top 40 movies 2019
Votes: 515,139 | Gross: $142.50M. The Oscar season may be just kicking into high gear, but at Esquire, we’re ready to crown the year’s 50 (!) No franchise dispenses more crazily choreographed violence than John Wick, in which savagery is carried out with both concussive force and dancer-like grace. And despite the usual chorus of voices proclaiming “the death of cinema” and similar “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” myths about the state of modern filmmaking, 2019 — like all previous years of this decade and the decade before — offered a large number of terrific films across a wide array of genres. There you have it, my list of the top 20 best films I’ve seen in 2019. In his debut feature, director Joe Talbot populates Jimmie and Mont’s story with childhood friends and estranged relatives whose presence, or absence, speaks to the story’s underlying strains of cultural-racial-familial disaffection, troubled identity, and longing for home. Haenel and Golino are both phenomenal, the latter particularly so as a Mona Lisa smile-flaunting beauty engaged in a process of uncharted self-definition. A vision of Brazil's recent past that resonates as a chilling and heartbreaking warning for the rest of today’s world – including Trumpian America – The Edge of Democracy recounts the political upheaval that led to the impeachment of elected president Dilma Rousseff, the imprisonment (on corruption charges) of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the rise of new president Jair Bolsonaro and his right-wing administration. The volatility of youth and the vitality of kinship (with present and former relatives) serve as sturdy thematic undercurrents for this low-key genre tale. I write about films, especially superhero films, and Hollywood. Kicking off with a bravura 37-minute single take sequence that charts its characters’ attempts to navigate their monstrous ordeal – all as their director, Higurashi (Takayuki Hamatsu), continues to roll cameras – the film eventually delivers a meta bombshell that totally reconfigures one’s conception of the action at hand. Acquiring those positions, alas, necessitates ruining their predecessors, and holding onto them entails even nastier business – as well as enduring the petty cruelty, condescension and selfishness of their employers. Years later, adult Albrun (Aleksandra Cwen) cares for her infant daughter in that same abode, whose only visitor is Swinda (Tanja Petrovsky), a neighbor who, like the local priest, seems concerned with saving ostracized Abrun’s soul. Cast: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, and J.K. Simmons. Through it all, Keanu Reeves strikes a dashing pose as the increasingly harried (and bloodied) Wick, his trademark designer suits and walk-softly-and-carry-a-big-gun demeanor once again employed to expert effect in a series that continues, like Reeves himself, to improve with age. Awash in talk about movies and moviemaking, Hogg’s feature is elevated by Byrne’s star-making turn as a young woman caught between genuine love, her recognition that her relationship is perhaps doomed to fail, and her desire to find her voice – personally and artistically – on her own. Weddings can be a torturous drag for singles, so longtime friends Alice (Maya Erskine) and Ben (Jack Quaid) decide to spend their overbooked nuptials season tag-teaming events as platonic dates. Endgame as the most dissected and discussed movie of 2019 so far, ... and over-the-top set pieces that somehow top the previous films. Reconfiguring noir’s fatalistic heart for our tangled modern condition, it’s a portrait of the surreal new bleakness, with everything part of a grander whole that offers no substance or solace – leaving only that eternal desire for truth, and togetherness. A portrait of the arduousness of transformation and redemption, Skin shares direct, unsettling ties to our current geopolitical moment. That imagery boasts breathtaking scale, conveying the literal and figurative enormity of everything involved with the Apollo 11 – making it ideally suited for IMAX. The first release to emerge from the Obamas’ production deal with Netflix, Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar’s eye-opening documentary begins on a high, as American and Chinese workers show equal enthusiasm for the new venture, which promises to bring opportunity (and, hopefully, prosperity) to a community hit hard by a prior GM plant’s closing. Franz’s refusal to do so is fraught with perilous consequences not only for himself, but also for his wife Franziska (Valerie Pachner), whose staunch loyalty to her husband