My 2019's Films Ranked
Was 2019 a good year for film? To be honest, I'm not really sure. From the list of films I've watched below, it could go both ways. But to be fair, I did miss the amazing masterpieces that were the likes of Aladdin and Dark Phoenix so who knows. What I do know is that of the good films that were released, they were purely incredible, with aspects of them unique in an age of Hollywood focused on no creativity and zero originality. Some of these films naturally fall under the weight that is clichés, but it isn't always a death wish, it's a just a hole they now have to jump out of.
From Number 17 is the films that I start to really really really like. My list isn't ordered by ratings, I believe that something can be five stars, but I might simply enjoy the other higher films more, regardless of their imperfections. For instance, Number 16 is five stars but there are still quite a few four stars above it. It's simply because those were just more enjoyable than that one (not saying Number 16 isn't incredible, it's beautiful, I'm just saying).
I've also decided to put short films in this because they deserve the attention too, regardless of the slight difference in medium.
So, without further ado, this is my 2019 ranked:
35. Cats ½
Sorry, this film was just far too awful to go completely in-depth here. I'll need to dedicate a whole review article dedicated to it, just wait.
To put it shortly though, a revolting incomprehensible mess that literally had no reason for existing.
34. A Score to Settle ★
The most ominous and tense bit about this film was my uncle's cigarette smoke floating above my computer while I watched it.
This film is about a mob guy (Cage) going on a rampage after being released 22 years after being imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit.
Do you know what this film is? F I L L E R Nothing but filler. It's so fucking padded out for no reason. I know we need to hammer home the admittedly unexpected twist of his son being dead, but Jesus Christ lay off, kill some people. One person dies other than Frank and for some reason, they kill off the nicest guy in the whole world.
Do you know what pissed me off the most though? It wasn't Cage's ATROCIOUS acting, the bad dialogue, the bad lighting, the bad story, the bad cinematography, the terrible directing, the horrible editing, the abysmal score, the completely derelict sound design, etc. etc. It was the fact that they had a subplot with Cage's character essentially falling in love with a prostitute. First of all, don't do my girl Karolina Wydra (the prostitute) dirty like that. She is stupendous in House MD (the greatest show ever made) and it saddens me to see her in this. But most importantly, do not EVER besmirch the good name of Leaving Las Vegas. Leaving Las Vegas has Cage in an Oscar-winning role falling in love with a hooker. The fact that this film is even remotely linked in that way sickens me.
Overall, the jokes of Cage as old got boring, the thirty-something-year-old man calling Cage "Daddy" freaked me out, and the overall incompetence of this film pissed me off. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
33. The Silence ★
The first time this year I couldn't finish a film. I stopped it just after the deaf girl signed "I know how to live in silence", coz I knew the bullshit clichés were just about to start.
The world is overrun by creatures who are attracted to sound, threatening Stanley Tucci and his family.
From the start, I could tell this wasn't gonna be good. The beginning scene was stupid and was so typical of G-list horror flicks. The opening credit scene was stolen straight from World War Z (a horror film that did this concept much better than this piece of garbage and World War Z's a zombie film). It's basically a computer absorbing all the bits that make a horror film good and then beating the shit out of the computer so that it only pumps out the worst details with good stolen concepts behind it.
Stanley Tucci sucks here along with most of the other cast. The script is stupid and is so meticulously tailored. The main girl is deaf but only became deaf recently so that she can still talk with the actors and not have to make the whole cast actually learn ASL. A specific thing that I found funny was when the deaf girl mentioned how the vesps (the creatures) clawed at the same place in their car. That's not some character trait of the monsters, darling, it's because the company that made this film didn't have the budget to create more scratches on the windows.
Also, why was there a slow-mo with the dog being removed from the car? It was making noise and attracting the monsters. I'd snap the dog's throat if it wasn't gonna aid as a trap for the vesps to follow and lure attention away from me. The vesps are also stupid because we're immediately shown what they look like, killing the entire mystery and fright around them. Fuck this swill, A Quiet Place was a masterpiece.
32. Tall Girl ★
I was embarrassed watching this on my couch. I had to tilt my laptop towards the window so people around me wouldn't see the shit I was watching and enduring.
Jodi wears size 13 Nikes. Men's size 13 Nikes. Her life is so hard and she must endure the tribulation, the shock, the catastrophe of being slightly taller than some boys.
This is not a good film. Credit where credit is due, the giraffe playing Jodi can act and Sabrina Carpenter is great per usual. Other than that, this is horse shit.
The dynamics between characters is so fucked, it was intentionally infuriating and completely useless coz nothing is resolved. Eiffel Tower and her best friend had no proper chemistry and weren't necessary as a friendship; Mount Everest's family are deplorable, especially the mother; and I think it'd be quite easy to not be awkward around your daughter after eighteen years of living with them, Dad!
Stig is not fit™. Dunkleman is a sick fuck who is not getting any of that quick fuck. The Shard liked Stig and this dipshit pipsqueak just ruins that because he has a crush. Sure, Stig turned out to be a dick, but no one knew that at the time. Pool noodle should have gotten with Stig, Dunkleman should have gotten with glasses, and Sabrina Carpenter should have gotten with the principle. I hated this experience and wish that my eyes were clawed out by a raven. (I also refuse to acknowledge the milk crate subplot, just watch the scene).
31. After ★
Right... so this was bad. I'm reviewing this a literal week after watching it and the fact that I can't remember shit is a good sign.
