December 31, 2020
Let’s take a look back at some of the cameras released this year.
Pandemic aside, 2020 saw a surprising number of new cameras. It reminded us a lot of 2015 when it seemed like every manufacturer was releasing some form of an APS-C full-HD camera until the Sony a7S II came along in October. Now, when it comes to hybrid technology, 4K UHD is standard among other desired specs including full-frame, internal 10-bit 4:2:2, Log or RAW recording, dual card slots, autofocus, and in-body image stabilization. Frame rates vary, but 4K 60p is what users want alongside options for 120p and even 240p.
And it wasn’t just the mirrorless market that made a splash. We saw Sony, Canon, RED, Panasonic, and Blackmagic release dedicated video cameras that grabbed our attention, too. So let’s rank them.
December 31, 2020
What were your favorite movies and shows of 2020?
This year in movies has been super weird. COVID-19 made it weird. It’s a real weird time.
But just because movie releases were delayed and film and TV production came to a grinding halt for much of the year, that doesn’t mean that some exceptional gems didn’t manage to will themselves into existence.
Here are the No Film School staff’s favorite movies and shows of 2020, the absolute weirdest year in entertainment in recent memory.
Bad Boys for Life, dir. Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi
This was the last movie I saw in theaters before everything shut down in Los Angeles. I was unable to see it right away when it came out in January, but it stuck around because it was a fun and exciting conclusion to the Bad Boys saga. It has a lot of heart, and fittingly should be remembered as something great that happened in 2020.—Jason
December 31, 2020
2021 is coming…and with it, a whole lot of tech.
What a year. 2020 is finally nearing an end. And the biggest piece of technology we are all hoping for, a vaccine, is getting approved and rolled out worldwide, which means that production, which has already restarted in a limited capacity, could be back in full swing by the summer of ’21.
Along with that, there are a few tech dreams we are hoping play out by the end of next year.
December 30, 2020
Typorigami Calendar 2021 by De-form.huabduzeedo12.30.20
De-form.hu shared an incredible printed calendar for 2021 titled Typorigami Calendar 2021. The name says it all, it mixes typography and origami. De-form designers shared a bit of the motivation behind the design saying that this year all of us have struggled a lot with Covid-19. In many people’s lives, the pandemic caused a lack of work, financial issues, physical or mental health problems, or total social isolation. “We try to be optimistic but know, we should be patient in this situation. Every year we design a calendar and try to reflect on the exact months, but now we really don’t know what will happen next year.”
- Printed on PERGRAPHICA®
- High White Rough 90 g/m2
- Produced by Mondi
- Sponsored by Europapier
Available at de-form.hu/2021
Source: Abduzeedo Editorial Design
December 28, 2020
Traveling Around Food Series by Andrew NyeAoiroStudio12.27.20
Not so far from the end of 2020. It has been a challenge we have never seen and lived in. A year full of disappointment, social distancing, and the unknown future. Many kids end up doing school remotely, parents and people working from home, frontline workers are continuously saving life and putting their own lives in danger. The elderly population restraints in isolation to reduce the chances of spread, business closures resulted in many families living in poverty. And traveling got us to dream about those days when we will able to travel again, the only moment we could escape the routine is taking away from us.
We all have been daydreaming about these particular ingredients from that city, the street that led us to a historic place, people we met along the way, up and downs of the trip made us craving for more. The little comfort we get to is digging up those memories and got lost in our memories of those moments.
This series of ‘Traveling around food series’ from Andrew Nye is well thought, nicely executed, and satisfying. Andrew is a vector image-maker and brand designer in Manchester, UK. A big supporter of gradients, coffee, and gentle pigeon. Follow him for more awesome artworks on Instagram or his Website.
Source: Abduzeedo Illustration
December 27, 2020
Warner Bros. Pictures announced that it will fast-track development on the third installment of the “Wonder Woman.” franchise to be written by Patty Jenkins, who is attached to direct, and will reunited with star Gal Gadot. The news arrives following the Christmas Day release of “Wonder Woman 1984” in available theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Theatrically, the film exceeded box-office projections as the top post-pandemic domestic opening weekend for a feature this year, according to WB. “Wonder Woman 1984” took in an estimated $36.1 globally this weekend, notching the worldwide total to $85 million. It was released internationally on December 16.
“As fans around the world continue to embrace Diana Prince, driving the strong opening weekend performance of ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ we are excited to be able continue her story with our real life Wonder Women – Gal and Patty – who will return to conclude the long-planned theatrical trilogy,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, in a statement shared with press. A Warner Bros. representative confirmed the news individually to IndieWire.
