Top 10 Best Movies of 2019

The year of 2020 is now in full swing and, with the year of 2019 completed, it’s time to exam the “best” and “worst” movies that of that year. Indeed, there was a lot of movie releases seeing in 2019. In total, I’ve personally seeing (and reviewed) over 98 movies in 2019 (93 of them where released in 2019); some were very recognizable, while others were “sleepers” that flew underneath the mainstream radar. There were also a lot of movies that made big money at the box office in 2019 as well as some that gained critical praise from both critics and moviegoers.

I’ve already posted my list for my Top 10 Worst Movies of 2019 and now I’m ready to share with my list for what were the best movies of the 2019 year. These films, whether met high expectations, creativity imaginative, or just simply really good, were my personal best choice of the movies I saw throughout the course of the 2019. But before I begin with number 10, take a look at some honorable runner-ups that almost made it on my top ten best movies of 2019.

Runner Ups


(Click on the pictures for full review)

DARK WATERS

“The Truth Behind the “Forever Chemical” Exposed”

 

KNIVES OUT

“Everyone Has a Motive. No One Has a Clue”

 

THE FAREWELL

“Based on an Actual Lie”

 

DEADWOOD: THE MOVIE

“Welcome the F**k Back!”

 

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM

“Tick Tock, Mr. Wick”

And now…my Top Ten!!!


10: Booksmart

Rating: 4.3 Out of 5

Review: Booksmart

Throughout the years, the usage of the high school “coming of age” comedy / drama movie presentation is something that has been universal, speaking to the newest and latest adolescent / young adults’ viewers within its cinematic undertaking. 2019 saw the release of the film Booksmart, which was directed by actress Olivia Wilde and took the classic “coming of age” yarn and weaving familiar tones and characters into its tale that’s bolstered with hilarious comedy jokes and gags and poignant dramatic beats. Of course, these familiar aspects and commonplace clichés do hold the film back from being truly create (especially when the movie is compared to 2007’s Superbad), but Booksmart definitely finds its rhythm and ultimately lands on solid cinematic terrain…thanks to Wilde’s directing, a fun and hilarious premise, and strong representation of its main leads (thanks to Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein). While the storytelling structure of narrative of high school teenagers hasn’t really changed much, Booksmart finds its tale within a contemporary audience as well as standing true to the ageless cinematic nuances of adolescent teenagers; creating a wholesome and entertaining movie viewing experience.

9: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Rating: 4.3 Out of 5

Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

The story of Fred Rogers and his personal crusade of bringing kindness to the world has already been documented in the well-received documentary film Won’t You Be My Neighbor. 2019 saw a cinematic adaptation of Fred Roger’s profound mind and his generosity towards others in the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which was inspired by the 1998 Esquire article “Can You Say….Hero?”. The film takes a vivid and famed real-life persona of Fred Rogers and cast the imagery into a richly develop story of anger and forgiveness; projecting the makings of a person and the power he / she must endure to find their own personal happiness within themselves. While some areas are a bit predicable, the movie itself is beautiful and offers up plenty of goodness and sincerity, especially thanks to Heller’s direction, the rich script / story, and a solid cast of talents featured (most notably Hanks). Collectively, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is sweet and touching feature that speaks volumes within its wholesome tale and a sincere gesture of cinematic goodwill in tribute to Fred Roger’s endearing legacy of kindness and love.

8: Downton Abbey

Rating: 4.4 Out of 5

Review: Downton Abbey

Julian Fellowes’s Downton Abbey was definitely a crowd pleaser TV series; showcasing the lives of the Crawley family, an aristocratic British family, as well as the “downstairs” lives of their servants and maids, for some compelling character driven drama. In 2019, four years after the series ended, the special engagement to return to the “big house” and get reacquainted with the Crawley Family as they (and their staff) prepare for a royal visit in the movie Downton Abbey. The film finds its grace and grandeur within its polished production and presentations (production, set-decorations, costumes, cinematography, and score) as well as in Engler’s direction, Fellowes’s script, and its sprawling cast of acting talents; providing a motion picture endeavor that works as a perfect companion to the show. While the idea of a possible sequel leaves the door open for more cinematic endeavors within the Crawley Family’s lives is there, it still remains a mystery if one would materialize in the near future. To me, I welcome the idea. Even if it doesn’t, 2019’s Downton Abbey is prime example of how to do a feature film continuation from a popular TV series; producing a lavishing cinematic experience on the finest level. What can I say….I’m a sucker for costume period pieces.

