Categories
All Movie Reviews Recently Released Film Reviews Yearly Lists

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2020

So, recently I did some research on what movies were coming out in 2020 and was contentedly surprised to find out just how much this year has to offer. Considering that 2019 set the bar for 21st Century years for movies, I had totally forgotten that there are a lot of attracting movies coming out this year. Hence, here are my top 10 most anticipated movies of this decade’s opening year: 

10. No Time to Die 

Release Date: April 8th

Granted, 2015’s Spectre didn’t impress me. To me, that movie kind of admitted that the Daniel Craig saga of the 007 franchise was beginning to die down in intrigue. However, I am a total geek for this series. From From Russia to Love to Casino Royale, there are so many monumental moments in James Bond’s grand, epic story and to hear that No Time to Die could be the definitive quote on quote “ending” (for now) of this individual’s legacy does harness my attention. Plus, the trailer was badass and Cary Joji Fukunaga (the man behind Beasts of No Nation) is directing it. 

9. The Invisible Man (2020)

Release Date: February 28th

I have always been a supporter of Leigh Whannell ever since he and James Wan made the original Saw. Two years ago he directed a fantastic throwback thriller called Upgrade, which ended up on my Top 20 list of 2018. I am also a big supporter of Elisabeth Moss because she’s a phenomenal actress. Hearing that these two are coming together to craft a twisted, darker reimagining of The Invisible Man tale is honestly quite exciting. 

Yellowstone.jpg

8. Those Who Wish Me Dead 

Release Date: October 23rd

Taylor Sheridan is a man of many talents—one part actor, one part writer, and one part director. This man not only wrote Sicario 1 and 2 and Hell or High Water, but he also directed 2017’s acclaimed Wind River. I legitimately would have to be critically insane not to be thrilled for his junior directorial feature-length, Those Who Wish Me Dead

chicago-7-trial.jpg

7. The Trial of Chicago 7 

Release Date: September 25th

Aaron Sorkin is a screenwriting legend to me. His collaboration with David Fincher, also known as The Social Network, featured one of the greatest screenplays ever in my opinion. Later on, Sorkin went on to write Moneyball and Steve Jobs, and more recently he directed a solid biopic about American entrepreneur Molly Bloom. Now, he has a second directorial film coming out that has not only a killer cast but a pretty interesting true story behind it. I doubt that anything could possibly go wrong with this movie; I can’t wait! 

Film Title: Glass

6. Last Night in Soho

Release Date: September 25th

I have a confession to make: I am not the biggest fan of most Edgar Wright movies. For the most part though, I’ve liked all his films but have never really “loved” any of them besides maybe his most recent gift to cinema, Baby Driver. With that being said though, you can’t deny that the director is outstandingly gifted. I am always excited to see a new project by Wright because no matter what, even if I don’t end up falling head over heels with a new project of his, there’s always something creatively worthwhile to get out of anything that the man crafts. He’s clearly someone who appreciates the art of cinema and I hope Last Night in Soho is a stylistic blast like most of his feature-lengths. 

5. Tenet 

Release Date: July 17th

Christopher Nolan is a mainstream filmmaker that I adore. Even if he makes an indifferent movie like Interstellar every once in a while, everything that the dude makes always interests me and at least has some sort of admirable complications to them. Tenet, based off the trailer, intrigues the hell out of me. I have no idea if I’ll like it or not, but like most Christopher Nolan movies, there’s bound to be something mind-boggling about its culmination. Plus, Robert Pattinson is in it. 

2016-01-29-12.41.04-1920x1865-1.jpg

4. The French Dispatch 

Release Date: Unknown

Ah, yes, Wes Anderson. An artist who usually makes the cutest, prettiest, and most hipster-targeted movies of this generation. When it comes to Anderson, I never have major expectations for his stories, but I always have major expectations for his entertainment values. There’s something peculiarly charming about everything that the filmmaker has made yet and I guarantee that there will be many things that are oddly delightful about his newest film, The French Dispatch

kane.jpg

3. Mank

Release Date: Unknown

There’s a new David Fincher movie coming out. Do I really need to explain myself? This time around though, I think I’m more excited for a film of his than ever not only because it’s been more than half a decade since he’s released a feature-length, but because this new movie of his, Mank, is about the creation of Citizen Kane. Thee Orson Welles, Citizen Kane. That’s awesome! I’m utterly dying to see it! 

image-asset.jpg

2. I’m Thinking of Ending Things 

Release Date: Unknown

Good news for Netflix subscribers: I’m Thinking of Ending Things will be available to stream on the platform this year. I have no issue in saying that writer and director Charlie Kaufman is one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time. Most notably, the mastermind is known for writing such hit films as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind but, to me, his greatest achievement in the category of cinema is easily his directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York. Not only, with only two films, has the craftsman proven that he is a brilliant writer, but he has furthermore proven that he is more than capable of directing a masterpiece. About less than a year ago, I actually read the novel that Kaufman’s new movie will be based on and reviewed it. In simple words, I loved it, and there is no fitter director out there to take on the material that that book had to offer than Kaufman himself. I have high hopes for this exceedingly anticipated motion picture. 

Dune.jpg

1. Dune (2020)

Release Date: December 18th

In 1984, legendary director David Lynch made an underwhelmingly received adaptation of the heavily acclaimed novel, Dune. Not until 36 years later did it seem as if the perfect director would come to take a jab at the iconic science fiction tale. From the man behind such triumphs as Incendies, Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, and Blade Runner 2049, comes a motion picture that is almost guaranteed to be an experience of a lifetime. Of course it’s my most anticipated movie of the year! 

 

Categories
All Movie Reviews Full-Fledged Film Reviews Yearly Lists

The Top 25 Movies of the Decade! (2010-2019)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, another decade has flashed by as well as a whole 10 years of movie releases. I won’t waste anymore time. You know exactly what that means…

25. Enemy (2013)

Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy is very dissimilar to anything in the artist’s filmography. It’s very small-scaled, concise, and abstract in its presentation. Villeneuve’s 2013 paragon is about a college professor played by Jake Gyllenhaal who discovers an actor that looks exactly like him. The results that dispute in this eye-catching storyline are potent, unexpected, and ultimately polarizing. But the more and more you think about what happened in Enemy, the more and more you begin to realize that it truly is a cinematic treasure. 

24. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

As of the moment, Moonrise Kingdom is my all-time favorite Wes Anderson film, and probably because I saw it during my adolescence when it first came out. Being the same age as the two main characters in this film gained so much value for me because I harshly related to what our leads were going through at that time. Now, gazing back at the film as an adult, I can furthermore appreciate just how perfectly it encapsulates young love. Moonrise Kingdom is endearing, spirited, and, in all likelihood, my favorite looking Wes Anderson movie as well. 

23. Moonlight (2016)

Sticking on target with movies that involve love and sexual awakenings, here we have Barry Jenkins’ directorial debut, Moonlight. This motion picture journey I would confidently describe as technically flawless. There’s literally nothing in terms of execution, directing, and visual presentation in this film that is anything below marvelous. Moonlight is the quintessential drama about someone growing up in a poor neighborhood and family while simultaneously dealing with a secret that isn’t necessarily accepted in society. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking three-part exploration. 

22. Snowpiercer (2013)

South Korean legend Bong Joon-ho made an American feature-length back in 2013 that was harshly criticized by audiences for its lack of “story-wise” plausibility. The thing is though, Snowpiercer isn’t trying to be quote on quote “realistic.” It’s trying to show you the ugly truth about human nature, which is, that no matter the absurd situation, social-class will always stay relevant. To me, Snowpiercer is a science-fiction cult classic that is brimmed with fantastic set pieces, memorable characters, and some of the coolest shot action sequences I’ve seen all decade. 

21. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Tiimothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer exemplify one of the most realistic human connections that I’ve ever witnessed on screen in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name. This adaptation is a natural, gorgeous progression in showing you two men who are in love during the 80s in Italy. There’s not a whole lot to it than just that, but the charm of the movie is just simply its down-to-earth presentation. Plus, it has one of my favorite endings to a romantic drama ever. Hopefully, the sequel doesn’t ruin it. 

20. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

If there’s any director out there that deserved to make a sequel to Ridley Scott’s science-fiction classic (and one of my favorite movies of all-time) Blade Runner, it had to be Denis Villeneuve. In full boldness, I can say that Blade Runner 2049 is the prettiest-looking movie in this history cinema. Roger Deakins is a god. Storywise, Blade Runner 2049 is also considerably powerful. Simple, yet powerful. This is far and beyond one of the best sequels ever made, purely because it is respectful of its predecessor and legitimately adds something worthwhile and needing to the story of its source material. 

19. Prisoners (2013)

Believe me, you’re going to see a good chunk of Denis Villeneuve films on this list, and that’s just because he’s the very definition of a modern master. Prisoners is one of the best David Fincher films not made by David Fincher. And, clearly, it’s not made by him because, all though, it follows a similar, gritty detective premise like a lot of Fincher movies, its execution and plot plays out a lot differently than a Fincher project. This movie puts you in such a terrifying, disrupting situation that you could hardly even fathom happening to you or your own family—and that’s why it works so well! This movie gets real deep under your skin, especially during its epic climax and haunting final sequence. 

18. Good Time (2017)

Good Time: the most moving (literally) or “always-on-the-run” motion picture ever, one of the most aesthetically pleasing projects in the visual department, and easily the most stressful movie I’ve ever had to sit down and watch. The Safdie Brothers are gems to the new world of stress-urging cinema, and Good Time is about as far-out you can possibly go in replicating the throbbing feelings of hysteria. I wish I could watch Good Time for the first time ever again, as it was an unforgettable experience that I had no clue what I was in for.

17. Django Unchained (2012)

Quentin Tarantino’s seventh feature-length is a twisted, stylized spin on the Spaghetti Western genre. Like most Tarantino major motion pictures, Django Unchained is an orgy of endless amusement that, all though, is often difficult to watch due to its touchy and disturbing subject matter, is the very embodiment of a dynamic take on the fictionalized history adventure/hero flick. The dialogue and performances are miles beyond extraordinary and the film has one of the goriest and most satisfying shootouts in the history of cinema. Yes, please! 

16. Her (2013)

Spike Jonze’s acclaimed Oscar-winning hit is both scary and beautiful. Scary because of its realism and profound insight into our very future with where technology is taking us and beautiful because it manages to make a human and robot (of artificial intelligence) relationship blossom into something that many would describe as true love. It genuinely takes a skillful cast and crew to make such an unorthodox and almost laughable premise function in such a down-to-earth and riveting manner. 

15. A Ghost Story (2017)

A Ghost Story isn’t necessarily a movie that’ll appeal to everyone, yet it’s certainly a movie that’s about all of us. It’s a hypnotic exploration of life and death. It’s almost like the elongated version of what we would most likely urge to see right before we died. Like Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, David Lowery’s A Ghost Story is a compelling take on existentialism: what life really is and what it might be like if life were to cease. It’s so hard to compare the execution of A Ghost Story really to any other movie that’s ever been made. It’s holy original, addicting to look at, and truthfully a movie that I would consider severely overlooked. 

14. The Florida Project (2017)

If there were anything out there that could possibly (be prepared to hear something that will probably sound awkward and strange) make me feel like a child again, it would be The Florida Project: a movie about a group of kids living in an impoverished area. This entire film doesn’t even really feel like a film; it’s like you’re 100% looking in on the everyday life of some families who don’t have necessarily the most wealthy lives. Not only are the child performances in this movie hands-down the greatest child performances to ever be showcased on camera, but the atmosphere of the movie is hands-down one of the most genuine, heartfelt encapsulations of American poverty lifestyle in the existence of fictional storytelling. 

13. Incendies (2010)

“One plus one, does it make one?” is still one of the most effectively used quotes in the history of cinema—and if you don’t know the context of the scene, please don’t search up the scene on YouTube; go watch the whole movie! Overtime, I have grown to consider Incendies to be Denis Villeneuve’s masterpiece. This is rightfully his most f****d up movie of his entire filmography as well as his most relevant feature-length to date. It’s a heart-wrenching magnum opus. 

