So, here are are, better late than never. 2019 proved to be a really good year for movies–according. We saw the final installations of some favorites such as The Avengers and Star Wars. It’s finally on, MoviefiedNYC‘s Ten Best Movies of 2019. Here are the Ten Best of 2019 as seen by John David West.
John David West
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood stands as one of 2019’s most satisfying movie viewing experiences. It’s a fairytale that rewrites a horribly gruesome moment in modern American history and creates a “What if” scenario that reminds us why we need fairytales every now and then–especially today.
Parasite’s director Bong Joon Ho has created a thoroughly entertaining, thrilling, funny, visually stunning, and well-acted film that has everything that makes for a good movie. Yes it’s smart exploration of the class struggle and inequalities that are universally experienced.
Joe Talbot directs one of 2019’s most unique and poetic films that explores the displacement due to excessive real estate prices that many face in today’s large urban centers.
Path’s of Glory meets Saving Private Ryan, where the film’s camera work is the star. Because of the film’s relatively seamless one long shot the viewer is immersed in the movie’s non-stop action. Despite moments of that felt like we were watching a WW I video game, it was easy to invest in the central character’s grueling mission, effectively played by George MacKay. What 1917 lacks in emotional resonance, it makes up for in its technical and seamless direction.
WatchingThe Irishman was like discovering a 1970s Scorsese film that I had missed. I mean with much older versions of De Nero’s younger self. I watched all three and a half hours of The Irishman’s in one sitting, in the theater (the way it should be seen).
This dramedy begins where most Hollywood films end and thus our story starts with the end of a marriage. It’s not a unique film, Kramer vs Kramer comes to mind, but director Noah Baumbach creates an oasis from today’s ever-present fast edits. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern and the rest of the cast are an actors’ delight to watch.
What stands out most in Céline Sciamma’s study of two 18th Century women who fall in love is the exquisite cinematography. Of course you would expect this from a French film about an artist and her subject, but it’s her careful direction that makes this film a visual work of art. Here’s the real Oscar snub for a woman director.
Terrence Malick directs with his typical sensuous textures and visual beauty that we expect from him. In his latest film he tackles the big theme of faith and commitment to one’s beliefs and makes A Hidden Life an engaging journey that is grounded by is historical setting of Nazi occupied Austria.
The Farewell is a family film that is charming, funny, complex, cinematic, and grounded in authentic emotions. Lulu Wang directs with care and shows us that family grief is the same regardless of where we live, we can all relate to their family struggle.
Yes, it pays homage to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and King of Comedy and with the casting of Robert De Niro to remind us that Travis Bickle and Rupert Pupkin are at the core of Joaquin Phoenix‘s Arthur Fleck. Like it or not Joker deals with some important issues of today including isolation, and most importantly underfunded care for mental illness.
Under the Silver Lake
Pain and Glory