Top 10 A24 Movies

A24 is probably the best indie film company out there. Here is my list of the ten best along with some honorable mentions.

10. Under the Skin

directed by: Jonathan Glazer; written by: Jonathan Glazer & Walter Campbell & Michael Faber

cast: Scarlett Johannson, Krystof Hadek, Paul Brannigan, Michael Moreland, Scott Dymond, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay

2013 / Switzerland / UK / USA / 108 minutes

This is a near-impossible watch, one of the most uncomfortable experiences I’ve ever had in a movie theater. Technically, it’s very impressive and it’s a very intelligent sci-fi art film that would make both Kubrick and Tarkovsky proud. Good luck connecting with it on an emotional level, though. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

9. Minari

written & directed by: Lee Issac Chung

cast: Steven Yeun, Han Yeri, Youn Yuh-jung, Will Patton, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho

2020 / USA / 115 minutes

Not an overwhelmingly emotional tearjerker and many viewers might be scratching their heads as to why it never culminates into a “bigger” or more sweeping dramatic climax, but this is a subtle movie that values little moments of conversation and realization over movie-of-the week tropes. It feels like you’re watching snapshots of any Korean-American family living in the Midwest in the 1980s. It feels like you’re watching snapshots of any family living anywhere in any time period. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

8. The Farewell

written & directed by: Lulu Wang

cast: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong, Jiang Yongbo, Ines Laimins, Jim Liu, X Mayo, Aoi Mizurha, Han Chen

2019 / China / USA / 100 minutes

There’s no substitute for a truly fantastic story and well-rounded, relatable characters. The Farewell might be about a Chinese family, but it will resonate with any family. Really announces Lulu Wang as a powerful new storyteller and let’s be real, Awkwafina should have received an Oscar nomination. (Streaming on Amazon Prime)

7. Good Time

directed by: Josh Safdie & Benny Safdie; written by: Josh Safdie & Ronald Bronstein

cast: Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Buddy Duress, Taliah Webster, Barkhdad Abdi, Necro

2017 / USA / 102 minutes

A relentlessly kinetic and disturbing experience that will twist your stomach into knots, all the while making you root for the most unlikeable and unlikely of protagonists. A perfect example of an “out of nowhere” kind of hit which established the Safdie Brothers as the most unique and effective sibling pairing since the Coens. (Streaming on NETFLIX)

6. Eighth Grade

written & directed by: Bo Burnham

cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, Daniel Zolghadri, Fred Hechinger, Luke Prael

2018 / USA / 94 minutes

At times more frightening than Hereditary, in terms of how accurately it captures that horrible, pit-of-your-stomach, awkward feeling of being thirteen years old. Bo Burnham and Elsie Fisher really knock it out of the park and add much-needed humanity and humor so it’s actually bearable. #gucci (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

5. Green Room

written & directed by: Jeremy Saulnier

cast: Anton Yelchin, Patrick Stewart, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Macon Balir, Eric Edelstein, Mark Webber, Kai Lennox, David W. Thompson

2016 / USA / 95 minutes

A near-perfect thriller from master technician Jeremy Saulnier. A struggling punk band on tour accidentally witness a murder in the green room of a Neo Nazi venue somewhere deep in the woods of Oregon. Anton Yelchin is stunning in one of his last roles but the movie really belongs to an against-type Patrick Stewart as a cold, calculating skinhead boss that isn’t going to jail for anybody. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

4. First Cow

directed by: Kelly Reichardt; written by: Jonathan Raymond & Kelly Reichardt

cast: John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner, Scott Shepherd, Gary Farmer, Lily Gladstone, Alia Shawkat, Dylan Smith, Ryan Findley, Manuel Rodriguez

2020 / USA / 122 minutes

A near-masterpiece that flew under the radar for most audiences, from the queen of glacially-paced but extremely thoughtful indies, Kelly Reichardt. First Cow is a period piece about an unlikely friendship between an inept trapper and a Chinese immigrant on the run from the law. The most shocking thing about this movie is how thoroughly pleasant it is all the way through. Careful though, the feels sneak up on you. It’s the cinematic equivalent of falling asleep in a nice herbal bath. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

3. The VVitch

written & directed by: Robert Eggers

cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson, Bathsheba Garnett, Sarah Stephens, Julian Richings

