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Saturday, November 19, 2022

Movie Review: She Said (2022)

by Tony Dayoub

The opening scenes in She Said, Maria Schrader's new movie about the media coverage that first addressed Hollywood's colossal #metoo problem, spend a considerable amount of time introducing us to the New York Times reporters at the center of the film, Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan). It contextualizes each of them within their respective family dynamics and contrasts their identities with respect to family life. There's Twoheythe WASP-y career-driven new mother contending with post-partum depressionand Kantorthe more family-oriented mom juggling her work, supervising kids' homework, and marriage while trying to maintain Jewish family traditions. It's not unusual for a movie to telescope their character's background details succinctly in order to get to the central themes, namely how these two women's distinctive backgrounds are the stage for the pervasive societal sexism they are exposing with their reporting.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Best of 2021: The 10 Best Films of the Year

by Tony Dayoub

(With Ukraine under fire and Europe on the verge of war, it seems like an odd time to discuss such a trivial matter as cinema. However, assembling this list helped distract me from current events in which I am largely helpless to affect change. I say largely because there are still avenues for assistance, one being Voices of Children, a Ukraine-based aid organization that provides psychological support to children who have witnessed war. It uses art therapy and storytelling to support children’s wellbeing, and provides financial support to families who have suffered as a result of war.  I encourage you to contribute.)

The 94th Academy Awards air on Sunday, March 27, so it's past time to share my picks for last year's best movies. As the way we watch movies is undergoing a slow transformation, and in the interest of assisting you in finding each film listed, the platform where each title can be streamed has been included whenever possible.

Here, for your consideration, are my top films of 2021 followed by the winners of the respective critics' polls I participated in.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Best of 2020: The 11 Best Films(?) of the Year (and just a few months more)

by Tony Dayoub

The question mark in the post title is because some have taken issue with whether my nominee for best film of the year is actually a movie or not (as I'll address when discussing it below). But then the pandemic made this a strange year, right? This morning, the Oscar nominees were announced. Due to the shutdown of movie theaters this year, the Academy extended their eligibility window to include films released all the way through February 28, 2021 instead of the usual deadline of December 31st. Of course, the other unusual consideration is that pictures need not have played theatrically for at least one week in New York and Los Angeles as is typically the case in previous years. An unexpected byproduct of the shutdown has been that it has allowed viewers' attention to shift from the popular blockbusters (which saw their releases mostly postponed this past year) to the smaller independent films that are usually crowded out by these tentpole movies.

Surprisingly then, 2020 turned out to be a staggeringly great year for cinema, especially in the arena of documentaries, for people of color, and for women. There were so many good nonfiction works in 2020 as to make it difficult to process which are the most memorable. Many of the movies below, in fact most, are either made by or focus on women or people of color. The other weird wrinkle this year is that many of these films can be streamed from home. Whenever possible, the platform where each title can be streamed has been included in the interest of assisting you, dear reader, in finding the movie.

Here, for your consideration, are my top films of 2020 (and the beginning of 2021) followed by the winners of the respective critics' polls I participated in.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Best of 2019: The 13 Best Films of the Year

by Tony Dayoub

It's Oscar Day! No predictions. Here, for your consideration, are my top films of 2019 followed by the winners of the respective polls I participated in.