Beautiful straight white girl has her life changed by a beautiful straight white boy.
I couldn't even remember what the main girl looks like while I was reviewing this swill. Obviously I remember Hard-on, this mini-Voldemort's face is ingrained into my synapses.
This film is just so shit. Not even so bad to enjoy. The dialogue is what you expect. The acting is most definitely what you expect. Hard-on just speaks his lines with the exact intonation throughout the whole film. He smiles once and it is the most awkward thing I've ever witnessed. His tattoos really fucking bugged me, they were so distractedly shit. The film was just awful, there really isn't much to develop.
30. Secret Obsession ★½
This film is trying so hard to be Misery and it's actually sad.
London Tipton does an oopsie and loses the memory of... her whole life? She is then taken home to someone who is not who he seems... ooooh... Scared yet? Yeah me neither.
Nothing in this film really works. The acting is atrocious, the lighting is painful, the script is abysmal, the story is dull. It's just bad, and worse, it's boring. The only reason this is one and a half stars and not half a star is because Brenda Song is beautiful and the scenes with the detective are the best.
The story is infuriatingly stupid. Everything essentially rode on London Tipton forgetting everything. The guy had to rely on her having amnesia; just so happened to photoshop his face on all her family photos; no-one went to check up on the house, check up on her at the hospital; and so much other stuff that was just so stupid. She just happened to have her surname tattooed on her back?! Who does that? Why did he drive the white pick-up truck to the hospital? Why did he leave his wallet for Brenda Song to find? Why did he dig the grave two feet away from the house? Why could she hear his digging but he couldn't hear her calling out to him? Why didn't he use handcuffs on her foot instead of a metal string she could easily pull away from? Why did he leave the lighter there for her to use? Why did he make his password her full real name? Why why why? So many questions. Most I can't remember coz I watched this one night and immediately forgot everything.
This film is painfully predictable. From the first shot of the killer, I knew it was the fake Russell. The Russian guy came for two seconds and then just disappeared forever. What? Where did he go? What was its use?
Brenda Song's acting is atrocious. She is getting chained up and she's looking frantically all around her. Like no, that's not what someone would do in that situation. Not saying I would know *cough cough*.
I am studying History & German at uni and yet I already have more medical knowledge than the geniuses behind this film. The doctor at the start shines a light on her eye but he shines it on the iris, not her pupil, so he would have no idea whether she was unconscious or not. They then use defibrillators on her, but on her shirt. She would catch on fire from that, and regardless they did it on her neck which would just kill her further.
She also manages to walk on her foot pretty well for someone who just destroyed it. When she fell down the stairs she would have passed out from the pain, not got up as nothing happened. When she is pulling her foot from the chain, she would also pass out from that pain coz she had to creak her foot to achieve that. This would also mean that she would not even rest on it, let alone continue to limp. If she is still limping three months later as the film suggests, then she would not even be able to get out of bed, let alone limp at the speed of Bolt.
Overall, pretty shit film that I would definitely recommend.
29. Kim Possible ★
I can't properly review this masterpiece here, this also needs its own article. I highly recommend this thing though, it is one of the most hilarious films I've ever watched.
28. Mr. Malcolm's List ★★
I was having a decent streak of watching 18 films that I liked, and then I watched this. And this broke that streak.
Period piece of Gemma Chan wanting to secure the attraction of Mr Malcolm along with the rest of England I'm assuming.
Yes, the cast is diverse. As long as it isn't tokenism, I will always support a diverse cast and this short film definitely did this the right way. It didn't shove it down my throat, the narrative seems detached from historical actualities that would make this historically impossible, and the cast was well-chosen.
But this film, in my opinion, is not good. The first shot when the title came on was the best shot. The rest of this was shot, unsurprisingly, like a YouTube video. The story is cliché, the cinematography was bland and uninspiring, the sets were boring and scarce, the script was frankly shit, the performances were just bad. I love period pieces. BBC Pride and Prejudice adaptation is one of the greatest works of art ever created. The fact that this short film exists though makes me sorrowful knowing I'd rather watch the 327 minute long TV series that knows how to do a period piece than re-watch this barely twelve-minute cock up that has the nerve to want me to wait for the next installation.
I know everyone loves this short film and I get the diversity aspect, but to me, this simply is not good.
27. Everything is Fine ★★★
This is much better than Hell is an Empty Room (another short film by QUARTZ.). I appreciate the aesthetic QUARTZ. is going for and they do a good job with color usage. Not a lot goes on in the minute and a half but it doesn't bug me as much as their previous film so I think I'll let it slide. A commendable short film and one that is both good and still amateur.
