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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    Best Movies of 2019 so far

    Best Movies of 2019 so far

    This list from the NYTimes today inspires me to begin a thread on the year's best. They give eight. I know as one who makes best lists of my own, I ought to have seen these. But three, Her Smell, Gloria Bell and The Edge of Democracy, I have not seen. I was frankly a bit put off by Alex Ross Perry's title. Didn't see the point of seeing a remake of such a great film as Gloria, even with Julianne Moore. The documentary The Edge of Democracy I haven't heard of before. I hate Booksmart. It so disappointed me as a reminder of how crude and lacking in wit today's youth comedies are.Rolling Thunder Review - yes, I enjoyed that; hardly something new, though! The Last Black Man in San Francisco didn't grab me as much as it did many, though I can see it has a fresh local flavor, which as a former San Francisco resident I am well placed to appreciate - and see the limitations of. The Souvenir is where I and Manohla and Tony come together. It seemed an amazing find, because Joanna Hogg was new to me. It bowled me over. It's my favorite movie of the year so far. As for Transit, I like Christian Petzold's films very much, though I have some reservations about [I this one. I don't think it's his best. I also saw it last year so tend not to think of it as "2019. The rest, below, is lifted directly from today's Times.
    The Best Films of 2019 (So Far) from the New York Times (June 28, 2019).
    Want to catch up on your moviegoing? Here’s what our chief critics say is worth checking out.

    THE SOUVENIR (Joanna Hogg)
    THE STORY Based on an episode in the life of its writer-director, Joanna Hogg, this drama follows a British film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) and her relationship with a boyfriend (Tom Burke) who may or may not work for the Foreign Office but is certainly a heroin addict.
    A.O. SCOTT’S TAKE This is “one of my favorite movies of the year so far, but I almost want to keep it a secret. Partly because it’s the kind of film — we all have a collection of these, and of similar books and records, too — that feels like a private discovery, an experience you want to protect rather than talk about.”

    THE STORY In this quiet tale that touches on issues of race, class and gentrification in the Bay Area, Jimmie Fails (played by the actor of the same name) is determined to take possession of the Victorian house that was once his family home.
    MANOHLA DARGIS’S TAKE In this film from the director Joe Talbot, “the desire for home is at once existential and literal, a matter of self and safety, being and belonging. This is of course part of the story of being black in the United States, which perhaps makes the movie sound like a dirge when it’s more of a reverie. Or, rather, it’s both at once and sometimes one and then the other.”

    HER SMELL ( Alex Ross Perry).
    THE STORY Elisabeth Moss is Becky Something, a rock ’n’ roll singer who bears more than a passing resemblance to Courtney Love in this tale of art and dysfunction from the writer-director Alex Ross Perry.
    A.O. SCOTT’S TAKE “Moss is deep in Becky’s skin, and Perry is steadfastly on her side. Not that he condones or forgives. She is gleefully cruel and monstrously inconsiderate to everyone around her, daring them to fight back or flee.”

    GLORIA BELL (Director Sebastián Lelio's English language remak starring Julienne Moore e of his own Chilean Spanish original, GLORIA.
    THE STORY This character study follows Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore), middle-aged and divorced with grown children, as she seeks to connect and find fulfillment in Los Angeles. It’s a remake of the Chilean film “Gloria,” by the writer-director of that movie, Sebastián Lelio.
    MANOHLA DARGIS’S TAKE Working with “a transcendent Julianne Moore,” the director “is acutely sensitive to the absurdities of everyday life, including the comedy of humiliation, both petty and wounding.”

    BOOKSMART (Olivia Wilde)
    THE STORY Headed to the Ivy League in the fall, Molly and Amy are dismayed to learn that their far less studious peers are going to top colleges as well. On their last day in high school, the best friends (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever) decide they need to gain a reputation for partying before they graduate.
    A.O. SCOTT’S TAKE “Infusing some familiar situations with an exuberant, generous, matter-of-factly feminist sensibility,” this comedy directed by Olivia Wilde is “sharp but not mean, warm without feeling too soft or timid.”

