Best/Worst Movies of 2020

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Irishman12
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Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:20 pm

INFIDEL

I hadn't heard much about this film save for one trailer recently. I didn't have much of a desire to see it but with so few new releases hitting cinemas due to COVID-19, I took a flyer on it. The film is obviously low budget, not a lot of marketing behind it, and it's not going to break any box office records. People will notice Jim Caviezel as the lead who plays Doug Rawlins, an outspoken American religious blogger. He's invited to a religious conference in Egypt that he attends to discuss the similarities between Christians and Muslims, rather than our differences ("to build bridges" in his own words). While there, he's gets kidnapped and taken to Iran where he's tortured and placed on trail for being an American Spy. Jim is the only redeeming aspect of this film. He's calm, confident, and unapologetic about his beliefs (both in the film and real life). His wife Elizabeth, played by Claudia Karvan, lacks any sort of emotion of a woman who's husband is kidnapped and put on trail for his life. The marriage between Doug and Elizabeth in the film is rocky due to a prior accident that shook Elizabeth's faith but not Doug's. Other than that and one other scene, she's completed detached in her performance. In addition, she's too naive and trusting (especially in a foreign country where strangers seem to know her and want to "offer her assistance," which she accepts before finally questioning if they're being truthful or not). Finally, the story is a bit lite and could have used some more meat to not only flesh out the story but also the characters, and the dynamics of their relationships. 4.5/10
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Irishman12
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Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:36 pm

ANTEBELLUM

I applauded the trailer for this film as it doesn't give away too much of the movie (nowadays I feel like I've seen 75% of movies in their 2-minute trailers). So there was a bit of unknown heading in to this. From what I saw, it seemed like an interesting concept and piqued my curiosity. In doing so, for the better part of the movie you're glued to the story, trying to decipher the time period exactly and it was quite entertaining. I applaud the writers and directors (both Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz), on their originality in developing this story. Once the time period is revealed, however, the film becomes too preachy. Save the performances of leading star Janelle Monae and villain Jena Malone, the film is WAY too heavy handed with it's virtue signaling. The third act is nothing more than an anti-white, I mean anti-right, propaganda piece. I'm surprised more critics are lauding this more as a "timely" film. My biggest grip with the film however, was with Gabourey Sidibe, who plays Dawn and is the best friend of Monae's character of Veronica. I'm sure some will find her performance strong and empowering. Whereas I found her to be nothing more than rude and ill-mannered, displaying her toxic femininity. 5/10
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Irishman12
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Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:00 pm

KAJILLIONAIRE

A heartbreaking tale about a family of grifters staring Evan Rachel Wood, Richard Jenkins, and Debra Winger. Throughout the film I'm left wondering how successful these people could be if they focused their efforts on real employment, rather than just trying to skate by in life? At first I was very struck by Wood's portrayal of her character Old Dolio (yeah, I'm not a fan of it either). She's very monotone and practically robotic for most of the film. However, as the relationship between her and her parents unfold, you understand the reasoning behind it. She's being emotionally abused and neglected by her parents, until Melanie enters the picture (played by Gina Rodriguez). The first half of the film is a look at a pseudo-family, while the second half, with the introduction of Rodriguez, introduces us to companionship. A very strong performance by Wood that I'd daresay is borderline Oscar nomination worthy. I say border because the next Oscars will take both films released in 2020 and 2021 into account. 5.5/10
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Irishman12
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Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:58 pm

HONEST THIEF

Liam Neeson is back as Tom Carter. A former marine who for the previous 10 years has robbed banks without being caught. He meets Annie (played by Kate Walsh), falls in love, and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. As such, he doesn't want to lie to her so he contacts the FBI to turn himself, and the money he stole, in. However, when Agents Nivens (Jai Courtney) and Hall (Anthony Ramos) discover he's not some crackpot and actually telling the truth, they decide to take the money and get rid of him. The story is shallow and everyone, including Neeson, seem to be on autopilot and mailing in their performance. Neeson's performance is tired and uninteresting. Perhaps that's the way he intended to play this character who's under a tremendous amount of pressure between continuing to lie to his girlfriend and the prospect of turning himself in? However, if that wasn't his intention, then this is a rather poor performance by this man and I only hope he doesn't begun to go the way of Bruce Willis. 5/10
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