Updated: Mar 30
Ok, yea. I’m a nerd for throwing this in here. I went back and forth about putting it on the list, but seeing this movie on the Thursday night release in IMAX with some of my closest friends was one of my best memories of the year, movie-going or otherwise. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a theater so hyped. Everyone sat at the edge of their seat, cried adult tears, and screamed at the top of their lungs. Regardless of my nerd bias, there has never been a movie made of this magnitude before. Plenty of superhero action movies exist, but no other culminates dozens of sequels and story lines, as well as seamlessly integrating almost a hundred established characters. Nor are they the top grossing movie of all time… Also it’s worth mentioning that this is an action movie that kept us at the edge of our seats while the main villain for the first hour of the film was no “Black Knight,” but rather the acceptance of a tragedy. The writers did use some complicated Sci-Fi to move this story forward but they didn’t stumble for a moment. This was the perfect culmination of Marvel’s Phase One and the best any audience could expect from an epic fantasy amalgam a decade in the making.
At this point, watching Martin Scorsese make a movie about the mafia is like watching BB King play blues guitar, hearing David Attenborough narrate, or seeing LeBron dunk on somebody’s head. It's as close as we’ll experience to human perfection. I know some viewers who were disappointed with this movie, and a lot I know did it all in one sitting. If you’re trying this movie for the first time be aware that it's over three hours long. I did it in two separate sittings and I absolutely loved it. But it's a looking glass into what was thought to be a long dead mystery. One that endeavors to show the entire story as truthfully as could be in a crime drama. I think it’s one of Pacino’s best performances which is saying a hell of a lot. It’s also Pacino and Scorsese’s first ever collaboration. Certainly worth an extensive run time.
This is a tough one. A complicated and frustrating quest for fulfillment with as many facets as Ratner’s prized opal. I’m not sure I would actually recommend this movie to anyone because it’s guaranteed to induce unresolvable anxiety. It’s also undoubtedly one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, as well as one of the most unique. The soundtrack is unreal, the intensity is unreal, and Adam Sandler is UNREAL! It’s kind of fascinating even in theory because I’ve never seen a period piece so exact and so close to current times. 2012 is captured perfectly, which feels like an odd thing to say just 8 years later in the present. I’m completely biased with this, but I love seeing a movie center around a Jewish main character. It's extremely rare. Especially one whose story revolves around their Jewishness. A Pesach Seder during the movie? Love to see it. Regardless of context. Only these brothers would make this film though. Their own voices shine through their influences. The Coen Brothers would never make this film for better or worse. This story is going to irritate you and it's designed to make it perfect and terrible in my mind. I’ve never seen a movie like it and despite it’s difficulty, I’d absolutely sign up to be tested by a film like this in the future. The Safdie Brothers are really onto something. Their last movie, Good Time, was another phenomenal anxiety-ridden crime adventure with another phenomenal lead performance a la Robert Pattinson. I can completely understand why anyone would dislike this movie, but I have a strong feeling these guys will be unavoidable in the future of movie watching.
It’s Always Sunny in Seoul. An all around great film. Truly flawless. Absurd, surreal, hilarious. How far would you go to give your family the life you think they deserve? Layer upon layer of artifice makes for a whirlwind of a story that manages to remain genuinely funny throughout. Watching one of the characters needlessly feed himself a banana whole while the rest of the major characters argue through one of the most complicated conversations in the movie sealed this as one of my favorite films of all time, not just 2019.
The Last Black Man In San Francisco
Ah... Wow. Surreal yet completely real. Bleak and beautiful. Poetic and musical. Drenched in symbolism yet based on the truth of actor Jimmie Fails’ own life. Is it a coincidence my favorite movie of the year also featured my favorite score? As far as I know, this was Emile Mosseri’s first movie scoring gig and he killed it beyond belief. I hope to hear so much more from him. Parasite was incredible but this was my favorite film of the year EASILY. No contest. This movie tackles so much with an outrageous degree of style: racism, gentrification, community, violence, ignorance, brotherhood, family, trust, truth, honesty, identity. I went from tearing up at the beauty of a perfect shot, to hysterically laughing at the absurd dialogue at the drop of a hat. Did I mention this movie is beautiful? See it as soon as you can. Talk to me about the ending! Or the whole thing!
Pierce Allen is a local musician and movie enthusiast living in Beacon, NY. His favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate and vanilla mixed together.