12. Suspiria (2018)

Well, onto the most underrated horror movie of this entire decade. Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria is a downright serpentine of muddling intentions. It’s not a pretentious flick; it’s a scary flick—like how most horror movies should be. The majority of criticisms I’ve heard about this film are glaring reasons into why I think people have stopped appreciating what makes horror real horror. Is it real horror if the plot makes complete sense or gives you full closure—like what some people seem to want these days more than to be terrified of unblemished execution and editing techniques—or is it a movie that delivers eerie, unnerving confusion, imagery that burns directly into your eyes for all of eternity, and ear-wrecking music. Just saying. 

11. It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012)

Easily the most passionately crafted and emotional of the films on this list, It’s Such a Beautiful Day is an obnoxiously overlooked and underrated animated masterpiece that depressingly showcases life itself. Its narration is creative as hell and unlike anything else. Its themes are well progressed and relatable to nearly every living being on this planet—take your dog to see this one, I guess. Plus, the incredible soundtrack is used in the most constructive way I’ve seen used in an animated motion picture. It still blows my mind that Don Hertzfeldt made this movie with only a couple other people. It’s an artistic feat if I’d ever seen one. 

10. Inherent Vice (2014)

This may sound harsh, but the type of people who hate Inherent Vice are most likely the type of people who know their opinion on a movie the moment the movie ends. No wonder Inherent Vice has received such negative reception by audience members because this is not an easy movie to digest at first glance. Structurally it’s a clusterf*** of intentional dilemmas and the story, in essence, doesn’t really add up in a perfect little circle. But, Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2014 hippie mystery noir is the type of film that only gets better the more you recollect the confusing and utterly unique experience of the poisonous hallucinations that the motion picture took you on. If drugs were a movie, it’d be Inherent Vice: a masterpiece in progressing cinema to new, undiscovered territories. 

9. Burning (2018)

Lee Chang-dong’s Burning has the most unsatisfying satisfying ending in the history of storytelling. This masterclass in slow-burning progression has possibly the evilest finale to accompany a motion picture ever—and I f*****g love it. It took me about a year to realize that this movie is evidently flawless. It also took me a year to realize that The Academy (AKA, the worst movie award show ever since The Golden Raspberry) doesn’t deserve this movie—especially after they decided to not even nominate this masterpiece for best foreign film, furthermore continuing the company’s racist trend of never nominating a South Korean flick in the show’s entire historical runtime. Hopefully, spot #7 will break that trend!

8. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Is it okay for me to say that this is the best action blockbuster ever made? Because it is. Mad Max: Fury Road is the grandest show-off movie of this entire century, meaning that it basically was made to make every other action movie in the world look like garbage. This is a flick of sheer, madcap craziness with practical effects shining left in right, colorful explosions imploding the screens, and a faultless return to the iconic Mad Max series. It’s literally a post-apocalyptic lover’s wet dream. 

7. Parasite (2019)

Now, I’ve already said plenty of things about Bong Joon-ho’s greatest achievement yet, so if you’re curious, I’ll link my full review of it. Otherwise, all you need to know about this movie is that it’s the most fun I’ve had in the theaters ever. Check out my review: CLICK HERE 

6. The Lighthouse (2019)

Yet another movie I’ve already said plenty about. It’s a TRIUMPH! It’s belly-achingly FUNNY! It’s quite HORNY! Check out my review: CLICK HERE 

5. The Lobster (2015)

Arguably the best romantic comedy of this entire century, Yorgo Lanthimos’s The Lobster is the most fitting depiction of dystopian relationships ever—even though people literally transform into animals in this movie. Despite the fact that this entire movie is “lore-wise” absurd and goofy, sprinkled with awkward, clunky dialogue, and kind of meant to just make you laugh or feel extremely uncomfortable, it has so many things to say about modern and future society. The Lobster artistically investigates our desperation for love and our hatred of the taboo. It’s a personal favorite of mine! 

4. The Social Network (2010)

It takes god-like talent to make a boring-ass story about the creation of Facebook into debatably the most interesting drama in living memory. So, it makes sense that both David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin were the leading minds behind The Social Network. There’s not a whole lot to be said about this movie that hasn’t already been preached about by critics. It’s witty, fast-paced, always investing, and constantly wrapped up in exploiting the modern-like rivalries between friends and foes. 

3. Under the Skin (2013)

The best way to describe Under the Skin is to pitch it as if 2001: A Space Odyssey took place primarily on Earth, and I swear to you, it is almost as good as Stanley Kubrick’s classic. It’s easily the most underrated movie of this entire decade; it hurts me that almost nobody talks about it despite its legendarily flawless and groundbreaking quality. If aliens actually came to Earth to try and take us over, this is how I imagine it would happen—in utter, traumatizing and psychologically unimaginable ways. 

2. Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier is a controversial director, sure, and this is most likely going to be a controversial choice. However, give me a chance to explain myself. Depression is something everybody goes through, right? It’s a natural asset of the human persona. Melancholia, as the title may suggest, is about depression, and as pretentious as it may sound, it is the artistic entity of depression. This is the #1 film, to me, that has most accurately depicted the bipolar disorder. Melancholia is a (hopefully soon-to-be) classic that is, on paper, about the end of mankind as we know it, but really, the perfect vetting of our misery. If aliens (yes, I’m using aliens as an example again to describe a movie; shut up) ever came to Earth after we were long gone and wanted to understand us and our symptoms of depression, all they would need to do is pop in a Blu-ray copy of Melancholia, and voila, they will learn! 

1. The Master (2012) 

The Master is the finest made movie of all-time. There I said it. Is it my favorite movie ever? No, second favorite actually—beaten by A Clockwork Orange. But, personally, I genuinely believe that The Master, in terms of filmmaking technicalities, is the most perfect movie ever—even more so than The Godfather, which most people often claim to be cinema’s best-made film. Paul Thomas Anderson’s greatest masterpiece is one that intricately observes manipulation, partnership/love, belief, leadership, purpose, and addiction all in a flawlessly balanced and persuasive manner that hasn’t been executed in such an uncanny fashion in the history of cinema as it has in this movie. Did I also mention that The Master is the best looking, best acted, and best-written film of all-time? Enough said. To the kiddos who say cinema isn’t nearly as good as it is now: s-h-u-t u-p. 