7: Klaus

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5

Review: Klaus

It’s also a customary storytelling trend to release a feature film around the holiday season that utilizes the Christmas spirit as a part of the film’s narrative. 2019 saw several of these endeavors from Last Christmas, Black Christmas, The Knight Before Christmas, and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby. In amongst those releases, Netflix released their first animated motion picture, with the film of Klaus, which explores origins behind the legend of Santa Claus. Despite the film being slightly predictable, the rest of the film has plenty to like about, especially from Pablo’s direction (making his directorial debut with the cartoon movie), its animation, voice cast, and heartwarming story. The story was cute, the animation was incredible, the characters were endearing, and the voice talents were superb. It was definitely a genuine surprise for me and it really shows that something quite “magically entertaining” from a non-big animation powerhouse studio. In the end, Klaus is a pure magical holiday spirit as its best, a modern classic, and a true Christmas 2D miracle for animations endeavors.

6: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden

World

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5

Review: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Hiccup and Toothless….the friendship of a lifetime…. the true heart (and success) of DreamWorks’s How to Train Your Dragon movies, with 2019 releasing the epic conclusion to this animated franchise in the animated feature How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. While there a few minor “hiccups” (no pun intended) in the narrative department, the positives definitely outweigh any negative criticisms; resulting in The Hidden World ending the franchise on a strong and deeply satisfying note, especially thanks to DeBlois’s direction for the film, a compelling core narrative, visually impressive technical presentation, and a solid (and charismatic) vocal talents across the board. I felt that it was (as a whole) quite a satisfying and highly entertaining animated feature that deliver on being humorous, dramatic, endearing, stunning, and just downright majestically fun for an animated feature. Definitely a perfect way to end the franchise on. It’s definitely a bittersweet moment, but DreamWorks’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a perfect example of how studios should end endeavor in creating an animated sequel feature, masterfully ending the tale of a boy and his dragon on deeply satisfying and emotional epic farewell adventure.

5: Little Women

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5

Review: Little Women

Louisa Mary Alcott’s classic novel seems to ripe for cinematic storytelling, with several adaptations (in various media mediums and projects) have been previously done before in bringing story of the four March sisters (and their own personal journeys) of growing up into the spotlight. 2019 brought forth director Greta Gerwig’s interpretation of Alcott’s beloved tale to the silver screen, with the release of Little Women; a film that’s equally captures the heart of Alcott’s novel as well as bringing a genuine sweet narrative of the lives of four sisters as they grow up and follow their passions. While the movie does stumble slightly in juggling the story’s two distinct time periods, majority of the film is entertaining success, with Gerwig’s spin on the project that ultimately work with her direction and screenplay as well as the visual appeal, coming of age nuances, and a solid and strong ensemble cast involved, especially Ronan, Pugh, and Chalamet. All in all, whether you’re familiar with the story of March sisters or not, Gerwig’s Little Women is wonderfully motion picture triumph that truly does capture the essence of a “coming of age” narrative as well as proving a profound point of breathing new life in a Hollywood remake…in a good and celebrated way.

4: Joker

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5

Review: Joker

The character of the Joker has always been the classic archnemesis to Batman; a sort of “yin and yang” of the pairing, with many different acting talents portraying the “Clown Prince of Gotham” with slightly different variations to the infamous DC comics baddie. 2019’s Joker was definitely an interesting take on the classic Batman villain; centering the character of Arthur Fleck (i.e the Joker) in an origin tale of sorts; grounding the feature in realism of today’s society of social division and of mental illness. Despite a few minor problems (including a “shoehorn” aspects of the Batman mythos), the film finds success within its grounded narrative, especially thanks to Philips’s direction, a gritty / grim cityscape of Gotham, an informative mirror reflection of society commentary messages, an updated “real world” tale of the Joker’s origins, and a solid cast, with a masterful performance from Phoenix. Whether the movie garnished your praise or polarized your opinions, there’s no doubt that Joker left its mark on the Batman lore; creating a spin-off origin tale to the “Clown Prince of Gotham” and delivers praise within its lead character performance as well as updating the comic book material for an intriguing / entertaining character of study of mental illness and society that’s wrapped in a superhero guise.

