XIXAX Film Forum

2019 Final, No Takebacks

jenkins · 27 · 4052

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
on: December 01, 2019, 10:29:54 PM
John Waters

1 CLIMAX (Gaspar Noé)

The best movie of the year gives new meaning to the term “bad trip.” Frenzied dance numbers combined with LSD, mental breakdowns, and childhood trauma turn this nutcase drama into The Red Shoes meets Hallucination Generation. Freak out, baby, freak out!

2 JOAN OF ARC (Bruno Dumont)

There is a God and his name is Bruno Dumont. His piously poisonous sequel to last year’s best film, Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc, is artier, holier, and will give you Catholic goose bumps. The ten-year-old star stares nobly and defiantly through the camera lens right into your soul and doesn’t even wait for the church authorities—she burns herself at the stake.

3 ONCE UPON A TIME . . . IN HOLLYWOOD (Quentin Tarantino)

A real crowd-pleaser that deserves every bit of its critical and financial success for pulling the rug out from under America’s true-crime obsession and daring to give the Manson murders a feel-good happy ending that manages to be both shocking and terribly funny.

4 BORDER (Ali Abbasi)

If Eraserhead had cousins, this transgressive troll couple would have welcomed them into their jaw-droppingly bizarre world of over-developed noses, maggot-eating diets, and pedophile-hunting duties. You won’t believe this one!

5 AMAZING GRACE (realized and produced by Alan Elliott)

Top-notch doc about the 1972 making of Aretha Franklin’s gospel album made all the more powerful by its drab church setting and the empty seats inside. Aretha never looked so talented or so lost, almost like an alien who is stunned by her own talents.

6 HAIL SATAN? (Penny Lane)

Not since the Yippies have we seen such a hilarious pack of militant activists as the Satanic Temple. Their real-life pro-separation-of-church-and-state cult leader, Lucien Greaves, makes Anton LaVey look like Pat Boone. Don’t send money to Toys for Tots this Xmas; give it to these heretics.

7 PAIN AND GLORY (Pedro Almodóvar)

The first Almodóvar movie to shock me—it’s not one bit funny or melodramatic and even the colors are muted, yet it goes beyond the valley of maturity and over the top of riveting self-reflection to gay mental health. You’re not dying, Pedro, independent cinema is.


Even its own American distributor called this film reprehensible, and I agree, yet it’s so appalling, so grotesque, so well made and bravely acted that dare I suggest you give this serial-killer movie a watch? Shame on you, Fatih Akin, for making it. Shame on me for putting it on this Top Ten list. Shame on you if you like it.

9 THE SOUVENIR (Joanna Hogg)

An ugly-to-look-at but beautifully shot high-class art film based on the director’s disastrous first love affair with a junkie. If Marguerite Duras and Philippe Garrel had sex and Martin Scorsese adopted their cinematic offspring, this might have been what their film baby would look like.

10 JOKER (Todd Phillips)

Irresponsible? Maybe. Dangerous? We’ll see. The first big-budget Hollywood movie to gleefully inspire anarchy. Bravo, Todd Phillips! Only you could get away with it.

Sight & Sound

[these are numerical just the numbers didn't transfer and i ain't aboutta]
1. The Souvenir — Joanna Hogg
Parasite — Bong Joon-ho
The Irishman — Martin Scorsese
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood — Quentin Tarantino
Portrait of a Lady on Fire — Céline Sciamma
Pain and Glory — Pedro Almodóvar
Atlantics — Mati Diop
Bait — Mark Jenkin
Us — Jordan Peele
Vitalina Varela — Pedro Costa
High Life — Claire Denis
Uncut Gems — Ben Safdie and Joshua Safdie
Monos — Alejandro Landes
Marriage Story — Noah Baumbach
For Sama — Waad Al-Khateab and Edward Watts
Midsommar — Ari Aster
The Lighthouse — Robert Eggers
Happy as Lazzaro — Alice Rohrwacher
Hustlers — Lorene Scafaria
Martin Eden — Pietro Marcello
Beanpole — Kantemir Balagov
Border — Ali Abbasi
Transit — Christian Petzold
A Hidden Life — Terrence Malick
The Farewell — Lulu Wang
The Hottest August — Brett Story
Ad Astra — James Gray
Varda by Agnès — Agnès Varda
I Was at Home, But — Angela Schanelec
In Fabric — Peter Strickland
Knives Out — Rian Johnson
Booksmart — Olivia Wilde
Ash is Purest White — Jia Zhang-ke
Synonyms — Nadav Lapid
Zombi Child — Bertrand Bonello
America — Garrett Bradley
No Data Plan — Miko Revereza
Eighth Grade — Bo Burnham
Joker — Todd Phillips
Ray & Liz — Richard Billingham
Hale County This Morning, This Evening — RaMell Ross
I Lost My Body — Jérémy Clapin
Holiday — Isabella Eklöf
Honeyland — Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov
Rocks — Sarah Gavron
Rose Plays Julie — Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor
If Beale Street Could Talk — Barry Jenkins
Just Don't Think I'll Scream — Frank Beauvais
The Favourite — Yorgos Lanthimos
50. The Mule — Clint Eastwood


