Nothing will be ordinary for the upcoming awards season. The Golden Globes, Bafta and Oscars have rescheduled their ceremonies for later next year. No one knows if those ceremonies will take place in a ballroom filled with celebrities or whether they will be held virtually. And, with the nebulous changes in eligibility rules, we’re not sure which films qualify.
Still, the point of award shows is to recognize outstanding work, and despite the lack of new releases, the debut of some of the best films in the first half of 2020 deserves their moment. These five films are worthy to receive nominations, and the good news is that they are all now accessible to home viewers through streaming platforms and on-demand videos.
Da 5 Bloods
“5 Bloods don’t die, we just multiply.”
Da 5 Bloods is Spike Lee’s most ambitious film, yet. It’s ambitious in terms of scale, story, formats, perspective and largely because it has so much to say. This is a timely film as well as a timeless film.
There is just so much to admire and appreciate in this latest Spike Lee Joint. This is a very engaging film and never feels like it’s 2.5 hours long. The length can be felt during the 1st half when Paul’s son David, tags along with the Bloods. But soon the pace picks up in the 2nd half when they find the gold and then that energy and pace run throughout the film. The film is shot beautifully using so many different formats and aspect ratios but never feels forced; it just blended in with the narrative.
The acting by the ensemble cast was very good particularly Delroy Lindo, whose monologue, was so incredibly and powerfully acted.
However, the film’s greatest achievement is that it never compromises on the story. The premise may be simple on the outlook, but Lee digs deeper as the film progresses and makes it much more layered and complex and emotionally powerful. The film is expansive as it captures the life of these Bloods and much more across decades but it also takes care of the small and intimate moments these men share with each other. This Spike Lee Joint is Gold. Highly recommended!
Da 5 Bloods is currently streaming on Netflix.
This film offers archive footage of a youth camp for disabled people from the 1970s and its liberating impact on the participants. It is from those early days that some go on to become significant leaders in the flowering of a disabled peoples movement in the US to fight for their rights to non-segregated education and anti-discrimination legislation. The film is both enlightening and entertaining, taking us to the heart of the disability experience and the importance of their struggle for change.
This important film makes you laugh, cry and wakes you up to the challenges faced by so many in the disability community. The prescient footage that was filmed in the 1970s is a raw and honest portrayal of life before the Americans with Disabilities Act and the grit and courage of so many whose work helped make the ADA a reality 30 years ago. But it also shows us how much work remains to make equality a reality for this population. Thank you James LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham for bringing this to us.
Crip Camp is currently streaming on Netflix.
Renowned horror writer Shirley Jackson is on the precipice of writing her masterpiece when the arrival of newlyweds upends her meticulous routine and heightens tensions in her already tempestuous relationship with her philandering husband. The middle-aged couple, prone to ruthless barbs and copious afternoon cocktails, begins to toy mercilessly with the naïve young couple at their door.
Shirley is currently streaming on Hulu.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Eliza Hittman’s film, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to glowing reviews and had the briefest of theatrical runs before the COVID-19 pandemic, might be a difficult watch for some viewers.
Although this movie created a slow-moving, unsettling story, it followed the reality of the meaning to be a modern teenage girl.
It showcased the disconnect, abuse, and treatment of girls within modern-day America. Whilst portraying struggles so vividly, there’s a lot more to this film than meets the eye, for example, the friendship between the two main characters which captured the beauty of how difficult yet comforting having a bond maybe.
Beautiful cinematography, a storyline worth watching, and a view into what it’s like to be a pregnant teen trying to find her way in the world.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always is currently available to rent or buy on VOD.
The King Of Staten Island
It would be shocking if this isn’t nominated for numerous awards. This was outstanding from start to finish. Every aspect of the production was perfect.
Maybe it was the direction and/or the writing (both of which are impeccable) or Pete’s own personal history that made him respect the situation and rise to the occasion, but there is no hamming for the audience in this performance. He’s a really good actor, and it didn’t take long for him to make everyone believe the character.
This is as good as acting gets. Everyone in this is outstanding. Pete is going to get all the love, but we really think Bill Burr and Marisa Tomei both go a long way toward elevating this movie and making it worth the extended amount of time the movie runs for.
Marisa seems like she’s just floating along, doing her typical great thing, but nothing out of the ordinary. And then in the final moments of the film, in her quiet scene with Pete on the sofa, she reminds you that there is nothing typical about her acting. She’s fantastic. She does more with her eyes, not saying anything. She’s a professional at the height of her profession.
The story is heartfelt and immediately identifiable. It’s very well written. It runs long at nearly two hours and twenty minutes, but you will love every minute of it.
The King of Staten Island is available to rent on PVOD.