Wicked Mike's 100 Best Movies of 2019by wickedmikehampton | created - 1 month ago | updated - 2 days ago | Public
The spin of the earth and rise of the moon can always be counted upon but the only contribution humankind makes towards reassurance is good movies. Although there were too few quality action and adventures, dramas ensured 2019 was another amazing year!
I begin with actors that delivered double delights.
Admittedly, I never expected Adam Driver to become a star but he's regularly chosen projects that beome unlikely hits. He follows the quality of 'Paterson' with 'Marriage Story' and 'The Report'. Unfortunately, his third movie of the year, 'The Dead Don't Die', was average.
Brad Pitt was reliable in 'Ad Astra' and indispensable in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'.
Willem Dafoe skipped his usual solid work on the sidelines to shine in 'Togo' and 'The Lighthouse', respectively a Walt Disney treat versus visceral darkness.
Male actors may have been more successful but it's the ladies who most win and tear my heart.
I was especially pleased with Aisling Franciosi ('The Nightingale'), Naomi Watts ('Luce'), Jodie Turner-Smith ('Queen & Slim'), Scarlett Johannson ('Marriage Story'), Penélope Cruz ('Everybody Knows'), and the shared effort of Vasilisa Perelygina and Viktoria Miroshnichenko ('Beanpole was remarkably their first movie).
Johansson also appeared in 'Avengers: Endgame' and was support in 'Jojo Rabbit'. Penelope Cruz was support in 'Pain and Glory'.
Asghar Farhadi, one of Iran's best directors and writers, previously birthed monster dramas such as 'The Past' and 'About Elly'. 'Everybody Knows' was more complex than his usual storyline, and with extra dialogue. It may have taken me longer to find a viewer's rhythm but, at conclusion, it was as good as anything else he's done... and Cruz was terrific. I prefer her as a natural Spaniard than as an exotic foreigner in an American movie.
The female team that resulted in 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire' deserves applause. It was elegant and profound.
There's no love story like 'Beanpole', a post-war drama about psychologically damaged women desperately seeking for love.
Rene Zellweger gave her career high performance as Judy Garland but my favourite of 2019 was Joaquin Phoenix as the 'Joker' tortured by the weight of this unfair world. The new Avenger's may have been as perfect as a sci-fi-action-fantasy can be yet 'The Joker' will become more memorable because it was more human than superhero, something we can relate to rather than the fantasy we can never be.
Overall, I think foreign films (or, to be more precise, non-English language movies), will make the longest lasting impressions. The lack of big budgets has ensured a culture of characters to believe in and identify with. They're also more poetic e.g. "He was the loneliest man death had ever seen" is a line from director Pedro Almodovar's 'Pain and Glory'.
Whereas France and Germany have been the leaders, there were several movie magic moments in 2019 that equalled their best. Almodovar wasn't the only icon returning with a winner. Yimou Zhang delivered 'Shadow' as a worthy follow-on to 'Hero', 'House of Flying Daggers' and 'Curse of the Golden Glower'. And Nuri Bilge Ceylan gave us 'The Wild Pear Tree', his next best after 'Winter Sleep'.
'An Elephant Sitting Still' is the most underrated movie of the year. Artsy-fartsy critics raving about it means that the mass public will never know it. After all, it's a 3hr50min slow moving, Chinese epic about depression. In a world of super heroes and Instagram, patience is considered handicap. Thankfully, there's real life sadness and irony. It was the only movie by Bo Hu, the director and writer. He killed himself afterwards, ensuring his suicide 'letter' becomes a cult classic.
Documentaries continue to be exceptional. 'For Sama' and 'Honeyland' made me, for a moment, feel as if I were lost in war and poverty. 'American Factory' emphasised culture differences to extreme - there's no right or wrong, just the awkward fact that Westerners and Asians are unable to understand each other. 'Edge of Democracy' not only educated but disturbed me. 'The Cave' ripped my guts out. All hail its power for making me cry.
The intimate one-shot '1917' was my biggest movie of the year but, out of all 100 listed here, 'Queen & Slim' is most likely to become cult classic.
Note: I spent most of 2019 alone, from writing a book and blogging, to fighting politicians and a hunger strike. That time alone wasn't loneliness. I reflected on my existence, and every night watched one or two movies. Screen stories were my only friends and lovers, their company looked forward to from the time I awoke. Even then, I could never watch everything so I'll add and reorder as they stream online or make the big screen in my country. Any movie ranked after 100 below is still to be rated and considered.
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2. 1917 (2019)
R | 119 min | Drama, War
April 6th, 1917. As a regiment assembles to wage war deep in enemy territory, two soldiers are assigned to race against time and deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap.
5. Hotel Mumbai (2018)
R | 123 min | Action, Drama, History
The true story of the Taj Hotel terrorist attack in Mumbai. Hotel staff risk their lives to keep everyone safe as people make unthinkable sacrifices to protect themselves and their families.
Votes: 41,366 | Gross: $9.65M
6. The Edge of Democracy (2019)
TV-14 | 121 min | Documentary, History
Political documentary and personal memoir collide in this exploration into the complex truth behind the unraveling of two Brazilian presidencies.
7. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
R | 122 min | Drama, Romance
On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.
