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Monday, December 28, 2020

Darkmatters Top 10 FIlms 2020


Matt’s Top Ten Films 2020

10. Color Out of Space

Director Richard ‘Dust Devil’ Stanley is a fascinating guy. After making the superb robo-terror flick Hardware and following up with an excellent supernatural serial killer in Dust Devil he got fired from the troubled H.G. Wells adaptation of The Island of Dr Moreau in 1996. He hasn’t made a film since. But now he’s back and he’s come back strong with a freak0ut sci-fi horror based on a weird short story by H.P. Lovecraft.

"the remake of 'The Colour Purple' was extreme'

Color Out of Space is a cosmic tale of what happens when a meteor lands in the grounds of ex-artist Nathan Gardner (Nic ‘Mandy’ Cage)’s rural alpaca farm. The titular ‘Color’ is slowly unleashed and proves to be an extra-terrestrial organism that spreads madness and violence.

The results are a mash-up of grisly body-horror and psych-out – shot through with laugh-out-loud humour. Basically, this is a perfect Friday night entertainment. 

9. The Droving

When Martin (Daniel ‘Hex’ Oldroyd) returns from the military to search for his missing sister Meg (Amy Tyger), he gets caught up in a strange traditional folk festival called 'The Droving', nothing good can come of it…

Based on the actual Winter Droving event that takes place in Penrith – this newest entry into the growing Folk-em-up horror genre that includes classics like The Wicker Man and Midsommer adds some revenge motive violence to the mix.

'stunning use of scenery'

As the second feature from indy production company Rubicon Films, this is an exciting slice of high tension that slow burns with a voodoo menace right up until the occult climax. Other reviewers have cited the excellent Dead Man’s Shoes as a reference point and I totally get that, I’d add Ben Wheatley’s Kill List too.

8. Mank 

Gary Oldman delivers a screen-eating performance as Herman ‘Mank’ Mankiewicz, spitting cynical wisecracks from his motel bed, where he is holed up with a broken leg, trying to finish the screenplay for Citizen Kane. Fincher brings his A-Game loading the cast with excellent female talent too such as long-suffering wife (a great turn from Tuppence Middleton), his female muse Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried) and Rita Alexander (Lily Collins), the prim British secretary assigned to take his dictation. 

'harsh audience'

It’s an irresistibly watchable film, told with a heartfelt drama as Mank struggles first with his creation whilst often under the influence and then to get his ‘writer’ credit on the final production. Let this film take you back to a golden era of Hollywood and it’ll warm the soul of any creatives out there! 

7. How to Build A Girl

This year’s diamond in the rough comedy-drama is set on a Wolverhampton council estate in the 1990s - which I was not expecting… Telling the tale of sixteen-year-old Johanna (Beanie ‘Book Smart’ Feldstein) loves her family but is desperate to outgrow the confines of secondary school. Things look up when she’s hired by a prestigious, male-run music magazine, but she has to reinvent herself with the pen name ‘Dolly Wilde’ - a flame-haired uber harsh critic in a top hat and corset. 

'this is me...'

Johanna might live in council-housing ignominy in the British Midlands with a feckless father (the always awesome Paddy Considine), a postnatally depressed mother (Sarah Solemani) and her confused brother. But the film flies when Feldstein riffs on the material - and there is an excellent Carter USM poster in one scene that made me grin! 

6. Queen & Slim

As Empire says: ‘Of all the films released in 2020, Queen & Slim was perhaps the 2020-est.’ It’s the tale of Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) who meet on a Tinder date and get plunged into a nightmare when a cop pulls them over. 

'on the wrong end of police attention'

Queen & Slim deals in brutality, injustice and beauty amidst an exciting and heart-breaking exposure of an all too authentic feeling Black experience. Packed with stunning visuals this is a road movie with a ton of heart.


Christopher Nolan tore up the rule book of plotting with this spy-em-up palindromic pulse-pounder / brain-scrambler. A super smart and slightly feverish time-travel action flick that delivered some unforgettable set pieces which simultaneously blew the doors off and threw down the gauntlet to the dormant-Bond franchise.

'I can vouch this is a great place for a honeymoon btw'

The cast go about the rum time-bending business with aplomb - lots of credit to David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and even Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh. Tenet is a film that can be enjoyed even more when watched again and is another excellent addition to the Nolan-verse of thrillers. 

4. The Lighthouse

Seafarer beware the beguiling light of The Lighthouse – this new tale of sinister goings-on, superstition and madness from Director Rober ‘The VVitch’ Eggers is salty fare.
Telling the tale of two Lighthouse keepers or ‘wickies’ who both have dark secrets. Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) is a broken former lumberjack, whilst the grizzled experienced keeper Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) seems to be unnaturally possessive of the upper light chamber... This mismatched duo must man the lighthouse on a strange grey islet off the coast of late-19th-century New England, but all might not be so straight forward as the last assistant wickie killed himself citing influence from bad omens and enchantments. 

'secrets and lies'

Folk tales work when the set-up is simple, but the underbelly is deep, packed with creeping dread, unnatural events and sights and sounds that will unnerve you. The Lighthouse is a brilliant but very odd film, presented in black and white on 35mm – immediately evoking David Lynch’s 1977 cult classic Eraserhead. The similarities don’t end there as both films take the viewer on a sensory assault, where at times you don’t even really know quite what’s going on…

3. Bad Boys for Life 

The infamous Bad Boys are back in town some 25 years since Bad Boys hit the cinema. Much has changed since then but this 3rd outing is kinda awesome in that it brings the wise-cracking, whiz-bang buddy cop formula up-to-date and makes it feel fresh again for whole new audience.

The 'boys' are back...

Of course, that’s not entirely true, as a huge fan of the original I’m sensing that the record-breaking box-office of this threequel is largely due to many other like me who have been waiting to see Mike
(Will Smith) and Marcus (Martin Lawrence) hit the streets again.

2. Jo Jo Rabbit

World War II really wasn’t a laughing matter but Taika ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ Waititi somehow manages to deliver a superbly funny WW2 satire that tells the tale of lonely Hitler Youth enthusiast Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis). Jojo lives with his wildly independent single mother (Scarlett Johansson) in Germany as the end of the war approaches – and he is aghast to find out his mum is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. 

"if you're Nazi and you know it - jump"

Jojo has a secret, an idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler himself no less (played by Waititi) – who stokes the young lad’s ideological indoctrination. 

This comic Nazi-em-up might sound like being in poor taste but it goes full-throttle hilarious from the off and you’ll be caught up in the infectious madness before you know it. The premise is liable to make viewers uncomfortable as it makes fun of the horrific fascism, but clever writing is spot on and makes lots of really good points about the horror of war.

1. Possessor Uncut

The boundary between jaw-dropping sci-fi and freak-out horror is one that this extreme psychological thriller bursts through with style. One of the single most disturbing and brilliant viewing experience I’ve had for ages. Directed by son of the body-horror maestro David ‘Videodrome’ Cronenberg, Possessor a seriously unsettling contract-killer-em-up that delves into the psyches of people - expounding human nature in all its brutality. You see in the near future we have the ability to commandeer the minds of anyone and use them to commit crimes. 


Andrea Riseborough is Tasya Vos, the best mind jumping killer out there - but she’s losing her grip much to the concern of her supervisor Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh). When her next Colin Tate (Chris Abbott) manages to fight back control of his body and vow vengeance on her after his girlfriend Ava (Tuppence Middleton) and her father John Parse (Sean Bean) are targeted - things get very grim...

Do not approach if witnessing ultra-violence isn’t something you can do - Possessor is a pitch-black darkness that will haunt you after viewing. Highly recommended!

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