The Films of 2019

Discussions of specific films and franchises.
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therewillbeblus
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Re: The Films of 2019

#76 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:03 pm

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2019

#77 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:41 pm

Nope. Mods split off indiv discussion if needed from threads like these, been that way for a while

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knives
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Re: The Films of 2019

#78 Post by knives » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:48 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:41 pm
Nope. Mods split off indiv discussion if needed from threads like these, been that way for a while
Guess it shows how long I've been passionate enough about a movie to even try.

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Mr Sheldrake
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Re: The Films of 2019

#79 Post by Mr Sheldrake » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:11 pm

The Aeronauts

Amazon gave this a cursory theatrical release and it never made it to my local Imax even if intended for that format. Most reviewers correctly complained that the flashbacks are lugubrious, but as someone afraid of heights I found them a welcome relief, the soaring balloon at high altitudes is indeed convincing (and beautiful). In the final half hour the format opens up into one of the most thrilling and scary sequences I’ve ever seen as Felicity Jones climbs up to the top of the ballon while at 20,000+ feet to unstick a frozen valve. And that’s on my 50” screen. I might not have survived it in Imax.

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willoneill
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Re: The Films of 2019

#80 Post by willoneill » Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:49 pm

I saw Just Mercy last night, closing the loop on having now seen every major Oscar nominee for 2019. Just Mercy was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, which is ... curious. The writing is not a strength of this film, and is arguably its most glaring weakness. The exposition early in the film is awkward, particularly in a scene that explains how Michael B. Jordan and Brie Larson's character connected, but reads more as an explanation to the audience than a natural conversation the two characters would be having at that point in time. The film also jumps back and forth between two cases (that of Jamie Foxx, and the death row inmate in the cell next to him), and the transitions are clumsy. There's also O'Shea Jackson Jr.'s character, whose story is explained more in the credits coda than in any scene he's actually in. I feel like, based on the casting of a relatively high-profile actor, that probably he had a few scenes cut from the final film. My main complaint about the writing, however, is that I've seen everything in this film before, several times in some cases. It felt like every beat was copied from Mississippi Burning, A Time to Kill, or a handful of other films - which is weird because this is a true story.

If the film had one strength, it was the acting of the two leads. Jamie Foxx was really good, and Michael B. Jordan was right up there with him. Brie Larson was in an essentially throw-away role, and I can't help but wonder if this was a favour to her Short Term 12/Glass Castle director. It's nicely shot, and I liked the understated score. Anyway, if it hadn't been nominated I might not have bothered, and it's doubtful I'd ever bother again.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2019

#81 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:58 pm

Just Mercy was not nominated for an Oscar

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DarkImbecile
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Re: The Films of 2019

#82 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:14 pm

Beat me to it... I was happy not to have to add it to the list!

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willoneill
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Re: The Films of 2019

#83 Post by willoneill » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:16 pm

Well that explains a lot ... so I did a little digging and here's what I think happened: the Oscar nominations came out on a very busy morning for me, and the first link I clicked on contained 6 nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, which I thought was odd. I quickly wrote all the nominated films down in Excel, closed my computer, and went on to the rest of my meetings. I'll try to figure out what the source was when I'm at my work computer tomorrow (might still be in my browser history).

Oh well, now I've watched it so no one else has to.

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willoneill
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Re: The Films of 2019

#84 Post by willoneill » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:47 am

willoneill wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:16 pm
I'll try to figure out what the source was when I'm at my work computer tomorrow (might still be in my browser history).
It was Variety's site, which was updating live when I checked it that morning. They had also listed "The King" as a nominee for Best Score erroneously.

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Mr Sheldrake
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Re: The Films of 2019

#85 Post by Mr Sheldrake » Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:47 am

Fighting With My Family

Florence Pugh has taken on a wide variety of roles in her brief career, none more astonishing than playing WWE superstar Paige. At 5’3” and without a muscular build she looks nothing like any wrestler I have ever seen. Yet somehow with her emotional depth and boundless vitality it doesn’t seem to matter. Pugh completists should take note.

I also enjoyed her parents oddball wrestling traveling show, a WWE miniature, roaming through a working class and drug infested milieu. Much more authentic feeling in the audiences enthusiasm for their low tech show than I felt in the neon drenched, manipulative, corporate glitz world of the WWE.

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Re: The Films of 2019

#86 Post by Nasir007 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:51 am

Downton Abbey

I liked this. Have never seen the TV show, but I was mildly curious because I love Gosford Park and I know Julian Fellows is a good writer and I had a very long flight with nothing to do. So I figured if I didn't watch it then, I would never watch it. I cannot imagine putting in on at home on Netflix or something. I would subject myself to it only as a captive audience.

