M. N. Miller’s 2019 Year In Film: Part 3
179. Wonder Park
A shady animated film whose color palette is designed to distract while it manipulates you with its surprisingly dark backstory. Studios need to learn what Pixar has: let the story help the viewer form their own connections, not be shoved into them.
178. Men In Black: International
Men In Black: International is a sterile, stodgy, nondescript, and overall boring spin-off of a beloved (but not really) franchise.
177.What Men Want
Henson is a supremely talented actress who can be placed in any film genre or carry a television show on her own. Sadly, she is the only reason to see this film with her knack for comedy. Still, What Men Want is crass, offensive, and hard to sit through. She deserves better.
176. The Parts You Lose
Think of Mary Poppins, but instead of a sweet English nanny changing your life for the better, it’s Pinkman calling you a *****, and hiding out on your blanketed snow-covered farm. Nothing in this film really works, including forgetting the third act.
175. Good Sam
This would be the streaming giant’s answer to the Hallmark movie crowd. While this Netflix film is perfectly pleasant and Tiya Sircar does stand out among the lightweight cast, you can easily whittle the suspects down within a few minutes leaving little suspense.
Alex and Kevin Kendrick’s latest couldn’t be more heavy-handed than if it was directed by Thanos’s big, meaty paw. The faith-based genre continues its treatment of women as subservient.
173. Murder Mystery
The problem with this riff on Clue is every time you think the “Saniston” comedy is about to be good, the jokes then fall flat, and each is duller than the last. Never before have I wanted a Rob Schneider cameo to give this film some much-needed life.
172. The Beach Bum
If Last Christmas was adapted from a George Michael hit song, Kids scribe Harmoney Korine must have written The Beach Bum script based on a two-minute McConaughey scene in Dazed and Confused. Korine’s acquired taste doesn’t have enough conflict to be interesting.
171. The Legend of Cocaine Island
An absurdist doc that takes a look at everyone’s lack of responsibility for their own actions. While I found the last third satisfying (by laughing at them, not with them) I don’t believe a single word out of anyone’s mouth; it’s all fillers.
170. Velvet Buzzsaw
A horror film set to a slow burn that is nothing more than a genre picture with few redeeming characters. The overall message against the monetization or commercial success of art is 100 miles south of subtle and loses its way despite the stellar cast.
The new live-action remake of the Disney animated classic Dumbo is helmed by the darkly eccentric director Tim Burton, and his latest film is like nothing I’ve ever seen from the master of juxtaposition: Safe, almost tepid, and it’s monotonously boring.
168. The Perfect Date
For every Someone Great, Netflix churns out a handful of duds like The Perfect Date, slightly stealing its premise from Easy A without an angle of their own. Centenio is not without his charms, but he’s saddled with a reheated script that’s too reliant on his appeal.
167. The Last Summer
Netflix’s new rom-com has a honey-eye view of love that is kind of sweet if only its plot points weren’t so loosely connected to move its story along with recycled cliches. The Last Summer, though, offers very little in terms of laughs, but is relatively inoffensive.
I’m not sure how the director of the great Eve’s Bayou and the writer of Ali screwed this up, but did they ever. Harriet is a wasted opportunity about a fascinating real-life figure that’s tepid, half-hearted, generic, and clumsily put together. This is a massive misfire.
165. Terminator: Dark Fate
Talk about phoning it in. The quick realization you will come to when watching Terminator: Dark Fate is that the technology has become so good since the original there’s no amount of CGI that can cover up the dreadfully inept script by a handful of talented scribes.
There is some much-needed comic relief in this sequel, to the ’00 sequel, to the #MeDecade franchise of numerous sequels (did we follow that?), but sadly this film hasn’t grown up when it comes to its treatment of women while still loving a good ’70s stereotype.
While Sasha Luss holds her own as Anna, Besson’s new film is an overly smug repackaging of his most acclaimed work, La Femme Nikita.
162. The Intruder
The fact of the matter is while The Intruder is all harmless fun, it’s overripe. Even at 90 minutes, the movie is more of an exercise in running out the clock than any edge of your seat suspense.
The memories Basset’s Walker has of her husband almost saved the film until it takes a typical turn that had me think we just can’t have nice things. Otherhood would be a stronger film if it concentrated on her instead of the equal usage of the other leads.
160. The Creative Brain
This would be served better as an educational video that a teacher will play for their students to highlight outside the box thinking, than an informative work of art. This documentary is surprisingly unoriginal, patronizing, and whose insights are only skin deep.
M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.