26. The Lion King ★★½
What a mediocre film. It's not bad, it's not great, it's just fine. The ONLY good parts were Timon and Pumbaa. Apart from one laugh from Zazu (I love John Oliver), they were the only times I laughed and actually enjoyed the film. Other than those moments, this film is just boring. The voice acting, on the whole, is just bland. The only exceptions are the children (at certain points), John Oliver, Billy Eichner, and Seth Rogen. The rest is just boring. Beyoncé is terrible but what's new. I already heavily dislike Beyoncé and her performance only reinforced that fact. Donald Glover is receiving tons of praise but I didn't see much variance in his own performance. It was all just too safe and too uninspired. The main point here, is why was this made? What is the purpose of this film existing? The whole point of animated films is that you can take a still from any moment and know exactly what is going on. Here I can't tell shit because everyone has the same expression. Simba's facial expression when he is happy is the exact same when Mufasa is dead. So what's the point of watching this if I can't tell what's going on. I couldn't tell the lionesses apart. I could only just tell baby Simba and Nala apart. I couldn't fucking tell what the fuck was going on! And I didn't even care coz I was just so bored out of my mind. A film is not good when you're pointing out plot holes while you're watching the film. The visuals are fine. The only shots I liked were the wide shots when I see the plains, and the super-close shots of the animals right up against the camera. Those were nice shots. The rest were uninspiring or taken shot-for-shot from the original. Speaking of... I didn't like Scar here. Chiwetal Ejiofor is an incredible actor and I believe he was perfect in 12 Years a Slave. But here, you can't really compare him to the excellence of Jeremy Irons. Irons had a consistently gravelly and deep voice that rumbled constantly. Ejiofor doesn't have the same effect. In the original, Scar is slightly campy and light-hearted despite his murderous qualities, making him entertaining but likewise intimidating. In this Lion King, he's just scary. He's a photo-realistic lion that has a constant scowl as opposed to his constant smirk in the 1994 version. The Be Prepared songs are also wildly different. The original version is acclaimed and experimental in its display, with the green smoke and the loud music. In this version, Scar just starts singing while the hyena's den stays exactly the same. There is no reason for him to be singing other than to refer to the animated film. This film just does shit to copy the original, which is boring and poor. Yeah, I will not be revisiting this film any time soon. Too many factors have put me off watching the lackadaisically made remake of the excellent classic.
25. Velvet Buzzsaw ★★½
Pretentiously average film.
A supernatural force enacts their revenge on art snobs whose greed gets the better of them.
The film, while pretentious, knows that it is, so the criticism of art culture within it is fairly enjoyable. The concept of the film is interesting to a degree, but not a lot of detail is given of who really the painter was so the whole investigation aspect was a bit lost. The subplots of John Malkovitch and Daveed Diggs were completely unnecessary and added nothing to the film. The actress who plays Josephina is so distractedly bad she very much killed the film for me. The ending is very odd and makes little sense as we don't really get an explanation as to why these murders are happening. But I admired how imaginative the film was and how certain parts were shot. The crowning bit though was Jake Gyllenhaal who is brilliant as usual and fits the character perfectly. He's an incredible actor and this is just another show of his talents reaching to every bit of the extreme.
24. Kill Chain ★★★
A hotel room sniper shootout sets off a chain of events that leaves bodies in its wake.
Surprisingly not the worst thing in the world. I've watched a lot of Nicolas Cage films, and this is just another action one. But with this one in particular there seems to be some level of competency and attention to detail. The color palette is decent, the acting isn't terrible, the writing is so-so, the story is gripping to an extent, the sets are quite neat, and the music ain't half bad either. It's not great by any stretch, but it's fairly alright.
23. How to Be Alone ★★★
This short film isn't bad, but I don't know what it's meant to be. Not one single part of this film was horror, I felt no emotion in that regard. The performance of Maika Monroe was okay, I guess. The story made no sense and I think what would have really helped this out is if there was no narration. Then there would be the weirdness factor with no explanation. I don't know, I wasn't too fazed by this but I wish it was better.
22. The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience ★★★
I really like The Lonely Island and this was pretty alright. Highlights were Sia, Stephanie Beatriz (love her), and the Daddy song at the end. Including the Daddy one, I liked four songs which isn't a good proportion, but oh well. It was made well but I won't really be revisiting this.
22. Suki ★★★
Cody was the best bit about this, change my mind. I don't know, I love Noel but I feel like this was slightly pretentious on his part. Not pretentious in terms of making his own short film, rather the aspects about it were too stylistic to actually aid the "plot" and further the story. Some parts were just unnecessary, the focus was barely on Suki, and the script wasn't all there. The sound design also threw me coz it wasn't that great, and the acting, for the most part, was just average. I didn't mind it, but I feel like, with more of a production budget, this could have really been excellent. Oh well, for a debut project, it's still pretty solid.
21. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw ★★★½
Not saying this is a great film, but this is pretty damn enjoyable.
No, it won't win any Oscars next year, but for a stupid action film, it delivers. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jason Statham and Vanessa Kirby have great chemistry together and truly work on the screen. I've never seen a Fast & Furious film before, but I kinda got the gist from this whole experience. The villain was cartoonishly evil but who cares, Idris Elba always looks like he's enjoying himself when he does any role so let him do his thing. The film had a plethora of clichés ("I know a place"; dysfunctional duo take down the villain because they work together; etc.) but I didn't really care coz I just found the whole experience rather enjoyable. The action is pretty damn cool and the attacks looked like they really hurt. The helicopter attached to fifteen cars was a really cool scene and unironically didn't last too long. The story itself was pretty fucking stupid though not gonna lie. But oh well, if it's fun, it doesn't matter. What I didn't get was that Vanessa Kirby has got the virus in her blood, but she's bleeding all over the place. Wouldn't that still fuck up the world if the virus gets exposed from her exposed blood? I think a cool work-around the filmmakers could've done is have her, Hobbs and Shaw try as hard as possible to not make her bleed coz then the whole plan would be kaput. Now that would be even more awesome. Regardless, this is a stupid film that doesn't take itself too seriously and manages to be really fun as a result.
