Oscar season is always a mixed bag for movie lovers. For many, it’s a chance to heap praise and awards on the best films of last year, but for most others, it’s an exclusive horse race for which they’ve only seen a few of the contenders. Arthouse movies are just that — films for the arthouse, frequently only seen at film festivals or during limited theatrical releases, and often not available for the wider audience to see until long after the Oscar ceremony is over. But NEON is making all six of their Oscar shortlisted titles available to anyone with an account on the movie review website Letterboxd.
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Over the past week, we have published individual top 10 movies of 2020 lists representing each member of the /Film staff. And today, we present the grand climax of that endeavor: the site’s overall Top 15 Movies of 2020 list.
Peter Sciretta, Jacob Hall, Ethan Anderton, Ben Pearson, Hoai-Tran Bui, and Chris Evangelista all contributed to this feature, with their personal lists being used to determine what made this main list and what did not. Let’s say goodbye to 2020 by celebrating one of its few silver linings – the movies.
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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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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 »
When the coronavirus pandemic ramped up back in March, it became clear that 2020 would have a giant asterisk next to it when we look back on this bizarre period in history. As a movie year, it’s been…well, “unconventional” doesn’t seem accurate enough to do it justice. But while tons of big films have shifted out of this year and left giant gaps in our typical entertainment diet, many of those gaps were filled by smaller movies which were released directly to streaming services.
Example: The Painter and the Thief, an utterly transfixing documentary which debuted at Sundance and premiered on Hulu in May. Now that surprising true story about a painter who interviews a thief who stole her work is getting a narrative remake from Neon, the same distribution company that released the original documentary.
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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Movie: The Painter and the Thief
Where You Can Stream It: Hulu
The Pitch: In pop culture, art heists are often meticulously planned, and the mark is typically a villain who the movies depict as “deserving” of having their art stolen. But in real life, that’s not always the case. The Painter and the Thief is a documentary about what happens when an artist’s paintings are stolen and the artist confronts the man who took them.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: There are a million movies and TV shows you could watch that might barely hold your attention while you’re relaxing on the couch. But if you really want to watch something, and want to see something that will grab you from the first frame and command your full attention, look no further than The Painter and the Thief. Read More »