The Mauritanian

The thing about the standard Hollywood biopic is that they generally stick to a tried and true formula: opening with title cards, neat and orderly chronological story with dates punctuated with cue cards, and closing title cards that explain what happened to the characters in the story once the script ends. The Mauritanian is no…

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Tom and Jerry

Tom and Jerry might be Hanna-Barbera’s most enduring and beloved creations. With 164 short films and seven Oscars to their names, the cat and mouse duo have been making audiences laugh for more than eighty years now, but they haven’t had much success in the world of feature length films. Before this latest live-action/animation mashup,…

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AFI Top 100: Toy Story

Each week, this column will cover one film on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time, covering my general thoughts on the film and whether or not I think it belongs on the list. You can also see my personal ranking here. This week’s film is #99 on…

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Passing (2021)

Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga two-hander Passing is one of the showier pictures of Sundance in 2021. Adapted from Nella Larsen’s 1920s story, it’s a film about two women who’ve found themselves down radically different paths. Irene (Ruth Negga) approaches Clare (Tessa Thompson) as they dine. Clare hardly recognises her from when they grew up…

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Best Picture #65: Unforgiven

Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were…

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Music

Sia’s film, Music, found itself ensnared in controversy months before it debuted thanks to a snappy remark from its creator: “Maybe you’re just a bad actor”. She lashed out at autistic viewers who were begging her to explain why she cast her dancer/protege/stand-in Maddie Ziegler in the role of Music, a character on the spectrum.…

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Staff Selects: NYC

Our editor, Henry, moved to New York City recently so we’re taking a look back at some of the films that best capture the Big Apple. Moonstruck “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!” croons Dean Martin over the opening credits of Moonstruck, one of the quintessential pieces of…

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Bliss

When I clicked on Amazon’s latest original movie, I thought I was tuning into an odd romantic comedy that also somehow involved parallel dimensions. The cast certainly looked promising, as did the titillating first trailer. This grey-toned, deadpan dystopian drama is quite the unexpected surprise. Not necessarily in quality, but in the amount of thought…

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How it Ends

Sundance Film Festival has long been known for its notorious quirkiness. Often programming American indie films from a wealthy, nepotistic scene, filmmakers like Miranda July got started at American indie’s largest festival. Past the 2000s Golden Era of twee, it lives on through a millennial BuzzFeed style humor, much to the chagrin of many. This…

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Malcolm & Marie

[written by Ryan N.] Rolled out as a dramatic love story in its first trailer many people, myself included, gave little attention to the fact that Sam Levinson was the mind behind the film. It would be absurd to think the guy who made Assassination Nation, an ultraviolent Japanese-style girl boss movie tackling social media hysteria,…

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In Conversation: Sundance

Sarah: So to start, we’ve already had quite a few high profile acquisitions, with Netflix and Misha and the Wolves, Apple and Coda, Hulu and Summer of Soul, Neon and Flee, and Sony Pictures Classics and Jockey. Any of these surprise anyone? Any deals you’re still expecting? Lee: I have a list I made a…

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In Conversation: MCU

Jen: We’re talking about Marvel today. As somebody whose formative years as a critic was when the MCU was at its height of universal acclaim, it’s been interesting to see the trajectory. At least in my circles there are people that either love them or are tired of the samey feel, and while I understand…

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Saint Maud

If nothing else, Saint Maud is notable on this site for being layered and compelling enough that I had the drive to actually get this review submitted in a timely manner. Maybe it’s because I want to strike while the iron is hot, while the final moments of the film have branded themselves onto my…

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Judas and the Black Messiah

What I have had to relearn about the 1960s as a decade in American politics has been infinite. I was taught the usual schtick in elementary school – Dr. King good, violence bad. In high school I remember reading Malcolm X’s essay “Learning to Read.” Thinking about it all these years later I should have…

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The Little Things

Pitched in 1993 by writer/director John Lee Hancock only to be met with apprehension for being too dark, The Little Things is now upon us. The 1990’s setting has gone from contemporary to a period piece, and the dynamic of the lead trio is just different enough from that of Se7en to set itself apart.…

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AFI Top 100: Vertigo

Each week, this column will cover one film on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time, covering my general thoughts on the film and whether or not I think it belongs on the list. You can also see my personal ranking here. This week’s film is #9 on…

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Spontaneous

It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m sitting here, watching and writing about Spontaneous, the only 2020 movie I currently have in my collection (until morning, when my mother opens the copy of Bill & Ted Face the Music I got her). And I didn’t even buy this copy. It was signed and sent to me by…

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Locked Down

In less than a year, the Zoom ring sound takes me out of a movie more than a Wilhelm scream does. My adverse reaction to this isn’t Locked Down’s fault, as the wave of movies directly inspired by 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have already begun to creep onto our screens with titles like Host,…

