has terminal lung cancer but is denied by her family to tell Nai Nai due to Chinese tradition. There’s a sense of unease all throughout the film due to the nature of the lie and how sadly oblivious Nai Nai is to such a thing. It doesn’t make for easy viewing and can be heartbreaking but there is warmth and humor to be found here, from the funny interactions of Billi’s family to the film’s ending. Despite the cultural differences, this is a story that anyone can relate to. Here’s hoping Wang keeps getting opportunities to do affecting films like this in the future. Also Nai Nai for President or we riot!

21. A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.

Fame is a four-letter word. What matters is what we do with it.

There seems to be a resurgence of popularity lately with Fred Rogers. Last year, we got Morgan Neville’s terrific documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? And this year, we get the semi-biographical A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood from Marielle Heller with America’s favorite actor Tom Hanks as old Fred himself, in what seems like a case of the most obvious casting ever. However, instead of going for the obvious biopic route, Heller does something much more clever. It shows Rogers effects on others, as the film follows a cynical journalist named Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) who’s assigned from his top brass to write an article on Fred. Vogel has father issues with his dad Jerry (Chris Cooper) and by interviewing the red cardigan wearing paragon, his cynicism starts to wear down for the better. It’s a gentle viewing experience, with some nicely stylistic touches such as using Fred’s old sets as establishing shots and a particularly surreal dream sequence into Vogel’s head. And of course, Hanks delivers the goods as Fred, who’s just as inviting as the man himself. We could all use a little kindness in the world and I think Mr. Rogers would agree on that.

22. Dolemite Is My Name.

Shoot for the moon, and if you miss it, cling on to a mother****in'’ star!

Whether they be to send a message, tell something important or just to entertain others, we all have dreams of making our own movies someday. Sometimes it doesn’t always pan out, but in other cases, it can. Case in point: Craig Brewer’s wonderful comedy-drama about the creation of the 70’s Blaxploitation classic Dolemite, and its creator, Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) of how he went from a two bit record store employee to an icon for raunchy comedy--and in his own roundabout way, cinema. There’s plenty on display to love here: The catchy soundtrack, Murphy’s energetic performance which is his best in a long time, the costumes, the script, but what really sells Dolemite Is My Name is the pure affection it has for its subject matter. This is far from a dressing down or mockery; it’s a film that shows what a joy it can be to make your mark on the world. It may not come to you automatically and there will be bumps in the road but when you’ve got your shot, take it and run with it. That’s certainly what Rudy did, and what he kept doing till the day he died.

23. 6 Underground.

Sorry. I have bad taste.

What happens when the world’s most maximalist, excessive and tasteless action director in the world is given a blank check to do what he wants? Why, you get exactly what you’d expect: something tacky, something mean spirited, something that doesn’t give a flying shit about collateral damage or the human body, something beautiful to gawk at and something that moves so fast you wonder what you just watched. THAT’s what it’s like to watch Michael Bay’s 6 Underground, courtesy of the guys who wrote the Deadpool movies and Netflix. Ryan Reynolds plays a billionaire who, along with a collection of hitmen, soldiers and government mooks, fake their deaths to do operations off the books and take down a dictator in charge of a third world Middle Eastern country. And as tasteless and crass as it is, it also winds up being Bay’s most political film yet, as he uses his action chops to make a movie that’s essentially him venting his frustrations with the ineptitude of democracy and how you could just wish to take tyrants down with no restrictions. Of course, Bay being Bay, it’s shot like a music video with extremely pretty people and enough explosions to blow up half the world but when his name is on the box, you know what you’re in for.

24. IT: Chapter Two.

For 27 years, I dreamt of you. I craved you... I've missed you!

Let’s get something straight before I get into any detail: IT Chapter Two is a flawed movie. It’s excessive in nearly every way from how many jump scares there are to its runtime to how it repeats beats from the 2017 film to how it does its damndest to cram in everything from the original novel. Not to mention the absolutely wackadoo tone, where it feels like we’re watching a Sam Raimi horror comedy than the terrifying book. At times, it REALLY pushes itself, almost to the point I think director Andres Muschetti and writer Gary Dauberman were in over their heads trying to adapt the rest of the book in comparison how they did it the first time around. But at the same time, they actually GET what Stephen King is. He may be a master of horror and things that go bump in the night, but he’s also a big softie and that might just be the most important thing to get when it comes to bringing his work to life. They get what the main appeal of this story isn’t just the clown but the bonds of the Losers and how they truly are best friends. Every performer from James McAvoy to Jessica Chastain to Bill Haeder wonderfully bring life to the adult versions of their characters will Bill Skarsgard hasn’t lost a step of playing the delightfully mean monster. Chapter Two may be something of a mess, but it’s an ambitious, grandly scaled, confident and emotionally genuine mess and I can’t own a double pack of both films in the future.

25. Arctic.

They are looking for you, don't worry. They'll be here tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow. Don't worry.

Survival movies are probably the sturdiest genre around. All you need is a dangerous but beautiful setting, a charismatic lead actor or actress, some hostile animals and blunt straightforward storytelling. Such is the case of the directorial debut of Joe Penna and his film Arctic, which stars Mads Mikkelsen (one of our generation’s greatest performers) as an everyman who finds himself stranded in the Arctic Circle waiting for some chance of rescue while braving the harsh, cruel cold. When a helicopter crash lands and one of the survivors comes close to death, he decides to risk his chances and make a journey for an outpost many miles from where his camp is. And what follows after is rock-solid tension and suspense. Penna makes the smart move by not bogging the film in exposition, keeping dialogue as light as possible while letting Mikkelsen do his thing in a performance that is as physically powerful as it is emotionally affecting. Running at a drum-tight 90 minutes, this is definitely the best possible version you could ask for with a movie like this.

Last edited by The Debts; 02-29-2020 at 04:08 PM.
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