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
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)
If you are interested in some decently high-quality foreign mini-series that are available on Netflix (or other streaming services):
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
Belgium: Unit 42
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.