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10 BEST MOVIES OF 2019 now playing on the ‘screen’


The year is almost ending, and as usual, we have seen the release these past weeks of several blockbusters to impress viewers and especially, those deciding on the main awards for these twelve months of movies on the screen. With some qualifications to take into account when we say “screen”: are we talking about the big ones in the many multiplexes in town or the small (although increasing size in recent decades) screen of our TV set at home? We have to ask this question after seeing at least two important films (“The Irishman” and “Marriage Stories”) being released in theatres for a short period –to be eligible for Oscar nominations– but then are now only available on Netflix. 

Best movies of 2019

In the opinion of this critic, the best ten films of 2019 are, in ascending order:

Ten: “Abominable” (USA-China). Director: Jill Culton. Voices: Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Albert Tsai, Eddie Izzard. An animation movie full of action, with an interesting message, and great artwork.

Nine: “Richard Jewell” (USA). Director: Clint Eastwood. Cast: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Brandon Stanley, Ryan Boz. The most recent film by Eastwood explores, in a penetrating way, the case of a man falsely accused by the media and the FBI in the bomb attempt during the 1996 Olympics. 

Eight: “Joker” (USA). Director: Todd Phillips. Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy. The making of one of the most dreaded villains set in a kind of elaborate urban setting where there is no place for compassion. Great cinematography, but lots of violence too.

Seven: “The Irishman” (USA). Director: Martin Scorsese. Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel. Narrated by an ageing Frank Sheeran (De Niro), the movie takes a new approach at the mysterious disappearance of Jim Hoffa (Pacino). Great acting by these veteran stars. This a three-hour film, now only available through Netflix.

Six: “Antigone”  (Canada). Director: Sophie Deraspe. Cast: Nahema Ricci, Antoine Desrochers, Rawad El-Zein. A very impressive adaptation of Sophocles’ drama to a present-day situation in Montreal, with references to a real unfortunate episode in which a young immigrant was shot by the police.

Five: “Pain and Glory” (Spain).  Director: Pedro Almodovar. Cast: Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia, Penelope Cruz, Leonardo Sbaraglia. According to Time magazine the best film of 2019. Great acting by Banderas in this autobiographical piece of the celebrated Spanish director.

Four: “Judy” (USA-UK). Director: Rupert Goold. Cast:  Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell. The biopic of Judy Garland is not only a tribute to the great actress, but an indictment of the treatment Hollywood studios gave to their stars in those days when they dominated the industry. 

Three: “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (USA). Director: Marielle Heller. Cast: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson. A delightful story in which Mr. Rogers is not the real focus of the story, but a journalist who was assigned to interview the TV personality and ended up befriending him. We see Mr. Rogers throughout his interaction with the troubled interviewer.

Two: “Knives Out’ (USA). Director: Rian Johnson. Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis. Those who love a good thriller will be delighted with the ingenious plot of this movie. There are many twists to the story as well making it more exciting.

One: “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” (USA). Director: Quentin Tarantino. Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch. A movie that entertains and at the same time makes fun of Hollywood, the cigarette industry, martial arts actor Jackie Chan (which infuriated China), and even the case of a gruesome crime. The best film of 2019.

Sergio Martinez – info@mtltimes.ca

Other movie reviews:

KNIVES OUT: A whodunit with an ironic touch (Trailer)

QUEEN & SLIM: The unleashing of fate (trailer)

JOKER: The making of a villain (official trailer)

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