2016 / USA / UK / 92 minutes

The best horror film of the 21st century, The Witch or The VVitch, whichever you prefer, is a perfectly effective slow-burn reminiscent of Kubrick’s The Shining. It never sinks to the level of jump scares and instead opts to slowly creep us out with atmosphere and the fear of what’s lurking behind the corner (or in this case, behind the woods). Eggers wisely casts unrecognizable faces to create the illusion of what’s happening is real. Of course, the film’s lead, Anya Taylor-Joy, would go on to have an absolute WITCH of a career, couldn’t resist, but nobody knew who she was back in 2016. It’s no surprise, she’s excellent in this, her debut, as is the entire cast. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

2. Lady Bird

written & directed by: Greta Gerwig

cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalfe, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Beanie Feldstein, Timothee Chalamet, Lois Smith, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Odeya Rush, Jordan Rodrigues

2017 / USA / 94 minutes

With her first film, Greta Gerwig really establishes herself in the upper echelon of filmmaking, which is an incredibly rare and difficult feat. What it comes down to is Gerwig’s screenplay. Lady Bird is such a perfectly written film that wisely avoids all of the cliches of coming-of-age stories to bring audiences something realistic, sometimes painfully so. Hilarious without sacrificing the development of a character or a plot point, and tender without ever begging you to feel sympathy for its characters, Lady Bird is quite the tonal balancing act. (Streaming on NETFLIX)

1. Moonlight

directed by: Barry Jenkins; written by: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney

cast: Trevante Rhodes, Andre Holland, Janelle Monae, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Alex Hibbert, Jaden Piner, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali

2016 / USA / 111 minutes

Rarely is a work this effortlessly compelling. Perfectly acted by an amazing ensemble cast, Moonlight tells the story of a gay black male growing up in 1980s Miami while struggling to come to terms with his identity. Moonlight never offers easy answers and while it has every opportunity to be saccharine or ham-fisted with its’ message, it always resists the temptation, just to be honest. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

Honorable Mentions:

Amy (2015)

Wonderfully blends archival footage with interview V/O to create something both heartbreaking and efficient. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

The Blackcoat’s Daugher (2015)

Wonderfully atmospheric and unpredictable horror movie from the son of the guy that killed Janet Leigh in Psycho, Osgood Perkins. Emma Roberts and a superb Kiernan Sipka (the daughter from Mad Men) star as two boarding school girls experiencing horror movie shit. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

Climax (2018)

French provocateur Gaspar Noe (Enter the Void, Irreversible) has never been so palatable! A fast-paced, entertaining but disturbing to be sure art film about a troupe of dancers locked in a room who trip on LSD and start fucking and murdering each other, not to mention pissing on the floor. (Streaming on Disney+)

The End of the Tour (2015)

Underrated character study about an interview with Infinite Jest author David Foster Wallace (a never better Jason Segel) by some nerd-ass writer (Jesse Eisenberg). It’s captivating in a way the best talky dramedies are punctuated with great dialogue and few deep moments. Apparently, David Foster Wallace loved the movie Broken Arrow. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

First Reformed (2018)

Thought-provoking but challenging crisis of faith movie by Paul Schrader. Ethan Hawke delivers the performance of his career as a priest so outraged by climate denial he basically becomes Travis Bickle. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

Hereditary (2018)

The ending takes a lot of big leaps in logic, but honestly, I don’t give a shit because what I’m looking for in a horror movie is not plot, it’s ATMOSPHERE. Hereditary builds and sustains a mood, let me tell you, and not in small part due to Toni Collette’s unhinged brilliance. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

The Lighthouse (2019)

Gorgeous filmmaking that’s gloriously undercut by a bunch of fart jokes, furious masturbating, homosexual tension, and employer abuse. Robert Pattinson is great but the movie belongs to Willem Dafoe who delivers his craziest, funniest and, I’d wager, best performance of a very long and impressive career. (Streaming on Amazon Prime)

The Lobster (2016)

A phenomenal first half gets somewhat cut down by a depressing and lethargic second half, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from seeing The Lobster – one of the most unique comedies and biting romantic satires ever made. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

Room (2015)

One of the best films ever made about processing trauma, brought to life by two incredibly moving performances by Brie Larson and boy wonder Jacob Tremblay. (Streaming on SHOWTIME)

Uncut Gems (2019)

A feature-length panic attack, ten years in the making. The Safdie‘s brilliantly use Adam Sandler‘s signature ridiculous to create the most obnoxious protagonist imaginable that we’re basically held captive by for two hours. (Streaming on NETFLIX)

Up Next – The Top 10 Worst A24 Movies…

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