Sound of Metal (Darius Marder, 2019)

Heavy metal drummer Ruben Stone is one half of a metal duo known as Blackgammon. The other member is his girlfriend Lou – the vocalist of the group. They live in an RV, performing gigs while travelling across the United States. Unfortunately for Ruben, a sudden bout of hearing loss puts a damper on their plans. Upon visiting the doctor, it is determined that he can only make out twenty to thirty percent of words being spoken to him. Cochlear implants may save his hearing, but they are not covered by his insurance. The doctor then asks him to do the unthinkable: eliminate all exposure to loud noises to save the scant hearing he has left.

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Nomadland (Chloé Zhao, 2020)

In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008, the US Gypsum plant in Empire, Nevada was forced to close. One of the workers there, Fern, is among those affected. With her husband having passed away recently and her livelihood gone, she decides to sell most of her belongings and purchase a van to live in, seeking out seasonal work to make ends meet.

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The Father (Florian Zeller, 2020)

Anthony is an 80-year-old Welshman who is frequently visited by Anne, his daughter. Anne questions if he is capable of living in his flat – especially after displaying an abrasive attitude with a recent caretaker. Anthony insists that he doesn’t need help, although with his surroundings inexplicably changing right before his very eyes, Anne finds herself at wit’s end.

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Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell, 2020)

Three men spot a drunk woman in a bar. After being dared by his friends, one of the men attempts to socialize with the woman with limited success. Realizing her complete lack of lucidity, the man offers to accompany her home. However, the man instead takes advantage of the situation and arranges for the driver to escort them to his own house. There, he invites the woman for drinks before proceeding to strip the woman. The man is caught flatfooted when he learns the woman was merely pretending to be drunk. When she arrives home, she draws a tally mark in a secret journal.

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Mank (David Fincher, 2020)

The year is 1940 and a young, promising new talent by the name of Orson Welles has been given complete creative freedom by RKO Pictures to craft his debut feature. To form a screenplay, Orson enlists the help of one Herman J. Mankiewicz, a prolific screenwriter who made a name for himself throughout the 1930s during the rise of talkies. Herman is currently in a bad way, having just survived an auto accident with a broken leg. Nonetheless, he is determined to work with Orson to make the up-and-coming director’s passion project the best it can possibly be. As he does, he reminisces about what brough him to this point.

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Minari (Lee Isaac Chung, 2020)

The Yi family are Korean immigrants who have moved from California to a new plot of land in Arkansas. There, the father, Jacob, hopes to grow Korean produce to sell to vendors in Dallas, Texas. He and his wife Monica also work sexing chicks at a nearby hatchery to make ends meet. Because of the demanding nature of their jobs, they arrange for Monica’s mother, Soon-ja, to travel from South Korea to live with them and watch over their kids.

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Source Code (Duncan Jones, 2011)

Without any warning, U.S. Army pilot Captain Colter Stevens wakes up on a Metra commuter train en route to Chicago. He is a bit confused because the last thing he can remember is himself flying on a mission in Afghanistan. Even stranger, everyone around him fails to recognize him, believing him to be a schoolteacher named Sean Fentress. Before he can truly get his bearings, the train explodes, leaving no survivors.

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Upgrade (Leigh Whannell, 2018)

Grey Trace is a simple mechanic in a technologically advanced world. He asks his wife, Asha, who is an employee for a tech company, to help him return a refurbished car to his client, Eron Keen. Eron is a renowned tech innovator, and when the two of them visit him, he unveils his latest creation: STEM – a multipurpose chip with nearly unlimited potential. On the way home, Grey and Asha’s self-driving car malfunctions and crashes. Four men accost the couple, killing Asha and shooting Grey through the neck, severing his spinal cord. Left quadriplegic and in the care of his mother, Pamela, Grey sinks into a depression. Aron visits Grey shortly thereafter, promising that STEM may allow him to walk again.

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Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

Three years ago, a meteor landed on a coastline in the United States. Ever since that day, a strange disturbance known as the Shimmer appeared. In response, many expeditions have been carried out by the army, though only one person has ever returned from them: a man named Kane. Upon returning, he reunites with his wife, Lena, but is unusually evasive when asked what happened during his expedition. Shortly thereafter, his health begins to deteriorate and is quickly hospitalized. With Kane in intensive care, Lena is approached by Dr. Ventress. She is prepared to go on a new expedition into the Shimmer. Determined to learn what happened to Kane, Lena volunteers to join her.

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Parasite (Bong Joon-ho, 2019)

There is a family from South Korea known as the Kims. It consists of father Ki-taek, mother Chung-sook, son Ki-woo, and daughter Ki-jeong. They are decidedly not well off, living in a small basement apartment. The dwelling is unkempt with dishes strewn everywhere and they often find themselves needing to hold their smart phones to the ceiling to get any kind of Wi-Fi reception. They are barely staying afloat by working various low-paying odd jobs. One day, Ki-woo’s friend, Min-hyuk, intends to study abroad, and gives the Kim family a scholar’s rock, which is supposed to bring them wealth. Feeling pity for his friend, Min-hyuk suggests that Ki-woo pose as a university student and take over his job as an English tutor for one Park Da-hye. The Park family is very wealthy, so Ki-woo may have stumbled into something that can help his family leave their squalid living conditions.

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