Ready for the ultimate movie marathon?
It’s awards season and so you know what that means – you can now binge watch the best films of 2020-2021 without feeling guilty. Grab a bucket of popcorn and your closest friends. We present a list of films nominated for Best Picture, as well as our two cents. Here are the must-watch movies before the Oscars, showing 26 April 2021 at 8am SGT.
In Florian Zeller’s elegiac, he puts the audience in the shoes of Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an aging man dealing with his progressing memory loss. Starring across Hopkins is Olivia Colman as Anne, his daughter. Through Anthony’s eyes, we see the heartache of confusion and the frustration that comes with growing old. And through Anne, we see the pains of grieving for a father who is still alive.
Robb tip: Bring lots of tissues. This one’s a major tear-jerker.
Judas and the Black Messiah
A 2021 American biographical film, director Shaka King brings us a historical drama about the betrayal of Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. In the film, there is a complex examination of politics within the party as well as the relationship with the FBI. Though it educates a new generation on Black Panther politics, the film feels strangely divorced and messy. Perhaps it is the number of characters with not enough screen time, or one too many slightly over-indulgent monologues, but the movie fails to hit a certain spot.
Robb tip: Appreciate its contemporary relevance and tone, perfect for an era that moves to become more aware of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In this black-and-white drama/comedy, director David Fincher presents the Hollywood of old through a biographical telling of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman). The plot follows Mank’s development of the screenplay Citizen Kane. The historical drama re-evaluates Hollywood through this biopic. And while it does its job of educating well enough, critics argue that the problem mainly lies in that the film is “boring”. We’d rather you be the judge of that.
Robb tip: Read the history of Herman J. Mankiewicz on Wikipedia first – you’ll be able to appreciate the movie better.
The almost two-hour-long drama is a different version of the American Dream. It follows the story of a Korean American family who moves to a farm in Arkansas. Through the big screen, the audience watches as they grapple with the pains of being immigrants, struggling with the reconciliation of the Korean and American identities. A movie about homes, family and the immigrant experience, Director Lee Isaac Chung presents a film that is unpretentious, honest and best of all – real.
Robb tip: Watch with English subtitles, unless you’re incredibly fluent in Korean.
Dubbed the Oscars front runner, director (and screenwriter, editor, producer) Chloé Zhao tells the honest journey of the modern-day nomad. It follows Fern (Frances McDormand), a woman in her sixties who had lost everything in the Great Recession. She leaves Nevada and travels around America, in a quietly intense movie that feels like an intimate look into the life of nomads.
Robb tip: Watch on the big screen to fully appreciate Zhao’s compelling cinematography.
Promising Young Woman
In this feminist revenge thriller, writer and director Emerald Fennel provides a jarring commentary on rape culture. The narrative follows Cassie Thomas (Carrie Mulligan), a med school dropout traumatised by an incident in her past. As she seeks revenge, Fennel’s writing and Mulligan’s artistic handling of the film anchors the movie. It deftly mocks the ‘nice guy’ trope, challenges toxic masculinity and criticises society’s condoning of rape culture. But at the heart of it is something else, and something stronger: female friendship.
Robb tip: Watch with your best friend. Don’t ask why – you’ll find out while watching the movie.
Sound of Metal
Riz Ahmed is Ruben Stone in the 2019 drama by Darius Marder. The premise is simple, yet devastating: What happens when a heavy-metal drummer starts to lose his hearing? The film shines a light on the deaf community and immerses the audience into the characters and their emotions. As the viewer is plunged into a tale about humanity, this movie is far from a light watch.
Robb tip: Head to the toilet before the movie. Though this movie’s over two hours long, you’ll not want to miss a second (or rather, a beat) of it.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
If you didn’t watch this movie before the US elections in 2020, you’ll want to watch Aaron Sorkin’s latest work as soon as you can. It takes on the infamous 1969 trial of seven defendants charged by the federal government after counterculture protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The courtroom drama is fast-paced with dialogue that is nothing short of Sorkin’s energy and flair. Sharp, funny and engaging: Sorkin never disappoints.
Robb tip: Put your phone on mute and keep in it the other room. You’ll need to pay 100 per cent attention to not miss a word of Sorkin’s snappy dialogue.