It has been a crazy year with many people probably finding themselves at home with their family or friends watching more movies and binge-watching shows like never before.
A few interesting things stuck out for me this year among the sea of releases, so put down a reservation and see them for yourself during this unusually quiet time of the year!
Informer 3838 is a dramatic retelling of events concerning Melbourne barrister Nicola Gobbo who worked with police and criminals alike during the early 2000s.
3838 is a spin-off of the series Underbelly, and takes the best elements of that original first series (soundtrack, editing, visual design) and brings the production up to date in a condensed mini-series that has a perfect running time and keeps engagement without becoming convoluted.
3838 also isn’t afraid to get serious and look at the human and social cost of crime, as did the original series, and elevates itself above being a quick cash-grab or a forgettable re-hash as a result. Characters returns from the original series and bring a new side to their portrayals making for some all-round quality Aussie TV.
Edward Norton has a knack for playing the awkward, intelligent and troubled protagonists that audiences have shown clear admiration for over the years. Norton’s directorial debut is filled with Hollywood giants like Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe and Bruce Willis, but also leans into its’ source material heavily enough that this feels like more than just another blockbuster covered in studio interference.
Motherless Brooklyn is film that I think will be lined up alongside films like Chinatown and The Aviator as a great character driven story that captures the zeitgeist of its’ setting expertly, with beautiful cinematography and score.
Norton shows a real understanding of film making and most importantly for the viewer, shows that he knows what roles he suits and what his own strengths and limitations are as an actor.
Fleabag is one of the funniest shows currently airing in my opinion and Phoebe Waller-Bridge returns for another season of subverting all our assumptions about what jokes are appropriate, how we should behave around others and most interesting, how many bad things can you do before you’re no longer struggling to be a good person, you’re just a plain bad person.
Waller-Bridge has proven she has a great understanding of black comedy and tragic humour, and unlike other shows that try to write this type of comedy, Fleabag is actually funny.
Fleabag doesn’t leave you rolling you eyes at another self-indulgent sitcom in which the lead character is named after the actor themselves (I’ll give Phoebe a free pass as her show is actually good).
Three of the best currently working actors of our times (Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie) come together to create a film that I wasn’t expecting to think much of initially, but at a certain point I came to really appreciate the way in which this movie showed how much emotional suffering can be caused by workplace harassment, even when those subjected to it might not be sure how to react or deal with the incident and can give the appearance to others of being fine or unconcerned.
Charlize Theron takes this movie to the next level with her portrayal of Megyn Kelly that is probably one the best portrayals of a real person I have ever seen in a film, and each actor gives great credit to the women whom their characters are based on.
John Lithrow was the perfect choice to play Roger Ailes, and as usual Lithgow is a great villain that you just can’t wait to see have his life turned upside down.
The Voices isn’t a recent release like the rest of this list but I watched it recently and it is a new item to the library, so I felt it had to be included.
Ryan Reynolds is known as the funny, good-looking smooth-talker and is usually cast in roles that fit this mould such as Deadpool or a myriad of romantic comedies. However his film career is studded with roles such as Jerry in this film, in which Reynolds really makes you question what type of actor he is (spoiler: the answer is a phenomenal actor).
The film is about as dark a comedy as it gets, and I know that many people would perhaps consider this a horror or thriller. However if you have a taste for the more whacky and thought-provoking dark comedies out there, this is the best I’ve seen in a few years and I think an extremely underrated film.
Anna Kendrick is great opposite Reynolds and really gives him a chance to show how wonderfully weird he can be when given the space to work.
My favourite kids’ movie of the year was either going to be this or Spongebob: Sponge on the Run, but when I think back to the performances of Jim Carrey (as Doctor Robotnik) and James Marsden, this movie really surprised me with how well it was all put together.
This is 100% a film for children, but as a 24-year old child I have to say that it’s probably up there with some of the all-time classics from when I was younger like The Incredibles or Monsters Inc.
Jim Carrey gives his most energetic and comically masterful performance in a long time, showing that he can still get audience laughs in his sleep. Combined with creative animation, it makes this film worth watching and I know I’ll be reserving Sonic 2 when it comes out in 2022.
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