 

Categories
All Movie Reviews Recently Released Film Reviews Yearly Lists

The Top 15 Best Movies of 2019

Can I be frank with you fellas for a second? 2019 has been a GOLD MINE year for cinema. It’s as if the movie gods themselves had wanted to drop every consecutive masterpiece during this very special time in 21st-century history. So, with that in mind, this list was extraordinarily hard to make; it hurt putting this one together. I wish most of the movies on this list could get the #1 spot, but this was a damn well competitive year, so I’ll be a fair gentleman and rank them accordingly. Once again, I have done separate reviews for all of these films so the links for them will be highlighted over the titles of each film. First off, though… 

My Honorable Mentions: Knives Out, Ad Astra, Beach Bum, 1917, Joker, Shazam!, The Farewell, Us, Her Smell, Rocketman, Birds of Passage, They Shall Not Grow Old, The Souvenir, and Pain and Glory

Now, onto the list! 

15. Greener Grass

I feel as if I would be doing the world a disfavor by not having Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebee’s severely overlooked Greener Grass on this list. This movie is just straight-up freakin’ weird. It’s a motion picture that doesn’t try to hide the fact that it’s quirky and absolutely absurd, but rather, fully embraces its uncanny material. Nevertheless, what truly makes Greener Grass a triumph is how it evokes laughs out of its audience. The comedy here is not only holy original but the eccentricness of the movie’s comical material is utilized for a much more consequential meaning. Through one of the most joyful parts of human existence (laughter) DeBoer and Luebee sinisterly strive to make gloomy meanings out of situational comedy. 

14. Cold War

This foreign gem by acclaimed director Paweł Pawlikowski didn’t get a US release until February 2019, so it’s on my list—which I’m not complaining about, FYI. Cold War isn’t necessarily a movie I’d deem super innovative, it’s simply just an exceptionally well-written and well-acted love story that successfully encapsulates its time period. Some of the best, most provocative dialogue of the entire year lies within this film. Cold War is a lovely film to look at, an extremely pleasant movie to listen to—thanks to its spectacular original soundtrack—and a fairly insightful study on intimacy. 

13. The Irishman

In many ways, Martin Scorsese’s return to mafia motion pictures does seem like a retread of familiar grounds, but at the core of the film, the themes of the motion picture feel entirely different from anything the legendary director has touched on. The Irishman is a three-hour documentation on a husband/father who starts to incrementally get caught up in his work and caught up in some of his new colleagues who have almost become like “family” to him. The most daunting part about this state of affairs is that working in such a dangerous field inevitably forces you to make some tough calls that could majorly affect your real family or your best friends. It’s essentially a more psychological modernization of Goodfellas

12. Midsommar (The Director’s Cut) 

The first time I saw Midsommar, I thought it was just “fine.” I had no dire inclination to watch the movie again in theaters. That is until I read some articles that director Ari Aster was pretty much propelled to cut down the movie by studios. A couple months later, A24 decides to limitedly release a 3-hour director’s cut of Midsommar in theaters. Due to these circumstances, I decided to watch this extended version of the polarizing horror/drama feature-length and I ended up pretty much loving it. It’s amazing realizing just how much less than half an hour of footage can improve a film. This superior version of Midsommar to me is a fantastic example of how uncomfortable situations that at first, may appear quite taboo and funny, can really get under your skin when you begin to witness how it affects others. A terrifying break-up movie, indeed! 

11. A Hidden Life

It seems that we’re on a roll with these 3-hour-long movies, huh? Terrence Malick’s newest feature-length A Hidden Life was a beautifully depressing experience, to say the least. Of course, the movie is shot and directed to a god-like level that only Malick can accomplish. But, I also really appreciated what Malick had to say in this story. This is an admirable exploration on how belief is such a chief principle in causing us to make decisions that don’t necessarily seem logical. It’s a very upsetting look into an Austrian farmer during World War II who simply gives up all his lawful rights just so that he can keep his firm beliefs. It’s inspiring yet emotionally draining to witness, and the unforgettable experience that Malick took me on has simply not been able to scram out of my head. 

10. Marriage Story

Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is a great argumentative piece of evidence to show people that marriage and divorce aren’t as cookie-cutter as they appear to be. While this movie did piss me off a lot because you essentially witness just how corrupt the divorce system is, it was also a very moving experience for me and I’m sure a great chunk of people who saw the film. Not only do Adam Driver and the spectacular Scarlett Johansson deliver some of the best performances of this entire year, but they also share together one of the most important stories of the entire year. This is a must-watch for couples who want some forewarning and single folks who want to feel victorious.

9. Uncut Gems

As a gigantic Good Time fan, it can be plainly expected that I had high hopes for the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems. Luckily, my expectations were reached. This is, of course, an exceedingly anxiety-driven thriller like Good Time, but is one that seems to want to focus more on its main character than the rough sensations you get from the situation at hand. This is a marvelous motion picture that constructively exemplifies the cliché father who is too caught up in his work and money than in his actual family. Plus, there’s some crazy filmmaking stuff in it that cinephiles like myself will eat up graciously. 

8. Waves

Can we please make an exclusive Academy Award for Trey Edward Schultz that rewards people who know how to direct and move a camera seamlessly? That’d be so cool. Anyhow, Waves was a hard film to watch and I can completely understand anyone who found the movie to be repulsing. To me though, I found Waves to be endlessly insightful on modern-day adolescence/young adulthood. It showcases some very graphic scenarios and builds off of them productively. It has resolutions that are immorally disgraceful and resolutions that are morally positive and it successfully balances them as a singular, consecutive piece. It’s a momentous movie that I think everybody high-school-age and up should check out. I truly believe that it’s an experience that we all need to understand and recognize for the benefit of ourselves.

