Viewed in 2019

by Anth-M | created - 7 months ago | updated - 6 hours ago | Public

Films I've seen in 2019.

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1. Chi-Raq (2015)

R | 127 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

77 Metascore

A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago, Illinois.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett

Votes: 8,210 | Gross: $2.65M

Strikes an odd, uneven tone. Spike Lee at his heavy-handed worst. (Jan 4)

2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

R | 115 min | Crime, Drama

88 Metascore

A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.

Director: Martin McDonagh | Stars: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones

Votes: 354,555 | Gross: $54.51M

Fine performances marred only by writing that lacks character dimension. Plotting also feels rigid and telegraphed. (Jan 5)

3. Bad Lieutenant (1992)

NC-17 | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

70 Metascore

While investigating a young nun's rape, a corrupt New York City police detective, with a serious drug and gambling addiction, tries to change his ways and find forgiveness and redemption.

Director: Abel Ferrara | Stars: Harvey Keitel, Brian McElroy, Frank Acciarito, Peggy Gormley

Votes: 35,135 | Gross: $2.00M

Enjoyable to revisit this film 25 years later. Ferrara’s dark and gritty filmmaking, which was so emblematic to the 90s Indie renaissance, holds up extremely well. Definitive Keitel. (Jan 6)

4. My Dinner with Andre (1981)

PG | 110 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

83 Metascore

Two old friends meet for dinner; as one tells anecdotes detailing his experiences, the other notices their differing worldviews.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn, Jean Lenauer, Roy Butler

Votes: 15,719 | Gross: $5.25M

Dull cinema. Mostly a long-winded, preachy conversation, although not without its poignant moments. I suspect the script would make for a better read than a movie. (Jan 7)

5. Café Society (2016)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

64 Metascore

In the 1930s, a Bronx native moves to Hollywood and falls in love with a young woman who is seeing a married man.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Blake Lively

Votes: 63,415 | Gross: $11.10M

Classic Woody Allen. Charming, delightful, melancholy romantic comedy. (Jan 8)

6. Molly's Game (2017)

R | 140 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

71 Metascore

The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.

Director: Aaron Sorkin | Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera

Votes: 108,141 | Gross: $28.78M

Sorkin is my kind of writer. Smart, loquacious characters, witty dialogue and fast-moving plots. Highly entertaining film. (Jan 9)

7. Mother! (2017)

R | 121 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

75 Metascore

A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer

Votes: 161,237 | Gross: $17.80M

Such assured filmmaking. Gripping and unnerving throughout. A cynical and scathing assault on artists and celebrity worship. (Jan 10)

8. Margot at the Wedding (2007)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Drama

66 Metascore

Margot and her son Claude decide to visit her sister Pauline after she announces that she is marrying less-than-impressive Malcolm. In short order, the storm the sisters create leaves behind a mess of thrashed relationships and exposed family secrets.

Director: Noah Baumbach | Stars: Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Flora Cross, Zane Pais

Votes: 18,451 | Gross: $1.96M

With his adept mix of absurd humor and pathos, Noah Baumbach has made another exceptionally well written, character-driven movie. Such a knowing, nuanced depiction of the emotional baggage we carry through life. Performances are also noteworthy, especially Kidman. (Jan 13)

9. BlacKkKlansman (2018)

R | 135 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

83 Metascore

Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace

Votes: 159,579 | Gross: $48.69M

There are many problems with this long-winded film. None more glaring than the opening and ending sequences. Though powerful and subversive on their own, in the context of the main action, they feel blusterous and didactic. The central conflict of a black cop infiltrating the KKK is an interesting premise but Spike Lee delivers an atonal and tepid police procedural because he seems more invested in his heavy-handed allegory, an indictment of Trump. (Jan 13)

10. Before Sunset (2004)

R | 80 min | Drama, Romance

90 Metascore

Nine years after Jesse and Celine first met, they encounter each other again on the French leg of Jesse's book tour.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff, Louise Lemoine Torrès

Votes: 210,931 | Gross: $5.82M

Nimble sequel, fully realized and very satisfying. Has all the vicarious enjoyment of expert storytelling: smart, engaging characters, a whimsical and yet realistic plot. Linklater does an admirable job of visually opening up a “talking heads” script into a brisk tour of Paris. (Jan 19)

11. Wonder Wheel (2017)

PG-13 | 101 min | Drama

45 Metascore

On Coney Island in the 1950s, a lifeguard tells the story of a middle-aged carousel operator, his beleaguered wife, and the visitor who turns their lives upside-down.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple, Robert C. Kirk, Kate Winslet

Votes: 20,412 | Gross: $1.40M

It’s not as imaginative or as layered as Woody’s best work, but there are some strong, poignant moments. After a dull, impassive beginning, the melodrama of a woman in crisis finally unravels with guttural power. Winslet is spectacular in her unhinged performance — shades of Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. Also noteworthy is the gorgeous cinematography of Vittorio Storaro. (Jan 20)

12. The Remains of the Day (1993)

PG | 134 min | Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

A butler, Stevens (Sir Anthony Hopkins), who sacrificed body and soul to service in the years leading up to World War II realizes too late how misguided his loyalty was to his lordly employer.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, John Haycraft, Christopher Reeve

Votes: 58,599 | Gross: $22.95M

A masterpiece. (Jan 23)

13. Wiener-Dog (2016)

R | 88 min | Comedy, Drama

66 Metascore

A dachshund passes from oddball owner to oddball owner, whose radically dysfunctional lives are all impacted by the pooch.

