2019 has been chocka-block with blisteringly great movies which made the feat of my end-of-year rundown list a hard task but as a new decade is about to dawn upon us, I managed to finally whittle together a list of my favourite 20 films*
*because I couldn’t choose only 10 and I left no time to do 50!
20 – US
Jordan Peele followed up his star debut directorial with this doppelganger feature that showcases a formidable dual performance from Lupita Nyong’o. The thrills of the home invasion genre are dialled up with dark humour and end of the world mirror-led dynamics. Hands across to my review – US
19 – I LOST MY BODY
This French animation appearing on Netflix is a beautiful and oddly stirring delight, considering it has us following in the footsteps – or fingertips, of a dismembered hand trying to get back to its’ body. The film gets you completely wrapped up and the soul of identity beats through the flitting past and present of the short run-time.
18 – HUSTLERS
The ups and downs of a hustlin’ gang of strippers/dancers is wildly exciting and pulsating with a toxic soundtrack. Jennifer Lopez is on sensational form through this ‘true story’ which crackles with female force and energy. Swing over to my review for Hustlers
17 – CRAWL
With the name Sam Raimi on board behind the scenes you can only pray for a shlocky good time a la ‘The Evil Dead’ and gladly this Florida based alligator horror is rife with tension and does its job to a perfect T. Run don’t crawl to my review
16 – ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
QT sets his trademark style on the Hollywood scene of the late 60’s with a dynamite ensemble cast and expected awesome collection of songs. The 9th movie in his arsenal might not be his strongest but the swinging vibe and the what if scenario of Manson/Tate and the summer of loving is an engaging one. OUATIH
15 – THE IRISHMAN
Hold on world, because the might of Martin Scorcese and the lofty talents of Pacino, Pesci and DeNiro unite for a Netflix Original which is a gangster story right up Marty’s Mean Street. The film is indeed a lengthy one but every minute is gorgeously crafted and you’ll feel as if you’re rooted in the world of Frank Sheeran and company.
14 – FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY
The trials and tribulations of a wrestling-mad family from Norfolk is much more fun and captivating than you’d ever imagine it had the right to be. The first of three appearances for the incomparable Florence Pugh on this list; ‘Fighting with my Family’ has great jokes, heart and thanks to Merchant’s directing it possesses a lovely feel-good tone. Can you smell what’s cooking over at my review?!
13 – THE FAVOURITE
I mean, just look at the poster, that gives you the summary of what mad brilliance Yorgos Lanthimos’ period piece is about! The combined talents of Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Oscar winner Olivia Colman are a dream and there’s something inexplicably wonderful and zany with this film. My review.
12 – READY OR NOT
There’s great giddy fun to be had in this balls to the wall bloody games night from hell. Samara Weaving is an excellent lead and scream queen who tools up and leads the audience through a nightmare world of rich revenge. Ready or Not my review is here
11 – LE MANS 66
Titled as Ford v. Ferrari across the pond, this sporting bio-pic revs with edge-of-your-seat immersion through its’ car racing sequences and thanks to the 1-2 punch turns of Bale and Damon this is a riveting drama that never stalls. Brake for a sec and check out my full review.
10 – DOCTOR SLEEP
Mike Flanagan had a near-impossible task but he somehow manages to weave together aspects of Stephen King’s 2013 book sequel in relation to The Shining novel whilst simultaneously retaining the chilling atmosphere presented through Kubrick’s cinematic adaptation. We return to The Overlook with trepidation and this is a horror leaning away from scares and toward dread, power and addiction. Here’s my revieeeeewww.
9 – JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
I have no reservations or embarrassment around placing this adventure/comedy in my top ten. None. The video game atmosphere is levelled up with shifting characters and more fun environments for our teen-trapped avatars to struggle and succeed in. Who’d have expected the Jumanji re-brand to be so fun and I’m way here for it. Choose your character at my review
8 – FREE SOLO
I have never felt anxiety and sheer marvel like I did when watching this climbing feat on an IMAX screen. The documentary follows the doubly brave and fool-hardy Alex wanting to scale heights in Yosemite Park without any equipment or rope. The trembling in your gut will be peak dread as you watch him begin the ascent. Climb to my Free Solo review.
7 – JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM
Keanu Reeves is the perfect John Wick and this now trilogy showcases his fighting skills with calm and ease, yet this time he meets his match as the entire world wants to claim the bounty on his head and faces from ‘The Raid’ series crop up to finally give John a hard fight. The market brawl with Halle Berry and assassin dogs are a stand-out too. The clock is ticking, quick, read my full review.
6 – LITTLE WOMEN
Gerwig strikes again. After ‘Lady Bird’ which I positively adored, she reunites with the constantly wonderful Saoirse Ronan and hires the help of a spectacular cast to retell one of America’s great literary classics. This film will fill you up with goodness twice over. March on to my review
5 – MIDSOMMAR
The third and final entry for Miss Florence Pugh in a non-stop year and this Ari Aster directed horror confirms just why she’s a talent that cannot be held down. The near constant sunshine-laden visual of this disturbing break-up tale makes the cult goings on and flowery crown summer vibe an alarming story that you won’t want to forget anytime soon. Gather round the maypole for my Midsommar review.
4 – KNIVES OUT
A murder mystery with a real stab of intrigue and delectable comedy; Rian Johnson directs a splendid ensemble cast milling in and around a stately home and his screenplay is a truly invested ride of clue solving and that final shot for the movie is downright exquisite and that’s down to the smart writing which has you connecting in the right places to the right people. Full Knives Out review.
3 – AVENGERS ENDGAME
Sorry Scorsese but this was undeniably the cinematic event of the year. Marvel have been adding to their universe for the last 10 years and this superhero epic is the conclusion for the ages and there’s a bold first third which is no bells and whistles which nicely pieces the stages of grief circulating the heroes after Thanos achieved his goal. The later two parts are visually masterful and shuffle from time-heist to all-out battle which juggle ideas and characters well enough to stand strong as a well-made film, that just happened to break box office records too. I love it 3000 – my review.
2 – BOOKSMART
Olivia Wilde shows great storytelling and comic chops for her directorial debut. The pair of ladies in the lead are a glorious set of faces and talent to spice up the coming-of-age narrative with bundles of chemistry and captivating enthusiasm. The likes of awkward teacher taxi rides, superb parental cringe with Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte and Billie Lourd’s party popping arrivals seal the deal that this is a necessary female-centred story that you need to see. My whole review.
1 – MARRIAGE STORY
Netflix have scooped up a great amount of award-ready films and this love story revolving around a divorce is something that made me laugh, cry and moved me when I saw it back in October and it’s stuck with me since. Baumbach has concocted a romantic plot which has taking no sides and has you feeling the sense of family and strained love above all else. If nothing else, ‘Marriage Story‘ has star-confirming turns by Driver and Johansson and the former appears in one of the most brilliantly hilarious scenes you can picture happening live on stage. Check out my full write-up here.