The sequel co-stars Chris Pine from the original “Wonder Woman” reboot of 2017, along with Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal in supporting villain roles. The movie has divided critics, but among audiences, the film was welcomed with an overall B+ CinemaScore.
According to WarnerMedia, nearly half of HBO Max’s retail subscribers viewed the film when it arrived on the platform Christmas Day, plus millions of wholesale subscribers who have access via a cable, wireless, or other partner service. HBO Max said total viewing hours on Friday tripled in comparison to a given day in a previous month.
The film adds to Patty Jenkins’ growing slate of directorial projects, including “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron,” announced by Disney earlier this month as one of many upcoming “Star Wars” projects, and “Cleopatra,” with Gal Gadot playing the iconic Egyptian queen.
From IndieWire’s review of “Wonder Woman 1984”: “Leave it to Jenkins to find a suitable and satisfying workaround in the form of ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ the rare superhero sequel that, for better (and sometimes, but rarely) worse, carves its own path and finds something joyous, wacky, and deeply enjoyable as a result. All that neon and all those parachute pants? Just a bonus, as Jenkins and Gadot take their heartfelt heroine back to 1984, finding bombastic new territory for Diana Prince to explore, blessedly outside the confines of her contemporary compatriots.”
Source: IndieWire film
December 27, 2020
Being a year where everyone was trapped indoors glued to their screens meant, for moviegoers, that smaller films were able to sneak onto the radar, and that especially extended to queer storytelling in 2020.
From unlikely romances like Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire” to genre-pushing nonfiction portraits like David France’s “Welcome to Chechnya” and Rachel Mason’s “Circus of Books,” there were plenty of enjoyable and inspiring LGBTQ movies to engage with in an otherwise dour and painful year.
In “Monsoon,” Henry Golding burst out of the matinee idol image he established in “Crazy Rich Asians.” Mort Crowley’s scandalous 1960s play “The Boys in the Band” lived again on Netflix. In “Lingua Franca,” Isabel Sandoval wrote, directed, and starred in a breakout indie about an undocumented trans Filipina worker. In “Shirley,” Elisabeth Moss once again burned down the screen in her sly and kinky turn as gothic writer Shirley Jackson.
Yet there were also movies as queer in their expression as in their content, like the body-swapping, gender-bending horrors of Brandon Cronenberg’s “Possessor,” or the cross-dressing marauders of the outback in “True History of the Kelly Gang.”
Here are the 12 best queer films of 2020.
Exuding charm, infectious energy, and unshakeable confidence, Alice is the teenage trans girl protagonist of your movie dreams. She’s a runner-up in a reality competition show for young models, which she never lets her adoring public forget via her bubbly YouTube updates. She’s living her best life in a chic Brazilian city when her father unexpectedly moves her to the more conservative countryside. As Alice contends with boys’ school uniforms and ignorant bullying, she also opens herself up to new forms of friendship. First-time feature director Gil Baroni makes a grand entrance with this flirty, heartfelt, and celebratory trans comedy. More trans films like this one, please. —JD
“The Boys in the Band”
“The Boys in the Band”
Director Joe Mantello, who first revamped the play on Broadway three years ago with an all-star cast of out-gay male actors, brings that exact same troupe and sensibility to his new film adaptation. Produced by Ryan Murphy for Netflix, the result is a sophisticated, at times sexy, and always tart-tongued revival. The gayed-up “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” surmounts the challenges typically faced by stage-to-screen adaptations, specifically the utter confinement to a single space. It also features an unexpectedly fierce Jim Parsons in his best performance ever. —RL
“Circus of Books”
“Circus of Books”
It’s hard to think of a better premise for a documentary than a gay porn shop run by a straight Jewish couple, but throw into the mix that their daughter is the filmmaker and you have one of the most surprising films of the year. Filmmaker Rachel Mason follows in the footsteps of hybrid documentarian Kirsten Johnson, but throws in a heaping dose of Borscht belt humor, Jewish tradition, and gay history. Her loving account of her parents Barry and Karen Mason, and how they came to run one of LA’s most popular gay cruising spots, is the perfect blend of personal excavation and engaging storytelling. Karen emerges as the film’s comic lead and quintessential Jewish mother, haggling at the sex expo and questioning her daughter’s artistic choices in the same breath. It’s the unexpected confluence of these eclectic elements that make it such a singularly delightful film. —JD