    ROLLING THUNDER REVUE (Martin Scorsese)
    THE STORY Subtitled “A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese,” this documentary chronicles the free-form concert tour that Dylan and assorted colleagues began in 1975 and blends scenes shot at the time with new, fictionalized episodes.
    MANOHLA DARGIS’S TAKE “It’s at once a celebration and a rescue mission (it draws heavily on restored film footage), as well as another chapter in Scorsese’s decades-long chronicling of Dylan.”

    THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY (Petra Costa).
    THE STORY This documentary examines Brazilian politics — two recent presidents in disgrace, the current one leaning toward authoritarianism — from the outraged point of view of the filmmaker, Petra Costa.
    A.O. SCOTT’S TAKE Costa’s take “is by turns incredulous, indignant and self-questioning.” Her film is “a chronicle of civic betrayal and the abuse of power, and also of heartbreak.”

    TRANSIT (Christian Petzold)) (In German).
    THE STORY Set in an indeterminate time when soldiers are invading Paris, a German émigré (Franz Rogowski) there flees to Marseille, where he meets other refugees as he awaits the papers that will let him leave the country.
    MANOHLA DARGIS’S TAKE The director Christian Petzold “doesn’t over-explain the trickier plot entanglements, confident in his audience’s ability to sort through its thickets. He embraces ambiguity as a principle but also sometimes gives the movie the accelerated pulse of an action flick.”
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-28-2019 at 03:46 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    A couple days ago I see that Mike D'angelo, whose lists I like to follow, tweeted as follows:
    Mike D’Angelo
    Jun 28
    We’ve reached the year’s actual midpoint (since nothing else will open ’til July), so here are my 5 favorite theatrical releases of 2019 thus far. Several are divisive!

    1. Under the Silver Lake
    2. Sunset
    3. High Flying Bird
    4. Too Late to Die Young
    5. They Shall Not Grow Old
    I like that he likes Under the Silver Lake, though I can't rate it quite as high, and I understand the Hungarian film Sunset being respected. But of the last three there are two I've never even heard of. And he admits a tweet or two later:
    Should note that there are a bunch of highly acclaimed films from the first half of the year that I intend to see but haven’t yet. Most notably THE SOUVENIR, THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO, BOOKSMART, and SHADOW.
    I have said I rate The Souvenir highest, respect but have reservations about Last Black Man, and simply hate Booksmart and think it overrated, while I am like him on Shadow: I know I should see it, it's probably excellent.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-30-2019 at 07:49 PM.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    New contenders near year's end.

    The Carpetbagger (Kyle Buchanon), the Times movie columnist, published a more up-to-date list today. Featured are these six, and four more. Warning: he's interested in the Best Picture race, not the best pictures, which is what we're interested in. Aren't we?

    Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
    The Farewell
    Jojo Rabbit
    Little Women
    Marriage Story

    Jojo Rabbit won People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

    I wonder if Johann is going to take a stand on Jokeer? It makes a strong first impression, Joaquin Phoenix provides an attention-getting performance, but critically it hasn't got as much to stand on, in my opinion.

    I don't think Little Women is out yet. It seems sure to be a crowd pleaser - for some crowds. I mean to see Jojo Rabbit, which has not gotten good reviews and which sounded silly, but has gotten good buzz lately. I realize I was wrong to avoid The Farewell just because I saw that it was not made for me. It has legs. As for the Tarantino and the Baumbach, I'm full of enthusiasm. Those two are at the top of my list

    Buchanon aso mentions:

    The Irishman
    The Two Popes
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-16-2019 at 11:12 AM.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    New York Film Critics' Circle announces
    2019 awards, THE IRISHMAN top film; AFI picks their ten best features of the year, led by 1917

    Best Film
    The Irishman

    Best Director
    Josh and Benny Safdie, Uncut Gems

    Best First Film

    Best Actor
    Antonio Banderas, Pain And Glory

    Best Actress
    Lupita Nyong’o, Us

    Best Supporting Actor
    Joe Pesci, The Irishman

    Best Supporting Actress
    Laura Dern, Marriage Story and Little Women

    Best Screenplay
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Best Cinematography
    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Best Foreign Language Film

    Best Non-Fiction Film

    Best Animated Film
    I Lost My Body

    Special Awards
    Randy Newman
    Cole Kronman (st



    Fox Searchlight

    Warner Bros





    Warner Bros

    Special Award

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 12-11-2019 at 12:21 PM.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    FILM COMMENT end of year best lists.

