December is a time of reflection, especially as we head towards the New Year. So now is the best time to look back over the last 12 months and finally decide what my favourite movies of the year were. This Blog may only have been around since October, but I was watching movies this year waaaaay before I started writing about them here. So I will leave links to any reviews I have for the movies I mention here. But some of the movies I saw before this Blog existed.
5. Avengers: Endgame
After the heart stopping ending of Infinity War, the whole world held it’s breath as it walked into the theatre to see the concluding chapter in Marvel Studios Masterfully Crafted Infinity Saga. And while I did love it, and the arrival of all the Avengers at the final battle does give me one of the best 3.45 minutes of cinema I have EVER SEEN, and even though it makes me blubb like a baby every time I watch it (“We Won Mr Stark. We did it.”) I still have so many issues with it, and the treatment of so many of the characters were so back handed, that I can’t rightfully give it a higher ranking then this.
4. Le Mans ’66 (aka: Ford vs Ferrari)
This one was a huge shock for me. The chemistry between leading men Christian Bale and Matt Damon is what made this film so delightful to watch. For one I thought was going to be painfully dull, I actually enjoyed it a lot. Link to my review below:
3. Knives Out
Right from the off this one was going to be a winner for me, even before I saw the amazing cast and the witty writing. Then i saw the trailer and knew that this was going to be right up my alley. I was a sucker for those old school Poirot TV dramas on the BBC when I was a kid so this film really spoke to my soul, and thankfully it didn’t disappoint. In fact I loved it so much I saw it 3 times. Link to my review below:
2. Marriage Story
Considering the staggering amount of awards this film has won so far this season, I would not be surprised to find this film near the top of a lot of peoples ‘Best of…’ lists this year. I put off watching this one for a couple weeks as I wasn’t really sure it was going to be for me. But after finally sitting down with it, I was so amazed at the whole thing. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johnson deserve all the awards for their performances here. My full review linked below:
1. The Farewell
It sucks that I don’t actually have a review on here for my favourite movie of the year. So I shall write a quick one here:
Billi (Awkwafina), an American-Chinese woman in her early thirties (ish) finds out (completely accidently) that her grandmother is dying of Cancer, and that her Chinese family have no intention of telling her about it. In stead they are holding a completely ridiculous wedding for a cousin, as an excuse to get everyone together one last time before she dies.
It would be pretty standard to assume that a film about death and cancer would not normally be a laugh a minute movie. Yet somehow Lulu Wang has managed to create a story that while deep and dramatic at it’s heart, is a more light-hearted and comical look into the subject matter. Based on the directors own experiences as an immigrant and of her own personal loss, this subject is handled not only delicately but beautifully, really placing us as an audience, in the heart of the story.
Billi struggles to tread the line between her Chinese heritage and the modern ideas of the life she currently lives in. Challenging her family at every turn, trying to understand why they would do this, pointing out that where she is from “This would be illegal.” Only to be told by her father “This isn’t America.” Like that would make all of her questions and concerns go away. Billi is a great character, and Awkwafina plays her excellently. It is a breath of fresh air to see her playing a role with a bit more drama and reality to it than the larger than life roles we have often seen her play. This is great example of her stepping outside of that box and proving that she can play more serious roles, and play them incredibly well.
This will definitely not be a film for everyone. It is a capsule story, a tiny self-contained chapter that really transports the viewer into the world of the narrative, and those kinds of stories are not everyone’s favourites. It lacks any pizzazz, explosions or real over dramatic pieces. Instead in relies on its excellent story telling and inspiring performances to endear itself to you and make you fall in love with it. And I am really hoping that more than a few of you will give this one a try.
So that’s my quick wrap up of my favourite 5 films of the year. There were a lot of great movies that I loved this year: John Wick: Chapter 3, Spiderman: Far From Home, Aeronauts, 21 Bridges, that I would love to give honourable mentions too. They missed out on this list by a hair.
What films made your best of the year lists? What Films did you HATE? I am currently trying to compile my Worst of 2019 and am finding that one a lot harder to do but will hopefully ave it up before years end.
Reviews for both:
Playing with Fire and Spies in Disguise.
Until next time.