1985, a movie from 2018, was made like it was filmed during the year it’s about: it’s shot on gorgeous black-and-white Super 16mm film.Not that it would be needed, but this minimalist setting puts a spotlight on the ensemble cast of this well-acted drama based on an award-winning short film.In particular, the central one by Cory Michael Smith (Gotham, Camp X-Ray). He plays Adrian, a man visiting his conservative family in Texas from New York, so gently at times and explosively at others, it’s a sight to behold.Adrian, estranged from his family for three years, visits them to find a way to tell them that he has AIDS.
Arabella is a Twitter-famous writer from London who has one night to submit a draft for her second book. She gives herself an hour break during that night to go out for drinks with a close friend. When she gets back she realizes that much more than an hour had passed, that she had blacked-out, and that she has bruises all over her body.Like the excellent Chewing Gum, I May Destroy You is a Michaela Coel one-woman show: she is the showrunner, the writer, co-director, and leading actress. And whatever Coel makes, she makes it personal and without compromises. I May Destroy you is based on her experience being sexually assaulted while making Chewing Gum.To make sure she told this story right, she turned down a $1 million deal from Netflix over creative ownership.
The Very Best
Absolute must-watch movies and shows.
This immersive documentary is about a beloved independent record store that opened in front of a major music chain in Manhattan in 1995. Its founders called it Other Music, a jab at the chain and a reference to the music it would carry. Other Music would go on to become a mecca that welcomes music fanatics from around the world. Its clerks would become legendary for their shaman-like knowledge, many famous bands would have their start at shows in the store, and Other Music would even re-issue artists who were forgotten. But in today’s hostile world towards independent cultural institutions, can anything, however influential or successful it may be, live?
The highly unusual story of this documentary starts with Kevin Hearn, a member of the band Barenaked Ladies, realizing that his painting by famous Canadian Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau is a fake. When he sues the collector he bought it from, he starts a series of inquiries that unravel a story that gets progressively darker: drug dealing, organized crime, addiction, sexual abuse, and completely crazy characters (reminiscent of Tiger King).Behind all of that, There Are No Fakes is about the exploitation not only of Indigenous art but of Indigenous people in Canada in general.
This outstanding Polish movie is about an ex-convict who goes through a transformation in jail and decides he wants to become a priest. Not being able to at first because of his criminal record, he cons his way into taking over a parish.Corpus Christi is a portrayal of a troubled religious community (a recent accident took the lives of many people in the parish), and perhaps even a reflection of modern-day conservative Poland. But in its essence, and especially due to a breathtaking central performance, it's an examination of the life of a priest beyond the confines priesthood. It's at the same time refreshing, seeing a new way of preaching, and thrilling, waiting for the priest to be exposed.
Like all great documentaries, Angry Inuk is about way more than its tagline. At first glance, it's about how anti-sealing activism has been harming Inuit communities since the 1980s, to the point of instituting the highest rates of hunger and suicide anywhere in the "developed" world. But beyond, it's about the complicity of the government of Canada. A crushed seal-based economy means that the Inuit have to agree to oil and uranium mining in the Arctic.Angry Inuk is also about the corrupt behavior of animal rights organizations like Greenpeace: seals are actually not on the endangered animal list but NGOs focus on them because they make them money.It's an infuriating but incredibly important documentary. One that is not about how Canada has a bad history, but about how Canada is harming the Inuit right now.
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.
This addictive thriller is about two groups of Swedish young people: one already radicalized, fighting in Syria, and the other, still in high-school and on the path to radicalization.An anti-terrorism officer with a questionable past is put in contact with a woman who traveled to Syria and wants to get back to Sweden. In exchange, this woman offers information about an upcoming attack in Europe.Caliphate is fascinating, deeply thrilling, and made with an authenticity that sees past cheap stereotypes to offer genuine insight into what drives young people to become terrorists.
Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) and Chris Geere (You're the Worst) are among the many recognizable faces that star in this clever dark comedy. Áine is Irish but lives in London where she teaches English as a second language. She checks out of rehab and tries to re-navigate the aspects of her life that drove up her stress before: failed relationships, pressure from her family to have kids, rats in her flat - you name it.This Way Up is funny throughout its six-episode first season but its true brilliance is in portraying the helplessness of navigating loneliness in a big city.
Jared Harris (Chernobyl) stars in this drama-horror show co-produced by Ridley Scott. In 1845, two huge ships, Terror and Erebus were sent on an expedition to the arctic to try to find the Northwest Passage, a century-old dream of connecting Asia and Europe through North America. When things don't go as planned, the captains of both ships, two very different men, find themselves facing a tragedy.This well documented historical event (Captain Sir John Franklin's lost expedition) is told by mixing in mythology and folk tales of the Indigenous Inuit people.