2019’s watch list

Top films so far…

  1. 1917
  2. Jojo Rabbit
  3. Dolor y Gloria (Pain and Glory)
  4. The Irishman
  5. Parasite
  6. Us
  7. Midsommar
  8. The Lighthouse
  9. Atlantics
  10. Don’t f**k with cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
  11. Toy Story 4
  12. I lost my body
  13. Joker
  14. Avengers: Endgame
  15. Shadow
  16. Knives Out
  17. Uncut Gems
  18. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
  19. Some Time Later
  20. Booksmart
  21. Glass
  22. The Laundromat
  23. Shazam!
  24. Rocketman
  25. It, Chapter 2
  26. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  27. Klaus
  28. Spider-Man: Far from Home
  29. Everybody Knows
  30. Little Women
  31. Ad Astra
  32. The Lion King
  33. Ready or Not
  34. Das Perfekte Geheimnis
  35. Captain Marvel
  36. Bad Times at the El Royale
  37. Dolemite is my Name
  38. Cats
  39. Yesterday
  40. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot
  41. The Two Popes
  42. The Perfection
  43. How to train your Dragon: The Hidden World
  44. Wokenbruch
  45. Happy Death Day 2 U
  46. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
  47. The Report
  48. See you yesterday
  49. Scary Stories to tell in the Dark
  50. The Great Hack
  51. Eli
  52. I am Mother
  53. Ashfall
  54. Velvet Buzzsaw
  55. In the tall Grass
  56. Once upon a Time in Hollywood
  57. The Dead don’t Die
  58. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  59. Brightburn
  60. Godzilla: King of Monsters
  61. Mamma Mia! Here we go again
  62. The Silence
  63. The Dirt
  64. Unicorn Store
  65. Fractured
  66. Padre no hay más que uno
  67. Io
  68. Rim of the World
  69. 6 Underground
  70. Marriage Story

If I nominated

Best Picture

Dolor y Gloria (Pain and Glory)

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Midsommar

1917

Parasite

Us

Best Director

Pedro Almodóvar, Pain and Glory

Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite

Sam Mendes, 1917

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Best Animated Feature

I lost my body

Klaus

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

The Lion King

Toy Story 4

Best Film not in English Language

Atlantics

I lost my body

Pain and Glory

Parasite

Shadow

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Taron Egerton, Rocketman

George MacKay, 1917

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Best Actress

Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Universal/ILM/Kobal/Shutterstock (10162635c) Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson/Red ‘Us’ Film – 2019 A family’s serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begins to terrorize them.

Penélope Cruz, Everybody Knows

Kaitlyn Dever, Booksmart

Beanie Feldsten, Booksmart

Lupita N’yongo, Us

Florence Pugh, Midsommar

Best Supporting Actor

Sam Rockwell, Jojo Rabbit

Asier Etxeandía, Pain and Glory

Song Kang-Ho, Parasite

Al Pacino, The Irishman

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Best Supporting Actress

Penélope Cruz, Pain and Glory

Jamie Lee Curtis, Knives Out

Julie Hagerty, Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Elizabeth Moss, Us

Best Adapted Screenplay

I lost my body

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Toy Story 4

Best Original Screenplay

1917

Pain and Glory

Parasite

Some Time Later (Tiempo Después)

Us

Best Score

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

1917

Pain and Glory

Us

Best Cinematography

George MacKay as Schofield in 1917, the new epic from Oscar??-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes.

The Lighthouse

Midsommar

1917

Pain and Glory

Shadow

Best Production Design

The Irishman

Joker

1917

Once upon a Time… in Hollywood

Shadow

Best Costume Design

Dolemite is my name

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Rocketman

Shadow

Best Film Editing

Avengers Endgame

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Parasite

Us

Best Sound Editing

Avengers Endgame

1917

Rocketman

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

Toy Story 4

Best Sound Mixing

Avengers Endgame

1917

Rocketman

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

Toy Story 4

Best Visual Effects

Avengers Endgame

The Irishman

The Lion King

1917

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

Best Make up and Hairstyling

Dolemite is my name

The Laundromat

1917

Rocketman

Us

Best

1917 ***** / A+

Jojo Rabbit ***** / A+

Dolor y Gloria ***** / A+

     Almodóvar comes back with his closure to a cinematic trilogy started with “Law of Desire” and continued with “Bad Education”, in which he basically makes a partial autobiography (obviously he shows us what he wants to show, this is a soft version of Almodóvar himself), that is closed by one of the very best shots of his career. This is Almodóvar as a master of cinema, and Banderas is amazing portraying him, even if with a different name. Cruz’s role is small but she gives another great performance, as Julieta Serrano does, playing the same character in her later years. One of the films of the year.