20. One Red Nose Day and a Wedding ★★★★
Not much to say here. I've never watched Four Weddings and A Funeral so I have no idea what was going on. But the story in this and the acting was pretty damn good. The humor was also excellent (British comedy at its finest)
19. Always Be My Maybe ★★★★
This film is goddamn hilarious. The entire time I was praying it was the main actors who wrote the script, and I was so relieved to see at the end that they had.
Reunited after 15 years, famous chef Sasha and hometown musician Marcus feel the old sparks of attraction but struggle to adapt to each other’s worlds. Ali Wong and Randall Park have great chemistry together and they know how to create a captivating world with these hilarious characters. The script was just great. The quick jokes at the end of scenes and those said in passing made it so perfect (my favorite being the Mao Zedong one, however bleak it is). I don't normally like the following trends, but I love Keanu Reeves and the world should be forced to grieve for him if he dies. While his "character" is a dick in this, Reeves is still exceptional. The film itself, however, isn't anything original. Clichés are still a staple of these kinds of rom-coms and this film still follows a formula (unnecessary conflict, for example). Regardless, this is still an enjoyable and funny experience and a definite must-watch.
18. T.I.M. (The Invisible Me) ★★★★½
Kid was so white they were invisible. Nah, for real though this was so fucking cute. Even though only ten people on Letterboxd seemed to have watched this, I don't wanna spoil anything, I'd recommend just watching it. It's a cute twist and the film itself is just made really well. Not the most important thing to focus on, but creds to visual effects crew, that's some good shit right there.
17. The Highwaymen ★★★★½
This film is awesome, challenge me on that.
Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) and Manny Gault (Woody Harrelson) are commissioned to end the torment inflicted by Bonnie and Clyde.
51% on Rotten Tomatoes?! I'm glad I'm with 74% of the audience who liked this great movie. The script is great, the acting is great, the cinematography is stupendous (holy crap this film is beautiful). I've never watched a Bonnie and Clyde film, but from this angle, I'm glad I watched this first. The chemistry is all there, Woody Harrelson being brilliant as usual.
At some points, I thought Kevin Costner was plain bored, but I think the intended effect was to fully show this tired old man character. Regardless, it worked. I love this film, screw what the critics think.
16. Sometimes, I Think About Dying ★★★★★
Remember the name Katy Wright-Mead, she gon' win an Oscar one day. I don't really wanna comment further, I don't wanna diminish the beauty of this short film. To put it simply, this is one of the best depictions of depression put on film. Spare the 13 minutes to watch this masterpiece.
15. Captain Marvel ★★★★
This film was not perfect. But it was pretty damn good regardless. Brie Larson was a great pick for Captain Marvel, which is why I think it was the scriptwriters' fault that I wasn't entirely on board with her near the beginning. With Iron Man, for instance, the humor of Tony Stark was established from the start, his charisma evident immediately. With Danvers, the action was pushed so quickly from the beginning that any character development was rushed to way too quick a level and so I couldn't take the humor to heart as easily. That being said, as soon as she landed on Earth, I liked it much better. The script was still kinda iffy but it was much more memorable than the first bit on the Kree planet. Samuel L. Jackson is great as usual. But then again, even with the de-aging thing, he still moves like a 70-year-old man. The special effects are okay, they're not fantastic. Her suit, for instance, when she's flying at the end just doesn't look that great. Goose is alright. I do not in the slightest see the hype around the cat, it's just a cat. Despite all this, this film is enjoyable. And it's interesting. The twist at the end is absolutely unexpected and was genuinely fascinating. There's not much more to praise that I can think of. The focus on gender was not as forced as I expected it to be. The trailers, from what I could remember, made it seem like it was. And the idiots who were boycotting it because a women was the lead made it seem like the film was a two-hour-long Gillette advert. It wasn't. The focus on gender was done well. It wasn't all up in your face and it worked well with the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.
14. The Two Popes ★★★★
Christian film that didn't make me want to tear my hair out. Pope Francis is adorable in real life and it's reflected here. Good double biopic and good film despite the clear sense of Oscar bait.
13. The King ★★★★½
If Timothée Chalamet is not at least nominated for an Oscar for this role, the whole thing is rigged.
England, 15th century. Hal, a capricious prince who lives among the populace far from court, is forced by circumstances to reluctantly accept the throne and become Henry V.
This film was a break from conventionality. I feel as if the typical monarch films have become lethargic in their approach. Here, it's done differently. The trebuchet scene is anticlimactic and quiet, but that's a good thing. The war scene is visceral and ugly and brutal. It felt more real than any other monarch film has ever felt. The language was rich while still being laymen enough to understand. The film itself was simply accessible and had performances that allowed the viewer to know what was going on, what was being felt, and why things were happening. I am always going to be a proud supporter of Robert Pattinson as a serious actor and here he did not falter. Put the same performance and accent and idiosyncrasies on another actor and they would have been received with unwavering praise. He is a fantastic actor and needs to be appreciated. Timothée Chalamet shone though. His pent up anger and experience is visual and shows how this isn't the boy at the beginning of the film, this is a man. Overall, a pretty excellent film that deserves the praise it is receiving.
12. The Report ★★★★½
I love these kinds of films.
The story of Daniel Jones, lead investigator for the US Senate’s sweeping study into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, which was found to be brutal, immoral and ineffective. With the truth at stake, Jones battled tirelessly to make public what many in power sought to keep hidden.
