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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Twelve Stellar Movies From 2020 That You Need to Catch Up On

Cinemas have been closed for months, but this year has still thrown up plenty of big-screen gems — here's what you need to see.
By Sarah Ward
June 24, 2020
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Twelve Stellar Movies From 2020 That You Need to Catch Up On

Cinemas have been closed for months, but this year has still thrown up plenty of big-screen gems — here's what you need to see.
By Sarah Ward
June 24, 2020
  shares

Whether you're heading to the cinema with friends or curling up on the couch with your significant other, a night watching movies remains a fantastic source of entertainment, enjoyment and escapism. Sitting in the dark, switching your mind away from your regular worries and slipping into another world — if you're catching the right flick, few things can top it.

Cinema-wise, 2020 has thrown up plenty of films that tick all of the above boxes. Even with theatres closing for a significant portion of the year so far, that still proves the case. And now that 2020 is just approaching its halfway mark, it's time to look back.

Maybe you missed one of this year's great flicks when it was in cinemas. Perhaps it's showing again now that picture palaces are reopening, and you haven't quite made it along yet. Indeed, it could be on your must-see list when you next sit in a darkened theatre. Or, of course, there might be a few gems that have just slipped your attention. Plus, there are always the ace movies you saw, loved and want to see again.

Whichever category fits, here are 12 films from 2020 that you you need to catch up on. Head to the cinema and grab a choc top or organise your streaming queue and cook up some popcorn, as we've sorted out your viewing for the near future.

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TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG

What our critic said: Made for a world where 'such is life' tattoos commit Ned Kelly's purported last words to slabs of Aussie flesh, this gritty, galvanising film sets fire to Australia's national identity and stares at the ashes of the country's troubled history — all by re-interrogating a man inescapably engrained in our iconography over the past century and a half... A visually, emotionally, thematically searing movie that strides across the screen like an outlaw, aptly.

True History of the Kelly Gang is available to stream via Stan. Read our full review.

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A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

What our critic said: A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood remembers a man who considered himself ordinary while having an extraordinary effect on others. You could say the same about Tom Hanks, which is what makes his casting as Mr Rogers so sublime. His is a superb, deservedly Oscar-nominated performance that's never an act of simple mimicry, but that he's as revered — and has been a reliable screen presence for decades, too — is never forgotten.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube and iTunes — and is currently screening in some Australian cinemas. Read our full review.cp-line

A HIDDEN LIFE

What our critic said: As a renowned lover of rolling hills, scenic greenery, constantly roving camerawork and breathy voiceover that borders on whispering, Terrence Malick recreates the Second World War with splendour. Although its conflict remains spiritual, philosophical and existential rather than physical, A Hidden Life is as weighty as any blood-soaked account of combat — and as affecting.

A Hidden Life is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube and iTunes. Read our full review.cp-line

THE LIGHTHOUSE

What our critic said: After watching Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson fart, fight, guzzle too much rum, growl at seagulls, masturbate and go steadily mad in one of the titular buildings, you might never look at these oceanside staples in the same way again... The more this powerhouse duo snipe and snarl back and forth, the more they lure viewers into The Lighthouse's fever dream like a glowing beam — or like the tentacles that help make this already out-there movie even more eccentric, outlandish and utterly mesmerising.

The Lighthouse is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube and iTunes — and is currently screening in some Australian cinemas. Read our full review.

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COLOR OUT OF SPACE

What our critic said: Whenever Nicolas Cage keeps things quiet and normal, he evokes the unnerving sensation that perhaps everything is too quiet and normal. When he's letting loose, there's really no telling what could happen next. A film about a glowing meteor that crashes on an alpaca farm and not only forever changes a family's existence, but their entire grasp on reality, Lovecraftian horror adaptation Color Out of Space needs both Cage's unsettlingly calm and brain-bogglingly over-the-top sides. More than that, it thrives on them.

Color Out of Space is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube and iTunes. Read our full review.

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THE INVISIBLE MAN

What our critic said: Great horror movies have always reflected and responded to the times they're made in and, in the same vein as Jordan Peele's Get Out and Us, Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man helps lead the charge as the 21st century reaches its third decade. This is a socially conscious, savagely creepy, supremely clever reinterpretation of a classic scarefest that takes every part of that equation seriously.

The Invisible Man is available to stream via Google Play and YouTube — and is currently screening in some Australian cinemas. Read our full review.

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BEATS

What our critic said: Based on the play of the same name, this black-and-white gem is set in the Scottish electronic music scene in the early 90s — just as the UK government was passing legislation to effectively ban raves. Following two teenagers desperate to attend what might be their first and last dance music festival, and featuring a thumping soundtrack of old-school tunes, the result is an insightful exuberant coming-of-age film, as well as a as a thoughtful and reflective social-realist drama.

Beats is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube and iTunes.

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HONEY BOY

What our critic said: A Vietnam veteran and ex-rodeo clown who treats his pre-teen son more like a buddy than a child, James Lort is the role that Shia LaBeouf was born to play... Basing Honey Boy on the latter's years as a child actor, and on his father's involvement, the result is an astonishingly personal and revelatory film that continues the American Honey and The Peanut Butter Falcon star's recent stellar streak.

Honey Boy is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube and iTunes — and is currently screening in some Australian cinemas. Read our full review.

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HONEYLAND

What our critic said: In Honeyland's opening moments, Hatidže Muratova performs feats that wouldn't be out of place in an action blockbuster... In this intimate observational doco, she's worlds away from cinema's big-budget spectacles — but she's still a daring superhero. Dedicated to traditional apiary methods, Hatidže is the last female wild beekeeper in Europe. That mightn't mean much when audiences start watching Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov's debut feature-length film, but it will when the credits roll.

Honeyland is available to stream via Movie Night, At Home and iTunes — and is currently screening in some Australian cinemas. Read our full review.

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DARK WATERS

What our critic said: Dark Waters doesn't shy away from or try to reinvent its genre. Any move in that direction wouldn't do its real-life details justice. But this is definitely a Todd Haynes movie in the way that matters most: its emotional impact... Haynes hasn't just brought an essential story to the screen (and inspired his audience to start questioning all the chemicals in their lives), but crafted the ideal movie for a world where the entire planet is increasingly at the mercy of corporate giants.

Dark Waters is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube and iTunes — and is currently screening in some Australian cinemas. Read our full review.

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QUEEN & SLIM

What our critic said: The debut feature by music video director Melina Matsoukas — a Grammy-winner for her work on Rihanna's 'We Found Love' and Beyonce's 'Formation'Queen & Slim wears its nods on its sleeves, and its topicality as well. Combining an all-too-frequent real-life situation with cinema's "lovers on the run" genre, it's a statement piece that not only conveys an attention-grabbing story, but explores the constantly relevant issue of race relations in America.

Queen & Slim is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube and iTunes — and is currently screening in some Australian cinemas. Read our full review.

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IN FABRIC

What our critic said:Peter Strickland is one of cinema's inimitable auteurs, not only conjuring up narratives that no other filmmaker ever would or could, but bringing them to the screen with a distinctive sense of style and mood. That remains accurate with In Fabric — the lauded writer/director's haunted dress movie. In a London clothing store, bank teller Sheila (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) finds the perfect red frock for her first blind date; however, she soon discovers that the fabulous outfit has quite the dark side. Also starring Games of Thrones' Gwendoline Christie, this fashion-focused horror-comedy is lurid and intoxicating.

In Fabric is currently screening in some Australian cinemas. Read our full review.

Published on June 24, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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