1. Promising Young Woman
Read full review: “Promising Young Woman is a fast-paced, high stakes chain of events that has you guessing with each turn. Carey Mulligan’s work here is exceptional, and it stands as one of her best roles to date.”
This film captured the curiosities of film-goers and kept them hooked until the very end, and the responses were largely positive. The performances from Carey, Burnham, and the rest of the supporting cast absolutely hit it out of the park and this is a story that will have you thinking for days.
This is a glimpse into the life and events of Herman J. Mankiewicz, who wrote the now-classic film Citizen Kane, and how he got there. Largely believed to be based on his friend William Randolph Hearst, which Hearst did not respond well to, Citizen Kane was formulated and written after Mankiewicz broke his leg and was laid up for a time. The performance from Gary Oldman here is clever and witty, attributes often given to the original Mank, as we go back and forth between the man’s memories and his time writing the famous script.
3. The Prom
Read full review: “The Prom is a high-camp A-list explosion of laughs and sequins that turns the ‘zazz’ up to an 11 but somehow sacrifices absolutely none of the heart or dramatic heft of what made it such a special stage experience in the first place. In fact, it might be even better.”
Pixar is a powerhouse of animated films and, more often, they do exactly what they’re intended to do. But with Soul, audiences received much more. This is a beautiful, heartwarming, and culturally respectful and inclusive production that stands out as one of the animation studio’s finest works. It’s made for kids and adults in mind, as it deals with big issues of mortality and purpose in life.
Absolutely sublime, Emma. is a whimsical and immensely gratifying take on the classic novel by Jane Austen. Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Josh O’Connor, Bill Nighy, and the rest of the cast make this an incredibly fun experience, full of lavish sets, costumes, and sceneries that brighten up the screen.
6. Dick Johnson Is Dead
Normally, a documentary wouldn’t be included on this list. Top lists are, typically, reserved for feature films. But Dick Johnson Is Dead is a clear exception. With wit, humor, and somberness, this film blurs the line between documentary and movie as the film’s subject, Dick Johnson, allows us a look into the final stage of his life with the help of his daughter, and the film’s director, Kirsten Johnson. You will laugh and cry all throughout watching this.
7. Palm Springs
Read full review: “At about ninety minutes, this film is a breeze. It could have benefited from an additional ten minutes in order to flesh out some of the details, but there are few complaints with how it is. It is so good that when looking [last] summer’s lineup of comedies, Palm Springs is the strongest. It might just be the comedy of the year, dominating over Pete Davidson’s The King of Staten Island. Hulu has already reported record viewership with this release.”
Read full review: “The idea of an alien invasion or parasitic presence is hardly new, and films about this have been made for decades now. But the way Sputnik tells its story is especially sinister and offputting. There is a grotesqueness that creeps up. There are very few quick moments. Instead, as events unfold and decisions are made, the audience is forced to linger and be patient. This helps to set the mood and it is done effectively.”
9. Sound of Metal
Sound of Metal is an intense rush of sound and, consequently, the absence of it. Focusing on Ruben, a heavy metal drummer who experiences tinnitus and loses his hearing, Riz Ahmed gives the performance of his career (so far) and it’s a touching story about the difficulties of hearing loss, grappling with a newfound disability, and adjusting to a hearing world. The sound editing and mixing in this production is top-tier and captures the sounds and nuances of Ruben’s struggles effectively.
10. Bad Education
Premiering on HBO shortly after the shutdown of theaters in the Spring of 2020, Bad Education set an example for what TV movies should be and how they can shape the conversation. The all-star cast in Bad Education, including Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, and Ray Romano, helped to make this production a more impressive one in recounting the real-life events of a school district caught in scandal. If you haven’t seen this one, it’s worth a watch or two.