Any film that focuses on American government I'm gonna love. I thought at first that Adam Driver didn't really want to be there, but then he got more animated and it made it more believable. Annette Bening was alright but she certainly won't win the Golden Globe. The film itself was so stylised in the way it accounted for this situation, made it accessible in an Adam McKay way, minus all the humor. The sets were something I focused on for some reason. They were bland and dull-colored but in a plot-driven way. And regardless of that, the sets were still really well-used. Overall a good film with a solid performance from Adam Driver.
11. Booksmart ★★★★½
A refreshingly optimistic movie.
Two study-focused girls realize on the eve of their graduation that they missed out on the fun and decide to cram a high school's worth of fun into one night. This is the film for teenagers. Teenagers who feel like they have no purpose in this world, that they have anxiety and feel out of place, this film sums it all up in a manner that is... get this... relatable. Goddamn, what a supernatural concept. Spider-Man: Homecoming nails the relatability factor flawlessly, but it's skewed a bit by the fact that Peter Parker is a superhero. Here, teenagers can see their whole life transcribed right in front of them. Amy is a lesbian. Spoiler alert. And you know how the screenwriters and Olivia Wilde focused on it? By not focusing on it. You wanna normalize the LGBTQ+ community and have them be more integrated with media, then take a leaf out of this film's book and treat it as any other film that treats a straight relationship. Switch Amy's lesbian relationship for a straight one and it is indiscernible (almost) from the story which is a good way to go about it because it shows that her sexuality is as common and normal as a straight one. So major props to the crew and cast for that. The script is so goddamn realistic. Aside from certain bits (which I'll get to), this actually seemed like teenagers talking like normal teenagers. It helps that there were four screenwriters (all women as well) who seemingly know their shit. There's swearing where there needs to be. The comedy lands well, the tragedy lands well, the awkwardness lands incredibly well. The script is just well-structured and well-coordinated. There were some bits that the script was kinda iffy, specifically the Malala bit. They have this system that when one says Malala the other one has to follow through with whatever has been proposed. Now, I've never been to the US, but I imagine the USA and the UK share some degree of similarity (just a bit, we don't really like to compare ourselves to Americans). But that Malala bit was, frankly, straight out of a teen movie. That sounds counter-intuitive, but the film up to this point was so grounded in reality, and that bit just brought me out of it, which was jarring. The relationship turmoil was so genuine and heartfelt. Amy isn't struggling with her sexuality like every single film that attempts to throw in a lesbian for the hell of it. She's struggling with a crush, like everyone else, but that's still interesting. The revelation that Amy's crush and Molly's crush got with is kinda forced but I didn't even care because I've grown so much to like these characters that I just felt so bad for them. Their argument was really sad and I was just begging Amy to tell Molly the truth, but Amy didn't want to break her friend's heart. And then Amy gets with a girl. And fucks it up. Coz that's what happens. You're telling me your first time with someone went smoothly? Bullshit. You either threw up like Amy or cried in a corner clutching a bottle of Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey, rocking yourself back and forth while reciting the confrontation scene from The Social Network like a normal person. Where was I? Yeah, that bathroom scene was genius because Amy is an idiot, and that's the point. She fucked up, embarrassed herself, struggled further with her relationship, and is basically alone. Like an actual teenager. Jason Sudeikis is my King, I hope he stays with Olivia Wilde forever and that they stay happy for eternity. The score was pretty damn epic. There were so many f-words in the first five minutes from the music and that sets the tone of this film. It doesn't fuck around. The acting was great from everyone, especially the side characters (specifically Noah Galvin as George, he was hilarious). The standouts were, of course, the main two, but everyone did a pretty great job. I wished Olivia Wilde made a cameo or something. I've missed ever since House and I wanna see her cheekbones make an appearance. The ending was beautiful and what we should expect from this sort of film. It doesn't drag out the graduation scene coz anyone gives a shit, every teen film has done it a bajillion times. And their departure was genuinely real. In essence, this is a teen film that does everything a teen film is trying to do and does it a million times better.
10. Spider-Man: Far from Home ★★★★
This is a pretty good film. It's not as good as Homecoming, don't get me wrong, but it's pretty damn great. Spider-Man is genuinely the greatest hero on this planet, and Tom Holland could not play a more faithful representation if he tried, he is perfect. Zendaya was a bit iffy in this film but I didn't care because I was loving her interaction with Parker so much. Jacob Batalan is saint-like as usual. Jon Watts, here as well as with the previous film, knows how to make a teen film and a superhero film coincide so well together. It didn't feel out of place, the romance felt very integrated and real, and the comedy was on point as usual. The twist was amazing, I had no idea it was coming. When it was revealed in the bar I thought for a second I was watching an outtake because of what the character was saying as soon as Parker left. There's not a whole lot more to add, the heroes were great and the villain was excellent. The trippy illusion scenes were also amazing, Marvel knows how to do them well (Ant-Man and Doctor Strange focusing on them heavily). Those who say it's an over-use of CGI, I think that effect is intentional, coz Marvel knows how to nail CGI (except for in Black Panther, fucking hell). Stuff I didn't like... The scene where Peter Parker and Nick Fury are walking up the stairs in that building and end up in the office. That was my school. Holland Park School. In London. They were walking up, what we call, the floating staircase from the third floor to the fourth floor. The office they finished in is on the second floor. No-one else knows this, but I do, so it bugged me out. The first end credits scene. SPOILER ALERT!!! Revealing Peter Parker's identity is a dick move from Marvel. I'm not one to push the whole "We have to stay true to the comics" vibe, I couldn't give two shits. But one thing I do know is that Parker is supposed to be so good at keeping his identity that not one hero or villain can figure it out, he's supposed to be the best at maintaining his secret. And Marvel just has Gyllenhaal reveal it. That kinda annoyed me. The second end-credits scene. The twist that Nick Fury wasn't even Nick Fury just really annoyed me, coz it seems logistically impossible and super dangerous. Oh well, it was a good film, but some aspects fucked me over and I didn't like that.