Director: Todd Solondz | Stars: Greta Gerwig, Keaton Nigel Cooke, Tracy Letts, Julie Delpy

Votes: 8,520 | Gross: $0.45M

Even for a vignette film, it’s woefully disjointed storytelling. Like much of Todd Solondz’s work, it’s rooted in cynicism with disturbingly poignant moments, but mostly it’s too odd and ambiguous to be a satisfying experience. (Jan 25)

14. Spotlight (I) (2015)

R | 129 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

93 Metascore

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Director: Tom McCarthy | Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber

Votes: 371,003 | Gross: $45.06M

A testament to the power of journalism. A fairly restrained film in that it doesn’t lean on hyperbole or grandiosity to tell it’s sobering story. It takes an admirably honest and straightforward approach to expose the egregious crimes and coverup of the Boston Archdiocese. (Jan 25)

15. Nine Lives (2005)

R | 115 min | Drama

80 Metascore

Captives of the very relationships that define and sustain them, nine women resiliently meet the travails and disappointments of life.

Director: Rodrigo García | Stars: Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Glenn Close, LisaGay Hamilton

Votes: 6,335 | Gross: $0.48M

Nine short films that circle loosely around each other. It’s raw, pared-down filmmaking is very effective, creating a kind of voyeuristic intimacy and power. The characters feel fully realized despite brief glimpses into their lives. Though not all nine are excellent, the film never feels uneven or meandering. Rodrigo Garcia is one of today’s most underrated storytellers. (Jan 30)

16. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

R | 119 min | Comedy, Drama

87 Metascore

A washed-up superhero actor attempts to revive his fading career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough

Votes: 525,732 | Gross: $42.34M

This cautionary tale is audacious, dizzying, and virtuosic work from Inarratu. He masterfully bends and blends farce and dark comedy with pathos and surrealism for a wildly original take on the pitfalls of serving the ego. (Jan 31)

17. The Humbling (2014)

R | 112 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

59 Metascore

A stage actor who is slowly losing his mind engages in a relationship with a sexually confused younger woman.

Director: Barry Levinson | Stars: Al Pacino, Greta Gerwig, Nina Arianda, Charles Grodin

Votes: 5,960

Coincidentally, its plot shares similarities with Birdman but it doesn’t pack any of the same dramatic punch. It’s a lightweight adaptation of the Philip Roth novel with some profound moments but mostly made up of quirky moments that don’t really land. (Feb 10)

18. Paterson (2016)

R | 118 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

90 Metascore

A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Nellie, Rizwan Manji

Votes: 56,629 | Gross: $2.14M

A small, quiet film full of grace and humanity. Cinema vérité without any of the pretension. Adam Driver is such an authentic actor. Wonderfully written by Jim Jarmusch, his most mature, accomplished film. (Feb 13)

19. 20th Century Women (2016)

R | 119 min | Comedy, Drama

83 Metascore

The story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women who help raise him among the love and freedom of Southern California of 1979.

Director: Mike Mills | Stars: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup

Votes: 32,996 | Gross: $5.66M

By employing an unusual, exquisite narrative style, this film feels fresh and very authentic. Splendid performances. (Feb 14)

20. Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her (2000)

PG-13 | 109 min | Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

Five loosely intertwined stories of the emotional issues facing individual middle-aged Angelenas are presented. In "This Is Dr. Keener", physician Elaine Keener is spending the day taking ... See full summary »

Director: Rodrigo García | Stars: Glenn Close, Cameron Diaz, Calista Flockhart, Kathy Baker

Votes: 6,270

Rodrigo Garcia’s writing, specifically his character exploration, digs much deeper than we’re accustomed to seeing in American cinema. Though his characters are mostly women in crisis, he paints a diverse picture of their individual struggles. (Feb 26)

21. A League of Their Own (1992)

PG | 128 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

67 Metascore

Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.

Director: Penny Marshall | Stars: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna

Votes: 85,211 | Gross: $107.53M

Although it’s a paint by numbers, Hollywood “dramedy,” which is to say, full of goofy humor and saccharine drama, the film is an engaging and satisfying story about a little known part of American sports history. (Mar 4)

22. August: Osage County (2013)

R | 121 min | Comedy, Drama

58 Metascore

A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

Director: John Wells | Stars: Meryl Streep, Dermot Mulroney, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis

Votes: 79,952 | Gross: $37.74M

The commanding performances by Streep and Roberts can’t save this hot mess of melodrama. Hard to imagine this material made for a Pulitzer Prize winning play. (Mar 7)

23. Manchester by the Sea (2016)

R | 137 min | Drama

96 Metascore

A depressed uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies.