7. Under the Silver Lake

I can’t tell you how much I hated the first hour of this movie when I initially saw it. But, I hate to compare a movie to Citizen Kane, but this movie is similar to Citizen Kane in the sense that it’s so adventurously taboo to the filmmaking art that it makes sense why so many people, critics and audiences alike, would initially hate the experience of the movie. By the end of it, I was won over despite almost despising the confusion I gained during the opening act of the movie. Under the Silver Lake is one of those films where you don’t entirely understand what the story presented at hand is, but you do know entirely what it’s trying to say thematically. The whole movie is this unbelievably ridiculous abstraction that’s meant to intel us on the cancerous culture of the entertainment industry. You feel it throughout the movie, and while it hurts to not understand every intricate plot point that is occurring at hand, you feel satisfied in the otherworldly journey of emotions and memories of Hollywood that David Robert Mitchell’s newest film takes you on. Also, it has my favorite scene of the entire year in it. Do yourselves a favor and Google, “the Elite Scheme scene.” 

6. High Life

I never could have imagined that one day I would need a horny science-fiction movie to complete my life. High Life, you’ve disturbingly changed my taste in movies. Legendary director Claire Denis’s newest feature-length is not only one of the best looking space movies I’ve ever laid eyes on, but it’s also one of the most unique movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The execution of this film is super unorthodox and the resolutions of this movie are also extremely unorthodox. This whole movie is one humongous “F-U” to the conventions of typical storytelling. But, there’s clearly a purpose to all the madness, and I ended up getting so much out of High Life especially as I thought more and more about it. In my mind, this movie is going to age superbly and I can only hope that it becomes a cult classic in the near future; it deserves it. 

5. Climax

Gaspar Noé you sick son of a bitch, stop stressing me the hell out! Climax was one and a half hours of just pure horror. I hated it. But that’s why this movie is so incredibly mind-blowing and why Noé continues to be one of my favorite directors working today. Sure, the movie is arguably short on story, but obviously, that’s not what the movie is all about. This is a stressful visual performance that allows its victims (the viewers) to witness a posse of dancers struggle to survive on LSD. From the flawless camera direction to the gut-wrenching performances from all the actresses and actors, Climax is undoubtedly a monumental accomplishment for the thriller genre. Watch it with the whole family!

4. Portrait of a Lady on Fire

I was one of the few—thanks to not seeing the trailer beforehand—people who went into Portrait of a Lady on Fire without knowing that it was a love story. In hindsight, because I watched this movie slowly blossom into a beautifully orchestrated romance with no knowledge of the film at all, it can evidently be said that my experience was unfairly enhanced. However, I don’t care, I still think this movie is absolutely brilliant either way. Imagine if Ingmar Bergman wrote Call Me By Your Name; that’s essentially what Portrait of a Lady on Fire feels like. Who could turn down such a prodigy of combination? Céline Sciamma is certainly going places and I’m dying to see what she does next.

3. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

Tarantino’s ninth feature film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is the type of unadulterated “fun” Hollywood should ironically be striving for. It’s a lightweight movie made exclusively from the ambitions of a filmmaking genius who wanted to play around a little with his devoted audience. It’s the kind of light-hearted, laid-back motion picture that takes you on multiple different journeys through the preexisting times of the Hollywood Renaissance. It’s another Tarantino soon-to-be-classic, indeed. 

2. Parasite

Parasite is genuinely one of the most carefully crafted films ever made. A virtually flawless affair in directing, writing, acting, cinematography, comedy, twists, drama, structure, characters, and themes, this is arguably a 2019 knockout that’s up there with some of the greatest movies of all-time. It’s exciting, it’s traumatizing, it’s shocking, and it’s a movie that nobody on this entire planet is going to forget once they’ve seen it. I can’t imagine a living soul out there that wouldn’t be enthralled from start to finish by Bong Joon-ho’s finest contribution to Korean filmmaking yet.

1. The Lighthouse

While Parasite may be the cinematic technical achievement of the year, when it comes down to it, Robert Egger’s The Lighthouse is this year’s feature-length that I personally bonded with the most. The aesthetically old-fashioned yet utterly original film lends itself to classic horror premises like The Shining where we observe an individual or a couple people slowly drift away from sanity. However, The Lighthouse doesn’t present itself like any of those vintage psychological terror flicks. Despite its obvious influences, this is a dark comedy at its core. The satire blended with the old-folk language makes for an absurdly hilarious adventure of drinking, farting, and violence. You wouldn’t believe the lines that come out of Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe’s characters until you hear them. You couldn’t come up with the type of character actions that Eggers’ pulls out of his odd little complex until you’ve seen them for yourself. This is an endlessly rewatchable genre-blender with some of the best acting, dialogue, and sequences ever put to arthouse film. High-brow creativity never seemed to cease in The Lighthouse. 

So, those are my top 15 movies of 2019. Damn, this year was killer. I don’t know what else to say. If you haven’t already, check out some of the movies on this list. Support these talented filmmakers. This year deserves one big round of applause. 

 

Categories
All Movie Reviews Recently Released Film Reviews Yearly Lists

My Top 10 Least Favorite Movies of 2019

It’s that depressing time of the year again, ladies and gentlemen, where I go over my top 10 least favorite movies of 2019. Disclaimer: I haven’t seen every dreadful act of wickedness this year so if a crappy movie that you absolutely despised didn’t show up on this list, don’t get upset; it’s probably not on here because I didn’t see it. Unless it’s High Life. I saw that movie, and I loved it; I don’t understand why you barbaric people hated it so much! Additionally, I have reviewed each of these movies separately, so if you’re interested in checking those out, the links to each review will be highlighted over the movie titles. Now, let’s get this s***show on the road, shall we? 

10. It Chapter Two

I thoroughly enjoyed Andrés Muschietti’s 2017 remake of It so the concept of making a sequel to the wildly successful horror hit always came as an alarming scheme to me considering that the source material in which the novel is based on has a highly half-baked secondary story revolving around the all-grown-up members of The Losers Club. Regretfully, It Chapter Two ended up being exactly as I expected it to be: drawn-out, moronic, and a complete misuse of such a talented cast. 

9. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

While I did admire the haunting creature designs in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the movie itself left more to be desired. Admittedly, I never grew up on the books as a kid—I was rather a Goosebumps fanatic (sorry, not sorry)—so I may have not bonded with the long-awaited motion picture like some folks did. It merely felt like an amateurishly extended version of an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark—and a tedious one at that. 

8. Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel isn’t necessarily what I’d call a “terrible” movie, but it’s certainly the type of blockbuster that I would gladly categorize under “vanilla-as-HELL.” It’s a forgettable, pointless, and defectively contrived adventure flick that lives at the depths of such duds as Thor: The Dark World or The Incredible Hulk. It’s disappointing to see that the first female superhero movie in the MCU—which, by the way, has taken way too long to happen—ended up being a vast waste of money and time. 

7. Happy Death Day 2U

Happy Death Day 2U is a Blumhouse cash-grab sequel that’s a complete retread of the original Happy Death Day, just without the imaginative wit or drive. This whole movie feels like a PG-13 Disney Channel TV movie—meaning, it has the childish writing, acting, and dialogue of a made-for-television feature but the raunchy blunder of a PG-13 movie. They should’ve never made a sequel; the first Happy Death Day was a solid stand-alone that didn’t need to be tampered with. 

6. Terminator: Dark Fate

We’re officially 4 for 2 in the crappy Terminator movie count. Imagine: a studio wants to erase all their previous mistakes from the official Terminator timeline (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator: Salvation, and Terminator: Genisys) so that they can restart the franchise with a clean slate…and then they just end up making another mistake—except this one, unlike the previous three failures, is a light retread of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The action has never looked more embarrassing, the plot is all too familiar, and the results whimper down to another reason to jot down on the list of why the Terminator movies never should’ve been a massive franchise in the first place. 

5. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Isn’t it just depressing that I’ve now had two Star Wars movies in my top 10 worst of the year lists? First Solo: A Star Wars Story and now The Rise of Skywalker—which by the way, is even worse than Solo. Like, it’s so disappointing that these new Star Wars movies have already reached this level of “bad” and it’s been like only 4 years since Disney released The Force Awakens. It’s such a shame. Anyways, do I really need to explain what is so utterly wrong with this movie? I’m exhausted from watching these Star Wars movies transform into studio orientated blueprints on how to please their obnoxious fanbase rather than ambitious and creative passion-projects. Enough said. 

4. 3 From Hell

I feel so sorry for hardcore Rob Zombie fans. I do shamefully enjoy The Devil’s Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses isn’t that shabby, but by golly is 3 From Hell a dyed-in-the-wool disservice to the series. It’s a movie that has absolutely no geography or sense of idea on what it wants to be or where it wants its gratuitous story to go. It’s one of those movies that thinks it’s so meta for parodying its source material, but just ends up comically backfiring on itself. If I had to choose between going to Hell or watching this movie again, well, let’s just say, it’d be a tough decision. 

3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Gareth Edward’s Godzilla is a good movie. There, I said it. Did you see Godzilla for more than 15% of the movie? No. Was there at least an authoritative sense of scale and intensity to that motion picture? Absolutely! What does Godzilla: King of Monsters have? Unbearable characters, shaky-cam/close-up CGI action sequences, and an unhealthy amount of fan service. Sure, mindless diehards got to see their favorite monster fight on the big screen, but at the cost of what? Getting a movie that inserts so much unqualified blockbuster nonsense that eventually gets real old real fast and even makes the greatest creature known to cinema seem repetitive and tiresome? Not worth it, in my humble opinion. 

2. X-Men: Dark Phoenix 

Sigh. Now, even though this movie is indisputably an atrocious superhero flick beyond disbelief, I wouldn’t say that I hated it. In fact, I, sinisterly, had fun watching just how horribly awful this franchise has become. In hindsight, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Logan, in a lot of ways, set the bar for how fantastic superhero movies can be. But, watching such a solid revamp of a franchise just coward back to the flaws of its original series but at such a miserable level that hadn’t yet been discovered was hilariously enjoyable to witness. Dark Phoenix may be an inexcusably convoluted film, but it’s an unintentionally hilarious one. Do yourselves a favor: watch it with the biggest group of friends you can gather up. Alcohol may be needed. 

1. The Lion King

So here it is, fellas. My least favorite movie of 2019: the quote on quote, “live-action” Lion King remake. Not only does this movie happen to be the most despicable feature-length that this year has had to offer, but it’s taken a more special spot in my life as of the moment: it’s officially my least favorite movie of ALL-TIME. Yep, I am not exaggerating. Let’s take a glance at some of the classic choices that people would often choose as some of the “worst” movies ever made: Tommy Wiseau’s The Room and Amir Shervan’s Samurai Cop. Terrible, terrible movies. But, if you haven’t noticed already, these movies feature something that The Lion King simply does not possess: passion-driven ambition. The Lion King shouldn’t even count as a movie; it’s a greedy corporate product that managed to get millions of people to pay money and watch the same exact movie that they’ve already seen—minus the heart, minus the creative animation, and minus the charm. This is “legal plagiarism” if I’d ever seen it. I HATE JON FAVERAU’S THE LION KING SO MUCH. SO MUCH! IT MAKES ME GET SO AGGRAVATED JUST THINKING ABOUT IT! 

Deep breathes, Evan. Deep breathes. So, that concludes my least favorite movies of 2019. If I’m being quite frank, this year could’ve been a lot worse. Half of the movies on this list I don’t even think are that bad. I just happened to not see that many stinkers this year, which is delightful to recognize. The Lion King, truthfully, was basically the push I needed to make this list, all-in-all. So, thank you, Disney. 

 

Categories
Music Reviews Yearly Lists

The Four Special Albums That Made 2019 For Me

I was debating whether to do a top 10 list for my picks for the best albums of the year or just make a small, contained selection of a couple LPs that truly spoke to me, unlike any other albums I heard this year. As you probably already figured out from reading the title, I’ve decided to do the cringy, personal choice by speaking about the four records that emotionally made 2019 a musically special year for me. With that in mind, I still have a handful of LPs to give honorable mentions to:

Lana Del Rey’s Norman F***ing Rockwell,

Lingua Ignota’s Caligula

Thom Yorke’s ANIMA 

Now, onto the kickass stuff…

IGOR – Tyler the Creator

IGOR is a fine example of a very consistent album. Narratively, it’s extremely on topic and gradual. The production and sampling—which, by the way, is easily some of the best production and sampling of this entire decade—is tonally steady. Even the music videos that accompany Tyler’s newest record are visually harmonious. This piece, as a whole, is well balanced. There doesn’t seem to be one specific weak spot hidden somewhere in between tracks. While Tyler’s Flower Boy features most of his principal hits, I personally feel as if IGOR is the concise assembly that truly marked the artist’s greatest achievement yet. 

