M. N. Miller’s 2019 Year In Film

December 30, 2019
M.N. Miller 0
Features, Film

Part 10


M. N. Miller’s 2019 Year In Film: Part 10

39. Hustlers

With a string of summer films this year that had a shocking lack of edge and verve, Hustlers delivers the goods that are an offspring of Goodfellas that came out wearing a pair of stilettos.

38. Shazam!

Think Big meets The Flash, Shazam is an entertaining comic book film from beginning to end that never forgets the fun. It’s adorkable.

37. Good Boys

The super sweet yet seriously sour antics of the Good Boys make for one seriously gut-busting good time.

36. Fyre

You’d wonder if Fyre was a Jean-Ralphio wet dream. Smith’s film is striking in how social media was used to take advantage of the very vain, while everyone involved, down to the influencers, was part of the con, whether they admit it or not.

35. Brittany Runs a Marathon

There is something so plaintive and achingly real hidden inside Jamie Bell’s performance that you can’t help but take some small elation in her journey even while watching from your couch with your hand stuck inside a bag of Ruffles. I loved it.

34. The Mustang

A unique character-driven film that a jaw-dropping performance by Matthias Schoenaerts headline.

33. Wild Rose

I was left to wonder what all the fuss was about when it comes to Jessie Buckley after missing out on Wild Rose earlier this year; thank goodness for screeners. Well, it’s all true because her unvarnished approach is lightning in a bottle.

32. Dark Waters

Toddy Haynes’s film is the best of its kind since Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action. Anchored by a flawless Ruffalo, a scene-stealing Robbins, and the unmatched Camp, Dark Waters is a wide-eyed look at a corporation’s deep pockets, which is where they hide their conscience.

31. Queen and Slim

Queen and Slim’s ride or die mantra builds, and when it reaches its destination, it establishes itself as the most significant road-trip film of the decade. Matsoukas’s eye finds the joyousness in its smallest moments and what’s absolutely devastating in the wide-eyed ones.

30. Who Killed Garrett Phillips?

Kennedy said what unites us is far greater than what divides us; well, except if you are looking for a scapegoat in the great white north. Garbus’s polarizing study of the murder of a child is timely, relevant, and even contemptuous.

29. Grass is Greener

Let me be blunt, Netflix’s new documentary film, Grass is Greener, is a stand-out effort from filmmaker Fred Brathwaite, bringing a steady hand to a film that is as eye-opening as it is sobering.

28. To Dust

To Dust is a darkly comic film with a wonderfully complex performance of deadpan delivery and deep sadness from Son of Saul star Geza Rohrig.

27, One Child Nation

A well-made, deeply affecting, unflinchingly honest, and 100% sugar-free documentary film about one of the most cutthroat policy maneuvers the world has ever known. It’s heartbreaking interviews tear through the camera and strike a hole in the soul.

26. Dolemite is My Name

This is Eddie Murphy’s best performance since Dreamgirls; there is a real pathos to his portrayal as Moore here. It’s an all-encompassing entertainment that has much to say about racial censorship and freedom of expression since The People vs. Larry Flynt.

25. Pain and Glory

This is Almodovar’s most personal and mature work. While some may find this an exercise in self-gratification, it really has a remarkable sense of time and place. Banderas’s stunning, career-defining performance and Cruz should be a lock for an Oscar nomination.

24. Knives Out

There’s something to be said about a film that just wants to entertain, but you have an even greater appreciation for those who take that concept by doing so in an interesting, smart, and fresh way. Knives Out is a movie made for the masses and the water cooler.

23. Ford v Ferrari

James Mangold’s LeMans ’66 is finely crafted, polished to a perfect shine, and the cast performed to perfection with the God-given tools they were born with.

22. The Farewell

Lulu Wang’s The Farewell is a groundbreaking work that’s authentic and deeply affecting. Awkwafina is good here, but it’s Zhao who delivers the knockout goods that had me choked up in her final scene.

21. Rocketman

Dexter Fletcher’s musical biopic of the rise and multiple face-first falls of music legend Elton John is a bold, dazzling, lavish, decadent film that features a career-altering performance by Taron Egerton.

20. The Art of Self-Defense

If there’s any film that sums up the trend of toxic-masculinity themes, this is it. Riley Stearns’ sophomore effort has an upward trajectory that builds with every scene until its surprising and even satisfying climax. Alessandro Nivola is outstanding here and gives one of the year’s best performances.

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