Outside the Wire is a 2021 scifi war thriller streaming on Netflix. The film is set in 2036 and stars Anthony Mackie (who also serves as a producer on the film) as an android officer who works with a drone pilot (Damson Idris) to stop a global catastrophe. Our short take on Outside the Wire is that it is possessed of both an interesting premise and a strong underlying message but certain narrative choices turn the third act into a unsatisfying cliché.
Please note that there are spoilers in our analysis of Outside the Wire that follows.
Synchronic is an American science fiction horror drama directed and produced by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and written by Benson. It stars Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie. The film has been touted by many critics as one of the best scifi movies of 2020. Benson and Moorhead have a good reputation as cutting-edge indie scifi directors with previous well-received movies like Spring and The Endless. The duo are also working together on the upcoming Disney+/Marvel Studios streaming Moon Knight series.
Shirley is a biographical drama that was released in 2020. The film is based on a book by Susan Scarf Merrell, a fictionalised account of an episode in the life of horror writer Shirley Jackson (played by the excellent Elizabeth Moss) in the late forties/early fifties. The setting revolves around the time Jackson was writing her novel, Hangsaman.
Shadow in the Cloud is an action thriller directed by Roseanne Liang from a screenplay co-written by Max (Chronicle) Landis and Liang. Shadow in the Cloud had its world premiere on September 12, 2020 at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the People’s Choice Award for Midnight Madness. The movie is now available digitally worldwide.
Promising Young Woman is a 2020 black comedy thriller film directed, written, and produced by Emerald Fennell, in her feature directorial debut. Fennell is perhaps best known as the writer of the second season of the critically acclaimed Killing Eve TV series. Promising Young Woman stars Carey Milligan in the lead role.
The Best Movies of 2020. Well, I daresay even though I visited the cinemas less than 5 times (for obvious reasons) in 2020, I certainly watched many films this year. With each passing year, I find myself less attached to the idea of assessing life on a yearly basis, so I wanted to be circumspect with this Best Movies of 2020 list.
Crimson Peak is a 2015 gothic romance horror drama directed by Guillermo Del Toro. The film stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain in the lead roles with Charlie Hunnam and Jim Beaver as support.
Wonder Woman 1984 is a superhero action-adventure drama based on the DC character of the same name. Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot as the titular character, Wonder Woman 1984 is the sequel to the successful 2017 eponymous film.
Soul is a 2020 Pixar animated movie directed by Pete Doctor and co-directed by Kemp Powers. Doctor is best known for directing the well-received Up and Inside Out. The premise of Soul involves a middle school music teacher named Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who dies just before his big break as a jazz musician, but attempts to return to life with the aid of an ‘infant’ soul (voiced by Tina Fey).
Small Axe S01E05 is part of the Small Axe anthology film series directed by the award-winning director Steve McQueen. The anthology consists of five films which tell distinct stories about the lives of Black immigrants in London. Entitled “Education”, Small Axe S01E05 focuses on young Kingsley Smith (Kenyah Sandy) as he struggles with school in the 1970s.
Girl with a Pearl Earring is a 2003 historical drama film directed by Peter Webber. The film is an adaptation of the 1999 novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier. Chevalier’s inspiration for the novel was a poster of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painting.
Belle is a historical drama set in late 18th century England. The movie is directed by Amma Asante and stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the title role. The character of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay is based on a real life person but most of the plot in Belle is fictionalised. In fact, the screenplay – written by Misan Sagay – was primarily based on a painting which portrayed the real life Lindsay and her cousin, Lady Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon).
Freaky is a 2020 comedy horror drama film based loosely on the classic 1978 Freaky Friday movie which has been remade several times over the years since. The twist in Freaky is that this time, the protagonist switches bodies – not with her mother – but with a serial killer!
Drukaka Another Round is a 2020 Danish drama film directed by Thomas Vinterberg. Drukaka Another Round examines drinking culture that is prevalent worldwide and its impact on the characters in the film. In particular, four teaching colleagues/close friends viz. Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Rathe) and Nickolaj (Magnus Millag).
Let Them All Talk is a HBO Max comedy-drama directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest and Candice Bergen. The premise of Let Them All Talk revolves around author Alice Hughes (Streep) and her cruise to the United Kingdom (on the Queen Mary 2) to be presented with a prestigious book award. Alice invites two old friends Susan (Wiest) and Roberta (Bergen) along with her favourite nephew Tyler (Lucas Hedges) to accompany her.
Small Axe S01E03 is part of the Small Axe anthology film series directed by the award-winning director Steve McQueen. The anthology consists of five films which tell distinct stories about the lives of West Indian immigrants in London. Entitled “Red, White and Blue”, Small Axe S01E03 tells the true story of Leroy Logan, one of the first police constables of West Indian descent, back in the 1980s.
Small Axe S01E01 is part of the Small Axe anthology film series directed by the award-winning director Steve McQueen. The anthology consists of five films which tell distinct stories about the lives of West Indian immigrants in London during the 1960s and 1970s. Entitled “Mangrove”, Small Axe S01E01 tells the story of the Mangrove Nine, a group of West Indian immigrants who were charged with riot and affray in the early 70s.
Ammonite is a historical romance drama written and directed by Francis Lee. Ammonite stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in the lead romantic roles. The movie concerns itself with real-life 19th century British palaeontologist Mary Anning (Winslet) and a fictionalised romantic relationship between Anning and Charlotte Murchison (Ronan).
Black Bear is a drama thriller written and directed by Lawrence Michael Levine. Black Bear stars Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbot and Sarah Gadon. The movie adopts a unique meta-storytelling device that offers an interesting take of the film making process. The film actually consists of two storylines revolving around the principal actors.
Mank is a biographical drama about screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz (Gary Oldham) and the historical background behind Mankiewicz’s writing of the screenplay for Orson Welles’ legendary film, Citizen Kane. Mank is directed by David Fincher from a screenplay written by Jack Fincher.
Tenet is a scifi action thriller written and directed by Christopher Nolan. The movie stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh. The story of Tenet involves a secret agent (Washington) who has to save the world from a nefarious plan involving time manipulation executed by the villain of the piece viz. Branagh.
Hillbilly Elegy is a 2020 American family drama film directed by Ron Howard, based on the 2016 memoir of the same name by J. D. Vance. Presumably Hillbilly Elegy was made for the entire family to enjoy, targeted primarily at the Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S.A.
The Devils is a 1971 British historical drama film written and directed by Ken Russell and starring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave. The Devils is probably one of the best socio-political commentaries, a biting satire of the excesses of religion and politics. While presented in a disturbing, visceral, sexually graphic manner that sometimes overshadows the message underneath, the power of its narrative remains undiminished almost half a century later.
Run is a psychological horror drama starring Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen. The premise of Run is very Stephen King-inspired as it involves a protagonist being kept captive by an antagonist, that happens to be a caregiver. Quite similar to King’s Misery except that instead of author and psychotic fan, we get daughter and psychotic mother.
The Entity is a supernatural horror drama that bears all the hallmarks of classic 1970s horror though it was ultimately released in 1982/1983. The best reference point for The Entity is probably The Exorcist for its viscerally serious exploration of its subject matter and also for its connection with a real-life incident.