Dave Griffiths keeps counting down is top 30 films of the year. Today we look at the Top 10.
10. THE GENTLEMEN
After the year that we have had it is hard to believe that the brilliant Guy Ritchie film was a 2020 film – but it was it landed on January 1st. Ritchie at his pure best!!!
9. A WHITE, WHITE DAY
Brutal and unrelenting this drama simply reminded me why I love Scandinavian cinema so much.
Waves is simply one of those films that will stay with you a long time after you have watched the film. Brilliant acting and a film with a twist that you will never see coming.
7. UNDERGROUND INC: THE RISE AND FALL OF ALTERNATIVE ROCK
A brilliant documentary that not only celebrated the rise of alternative rock but also revealed the dark side of the music industry that forced a lot of bands to give up.
6. THE DRY
Harshly beautiful The Dry is the perfect crime thriller. Eric Bana is sensational and we are all reminded just how good Robert Connolly is as a filmmaker.
5. THE INVISIBLE MAN
Horror re-boots are not supposed to be this good, right? Somehow though Leigh Whannell managed to take an old concept and turn it into something so, so terrifying.
Beautiful yet brutal at the same time. This foreign language film about child soldiers is destined to become a cult classic.
3. THE COMEBACK TRAIL
It is rare for a comedy to ever get this high on my Best Of lists but The Comeback Trail was something special. Funny, an all-star cast that brought their A-Game and a look back at Hollywood’s past – what wasn’t there to like?
2. THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
Few films stuck with me in 2020 like The Peanut Butter Falcon. A touching story that also showed why Shia LaBeouf is never an actor that we should forget about.
1. ABOUT AN AGE
The perfect coming-of-age film. This Aussie film came out of nowhere and reminded us all just how great a film can be with perfect casting and screenplay that is full of natural dialogue. An Aussie classic!
Jesse Eisenberg reminded everybody about just what he good actor he can be with his World War II drama Resistance in which he played mime Marcel Marceau.
29. 23 WALKS
While it could have easily become just another ‘oldie romance’ 23 Walks went that step further and explored how many families and the Government cast aside the elderly.
28. WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS
You don’t normally expect to see a young adult film make a best films of the year list but Words On Bathroom Walls is not your typical young adult film – great visuals mean this film will stick in the mind of its audience for a long time to come.
27. JUST MERCY
Hard-hitting and dramatic Just Mercy had the same impact on me as movies such as Mississippi Burning.
26. HONEY BOY
Shia LaBeouf not only reminded the world what a good actor he can be but also revealed his skills as a filmmaker with the hard-hitting Honey Boy.
I loved this movie for all the reasons that others hated it. It drew its audience in and then turned the world right upside down with a twist that nobody saw coming.
24. KNIVES OUT
An all star cast and even more important – a whodunnit that actually worked. Yep Rian Johnson’s films have made by Best Of Lists before… and he has done it again.
23. DARK WATERS
Mark Ruffalo was a standout in this courtroom drama that delivered a message that all should hear.
22. MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
An all star cast delivered in this under-rated crime thriller. This was a piece of Edward Norton brilliance.
21. USE ME
Part drama, part mockumentary Use Me is a film that deserved a lot more recognition than it ever received.
It has been a huge week of news for fans of DC’s most famous Caped Crusader – Batman. While the Covid pandemic has all but stalled the world of comic book movies in cinemas this week DC decided it was time to shine the Bat signal into the night sky in order to shed a little light on what fans of Batman may have in store for them over the next couple of years… and there was some very special news for Thailand as well.
First the worldwide news and something that came completely out of left-field – Michael Keaton is returning to the role of Bruce Wayne. Take note that we said Bruce Wayne and not Batman because despite what some headlines have led people to believe Keaton is not likely to be pulling on the Bat-suit on one more time.
Keaton, now aged 68, previously played Batman in the highly regarded Batman and Batman Returns way back in 1989 and 1992. This week it was announced he was returning to the role in the brand new DC film The Flash. But it is here where a little bit of explaining needs to be done. DC plan on using a comic book arc titled Flashpoint to tell the story of Barry Allen the man behind The Flash. In doing so he will cross paths with Gotham City’s favourite son – Bruce Wayne. And it is here that DC have decided Keaton would be the perfect fit. The only question left to answer is whether he will playing the same Bruce Wayne he played in the Tim Burton films and whether it will be purely a tongue-in-cheek nod to them.
Of course hearing the news about Michael Keaton returning to the Batman universe while Robert Pattinson is currently the man driving the batmobile in the eagerly anticipated new film The Bat has once again got fans of the comic book hero once again debating which actor has played the best version of the loved character over the years – the good news is that any fan in Thailand will this week get a refresher course of Christian Bale’s time in the suit with SF Cinema announcing that they are bringing Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy back to the big screen.
