WHAT I WROTE
Parasite: "Koreda's Shoplifters have become more belligerent, shapeshifting into fully fledged home invaders. Class warfare is the dominant narrative of early 21st cinema and Joon-Ho has always been building cinematic barricades (consider Snowpiercer, Okja and even his earlier shorts). Fantasy always preempts reality: the world is literally on fire: it's about time. The upper class parasites have been warned."
Climax: "[indistinct shouting][grunting][woman screaming][moaning][gasping][sobbing][indistinct shouting][coughing][puking sounds][man crying][all laughing maniacally][music continues][dip to white] It's French extreme horror, baby. Slick madness. Deranged characters. Killer soundtrack. Watch and learn."
The Nightingale: "A movie like The Nightingale makes you wish for the utter, irrevocable annihilation of the so-called Great Britain, something that Brexit is finally delivering. The second collapse of what's left of the Empire is a reason to celebrate. Jennifer Kent's bold, daring, uncompromising tale of subaltern uprising against the Anglo invaders recalls Fanon' elegiac writing. Alas, this is only a fantasy. Herstory."
Keep an Eye Out: "When it comes to sheer zaniness, Quentin Dupieux makes Michel Gondry look like an austere version of Michael Haneke. Unreliable narrators, doctored flashbacks, twists and roundabouts, meta-narratives gone bonkers and post-ironic tropes, you name it, Q deploys them in large quantities. This is the cinema of pataphysics, a solution to a non-existent problem. Keep an eye out on Dupieux."
Midsommar: "Like Hereditary, each scene of Midsommar is permeated by a sense of dread and doom. Not a reinvention of folk horror (unlike the masterful Kill List), but rather an extended homage, with the added value of the "slaughtering of dumb American tourists" trope (see Hostel, Sacrosanct etc.), Midsommar's narrative ineluctability is its strength. Each character' demise comes with a strong emotional release, like a catharsis."
Aniara: "Shopping center lost in space set to Toto's Africa. Abandoned mall space opera. Call it what you want: Aniara is masterpiece of bleakness. A new classic. Forget Ad Astra."
The Dead Center: "Masterful minimalist horror on the theme of lethal virality permeated by a contagious mood of dread. A zombie flick with a twist and jaw dropping side effects. It reminded me of Pieter Van Hees' Left Bank for no reason. Shane Carruth is phenomenal. Lots of overview shots: Billy go easy with them drones. All things considered, The Dead Center does qualify as one of the best American horror film of this decade"
Holiday: "Think Sexy Beast with a crazy candy-and-pastel palette. This time, it's the Swedes portraying the Danes as the epitome of Euro Trash. Limitless amount of stupidity on display. Holiday feels like an Ulrich Seidl movie shot by Martin Parr. Isabella Eklof is incredibly talented. I need a beer."
Joker: "Far from being yet another inane movie about superheroes for infantile audiences (Martin, I'm with you), Joker is the story of a country that elected a Gotham City clown for president. This tale of ordinary madness is about amusing ourselves to death. Alongside Childish Gambino's "This is America", Joker perfectly captured the zeitgeist. Joker is the US circa 2019: bleak, mad, nihilistic, bloodthirsty, ignorant, directionless."
DISCLAIMERS and ANNOTATIONS
Not seen yet: Uncut Gems by Josh and Benny Safdie, USA; La Flor by Mariano Llinás, Argentina; Synonyms by Nadav Lapid, France/Israel/Germany; Asako I & II by Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, Japan/France; Portrait of a Lady on Fire by Céline Sciamma, France; Endless Night by Eloy Enciso Cachafeiro, Spain; MS Slavic 7 by Sofia Bohdanowicz and Deragh Campbell, Canada; Wasp Network by Olivier Assayas, France/Spain/Brazil; Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream by Frank Beauvais, France; A Hidden Life by Terrence Malick, United States; X&Y by Anna Odell, Sweden; The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily by Lorenzo Mattotti, Italy (pretty much the only Italian film I had on my must see list in 2019); Les Miserables by Lady Ly, France; To The Ends of Earth by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan; Deerskin by Quentin Dupieux, France, Vitalina Varela by Pedro Costa, Portugal, By the Grace of God by François Ozon, France; Clemency by Chinonye Chukwu, United States; Beanpole by Kantemir Balagov, Russia: Happy New Year, Colin Burstead by Ben Wheatley, England; Atlantis by Valentyn Vasyanovych, Ukraine, and a million more.
Strongly disliked: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino, USA; Eighth Grade by Bo Burnham, United States; Booksmart by Olivia Wilde, United States; The Laundromat by Steven Soderbergh, United States; Destroyer by Karyn Kusama, United States; The Last Black Man in San Francisco by Joe Talbot, United States; Her Smell by Alex Ross Perry, United States; Ad Astra by James Gray, United States.
Hated with passion: Beach Bum by Harmony Korine, United States; Us by Jordan Peele, United States; Madeline’s Madeline by Josephine Decker, United States; Vox Lux by Brady Corbet, United States; Diamantino by Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt, Portugal.
Didn’t bother: The House That by Jack Built by Lars von Trier, Denmark; The Dead Don’t Die by Jim Jarmusch
MY FAVORITE MOVIES OF THE DECADE (2010-2019)
2019: Parasite by Bong Joon-Ho, South Korea
2018: First Reformed by Paul Schrader, United States
2017: The Killing of a Sacred Deer by Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece
2016: Toni Erdmann by Maren Ade, Germany
2015: The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece
2014: Borgman by Alex Van Warmerdam, The Netherlands
2013: The Wall by Julian Polser, Austria
2012: Holy Motors by Leo Carax, France
2011: Melancholia by Lars Von Trier, Denmark
2010: The Temptation of St. Tony by Veiko õunpuu, Estonia
MY FAVORITE DIRECTORS OF THE 2020
Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece
Francois Ozon, France
Quentin Dupieux, France
Bertrand Bonello, France
Pablo Larrain, Chile
Ben Wheatley, England
Joanna Hogg, England
Nicolas Winding Refn, Denmark
Pedro Almodovar, Spain
Benjamín Naishtat, Argentina
Bong Joon-Ho, South Korea
Maren Ade, Germany
Christian Petzold, Germany
Ulrich Seidl, Austria
Gaspar Noé, France
Bruno Dumont, France
Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece
Kleber Mendonça Filho, Brazil
Veiko õunpuu, Estonia
Peter Strickland, England
Lynne Ramsay, England
Isaac Ezban, Mexico
Ruben Östlund, Sweden
David Cronenberg, Canada
Xavier Dolan, Canada
Denis Villeneuve, Canada
Alex Ross Perry, United States
Noah Baumbach, United States
Jim Jarmusch, United States
Darren Aronofsky, United States
Rick Alverson, United States
Lav Diaz, Philippines