3: Ford vs Ferrari

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5

Review: Ford v Ferrari

Over the years, director James Mangold has done the “director’s round robin” in the Hollywood circulate of filmmaking. While he hasn’t exactly been “Pidgeon hold” to a particular style of genre, Mangold has certainly proven himself to be a very versatile director with several of his feature productions; dabbling in a variety of cinematic genre realms. In 2019, Mangold venture into the sports genre arena of race cars with the release of Ford v Ferrari, with the movie capturing the competitive drive between the two giants of the car industry battle and mixes the story with its underlining commentary of a classic “David vs. Goliath” as well as a technical jargon / heart pounding adrenaline rush of race car (and their drivers). The end result is a feature that finds a cinematic groove thanks to the Mangold’s direction, the intriguing story, the film’s score, the entire third act race sequence, the superb acting talents (most notable in Matt Damon and Christian Bale), and the true emotion of racing, winning, and corporate competition. All in all, Ford v Ferrari stands a solid piece of filmmaking from Mangold’s collection (as a definite crowd pleaser) as well as one of the finest additions to the recent sport genre of movie storytelling.

2: 1917

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5

Review: 1917

In 2018, director Christopher Nolan released Dunkirk, a visual WWII thriller that became a cinematic experience of interweaving three different timeline stories together for one cohesive narrative on the evacuation of the stranded soldiers at Dunkirk. The movie was received with the great acclaim, with many praising the presentation of the journey that the movie undertakes. In 2019, director Sam Mendes took a similar tone for his next project; venturing back further into the WWI past with the movie 1917. The film takes the simplistic mission narrative and transforms it into a cinematic indulgence of epic wartime thrills, producing a feature that feels grand and beautiful, but also personal and feverishly hellish at the same time. As such, a great majority of 1917 is an incredible viewing experience, especially thanks to Mendes’s direction, a sharp (and ingenious) cinematography, a solid music score, a great production quality, and a talented group of individuals (mostly in MacKay and Chapman). The sheer technical filmmaking direction and cinematography of the film alone was definitely a pure delight for me and definitely loved the movie from start to finish. While Hollywood will continue to produce theatrical wartime features, 1917 stands as a memorable triumph of a cinematic endeavor; showcasing unique storytelling presentation through a dangerous and gruesome time period / setting that encompasses an incredible journey of two soldiers and the unbridled determination of humanity’s perseverance through such trying times.

1: Avengers: Endgame

Rating: 4.9 out of 5

Review: Avengers: Endgame

So…. what could beat out Tom Hanks playing Fred Rogers, a unique / updated origin-focused narrative of Batman’s arch nemesis, Netflix’s first original animated film, an epic conclusion of friendship between a boy and his dragon, and an immersive WWI cinematic experience. Well….I think its an easy answer for me in two words…. Avengers: Endgame.

Set as the second part to 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and acts as a epic conclusion to the overarching narrative of the MCU (thus far), which is dubbed as “The Infinity Saga”, this blockbuster superhero feature sees the MCU’s grand tapestry of heroes, gods, and monsters come to a dramatic and climatic point that definitely was worth the hype. There’s a whole lotta movie to watch within Endgame and Russo certainly unpack a lot within its lengthy runtime, capturing the franchise’s some of the best moments of humor, heart, and compelling storytelling as well as some of the absolute best “fan service” moments in any franchise blockbuster series.

As you guys can imagine, I absolutely (and unequivocally) loved this movie. It was everything I was expecting from this movie and so much more. I laughed hard, cheered harder, was in awe of its spectacle, heart warmed with its compelling narrative, loved the well-established characters (and the talented actors and actresses), and even shed a few tears when it was over. I mean the whole “portal” scene brought tears to his eyes (quite literally). I was definitely amazed by the film’s journey and thoroughly enjoyed the movie immensely from start to finish.

While Marvel Studios will most likely continue onward with the MCU, propelling the next generation of Marvel characters forward (in some shape or form), no one can ever deny that this particular movie signifies the end of an era…in both the Infinity Saga storyline and to the cinematic adventure that we (as viewers) have experienced throughout its 11-year journey. To that end, Avengers: Endgame stands as a crowing hallmark achievement in superhero blockbuster entertainment, a shining beacon to the franchise and already cemented celebrated legacy within the pantheon of movie history.

“Part of the journey is the end” is what Robert Downey Jr.’s character Tony Stark says in the movie and Avengers: Endgame is truly a hallmark blockbuster to an extreme enjoyable cinematic universe. Aa movie critic, as a film lover, as a fan of Marvel, and as a person who looks to these theatrical presentations as means for escapism…. Thank you! It was for this reason why I have placed Avengers: Endgame as my personal favorite (best) movie of 2019.

 

And so that’s my top ten “best” movies of 2019. There were some movies that I didn’t get to see, so (naturally) I can’t critique them and pass my movie critic judgement on them, which is why they might not be on my list. So, what do you guys think? What were your “best” movies of 2019?

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