    Film Comment is the publication of Film Society of Lincoln Center, now renamed Film at Lincoln Center.

    Film Comment’s Top 20 Films Released in 2019:
    1. Parasite Bong Joon Ho, South Korea
    2. The Irishman Martin Scorsese, USA
    3. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood Quentin Tarantino, USA/UK/China
    4. Transit Christian Petzold, Germany/France
    5. Atlantics Mati Diop, France/Senegal/Belgium
    6. The Souvenir Joanna Hogg, UK/USA
    7. High Life Claire Denis, Germany/France/USA/UK/Poland
    8. Ash Is Purest White Jia Zhangke, China
    9. Pain and Glory Pedro Almodóvar, Spain
    10. Uncut Gems Josh and Benny Safdie, USA
    11. Marriage Story Noah Baumbach, USA
    12. La Flor Mariano Llinás, Argentina
    13. An Elephant Sitting Still Hu Bo, China
    14. Long Day’s Journey Into Night Bi Gan, China/France
    15. Synonyms Nadav Lapid, France/Israel/Germany
    16. Asako I & II Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, Japan/France
    17. Us Jordan Peele, USA
    18. The Image Book Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland
    19. Portrait of a Lady on Fire Céline Sciamma, France
    20. Ad Astra James Gray, USA
    Film Comment’s Top 20 Unreleased Films of 2019:
    1. State Funeral Sergei Loznitsa, Netherlands/Lithuania
    2. Endless Night Eloy Enciso Cachafeiro, Spain
    3. To the Ends of the Earth Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan
    4. MS Slavic 7 Sofia Bohdanowicz and Deragh Campbell, Canada
    5. Present.Perfect. Shengze Zhu, USA/Hong Kong
    6. Oh Mercy! Arnaud Desplechin, France
    7. Tommaso Abel Ferrara, Italy
    8. Bait Mark Jenkin, UK
    9. Belonging Burak Çevik, Turkey/Canada/France
    10. Midnight in Paris James Blagden and Roni Moore, USA
    11. No Data Plan Miko Revereza, USA
    12. It Must Be Heaven Elia Suleiman, France/Qatar/Germany/Canada/Turkey/Palestine
    13. Wasp Network Olivier Assayas, France/Spain/Brazil
    14. So Pretty Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli, USA/France
    15. Just 6.5 Saeed Roustayi, Iran
    16. Bird Island Sergio da Costa and Maya Kosa, Switzerland
    17. What We Left Unfinished Mariam Ghani, Afghanistan/Qatar/USA
    18. You Will Die at 20 Amjad Abu Alala, Sudan/France/Egypt/Germany/Norway/Qatar
    19. Lina from Lima María Paz González, Chile/Argentina/Peru
    20. The Devil Between the Legs Arturo Ripstein, Mexico
    The complete list of films and participants can be found on, on the Film Comment app, and in the January/February issue, which hits newsstands the second week of January.

    (Of the first list I've seen all but the Godard. I've seen hardly any of the second list; or maybe only Oh Mercy!
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 12-11-2019 at 12:37 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    My tentative 2019 ten best list


    1. Marriage Story
    2. The Souvenir
    3. Once Upon a Hollywood
    4. Pain and Glory
    5. Ash is Purest White
    6. Honeyland
    7. Knives Out
    8. Synonyms
    9. Transit
    10. Rolling Thunder Review
    I haven't yet seen: 1917, Little Women, The Favorite, Uncut Gems, among others.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 12-11-2019 at 12:48 PM.


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