As usual, a rundown of the new films I saw this year – from least liked to most liked.
- Ghost Dance – this was a short that I saw alongside The Deathless Woman and like… I just don’t get it. It’s not something I would have chosen to watch (I was there to see the main film) so I guess that’s why it’s at the least liked spot on the list.
- Color Out of Space – I guess I was expecting something more horror? I’m not that keen on horror but I thought I’d give weird-horror a try and like this wasn’t even that weird.
- Little Joe – This was ok and did the “a bit unsettling” thing well but also it was a bit boring.
- Guest of Honour – This was ok also.
- Faustina: Love and Mercy – My Mum wanted to see this so I got tickets for us both. It’s kind of billed as a docudrama and I guess I was expecting more of a narrative of the life of St Faustina. It’s more maybe a quarter about St Faustina, a third about Blessed Fr Michael Sopocko trying to get the cause of Divine Mercy really going and then the rest is about Divine Mercy and works that current sisters do.
- The Deathless Woman – So the director of this film was talking about it when I saw it and she mentioned how it’s kind of like how you might present a documentary as a theatrical production, which was an interesting approach. I was aware that there is had been a lot of persecution of the Roma during the Second World War and that now there is a lot of anti-Roma (and Traveller) sentiment and action, but I hadn’t really realised that the violence they experience was at this level.
- The King – I mean, I don’t know that this needed to be made? It’s a fairly standard King of England goes to war with France kind of thing. The funniest part was how one of the filmmakers at the screening I saw talked about how they’d really boosted the parts for women and haha they really have not.
- To Live To Sing – So Chinese opera is not everyone’s cup of tea but I like that sort of thing and this was a really touching story about the head of an opera troop’s struggle to keep the group together and their art alive.
- Abominable – I am saw this and really wanted to eat buns but I had to dash off to see another film and didn’t have time.
- Tell Me Who I Am – I didn’t know anything about this going in other than one brother had totally lost his memory and his twin brother knew everything and I think if you are going to see it, maybe find out what happened to the two brothers in advance.
- Judy & Punch – All of the things that happen in a Punch & Judy show are in like the first half and there is a thing that happens and everyone laughed and then realised, wait, these are not puppets.
- Mr Jones – I guess we know Stalin was terrible, but the news hadn’t quite gotten out in 1933.
- Western Stars – This is just Springsteen playing the music from his album and then doing some talky-musing bits in between. It was ok and the msuic was nice.
- Jojo Rabbit – As much as imaginary friend Hitler was amusing for a while, I don’t know that he was necessary for the whole film but I guess he was in the book?
- Le Mans ’66 – Everywhere else (everywhere North American maybe) this film is called Ford Vs Ferrari like no one knows anything about what happens at Le Mans or…who knows really. I guess this is better for people who aren’t big racing fans, but I did enjoy it.
- Synchronic – This was my 10th most liked film of the year which I wasn’t expecting. I feel like perhaps a lot of people may have found this to be better than they thought it was going to be. It handles the time travel in a new, interesting way and Anthony Mackie is really great in this.
- The Red Sea Diving Resort – I knew a little about the stuff that happens in this film, but not really the extent of what went on. It’s also nice to see Chris Evans in a not-Captain-America role.
- The Two Popes – I saw this at LFF where I sat between a priest and an old dude who shushed the priest for eating crisps towards the beginning of the film. Is The Two Popes entirely factual? No. Does it give an accurate portrayal of the personalities of Popes Benedict and Francis? Hard to say. Is it enjoyable anyway? Yes. The main thing is that it really reminds us that these two men are human, like the rest of us.
- Spider-Man: Far from Home – What even happened in this film? Oh yeah, Peter Parker travelled around Europe and stuff. There have been a lot of Spider-Man films over the years. This was fun.
- Avengers: Endgame – Pretty much 6th most liked film on the list because of my extreme fondness for Captain America and the Winter Soldier. Not sure that it really ended this era of Marvel films in a way that totally made sense (although yeah, it did cement my opinion that Tony Stark is terrible – which considering that everyone who makes these films seems to adore him, probably says something). Interested to see where things go next. Kind of not into having to get Disney plus to do so. Maybe if I wait long enough it’ll all just be on regular freeview tv.
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – JJ Abrams did an extremely JJ Abrams thing in this film and that was kind of rubbish. I still think that he used Star Trek as a stepping stone to get to Star Wars, which ok, fair enough if you’re a big fan of Star Wars. At the same time, I think he’s stuck on his nostalgia for the original trilogy and maybe that leads to some weird decisions (plus, while I get that Carrie Fisher passing away did make plotting this tricky, it’s not well written). Despite all of this, I still love Star Wars and the performances from all the actors. Would have liked MORE droid stuff.
- Pokemon Detective Pikachu – For a really long time, I didn’t think this was a real film and then it showed up at the cinema and it was great. Really great.
- John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – So I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a Keanu Reeves film that I did not enjoy. Sure there are a few that I’m not going to see because of the premise of the films, but I’ve watched nearly everything else probably and there is not a single dud. John Wick is great. The universe that has been created is fascinating and I’m excited to see the next film to see what happens next.
- Knives Out – There are more films with Chris Evans than I was expecting tbh. This was everything I love about watching Miss Marple and Poirot over and over and over but new and hilarious.
- Captain Marvel – I think where maybe Endgame and Infinity War falter is that they are straight up superhero films. They’re not like, a particular type of film that happens to have superheroes in. Captain Marvel is one of those late 80s/early 90s action movie films where Tom Cruise or Harrison Ford might have played the hero and won the day, except way better because it has Carol Danvers and is in SPACE and like I saw this waaaay back in the first quarter of 2019 and it’s still at the top of my list. This is the film that, having considered and compared all the other new films I saw in 2019, still came out in front.
Anyway my ratings etc are all over here on Letterboxd and starting my yearly rating list at the beginning of the year and just adding to it throughout, rearranging as I go, continues to be one of the best ideas I have ever had.
I know this is titled 2019 Films and stuff but it’s 2020 now and I don’t remember what the “and stuff” was going to be, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Happy New Year!