My Top Ten Films of 2019

10) Stan & Ollie

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Stan & Ollie is a delightful and gentle tribute to the famed comedic duo. Told in the pair’s twilight years of fame, the film wonderfully depicts their relationship as though its a marriage in its last throws. At the same time, the picture effortlessly illustrates how Laurel and Hardy’s comedy uplifted and united people. Consequently, the movie becomes a little slice of innocence that’s much needed in our bitter and divided times.

9) It Chapter 2

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It Chapter Two is an ambitious and sobering effort, weaving past and present with such beautiful elegance, that the film becomes the cinematic equivalent of group therapy. It never forgets the human element of the story and how fear can paint us in the worst possible way.

8) Joker 

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Joker is a genuinely startling experience. It’s the sort of film that’s been pitched and promised when most comic book movies are in development but never delivered. It doesn’t reinvent the mass popular sub-genre. Instead, it shows new colours the comic book movie can apply to its canvas.

7) Under The Silver Lake

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Under the Silver Lake takes the neo-noir to mesmerising heights by combining standard elements from a Hitchcockian thriller, Lynchian surrealism and ’90s slacker comedy. The result is a film that shines in its momentary weirdness than overarching narrative and theme.

6) Marriage Story 

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Marriage Story doesn’t just depict divorce with biting and painful realism. It also asks questions about how much you can lose a sense of self in a relationship and how finding your voice is crucial to your identity. The film’s best aspect comes from the blocking of key scenes where the characters use the full space to shout, vent and emotionally break down.

5) The Irishman

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The Irishman is a return to mob movies for Scorsese and is a sobering rumination of the genre, as opposed to an electrifying rebirth.

4) Toy Story 4

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Toy Story 4 necessitates its existence by opening up its narrative to the alluded aspects of the previous films. In this way, the film is like an old toy that you rediscover and find that it has more features than you initially thought.

3) Us

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With images that will remain etched in your mind and a premise that keeps unravelling into something rich and interesting: Us is a serious call to arms film for cementing Jordan Peele’s talent as a horror auteur of the highest degree.

2) If Beale Street Could Talk

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If Beale Street Could Talk is about how injustice haunts every day living. It can cause us to become cynical, question long presumed truths and even want to emotionally outburst against the entire world.

1) Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

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Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is an astounding cinematic work; a singular mosaic, presenting genuine existential angst through the prism of a gleaming era, which was starting to lose its sheen. But like the magic of movies, for a brief moment, Tarantino makes us believe that the magic of 1969 never truly died.

 

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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8 Responses to My Top Ten Films of 2019

  1. Keith says:

    Some strong films for sure. Obviously we agree on several. Beale Street made my list last year. It took me some time to catch it but it was worth the wait. And I missed Under the Silver Lake. Sounds like I should give it a look.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad Beale Street made it on your 2018 list. It came out fairly early in the UK this year and was my number one for the longest time. In many ways, I do think it’s better than Moonlight. I highly recommend Under the Silver Lake. It’s like Inherent Vice but with a vintage Hollywood sheen. In this way, I do think the film makes for an interesting double bill with La La Land. And for my money, it has one of the most original band names I’ve ever heard. I’ll leave you to discover it.

      Have you seen Stan & Ollie?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Keith says:

        I think Beale Street is a MUCH better film than Moonlight, a movie I’ve never cared for. I know it is held in extremely high regard, which kind of baffles me. I feel it falls waaaay off once Ali vanishes.

        And no I haven’t seen Stan and Ollie which is a big regret. It never got a theatrical release here which was frustrating. And as a huge Laurel and Hardy fan, it’s ridiculous that I haven’t seen it yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My biggest problem with Moonlight is that it introduces elements that would make it an interesting piece of socialism realism, i.e Ali’s character being responsible for Chiron’s mother’s drug habit. However, it drops those elements in favour of a social fable, which is fine but disingenuous.

        Beale Street balances being a social fable (via the flashback sequences) and a piece of social realism (with the present day narrative), perfectly.

        That’s a shame about Stan & Ollie. I really hope you can catch up with it and I look forward to your thoughts about it.

        Like

  2. THE IRISHMAN; IT CHAPTER 2; STAN & OLLIE – 6/10

    MARRIAGE STORY; TOY STORY PART 4 – 7/10

    IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK; ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD; US – 8/10

    JOKER – 9/10

    Liked by 1 person

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