I saw quite a few movies this last year and almost a third of them would get a strong recommendation from me. Although there were some mundane films on my list (a top 10 is coming soon to a blog near you), even films without enough to recommend them to everyone might have something that is worth sharing. Be careful, there are mild spoilers along the way.
Night Time Running a Century Ago
We can start with something from the best films however. This is a clip from “1917” that illustrates why Roger Deakins will probably win his second Academy Award this year. The light and shadows in this chase scene are perfectly captured and you can still tell what is going on in the scene. The gunfire flare is shown in the dark as the ricochets bounce through the light. Great composition and fantastic lighting.
Embracing the Void
I had mixed feelings about “Joker” but there is nothing wrong with the Joaquin Phoenix performance. I have heard some complain about the use of “Rock and Roll Pt.2” in this scene, primarily because of the issues surrounding the original artist. Try to ignore that and hear the music in your head as Arthur Fleck must have. Having given in to his murderous rage, Joker feels joyfully empowered and is living in the moment. Phoenix energizes the dance with that emotion and you can see the power flow into a dark purpose toward the end.
Gorey Violent Death Well Played
One of my favorite films this year that did not make my top ten was the terrific creature feature “<a
href=”http://kirkhamclass.blogspot.com/2019/07/crawl.html”>Crawl”. Basically it is an alligators gone wild movie, but it is well told and has a lot of fun but gruesome scenes like the one below. The first ten seconds or so should give you the idea.
A Dream within a Dream, If Only
The Beatles inspired “Yesterday” was charming in a number of ways, but the most emotional kicker for me was the scene that plays out one of the consequences of the alternate history timeline our hero finds himself in. Spoiler Alert!!!
Rule of Thumb, if there is a Dog in the Story, there is a Reason
John Wick 3: Parabellum was a lot of fun and does exactly what you want it to do. This is a violent action picture with a ridiculous premise and an outrageous number of deaths. That said, Halle Berry almost steals the show in the segment she is in, but her four legged costars steal the scenes from her. Here is a collection of dog material that will satisfy the animal lover in you.
In a Film Filled with Fan Service, This Paid Off for Me
In an incredibly long and complicated conclusion to the Avenger’s story, a battle between all the MCU heroes and Thanos takes place at the climax, and we see what we always knew was true,
Captain America is worthy…
Sudden Self Awareness Hurts, and Amuses at the Same Time
Here is one that comes from a movie that did virtually no business. Five years ago, Seth Rogan was “it”, but that form of humor seems to have passed with the times. I still found this turn in the film very funny and so damn true. From “Long Shot“,a reveal that is NSFW.
Most of Our Communication is Non-Verbal
One of the criticisms of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” was that Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate had so few lines of dialogue. This is the sort of thinking that we might have mocked if we were hearing about some star counting up the number of words in the script and comparing them to other actors on the shoot. The power of the performance is not necessarily in the dialogue. Look at these three moments. Sharon Tate was a vivacious young woman, who loved her life and was excited about even small things. She could show that without saying a word. It’s a beautiful performance.
D.C. Remembers what Comics are for
You know what the DC Universe has been missing through all the iterations it has gone through recently? Fun.
That’s right, comic books are supposed to be fun. I have nothing against the profound or surprising but I want a sense of excitement, adventure and enthusiasm to go with my superpoweres. You know who provided that this year? Not the MCU with three films but the DCU, with one that finally gets it right. Let’s joyfully embrace the idea and have some kick ass fun. Shazam! if just damn fun.
Reconciliation with Yourself as Well as Others
The amazing Jessie Buckley gave my favorite performance of the year in a little movie that most of you will need to catch up with. “Wild Rose” is a film about a Scottish girl who wants to be a country singer, and has to learn the hard lessons that the songs she sings are about. The climax of the film features a song that the actress co-wrote and performs herself. Along with the injustice of being ignored by the Academy for her acting, she and her fellow scribes will probably be ignored in the song category here. People who don’t like Country music, usually don’t like the stereotype of that genre. This is the real thing, not a parody.
Those are a few of my favorite moments from the last year of cinema. What do you think? If you have some favorites be sure to share, I’ll check them out, I promise..