15 Best Movies on Topic Right Now

15 Best Movies on Topic Right Now

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The streaming service Topic from First Look Media, which was started by the founder of eBay Pierre Omidyar, is a young but quickly growing platform. Here, we count down the best movies currently streaming on Topic. 

15. Grass (2019)

7.0

Country

N/A, South Korea

Director

Fab 5 Freddy, Hong Sang-soo

Actors

Ahn Jae-hong, B-Real, Damian Marley, Gi Ju-bong

If you like movies without plot, you’ll love Korean master Hong Sang-soo’s work in Grass. Sang-soo likes to write the script for his characters and not the other way around: he hires actors, then writes a script that would fit them every morning of the shoot.

The result is a personal movie that feels improvised and experimental, despite being quite simple: it’s about a small café and a woman who observes the interactions of the guests.

14. Christine (2016)

7.0

Country

United States of America

Director

Antonio Campos, John Carpenter

Actors

Alexandra Paul, Angela Ray, Antonio Campos, Carl Palmer

Moods

Dark, Depressing, Dramatic

Christine is about Christine Chubbuck, an awkward and complex reporter who was the first person ever to commit suicide on live TV.

Rebecca Hall is terrific as Chubbuck and goes to great lengths to communicate the personality of her subject matter. The movie might seem slow at times, and her acting off, but it’ll all make sense once she immerses you in the complex reality of the character.

An interesting story and an incredible performance.

13. Starred Up (2013)

7.2

Country

Ireland, UK, United Kingdom

Director

David Mackenzie

Actors

Amma Boateng, Anthony Adjekum, Anthony Welsh, Ashley Chin

Moods

Intense, Raw, Suspenseful

Based off the real life experiences of the film’s writer, Jack Asser, Starred Up is a gritty crime drama set within a violent offenses prison in the UK. The film’s name references a youthful offender who, by virtue of his crimes, is sent to an adult facility. The film hums along like a taut bit of wire, keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat as the enormity of the prison subculture is unfolded in front of them.  Unlike many other prison dramas, this film isn’t afraid to break cliches and explore new ground, and is populated with disturbingly real character studies, slices of dark and broken humanity.

12. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (2020)

7.5

Country

United States of America

Director

Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross

Actors

Shay Walker

Moods

Slice-of-Life

This stirring peek into the final days of a shuttering Las Vegas dive might be one of the finest odes to American bar culture yet. It also serves as a powerful portrait of a particular moment deep into the disastrous Trump years, yet right before the pandemic struck.

Directors Bill and Turner Ross capture the good, bad, and ugly, allowing conversations to unfold naturally. The colorful hues of the bar create a cinematic canvas for the patrons, who awash with booze and nostalgia, uncertainty, fear, and love, spend their last day together. If there was ever a film for those who miss the rough and tumble nightlife of the pre-Covid world, this is it. 

11. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2012)

7.9

Country

UK, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Female director, Lynne Ramsay

Actors

Aaron Blakely, Alex Manette, Andy Gershenzon, Ashley Gerasimovich

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Intense, Mind-blowing

Adapted from the Lionel Shriver novel of the same name, We Need to Talk About Kevin is the story of a mother (Tilda Swinton) that never quite bonds with her child, but not by her choice. The son grows up to do a heinous act that begs the question: nature or nurture? This film is an uncompromising view on the development of an unloved child. Silent pain gets voice. Feelings are shown by actions not emotions in an authentic, comprehensible and aesthetic manner. Great work.

10. Love, Antosha (2019)

best

8.0

Country

United States of America

Director

Garret Price

Actors

Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ben Foster

Moods

Emotional, Heart-warming, Mind-blowing

This movie narrated by Nicolas Cage is the incredible story of actor Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Like Crazy): from being born to a Jewish Russian family in Leningrad to moving to the U.S. and ending with his sudden death at age 27. Anton, or Antosha as his loved ones called him, was a gifted kid: he was making his own movies at seven years old, taking highly sophisticated notes on Fellini movies, and picking up playing guitar in a short time. He took photographs that still show in exhibitions around the world. He led an extraordinary life, portrayed here, one that was cut way too short.

