The final year of the decade is just about rounding up and we wanted to share our thoughts on the 10 best films for 2019. Including popular documentary “Apollo 11,” foreign film “Parasite” and Laika animated film “Missing Link.”
Hopefully, this will help hold you over until the top contenders for Academy Awards are released later this month. For now, sit back, enjoy and make a list for what to catch up on after the holidays.
10. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
Directed by the divisive Quentin Tarantino, the film isn’t afraid to take its time and assume a throwback leisurely pace. The period detail however was fantastic, and the onscreen chemistry between stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt is crackling with fun.
9. Missing Link
The latest feature from stop motion animation giants Laika studios, “Missing Link” is a comedic combination of traditional stories like “Around the World in 80 Days” and the Sasquatch legend. Unfortunately it lost money upon its release, but Laika’s typical attention to detail, funny script and superb voice acting make it a stupendous globe trotting adventure.
The premise alone is full of promise; a man gets in a bus accident and wakes up to find nobody knows the music of The Beatles. Using their hits, he becomes rich and famous, but at the expense of his relationship with his best friend. Featuring a breakout performance from Himesh Patel and a very funny script from Richard Curtis.
Embroiled in unfounded controversy leading up to its release, “Joker” managed to surpass expectations and turned out to be the best comic-based film of 2019. Sorry, “Avengers Endgame” fans! Joaquin Phoenix gives a mesmerizing performance in the title role, and Hildur Guðnadóttir’s musical score gets under your skin with its low cellos.
6. Toy Story 4
Terrifically animated, impeccable voice acting, and a mature story combine to make a delightful motion picture that warms the heart and astounds viewers of all ages. It’s an amazing feat really, considering the fourth movie in other franchises is typically the point where they’ve run out of steam.
5. Official Secrets
One of the standouts of the Seattle International Film Festival earlier in the year, this film tells the true story of British intelligence employee Katharine Gun going public with the knowledge that the Bush government was illegally pressuring other nations to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The timing of the release was impeccable too, coinciding with the whistleblower controversy currently brewing in the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
4. The Irishman
Famed director Martin Scorsese’s latest film had a brief theatrical run before coming to Netflix, but it was best seen on the big screen. Adapted from mafia hitman Frank Sheeran’s memoir “I Heard You Paint Houses,” Robert De Niro delivers his best performance in years and impressively plays the main character from his twenties to his eighties.
3. When They See Us
A Netflix exclusive miniseries that covers the true story of five black teenagers wrongfully convicted of rape in 1989. Ava DuVernay directs with precision and each actor delivers star performances, with especially impressive turns from the teenagers.
Winner of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or, “Parasite” will no doubt be the popular pick by many as the film of the year. Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s latest offering lives up to the hype, with awesome performances and an unusual story that blends genres. Half a comedy and a thriller, the movie makes a funny yet incisive statement about the nature of social class, and what separates the rich and the poor.
1. Apollo 11
One of the best documentaries of modern times, “Apollo 11” takes a novel approach to the genre by including no modern interviews or retrospective commentary on the event it documents. Instead, all footage included is original and the only narration comes from news reports of the time, dominated by the incomparable Walter Cronkite. A titanic achievement of cinema, and if you’re lucky it’s still playing in a science center theater near you.