Ben Pearson’s Top 10 Films of 2020

Top 10 films of 2020

A common refrain over the past few months has been that 2020, in addition to being a rough year for everyone overall, was also a rough year for movies. But while the pandemic’s impact on the entertainment industry cannot be overstated (and may not truly be known for several more years), and several big-budget movies were bumped further down the release calendar, I’m not ready to relegate the films of 2020 to the same scrap heap that the rest of the year deserved. There were plenty of great films that made their way to audiences – you just had to do a bit more digging to find some of them.

Looking back at a year we’d all rather forget, I’ll happily remember these films as buoys which helped keep me afloat during some scary, discouraging times. These are my ten favorite movies of 2020. Read More »

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.

Read More »

mangrove review

There have been a lot of conversations about Black pain as of late, whether in the news or in the movies. How do you thoughtfully depict it? Where is the line drawn? I’m far from an expert on the topic, but it seems to me that Steve McQueen, in Mangrove, the second of his Small Axe films, has found at least one answer: counterbalance that Black pain with Black joy.

Read More »

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 »

mangrove trailer

Amazon Prime Video has released the official trailer for Mangrove, the first of five films in Steve McQueen‘s highly anticipated Small Axe anthology series, two of which were included in the Cannes 2020 Official Selection. Mangrove, a rousing drama about the protest march of the Mangrove 9, a group of Black activists who clashed with London police during a protest march in 1970, was one of those selected for Cannes. See why it received that special distinction with the Mangrove trailer below.

Read More »