What Nolan did with his entries into the Batman universe were completely unprecedented. Many scoffed when he announced Christian Bale would play Batman. At the time Bale was more known for edgy roles like that off Patrick Bateman in American Psycho or for appearing in heavily criticised films like Reign Of Fire. When Bale first appeared on the screen in Batman Begins many were ready to write him off. What they saw change their minds though, Nolan took the Batman character into the darkness that the comics relished on but Burton had only briefly touched on in his films. In a dark new world and playing a more aggressive and mentally-scarred Batman Christian Bale was in his absolute element.
Of course other actors also relished their chance to appear in Nolan’s Batman universe as well. Australian actor Heath Ledger embraced the opportunity to play one of cinema’s darkest roles – The Joker. Under the expert hand of Nolan Ledger took the role of the laughing psychopath to all new levels of darkness in a performance that wowed Hollywood to the point that it earned him an Oscar only months after his untimely death.
And while The Dark Knight Returns is often referred to as the weakest of the Nolan trilogy films it did give the audience a change to see Tom Hardy deliver a break-out performance as he brought tough-man Bane to the big screen. And of course as far as closures go The Dark Knight Returns does work, although I think all Batman fans wished they could have seen where Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character ended up.
For Batman fans in Thailand this is a rare opportunity to see one of the finest movie franchises ever created return to the big screen – yes this is an event that no comic book fan should miss this week.
They say that the lights never go out in Hollywood. Well if they aren’t fully out at the moment then they are certainly very, very dim. As the Covid-19 virus goes on its deadly wave right across the planet Hollywood and the world’s film industry has become one of its biggest victims.
Right now as i write this this most of the world’s cinemas are in darkness – the projectors have stopped and the doors are closed. In Thailand cinemas are closed until April 1st while in America the cinemas are closed indefinitely. In Australia the cinema chains desperately tried to keep the doors open, but finally the week came where only one new film opened in cinemas and as people had started to fear going out in public the film was playing to empty cinemas. When you consider that film was The Current War starring the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon and Tom Holland the fact it wasn’t drawing an audience just went to show how afraid people really were. Luckily the nation’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the decision for the cinema bosses when he included cinemas in the list of non-essential services that had to close as the nation went into a Stage One lockdown.
For the rest of the world the first inkling that Covid-19 was going to hit the cinema industry hard was when Sony Pictures made the announcement that they were postponing the release date of the latest Bond film No Time To Die. Sony, it seemed made the right call especially after we all saw the hit that the much-hyped Bloodshot starring Vin Diesel took upon its released. Its studio decided to brave the Covid affected cinema numbers and released the film amidst the chaos – the result was taking just nine million dollars at the box office in its first week of release in the USA. Desperate not to see the same fate happen to Diesel’s other blockbuster – Fast & Furious 9 – its studio decided to push its release back to 2021.
Some companies decided to get creative. Realising that they were going to have a captive housebound audience for potentially the next few months Universal Pictures have decided to chance its arm and in some territories has released potential blockbusters The Invisible Man and Trolls World Tour onto streaming services. It now seems likely that Disney will do the same with the eagerly anticipated Pixar animation Onward.
While the release dates of some of the year’s biggest films seem to be moving around like chess pieces on a board it leaves us with one big question – if Thailand’s cinemas do re-open on April 1st what do audiences have to look forward to? While films such as Daniel Radcliffe’s all action affair Guns Akimbo and new horror film Fantasy Island are slated for release not long after the doors open for several months audiences will have to watch locally made films and smaller international films while Hollywood prepares to re-launch itself with their all-conquering blockbusters. That is not necessarily a bad thing though as it means for awhile locally made films will have very little competition at the box-office for awhile.
Of course box office aside Covid-19 has also had catastrophic affect on the people of Hollywood and film industries right around the world. At the moment every major studio in America has shutdown production meaning that hundreds of thousands of people are currently out of work – many not knowing when those studio doors will open again.
The human side of Covid-19 in Hollywood became even more apparent when two of its biggest stars tested positive to the deadly virus. In Australia working on a new movie about the life of Elvis Presley Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson contracted the virus resulting in Australia’s Nine Network television network having to place some of their on-air talent in isolation after they had come in contact with the pair. It was later proven that Nine’s head Entertainment Reporter Richard Wilkins had actually contracted Covid-19 after interviewing Wilson.
The next Hollywood celebrity to test positive to Covid-19 was Thor: Ragnarok and Star Trek Beyond star Idris Elba and only a few hours ago it was confirmed that former Hollywood producer and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein has tested positive to the virus in prison.
Globally nobody has been able to safely predict when the Covid-19 crisis might be over but the one thing we do know is it is going to take a long time for Hollywood to recover from cinema’s darkest days.