The latest from “Fire” filmmaker Deepa Mehta, “Funny Boy” is a luminous coming-of-age tale seen through the eyes of a relatable yet entirely unique experience. Based on a beloved novel by Shyam Selvadurai, the film follows a queer Tamil boy coming of age amid rising ethnic tensions in 1970s Sri Lanka. As if with the breezy wave of a hand, Mehta has woven these intricacies with a painterly touch, stacking the opposing forces of sexual and cultural identity into a whirl of color and emotion and memory. “Funny Boy” is heavy but never burdensome, lighthearted but never lightweight. In sweet protagonist Arjie, we find a joyous portrait of awakening, reckoning, and holding onto oneself. —JD
Miranda July’s dry, mannered sensibility is on full display in this story about a family of con artists, played by Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger, and Richard Jenkins, whose lives are upended by the arrival of a charming stranger, played by Gina Rodriguez. What soon emerges is a fizzy romance between Wood and Rodriguez, which outshines the more twee aspects of July’s approach. Their love ultimately becomes an act of rebellion against a couple of terrible parents. —RL
Filmmaker Isabel Sandoval in “Lingua Franca”
Isabel Sandoval’s masterful portrait of a trans Filipina immigrant is so intimately rendered it almost feels too close at times. Premiering at Venice Days, the film was entirely directed, written, produced, and edited by Sandoval, who also plays the film’s lead. Sandoval is the closest thing queer cinema has to a trans auteur working on such a level. The film follows an undocumented trans woman as she saves up for a green card marriage, which becomes complicated by newfound romance. Sharply edited and shot with an austere beauty, “Lingua Franca” is a profound example of what happens when marginalized voices are given full creative control. —JD
In Hong Khaou’s lovely and hushed “Monsoon,” the debonair Henry Golding emerges from upstart Hollywood stardom as a calm, but still cool and compelling dramatic lead. It’s hard to take your eyes off of him, and that’s not just because he’s in nearly every shot. He carries his gay soul searching well, playing an expat returning to his roots in Vietnam. Meanwhile, a romance blooms with a man played by Parker Sawyers, which is bolstered by an obviously steamy chemistry between the two leads. Some viewers may groan that the straight Golding is playing a gay character, but what’s most quietly revolutionary about “Monsoon” is that it makes no show out of gayness at all. —RL
Walter Mercado and Lin Manuel Miranda in “Mucho Mucho Amor”
Courtesy of Netflix
“Mucho Mucho Amor”
The English-speaking world had Miss Cleo, and the Spanish-speaking world had Walter Mercado. While one turned out to be a con artist, the other disappeared from public eye without so much as a characteristically dramatic flourish. The legendary Puerto Rican psychic and astrologer captivated the Latin world with his glamorous style, gender-nonconforming persona, and warmhearted cosmic readings. With this lovingly crafted documentary about his life and career, directed by Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch, he reached a well-warranted new level of fandom. We should be thanking the filmmakers for spreading the joy of Walter Mercado far and wide. —JD
In Brandon Cronenberg’s gory, slick techno-thriller, Andrea Riseborough’s screen time is limited as Tasya Vos, as she spends most of the movie hijacking Christopher Abbott’s character. But her specter hovers over the entire movie as the puppeteer of madness, hired by a shadowy operation to take over Abbott’s body, and kill his future father-in-law, the head of a major data-mining company. If the body-hijacking element isn’t inherently queer enough, there’s an absolutely outrageous sex scene midway through the film where Riseborough emerges with a fully erect penis meant to be Abbott’s (or is it?) as her mind and his body struggle to wrest control. —RL
Josephine Decker’s eerily unhinged dark comedy lets Elisabeth Moss do what she does best: Gradually and maniacally losing her mind and taking everyone else down with her. Her portrayal of horror novelist Shirley Jackson is as narcissistic as her Becky Something of “Her Smell,” and as delusional (or not?) as her “Invisible Man” character. Her obsession with young and impressionable Rose (Odessa Young) borders on Sapphic, though she never allows herself to indulge in anything too pleasurable other than drink. There’s a touch of Joan Crawford in the acerbic jabs she levels at her husband Stanley, played by “Call Me by Your Name” favorite Michael Stuhlbarg, one of the only actors who could go head to head with Moss. Watching the sparks fly is as satisfying as anything in “Mommie Dearest.” —JD
“True History of the Kelly Gang”
“True History of the Kelly Gang”
