6. Blindspotting (2018)
Blindspotting is a drama/comedy about two friends, Collin (played by Daveed Diggs) and Miles (played by Rafael Casal) as their friendship is being put to the test when Collin is on his final three days of probation, but Miles cannot seem to keep out of trouble. Things become more tense when Collin witnesses a police officer shoot a young black man. This movie masterfully incorporated music into its storytelling of racism and the police shootings on the news.
It also has remarkable performances from its lead roles along with humor that is fantastically spread out and incorporated into the film which helps to balance the drama and light-heartedness.
It has a unique take on color and the conditions of living in poverty as well as how difficult life can be for those who have done time in jail. This is one of the more powerful films from this decade and it is a social narrative that should not be skipped because of the beautiful portrait that it paints with its storytelling.
7. Phone Booth (2002)
Phone Booth is a thriller that stars Colin Farrell, Forest Whitaker, and Kiefer Sutherland. It tells us the story of a successful businessman, Stu Shepard (played by Farrell) going about his day in New York but things get dicey when he answers a phone call from a phone booth that is being watched by a man with a rifle from afar.
When Stu answers the phone, it is the man with the rifle (played by Sutherland) on the other end of the line that says he will kill Stu if he leaves the phone booth. To make a point, the man shoots someone nearby the booth, and this leads cops to the scene making it seem that Stu shot them. He then fights for his life as his secrets are uncovered and tries to get the detective (played by Whitaker) to believe that he is being watched.
This movie is a lot of fun to watch, and New York was the perfect setting to be film it in. It adequately makes the audience feel as if they are there in that situation with the main character and while it may not have the most relatable main character, it still manages to effectively tell a thrilling story with high-tension moments that are guaranteed to leave you jaw-dropped.
8. Camp X-Ray (2014)
Camp X-Ray stars Kristen Stewart and Peyman Moaadi in this drama about Cole (played by Stewart) that is a new guard at Guantanamo Bay and forms a friendship with one of the detainees, Ali (played by Moaadi). As she thinks about why she joined the army things become harder to stomach as she thought things to be different from what they actually are. It is a moving representation of two unlikely friends that are on opposite sides of a conflict.
The movie is very moving and touching and when it slows in pace, it is carried by the remarkable performances given by Stewart and Moaadi. While it may lack some depth in the topic being explored, it still manages to make the audience care about the situation and this friendship which makes the movie feel significantly more personal and results in a satisfying watch.
9. Beyond the Lights (2014)
Beyond the Lights is a romance/drama starring Nate Parker and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. When famous singer Noni (played by Gugu) is struggling with the demands of the music industry, she is driven to attempting suicide but doesn’t go through with it when police officer Kaz (played by Parker) shows up to pull her back in. They form an unlikely love story between celebrity and officer and ultimately tells a story of perspective from both sides of fame and how love can be difficult to find.
It has a very cliché premise, but it is so strongly performed that the romance feels original and the story is so carefully written that you cannot help but care about the characters and their lives. Beyond the Lights is a solid romance film with good musical choice, an interesting look into the music industry, and enough drama to keep audiences intrigued throughout.
10. Snowpiercer (2013)
Snowpiercer is a science fiction film with Chris Evans as Curtis in this movie about a global warming experiment that wiped out most of the population. The remaining live on a train called the Snowpiercer. This train is split up by societies, while there are rich people, there are also those in poverty still and receive less care. When this society is continuously treated poorly, they decide to revolt against the train managers and upper societies.
This movie is a pleasant break from CGI effects and overuse of action over story as it chooses to perfectly balance a completely original story with fantastic action sequences on top of an Oscar-worthy performance from Chris Evans as well as strong performances from the rest of the cast. If this isn’t enough to keep audiences in their seats, then the twist at the end surely will.