2019 in Film and 2019 Film Review Archives

Best Film:

Alita: Battle Angel (d. Robert Rodriguez USA 2019) – Review

 

Runners Up:

The Lighthouse (d. Robert Eggers Canada/USA 2019) – Review

The Gentlemen (d. Guy Ritchie USA 2019) – Review

Joker (d. Todd Phillips USA/Canada 2019) – Review

Avengers: Endgame (d. Anthony RussoJoe Russo USA 2019) – Review

 

2019 in Film

 

Introduction

2019 was a significant year for film. It was always going to be. If, for nothing else, for a rather strange and very rare film event. Many film franchises may continue into trilogies or six film sagas but they rarely reach a climax of 20 films. Nor do they climax a 9 film saga, one that has been seemingly resurrected twice before. Marvel has become the height of the super hero film craze in film and Marvel‘s Avengers: Endgame is the direct continuation of Avengers: Infinity War but has superheroes spanning across all of the films, a whopping 46 characters or more. Taking ensemble films to new heights. But more importantly, Avengers: Endgame has become the most anticipated film in an amazing amount of time – 10 years.

 

The other side of this coin is Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. Strangely the opposite, 43 years in the making but only 9 films. However, Star Wars is a similarly huge franchise, with fanatics in admiration of each trilogy but the most recent… has its own controversies. It is Disney‘s take over of the universe and attempt to show that they can make Star Wars films. In short, they can, but poor carbon copies. Both films show how film franchises are ever so important right now.

 

The Continuations

Whilst this can also be seen in the many other sequels, remakes and adaptations. Terminator: Dark Fate, Jumanji The Next Level, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Zombieland: Double Tap, IT Chapter Two, The Lion King, Aladdin, Dumbo, Toy Story 4, Child’s Play, Dark PhoenixDetective Pikachu, Hellboy, Pet Semetary, What Men Want, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. All are doing exactly what the studios are wanting and not really thinking too much about what the audience wants – with some exceptions.

 

Video game films are still on the rise, despite their low popularity. Meanwhile we have some revivals that are largely hit and miss, much like the franchises we’re left wondering why they haven’t died yet. A long after the fact sequel or two, whilst Disney is exploiting nostalgia and demonstrating it has the effects but no idea on how to remake its classics.

 

Special mentions only really go to Child’s Play, which is a surprisingly true to character modernisation of the idea and concept. The second part of IT, much less of an impress for horror remakes. Video game films are worth a shout out as being films with a trouble of finding their feet but having some merit none-the-less. Whilst Godzilla: King of the Monsters is worth mentioning for it is a true passion project and tribute to the incredible 30 film franchise that came before this American series of the kaiju: gojira. It still struggles with its characters but, at least, improves on past iterations and shows true devotion to its source material.

 

Originality in Horror

Despite this rather unfortunate wave of cinema, there is a light shining out from beneath this smothering sea – a strangely dark light. In recent years, horror films have begun to make more and more of an impact in original tales. This year sawAri Aster and Jordan Peele return with Midsommar and Us, they are mixed films, but they are of note as being memorable and with a personality.

 

Not to overlook efforts like Crawl, The Dead Don’t Die and The Lighthouse although films like Brightburn and Ready or Not also throw their efforts in to say it’s not all amazing. Crawl is an example of a film done well and I fear will become largely forgotten, whilst The Dead Don’t Die is one of the more original and stranger films to come about. But, being our best horror, is the authentic reality and atmosphere mastered in The Lighthouse. These films might take a little longer than Midsommar or Us to find their popularity, but they make a wild cry for the original horrors.

 

It is fantastic to see that original films are coming out and finding their audiences again. The dark tone of these films, and even the more adult orientated comedies of Good Boys and the super hero (or villain) film Joker, all demonstrate our widespread anger or fear. It is no mistake that Joker reflects a society of rebellion. Nor is it that The Lighthouse feels so claustrophobic as characters turn on each other. Now more than ever are we seeing society getting more enraged with its surroundings. But fortunately we’re getting more intelligent cinema. 1917 looks to technically efficiency. Tarantino challenges us with this fantasy of changing realities in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. All the while, both are showing a return to a nostalgic era.

 

Conclusion

Despite the day of the franchise and of the super hero; and the ever present darkness within cinema today, I shout out to cinema done really well. Alita: Battle Angel isn’t the first film on many people’s minds and was missing from the Oscars, but it is incredibly well told and with the kind of strong characters people were hoping from the Marvel or Star Wars film franchises. The Gentlemen was also really well told but didn’t quite make the same excitement as Alita: Battle Angel nor as memorable characters. 2019 was a good year for film though and it was hard to name one and not all: Avengers: Endgame, Joker, The Lighthouse and The Gentlemen in addition to Alita: Battle Angel.

 

 

Further Reading

2019 Gross

 

Archived Reviews

The Gentlemen: ‘Fun Times with Ritchie’

The Lighthouse: ‘In the Shaft of Madness’

1917: ‘War in One Take’

Spies in Disguise: ‘Spy Spoofs and Pigeons’

Jojo Rabbit: ‘Nazi Youth and the Joke’

Jumanji The Next Level: ‘Missed Opportunities, Milking Franchises’

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker: ‘Star Wars Dies’

Knives Out: ‘The Resurgence of the Whoddunnit?’

Blood Machines: ‘The Synthwave Given Flesh’

Terminator: Dark Fate: ‘Let it Die’

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil: ‘Maleficent’s Expanded Universe’

Zombieland: Double Tap: ‘Back in the World of Characters’

Gemini Man: ‘Exploring De-aging CGI and Old Ideas’

Joker: ‘An Origin Story’

Ready or Not: ‘Passion Projects and Misfires’

Hustlers: ‘Wolf Street Heists with a Feminine Touch’

IT Chapter Two: ‘The Long Haul’

Crawl: ‘New Horrors: Creature Features’

Good Boys: ‘The Adult Child’s Comedy’

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood: ‘Tarantino’s History’

The Lion King: ‘Disney’s Beloved Redone’

Annabelle Comes Home: ‘A Jump Scare of a Film’

The Dead Don’t Die: ‘And the Awkward Movie’

Midsommar: ‘Beneath the Folk Horror’

Toy Story 4: ‘The Modern Toys’

Spider-Man: Far From Home: ‘And Peter Parker Steals the Show’

Child’s Play: ‘Updating Toys’

Brightburn: ‘A Super Hero Horror’

Late Night: ‘A Pebble in the Landslide’

Dark Phoenix: ‘The X-Men Female’

Godzilla: King of the Monsters: ‘Getting it Right?’

Detective Pikachu: ‘The Ryan Reynolds Take’

Aladdin: ‘Disney Blues’

Long Shot: ‘Modern Rom-Coms’

Avengers: Endgame: ‘The Cinematic Universe Climaxes’

Shazam!: ‘DC’s Family Film’

Hellboy: ‘Bringing Back the Dead Red Boy’

Pet Semetary: ‘We’re Looking at Remakes’

Us: ‘A Horror without Horror’

Dumbo: ‘Burton Ruins Disney Again’

What Men Want: ‘…a better film’

Captain Marvel: ‘Her Marvel’

Fighting with My Family: ‘Get in the Ring!’

Happy Death Day 2U: ‘A Step Back in Horror Filmmaking’

Alita: Battle Angel: ‘The Heart of a Good Heroine’

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: ‘The End of the Dragons’

Glass: ‘Grounded Super Heroes’

 

Timeline
2020 2018

 



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