Autobiographical tales of trauma don’t come much more wrenching than Rewind, director Sasha Neulinger’s non-fiction investigation into his painful childhood. Nonetheless, Lee’s action-movie investigation of internal, domestic and global racial dynamics—and defiance—thrums with timely anguish and fury, and is bolstered by an Oscar-worthy turn from Lindo as a MAGA-supporting man drowning in chaotic rage. Nadia Bolz-Weber, founding pastor of the House of All Sinners and Saints congregation in Denver best known for her powerful memoir Pastrix, turns her insightful eye toward ideas of sex and the shame that so often accompanies it in our society. It was an extraordinary 9.2 on the Richter Scale—the ground literally lurched and rolled, streets broke open, and buildings crumbled. Helmed with playful menace by Leigh Whannell, whose camerawork and compositions constantly tease subtle action in the corners of the frame, this slick genre effort finds Elisabeth Moss trying to convince anyone who’ll listen that she’s not crazy, and really is being hunted by her supposedly dead abusive boyfriend. Florian Zeller’s The Father conveys the terror, fury and anguish of dementia from the inside-out, assuming the unreliable and fragmented perspective of its protagonist, Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), until the boundaries between reality and delusion are as bewildering to us as to him. Courtesy of a phenomenal Cohen and Bakalova, Borat and Tutar’s sour-to-sweet relationship provides a sturdy backbone for a series of politicized hidden-camera gags in which the foreigners’ unacceptable behavior coaxes real people to expose themselves as bigots and sexists. Few films are this tough to sit through—or difficult to forget. Unfortunately, the group was disbanded without recognition after the war and largely lost to history until now. At the same time, he reveals the ways in which the white status quo – embodied by villainous PC Pulley (Sam Spruell) – sought to destroy it. A dramatic account of the historic embezzlement scandal that engulfed Tassone and his colleagues – most notably, assistant superintendent Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney) – Cory Finley’s film (based on Robert Kolker’s New York Magazine article) is a ruthlessly efficient and even-keeled affair about the intense pressures of suburban academia, where educational-ranking achievements and college acceptance rates are intimately intertwined with real-estate prices. These are the most anticipated action movies of 2020, with movies featuring Tom Cruise, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, and more. As with Lover’s Rock (another entry in the filmmaker’s quintet), McQueen imparts a genuine sense of his immigrant milieu. With a stony countenance and dark eyes that mask his interior thoughts, Ahmed is a chilling protagonist in thrall to a rigid ideology that preaches violence against all heretics. Iya cares for Pashka (Timofey Glazkov), the young son of her frontlines friend Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina), and when Masha appears to reclaim her child – only to learn of an unthinkable tragedy – their relationship buckles under the weight of grief, guilt, regret, resentment and need. Courtesy of Ma’s demanding diva imperiousness and Levee’s cock-of-the-walk arrogance, the session becomes a powder keg whose fuses are related to African-American oppression, ambition and music-industry exploitation. The bestselling book genre is romance and the most profitable fiction book genre. In a 1945 Leningrad still recovering from the end of WWII, lanky Iya (Viktoria Miroshnichenko), aka “Beanpole,” works as a nurse even though her military service has left her with a condition in which she becomes temporarily frozen. Survival in Russia is in many ways dependent on one’s cynicism, cunning, and willingness to cooperate with an insidiously oppressive government. Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson are genre filmmakers adept at crafting time-travel stories that double as subtle inquiries into the human condition, and their latest, Synchronic, is their most straightforward and high-profile venture to date. Part Cowardly Lion, part Bugs Bunny, and altogether ferocious even as his sanity frays, Hardy’s Capone is yet another triumph for the star, who ultimately captures his protagonist less through imposing physicality than via his dark, glassy, lost eyes. Keith fosters an enthusiastic appreciation for beer and scotch, collects comics, and most importantly is an avid reader and movie lover. Maternal love is both a blessing and a curse in this ever-metamorphosizing enclave, and León and Cociña’s stunning imagery—combining hand-drawn, painterly, clay- and paper-mache-based animation—is a swirling wonder. Also focused on a Collectiv survivor