One of the benefits of film is that it is a visual media, and that means that it can do in a frame what it might take a book several pages of description to pull off. Where we see this the most is in its ability to build worlds in front of our eyes.
These worlds could be great space operas that explore galaxies, or a small period piece that looks back in time, or anything. But when every part of the film is being used to tell a story, you know it is good.
So without further ado, these are films that showed excellence in Worldbuilding 2020. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, you can click on the banners to go to the full reviews.
One factor that I will always look out for with a film and that is the musical score. I can get caught in the world of the music, as it sits in my head in the days, weeks, months, and even the years that come. There is immense artistry in weaving emotions from music, having us slip into the world that is created, fear the oncoming dread even if we do know why, or rejoice in the triumph of that final victory.
Music charts the cinematic world, it guides us, it can lift us up, and it can crush our souls, this is its power. So without further ado, these are the musical score that moved us in 2020. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question, and if you click on the banners, you will be taken to the full review.
TL;DR – This is where we start to see what is under the hood in this show, and it might be menacing.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
WandaVision Review –
We continue our dive into this odd show as we start to see the façade slip in places as things that should not be seen are seen. All of this starts asking some uncomfortable questions for our cast.
So to set the scene, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) have started to become permanent fixtures in their little town of Westview. Wanda and Angus (Kathryn Hahn) come along to the local planning committee meeting to help with the talent show led by Dotty (Emma Caulfield Ford) the queen of the town. Meanwhile, Vision, is off to the local neighbourhood watch, after a tree branch scared them in the night. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – This was fun, nostalgic, and also super odd all at once
Rating: 4 out of 5.
WandaVision Review –
Thanks to Covid it has been over a year since we have had anything set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Spider-man: Far From Home for those playing at home). This makes it kind of odd that the first entry back into this world is on Disney+, but then this is a strange show, so it might fit.
So to set the scene, we open sitcom entrance where we see Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) arriving at a new town. A newly married couple is settling into a small town where they are pretending that she is not a witch and he is not an android, but an average couple. Everything is going well until their neighbour Angus (Kathryn Hahn) comes over and helps Wanda plan her ‘anniversary’. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – An interesting film that attempts to integrates some complex issues, but could not make the landing stick.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Outside the Wire Review –
I have been looking forward to an exciting action science fiction film for a long time. I do like that sort of real, sort of future, mash-up like we got in Edge of Tomorrow, but it is a hard line to get right. Well, today we get a film that walks that line into interesting, even if it clear that they don’t know a whole lot about Ukraine.
So to set the scene, it is 2036, and Eastern Europe (Ukraine) has collapsed into war with the USA controlling to the border to stop the chaos spreading. Along this border, a platoon comes under attack and Lt. Thomas Harp (Damson Idris), a drone pilot breaks with command to kill a potential target but taking out two marines as collateral. As a punishment, he is sent to the front line to meet Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), an android military officer, to gain some perspective on war’s realities through first-hand experience.
TL;DR – A fascinating film of love, loss, and coffee.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene
The Heartbreak Club Review –
I have been recently part of a project that had me working on many regions of the world. One of the areas that we focused on was Indonesia, and I realised that I had not seen any of Indonesia’s cinema while I knew a lot about the country. In 2021, I wanted to change that, and today we have the first entry in that with The Heartbreak Club.
So to set the scene, Jatmiko ‘Jat’ (Bhisma Mulia) was at the concert of Lord Didi (Didi Kempot) singing along. However, he becomes overwhelmed by the music and the emotion of his life. We go back in time one month and see Jat and his friend Kopet ‘Pet’ (Erick Estrada) run a coffee shop that no one goes to. When one day Saras ‘Ras’ (Denira Wiraguna) walks in, and their world changes forever as the crazy comes in her wake.
TL;DR – This is Naomi’s episode from start to finish
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Oyedeng Review –
The world of The Expanse is dramatically shifting under the feet of everyone in the Solar System. It is a dangerous time, a churn, with everything being up for grabs. It is in this chaos where we find our characters as the threat of death is very real.
So to set the scene, Naomi (Dominique Tipper) is still trapped on-board Marco’s (Keon Alexander) the Pella. While she was able to save The Roci and its crew from blowing up Tycho Station, it was at the cost of her freedom. But as she remembers better times, Marco comes in to let her walk free, of at least the ship. For there is something, he wants her to witness. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
Well we have looked at Emotion, and then swung wildly across the spectrum to Fun, and now we are completing that trifecta with looking at Tension. Tension is one of the most challenging facets of filmmaking to pull off because it requires the script, direction, acting, and editing to all work in tandem to evoke the perfect pace. If just one part of that group misses then an essential part of the film falls apart.
In 2020 we continued to see some excellent use of tension used to build mystery, or to be the harbinger of the coming dread, or even the ticking clock of inevitability.
So without further ado, these are the moments of tension that kept us on the edge of our seats in 2020. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question.
In our last awards, we looked at the films that hit us in the feels with emotions. Well, now it is time to hard pivot to the other side of the spectrum with a look at the films that were a riot of fun. God knows we needed it in 2020. So today, I take a moment to champion those films that brought the joy, whether through upbeat action, one laugh after another, or that silliness that brings a smile to your face.
So without further ado, these are films that brought the fun in 2020. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, you can click on the banners for the full review.
As I have gotten older, I am not afraid of having a good old fashioned ugly cry in the cinemas when the time calls for it, and hell I probably got emotional just writing this list (Spoiler: I did). Sometimes they are tears of grief, sometimes they are tears of joy, and even still sometimes they are tears of anger.
Emotion is a core part of the cinema experience. If you can’t get us to respond to your characters and/or the situation emotionally, well then I am sorry you have failed in making a good film.
So without further ado, these are the films of 2020 that emotionally wrecked us. Be warned that there will be some big spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, you can click on the banners to go to the full review.