Tuesday, 31 December 2019
NUTS4R2’s Best Movies of 2019
The 19 Best Movies of 2019
Hi there, it’s that time of year again.
Here are my favourite movies of 2019, with a bit of a bias towards American movies it seems to me. Not that I didn’t see my fair share of foreign language movies this year... I just don’t think I saw that many truly great ones. As usual, there will be some films that people will wonder why they are absent here. Frankly, if I saw them screen a year early at a festival or something, then they are films I saw in the cinema last year and would have been eligible for last year’s list. That’s right... all the films on this list are films that got, at the very least, a cinema release or random screening over here in the UK this year.
My one big regret is that Jay And Silent Bob Rebooted couldn’t be on here. Normally a Kevin Smith movie would score very high on my scale but, unfortunately, due to some bad ‘real life’ timing, I couldn’t use the ticket I’d bought to one of the... actually quite rare... screenings in this country. Why it was rare I don’t know. Surely the studio’s must realise that a new Jay And Silent Bob movie is an even bigger draw than a new Star Wars movie but... nope, apparently they are all just a bit out of touch. So, alas, I’ve not seen it yet.
I’m guessing there’s at least one movie on this list that won’t even get a UK release unless I’m very lucky. That usually happens with stuff I see in festivals but... at least it’s recorded here.
There are two big surprises for me about this year’s list. One is that, since Avengers - Infinity War was my favourite film of last year, I was expecting the direct sequel, Avengers - End Game, to be high up on this list. However, the Marvel movies this year were so bad (with End Game being the worst, logic challenged, ‘they’ll watch any old crap’ attempt to grab my money with no decent script example) that none of them made the list. Instead, the one truly great superhero movie, which was made by DC, is here instead. Sure, they got the central character a bit wrong and he wasn’t allowed to be called by his actual name due to Marvel having the rights and releasing their own film under that name this year but... it was still the only truly amazing superhero film this year.
The other big surprise is... if I were to get around to doing a ‘best scores of the year’ list (and because of this I now might)... it would look absolutely nothing like this list at all. The year was filled with marvellous, brilliant scores made for some truly terrible films... the Avengers movie in my last paragraph being a prime example. So... yeah, that might happen.
Anyway, I’m sure some of the cracking films on this list will be on some poor souls’ ‘worst of the year’ lists but that’s okay... I know my list is much, much better. ;-)
19. Madness In The Method
Jason Mewes’ directed this Eight And A Half meets slasher movie Madness In The Method, which sees the director playing a slightly fictionalised version of himself, as he tries to get a part playing anything other than the ‘stoner stereotype’ he plays in the Jay And Silent Bob movies. I think my favourite bit is when Vinnie Jones kicks the big firecracker. You can read my review of this movie, which I saw screened at FrightFest, right here... http://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/08/madness-in-method.html
This gritty tale in which Nicole Kidman plays a washed up cop, marvelled audiences, me included, with a great ending reliant on those watching decoding the structure of the way the movie plays out in the wrong order. Destroyer is a brilliant sleight of hand movie and the only one I’ve seen that has a ‘handjob for information’ scene in it (which was apparently removed from the airline version which my cousin saw on the way over from Australia). My review of this one is here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/01/destroyer.html
17. Colour Out Of Space
So here we celebrate the return of director/creator Richard Stanley with a movie based on the H. P. Lovecraft story, The Colour Out Of Space. It’s a nice, old fashioned horror movie, a bit out of its time and it certainly harkens back to the days of the 1960s AIP releases in tone and style. Which is probably exactly why I loved it so much. You can read my review of this one here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/10/colour-out-of-space.html
16. Doctor Sleep
Mike Flanagan’s ‘adaptation’ of one of Stephen King’s best books is not without its problems but even though the last third or so of Doctor Sleep differs terribly from the book and changes things for the worst, it’s still not a bad movie and a nice sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining. It’s just not a patch on the source novel but the Newton Brothers score, with it’s Dies Irae lifts from Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind’s score for Kubrick, is especially welcome. I reviewed this movie here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/11/doctor-sleep.html
15. Judy And Punch
A nice, completely fictional movie about the purported inventor of the Punch And Judy show is quite raw, in some ways, without ever really showing the violence it lingers on in the aftermath of any onscreen altercations. Judy And Punch is, in some ways, a bit of a feminist movie and it kind of wears this on its sleeve but it’s nothing less than brilliant throughout. You can read my full review here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/11/judy-and-punch.html
14. Charlie’s Angels
Everyone else seemed to hate the new Charlie’s Angels movie so let me be the voice of reason here and say... no, of course it was never going to be as good as the two McG cinematic masterpieces but... once you can get through the terrible opening sequence it turns out to be a pretty good movie after all. It even had a twist I didn’t see coming, which was nice. I reviewed this one here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/11/charlies-angels-2019.html
13. Ad Astra
Ad Astra was a wonderful mix of 2001 - A Space Odyssey and Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness, where the absolutely brilliant journey of the movie wasn’t quite diluted by the incredibly anticlimactic last 20 minutes. It also had a nice score by, like, three people... according to the CD. My review is here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/09/ad-astra.html
12. Rabid (2019)