attempting to rebuild her shattered body and life (replete with a new, artificial hand), Nanau’s doc is a harrowingly immediate dissection of a country that seems to be so rotten to its core, no amount of heroic crusading and reform can sanitize it. Accordingly, it took me a while to get this list whittled down, but I finally did. Trapped in a palatial Florida estate, his mind deteriorating thanks to neurosyphilitic dementia, Al Capone (Hardy) rants, raves, soils himself and freaks out over hallucinatory visions of people, and events, from his past. And while myriad benefits may come with this decline, the enormous disruption that will accompany it could be equally as destabilizing as over-population. An opening scene in which Yoko fails to catch a mythical big fish in Aydar Lake – and then has her femininity blamed for this letdown – serves as a gentle metaphor for her ensuing search for purpose, freedom and confidence to face a strange world that seems intent on menacing her, be it police officers whose questions and demands she doesn’t understand, or an amusement park ride that spins her into near oblivion. The vivid footage that comprises the entirety of Nelson’s non-fiction portrait is downright stunning, be it of soldiers crouched behind sandy dunes upon arriving at Iwo Jima, or aerial dogfights that are depicted via the POV of fighter planes’ gun turrets. Anxiety about mortality turns out to be more pronounced than ever, particularly via Coogan’s Ingmar Bergman-esque dream sequence, which is related to dismay over his father’s failing health. Guided by narration from JP Morgan’s daughter Anne (Eve Hewson), Tesla’s tale is recounted as a fragmentary collage full of scenes set to painted backdrops and peppered with anachronistic touches (a vacuum cleaner here, an iPhone there) that speak to the lasting legacy of his revolutionary toil. Writer/director Bryan Bertino once again takes a simple premise and maximizes it for unbearable tension, drawing out white-knuckle suspense from Louise and Michael’s efforts to grapple with tragedy (and impending loss) while simultaneously reckoning with unholy forces beyond their comprehension or control. It’s what Schwartz describes as virtual velvet rope, and its existence impacts the lives of everyday citizens in ways that are proving catastrophic if left unchecked. The true story of a mother’s search for her missing child, Netflix’s Lost Girls is a clear-eyed and moving expose about the many ways in which troubled young women are let down by parents, police and society at large. The normal order is quickly turned on its axis—quite literally, in one unforgettable shot—as alien forces infest, infect and annihilate. With Empty Planet, award-winning journalist John Ibbitson and social researcher Darrell Bricker make a compelling argument in the opposite direction—we are actually staring down the barrel of a steep population decline. The investigation, spearheaded by a trio of young federal prosecutors, would lead to Agnew’s eventual resignation and likely would have gone down as the biggest scandal in presidential history were it not for Nixon’s own over-achieving criminality. Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night is a marriage of the old and the new, blending effects-aided cinematic showmanship to old-school radio drama. The symbiotic relationship between man and machine is the foundation upon which Cronenberg constructs a dark, demented story about performance, and the effect it has upon the performer’s sense of self, which truly comes to the fore when Tasya’s latest vessel—Colin Tate (Christopher Abbot), boyfriend to the heiress of a data-mining mogul (Sean Bean)—turns out to be a less-than-compliant instrument of death. Everything is connected in this economical and thrilling sci-fi saga, as the writer/directors – aided by understated performances from their Hollywood leads – deliver a unique vision of intertwined fates, the links between the past and the future, and the importance of cherishing the present moment. In the director’s sterling feature debut (written by James Montague and Craig W. Sanger, and framed as an episode of a Twilight Zone-ish show called “Paradox Theater”), two 1950s high schoolers – confident radio DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz) and telephone operator Faye (Sierra McCormick) – stumble upon a strange signal that, they come to suspect, originates from the stars looming above their small-town-USA home. Intermingling copious footage of Camp Jened and the movement it produced with heartfelt interviews with some of its tale’s prime players, Crip Camp is a moving example of people fighting tooth-and-nail for the equality and respect they deserve – and, in the process, transforming the world. Every week we host a new literary giveaway! During my