in the face of communal ostracism is as courageous as is his ethical stand against tyranny. Elisabeth Moss gets her riot-grrrl on in Her Smell, delivering a tour-de-force performance of rampant egomania and self-destruction that galvanizes Alex Ross Perry’s film. Think of it as a ghoulish Day for Night. Matthew McConaughey is the king of bongo-drumming laissez-faire cool, and in The Beach Bum, he assumes the role he was born to play. Such was the profound existential crisis faced by 18-year-old Alex Lewis when, in 1982, he was injured in a car accident, lapsed into a coma, and awoke to find that he recognized no one save for his twin brother Marcus. There’s plenty of shrieking horror to be found here, as well as droll comedy, as the writer/director never loses sight of the inherent humor of his out-there conceit. Tomatometer rankings of the top 100 best movies of 2020 and all time. In Parabellum, Wick teams up with Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, and Halle Berry (and her two crotch-fixated German shepherds) in order to stave off death at the hands of the world’s assassins, all of whom seek a bounty on his head. From Super Mario Bros., new-age cultists, pirates and bomb-shelter tombs, to masturbatory porn patterns, dog killers, comic books (Spider-Man, wink wink) and song lyrics scribbled on pizza boxes, secret world-governing ciphers are ubiquitous. The result is an aesthetic performance piece that feels like the psychosexual underworld dance extravaganza that Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria wanted to be, replete with a finale that takes up residence in some hallucinatory ninth circle of Hell. 2019 closes out an uncommonly strong decade for horror movies with some potential future classics of its own, and we took all of the Fresh and Certified Fresh hits with critics to give you the full list of the 32 Best Horror Movies of 2019. Its characters linked by spectral bonds they can feel if not quite identify (or control), it’s an entrancing and inherently mysterious ghost story that’s both timeless and, sadly, of our particular moment. Good luck maintaining a dry eye through its wrenching present-day coda. Led by bravura turns from its leads (Pesci quiet and menacing; De Niro stoic and empty; Pacino fiery and charismatic), it’s an epic about American corruption and underworld dishonor. Through circumstance, he also assumes the guise of famous writer Weidel, whose possessions he acquires and whose documentation permitting travel to Mexico await him at the port city’s embassy. Mangold’s story is about the might of American ingenuity and daring (versus sleek Italian arrogance), and a celebration of non-conformity in the face of (unbeatable) corporate pressure. That spells trouble for Sheila (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a recent divorcée who discovers that wearing the garb leaves her body with strange burn marks, as well as its subsequent owners Reg (Leo Bill) and Babs (Hayley Squires), who also fall under its dark spell. The number of award-worthy performances this year is likewise impressive. I Lost My Body has a horror movie conceit, but the true terror of Jérémy Clapin’s ingenious animated film is of an existential nature. His plan is to sell it at auction for a cool million, and thus settle his debts to brother-in-law Arno (Eric Bogosian) and his violent associates. How much or how little a factor weighs depends on the film and the other factors. With a lyrical touch that invigorates his often-droll action, Talbot pays bittersweet tribute to San Francisco and the magic of true friendship. Aided by unnervingly stoic, expressive turns from his leads, Alverson dramatizes this off-kilter madness via compositions of figures trapped in cramped, confining architectural spaces, set to ominous audio tones and blowing wind. Movies and myths collide, both mirthfully and mournful, as Sam strives to uncover the knotty conspiracy-theory connections linking everything and everyone. Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer’s romantic comedy is, per formula, bound to have its seemingly opposite protagonists discover their attraction for one another, yet predictability is of no concern when the amorous action is as consistently funny and charming as it is in this jaunty indie. Affording no easy solutions to the problems it presents, it’s a micro examination of a macro crisis, made transfixing by Bell’s warts-and-all embodiment of intolerance – a learned ethos rooted in issues of anger, insecurity and isolation, and correctable (if at all) only through a combination of pain and sacrifice. Flip-flopping backward and forward in time to create all sorts of harmonious narrative (and formal) echoes, and set to Alexandre Desplat’s lush, vibrant score (the year’s finest), Gerwig infuses her celebrated story with a feminist spirit that flows naturally from its tender depiction of its heroines’ intertwined, universal plights. Dark, demonic power courses through Hagazussa, a legitimately evil folk story of inheritance, corruption and damnation. Wonder Woman 1984; Avengers: Endgame; Tenet; 42; Soul; Monster Hunter; Bad Boys For Life; The Croods: A New Age; Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-Hen; AK vs AK From euphoric in-motion beginning to pitch-perfect self-referential end, it’s a time-honored tale made new, and enchanting, once more. Various culture-clash issues, however, soon complicate the endeavor’s chances for success, leading to tensions on both sides and, ultimately, a battle over workers’ desire to unionize, which is opposed by their foreign-born bosses. “Dumbo” follows the plot of the classic tale of the flying elephant wanting to be reunited with his mom. Votes:61,340|Gross:$3.76M. That would be Moondog, a South Florida “bottom feeder” who, having set aside his once-illustrious poetry career, is now content to coast through his beachside town’s many imbibing establishments, looking for his next toke, drink, and beautiful woman to bed. Writer: Andy Siara. I’m sure at least a few of them would’ve made my list, had I seen them in time to consider them. Paired with its predecessor, it’s one of the finest Stephen King adaptations ever. Hogg depicts their affair with little concern for superfluous in-between stuff, cutting pointedly to the couple’s most crucial incidents together, and in the process she strikes an assured balance between realism and impressionism. Avengers: Endgame become the highest-grossing film of all time (overtaking 2009's Avatar) and the fifth film to gross $2 billion worldwide. Borders to cross and barriers impeding passage are omnipresent in Transit, which like so much of writer/director Christian Petzold’s transition-fixated oeuvre, is a forlorn romantic reverie about identity, regret, trauma and rebirth. Eddie Murphy regains his superstar mojo in Dolemite is My Name, a raucous biopic fashioned in an Ed Wood and The Disaster Artist mold (from the writers of the former) about Rudy Ray Moore, a clownish wannabe-entertainer who hit it big by playing the profanely rhyming, kung-fu-fighting, ladies-bedding Dolemite. As conveyed by Esi’s encounter with an old blind man – who says he’s from an upside-down purgatory, and tells her to protect a bird from an evil crow – and the sibling rivalry-centric soap opera that Esi watches with her grandmother (Joyce Anima Misa Amoah), The Burial of Kojo is a story about reunion, loss and reconciliation that exists somewhere between reality and fantasy. Arriving in Marseilles, he befriends the African son (Lilien Batman) and wife (Maryam Zaree) of a former comrade. “I hate autofiction,” says the elderly mother of filmmaker Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), a sly nod to the rooted-in-reality nature of writer/director Pedro Almodóvar’s somber, yet joyfully cathartic, latest. With less than 48 hours left in the year, it’s time to count down the top 20 best films I’ve seen in 2019. Director: Max Barbakow. Capitalist modernity, taking the form of the marijuana trade, corrupts a local Colombian culture in Birds of Passage, an ethnographically rich crime drama from Embrace of the Serpent director Ciro Guerra. In the masterful hands of Terrence Malick, fascism isn’t simply a socio-political threat, but a moral and spiritual one as well. With acute empathy and formal eloquence, director Ed Perkins investigates this shocking tale from the perspectives of both brothers, whose bond was forged by love and trust, and torn asunder by deception and betrayal. Top 100 Movies of All Time Best of Rotten Tomatoes Movies with 40 or more critic reviews vie for their place in history at Rotten Tomatoes. An era-spanning tale that charts the intersections of the mob and domestic politics (including the election and assassination of JFK), Scorsese’s film is also a flashback-layered drama about the passage of time, and the impact – or chilling lack thereof – that regret, treachery and immorality have on a man’s soul. To be about a couple fending off a zombie plague courses through Hagazussa a... Its voracious animals, Crawl is the sort of family, compels him to reconsider life. Top 20 best films I ’ ve done here, in which savagery is carried out with both concussive and! 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