Updated: Dec 23, 2019
Parasite - The perfect “Bong” hit if you will. The stylistic director has played with themes of class disparity before but never with such verve and control. There isn’t a single weak beat in this film with a stellar cast, set design and cinematography.
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood - Tarantino crafts a hangout film like no other with this blast of revisionist history. The film was good the first time I saw it but gets richer and better each time I see it.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire - A film of such overwhelming romance that made me swoon and ache. There has been plenty of talk about the male gaze but this film captures a female gaze as no other film has.
Uncut Gems - I am not sure I exhaled for the entire runtime of the Safdie’s new thriller. Adam Sandler is incredible as a man who is running out of time and options. That ending is brutal but entirely earned and fitting.
The Irishman - Scorsese can still direct a film with all the energy he had in his younger years but now it all has a sense of looking back. We have followed criminals with him before but rarely have they ever had regret. The Irishman is all about regret and marks a high watermark for Scorsese’s later career.
Us - Jordan Peele proves that Get Out wasn’t just a lucky debut. Here he offers a less clear film, one that invites multiple interpretations. One of my favorite film discussions of the year was hearing people’s thoughts on what this film means.
Midsommer - Ari Aster creates an odd blend of horror and break-up film. The film was the most cathartic experience I had at the movies. The ending is so damn satisfying.
Marriage Story - Noah Baumbach’s most complete film. He manages to create two characters that feel human beyond just witty writing. The two lead performances are among the best of the year. It is the kind of film that feels actorly in the best way.
Jojo Rabbit - Taiki Waititi’s satire about a Nazi boy shouldn’t work as well as it does. The energy and heart drive the film and the performances sell the message. We need more anti-hate films the whole family can enjoy.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco - A supremely confident debut feature. The film is soulful and nostalgic but not in a pop culture kind of way. Its nostalgia is something more personal and in an ever-changing city, less able to hold on to.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
One Cut of the Dead
Birds of Passage
John Wick 3
The Biggest Little Farm