Flashback Article – Ten of 2019’s Best Movies

[This is a repost of a December 2019 article]

2019 brought us some great movies.

From a Marvel epic, to a three-and-half-hour Martin Scorsese Netflix film, to a dark DC character study, to standout cinema from Spain and South Korea, here’s a look at what we believe to be ten of the year’s best films. Did you catch all of these?

Note: all the following films had their Australian release dates in 2019.

In no particular order…

JOKER

Our thoughts…

[…] the clear effort that Phillips, Phoenix and co. have put in has made for a bold, gripping, disturbing, effecting character study that you won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

THE IRISHMAN

Our thoughts…

The Irishman is a monumental marker-point for modern cinema, reminding us that storytelling is paramount. […] It is a masterstroke from a pioneer, whose voice will never waver and whose passion for cinema will forever guide us. Yes, I’m unabashedly impressed. The Irishman is Martin Scorsese at his best!

JOJO RABBIT

Our thoughts…

Jojo Rabbit is a delight and may be Waititi’s magnum opus. He treats his audience with respect, taking them on a journey that descends to some horrific and gut-wrenching depths, before ascending to magnificent heights.

BURNING

Our thoughts…

Burning starts as one thing, and morphs into something quite different. The power of these characters to hold your interest and the subtle way this mystery unfolds means Burning not only demands your rapt attention in the theatre, but also afterwards as it gets inside your head and refuses to budge.

TOY STORY 4

Our thoughts…

The storyline is sweet and there are still very tender moments throughout. What makes Toy Story 4 so refreshing is the abundance of new characters, the wonderful new setting, and the immaculate quality of animation. […] No stone is left unturned in excavating sincerity, depth and humour from their journey.

PAIN AND GLORY

Our thoughts…

Almodóvar again proves himself a filmmaker willing to defy structural conventions and subvert viewer expectations. The long-praised director shows a confident hand here, as he seamlessly guides us through an array of emotions with what feels like a heightened level of self-awareness – both thematically and stylistically.

READY OR NOT

Our thoughts…

Ready or Not never forgets to be enjoyable first and topical second. This is a film willing to tackle issues around classism, but directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Devil’s Due) never allow the subtext to overpower the film’s fun nature. […] Ready or Not might be 2019’s most entertaining horror movie.

FORD v FERRARI

Our thoughts…

Although the film’s title panders to motor enthusiasts with its very specific reference, the story itself is universal and boasts a broad appeal to lovers of cinema. Damon and Bale are perfectly cast as the formidable duo, and their personality clashing makes for compelling drama, laced with levity and adoration.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME

Our thoughts…

[…] the definitive climax to Marvel’s grand saga. If Infinity War was a showcase of Marvel’s many heroes, this is a celebration of its world and mythology. […] a very satisfying ending for the now 22-film franchise, and giving (at least) our original 6 Avengers a sense of closure their billion-dollar box-offices would rarely allow for.

PARASITE

Our thoughts…

An impressively crafted kaleidoscopic of tones and social/familial themes. Bong Joon Ho (Ojka, Snowpiercer) has crafted a film that will surprise you, make you laugh, get your pulse racing and, most importantly, have you completely enthralled from beginning to end. Truly fine cinema.