Well, 2019 is over – but that doesn’t mean that our writing on it is quite yet! We have our best of the year lists to share with you before we bid farewell to the last decade. We’d love to hear about the movies that made your 2019 – do you agree with our picks, or are there others that you wished you could have seen here instead? Let us know in the comments below!
10. 3 From Hell
Do I actually like this movie? I haven’t figured it out yet.Will it probably also be on my worst of the year list? To be honest, yeah. But I have a lust for Zombie flesh that can’t be sated, and so, 3 From Hell, for its mixture of adept cinematic meta-commentary and abject stupid garbage, belongs on this list, if I’m being honest with myself.
9. The Perfection
I’m a sucker for a B-movie, and when you make that B-movie centred around lesbians played by Allison Williams and turn it all into a metaphor for systematic abuse in the arts? Yeah, you’ve got my attention. I was surprised I didn’t see more people discussing this when it came out, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
I think Hustlers is really more a proof-of-concept movie than anything else – proof that women making films about women that don’t have anything to do with capital-W Women can be the box-office smashes that we always knew they could be. Throw in a great ensemble and a killer lead from Jennifer Lopez, and this is stripper-music to be ears.
7. Ready or Not
Speaking of horror B-movies. Samara Weaving has been making a name for herself in the genre of late, but never more convincingly than in the brilliant slasher Ready or Not. Committed to the bit and revelling in the fun of its’ country-house setting, Ready or Not is inventive, teeth-grinding, and even occasionally heartfelt fun. Oh, and petition for Weaving to be the Scream Queen of this generation, right?
In a year of prestige horror, Jordan Peele’s Us was always set to sweep the board – high-concept premise, Lupita Nyong’o as the lead, with Peele’s trademark darkly-comic touch to the twist premise. And it didn’t disappoint,delivering kick-ass blockbuster entertainment that makes Get Out look like it’s just not trying hard enough.
5. The Day Shall Pass
I’m not a big comedy person, if I’m being honest, living in the endless hellhole of over-serious traumatic horror that I do, but Chris Morris’ The Day Shall Pass smashed through that divide and easily into the top ten of the year. Heartfelt and spiky in equal measure, it’s a stunningly well-crafted comedy of errors that proves that Morris should still be considered the top of the top when it comes to political comedy.
4. The Sisters Brothers
Joaquin Phoenix has put in one hell of a performance this year. No, not that one. This one! The Sisters Brothers is a lush, beautiful revisionist Western with a fantastic lead ensemble, a slickly comic edge, and a warm, familial centre, and I’ve already watched it again – I get the feeling this is one that I’ll be coming back to a lot over the years, and finding something new in every single time.
3. If Beale Street Could Talk
I can’t talk about this fucking movie. Don’t make me think about it again. I need to get to the end of this list without crying. Read my review, that should explain why it’s here.
2. Motherless Brooklyn
I didn’t expect to love this film as much I did. I’m not a big fan of noir, let alone twisty-turny love letters to the genre. But Motherless Brooklyn, more than anything else, had heart – it is a warm, humanist film, one that explores hope and connection on the outskirts of society. Ed Norton’s excellent direction and assured lead performance bring it home, but this is easily one of the best – and most overlooked – movies of the year.
- Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria)
In case you had somehow managed to skip out on the last few months of No But Listen, let me catch you up: I’m a die-hard Pedro Almodovar fan, and Pain and Glory might be his best work yet. Making art about art is difficult, but here, Almodovar finds an adpet but not gruellingly self-flagellating work looking back on his own career, led by a career-best performance from a superb Antonio Banderas. Vital and celebratory, Pain and Glory is the film for film-lovers I’ve been waiting for.
By Louise MacGregor
(header image via artnet.news)