A surprisingly excellent and respectful remake of David Cronenberg’s Rabid by the brilliant Soska Sisters which deserved a proper cinema release over here, rather than just a few screenings. However, thanks to FrightFest, I at least got to see this gem on a big screen. You can read my take on this one here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/08/rabid-2019.html
11. Happy Death Day 2U
After the brilliance of the first film, Happy Death Day 2U had to move into slightly sideways territory, rather than just be a second horror movie remake of Groundhog Day. It did this beautifully, managing to have its cake and eat it in a film which, alas, wasn’t as successful as the first in terms of revenue but was absolutely a great sequel with the promise, in the post credits scene, that there would be more on the way. Sadly, due to the aforementioned box office take, that’s now less than likely but I can still hope for more. I reviewed this here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/02/happy-death-day-2u.html
10. The Antenna
Turkish film Bina aka The Antenna was a nicely strange movie... coming across as something of a cross between the two most interesting cinematic Davids... Lynch and Cronenberg... channeling Cthulhu mythos, this one also played out like something of a horror movie. Quite bizarre and I’m just hoping this gets a UK release at some point... although I kinda doubt it. My review is here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-antenna.html
9. The Banana Splits Movie
I used to love The Banana Splits as a kid so this new ‘kids show subverted to horror’ version was something I was completely embracing. Once the novelty value has worn off... which is in itself pretty cool... it’s actually a solid sci-fi/slasher movie. I loved it and I’m not even a fan of American slasher movies (I much prefer a nice, Italian giallo). I reviewed this one here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-banana-splits-movie.html
8. Star Wars Episode IX - The Rise Of Skywalker
The new Star Wars movie, episode nine in the chaptered series, is supposed to be the last one in that particular chain. Yeah, right. Give it twenty years or less and they’ll be trying to reassemble the surviving cast for another ‘handover’ trilogy. This one is by no means a great Star Wars movie but it’s a heck of a lot better than The Last Jedi and wisely, I think, chose to eradicate and twist the direction of that last movie. It didn’t necessarily do this in a great way but, frankly, I’m just relieved Abrams managed to bring the franchise back on track. My review for this one is here.... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/12/star-wars-episode-ix-rise-of-skywalker.html
7. Alita Battle Angel
With Alita Battle Angel, we all went to the cinema expecting a shallow spectacle. Well, we certainly got the spectacle but, surprisingly, we also got a wonderful, emotional film with a lot of heart and soul to it. I was completely charmed by Alita and would love to see the next part of her story. My thoughts on this one are here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/02/alita-battle-angel.html
6. Zombieland - Double Tap
Just like the first movie, I wasn’t expecting much from the new Zombieland sequel and, just like the first movie, I was pleasantly surprised by this one which, frankly, I enjoyed even more than the original. Looking forward to seeing this one again at some point and you can catch my review of it here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/10/zombieland-double-tap.html
This one was the only superhero movie that was any good this year... even though the central characters of Captain Marvel and Sivana, while looking somewhat like their comic book incarnations, were somewhat changed (heck, they even gave Cap some kind of projectile lightning powers). A brilliant film that doesn’t take itself too seriously while managing to tackle the issues of family being what you make it as opposed to what you are saddled with and, to boot, being a fine Christmas movie. I reviewed this one here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/04/shazam.html
4. Welcome To Marwen
Steve Carell, who I only really like in straight roles, plays real life artist Mark Hogencamp. I won’t spoil the story of this man’s unfortunate experiences which turned him into a World War II action figure photographer but I will say that this film manages to juggle the intimacy of the subject matter with absolutely amazing, spectacular special effects work, as the writers have Hogencamp’s art world taking over, Walter Mitty-like, from real life when he gets stressed out. I reviewed this absolute gem of a movie here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/01/welcome-to-marwen.html
I don’t usually like modern romantic comedies (give me Bringing Up Baby any time) but this one has such a unique premise of a world where various things are suddenly wiped out of existence, especially The Beatles, with a superb cast who really got you to care about their plight. Various elements introduced throughout assure that the story sustains itself over the whole running time... which is an achievement in itself. My review of this one is here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/08/yesterday.html
2. One Cut Of The Dead
You don’t want to know anything about this movie before going in. I told my dad before I showed it to him... this is going to seem like one of the worst zombie movies ever made for about 40 minutes. Don’t complain and go with it because... well, you’ll see. And then he spent the first 40 minutes complaining about how rubbish it was and then the end credits rolled and... then the film continues and the real film slowly begins to unfold. By the end of the movie, my dad actually called it a masterpiece and... well, he was right. My initial review of this wonderful movie is here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/01/one-cut-of-dead.html
1. The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot
Okay, so the title of this film suggests it’s either going to be a horror movie or, more than likely, a modern film trying to capture the spirit of an old exploitation movie. It’s neither, actually. What it really is, frankly, is actor Sam Elliot turning in the performance of his career in a movie which is truly touching and beautiful. Poignant and unforgettable, this easily walks away with the ‘Best Movie Of 2019’ title as far as I’m concerned and you can read my initial thoughts about this one here... https://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-man-who-killed-hitler-and-then.html