Matt’s Favourite Films & Performers of 2020

2020 Best of the Best

2020 has been a hell of a year. With theatres ending up being an unsafe place to be during an ongoing worldwide pandemic you’d think it would be a harder year for film, but looking back it’s clear that this year has been an as vibrant and diverse year for film as any other.

Of course, the difference is that without theatres, there have been far fewer blockbusters and far more indie and middle-tier films. The impact on my film diary for the year has been an interesting one, with bigger budget films losing the endorphin high of the theatrical experience –and thus losing some of the immediate forgiveness they earn if they aren’t great. Additionally, film festivals moved to an online experience either in whole or in part this year, which has meant that I have “attended” more of them.

As a result, I have seen more than 120 of 2020’s films, a steep increase from years past. Narrowing the list down to a group of favourites is as difficult as ever! Also this year, for the second time, I am going to highlight some of the performers that blew me away.

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Patron Exclusive: Quinn Armstrong Interview Video

Quinn Armstrong / Survival Skills

Hey team. One of my favourite things to come out of last months Montreal Fantasia Festival was the interview I conducted with filmmaker Quinn Armstrong about this film, Survival Skills. The interview is written, but it was conducted over Zoom.

2020 Fantasia Coverage Banner

As a bonus for the patrons, the video of my interview with Quinn Armstrong is now available as a patron-exclusive on Patreon.

Part of the plan moving forward is for more exclusives like this and a few other ideas that I have.

I really enjoy film blogging, but it also isn’t free. There are costs –both money and time– associated with doing it. That’s just the world we live in, so I am trying to make a bit more of a go of this.

The one question I get asked the most is, “when are you going to relaunch the podcast?” and that’s a fair question. The current answer is “when I have 25 patrons, ” so if you liked the podcast, please consider supporting it.




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Fantasia Interview: Quinn Armstrong on his film ‘Survival Skills’

Quinn Armstrong / Survival Skills

Survival Skills is a film I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I first watched it. A biting satire of police training, it frames a cold hard look at the way police are trained to interact with the people they’re sworn to protect.

I watched and reviewed the film yesterday and today had the opportunity to sit down with writer and director Quinn Armstrong via Zoom to talk about police training videos, the timeliness of this satire, and what he hopes to expose with his film.

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Fantasia Review: ‘Survival Skills’ is way more than just a weird VHS nostalgia trip

Survival Skills (Large)

There are many ways a film might examine some aspects of our society. Whether drama, comedy, horror, or science fiction, each genre provides a different lens to examine what and who we are. Satire is the most powerful of these lenses if used correctly. By taking some subject and twisting it to an extreme position, we can expose some of the absurdity of our world.

Survival Skills is one of those movies. Taking the form of a lost 1980s police training tape, it follows Jim (Vayu O’Donnell), a childlike rookie police officer going through his first day. Things take a turn, though, when the narrator (Stacy Keach) walks him through a domestic violence call, and he begins to disagree with the proper procedure.

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