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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Looper (Rian Johnson, 2012)

In the year 2044, a twenty-five-year-old man named Joe works for a Kansas City crime syndicate. People in his link of work are called loopers. They could be considered assassins except for one key difference: they don’t seek out victims; they’re sent to them. Because tracking systems in the future make disposing of a body nigh impossible, the syndicate uses time travel to send the condemned to the present for the loopers to kill. Joe’s life reaches a decisive moment when his older self appears before him.

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Uncut Gems (Josh Safdie & Benny Safdie, 2019)

In 2010, miners retrieved a black opal from the Welo mine in Ethiopia. Two years later, the opal has made its way into the possession of Howard Ratner, a gambling addict who runs a jewelry store in New York City’s Diamond District. Basketball star Kevin Garnett takes an interest in the opal, asking Howard for it as a good luck charm for his next game. Howard agrees, keeping Garnett’s 2008 NBA Champion ring as collateral. Howard then proceeds to pawn the ring, kickstarting a chain of events that may very well spell his doom.

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Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

On his 85th birthday, mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey invites his family to his mansion in the state of Massachusetts. Things take a turn for the worse when the wealthy novelist is found dead with his throat slit. The police believe it to have been suicide, but in order to get to the bottom of things, an anonymous person hires a private eye by the name of Benoit Blanc to investigate. As the mystery unfolds, a picture will be painted of a dysfunctional family, and in the middle of this strife stands a nurse named Marta Cabrera.

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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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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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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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