Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

Charlie Barber is a theater director residing in New York City. He has been highly successful, and his current production stars his wife, Nicole. However, while the couple appears to be happy on the surface, their domestic life is decidedly troubled. They are seeing a marriage counselor to rekindle the feelings of love they once had, but even this proves unhelpful. The relationship reaches a point of no return when Nicole, having been offered the starring role in a pilot in Los Angeles, leaves Charlie’s company to her mother’s residence in West Hollywood, taking their son, Henry, with her.

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1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

It is April 6, 1917, and the most powerful nations in the world are embroiled in a war the likes of which humankind has never seen. An aerial reconnaissance team has noticed that the German army is in the middle of a tactical withdrawal from the Hindenburg Line. However, British forces stationed there believe them to be retreating, not knowing of their oppositions true intentions to wipe them out with artillery. The field telephone lines have been severed, so the only way to deliver this valuable information is for it to be conveyed in person. General Erinmore sends two young soldiers, Will Schofield and Tom Blake, to deliver the message to Colonel Mackenzie, who leads the Second Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. The fate of 1,600 men hangs in the balance.

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January 2020 in Summary: Oscar Detour

Also known as the one in which Red Metal forgets to be a game critic for an entire month. I apologize for not getting any of the promised game reviews done. After the Oscar nominees were announced, I decided to put all of my energy towards reviewing all nine entries so I can type up my annual “worst to best” list for them. The good news is that I can already say that this is a much better lineup than last year’s miserable showing.

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Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

Johannes Betzler, better known as Jojo, is a boy ten years of age. Despite being considered scrawny by his peers, he is, by most accounts an ordinary kid – except for the minor detail that he has an imaginary friend named Adolf Hitler. Jojo is one of the many children indoctrinated in the mandatory Hitler Youth program. Even as the tides of conflict have turned against Nazi Germany, the jingoistic Jojo remains ever hopeful that his country will prevail.

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The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

An elderly man named Frank Sheeran currently resides in a nursing home in the 2000s. Superficially, there wouldn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary about this man. However, this man has a storied history, beginning during the time he served in the Second World War. Being close to death, he reminisces about his exploits upon returning home. Nobody would suspect this elder, who doesn’t look that much different than the home’s other tenants, was actually a hitman responsible for countless high-profile murders throughout the twentieth century.

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Little Women (Greta Gerwig, 2019)

In 1868, a woman finds herself pitching a story to an interested publisher. It is a story largely based off of her life with her sisters growing up during the American Civil War. She has been a passionate writer her entire life, and this is her big moment to make an impact. Unfortunately, the publisher is highly skeptical that this woman’s story is sellable. Friedrich Bhaer, a professor who is in love with her, also criticizes the work – much to her chagrin. Things take a turn for the worse when the condition of the woman’s younger sister worsens, prompting her to return home

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Ford v Ferrari (James Mangold, 2019)

In 1963, the Vice President of the Ford Motor Company, Lee Iacocca, makes an interesting proposition to Henry Ford II. To boost car sales, they are to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. To do this, they will purchase the famed manufacturer Ferrari – the latter company being strapped for cash. However, the founder, Enzo Ferrari, opts to walk out of the deal when Fiat offers an alternative that allows him to retain ownership of the Scuderia Ferrari. With one final insult to Ford, the executives are sent on their way. Enraged at this slight, Henry II immediately orders his racing division to build a car capable of defeating Ferrari at Le Mans.

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Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019)

The year is 1981. Arthur Fleck is a party clown and a social outsider who aspires to become a stand-up comedian. He lives with his mother, Penny, in an apartment in Gotham City. The rigid class system in this society has resulted in large segments of the population unemployed, disenfranchised, and impoverished. Arthur himself has it worse than most due to his crippling mental disorders. Things reach their absolute nadir when a group of delinquents steal Arthur’s sign, attacking him as he catches up to them. Still, he holds out hope that one day, it will all work out.

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Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (J. J. Abrams, 2019)

WARNING: The very premise of this film contains spoilers for the series thus far.

The members of the Resistance have escaped from Planet Crait and are now mounting a counterattack against the First Order. However, as they regroup, a shocking, new development occurs. A mysterious broadcast resonates throughout the galaxy, promising a threat of revenge. The voice belongs to none other than the deceased Emperor Palpatine – the despot ruler of the Galactic Empire. In response, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents to gather intelligence as Rey prepares for the final battle. As the new Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren attempts to solve the mystery of this phantom emperor, hoping to eliminate any threat to his own reign.

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Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson, 2017)

WARNING: The very premise of this film contains spoilers for the series thus far.

Starkiller Base has been destroyed, but the First Order continues their campaign undaunted. Having disposed of the Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke has deployed his forces in order to subjugate the galaxy. The only thing standing in their way is General Leia Organa’s Resistance fighters. Although certain that her brother will rejoin the fight and light a spark of hope in the Resistance, their existence has been exposed. It is only a matter of time before Snoke’s forces overwhelms the Resistance.

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