All Mirrors – Angel Olsen

All Mirrors sounds like the LP love child of Lana Del Rey and The Cranberries. A blissful mingle of 90s and modern-day influence, Angel Olsen has perfected her finest project yet in this 2019 breakout album. It’s a 21st century LP that I would happily describe as nothing less than “epic.” It’s a gathering of the most alluring symphonic instrumentals of the year and a landmark in Olsen’s development as a performer. 

All My Heroes Are Cornballs – JPEGMAFIA

Last year, JPEGMAFIA released a killer experimental hip-hop record known as Veteran. After such a crowning moment in the artist’s career, nobody could’ve fathomed the idea of him topping such a project. Fast forward one year later and the rapper has carelessly outdone his previous record with All My Heroes Are Cornballs. Surprisingly enough, this album doesn’t promote the hard-hitting, up-in-your-face sort of style that made Veteran such a harsh delight to listen to; the LP is rather more concerned in showcasing the restrained exploration of Peggy’s sentiments towards modern-day culture while also being a huge extravaganza of inventive genre-blending. It’s a contemporary hip-hop exemplar that deserves more recognition. 

Oncle Jazz – Men I Trust

Awe, yes. My favorite album of 2019: Men I Trust’s Oncle Jazz. Now, is it a little unfair that 30% of the songs on this record are made up of stunning singles that the band has released in the years of 2017 and 2018? Yes. But, this LP is 24-tracks long. So, in a manner, it sort of makes up for the fact that this album is compiled with a good amount of older hits. To me, Oncle Jazz is the reinvigoration that the dream-pop genre desperately needed. Men I Trust’s two previous LPs didn’t exactly seem to do the trick, but the band’s newest passion-project is just brimming with so many unforgettable gems that truly exemplify colossal signs of maturity. Twin Peaks soundtrack fans, it’s our time to shine. 

 

Categories
Music Reviews Yearly Lists

My 20 Favorite Songs of 2019 (From 15 Different Artists)

Last year, I made a “20 favorite songs” list for 2018, but it was in a video format on YouTube, so unshockingly, it got removed. At this point, due to YouTube’s destructive nature, I’ve decided to make all my “top” lists for this year just articles. To start off my celebration of this arguably eventful year in the entertainment industry, I have here the 20 favorite songs that came out in 2019 that I personally fancied the most. These songs aren’t ranked, this article is simply just a collage of the most remarkable contributions to music that I got to listen to for the first time during the year of 2019. 

King James – Anderson Paak

The first song on my list is additionally one of the first songs of 2019 that I really dug. King James is a light-hearted, throwback-y soul track that productively travels through quintessential landmarks in history while also explaining Anderson Paak’s current stance on Donald Trump’s desire to build a wall. Whether you agree or disagree with his statements on the matter, you can’t deny that King James is one hell of a groove! 

Lark – Angel Olsen

If I could, I would put most of the tracks off of Angel Olsen’s All Mirrors onto this list, but that plainly wouldn’t be fair. So in a race against time, I narrowed down two Angel Olsen songs to place onto this list, one of them being Lark—her first released single off of All Mirrors. The symphony on this song is truly something beyond epic and Olsen’s emancipating vocal performance on here undoubtedly makes this track one of the finest of her entire career. It’s a six-minute track that goes by in a flash and I’ve gotten so much emotional fulfillment every time that I’ve listened to it. out of it

Spring – Angel Olsen

The second Angel Olsen track that I have on this list is Spring. Opposite to a track like Lark, Spring is one of Olsen’s more tame songs—which isn’t a bad thing. It’s soothing as hell, wavy, and the quintessential 2019 song to put on when you’re feeling like utter s***. I adore the simplistic drum work on it, the gloomy crooning from Olsen, and just the romantic vibes that it unintentionally gives off. 

xanny – Billie Eilish

Time to call out the few people reading this that are most likely cringing in their seats, repulsed by this choice, acting out like they’re some intellectual music listener who can’t stand the exceedingly popular Billie Eilish—a Los Angeles talent who made her first LP when she was only 17 years old. I’ll admit, there are some tracks by the young artist that aren’t particularly for me, but her distinct musical style is such an uncanny departure for the Pop genre that it honestly makes her existence more refreshing than trendy. xanny is Billie Eilish’s best single of the year for many different reasons. From the intriguingly warped vocals to the blend of dismal lyrics and the old-timey “swing” genre, the track is arguably the greatest sign of maturity from the ever-evolving artist.  

BOY BYE – BROCKHAMPTON

BROCKHAMPTON’s BOY BYE happens to be my most listened to song of the year. Of course, the strict two-minute runtime is certainly a player in the reason, but this is easily one of the most energetic and vibrant songs I’ve heard all year. It’s very easy to listen to, tons of fun to jam out to despite its serious lyrical content, and has a fantastic sample in it by Ejazeh. 

La Mala Ordina – clipping., The Rita, Elcamino, Benny The Butcher

There was a great deal of outstanding clipping. tracks that the experimental hip-hop band released this year, but if I had to choose, gun to my head, my favorite of the singles, La Mala Ordina would proudly be my choice. Yes, the last two minutes of the song is pretentious distortion, but the first three minutes of it are devilishly good. Daveed Diggs is such a talented writer and he truly exemplifies his assets in the lyrical content of La Mala Ordina. From paralleling his knowledge of film structure to reality to savagely describing graphic events, La Mala Ordina is clipping. pushing forward a compelling story at a stunning peak. Marvelous song.  

Move Together – Dessert Sessions

Queens of the Stone Age’s collaboration band is back and with some of the zaniness rock tracks I’ve heard all year. Move Together, a song off of Dessert Session’s newest LP Vols. 11 & 12, is a chaotically unbalanced blend of modern-day musical elements and classical rock characteristics. The drum work here is unexpected, the guitar inclusions are expressive, and even some of the electronic components are quite effective. It’s an experimentally delightful contribution from Queens of the Stone Age and company. 