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4023
Reply #1 on: December 05, 2019, 05:17:24 PM
Blank Check/The Atlantic's David Sims Top 10 of 2019


Céline Sciamma’s romantic drama, in limited release this month before it enters wider engagements in early 2020, is a gorgeous blend of sumptuous visual storytelling and raw, tender humanity. Set on a remote French island in the 18th century, it explores a slow-burn affair between a portrait painter (played by Noémie Merlant) and her subject (Adèle Haenel), purely illustrating the ways in which art can capture genuine passion. Every shot is precisely composed, every image deployed for maximum impact, and yet the luxurious aesthetics never distract from the elemental tale being told.

Another love story, but a bleaker one, focused on a 21-year-old aspiring filmmaker (Honor Swinton Byrne) in 1980s London, who gets drawn into an intense but toxic relationship with an older man (Tom Burke). Written and directed by Joanna Hogg, an undersung virtuoso of domestic dramas, the film is a semi-autobiographical work that excavates her most brutal recollections without being cringeworthy. The Souvenir is a darkly sympathetic coming-of-age narrative that catalogs the pain and pleasure of being young, occasionally stupid, idealistic, and openhearted.

Bong Joon-ho is no stranger to tonal mash-ups. Still, when your movie might be both the comedy of the year and the thriller of the year, you know you’ve made something major. Even with Bong’s sterling track record, this is the best film the Korean auteur has ever produced—a dizzying satire about two families in Seoul who struggle to co-exist under the same roof, and a salient tale of the gulf between the rich and the poor. Parasite can be madcap in one moment and sweetly sad the next, but always retains its humanity; though the wildly inventive script eventually erupts into violence, Bong somehow keeps every one of his characters from coming off as a villain.

Quentin Tarantino’s film swung into cinemas this summer feeling like both a celebration and a swan song for the traditional moviegoing experience. A shaggy tale of two actors in 1969 Hollywood—one on the rise (the very real Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie) and one in a professional spiral (the very fictional Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio)—Once Upon a Time in Hollywood could be a commentary about the end of any era, but it’s especially fitting for today’s shifting filmmaking landscape. Throughout his meteoric career, Tarantino has collected nostalgic objects from his pop-culture past and made them cool again; here, one can see him wondering how many more times he’ll be able to pull off that trick.

The Safdie brothers, directors of grimy indie yarns such as Heaven Knows What and Good Time, are experts in cranking up tension higher than I ever thought cinematically sustainable. Uncut Gems is as relentless and gritty as those earlier projects, while also possessing the weight of a Shakespearean tragedy. It’s buoyed by Adam Sandler’s never-better work as the diamond dealer Howard Ratner—an ambitious, compulsive fool who simply cannot get out of his own way—and by the Safdies’ perfect sense of time and place. They turn the Upper East Side of the early 2010s into a neon-lit Dante’s Inferno and elicit a charming supporting turn from the basketball star Kevin Garnett. What’s not to love?

Martin Scorsese’s supersize funeral for the gangster movie is another magnificently elegiac piece from a Hollywood titan. Netflix’s The Irishman lacks the baroque energy of Goodfellas and other prior Scorsese triumphs, but that’s by design: This is a cold-eyed look at the dehumanizing realities of life in the mob. The film’s hero, Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), is a man given to mythmaking, especially when it comes to his fraught relationship with Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). But Scorsese is more interested in stripping Sheeran’s tough-guy image away, staging the film’s best and most tense sequence around a very personal betrayal that is electrifying, and upsetting, to behold.

As smaller films get crowded out of the cinematic conversation, I was heartened to see Lulu Wang’s quiet family drama pack more emotional wallop into a wordless hug than most movies could deliver with an expensive set piece. It helps that Wang was inspired by her own family in writing The Farewell, giving an authentic urgency to every little detail. The hook is an unbelievable true story: A young woman (Awkwafina) raised in the U.S. returns to her family’s hometown in China to say goodbye to her terminally ill grandmother (Zhao Shuzhen)—while keeping the diagnosis a secret from the grandmother herself. Beyond that intriguing plot, Wang digs into complex questions about the psychic scars of immigration and what happens when a family is separated by an ocean.