first viewing of Olivier Assayas’s “Non-Fiction” — sometime last year, ... pranky, 14-year-old classic is undeniably the most 2020 movie of all time. The way in which nature, history, dreams and myth intertwine is a central focus here, as Herzog expresses how he and his subject were kindred spirits bonded by a shared fascination with ancient knowledge and a habit of embellishing facts in order to get at a deeper “ecstatic truth.” Though the director employs considerable archival material, its footage of his own journeys – set to Ernst Reijseger’s eclectic score – that really gets to the heart of Chatwin as an itinerant artist drawn to life’s far corners, and enduring mysteries. It is a cogent and exhaustively researched argument for a better, safer America. The film’s formal grandeur – its compositional precision, and painterly interplay of light and dark – is overwhelming, as is the majestic presence of Vitalina herself. Nonetheless, the alternately combative and chummy English pair remain in fine, funny form, and their swan song proves to be their most substantive collaboration since their maiden outing. With Guillaume Canet, Juliette Binoche, Vincent Macaigne, Christa Théret. Yet there are no shortage of brilliant women pushing the boundaries of knowledge and making pioneering advancements across any number of fields. And for even more nonfiction books that are great for gift-giving, check out our list of the Best Nonfiction Books to Give as Gifts. March 12, 2020 By Molly Odintz. Attuned to the rhythms of the road and the alternately harsh and inviting (and awe-inspiring) terrain of the Midwest, and populated by a host of excellent non-professional actors, Zhao’s film is a a poetic Malickian ode to the pioneering nature of the restless American spirit. The December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown stands as one of the most devastating mass shootings in US history. Teaming with his former production designer Juliano Dornelles, director Kleber Mendonça Filho (Neighboring Sounds, Aquarius) delivers an allegory of zonked-out weirdness with Bacurau, which quickly has locals engaging in a do-or-die battle with a pair of interloping São Paulo bikers and a group of murderous Western tourists (led by a hilariously peculiar Udo Kier) who’ve traveled to South America to partake in a variation of The Most Dangerous Game. Cruel blackmail soon proves to be Masha’s means of coping with loss, but healing is in short supply in this ravaged milieu. At four-and-a-half hours, the legend’s latest sociological investigation paints a sprawling portrait of the work that goes into maintaining, and improving, a metropolis, especially when said locale is undergoing a significant demographic transformation (55% of Boston is now non-white), and its economic inequality is complicated by a host of racial, gender and class-related issues. Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova responded to the theft of two prized paintings by befriending Karl-Bertil Nordland, the drugged-out gangster behind the crime. 1: Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by. With his unprecedented access to Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, renowned tech journalist Steven Levy has crafted the definitive history of one of the country’s most powerful companies. For this fourth and ostensibly final installment, the bickering couple (Coogan arrogant and condescending; Brydon cheery and patient) enjoy fine meals and show off their imitative vocal skills, here highlighted by Coogan doing a pitch-perfect Ray Winstone as King Henry VIII. Their story—and samples of their DNA—would prove invaluable to quest to understand and hopefully cure schizophrenia. Marinelli’s performance is similarly fraught, his gargantuan presence as entrancing as it is intimidating. 2020 is a banner year for nonfiction releases. Ree reveals such connections through subtle juxtapositions that emerge naturally from his subjects’ day-to-day travails, which eventually involve financial hardships and a near-fatal car crash for Nordland. We are experiencing an error, please try again. Repeatedly shouting out to both crime movies and Westerns – even its title and central conceit feel like references to Lauren Bacall’s iconic To Have and Have Not line of dialogue – the director orchestrates his action with slippery subtlety and droll humor, and he continually surprises on his way to an expressively non-verbal finale of light and music. Grief is a monster that you can neither fight nor flee in Swedish director Johannes Nyholm’s Koko-di Koko-da, a surreal nightmare about a married couple (Leif Edlund and Yiva Gallon) that, in the aftermath of their daughter’s unexpected demise, goes on a camping trip in the woods. It’s an acute snapshot of the American democratic process as filtered