The Irishman ***** / A+

     Just imagine if the 3 Godfather films were comprised into one. Yes, that is The Irishman. A total masterpiece. Awesome cast, specially Pesci, Paquin (in a limited but essential role and performance) and De Niro. Pacino is great, but mostly doing his stuff, Stephen Graham needs vindication.  If this does not win Best Picture, it will be a travesty, most likely.

Parasite ***** / A+

     2019 is an embarrassment of riches. Bong Joon-Ho just delivered a masterpiece of social and political satire, that starts as a comedy and surprises you with every twist and turn. The only minor flaw, the ending.

Us ***** / A+

    Jordan Peele does it again, and even improves the results of the already masterful “Get Out”, with a sharp satire about the American Dream (but that works in whatever culture you may translate it), that blends horror, social commentary and comedy, to perfection. Everyone is excellent, but specially Lupita N’yongo and Elizabeth Moss.

Midsommar ***** / A+

The Lighthouse ***** / A

Atlantics ***** / A

Don’t f**ck with cats: Hunting of an Internet Killer (Netflix) ***** / A

Toy Story 4 **** / A

I lost my body **** / A-

Joker ***** / A-

A bit overrated, but a must see, undoubtfully. Phoenix shows off in a role that allows the actors to create without bounds. He will be probably winning the Oscar, despite Banderas deserving it way more.

Avengers: Endgame ***** / A-

   There’s nothing like this. Probably, comparisons with both The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part II are in order, but no… this is a whole completely different game. While both “Rings” and “Potter” franchises faithfully adapted the book series, the MCU has constructed through inspiration from it s source, something different and built a pay-off that is simply like nothing we’ve ever seen before, at this scale. While Helm’s Deep battle and the battle of Hogwarths, and even the battle from Wakanda in Infinity War were cinematic achievements that automatically landed on film history, what we see in Endgame is the same, but pumped up to 11. Not only achieves juggling with an even bigger cast but also redefines the whole MCU and opens the door to cinematic uncharted territory in Phase 4 (and yes, subtlely opened the door for mutants, Deadpool and Fantastic Four to join… and technically, even transform into canon, all Fox films that have been already done… I won’t spoil, how). Color me amazed. And yes, it is Best Picture worthy.

Shadow ***** / A-

.    Zhang Yimou’s latest, it is aesthetically on par with his total Masterpiece (Hero), and the film is fascinating from beginning to end. I found it lacking a better pacing, though, but otherwise would be an instant masterpiece. Odd how this one went unnoticed. Maybe some fatigue of all these wire-fights martial arts sequences?

Knives Out ***** / A-

Clue mixed up with Death on the Nile. Fantastic ensemble, glorious twists and turns, but in the end, just a entertaining (hugely) film without real substance beneath the surface.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ***** / A-

Almost on par with the first one, and an exemplary sequel / continuation on the original. “Catchy Song” deserves an Oscar nomination (maybe win?)

Tiempo Después (Some Time Later) **** 1/2 / B+

     Spiritual sequel – and closing of a trilogy started by “Amanece que no es poco” and followed by “Así en el cielo, como en la Tierra”, master José Luis Cuerda juggles with symbolism to portray a magnificent and surreal and depressive critique on Spain’s zeitgeist. It’s like Mike Judge’s “Idiocracy” but with more intelectual charm, and with some pacing problems that prevent it, from being a masterpiece. Earns a lot with repeated viewings, I don’t discard that it may end higher on my year’s end list.