Only James Gray, one of the most exciting and under-acknowledged filmmakers working today, would make a big-budget, major-studio space movie starring Brad Pitt and have it be about the uselessness of Hollywood’s masculine, cool-headed ideal. Casting Pitt as a soldier on a dangerous mission through the solar system, Gray uses his journey as a frame to reflect on humanity’s increasing failure to connect and the depressing future our species faces because of it. Ad Astra is a hopeful tale, but a pensive and melancholy one, wrapped up in the splendid visuals of outer space.

Greta Gerwig’s energy and verve as a director have not been the least bit blunted by the challenge of adapting a totemic and frequently filmed work of American literature. If anything, she’s more emboldened than ever, cutting Louisa May Alcott’s pages into pieces and reassembling them into a movie that’s actively in conversation with the novel it’s based on. Little Women is filled with admiration for Alcott’s characters and story, though it’s not afraid to boldly tweak some of the book’s flaws. Most important, the talent Gerwig demonstrated in Lady Bird for making an entire ensemble crackle with life is on display here as well, with Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh giving the standout performances among the March family.

As a director, Noah Baumbach has always thrived on intricacy, picking apart little comic moments and family traumas with equal deftness. His newest theatrical tale is driven by Adam Driver’s and Scarlett Johansson’s portrayals of a husband and wife who have fallen out of love, and its power is all in the witty details. Even for Baumbach, who has already made an excellent film about divorce with The Squid and the Whale, Marriage Story is something special—a movie told with staggering force despite its intimate trappings.

Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, anchored by a career-best Antonio Banderas, was a remarkable piece of retrospection from a cinematic master that inspired me to revisit many of his past works. Rian Johnson’s Knives Out was a bold and brassy recasting of an old-fashioned genre, one of the most well-constructed and satisfying theatrical experiences of the year. Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life was a return to form, a wrenching tale of martyrdom in the Second World War replete with stunning imagery of pastoral life disrupted by war. Jordan Peele’s Us was a rollicking horror ride that revolved around an endlessly rewarding metaphor, an ambitious follow-up for a rising filmmaking star. Claire Denis’s High Life twisted the space-movie formula into a vision of futuristic prisons, mental and social rehabilitation, and love that endures in the most extreme of circumstances.


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4023
Reply #2 on: December 09, 2019, 01:50:28 PM


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
Reply #3 on: December 09, 2019, 02:58:26 PM
‘scuse you re showing queen & slim but not putting it on the list, will only forgive since the farewell number five

this year there are four things i’m checking

ouatih v the irishman
marriage story v the souvenir
if queen & slim is listed (zero people)
if the farewell is listed (many people, in line with their take on the first two)


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4023
Reply #4 on: December 09, 2019, 03:34:58 PM
‘scuse you re showing queen & slim but not putting it on the list

He did the same with The Lighthouse and Avengers  :(  But it's all good, the Whole New World/High Life and Circle of Life/Midsommar segments had me in stitches. And he clipped my favorite Leo moment from OUTIH ("WOOOAH, I got it, I got...Go back a bit, would ya?")

13 on that damn list I still haven't seen. I'm tired.


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
Reply #5 on: December 11, 2019, 12:26:08 PM
Film Comment:

Parasite — Bong Joon-ho
The Irishman — Martin Scorsese
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood — Quentin Tarantino
Transit — Christian Petzold
Atlantics — Mati Diop
The Souvenir — Joanna Hogg
High Life — Claire Denis
Ash is Purest White — Jia Zhang-ke
Pain and Glory — Pedro Almodóvar
Uncut Gems — Ben Safdie and Joshua Safdie

no the farewell but there’s ash is purest white, so nice


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
Reply #6 on: December 11, 2019, 07:52:41 PM
**first appearance of queen & slim**

Ann Hornaday: Best Movies of 2019, as published by The Washington Post

American Factory — Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood — Marielle Heller
The Farewell — Lulu Wang
Waves — Trey Edward Shults
Queen & Slim — Melina Matsoukas
Little Women — Greta Gerwig
The Mustang — Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Jim Allison: Breakthrough — Bill Haney
Blinded by the Light — Gurinder Chadha
Give Me Liberty — Kirill Mikhanovsky