through an alternately inspiring and horrifying Lord of the Flies lens. Look no further. I cleared away the underwhelming underbrush to find (in alphabetical order) a semi-idiosyncratic selection of the 20 best non-fiction films available for current streaming on Instant. The most popular genre of books depends on the format and situation. In a countryside beset by an unknown plague, teenage Gretel (It’s Sophia Lillis) refuses to work as an old creepy man’s housekeeper, and is thus thrown out by her mother, forced to take her young brother Hansel (Sam Leakey) on a journey through the dark woods to a convent she has no interest in joining. With Genius of Women, journalist Janice Kaplan mixes memoir, narrative, and inspiration into an exploration of the extraordinary women who have quietly shaped our intellectual history. Hunted by police captain Liu (Liao Fan), Diao’s protagonists are engaged in a deadly game that’s played in silence because they all inherently know the rules, and their sense of purpose is echoed by the film itself, which orchestrates its underworld conflicts with bracing precision. For New Orleans paramedics Dennis (Jamie Dornan) and Steve (Anthony Mackie), life has turned out to be an unexpected disappointment, and their discontent with their disparate stations in life (Dennis is an unhappy husband and father; Steve is a lonely and aimless ladies man) is amplified by a spate of deaths that seem to be related to a new synthetic drug called synchronic that causes Dennis’ 18-year-old daughter to disappear. Like Orson Welles’ classic 1938 The War of the Worlds broadcast, the film is a tale of potential invasion that plays out over radio waves, and Patterson thus naturally focuses on intently listening faces, and the spoken words that captivate them, as a means of generating anticipation, mystery and suspense. Directors Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine’s documentary follows a number of kids as they make their way through Texas’ week-long Boys State program (sponsored by the American Legion), in which hundreds of teenagers are split into two political parties (Federalists and Nationalists) and asked to create a unified platform and elect officials. There, the husband and wife are preyed upon by a creepy trio—bowler hat-wearing dandy Mog (Peter Belli), unkempt Cherry (Brandy Litmanen) and giant Sampo (Morad Baloo Khatchadorian)—in an endless Groundhog Day-style time loop that always concludes with their deaths. Called back to their rural Australian childhood home after matriarch Edna (Roby Nevin) goes temporarily missing, Kay (Emily Mortimer) and daughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) discover that the past refuses to remain dormant. There’s no filmmaker working today more adept at generating scares via the sudden appearance of shadowy background figures, or at prolonging sequences to their nerve-wracking breaking point. The tension between them, however, is only one facet of this semi-improvised drama, which also features a clandestine accord struck by Alice’s beloved nephew Tyler (Lucas Hedges) and her new agent Karen (Gemma Chan), both of whom are on the ship, the latter covertly. This subterfuge is demanded by Cristi’s gangster bosses, with whom he’s both in league with and tasked with nabbing by his law enforcement chief Magda (Rodica Lazar). Every performance is magnificent, but no one in the cast stands taller than the diminutive Kim, whose turn is irresistibly authentic and charming. This latest insider look at the Trump presidency comes from two Pulitzer Prize-winners, Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post and White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker. At the head of that impressive pack (which also includes Bill Nighy) is Taylor-Joy, whose Emma exudes just the right amount of playful cockiness and ambition – qualities ultimately undercut by her realization that no amount of manipulations can change what the heart wants. Faced with this unexpected and debilitating turn of events, Ahmed’s Ruben is forced by his bandmate/partner Lou (Olivia Cooke) to leave their tour and park his Airstream trailer at a home for the deaf run by generous but stern Joe (Paul Raci). Bolstered by Dirisu and Mosaku’s heartfelt turns as lost souls desperate for forgiveness and peace, it’s a film whose haunting, dreamlike terror proves an expression of lingering trauma. No matter that her characters are plagued by malevolent supernatural forces, Natalie Erika James’ directorial debut is a thriller with grimly realistic business on its mind. Determined to document her father’s decline, Johnson charts her time by her father’s side while simultaneously, and crazily, staging fanciful fictional scenarios involving his death—from getting hit on the head by a falling air conditioner, to being accidentally stabbed by a construction worker—as well as sequences of him reveling in a glittery heaven full of dancers wearing cardboard cut-outs of his, and his wife’s, younger visages. 