Booksmart

Glass **** 1/2 / B+

The Laundromat **** 1/2 / B+

Shazam **** 1/2 / B+

Rocketman **** / B

It, Chapter 2 **** / B

Uncut Gems **** / B

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker **** / B

Klaus **** / B

Spider-Man: Far from Home **** / B

    So, again, Marvel does it again… a hugely, massively entertaining flick that closes Phase 3 and the first 10 years of the MCU. Everybody is charming and Jake Gyllenhaal is a great addition to the franchise… the post credits scenes, specially the middle one, priceless… and the last one gives a hint of where the MCU phase IV seems to be aiming, which is quite exciting. Extremely recommended, even if nothing groundbreaking. Oh, yes, and Marvel acknowledges which is probably the finest casting of a Marvel character ever… to say more, is to give away a huge spoiler and ruin one of the best surprises, the film has in storage.

Everybody Knows **** / B

.   Superb acting all around, specially Cruz, and gripping story, partially a whodunnit, that somehow, doesn’t really hold together as it should. But maybe, that was the point, all along.

Little Women **** / B

Ad Astra **** / B

The Lion King **** / B

Ready or Not **** / B

Das Perfekte Geheimnis **** / B

The German version of Perfecti Sconutti (already 10 versions and counting) is perfectly acted and well shot and edited. Still, I can’t really recommend it to anyone that already saw any of the other versions, save from the ending, which has been changed, probably for the better, even if it did not convince me.

Captain Marvel **** / B

A good, if somewhat “middle of the road” MCU entry, with a couple of exciting twists on the original Marvel mythos (some fans may be upset!) and a cat that steals the show.

Bad Times at the El Royale **** / B-

Dolemite is my name *** 1/2 / C+

A personal project of Eddie Murphy,  made possible by Netflix, reveals itself as mostly an Oscar vehicle that overall, is like the lesser and less artistically or intelectually ambitious version of Ed Wood and The Disaster Artist. I was never fully entertained, nor impressed by Murphy’s portrayal, to be honest. I can see why people love it, I can’t see why people think it is an important, award-worthy film (beyond costumes, that department is amazing)

Cats *** 1/2 / C+

Yesterday *** 1/2 / C+

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot *** 1/2 / C+

The Two Popes (Netflix) *** 1/2 / C+

The Perfection *** 1/2 / C+ – Netflix

Slightly flawed in execution, but performances and writting – full of twists and turns, and a full allegory of the #MeToo movement – elevate this one over the usual Netflix-produced fare. Recommended.

How to train your Dragon: The Hidden World *** 1/2 / C+

Wolkenbruch *** 1/2 / C+

Cute comedy about a young orthodox jewish man, pressured by his mother to marry a jewish girl. And what a mother. Fun, harmless, kind of predictable. Switzerland’s submission to Oscar 2019, on paper, pales with the competition. Still, kind of recommended for a harmless fun film for a bored afternoon.

Happy Death Day 2U *** 1/2 / C+

     One of the few cases in which the sequel continues and expands the original in an interesting new direction. More comedy than horror this time, as the original, a hugely rewatchable and entertaining horror comedy (and whodunnit).

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile *** 1/2 / C+

The Report

See you Yesterday

Scary Stories to tell in the Dark

The Great Hack *** / C Netflix

Fascinating documentary about Cambridge Analytics and how it has influenced two of the key events in recent years, Brexit and Trump’s victory. Still, it never addresses, this is just an iteration of the mass manipulation, corporations and governments have always been doing. Unsurprising, given that thid doc is produced by a media corporation.

Eli *** / C – Netflix

I am Mother *** / C – Netflix

Velvet Buzzsaw *** / C  – Netflix     

After “Nightcrawler”, hopes for what Dan Gilroy would do next, were high… regretfully, despite Netflix’s artistical freedom to shoot, Gilroy delivered a predictable, horror satire about the world of art, that at core is mostly puerile and by the numbers, playing too much the main characters as caricatures, which leads the audience to disconnect with them. Flawed, if somewhat interesting and with an stellar cast.