The Ned Kelly you see in director Justin Kurzel’s “True History of the Kelly Gang” is not the one you know. Instead, he’s a punk-rock poet with an Oedipal complex, a fumbling romantic, even a sensitive soul, and, finally, a revenge-thirsty murderer. The film presents an unapologetically queer reading of Ned Kelly’s identity, which is something Kurzel said wasn’t intentional. The Kelly gang don women’s dresses to terrorize British colonists, and the film otherwise has an insistent sensuality that’s blatantly homoerotic. All three of the main male cast members — George MacKay as Ned Kelly, Nicholas Hoult as Constable Fitzpatrick, and Charlie Hunnam as Sergeant O’Neill — deliver everything-but-full-frontal nude scenes that highlight every chisel of their muscly bodies, and crank up the sexual tension in any room. —RL
“Welcome to Chechnya”
“Welcome to Chechnya”
David France’s courageous and gutting documentary portrait of the Russian government’s institutional homophobia and enabling of hate crimes in its territories ignites a necessary look into the global war on gays. Using artificial intelligence, hidden cameras, and facial replacement technology, France managed to film actual LGBT Chechen refugees as they tunnel their way out of the Russian Republic, and out of danger. This is a vital story in terms of its global impact, but also a formally daring feat that stands on its own terms as a piece of cinema. —RL
Source: IndieWire film
December 26, 2020
What makes a great movie or television series trailer? It’s less about conveying the plot and more about selling the overall atmosphere of what it will feel like to watch the entire project. The best trailers bottle up the energy of an entire show or feature-length movie and unleash that same energy in under three minutes without losing any edge. These 10 trailers below did that the best in 2020.
“Killing Eve” Season 3 Official Trailer
A perfect example of a trailer that is more tantalizing than the resulting show, the sneak peek at “Killing Eve’s” third season even cleverly obscures the fact that one of the heavily featured characters (spoiler!) dies in the first episode. Get excited by Villanelle’s fashion choices and deeply weirded out by her homicidal clown, because it’s pretty much all diminishing returns from there.
“Perry Mason” Official Trailer
Wait, wait, wait, Matthew Rhys scruffily fedora-ing around a noirish Depression-era Los Angeles AND a charismatic evangelist played by Tatiana Maslany? Sign us up. The trailer for HBO’s prequel reinvention of the classic TV series won us over with its atmospherics and shadow-lit grit, teasing the story of how Perry Mason became, well, Perry Mason.
“The Crown” Season 4 Official Trailer
God save the Queen — and the Netflix accounting department — because the pomp and circumstance of this trailer seemingly has a budget equivalent to most mid-tier movies. Flyovers! Fireworks! Everyone being posh in expensive clothes and awful to each other in expensive accents! Season 4 of the “The Crown” has to marry a Margaret Thatcher plotline with a Charles and Di plotline — and this trailer was the first indication of how deft the show would be this year.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 4 Teaser
What does it say about 2020 that the trailer for Hulu’s relentlessly dystopian show — which was released over the summer to tease a pushed-to-2021 release — gave us something to look forward to in the middle of a pandemic? Filled with the striking visuals the show is known for, it also gives us a sneak peek at June’s (Elisabeth Moss) apparent path towards vengeance. Is there light at the end of the bleak tunnel? Maybe? Hopefully?
“Westworld: When Caleb Meets Dolores” Teaser
I mean, “Westworld” is basically incomprehensible at this point, so why not make a romantic comedy out of it? The “Westworld: When Caleb Meets Dolores” trailer was an easter egg for fans navigating through HBO’s interactive online show elements…and…it’s good? It makes perfect sense? It’s a lot less convoluted than the show? It’s the perfect example of guerrilla marketing gone wrong when you’d rather watch the spoof than the real thing.
“The Batman” DC FanDome Teaser Trailer
Hollywood’s predictable trend of marketing tentpoles with moody song covers continued this year (see Hans Zimmer’s Pink Floyd cover in the first “Dune” trailer), which part of the reason “The Batman” teaser’s straightforward use of Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” felt so refreshing. The original version of the song also fits Matt Reeves’ vision for the Caped Crusader long a glove: slow-building tension and brooding rage. The first “Batman” trailer sticks the Dark Knight in the middle of a David Fincher serial killer thriller, and it works like gangbusters. The teaser is so good it made Warner Bros. delaying the film to March 2022 all the more painful.
“Judas and the Black Messiah” Official Trailer
A lot of people had no idea Shaka King’s “Judas and the Black Messiah” was on the docket for this awards season. That blindspot changed in August when Warner Bros. dropped this blood-boiling powder keg of an official trailer in August. Framed around an impassioned speech by Fred Hampton (played here with big screen dominance by Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya), this trailer for “Judas and the Black Messiah” hits with brute force and left the biggest impression of 2020.
