Top Film of 2020
Sound of Metal - Sandeep Bhandari's Top Pick
Admittedly, I didn’t watch a lot movies in 2020, but of the few that I did, Sound of Metal definitely stands out. A brilliant performance by Riz Ahmed, who you may remember from HBO’s The Night Of. This time he’s living through every musicians nightmare…sudden and rapid deafness. But it’s in the recovery that the depth of this character really shines. Olivia Cooke has a great supporting role, and the sound design is so convincing that I would strongly suggest watching this with headphones on to appreciate the full impact.
WATCH: SOUND OF METAL TRAILER
Color Out of Space - Jamie Tennant's Top Pick
Were there movies in 2020? I think I saw two. So, Colour Out of Space or Da 5 Bloods, which was excellent – and I’m a Spike fan. However, you put some wild visuals together with a Nic Cage performance and a H.P. Lovecraft story, all directed by the incredible Richard Stanley (director of the sci-fi nightmare Hardware and the guy who was fired from the bananas mess that was The Island of Dr Moreau). Best of the year? Not by a long shot. But still.
WATCH: COLOR OUT OF SPACE TRAILER
Tenent - Duncan Simmons' Top Pick
Chistopher Nolan movies are what they are: big, loud, and confusing. If you love that then Tenent delivers on all counts. It’s a beautiful movie with great action and strong, believable characters even in Nolan’s sci-fi mish-mash. In true 2020 fashion I saw Tenent in a drive-in theatre and I couldn’t hear most of what was going on, but I’m pretty sure it was good.
WATCH: TENENT TRAILER
1917 - Emma McCarty's Top Pick
Released in the beginning of the year, 1917 is the last movie I saw in theatres before the world shutdown, so whether it's nostaglia or a good quality movie this is my top pick of 2020. In the movie, two soldiers are tasked with crossing over enemy territory to deliver a message that could save their fellow soldiers lives. Unlike other movies, this was filmed in a series of long, uncut shots that when put together give the illusion of one long take. If you love race against time movies, this is a must see!
WATCH: 1917 TRAILER
Greenland - Jomar Quilatan's Top Pick
Though one may wonder why an apocalyptic/disaster film would be the cure to our currently disastrous situation, Greenland plays itself out so realistically that it has the capability of keeping you at the edge of your seat at times. Great work by the cast!
WATCH: GREENLAND TRAILER
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm - Derrick Chappell's Top Pick
Sacha Baron Cohen has a hilarious way of making awkward situations into hilarious moments. Most of the time they are hit with the same dated stale jokes in a sequel. Cohen however, gave his sequel a completely new story line, new characters, and loaded it with current events, Wawawewa!
WATCH: BORAT 2 TRAILER
Top Album Of 2020
The New Abnormal by The Strokes - Sandeep Bhandari's Top Pick
Here’s a band that's constantly compared to it’s early back catalog and usually leaves reviewers wholly unsatisfied. But after a dozen or so listens, I keep coming back to this album for it’s languid, chilled out, late night-ness vibe. Seems like the only instruction producer Rick Rubin gave to the band was…leave plenty of room for Julien Casablanca’s soaring falsetto. The Strokes borrow, maybe even steal from 80’s bands like Billy Idol, Psychedelic Furs et al, but with a grittier, stripped down sound, quirky arrangements and melodies that meander in all the right directions.
LISTEN: THE NEW ABNORMAL BY THE STROKES
RTJ4 by Run the Jewels - Jamie Tennant's Top Pick
There were a lot of great records this year but none of them had the visceral impact of RTJ4. Killer Mike and El-P had the perfect album for the moment. By turns funny, aggressive, and thoughtful, with both beats and rhymes in top form, RTJ4 is the album to which I keep returning.
LISTEN: RTJ4 BY RUN THE JEWELS
Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs - Duncan Simmons' Top Pick
If this is your first time hearing of Freddie Gibbs; congratulations, and welcome to the party. If it’s not, then you’ll be less than surprised that he’s come out with another hit-loaded album. With the help of legendary producer The Alchemist, Gibbs lays down a project that is a great listen start to finish. If I were allowed to pick albums from 2019 I’d strongly recommend Dum and Dummer by Young Dolph and Key Glock. But I can’t, so I won’t.
LISTEN: ALFREDO BY FREDDIE GIBBS
After Hours by The Weeknd - Emma McCarty's Top Pick
Admittedly, I dont typically listen to full albums - however when trying to decide on my favourite album of 2020 the songs from After Hours kept popping up. I've always liked The Weeknd's sound and whether you're looking for a sad song, or an upbeat happy tune this album has it!
LISTEN: AFTER HOURS BY THE WEEKND
Music to be Murdered By by Eminem - Derrick Chappell's Top Pick
Eminem has been my favourite artist since I was a kid, so anytime he comes out with an album it has to be on top for me. This album came out mid January, before any of the crazy events of this year. His song Godzilla was one of his best in a while and I am still hearing it played at the end of 2020.
LISTEN: MUSIC TO BE MURDERED BY BY EMINEM
Top TV Show of 2020
I’ll Be Gone In the Dark - Sandeep Bhandari's Top Pick
Based on Michelle McNamara’s book of the same name, this 6-part documentary crime series mixes in as much about the authors own life as it does the thousands of hours spent doggedly investigating and re-tracing the steps of this boogeyman, The Golden State Killer. And if you add to the mix McNamara’s marriage to comedian Patton Oswalt and her untimely death, this becomes must watch TV for true crime enthusiasts and documentary buffs alike.
WATCH: I'LL BE GONE IN THE DARK TRAILER
The Queen’s Gambit - Jamie Tennant's Top Pick
Hey, look, I really loved Season 4 of The Good Place but technically it was 2019. So this beautiful, entertaining, well-performed and well-written bit of escapism – into the world of 1960’s international chess championships, no less – is my choice of the year. Anya Taylor-Joy is fabulous in the starring role.
The Queen's Gambit - Jomar Quilatan's Top Pick
I haven't much of a means to watch shows (let alone have a favourite), so I've mostly turned to retro game shows on YouTube for most of the past year. That being said, I've heard that The Queen's Gambit is a pretty good one, so I'll trust that and call it my favourite.
WATCH: THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT TRAILER
The Last Dance - Duncan Simmons' Top Pick
As Sports Director this pick is a little on the nose for me. Don’t be put off by the basketball focus if that’s not your thing. The Last Dance is more Shakespeare than sports documentary. Sports fan or not, the massive egos and spectacular feats highlighted in this mini-series is just plain good watching.
WATCH: THE LAST DANCE TRAILER
Dark - Emma McCarty's Top Pick
I’m cheating here because technically this show came out in 2017, but season 3 came out in 2020 so it’s okay. Dark is a german created and produced science fiction thriller. I'm not usually one to watch foreign shows because I don’t like to read subtitles or deal with the dubbed voices however this series is so good that I can overlook it. I can’t even begin to explain the mysteries that unfold in this show – you’ll just have to watch for yourself!
WATCH: DARK TRAILER
South Park The Pandemic Special - Derrick Chappell's Top Pick
Matt and Trey Parker are hilarious, they know how to take even the most serious matters and turn them into a comedy. This isn’t their traditional season of South Park, where they normally release 1 half hour episode every week. Rather due to COVID-19 and the crazy year that we have had they decided to release a one hour long special about the global pandemic. If you don’t wear your mask over your nose its just a chin diaper!