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
Reply #7 on: December 12, 2019, 12:43:34 PM
**not the first mention of Long Day's Journey Into Night but i think this will be its most professional, i like Justin Chang in general**

Justin Chang: Best Movies of 2019, as published by The Los Angeles Times

Parasite — Bong Joon-ho
Knives Out — Rian Johnson
Ash is Purest White — Jia Zhang-ke
The Irishman — Martin Scorsese
The Souvenir — Joanna Hogg
Marriage Story — Noah Baumbach
I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians — Radu Jude
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood — Quentin Tarantino
Portrait of a Lady on Fire — Céline Sciamma
Little Women — Greta Gerwig
Long Day's Journey Into Night — Bi Gan
An Elephant Sitting Still — Hu Bo
High Life — Claire Denis
A Hidden Life — Terrence Malick
Synonyms — Nadav Lapid
Transit — Christian Petzold
Give Me Liberty — Kirill Mikhanovsky
By the Grace of God — François Ozon
Her Smell — Alex Ross Perry
Uncut Gems — Ben Safdie and Joshua Sadie


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4023
Reply #8 on: December 30, 2019, 10:40:58 AM
Official Top 23 of 2019:

Once Upon a Time ... In Hollywood
Rolling Thunder Revue
Uncut Gems
High Life
The Irishman
The Lighthouse
Under the Silver Lake
Her Smell
Marriage Story
Little Women
A Hidden Life
Long Day's Journey Into Night
The Image Book
The Beach Bum
Knives Out
Ad Astra
Apollo 11
Toy Story 4

35 Movies I Potentially Might Have Loved Had I Not Failed To See Them in 2019:

Agnes By Varda
Portrait of a Lady On Fire
Ash Is Purest White
The Farewell
Pain and Glory
Permanent Green Light
Queen and Slim
The Dead Don't Die
Honey Boy
Knife + Heart
Last Black Man In San Francisco
Joan of Arc
Amazing Grace
Hail Satan
Jojo Rabbit
The Golden Glove
The Souvenir
American Factory
Our Time
Jobe'z World
One Man Dies a Million Times
Black Mother
Vitalina Varela
Hale County This Morning, This Eve
Tarda Para Morir Joven

Worst of 2019:
and yeah Rise of Skywalker

Best Theatrical Experiences of the Year:
Once Upon a Time ... In Hollywood in 70mm at Village East on 2nd Ave in Manhattan
Apocalypse Now: Final Cut in IMAX at AMC Lincoln Square
and The Jeff Goldblum 35mm Mystery Marathon at The Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers
        1. Earth Girls Are Easy
        2. The Fly
        3. Into the Night
        4. The Lost World: Jurassic Park

What a year.


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 1020
  • 'change your hair, change your life'
    • portfolio ~
Reply #9 on: December 30, 2019, 11:11:43 AM
CLIMAX is on Amazon Prime if you have that! A great film to cap off a manic decade ;)


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
Reply #10 on: December 30, 2019, 03:26:42 PM
Hale County This Morning, This Evening is a 2018 movie that crushes


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
Reply #11 on: December 30, 2019, 06:11:27 PM
Paul Schrader:

“Dolemite Is My Name”
“The Irishman”
“Long Day’s Journey into Night”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Pain and Glory”
“An Officer and a Spy”
“Watchman” Ep. 6

Augustine Frizzell:

“Greener Grass”: After seeing the short version of this a few years back, I was excited to hear about and watch the feature, and it did not disappoint. It’s funny and charming, and has so many surprising bits in it that I’m tickled just thinking about them. This is social satire at its best and I can’t wait to see what these filmmakers do next!

“Long Shot”: I love a movie that hits all the expected notes, but still manages to be funny and fresh. This was like an updated “Pretty Woman” — which is great, because I love “Pretty Woman.” Charlize Theron and Seth Rogan together = pure gold.

“Long Day’s Journey into Night”: This felt like a dream, like being on acid again, like a new and technically ambitious cousin of “Last Year at Marienbad.” I enjoy thinking about the experience of watching it, probably more than the film itself. I was distracted, I kept looking for seams — where did they cut and stitch this together? How can it possibly be a single take? I’d rather have gotten lost in the world, which only happened after the fact as we drove home and tried to put into words what the film was actually about (and for weeks, I tried to figure out what the synopsis would be if I were to write one). I’m still not sure I love this film, but I am in awe of the ambition involved, and of the eerie tone, which never faltered. In particular the sound of those distant singing children. They were so haunting and dreamlike, I can’t recall the melody but I can still hear the feeling.