5. Also fixing its gaze on a one-legged chicken cautiously trudging through tall grass, and a herd of cows whose dark, mysterious eyes gaze intently at the camera, Kossakovsky’s dialogue-free portrait conveys essential truths about survival, togetherness and love through protracted takes that creep around and alongside its four-legged subjects. Led by Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), whose indifference in the classroom is matched by his apathy at home with his wife (Maria Bonnevie) and two kids, the quartet begins imbibing during working hours, only to discover—voila!—that being a bit buzzed has transformative effects on their teaching, relationships, and disposition. Those sequences, as well as a disaster-wracked finale, also capture her gnawing anxiety about finding her way – an issue that also pertains to her dream of becoming a singer, which manifests itself in two separate fantasy sequences that prove highlights of Kurosawa’s idiosyncratic latest. In his latest, bestselling author Erik Larson delves into the chaotic first year of Winston Churchill’s first tenure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at, The Best Cookbooks (and Cocktail Books) of 2020, 59) Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin, 27) Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Subdued and melancholy, Jack’s journey is a familiar one, and yet O’Conner and Affleck – the latter turning in an expertly modulated, interior turn – shrewdly locate their protagonist’s alcoholism as the self-destructive byproduct of regret, resentment, fury and hopelessness. Good luck making coherent heads or tails of the film’s convoluted story about a CIA agent known only as the Protagonist (John David Washington) who teams with a shadowy colleague (Robert Pattinson) to discover the origins of bullets that, thanks to entropic “inversion,” can travel back in time. That, in turn, compels him to become a writer who rails against capitalism and socialism (which he views as two sides of the same master-slave coin) and champions a Nietzschean individualism that alienates him from virtually everyone. 2020 is truly a banner year for nonfiction releases; I read more non-fiction in 2020 than I read in the last three years combined. This extraordinary illustrated guide charts that migration and its transformative impact on both Black identity and the cultural history of the US. Guns, abortion and immigration are the most contentious of the hot-button topics tackled by these would-be representatives, and through their campaigns, what emerges is a portrait of politics as a war defined by personalities, prejudices, fearmongering, and dirty tricks and slander. Drop him a line @Keith_Rice1. With The Violence Inside Us, Murphy explores this country’s tangled gun culture. Kiyoshi Kurosawa conjures an atmosphere of humorous dislocation and acute fear with To the Ends of the Earth, the story of a travel TV show host named Yoko (Atsuko Maeda) who’s on assignment with her all-male crew in Uzbekistan. Dramas don’t come much bleaker than Beanpole, director Kantemir Balagov’s wrenching story about the damage caused by war, and the exceedingly high cost of survival. Shot in alternately tremulous and composed handheld, director Balagov’s long takes place a premium on close-ups, the better to convey the dizzying anguish of his subjects, who are as decimated as their environment. Alice and Roberta’s bond is particularly fractured thanks to the latter’s suspicion that her real-life ordeals were exploited by the former for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Forced to navigate a chauvinistic world that treats them as disposable sexual playthings, denigrates them as whores when they attempt to fulfill that role, and then thwarts their desire for agency – and independence – at every turn, Autumn’s saga is all the more heartbreaking for being so ordinary. Stranger still is the 1950s-style UFO zooming around the sky – perhaps a hallucination invoked by the psychotropic drugs the townsfolk have ingested? Chung’s storytelling is awash in contrasts – between alienation and communion; the urban and the rural; religion and self-determination – that he establishes with a lyrical touch, allowing his tale to slowly reveal itself to be a multifaceted family drama about faith, togetherness, survival and adapting to new and daunting circumstances. Poland had fallen, the Dunkirk Evacuation was mere weeks away, and the UK was about to endure the devastation of the Blitz—Hitler’s relentless, year-long bombing campaign of Great Britain. 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