Anyways, it took me a while to get into it but by the end I was kinda sold. Unfortunately, I saw the SNL parody of the film before the actual film. And for the first 30 minutes, I couldn't get past how ridiculous the action was - literally servants squabbling over who gets to serve the rich people. I thought what an outrageous thing to put on film - who is going to give a fuck about this monstrous class divide exercise where there is competition to serve rich people! But again, I kinda bought in by the end.

By the end of the film, the sum total of what impressed me was that Fellows capably manages a very large cast with over 2 dozen separate plot lines all braiding in and out with each other. Every character gets something to do. Several characters feature in multiple plot lines. It is all a bit shallow - a lot of the scenes are literally 5-6 lines of exchange. But when you are going to cram so much incident into 2 hours, what else can you do. I definitely give the film a lot of credit for that. It becomes engaging because of the fact that simply so much is packed into the 2 hours - you don't really have room to get bored. The garbage Hollywood blockbusters today that push 2.5 hrs today should take a cue from a film like this. Most of them are so boring because their flimsy plots barely justify 45 minutes of screentime let alone 2.5 hrs. Take Avengers infinity war/edngame. Even with nearly 6 hours combined cannot find much to do for most of the cast.

If there is one structural reservation I could draw about the film - that would be - what is the main story or the main plot? The film is basically ALL subplots. You would say the King visiting is the main plot, well that isn't a plot line in and of itself. It is just the background against which the actual plot-lines play out. The biggest "story" is actually the one I mentioned before - the servants squabbling over who can serve the rich people. It becomes the most elaborate and consistent story thread - involving nearly the entirely cast and has the most number of scenes devoted to it.

But this "everything is a subplot" approach has a curious cumulative effect. It kinda creates a nebulous center. Who is even the protagonist of this? Who is our entry point into this world. Who are we following? Who do we eventually care about? If I were to answer - it would essentially be Michelle Dockery. She features in several different plot lines and the film's final message revolves around her. It is lovely to see that when so many hollywood blockbusters still fail the Bechdel test, this film finally resolves itself in a conversation between two women.

But there you have it. Inoffensive, brisk and efficient, crammed with incident, and ultimately even moving and about something, Fellows does a good job with this movie. This is definitely good counter programming to the usual blockbuster trash. It is almost like the modern equivalent of Anthony Trollope - several characters, several stories, modest scope, genial humanist spirit. Sometimes good intentions are an acceptable substitute for great ambition.

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knives
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Re: The Films of 2019

#87 Post by knives » Sat Mar 07, 2020 8:56 pm

I'm not sure how to take Fatih Akin's The Golden Glove. It's a very interesting attempt to make an '80s style sleazy movie and is quite successful at that on the level of experience. It quite proudly stands with the best of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Maniac. There's one difference though that I think informs the negative reaction to this film. In short, those were psychological films that for all their sleaze created a sympathetic portrait of humans lost to their own minds. There's something inherently sad about them that Akin doesn't show nor seems to strive for. With a few Fassbinder touches and comments from our lead worm the film seems to be replacing that with a political black hole, but I'm not sure if there is a equivalent depth nor concern there. This gets, I suppose into the often times stupid question of what is this film's purpose? As is the answer seems to be saying that people can be gross which I suppose is one way to make a movie.

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knives
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Re: The Films of 2019

#88 Post by knives » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:27 pm

Shadow by Zhang
Like a lot of Zhang's recent films if I am understanding the political subtext of this war mongering picture correctly this is an absolutely disgusting picture which is potentially dangerous not only for the continued oppression of Tibet and encouragement towards militarianism, but also supporting certain expansionist policies particularly those directed at Hong Kong. From a pure thematic and political view this film would have been better if it had never been made.

Like the best of propaganda though and why it is so dangerous this is also an extremely beautiful and affecting film that ranks among Zhang's best of the century. Just the use of monochrome is a brilliant idea giving a powerful and constant visual to ponder the themes of the film through. That the film harkens back tot he '90s work through that theme makes the film all the more disturbing in its multitudes. Like the classic films this is largely about how women have been abused by masculine systems and the ways they can survive in them. A lot of the film flows out of the idea of the shadow needing to access his femininity in order to overcome masculine Yang energy. Had that been the root of the film by which everything had grown out of I'd have no qualms with this and call it Zhang's best since Raise the Red Lantern. The film's sparks of old are wonderful and make it easy to get lost to Yimou's sniveling will.
Last edited by knives on Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Films of 2019

#89 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:50 pm

Why "Yimou" (his personal name)? ;-)

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knives
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Re: The Films of 2019

#90 Post by knives » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:23 pm

Because I'm dumb.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Films of 2019

#91 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:04 pm

Not as bad as the all-too-frequently seen Kar-Wai.... ;-)

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MichaelB
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Re: The Films of 2019

#92 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:59 am

I’ve seen “Wai”...