“Russian Doll”: I’m a very bad TV watcher, meaning I rarely watch more than one episode of any given show, and I usually don’t even make it that far. I downloaded all the episodes of this to watch on a flight and had I not been stuck on a plane and forced into finishing the series, I likely would’ve missed out on one of my favorite viewing experiences this year. The moment in the elevator when the two leads first meet overwhelmed me to the point of tears. It so perfectly summed up that feeling of realization you have when you meet your soul mate, romantic or otherwise: “I’m not alone in the world.”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”: I unabashedly enjoy Tarantino films. I look forward to them from the day they’re announced and I’m always entertained. I also forgive any inconsistencies because I find them so much fun to watch, this being no exception!

I watched “The Farewell” nearly too late to include it on this list, but thankfully was able to write in and add it at the last minute. I adored this film, not least for its beautiful simplicity. The camera work was gorgeous but never drew attention to itself, the writing was subtle yet smart and emotional, the acting honest and on point. I’ve read quite a few articles about this film and the challenges of getting it made and I’m so grateful it happened without compromises. More like this!!

David Lowery:

2019: the year a beloved fantasy epic was brought back to the screen with so much care and craftsmanship that it not only invigorated a time-honored IP for a new generation but retroactively enriched the tale that begat it. I speak, naturally, of the first six episodes of “The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance,” the Netflix series produced by the Henson Company and directed by Louis Leterrier. As with most things on Netflix, it arrived entirely unheralded, and I watched that first episode mostly out of curiosity. 10 minutes in, I was impressed by its scope but uncertain I’d have the patience for a full 10-hours of Gelfling dering-do; 40-minutes after that and I was breathlessly convinced this would be the grandest achievement of the year.

I single out the first six episodes simply because I find that every 10-hour series peaks at episode six (indeed, this one wrecked me in my hotel room late one night) but the whole thing is superb and you simply must give it a shot. The storytelling is exquisite, the performances superb, the world-building astonishing and the sheer physical craft it all completely unheard of in this day and age; the artistry never recedes from the forefront of the frame, nor does it overwhelm the storytelling. I don’t know who thought it a wise thing to greenlight a prequel to a strange and lumbering (though, yes, beloved) 30-year-old oddity, but I want to give them a hug.

2019 was also the year that I saw Bela Tarr’s “Satantango” for the second time, 12 years after my first viewing, and it made for as memorable a day at the cinema as it did back in 2007. The new restoration from Arbelos Films is stunning, but I sort of hope its inevitable digital home video release never actually happens. If ever any movie should ever be consigned solely to the big screen, I would that it might be this one. I can’t wait to see it again in another ten years.

Two other movies I couldn’t shake even if I wanted to are “Diane,” by Kent Jones, and “Waves,” by Trey Edward Shults. In the former, time slips by too fast, without remark; in the latter it sings, shouts, screams its passage. In both, its demarcation is uniquely, exhilaratingly cinematic, and both reminded me of the emotional might of the movies at times when my head was buried in a mess of shot lists and visual effects reviews.

Other things I won’t forget: the red jumpsuits and Lupita Nyong’o’s voice in “Us,” the rage in my gut during “The Nightingale,” Franz Rogowski hopping out of the car in “Transit,” his ideas about decapitation in “A Hidden Life,” the title card in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” Waterloo in “Peterloo” and the entirety of “Little Women,” as it was somehow my first encounter with the March sisters in any medium. I’ll quote “Hot Promethean Plunder” from “The Lighthouse,” wear my “Her Smell” t-shirt proudly and never forget the young fellow taking off his Boba Fett costume and putting it piece by piece into the trunk of his car in an Alamo Drafthouse parking lot at midnight last Thursday night – a private moment, accidentally witnessed, which summed up the ending of a whole lot more than just this year.


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
Reply #12 on: December 30, 2019, 06:28:36 PM
my own list:

Long Day's Journey Into Night
Ash Is Purest White
The Farewell
Queen & Slim
Pain and Glory
Permanent Green Light
The Image Book
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
The Last Black Man in San Francisco

there were some i missed and some not yet available to me but the year is over so i'm calling this particular list, my impression of 2019 as it happened, concluded. s/o to Hong Sangsoo whom a thorough-movie-watcher-me would undoubtedly list


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4023
Reply #13 on: December 31, 2019, 09:37:07 AM
Chad Hartigan ("Morris From America,” “This Is Martin Bonner”):

10 Favorite New Releases in 2019

“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Céline Sciamma)
“Uncut Gems” (Josh & Benny Safdie)
“Marriage Story” (Noah Baumbach)
“What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?” (Roberto Minervini)
“Monos” (Alejandro Landes)
“Hustlers” (Lorene Scafaria)
“The Lighthouse” (Robert Eggers)
“Jojo Rabbit” (Taika Waititi)
“Knives Out” (Rian Johnson)
“Honey Boy” (Alma Har’el)

Josephine Decker (“Madeline’s Madeline,” “Shirley”):

1. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”: Celine Sciamma, I bow down to you.

