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131 Best Movies & Shows Released in The Past Year

Movies and shows released in 2019 and 2020.

Here is a TV show where the performances are so good that it's hard to give any credit to the story. Patricia Arquette as a prison employee, and Benicio Del Toro and Paul Dano as inmates are an unbelievable trio. They all shine in their own right in this true story of escape from a prison in Upstate New York. Arquette is almost unrecognizable in the role of a frustrated middle-aged woman who gets romantically involved with the inmates. Dano plays the young one, a smart but easily excited guy. Del Toro plays an experienced, shrewd, and boss-type prisoner. Together they take an already exceptional story and create one of the most realistic mysteries in recent memory. Because of this, the pacing might be slow for some - but remember, it's not like the cast is difficult to follow.

9.3

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The first movie to be nominated to both the Documentary and Foreign-Language Oscar categories, Honeyland is a portrayal of one of the last wild beekeepers in Europe shot over three years. Her life consists of taking care of her ailing mother and harvesting honey according to rules her ancestors taught her, such as only taking half of the produced honey at any one time. These rules are broken when a nomad family arrives. The father, anxious about securing for his children, threatens the beekeeper's way of life.There is so much incredible footage in this difficult documentary, from hazardous mountain climbs to a kid helping a cow give birth. But throughout, the question of "how am I watching this?" often comes up, since the footage the filmmakers gained feels unobstructed by anything: it doesn't feel like there is a camera around.

9.3

A gangster epic with an incredible performance from Forest Whitaker. He plays Bumpy Johnson, the famous Harlem gangster, who gets released after serving a long sentence. Trying to get hold of the crime scene he once ruled, he runs into none other than Malcolm X; making this show both a gangster and historical saga. It's the prequel to the Denzel Washington and Ridley Scott movie American Gangster.

9.2

One of the best TV dramas in recent memory, Succession is about a mega-corporation (based loosely on Disney) and the family behind it. It starts with the eldest son trying to prove himself worthy of the CEO position that his father promised him over his siblings. But what does that mean in the world of the 0.01%? A lot of family dysfunction. Watching Succession feels like a vice: it's a guilty sneak-peak into the world of the mega-rich where you're constantly rooting for something or someone you never thought you'd root for. All the characters are amazing but watch out for Cousin Greg!

9.2

This excellent legal drama starts with a successful partner losing her retirement savings to a Ponzi scheme. The person accused of running the scheme is the father of her newest junior associate. They both find themselves out of options and join a black-run firm that specializes in police brutality cases. From legal questions that start on Reddit and 4Chan to trying to find a Trump supporter in the firm, The Good Fight is relatable without being cringy. Everything is believable, including the characters and the arcs.  The Good Fight feels like Suits or The Good Wife, but it also feels much better. It's sharper.

9.1

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This smart and affecting drama is about a struggling family man who tries to turn his life around by working in package delivery. Gig economy delivery people are usually freelancers who own their trucks and are responsible for packages until they're delivered. Of course, a lot goes wrong, parking tickets, traffic, complicated customers, etc; but this movie is not about that. It's about how the very nature of the job is exploitative. From peeing in a bottle to sacrificing family, Sorry We Missed You is an introduction to the world of the people that bring you packages.And huge benefit: it's directed by the legendary Ken Loach, who works only with amateur actors. It has a raw and real feel to it without ever being melodramatic. It's an incredible achievement and an important movie.

9.1

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The true story of a grandma who gets diagnosed with a fatal disease and her family who keeps that information from her. They organize a fake wedding in China where she lives to say goodbye (hence the title).Rapper Awkwafina is incredible as the granddaughter at the center of the story. Living in New York and having a complicated relationship with China, she embodies the cultural question at the center of the story: is it OK not to tell the grandma? But also: can a wedding that's really a funeral to everyone but one person be held without that person's suspicion? The best thing about The Farewell, and it’s mostly thanks to Awkwafina’s performance, is that it’s never melodramatic. It’s technically a comedy, it's often funny, and when it’s sad, it’s heartfelt.

9.1

Lenny Abrahamson (Frank) builds on an amazing soundtrack and fantastic source material to craft the incredibly atmospheric, high-stakes drama about low-stakes relationships, that is Normal People. Every detail of every scene feels studied, everything that is not necessary is removed. The dialogue is sharp and funny. The acting, from the two main characters to the last extra, is perfect.There is no way that the plot description will do Normal People any justice, and it would be revealing too much any way. It's best to go into this not knowing much. One thing is certain, if you liked modern dramas that are about how and what is said as much as they are about what happens, you'll love Normal People.

9.1

Ramy is a comedy about a Muslim-American navigating what it means to be Muslim and what it means to be American. The show tells stories ranging from weird encounters at the mosque and fasting in Ramadan to being offered Ecstasy by a date and not having enough experience with weed and accidentally doing too much. The show, the creator of the show, and the main character of the show are all called Ramy. Everything you see here is personal and made to reflect the many untold contradictions (and irony) of being a young Muslim person growing up in the States.And this is a reminder of why diversity in storytelling matters, not for PC points, but because it brings about completely original, refreshing stories. Most of the jokes and situations will be completely new to you, opening the ground for an incredibly enjoyable and gripping TV show. You will not be able to look away.

9.1

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If you liked Superbad, you will love Booksmart. It's a funny coming-of-age movie about two best friends who embark on one last crazy night before their high-school ends. Sounds like something you've seen before? Don't worry, it's not. This movie might be for fans of smart coming-of-age comedies, but it's very different from them. It's current, creating situations and premises for jokes that haven't been explored before, ranging from taking a Lyft and finding out the driver is their school principal; to mistakenly connecting to his car's sound system while trying to get educated on how two women have sex. The girls in Booksmart are overachieving, fiercely supportive of each other, and yet in the right context, ready to let go and have fun. In short, their endearing attitude makes this movie not only funny but extremely likely to charm your socks off.

9.0
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