9. American Animals (2018)

best

8.0

Country

UK, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Bart Layton

Actors

Al Mitchell, Ann Dowd, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner

Moods

Gripping, Suspenseful, Thrilling

This crazy heist movie is told in a very original way. Because it’s based on a true story, the movie (with actors and a story) is sometimes interrupted by the people it’s about. The opening scene even reads: “this movie is not based on a true story, it is a true story”. Two friends decide to rob their local library from rare books worth millions. They’re driven by money but also by wanting something different than their monotonous everyday lives in Kentucky. The need for a change is a big theme in this movie, but the story and the way it’s told never cease to be breathtakingly thrilling. American Animals stars amazing actors like Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk), Evan Peters (Kick-Ass), and many more; but perhaps equally as notable is the director: Bart Layton, who is fresh from his amazing 2012 sleeper-hit The Imposter.

8. 35 Shots of Rum (2008)

8.6

Country

France, Germany

Director

Claire Denis, Female director

Actors

Adèle Ado, Alex Descas, Djédjé Apali, Ériq Ebouaney

Moods

Mind-blowing

This bittersweet film about a father and a daughter marks one of the more tender spots in Claire Denis’ brilliant filmography. Frequent collaborator Alex Descas plays Lionel (the father), while Mati Diop, now a director in her own right, plays Josephine (the daughter.) The film captures the two at a crossroads, with their closely-knit relationship tested as Josephine grows closer to her boyfriend, and Lionel must face the possibility of finally letting her go.

A melancholy lingers in the air as we learn more about their lives and the small community of neighbors and coworkers in their orbit. Meanwhile, the film’s climax holds a mesmerizing sequence set to the Commodores’ Nightshift, which has to rank as one of the best needle drops in cinema from a director who already has an all-timer under her belt. (see. Beau Travail)

7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

best

8.8

Country

Denmark, Germany, Norway

Director

Niels Arden Oplev

Actors

Alexandra Pascalidou, Annika Hallin, Barbro Enberg, Bjorn Granath

Moods

Character-driven, Smart, Suspenseful

The original Swedish mystery thriller that was later remade by David Fincher. It’s the same story of a wealthy man hiring a journalist and scrappy hacker to solver a murder, but told better. This version is slower, has more attention to detail and pace. In casting, authenticity triumphs over good looks. In staging, aesthetics are given as much importance as thrills. And in the story, intelligence wins over plot. This gives the main character of Lisbeth Salander (played by Noomi Rapace) better space to deploy her full mysticism and enigmatic nature. Danish director Niels Arden Oplev masterfully brings everything together to make for a movie that will forever be remembered.

6. Fireworks Wednesday (2007)

9.0

Country

France, Iran, United States of America

Director

Asghar Farhadi

Actors

Behshad Sharifian, Hamid Farokhnezhad, Hamid Farrokhnejad, Hedie Tehrani

Moods

Character-driven, Dramatic, Emotional

There are two auteur directors that we recommend more than anyone else on this site. One is Hirokazu Koreeda, the Japanese master of intricate drama, the other is Asghar Farhadi. Mr. Farhadi is an Oscar-winning, Iranian filmmaker and one of the most recognisable directors out there. His third film, Fireworks Wednesdays, paved the way for him to become one of the hidden champions of international cinema. As is often the case with the stories he tells, the film portrays the life of a couple in turmoil, Mozhdeh and Morteza Samiei, played by Hedye Tehrani and Hamid Farokhnezhad. She suspects him of cheating on her with their neighbor, a beautician, and sends the maid, a soon-to-be bride named Roohi, to the salon to spy on her. When Roohi takes matters in her own hands, the couple can’t help but watch things spiraling out of control. This happens against the backdrop of Chaharshanbe Suri, an Iranian holiday celebrated with fireworks on the Wednesday before the Iranian New Year, hence the title. Will it make for an explosive ending? From what you have heard so far, this could easily be melodramatic, but Fahradi is too good. He’s very, very good.

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