9. Avengers: Endgame ★★★★
It was great, don't get me wrong. Everyone was great (ish but we'll get to that). It was an experience that was thoroughly enjoyable and trust me, I was close to tears on many occasions. But as a finale, this film just didn't hit me in that way. Let's talk about the good stuff. Captain America, great. Iron Man, perfect. The rest of the Avengers (excluding Bruce Banner), great. War Machine and Nebula, surprisingly great. Ant-Man, great in some moments (Paul Rudd was kinda flimsy at times but hey ho, he was fine overall).
The bit where (or should I say when - hardy-har) they're in New York in Avengers-time, brilliant. The best moment, undeniably, was Captain America versus Captain America. That is what we needed, my God. Also: LOKI IS GONE. Not dead, but disappeared. He left with the space stone which means that he may still be alive which means he's back, baby, fuck yeah. Final fight scene. Brilliant. I felt it in my soul when Cap said "Avengers.............. Assemble!". Just outstanding. The female team-up was awesome (not as awesome as the Infinity War version coz we don't see much of them fighting after we have an action shot of them here, but that action shot was pretty damn great). The final battle, in general, was just great. When all the decimated people came back through the wizard portals, that was goddamn orgasmic.
But what the greatest bit was (not Stark saying "I am Iron Man" which was admittedly phenomenal), was when Captain America wielded Mjölnir. That was just incredible. I just wanted to mention Captain Marvel. She's great. Her film was great. Her role in this was small but it felt alright. She didn't kill Thanos coz none of us wanted that. She did her OP whatnot all over the battle and was a general badass. So stop hating on her. If I could be provided with a genuine reason for why (out of ALL of the Marvel movies, including Thor: The Dark World and The Incredible Hulk) Captain Marvel the film is the only one with a rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes, that'd be great. Out of all the films, Larson's has an audience score of 58%, making it the only one with a rotten score in either critic or audience score. That baffles me coz as Marvel films go, that one fits the standard pretty damn finely and was genuinely goddamn enjoyable. I just wanted to rant about that here.
Now let's run down the bad stuff:
1) Bruce Banner? The Hulk? Professor Hulk? Regardless of what his name is, what was he? He didn't really show much of any talents of Bruce or the Hulk so he was kinda useless.
2) Thor. Useless. Absolutely fucking useless. The most pivotal person in Infinity War is a drunk, fat, long-haired coward who plays Fortnite. I feel like the Russo Brothers took the funny Thor from Ragnarok and went too far with it. You couldn't take him seriously and especially how he was part of the best fight sequence, he kinda killed it.
3) Time travel. The concept is fine, I guess, I just don't get a single bit of it. Everything conflicted. Everyone became quantum mechanics all of a sudden. What really annoyed me is how it could have been the solution to the poignant end, which I'll get to now...
4) Captain America. He's a dick. Yeah, he gets his dance with Peggy and he lives a long and full life. But come on. Sam?! Anyway. We saw before how Professor Hulk's attempt at time travel aged Lang to a bunch of different ages. Soooo, couldn't you just de-age Rogers and have him be Captain America again? I know he won't want to, but at least address it coz now it's gonna seem like a massive plot point.
5) Thanos. Felt disingenuous. Might just be me but I didn't get the same vibe from him like I did in Infinity War.
6) Stan Lee. He deserved better than what he got as his cameo.
This film is pretty great, despite my criticism. It just felt like a rushed sequel that at certain times was a bit all over the place. I still like it, but if I had to choose, Infinity War was just much better.
8. The Irishman ★★★★
It is a brilliant film, no one is denying that. I know that objectively it is a perfect movie. I'm just saying that I myself didn't understand a single goddamn thing.
Pennsylvania, 1956. Frank Sheeran, a war veteran of Irish origin who works as a truck driver, accidentally meets mobster Russell Bufalino. Once Frank becomes his trusted man, Bufalino sends him to Chicago with the task of helping Jimmy Hoffa, a powerful union leader related to organized crime, with whom Frank will maintain a close friendship for nearly twenty years. There is a reason I haven't watched The Godfather or Goodfellas yet, I do not want to ruin the complexity of a well-crafted gangster film with my dumb-ass eighteen-year-old brain. With this film coming out in 2019 I had no excuse though, I had to watch it. So the inevitable happened and I had no clue what was happening. This is an old man's film for sure, which is not a bad thing. I can very easily see my mum and dad enjoying the hell out of this. I enjoyed it, let's get that straight, I barely noticed the runtime. It's just that organized crime films are confusing to me and this was no different. Needless to say though, the performances were incredible, the script was fantastic, and the story (from what I gathered) was pretty damn great. I would have liked personally, however, for there to be more flair and ingenuity with the camera movements and the cinematography; everything felt very textbook and one shot-next shot-back to the original shot. I dunno, would have appreciated that. Also, I would have appreciated even more of an outlook on Frank Sheeran's character. I know he has the most screen time, but I still felt as if he wasn't fully utilized. Other than that, everything and everyone else was perfect. A great instant classic.
