I don’t enjoy comparing movies to other movies and I don’t believe that any film is inherently bad. It’s why I have no rating system and it’s why you’re receiving this instead of a “10 Best/Worst” list. A lot of time and effort goes into making these films from hundreds of people, and I think bashing their efforts is disrespectful. I say that every movie is worth something and I genuinely believe that, even if it’s Hellboy (2019). So without further ado, here are the 10 films that I enjoyed most this year, in release order.
Bo Burnham’s Inside
Comedian Bo Burnham shines in this made-for-Netflix special which, like all good comedy, does more than provide laughs. Shot entirely by Burnham during isolation, it demonstrates his mental health struggles through toe-tappingly good musical numbers. Hands down the most relatable piece of the year.
A young huntress befriends a young girl who can change into a wolf while her father attempts to wipe out the pack in this Celtic-inspired tale. The hand-drawn 2-D animation provides a certain fairytale vibe that other styles only seek to emulate whilst the score is hauntingly beautiful.
The Suicide Squad
A gang of superpowered convicts embark on a suicide mission in James Gunn’s soft reboot of the DC team. It is gloriously absurd and hilarious, with all the violence befitting a 15 rating, but has the same emotional resonance as Gunn’s other works. Comic book movie of the year.
A group of teachers attempt an alcohol-based social experiment in this dark comedy starring the always brilliant Mads Mikkelsen. A collaboration between Danish, Swedish, and Dutch companies, it relies primarily on its charming characters and important message. Features a very bittersweet but appropriate ending.
A powerful and necessary look at S&M Lesbians from the 1970s to today. This amazing documentary details the Greenwood camp, dyke housing, the birth of funtime toys, and the continuous fight to exist. It’s because of women like them that we can be free to be ourselves. Learning about the LGBTQ+ Community is no longer illegal in the UK and US (mostly) so please learn all you can. Queer history is too important to be forgotten or erased.
This thriller follows an evening of rising tension in a fictional restaurant. Shot in one take, it flows smoothly between characters via their interactions whilst rarely giving time to breathe. All amplified by a non-existent score, this is true edge-of-the-seat entertainment.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
The titular anti-hero faces off against the titular villain in this fun semi-rom-com. Has a more coherent plot than the first but is just as entertaining and makes full use of that 15 rating. Everything a fan could want from a Venom movie…unless that fan hopes it won’t tie into the MCU.
Last Night in Soho
A fashion student begins having visions of a murder in 1960’s London in Edgar Wright’s outstanding horror debut. It’s stunningly shot, marvelously choreographed, exceptionally acted, and has a soundtrack to die for. Features fairly heavy subject material but handles it with the respect it deserves.
The French Dispatch
Wes Anderson provides an anthology of tales, patched together by the overarching setting of a fictional magazine in his latest masterpiece. It’s a real love letter to journalism, filled with the expert cinematography and big-name actors that have come to define his productions.
West Side Story
This remake of the 1961 classic based on the Broadway hit based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is simply stunning. Stephen Spielberg’s first foray into musicals feels as if I’m witnessing this story for the first time again. The cinematography frames the choreography as if it’s in love with it whilst the acting is some of the finest I’ve seen. Movie of the year.