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colinr0380
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Re: The Films of 2019

#93 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:47 am

I have not reached Shadow as yet but would say that I felt a lot of the same queasy qualms about the political subtext in Hero too, and was honestly shocked at how well that film (about towing the line and the individual hero being romanticised but only suitable for a tragic, noble yet rather pointless sacrifice as compared to the more pragmatic, dispassionate leader destined to rule and subdue with an iron fist that would bring enforced 'peace' to the land) was received in the West. It does also have the effect of making me look back on the Gong Li films too through different eyes, where obviously there is a sympathy and even a celebration of say the main character of Raise The Red Lantern being comprehensively crushed by trying to challenge the rules of her role in society, but also a feeling that the romantically tragic ending was the only possible (and sensible?) outcome too.

Or in other words, I think Zhang Yimou loves to indulge in the romantic figures and the lofty ideals that his heroes and heroines display but also knows that they are also figures naïve to the true way of the world and that there is no lasting place for them, except maybe as vividly sketched in legends safely tucked away in the pages of a storybook of those who challenged their rulers to rule them better. (Maybe the equivalent of the similarly simultaneously romanticised and ostracised ronin samurai figure from Japanese culture?)

(Honestly this 'paen to existant monolithic power structures, with skilled warriors paying homage with blood, sweat and tears to aggrandise their more or less benign leaders' aspect to his work is also one of the reasons why I feel that Zhang Yimou was perfectly suited to producing the best Olympic Games opening ceremony in recent memory too!)

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Re: The Films of 2019

#94 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:33 pm

I was surprisingly charmed by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, not having much attachment to the '95 film (apart from seeing it theatrically as a treat for the school just before Christmas break started). Jumanji: The Next Level surprised me in how much of that charm was kept intact. It's a big, bloated modern Hollywood production but it also feels more in touch with past blockbusters of my childhood that I didn't feel it a waste of time at all.

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Reverend Drewcifer
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Re: The Films of 2019

#95 Post by Reverend Drewcifer » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:41 am

You Don't Nomi dir. Jeffrey McHale

Does what it says on the package: cuts against the grain of initial critical responses to Showgirls to address multiple camps (drag culture, feminists, film grammarians) that have claimed the film.I balk at these candy-colored docs that emphasize entertainment over the clarity of argument. This moves all over the place, and the overall impression is kaleidoscopic more than cogent. Maybe that was the point: McHale smears the lines between all of the reasons Showgirls is worthy, mixing empathy and specious readings of the film with bedazzled abandon, and the doc feels of a piece with a text (Verhoeven's film) that blurs its intentional lines so thoroughly.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: The Films of 2019

#96 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:09 pm

I've liked Riz Ahmed pretty much every time I've seen him onscreen, and especially enjoyed him in the HBO miniseries The Night Of, so it's no small praise from me to say that his performance in Darius Marder's Sound of Metal is easily his best, most affecting work as a metal drummer whose world is completely subverted by sudden, catastrophic hearing loss. A lot of the film's examination of the psychological impact of this kind of life-changing sensory loss is surely in the script — Marder co-wrote The Place Beyond the Pines with Derek Cianfrance, another character-focused drama very rooted in the subjective experiences of its characters — but a fair amount of the dialogue seems to be improvised, and Ahmed consistently makes this material more compelling and rich in detail than it might otherwise have been. There are multiple scenes that require him alone to carry them by wordlessly conveying frustration, panic, loss, and disappointment, and though his character often behaves impulsively or self-destructively, Ahmed never fails to bring the audience along with him by keeping his actions rooted in the character's humanity. I haven't seen nearly as many movies this year for obvious reasons, but this is easily one of my favorite lead performances so far.

Olivia Cooke is also quite good as his bandmate/girlfriend (despite being borderline unrecognizable at first with some truly off-putting bleached eyebrows), and Paul Raci puts in a notable turn as well as the administrator of a support home specializing in serving the deaf; there's an emotional scene later in the film that articulates his philosophical approach to working with the deaf that I think several people here would appreciate. Though fairly aesthetically distinct, this reminded me in ways both superficial and significant of Chloe Zhao's The Rider; they'd make for a very good trenchantly observed and unsettlingly detailed double feature about young men in distinct subcultures with difficult backgrounds accepting (or failing to accept) major physiological obstacles to their lifestyles.

Sound of Metal will apparently receive a limited theatrical release in November before streaming in December, and as you might guess, the sound design is pretty vital to the experience, so a good surround system can be really helpful in appreciating the immersive effects if you have access to one.

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