7. Paddleton ★★★★½
Whee, another film this year that made me cry. Fucking hell this is a good film. Sure there's a plot, but there isn't really. It's two best friends on the process of killing the dying one because he doesn't want to go through chemo. But it doesn't really focus on that too much. It's their friendship that the film is focused on. And even in this super short run time, you don't want this friendship to end. Ray Romano and Mark Duplass are a perfect duo and the end is honestly so heart-wrenching. I know I will watch this film again because I need films that make me ugly cry.
6. Joker ★★★★
I am conforming to every boomer's perception of me if I say the violence was my favorite thing about this film. I love Joaquin Phoenix with a passion and it's so clear to see here that he is 100% invested in this role. The writing and direction of Fleck are so A-class I don't even know where to begin. This tortured soul who has only been met with abuse and lack of emotional levity follows society's direction to violence and cruelty. The Joker is a villain, no shit. No one is expecting everyday people to idolize this horrible character. But you don't become a villain for shits and giggles. So this film is necessary to evaluate such a psyche and development.
It's just so interesting to see how someone like this grows to become the most maniacal and ruthless characters put on screen. He is meek and unassuming at the beginning, but becomes, essentially, the leader of a cultist crime movement. Even though it doesn't follow any comics, everything makes sense. Joker's origins, Batman's origins, the henchmen's origins of all people. I also found it hard to imagine where these supervillains actually found their henchmen and this film properly entailed how it comes about. It's a visually stunning film that has layers to it. A great film with an Oscar-worthy performance (he'll lose to Leonardo DiCaprio but he'll deffo be nominated).
This is a trip to rewatch also coz you can just sit back and enjoy the collective gasp when Bruce Wayne is revealed and the plot twist with the love interest is revealed. I still can't figure out the ending, which would normally really bug me, but I think in this circumstance I'm okay with. It's understandable to assume that Fleck made up the whole scenario and that he is still locked up in a mental institute. I'd like to hope not, but it wouldn't annoy me if that was the case. Joaquin Phoenix's performance is even better on rewatch and I only hope he gets all the love from the awards that he deserves.
5. Knock Down the House ★★★★★
Regardless of how much I love American Politics and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this documentary is still, by itself, incredible.
Obviously it's about one of the four that actually managed to succeed, but it's still fascinating seeing how these candidates who have as much (both at the same time as little) chance of winning as the next person campaign and where their motivations come from. The exploration of these incredible women is done powerfully and subtly, examining their standpoints and showing people what politics ought to be like in this day and age. I say people because this applies to the likes of Americans and Britons, etc. Politics should not be about the person who gets a million-dollar sponsorship from a faceless corporation, it should be a normal person who can properly represent the ideals and wants of the average person. That's what democracy is, and this documentary perfectly delivers that message.
4. Dolemite is My Name ★★★★★
The story of Rudy Ray Moore, who created the iconic big screen pimp character Dolemite in the 1970s.
Eddie Murphy is truly putting out the performance of his life and he better be recognized for this. I love this story because it's unconventional. It avoids clichés. Normally when you meet a shy person in a story who's gonna go up and perform, she fucks up. But here she doesn't. Normally when the main character goes through some hardship he suffers hard. Not here he doesn't. Normally there's the corrupt business that takes everything and fucks over the main guy. Not here they don't. Normally there's a love interest that's pushed in unnecessarily. There isn't one here. It's a film focused on life. Life isn't a film, no matter how film-esque it is. Rudy Ray Moore's life was exciting, yes, but it didn't follow a three-act structure with an introduction and conclusion. This film goes right into the story, doesn't waver with sub-plots or distractions, and ends at the height of the moment. It's about Dolemite. And that's what this film delivered. Amazing work and Eddie Murphy at his all-time best.
3. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood ★★★★★
This is pretty fucking excellent. It all feels so genuine and watching it is just so refreshing.
Leonardo DiCaprio is fucking amazing in this. I know The Wolf of Wall Street is one of, if not the, best performances he's ever given, but he is exceptional here. Everything he does is so goddamn perfect that I would be surprised if he didn't win the Oscar, let alone be nominated. Brad Pitt is stupendous as usual. The last scene shows him in his prime and it was great to watch him bounce off of DiCaprio; a duo which will definitely be as iconic as Travolta and Jackson in Pulp Fiction. Margaret Qualley is likewise fucking incredible. She had such great chemistry with Brad Pitt and when Cliff Booth discovers her secret, her pent up anger is so visible simply through her performance. Damian Lewis is a God, he can do no wrong. He is there for one scene and he shone. Margot Robbie doesn't need fifteen thousand lines to shine as an actor and that is shown here.
The girl, Julia Butters, who played the little girl Trudi Fraser was fucking exceptional. She was so good, even considering all child actors are horseshit. The last scene is one of the greatest put to screen, especially considering violence is Tarantino's strong-point and that really shone here. I love the fact that Dalton and Booth murdered the hippies. It subverts the watchers' expectations in a way that Tarantino only can (remembering how he killed off Hitler in Inglorious Basterds in a stroke of pure genius). The score was great, the comedy was great, the cinematography was great, the story was great, everything was great. There's no real plot to this film. It's just a year (essentially) in the life of Hollywood superstars and, for a film that centers around the Manson murders, it ends with a happy ending.
2. Marriage Story ★★★★★
This is the third film by Noah Baumbach that I've watched and this is without a doubt his best yet.
