ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 20: Detroit

With “DETROIT” Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s new turn at making another hard-hitting film, just doesn’t connect completely. Though again, Bigelow takes on delicate subject matter with the expertise of a great filmmaker, and it is a very good film – for about 60 minutes of the 2 1/2 hour run time. ‘Detroit’ takes place in 1967 during the midst of the riots after a black owned Blind Pig bar where patrons were kicked out due to lack of liquor license and eventually leads to the towns people rioting and destroying the nearby businesses, even with tags of “Soul Brother” as a way to try to protect their black owned business. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 20: Detroit

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 21: The Edge of Seventeen

Kelly Fremon Craig’s 2016 film, “The Edge of Seventeen” is an insightful and relatable look into the exhausting, confusing journey of growing up. Filled with authenticity, the film follows awkward high school junior Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) as she struggles with the rollercoaster that is high school, an overwhelmed mother and the death of her loving father. As Nadine being sot reach the dreaded edge of seventeen, she is suddenly pushed out of her comfort zone as her only friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), starts dating Nadine’s all-star footballer older brother, Darian (Blake Jenner) and suddenly becomes more popular at school, leaving Nadine in a space of neglect and having to finally discover her sense of self. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 21: The Edge of Seventeen

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 22: Frozen

For Disney fans, it is hard to believe that “Frozen” (2013) was released just six years ago. The tale, inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen,” has permeated pop culture in a way that even Walt Disney Pictures couldn’t have predicted when it was released. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, “Frozen”’s themes of family, love, isolation, and finding yourself have resonated with people across the globe. And of course, “Let It Go” became such a hit that it was almost impossible to avoid hearing it for many months. In addition to the film making it onto In Their Own League’s Top 50 Female Directed of the Decade list, now is an appropriate time to look back at the first “Frozen” film as its sequel has just been released.  Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 22: Frozen

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 23: Hustlers

In “Hustlers”, dancer and den mama Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) posits that New York City—the whole country, really—is one big strip club. “You got people tossing the money, and people doing the dance,” she says.

Writer-director Lorene Scafaria (“The Meddler”, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”) never loses sight of who’s doing what throughout this entertaining crime caper, bringing a decidedly female gaze to the world of strip clubs and sex workers that feels fresh because we’ve seen so little of it. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 23: Hustlers

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 25: Shirkers

In 1992 Sandi Tan set out to make Singapore’s first road movie with the assistance of her friends Jasmine Ng and Sophie Siddique, as well as her mentor a much older man called Georges Cardona. Cardona was an enigmatic man who claimed to be the inspiration of James Spader’s character in “Sex, Lies and Videotapes”. To Tan, he was someone who saw her potential as a filmmaker and helped shaped her love for independent film. Cardona knew his cinema, but he was a magpie simply picking things up that didn’t belong to him and claiming them to be his own.

The plot of Tan’s film followed a young woman (who was played by Tan herself) who goes on the run after committing a crime. Along the way she creates new friends, picking up stray children like a pied-piper character as she travels across Singapore. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 25: Shirkers

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 27: The Souvenir

Writer and director Joanna Hogg has always been known for her mysterious, creative and thoughtful films, but “The Souvenir” (2019) is her best yet. A tender tale of young love, it is Hogg’s most personal film to date, based on her own experiences at film school and dating an older, secretive and troubled man.

You can feel this personal touch throughout, in the gentle yet unflinching way Hogg’s camera follows Honor Swinton Byrne’s Julie, the young woman at the centre of this story. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 27: The Souvenir

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 28: American Honey

Year: 2016 Runtime: 163 Minutes Director: Andrea Arnold Writer: Andrea Arnold Stars: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough By Mique Watson Few films in the pantheon of cinema feature stories centered around teenage girls; even fewer films depict them in ways which are universally identifiable (ask anyone to name a flick about a teenage girl off the top of their head and I bet you’d … Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 28: American Honey

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry 29: High Life

Claire Denis’ experimental sci-fi “High Life” (2018) is utterly bizarre- yes, but it’s also a reclusive and powerful picture. It’s a difficult film to quantify, and yet, despite its space odyssey setting, it really gets down to the meat of humanity. It’s more about relationships and isolation than it is about the exploration of black holes, or scientific experimentation.

Yes, that’s where it starts. As we eventually learn this ship once contained a group of previously death row inmates (including Mia Goth and André Benjamin) who were given the choice to be used as lab rats on a suicide mission. It gives you more time, and it may potentially help society find an alternative energy source, so it seems like an easy choice, right? Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry 29: High Life

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 30: Toni Erdmann

With her third feature film, Maren Ade announced herself on to the international scene during 2016, with her robust, confounding comedy of delicate, deliberate and disastrously strained parental ties. A thematic notion achieved with such success is not often seen in cinema, capturing the fraught emotional bonds of a career-driven daughter and her aloof father. As varying dynamics exist in relationships between adulthood and childhood and vice versa, very few directors have successfully articulated and dramatised them as well as Ade. A remarkable cinematic achievement, creating a film that is deeply human and tragically nostalgic and profound whilst absurdly comedic. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 30: Toni Erdmann

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No.32 : The Breadwinner

Year: 2017 Runtime: 94 Minutes Director: Nora Twomey Writer: Anita Doron, Deborah Ellis Stars: Saara Chaudry, Soma Chhaya, Noorin Gulamgaus  By Dominic Corr Gloriously direct, “The Breadwinner” (2017) turns the patriarchal trope of a sole provider into an unflinching tale of a young Afghan girl’s determination, fear and resilience under Taliban rule in 2001. Based on Deborah Ellis’ bestselling novel, who returns to write the … Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No.32 : The Breadwinner