2. “Touch of Evil”: Orson Welles is just too much of a genius. Illuminatingly, frustratingly good. The one-take shot over the first three minutes – heart in the ears!

3. “Mary Magdalene”: How did this film fly so far under the radar? I think especially as a woman who grew up Christian in the South, seeing the Christ story through a heroic woman’s POV was… transformative. I love its doc-style approach to such epic material. The miracle is in the conscience.

4. “Toy Story 4”: I wanted it to be as good as “Toy Story 3,” and it was. It was.

5. “Us”: AHHHHHHH!

6. “Killing Eve”: Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh and — oh my gosh, every single human in this TV show is just so hilarious and good. Thank you, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, for being good at everything including creating this series.

7. “Les Misérables”: Surprise of my year. Really thought I was about to watch a remake of a remake, and it turns out Ladj Ly (doc-maker) crafted a stunningly researched, perfectly cast drama via power plays in a contemporary French banlieue.

8. “Booksmart”: Olivia Wilde makes high school jump out of its bones!

9. “Instant Family”: Will make you very very happy. And you might need to go adopt a child.

10. “Midsommar”: The only reason this perfect film is not higher on the list is that it gave me nightmares for weeks. Ari Aster, your cinematography, your production design, your world, your writing, your… gall.

Movies that would have made this list if I had seen them yet: “Uncut Gems,” “Hala,” “Waves,” “Edge of Democracy,” “The Nightingale,” “Ash Is Purest White,” “Black Mother.”


In NO order of preference-

1) “Parasite”
2) “The Irishman”
3) “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
4) “Uncut Gems”
5) “The Lighthouse”
6) “Pain and Glory”
7) “1917”
8) “Joker”
9) “Marriage Story”
10) “Jojo Rabbit”
11) “Monos”
12) “Little Women”
13) “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”
14) “Midsommar”

Alex Ross Perry:

1. “Under the Silver Lake”
2. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
3. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”
4. “Marriage Story”

My top four films are the ones I will be (or already have been) revisiting and pulling ideas, inspiration, and innovation from. “Under the Silver Lake” is undoubtably the movie of the year; it is the most (only?) unique attempt at reconsidering the rules of storytelling, both written and visual. Of course, it was “dumped” into only two theaters, given the tiniest sliver of support, and will have to work to find the audience it deserves. Nothing says “2019” to me more than an out-and-out gonzo masterpiece that most people probably don’t even know was released.

5ish. “High Life” / “The Souvenir” / “Ad Astra” / “The Irishman” / “Dark Waters”

These next five movies are by excellent filmmakers whose work I always like and who did not surprise me by making more work that I liked. These are only ranked in the order in which I saw them. “Marriage Story” fits all these descriptions, but I simply love it more so it’s elevated above.

9. “Redoubt” / “Diamantino”

“Redoubt” isn’t Matthew Barney’s finest work (“River of Fundament” would be on my top 10 of the decade list I haven’t bothered to make), but his control of rhythm, editing and non-verbal storytelling is unmatched. I wonder what it would be like if he made one of those Pixar shorts that play before features. As a rule, I generally try not to put movies by close friends on these lists but I’ve known Daniel Schmidt since we went to NYU together and couldn’t believe the leap forward he (and Gabriel Abrantes) made with “Diamantino.” I think these two would be a swell double feature. Speaking of double features…

10ish/12ish. “Joker” / “Avengers: Endgame”

As the kids say, “don’t @ me.” Sometimes the studio IP tentpoles just get it right.


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
Reply #14 on: December 31, 2019, 12:31:43 PM
ARP is the Ben Shapiro of cinema. Monos was on the plane during my recent trip, but i didn’t consider a plane a proper setting, i need to see Monos. and after i’ve gotten over it not being a film of tremendous thematic depth i’ve gotten into the aesthetics and pleasant nature of Jojo Rabbit. all this Portrait of a Lady on Fire hype is going to have a negative effect on me i’m worried