The recurring trope that Baumbach had in While We're Young and The Meyerowitz Stories is that characters talked over one another, talking about their own things while the other person had already moved on. The overload of that started to make The Meyerowitz Stories slightly insufferable, but here it works. It's sparse and utilized effectively. It isolates the characters at a point of their life where they feel the most alone. Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) are going through a divorce and even in this time of isolation, they somehow manage to be even more alone.
This movie almost immediately subverts your expectations from the title, posters, and the first scene. This is not a story about a marriage, far from it. It's a loss and a gain and a loss and a gain of love. It's a story of a couple torn by their own hubris and son, and deciding which character is in the right and who deserves the sympathy is impossible. They both want what they want and they go to measures that they themselves don't want to.
Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson and Laura Dern were all perfect, Driver and Dern in particular. I forget at this point that the latter had been nominated for a Golden Globe but it truly is fitting. They've all been nominated and it's only right. Watching Driver and Johansson's interactions together you would have assumed they were simply being documented and that this divorce was actually genuine; the awkward glances and the way they move around each other, that's a reflection of a standard relationship, but one that is standard enough to be relatable, not patronizingly cliche.
The dialogue is, expectedly of Baumbach, perfect. The first scene is laid out beautifully and sets a somber note of poignancy throughout the whole film. Not to be that film snob, but the overlap and continuation of dialogue is very Sorkin-esque, but it's still particular, it's branded in that regard. You could easily distinguish Sorkin to Baumbach any day, but it's interesting to compare the effect of those approaches. Sorkin uses it in The Social Network to illustrate arrogance and frustration. Baumbach uses it here to illustrate isolation and disconnect. No one listens to one another in The Meyerowitz Stories, but here, simply no one cares.
Charlie and Nicole are trapped in their own pain and suffering and no matter how much people around them convince them of their support, it's all superficial. In the middle of phone calls about their divorce or in the middle of a lawyers' meeting, there are friends interrupting or the lawyers themselves deciding it's time for lunch. No one truly cares. Charlie and Nicole are just another case for them, another marriage story that they'll brush over soon and quickly until they move on to the next lot. This is anyone's story. The Meyerowitz Stories was naturally about the titular family, but this is for everyone. The frustrations here are for everyone, and in the end, no one knows what they really want. Charlie has moved there but he doesn't know if he wants that. Nicole has a new boyfriend but her actions and face say her thoughts are distracted. Everyone is thinking of a different outcome, and the openness of the ending and the last interaction between Charlie and Nicole is to leave it in our hands, and I don't even know myself what I want.
This film is excellent and an indication that Netflix can make films, they just need to be clever with it, and they were certainly clever here. This is pretty fucking excellent. It all feels so genuine and watching it is just so refreshing.
1. I Am Easy to Find ★★★★★
In the most respectful way possible, this is like a half an hour music video, but the best goddamn music video ever.
I watched this stupidly by stopping about three times when watching which completely killed the flow for me, but that's my fault. Other than that and some of the performances sometimes, this is perfection. Alicia Vikander is incredible, that's just a fact. It's not like anything out of the ordinary happens in her life, it's an ordinary life, but the poignancy of it, and the sadness behind it all makes it feel so real; one of the only films when I actually related to the character. This is just a beautiful life account and done so masterfully that if this isn't acknowledged by any big award names, I'm gonna be pissed.
Feeling, big, small, scared, at ease
At that point, I started crying. Normal films do not have anywhere near the capacity to convey a whole life, to evoke emotions just through block colors, or to make people cry just from the music. Alicia Vikander is the only person who can evoke every age through the slightest of mannerisms and make it more believable than actually having someone of that age. The text itself is what seals the deal. They are generic. They are of little things and major events but they are general.
She wonders if she is interesting
I think that. Constantly. Everyone does. It is that simple sentence, the sad as fuck music, the black and white, and Alicia Vikander that makes it that much more depressing. This is genuinely one of the best short films ever made and I believe everyone should watch it, at least once.
It's perfect. It's a short film about life. Everyone's life. Everyone can find something to relate in this and the sadness you feel watching this is the sadness that you're gonna feel in your life. For that reason, this film is my favorite film of 2019.
Personal Awards Ceremony:
Picture: MARRIAGE STORY Short Film: I AM EASY TO FIND Director: Noah Baumbach (MARRIAGE STORY) Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino (ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD) Actor: Adam Driver (MARRIAGE STORY) Actress: Alicia Vikander (I AM EASY TO FIND) Supporting Actor: Ray Romano (PADDLETON) Supporting Actress: Laura Dern (MARRIAGE STORY) Ensemble Cast: ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD Cinematography: THE HIGHWAYMEN Editing: MARRIAGE STORY Sound Editing: I AM EASY TO FIND VFX: AVENGERS: ENDGAME Production Design: THE REPORT Costume Design: DOLEMITE IS MY NAME Makeup & Hairstyling: THE KING Score: I AM EASY TO FIND
The bottom line is, this was a good year for film. I watched more good films than bad ones. Which is saying something because I really like to watch terrible films. I think it's more that I'm not gonna pay money to see a film like Cats (I got the tickets for free, there's no way in hell I'm contributing to their box office), I'd rather pay to watch Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood or Joker.
So this was a good year from my standpoint, and I can only imagine how interesting the Oscars are gonna be considering you have the likes of Adam Driver, Leonardo DiCaprio and Joaquin Phoenix phoning in some of the best performances of their lives. All in all, a good year, a good decade especially, and I think we're all looking forward to what the 2020s have to offer.