Hoai-Tran Bui’s Top 10 Films of 2020

Hoai-Tran Bui Top 10 Movies of 2020

There’s the temptation every year to say, “This was a bad year for movies,” which is rarely ever the case. But 2020 certainly flirted with that idea, with the pandemic pushing many studio films to next year and making all other films nearly impossible to watch without a press badge at a film festival. More than anything, it was a weird year for movies, a year where entertainment became a safe haven from the horrors of reality and where we all flocked to films that either comforted us, or numbed us, or dared us to find the awful parallels in our entertainment and the real world.

For me, my top movies of the year were a mixture of all of the above. I was equally comforted and challenged by these movies, or at the very least, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Maybe that’s the kind of film that will define 2020, the one that captures that weird mixed bag of emotions that kept us going through the purgatory of quarantine.

Anyway, here are my top 10 movies of 2020.

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barack obama's favorite movies and shows of 2020

It’s the time of year that year-end lists are released, and critics name the best movies and TV series of the year. But that doesn’t mean everyone else can’t join in to share their favorite films and shows of 2020, including former U.S. presidents. During his time in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama revealed himself to be a big old pop culture nerd, regularly sharing his best-of lists to the delight of Film Twitter and cinephiles everywhere. And even four years out of office, that tradition hasn’t changed. Obama once again shared his list of best films and shows of the year, and once again showed himself to be a man of taste.

See Barack Obama’s favorite movies and shows of 2020 below.

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Best Movies Streaming Right Now Lovers Rock

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.)

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Small Axe Lovers Rock Trailer

Steve McQueen‘s Small Axe anthology consists of five original films set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s that “tell personal stories from London’s West Indian community.” The first trailer for one of those films – Lovers Rock – is here. Small Axe films played at the New York Film Festival this year, and Lovers Rock seemed to be the title that drummed-up the most buzz, telling the tale of a house party in the 1980s. Watch the Small Axe: Lovers Rock trailer below.

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small axe trailer

Many feature filmmakers have been making the leap to TV lately, but Steven McQueen’s TV debut Small Axe is a little different for a few reasons: it’s on a streaming platform, and it’s not really TV. McQueen’s Small Axe anthology is a collection of five feature films centering on London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, starring high profile stars like Letitia Wright and John Boyega. Several of the films made their debut at the 2020 virtual New York Film Festival, but all five films finally hit Amazon Prime Video this month.

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Small Axe Trailer

Director Steve McQueen, the filmmaker behind poignant and powerful dramas like 12 Years a Slave and Widows, is bringing an anthology series if five films to Amazon late this year, and a new trailer has arrived with a peak at each of the stories within.

Under the title Small Axe, derived from the African proverb, “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe,” the films tell stories about London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s through the mid 1980s. Leitita Wright, John Boyega, Shaun Parkes, Michael Ward, Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn, Kenyah Sandy, and Sheyi Cole all star in the films about people whose lives have been “shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination.” Watch the Small Axe trailer below. Read More »

lovers rock review

Lovers Rock comes in waves — waves of joy, waves of sensuality, waves of dread, waves of wild, shuddering fervor that only begins to wane once the dim light of morning starts to shine through. Taking place entirely over the course of one night, this first film in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology, which charts the lives and London’s West Indian community between 1968 and 1985, is a swooning mood piece that seduces and disarms you until you’re happy to let it lap over you, floating in the warm exuberance of a one-night reggae house party.

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new york film festival 2020 main slate

The 2020 New York Film Festival has announced the 25 films that will make up the main slate of its fall festival. The New York City-based festival, which usually kicks off in the last week of September, is expanding its dates in order to accommodate drive-in screenings, starting a week earlier on September 17. Opening the festival will be new movies from Steve McQueen and Chloé Zhao, while Azazel Jacobs’s French Exit has been chosen to close the festival.

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Lovers Rock

What’s next from Steve McQueen? Not just a movie, but five movies. The Widows director has something on the horizon called the Small Axe Anthology, featuring five different movies, with cast members including John BoyegaLetitia Wright, and more. America will have a first look at what McQueen has in store thanks to the New York Film Festival, which will open with Small Axe installment Lovers RockIn addition to that, two other films from the anthology – Mangrove and Red, White and Blue – will also have their world premiers at the festival.

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