Tag Archives: 2019

2020 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Film Reviews – Hair Love, Kitbull, Sister

The Oscar nominations have dropped. Among them are a number of great short films. Three of the contenders for Best Animated Short Film are currently available to view online: Hair Love, Kitbull, and Sister. And they’re all worth seeking out.

Hair Love

Hair Love is my favorite short film of 2019. Released through Sony Pictures Animation and playing before the inferior The Angry Birds Movie 2, Matthew A. Cherry’s film is Continue reading 2020 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Film Reviews – Hair Love, Kitbull, Sister

1917 (2019) Movie Review

The buzz surrounding 1917, the new film by Sam Mendes in tribute to his grandfather, is its technical achievement of appearing as if it is two extremely long takes. Aside from one pointedly hard cut, the film hides its edits in its pans across surfaces which cover the frame or in tunnels of darkness.

It is a technique reminiscent of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman or Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (Hitchcock would have attempted a completely one-take film if he were not limited by the technical capabilities of the time, which only allowed about seven minutes of footage before the film had to be changed out). The long tracking shots through trenches might also bring to mind Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, whose long takes make the film feel surprisingly modern.

If you are a long take purist, however, you may Continue reading 1917 (2019) Movie Review

The 20 Best Movies of 2019

It is that time of year again. Time to create an exceedingly subjective, by-no-means exhaustive list of the “best” movies of 2019. 2019 was a good year in film. There were plenty of strong contenders for this list (find my full ranking of 2019 films at Letterboxd). I could have stretched this list out to 30 or 40 films, but I decided to keep it short and sweet. I just crammed in as many honorable mentions as felt appropriate, instead.

You can find my candidates for worst movie of the year here.

Honorable Mentions: American Factory, Apollo 11, Arctic, Ash is Purest White, Birds of Passage, Hail Satan?, A Hidden Life, Horror Noire, Midsommar, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, One Cut of the Dead, Rolling Thunder Revue, The Souvenir, The Vast of Night, Wild Rose

 

Continue reading The 20 Best Movies of 2019

Top 10 Worst Films of 2019

Update – December 21, 2019, 8:00 pm: Cats was added to Dishonorable Mentions

2019 was a very good year for movies. In my opinion, there are (at least) three masterpieces coming out of this calendar year. But every film cannot be a masterpiece. Some films fail, are made poorly, or are downright offensive. 2019 had plenty of those, as well.

You can like what you like. I won’t stop you. If you like any of the films on this list, that’s fine with me (if you like the number one film, though, maybe we shouldn’t hang out). These are simply my personal least favorite films of 2019.

Dishonorable Mentions: The Angry Birds Movie 2, Cats, Fractured, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Guns Akimbo, Hellboy, The Lion King, Miss Bala, Pet Sematary, Replicas, The Upside, What Men Want

10. The Curse of La Llorona

There is a long history of La Llorona, or “The Crying Woman,” in film. But the figure of urban legend was not well known by American audiences before Continue reading Top 10 Worst Films of 2019

2019 CineFiles Awards — Best Films of the Year

I do a lot of awards season coverage on this site (admittedly, much less of it this season). For the amount of attention the Academy Awards is given on CineFiles, I don’t always agree with the choices the Academy makes. As such, in this end-of-year sprint to catch up on as many movies as possible, I decided to put together a ballot of my own personal favorites of the year.

The ballot covers all Oscar categories except the three short film categories, as I have seen only a small number of short films this year. Other films I find noteworthy—including my favorite short film of the year—are given Continue reading 2019 CineFiles Awards — Best Films of the Year

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Movie Review

There is something completely understandable and, to  an extent, forgivable about the slapdash, lumpy, and largely hollow pieces that shape the narrative of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. There is a distinct feeling, present from the opening scene of The Rise of Skywalker, that J.J. Abrams started this race a lap behind (Abrams was brought on late to the film after Disney parted ways with Colin Trevorrow).

It is a feeling that some higher power, whether it be Abrams or Kathleen Kennedy or whoever, decided to Continue reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Movie Review

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Movie Review

When me meet Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) at the start of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the new Fred Rogers biopic directed by Marielle Heller, he is giving a speech at the National Magazine Awards. Having won the year before for his tough-headed journalism that doesn’t make him many friends, Lloyd is presenting the award to this year’s recipient. Without any vigor or pomp, he delivers his canned address by making appeals to the power of journalism. With magazines, Lloyd and his peers can “change a broken world with [their] words.”

But Lloyd clearly doesn’t believe that. At least, he doesn’t have the Continue reading A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Movie Review