MOVIES - BEST OF 2019
1917 - This is by far the best war movie ever made and absolutely be experienced on the big screen! How such a large movie can be so intimate is testament to the superb writing and cinematography that makes "1917" an incredible feat of filmmaking. It is as much a thriller as it is a war movie or period film, in large part due to how it was shot/edited in one take and in real time. Sometimes creative techniques and technology elevate a movie to something very special. Such is the case here, with the film being edited as if in one continuous shot. Plus, we all need an occasional good hard look at the atrocities and realities of war.
Parasite - Exquisitely shot, great ensemble cast, off the charts creative, stunning, disturbing and poignant. In a word … MASTERPIECE!
Les Miserables- Strap in and get ready for a wild ride from the slums of Paris, with a heavy dose of social injustice and blatant racism. This is what happens when burnt out bad cops are left to their own devices and in urban neighborhoods unfortunately riddled with crime. “Les Miserables” is fantastic entry into American audiences for relatively newish director, Ladj Ly.
Joker - Wow, this is as dark, grim and violent (at end) as it gets, but undeniably fantastic. The Joker is an excellent origin story, of the famed villain from "Batman," with a significant side of social commentary. Joaquin Phoenix's performance is outstanding and director Todd Phillips' chronicling of the making of a killer is haunting, captivating and actually poetic. No wonder he's been said to be a lock for all the awards from the day the movie released.
Just Mercy - I loved the book the movie is based on, and appreciate the film adaptation (although pretty different, so please do read the book!) Real-life hero lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who advocates for death row inmates and others unfairly incarcerated, comes to life on the big screen with this depiction of his career and one of the pivotal cases he took on and won. Jamie Fox should get an Oscar nod for this excellent supporting role performance.
Us - This may not quite be the cinematic revelation “Get Out” was when it came out two years earlier, but as a follow-up, Jordan Peele does not disappoint. There is a wonderful genre mix of Twighlight Zone eeriness and uncertainty, with Hitchcock level cinematography and story structure.
Knock Down the House- I loved re-wathching and re-living AOC’s 2018 path to victory, along with several other agents of change who didn’t quite make it but gave it a great try. It gives hope for the 2020 election … and we all need a bit of hope.
The Great Hack- Anybody who has a computer or engages in social media of any kind (in other words, everybody), should watch this informative and striking documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and key persons impacted by it.
1917 - Sometimes creative techniques and technology elevate a movie to something very special. Such is the case here, with the film being edited as if in one continuous shot. Plus, we all need an occasional good hard look at the atrocities and realities of war.
Pain and Glory- Pedro Almadovar directs Antonio Banderas in the best role/performance of his career as a deeply personal send up to Almadovar’s career.
Booksmart- Clever, outrageous and wickedly funny. It’s the female version of “Super Bad,” but better. Kudos to actress-turned-director, Oliva Wilde!
- HONORABLE MENTION -
The Report - Can we say waterboarding, even suspected terrorists, is immoral and illegal?!! Yes, America! What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good political thriller, and when you add reality/based on actual events, even better!
Yesterday - I didn’t think anything could make me appreciate the Beatle’s anthology more than I always have, but this film did just that. Along the way, I was wildly entertained by this wholly unique script of a musician who, through a freak event, is the only one in the world that knows the Beatles’ songs and struggles with the ethics of taking advantage of that.
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