1917, Bad Boys, Parasite

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This past (3-day “MLK”) weekend, I saw three movies, belonging to different genres.

1917: quite absorbing, although not Saving Private Ryan, a good follow up (to Skyfall and Spectre) by Sam Mendes; his directorial debut was, yes, American Beauty, for which he won an Oscar, beating M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense).

Bad Boys: not nominated for any Oscar (or any film award, in any category!), but a solid B+, keeps the franchise going (yes, they set it up for a sequel)

Parasite: watchable, even good in parts, great performance by the cast (SAG Award winner, deservedly), it is even more overrated than The Farewell

Honestly, this year is among the weakest years – I have previously discussed Ford v Ferrari and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and The Irishman and The Farewell and Knives Out — in terms of high-quality movies that I can remember, and so the few semi-decent movies of the past year are getting (“grade inflation”) rave reviews and award nominations. 

Here are some examples of great foreign films:

  Iran: A Separation

  Argentina: The Secret in their Eyes

  Germany: The Counterfeiters

  Palestine: Omar

  Italy: Life is Beautiful (one of my top 10 of all time)

  France: The Artist

Some examples of very good foreign films:

   Denmark: A Hijacking (fictional, but better than Captain Phillips)

   Hong Kong: Infernal Affairs (better than its remake, The Departed)

   Israel: The Gatekeepers (Documentary)

   Norway: Headhunters

If you are interested in some decently high-quality foreign mini-series that are available on Netflix (or other streaming services):

Norway: Occupied

Australia: Wanted, Secret City

Israel: The Spy (Sacha Baron Cohen is very good in the lead role)

Germany: Dogs of Berlin

Spain: Money Heist, High Seas

Poland: Ultraviolet

Belgium: Unit 42

Italy: Zen

UK: Night Manager, The Bodyguard, Deep State, Collateral, Line of Duty

Back to the 2020 Oscar Ballot. My top two movies from the list are:

    Ford v Ferrari


We will find out how the Academy voted on February 9th.


  1. Yes, I liked 1917, Bad Boys, Parasite, Ford v Ferrari, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, The Farewell and Knives Out. I recommend the French “Les Misérables”, directed by Ladj Ly, set in current times outside of Paris.

    1. Thanks!

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