8. I Lost My Body (2019)
TV-MA | 81 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy
A story of Naoufel, a young man who is in love with Gabrielle. In another part of town, a severed hand escapes from a dissection lab, determined to find its body again.
10. Beanpole (2019)
130 min | Drama, War
1945, Leningrad. WWII has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Two young women search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins.
11. Queen Marie of Romania (2019)
110 min | Drama
Devastated by the First World War and plunged into political controversy, Romania's every hope accompanies its queen on her mission to Paris to lobby for international recognition of its great unification at the 1919 peace talks.
12. Luce (I) (2019)
R | 109 min | Drama
A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student.
Votes: 5,784 | Gross: $1.78M
15. Cold Case Hammarskjöld (2019)
Not Rated | 128 min | Documentary, Animation, History
Danish director Mads Brügger and Swedish private investigator Göran Björkdahl are trying to solve the mysterious death of Dag Hammarskjöld. As their investigation closes in, they discover a... See full summary »
Votes: 1,420 | Gross: $0.09M
16. One Child Nation (2019)
R | 88 min | Documentary, History
After becoming a mother, a filmmaker uncovers the untold history of China's one-child policy and the generations of parents and children forever shaped by this social experiment.
Votes: 2,759 | Gross: $0.18M
17. The Wild Pear Tree (2018)
188 min | Drama
An unpublished writer returns to his hometown after graduating, where he seeks sponsors to publish his book while dealing with his father's deteriorating indulgence into gambling.
Votes: 15,340 | Gross: $0.03M
18. The Nightingale (I) (2018)
R | 136 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.
Votes: 11,867 | Gross: $0.39M
19. Dogman (2018)
Not Rated | 103 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A timid dog groomer living in a poor suburb sells cocaine on the side and stays out of trouble, while trying to deal with his unstable, violent acquaintance who is a menace to the whole neighborhood.
Votes: 18,259 | Gross: $0.15M
20. Maiden (2018)
PG | 97 min | Documentary, Sport
The story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, who became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.
Votes: 1,159 | Gross: $3.01M
21. Ready or Not (I) (2019)
R | 95 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery
A bride's wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game.
Votes: 65,508 | Gross: $26.74M
22. Little Women (2019)
PG | 135 min | Drama, Romance
Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters - four young women each determined to live life on their own terms.
23. Midsommar (2019)
R | 148 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
A couple travels to Sweden to visit a rural hometown's fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.
Votes: 120,132 | Gross: $27.33M
25. Ford v Ferrari (2019)
PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Biography, Drama
American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference and the laws of physics to build a revolutionary race car for Ford in order to defeat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
TV-MA | 88 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama
In 2016, USA Gymnastics was rocked by the revelation that national team doctor Larry Nassar had been abusing young athletes for decades. Tribeca alum Erin Lee Carr's unflinching documentary... See full summary »
27. The Farewell (I) (2019)
PG | 100 min | Comedy, Drama
A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.
Votes: 30,850 | Gross: $16.88M
28. The Lighthouse (I) (2019)
R | 109 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity whilst living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
Votes: 76,703 | Gross: $0.43M
29. Joker (2019)
R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
In Gotham City, mentally troubled comedian Arthur Fleck is disregarded and mistreated by society. He then embarks on a downward spiral of revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his alter-ego: the Joker.
Votes: 692,887 | Gross: $192.73M
30. Burning (2018)
Not Rated | 148 min | Drama, Mystery
Jong-su bumps into a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood, who asks him to look after her cat while she's on a trip to Africa. When back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met there, who confesses his secret hobby.
Votes: 35,435 | Gross: $0.72M
31. Everybody Knows (2018)
R | 133 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Laura, a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, returns to her hometown outside Madrid with her two children to attend her sister's wedding. However, the trip is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open.
Votes: 24,369 | Gross: $2.66M
32. Diego Maradona (2019)
TV-14 | 130 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport
Constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage, this documentary centers on the career of celebrated football player Diego Armando Maradona, who played for S.S.C. Napoli in the 1980s.
34. Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019)
PG-13 | 97 min | Documentary
Roy Cohn personified the dark arts of American politics, turning empty vessels into dangerous demagogues - from Joseph McCarthy to his final project, Donald J. Trump.
35. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)
R | 161 min | Comedy, Drama
A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.
Votes: 394,567 | Gross: $135.37M
38. Sea of Shadows (2019)
PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary, Crime, History
The vaquita, the world's smallest whale, is near extinction as its habitat is destroyed by Mexican cartels and Chinese mafia, who harvest the swim bladder of the totoaba fish, the "cocaine ... See full summary »
41. High Flying Bird (2019)
TV-MA | 90 min | Drama, Sport
During a pro basketball lockout, a sports agent pitches a rookie basketball client on an intriguing and controversial business proposition.
42. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
PG-13 | 181 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos' actions and restore balance to the universe.
Votes: 672,266 | Gross: $858.37M
43. Downton Abbey (2019)
PG | 122 min | Drama, Romance
The continuing story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early twentieth century.
Votes: 27,878 | Gross: $31.03M
44. Crawl (2019)
R | 87 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller
A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.
Votes: 46,427 | Gross: $39.01M
45. Capernaum (2018)
R | 126 min | Drama