Director: Kenneth Lonergan | Stars: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges

Votes: 218,019 | Gross: $47.70M

Kenneth Lonergan’s merciless, unflinching tragedy is not your run of the mill redemption tale. It takes great artistic integrity to make a film this somber, one so utterly devoid of hope. Tastefully plotted and expertly paced. (Mar 9)

24. Rain Man (1988)

R | 133 min | Drama

65 Metascore

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

Director: Barry Levinson | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, Gerald R. Molen

Votes: 444,580 | Gross: $178.80M

Iconic 80's movie dramatizing a sad but fascinating disorder. Riveting performances by Hoffman and Cruise carry the film until it buckles at its dull, unconvincing climax. Worse, a lackluster resolution leaves us completely unsatisfied. (Mar 11)

25. The Big Short (2015)

R | 130 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

81 Metascore

In 2006-7 a group of investors bet against the US mortgage market. In their research they discover how flawed and corrupt the market is.

Director: Adam McKay | Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt

Votes: 314,362 | Gross: $70.26M

A bold and ambitious attempt to dramatize the extremely convoluted financial crisis of 2008. Typically, a film with this much exposition would be an abject failure but it actually works as an important document of history and a social criticism of greed. Full of bombastic energy and yet solemnly observed. (Mar 20)

26. The Spanish Prisoner (1997)

PG | 110 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

70 Metascore

An employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process is tempted to betray it. But there's more to it than that.

Director: David Mamet | Stars: Steve Martin, Ben Gazzara, Campbell Scott, Ricky Jay

Votes: 20,696 | Gross: $10.20M

(Mar 25)

27. Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)

R | 128 min | Documentary

69 Metascore

Filmmaker Michael Moore examines the current state of American politics, particularly the Donald Trump presidency and gun violence, while highlighting the power of grassroots democratic movements.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Jim Acosta, Roger Ailes, Brooke Baldwin, Ashleigh Banfield

Votes: 12,762 | Gross: $6.35M

(Mar 31)

28. Kobe Doin' Work (2009 TV Movie)

84 min | Documentary, Sport

A documentary following Kobe Bryant during one day during a game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Stephen A. Smith, Tony Parker

Votes: 1,328

(Apr 19)

29. The Meddler (2015)

PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

68 Metascore

An aging widow from New York City follows her daughter to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away.

Director: Lorene Scafaria | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Jerrod Carmichael

Votes: 10,858 | Gross: $4.27M

An expert blend of quirky humor and pathos. It looks at loneliness with sincerity and considerable depth. Very satisfying. (Apr 29)

30. Before Midnight (2013)

R | 109 min | Drama, Romance

94 Metascore

We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Ariane Labed

Votes: 124,809 | Gross: $8.11M

The third instalment in the seemingly ongoing exploration of a challenging romance. However, this one raises the bar, putting forth circumstances more threatening to their relationship.

(Apr 30)

31. First Reformed (2017)

R | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

85 Metascore

A minister of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.

Director: Paul Schrader | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill

Votes: 35,511 | Gross: $3.45M

A smart and quietly contemplative film about many important sociopolitical issues. Despite Schrader’s assured direction, the film is far too heavy to really enjoy it. (July 17)

32. Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood (2019)

R | 161 min | Comedy, Drama

83 Metascore

A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch

Votes: 94,045 | Gross: $114.43M

A hugely disappointing film. It’s the worst kind of filmmaking: bloated self importance that’s light on plot and character. Tarantino had previously mastered the “revenge historical fantasy” genre but fails miserably here with vague or lazy plotting. (July 31)

33. Zero Days (2016)

PG-13 | 116 min | Documentary

77 Metascore

A documentary focused on Stuxnet, a piece of self-replicating computer malware that the U.S. and Israel unleashed to destroy a key part of an Iranian nuclear facility, and which ultimately spread beyond its intended target.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: David Sanger, Emad Kiyaei, Eric Chien, Liam O'Murchu

Votes: 8,022 | Gross: $0.10M

As a movie, it’s not very compelling because it lacks a cinematic narrative structure. It’s very densely constructed with interview after interview.

Of course, Stuxnet (and more broadly, cyber warfare) is a compelling topic, raising serious concerns about its use and its consequences. And I’d say the film succeeds in conveying the frightening times we’re living in.

Interestingly, the ending has an unintended ominous tone by showing the Obama Admin touting the Iran deal; diplomacy as an effective and peaceful alternative to conflict. So much for that! (Aug 5)

34. Green Book (2018)

PG-13 | 130 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

69 Metascore

A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.

Director: Peter Farrelly | Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco

Votes: 230,932 | Gross: $85.08M

(Aug 19)

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