I make this list every year, for fun and as a reference. It only reflects things seen for the first time; “POLTERGEIST was on again” doesn’t make the list. There are plenty of 2019 releases I haven’t gotten to yet. Of the films I did see, here are some noteables:
THE LIGHTHOUSE brought the crazy. Dafoe, Pattinson and director David Eggers deliver absolutely everything one could ask for in a two-guys-go-nuts-in-a-lighthouse movie. Shot on vintage cameras in black-and-white in 1.55 AR Claustro-vision.
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD was my favorite Tarantino in a long time. 2018’s THE FAVOURITE was another, uh… favorite. Ditto for THE FAREWELL. Awkwafina, so good. Lulu Wang, so good. Most of PARASITE is watching grifters build a Jenga tower of lies and wondering when and how it’s gonna fall, and that = a good time at the movies! Meanwhile, THE RISE OF SKYWALKER was an imperfect end to an imperfect saga. I cried anyway.
What’s on TV? Well, I finally saw KLUTE. TCM, thank you. Jane Fonda, holy shit. They don’t make movies like this anymore; do they? Watching films from the 70s you realize how sanitized and smug most mainstream movies are now. We’re backsliding.
Also caught FIRST REFORMED on video. Paul Schrader’s still got the goods, and brings ’em. AT ETERNITY’S GATE features Willem Dafoe again, this time as Van Gogh. Heartbreaking and beautiful. In its own way, so was RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET… and it feels like this one kinda got overlooked. It’s endlessly clever, has great visuals, and an emotionally affecting core all about friendships and how they can change.
Marvel recently announced they will do a superhero movie centered on a gay character. But, they already have CAPTAIN MARVEL! I mean, come on…
If you like docs, TICKLED dives into the weird world of “competitive endurance tickling.” You’ll want to shower after. Also finally caught up with Berlinger and Sinofsky‘s 1992 doc BROTHER’S KEEPER – riveting. Highly recommended.
On the series side of things, I liked HBO’s “Dead to Me.” Great performances, and the first episode delivered not one but two A+ OMG moments. Held up throughout the season, too. Season 3 of “The Crown” introduced an entirely new cast without a hiccup. If I ever write anything as perfect and delightful as the last two scenes of episode 5 (“Coup”) I can hang up my mouse and die happy.
Adult Swim’s “Primal” was an amazing, totally dialogue-free animated series about a caveman and his dinosaur. The season (series?) finale may be the goriest thing I’ve ever seen on TV. “Undone” (Amazon) was another fine adult animated show. Come for the mind-bending premise and trippy visuals, stay for the writing and performances.
MOVIES ON THE BIG SCREEN
Mary Poppins Returns
Welcome to Marwen
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
The Kid Who Would Be King – Every boy in this movie has chapped lips. England’s cold.
Ralph Breaks The Internet
High Life – Infuriating “art movie.” Somebody explain to me why this wasn’t terrible.
Toy Story 4
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
Terminator: Dark Fate
Knives Out – My mom would have loved this movie. I loved it too.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
MOVIES ON THE SMALL SCREEN
Avengers: Infinity War
Ant-Man and The Wasp
The First Monday In May
At Eternity’s Gate
The Peanuts Movie
Victoria & Abdul
Lean On Pete
Where The Boys Are (1960)
Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Mary Queen of Scots (2018)
The Invitation (2015)
Clouds Of Sils Marias
The General (1926)
Brother’s Keeper (1992)
The Men Who Stare At Goats
Wendy And Lucy
Late Night – Needed a rewrite
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
I Lost My Body
Marriage Story – Alan Alda, MVP
Rocketman – Bohemian Rhapsody ain’t brilliant, but still better than this mopey pity party
Empire of Dreams
What We Do In The Shadows
Game of Thrones
Dead To Me
The Great British Baking Show
The Good Place
Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal
Bless This Mess
A Year In Space
Mike Birbiglia: The New One – Delivered to me my single biggest belly laugh of 2019
Rick and Morty