Typical Story – Hobo Johnson

Even though, I didn’t, as a whole, like Hobo Johnson’s new LP The Fall of Hobo Johnson, there were some tracks on the album that I found to be exceptional, one of them being Typical Story. This song is angsty alternative punk music done correctly and that’s a serious praise coming from me considering I’m not a huge fan when it comes to the genre (AKA, the whiny, “my life sucks; I wanna die” genre). Hobo Johnson is able to fully reinvent the fretful, heavy-hearted cliché into something lively and cleverly mocking. It’s definitely a 2019 banger and one that I’m sure most people can have a ball with.

Free the Frail – JPEGMAFIA, Helena Deland

Possibly JPEGMAFIA’s gateway into mainstream appeal, Free the Frail is strangely a very tender song by the vexed experimental rap artist. It’s got one of the catchiest hooks I’ve heard all year and some surprisingly peaceful musical elements that have me head over heels for it. Plus, the closing of the track is accompanied by some gorgeously charming vocals from Helena Deland. 

Kenan Vs. Kel – JPEGMAFIA 

Kenan Vs. Kel might be my favorite R&B track of the year. Its combination of rock and experimental rap is so perfectly implemented and the way it builds it up to that amazingly distorted grunge sound, it’s…yeah…f***ing awesome. It’s so instrumentally diverse but not too compacted with types. The song is holy original and somehow works flawlessly in its execution. Kenan Vs. Kel is a track that I hope heavily inspires more future hip-hop artists to come. 

How to disappear – Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey had a batch of fantastic songs this year thanks to her new album Norman F****** Rockwell. The track that stood out to me the most, however, was undisputedly How to disappear. While some of her other singles like Norman f*****g Rockwell and The greatest certainly have a wide-range appeal for newcomers of Lana’s genre, I feel as if How to disappear was her love letter to her OG style. It’s very melodramatic yet instrumentally attractive, and while it does harken back to her older style, it seems as if she’s conflicted between her new line of happiness and falling back into her mentally stressful times—AKA, the moments when she first started making music. It’s the perfect amalgamation of “new Lana” and “old Lana.” 

MAY FAILURE BE YOUR NOOSE – Lingua Ignota 

Hey, it’s a fellow San Dieagan—one point for us! Lingua Ignota’s newest LP Caligula was experimental folk metal madness that made for a certainly haunting experience like no other, but the track that I took away the most from was undoubtedly MAY FAILURE BE YOUR NOOSE. Like a good handful of songs off of Caligula, Ignota takes us through a wide range of tonal changes, ultimately resulting in this hellish climax of repetition that only gets more and more unsettling as the song progresses. Particularly, though, I think Ignota’s wide range of beautiful vocal fluctuations on this track that cover a lot of the same lines just in different pitches is what makes it stand out from the crowd. 

Numb – Men I Trust

Probably the track that I connected with the most on a personal level, Men I Trust’s Numb was an accurate descriptor of its title. This is possibly the band’s band’smost soothing and transcending track yet—a ballad of weirdly mocking synths and guitar work that all result in this heaven-like track that seems to want to put you straight into a coma. 

Norton Commander (All We Need) – Men I Trust 

Disturbing but at the same time relaxing, Men I Trust’s Norton Commander is a song that evokes two conflicting emotions every time I listen to it. I can’t quite decide if this track is supposed to be an optimistic interpretation of loving until the end or if it’s just a downright ridicule of giving your life away to someone you admire. Either way, it makes for one unforgettable dream-pop track. 

BLOODMONEY– Poppy 

BLOODMONEY is hands down one of the greatest tracks I’ve heard all year, and I never would’ve imagined saying something like that about a Poppy song. This is one of those tracks that you simply have to hear for yourself to understand the hype behind it. It’s vicious as hell, demandingly satanic, the EDM elements are hard-hitting and just outright insane, and it’s probably my favorite single that the artist has made in her entire career. Good job, Poppy. 

Scary Mask (feat. FEVER 333) – Poppy

Scary Mask (feat. FEVER 333) is essentially the Bohemian Rhapsody of alternative metal. In a sense, the track desperately tries to cover all grounds that the genre can deliver through a convoluted structure of ups and downs, followed around by some of the most intricate instrumentals that I’ve heard all year. It’s a trip alright. Check it out. 

The Hanging Man – Swans

I’m beginning to notice a pattern here in which a lot of my choices for “the best songs of 2019” happen to be extremely unnerving. And, if some of the past few tracks haven’t confirmed that for you, Swans newest single The Hanging Man surely will. I think it’s safe to say that this isn’t necessarily a song that is remotely pleasant to listen to, but it is one that summons a lot of varying sensations. The constantly unstable guitar riff and Michael Gira’s unrestrained yapping make for one of Swans’ most deranged singles yet.

Dawn Chorus – Thom Yorke

Yes, it’s a little unfair that this song is accompanied by one of the greatest music videos for an album I’ve ever seen directed by the filmmaking genius, Paul Thomas Anderson. Dawn Chorus is certainly the highlight of ANIMA. It fully embraces the album’s intentions to remind us of the mystery behind dreams. It sounds very robotic, sure, but the content that Thom Yorke creates here feels human. It’s a strange memoir of our unexplainable minds.

A BOY IS A GUN* – Tyler the Creator

Tyler the Creator truly killed it this year in my opinion. Not only did IGOR convert me into a diehard fan of the excessively creative individual, but it also convinced me to go back to Tyler’s predecessor Flower Boy and appreciate it more by a great deal. A BOY IS A GUN* is my favorite track off of IGOR for many reasons. Not only is the sampling and nostalgic instrumentals absolutely irresistible, but a lot of Tyler’s vocal commentary on the track is extremely moving. This is easily one of the greatest songs that I’ve heard of this entire decade, truly. This single is certainly going to be stuck on my playlist for years and years onward.

NEW MAGIC WAND – Tyler the Creator

Now, for my second favorite track off of IGOR, NEW MAGIC WAND. This is an extremely dirty and grimy single that in many cases, is quite an ugly song, but in a manner, that’s what creates the appeal of the track. This is Tyler fully embracing the IGOR (I am so gross and disgusting) mascot to a T. I love it, it’s uniquely compulsive, superbly assembled, and it’s one of Tyler’s greatest songs in my opinion.