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Staff Selects: Mumblecore

Today we’re talking about some of our favorites of the short lived microgenre of mumblecore. Some of us opted for a loose definition of the term. Creep I could never do something as trivial as following the rules, so my mumblecore pick is more of a mumblegore film. Creep certainly has all of the trademarks…

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In Conversation: Q&As

Kern: Like I mentioned in our previous In Conversation, I think between the two of us, we’ve been to a fair number of Q&As, so I wanted to really talk about some of the more interesting ones we’ve seen. So many of them are utterly forgettable. For instance the one we saw after The Report…

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Best Picture #61: Rain Man

Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were…

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AFI Top 100: Bringing Up Baby

Each week, this column will cover one film on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time, covering my general thoughts on the film and whether or not I think it belongs on the list. You can also see my personal ranking here. This week’s film is #88 on…

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In Conversation: 2020

Henry: When this year started off with a trip over to the Netherlands for the Rotterdam Film Festival, getting to go to the BAFTA’s, and getting that accreditation for Cannes, all while finally having found the groove with the site, it seemed like it was about to be the best year for film yet. Then…

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Best of 2020- Staff

Through some dubious method that compiled all of our individual lists (which you can find by clicking on author names or the Best of 2020 tag) and assigned points based on how highly ranked films were and how often they were mentioned, we’ve created this composite list of Cinema Etc’s top 10 films of 2020.…

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Best of 2020- Henry

Most years, my top ten list would just be a list of the ten films I enjoyed the most or was thinking about when writing and I would hope a few people get something out of it, but in a weird year like this one, I figured I would take the opportunity to highlight a…

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Best of 2020- Jennings

I’d like to start this list off with some honorable mentions: The Small Axe series: McQueen is one of my favorite filmmakers working today and this series further confirms that, but I chose to leave individual entries off my list to cover as much ground as possible. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: A late contender that…

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Best of 2020- Kern

5. Fourteen (Dan Sallitt, US) Dan Sallitt’s woefully underseen film brilliantly depicts something everyone can relate to on some level: an inescapable asymmetrical friendship. Mara (Tallie Medel) and Jo (Norma Kuhling) are lifelong friends, but it’s immediately clear that they’re nothing alike: Mara is ambitious and organized, whereas Jo is impulsive and unrestrained. The film…

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Best of 2020- Davey

10. Possessor (Brandon Cronenberg, UK/US/Canada) Available on VOD and DVD/Blu-ray 9. Bill & Ted Face the Music (Dean Parisot, US) Available on VOD and DVD/Blu-ray 8. Shirley (Josephine Decker, US) Available on Hulu, VOD, and DVD 7. Kajillionaire (Miranda July, US) Available on VOD and DVD 6. Nomadland (Chloe Zhao, US) Coming soon 5. Minari…

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Best of 2020- Sarah

10. Promising Young Woman (tie) (Emerald Fennell, US) Carey Mulligan’s devastating, desperately barbed performance is at the heart of a thriller that flips the rape revenge genre on its head. Every Saturday night she goes home, fake drunk, with a man, and every night they try to make a move. What results is a messy…

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Best of 2020- Cole

2020 has been, to put it bluntly, the biggest shake-up of the film industry since the end of the Silent Era. As the pandemic shut down movie theaters across the globe and forced everyone to stay isolated in their homes, cinemas went virtual and studios had to think outside of the box for their release…

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Best of 2020- Lee

To say “What a year we’ve had” would not only be an understatement, but an unwanted cue for an unnecessary flashback reminding us of the whole catastrophic chapter we’ve been through. But that’s just it: “we’ve been through.” Riding some massive ups and downs that put any roller coaster in the history of mankind to…

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Best of 2020- Chris

Prior to the official kick off of 2020, I couldn’t think of a single film on the release slate for the year that I was genuinely looking forward to watching. All things considered, 2020 did turn out to be a better year for movies than it had any right to, what with the film industry…

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AFI Top 100: Tootsie

Each week, this column will cover one film on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time, covering my general thoughts on the film and whether or not I think it belongs on the list. You can also see my personal ranking here. This week’s film is #69 on…

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

This year has brought us a lot of unexpected and amazing films, but I don’t think Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is arriving with low expectations. As the final performance on film from Chadwick Boseman and a continuation of August Wilson adaptations following Fences, the latest Netflix original has been gathering buzz for quite some time.…

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AFI Top 100: Some Like It Hot

Each week, this column will cover one film on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time, covering my general thoughts on the film and whether or not I think it belongs on the list. You can also see my personal ranking here. This week’s film is #22 on…

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