“Nomadland” Official Trailer
Searchlight Pictures’ official trailer for “Nomadland” debuted earlier this month, well after the Chloé Zhao-directed drama won the Venice Film Festival, garnered universal critical acclaim, and became a leading frontrunner in various top Oscar categories. What’s so impactful about the “Nomadland” trailer then is how it refuses to go the austere route and paint itself as some huge glorious Oscar contender. The trailer sticks to what works so impactful about the film: Zhao’s lyrical direction, Frances McDordmand’s emotional canvas of a face, and Ludovico Einaudi’s resonant piano soundtrack. No wonder the trailer alone elicits tears.
“Possessor” Red Band Teaser Trailer
Neon’s teaser trailer for Brandon Cronenberg’s “Possessor” is no small feat. It manages to bottle up the sickening body horror, slick body-swapping storyline, and pulsating pace of the uncut feature film and package it into an unrelenting one minute and 17 seconds of footage. For this reason, it’s the definition of a perfect teaser trailer.
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” Official Trailer
Netflix had a great year in movie trailers (from the old Hollywood rush of the “Mank” teaser trailer to the rock n’ roll thrills of the “Da 5 Bloods” official trailer), but no Netflix trailer was as jaw-dropping or perfect as the official clip for Charlie Kaufman’s “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.” Much like the film itself, the trailer is a brain-melting bait and switch as it sets up a “meet the parents” narrative only to pull the rug out without warning and descend into a surreal fantasy. A Charlie Kaufman trailer with nearly 3.5 million views is a bright spot in 2020.
Source: IndieWire film
December 25, 2020
It was 19 years ago when Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy kicked off with “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The franchise would become the highest grossing film trilogy in box office history, with each outing out-grossing the previous one at the worldwide box office. Jackson celebrated the anniversary in a big way this month with the release of a 4K remastering of the trilogy on home video, and fans have turned to HBO Max to stream all three films through the holidays. As GQ Magazine and TIME both declared this month, “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy are essential Christmas movies.
With so much newfound holiday attention on “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Empire Magazine re-shared its 15th anniversary oral history with the nine-actor ensemble of “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The lengthy interview includes memorable tidbits about the making of Jackson’s epic fantasy franchise, most notably Viggo Mortesen’s reveal of the one J.R.R. Tolkien character he wishes Peter Jackson included in his three-film adaptation.
“I’d like to have seen what Peter Jackson would have done with the character Ghân-buri-Ghân, the chief of the Drúedain, wild men of the Drúadan Forest,” Mortesen said. “Seeing him lead King Théoden and his army of Rohirrim through the forest to join the fight to save Minas Tirith would have been thrilling. Towards the end of Tolkien’s ‘The Return Of The King,’ the Forest of Drúadan is given by newly-crowned Aragorn to Ghân and his people for their exclusive use, leaving it to them to decide that from then on if anyone else is to be allowed to enter it.”
Mortensen continued, “I suppose all of that extra material would have given the already thematically complex and quite lengthy movie far too long a running time and an overwhelming amount of information for viewers to easily assimilate. Die-hard Tolkien aficionados, however, might have enjoyed the character, as he is a one-of-a-kind noble descendant of prehistoric humans.”
Considering “The Return of the King” runs nearly four hours long, there was no time for Jackson to include Ghân-buri-Ghân or the Drúadan Forest without bloating the trilogy-ending installment. All three “Lord of the Rings” films ran at least three hours long, and still Peter Jackson found himself cutting things out of the theatrical releases. Mortensen revealed earlier this year that an emotional flashback between Aragorn and Arwen (Liv Tyler) got cut and happened to be one of his favorite scenes shot during the production.
“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is now streaming on HBO Max.
Source: IndieWire film
December 25, 2020
The Love Actually script is brimming with holiday cheer and writing lessons.
I was late to the party when it came to seeing Richard Curtis’s masterpiece, Love Actually. One of my professors in college put it on as an example of a movie that took an interesting look at a multi-POV narrative. I have to admit that I didn’t have high hopes when she put it on, but I quickly found myself emotionally identifying with the characters on many different levels.
To this day, I look forward to watching this movie every year and frequently am surprised by the new connections, cameos, and layers I find with each viewing.
I think there’s a lot to learn from this beautiful look at love. So, cozy up to someone you care about and let’s see what we can unwrap this year.
Read and download the Love Actually script PDF here!