In the Tall Grass *** / C-

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ** 1/2 / D +

Tarantino is at worst, when he is fully aware of the genius he is. This is another case in which he manipulates critics and audiences to believe he is making a “heartfelt tribute” to the Old Hollywood, and the way films were done back then. But no, this does not resist any analysis, this is QT showing off his more NRA side, a film that is completely mysoginistic, women are objects of desire, or manipulated, there is only one female character in the whole film that is defined as an independent, professional woman, with a real opinion of her own, and that is not a villain (Julia Butters’ child actress character) but is there as a plot device to make a juxtaposition with Leo’s fading star. Brad Pitt winning an Oscar for this performance is like the icing of the cake for anyone calling this, the overrated film of the year. Even QT’s tempo is mainly lost (something that also affected the also overlong The Hateful Eight, his unconfessed reimagination of John Carpenter’s The Thing) and the film becomes boring at several parts… the less we say about the celebration of viciously killing the Manson family members at the end (but leaving Charles Manson, the responsible, completely unscratched by the film) is completely unsatisfactory and a sign of the extreme, dangerous message of this film… note how Rick Dalton kills off the last member, when she was completely knocked out, unarmed, and powerless, and without being really aware of any fact around her – he is unaware she tried to kill anyone – than she was a trespasser.

The Silence ** 1/2 / D+ – Netflix

    Sometimes it feels like a crossover between “Pitch Black”, “A Quiet Place” and “Bird Box”… and it’s only better than the last one of them. Still, not boring and not too stupid (beyond the unreasonable amount of electricity and internet network, working after the apocalypse). Stanley Tucci and the rest of the cast are solid, but this isn’t neither John Krasinski’s masterful tension, neither David Twohy’s tale of redemption and survival.

The Dirt ** 1/2 / D+ – Netflix

Certainly, no “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “The Dirt” follows the shennanigans of Mötley Crüe, full of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, with, dare I to say?, some underwhelming style. Not my fave band, exactly, and not the best of the music biopics out there. I wasn’t specially bored, though.

The Dead don’t Die ** / D

Oh, did I wanted this film to be any good… the cast, the director, the concept… I think that Jarmusch is having fun while becoming ultra-meta, and his point overall is to make a film so bad, that the audiences, his loyal audiences, may feel as zombies themselves. More than a film, a performance, always of the brink of genius, and always Jarmusch backs off, maybe scared of making a potential b.o. hit? I repeat, minor changes to the screeplay, and the overall tone of the film, and this would be an instant classic… but you end feeling that, sadly, this is exactly, this result, what Jarmusch always intended: to troll critics and fans alike.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix ** / D

Brightburn ** / D

Godzilla: King of Monsters ** / D

Mamma Mia! Here we go again ** / D

Unicorn Store **  / D – Netflix

    OK, let me get this straight. It is really nice, Netflix is opting specially for original material rather than remakes, reboots and sequels. It’s really nice, Brie Larson is curious about expanding her career beyond acting. It’s extremely nice, she convinced two icons as Samuel L. Jackson and Joan Cusack, to join her. What’s not nice, is that I can’t say the results were specially significant, nor interesting enough, to justify to say I’ll be looking, what Larson will direct next. Too naive, and so many oportunities wasted, in a material that, in other hands, could have been memorable… Tim Burton, Spike Jonze, Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee… could have made wonders with this material.

Fractured ** / D – Netflix

Padre no hay más que uno (Father there is only one) ** / D

Io ** / D   – Netflix

    A mess. It really doesn’t know if it wants to be “The Martian” or “Gravity”, “Solaris” or “Silent Running”, and in the end, it becomes boring and all over the place.

Rim of the World * 1/2 / E – Netflix

    A shameless americanized rehash of “Attack the block”, that goes nowhere close the british original. Shamelessly rips off scenes from other films (the most embarrassing, probably, the kitchen scene from “Jurassic Park”). Avoid.

6 Underground 1/2 * / F

Marriage Story 1/2* / F

If you are unaware that director/writer Noah Baumbach is actually talking about his divorce, you may be fooled into thinking this is a genuine heartfelt drama, but paying close attention to the definition of characters and situations, it comes afloat the mysoginistic nature of the story, in which almost every female character becomes a caricature and Baumbach’s alter ego reluctanctly accept partially the fault of the failure of his marriage, not without having half the cast continuously praise the character as a “genius”, which derails the movie into embarrassing territory. While on surface it is a competent, extremely well acted film, this becomes mostly a masturbatory, self-indulgent, mess when the dust settles, and you are able to double-think what you just saw. MVP – contrary to the general opinion, I know – to me, Julie Hagerty, which I would say makes really human and relatable her character (I could not care for anyone else).