It’s time for everyone’s favorite read: LISTS! The quintessential moment in which our favorite critics opine on the best ofs and worst ofs of 2019 — and the decade. Holy moly. Are we entering a new decade already? I vaguely remember when going from 1999 to 2000 was a big deal. Sadly I don’t remember much about going into 2010.
Enough jabbering. Below is a list of films I watched in 2019 that I rated five stars, with or without commentary, and in no particular order:
Roma (2018, Alfonso Cuarón)
A beautiful film, shot in black and white. The film follows Cleo, a domestic worker, as she helps a mother of four children in 1970s Mexico City. The emotive performance left me speechless and full of … emotions. The uncertainty, forefront in all the character’s lives, and the way Cleo in particular owned them in a generous way, and from what I remember, how that generosity, coupled with the mother’s fatigue from life events, brought her into the family fold not as a domestic worker but a member of that family.
The Favourite (2018, Yorgos Lanthimos)
What was immediately notable about this film was the cinematography and editing. The use of wide angles with distortion around the edges made many scenes much more agitating and claustrophobic. The backstabbing, coupled with the jest is perfection. Colman, Stone, and Weisz were superb.
Parasite (2019, Bong Joon-ho)
Terrifying in an almost existential way. While it’s categorically not a gore-horror film, Parasite does a decent job of portraying the psychological trauma of wealth inequality and class antagonism. In an overly simplistic way: the poor family does what it will to survive; the rich family, upon learning the truth about the poor family, is disgusted by it all.
Alien (1979, Ridley Scott)
Will always be a classic. The chest-burst scene always gets me.
L’Avventura (1960, Michelangelo Antonioni)
This film was quite satisfying to watch.
All the President’s Men (1976, Alan J. Pakula)
Another classic from j-school.
The Thin Red Line (1998, Terrence Malick)
Another classic and, perhaps, Malick’s best films. The lead-up to Whit’s death always gets me.
First Reformed (2017, Paul Schrader)
A moving film. It’s one of those films that comes along every once in a while that really moves you.
Fyre (2019, Chris Smith)
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019, Dan Gilroy)
Widows (2018, Steve McQueen)
At the time I watched it, I thought it was a brilliant heist film. It had the appearance of putting the standard heist on its head.
Once Upon a Time in America (1984, Sergio Leone)
High Plains Drifter (1973, Clint Eastwood)