M. N. Miller’s 2019 Year In Film

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

Part 6


M. N. Miller’s 2019 Year In Film: Part 6

119. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I had a harder time warming up to the highly anticipated A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood than my frozen holiday turkey. It’s an oddly indulgent piece that’s laudable but humdrum.

118. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

A Mildly funny follow-up to the original has a sweet message, with a slew of welcomed cameos, but it’s not as “awesome” as the “same old same old.”

117. Annabelle Comes Home

The latest horror chapter will satisfy hardcore fan types with a well-executed chapter but not offer jump scares outside of the conventional.

116. The Current War

It is an electric battle of wits with a script that offers only a surface level, uneven treatment of its three subjects.

115. Escape Room

I think I have come to appreciate the film more – I’ve already pledged to make that the 2019 film grading curve since Replicas came out before Escape Room, but that doesn’t mean it is more recommendable than a rental.

114. Cold Pursuit

While it’s puzzling that some compared this Liam Neeson notch in the action bed-post filmography to Fargo, I admired how it showers the viewer with its cold/dark humor.

113. A Dog’s Way Home

The film is unapologetically feel-good while unabashedly manipulating your feelings, even though it is hard to knock a film that serves up cats and dogs living peacefully while giving each other endless Eskimo kisses.

112. Noelle

Elf x Feminism + Anthropomorphic Characters = Noelle

111. Yesterday

While I admired several moments of the high-concept film Yesterday, it’s ultimately an odd mix of originality and a typical Hollywood playbook. You’d have to think a much better film is only a day away.

110. Tolkien

This is more of a vanity exercise that doesn’t offer any real insight, even though the script can sometimes be clever with its nods to the author’s classic works.

109. Soni

A one-woman show for Geetika Vidya Ohlyan; a meaty character study that’s light as an all-encompassing experience.

108. Midway

For a war film with a deep emotional scope of one of the most important battles the world has ever known, you’ll have to watch… well, there isn’t one. Until then, Midway is your CGI-filled, mildly suspenseful, poorly-written substitute which at least honors real-life American heroes.

107.The Art of Racing in the Rain

Here’s a film made for that lazy Sunday afternoon that makes you appreciate what you have or long for what you don’t.

106. Late Night

It’s an overpraised comedy from Mindy Kaling that has some bite but a surprising lack of sharp teeth that plays it all too timidly.

105. The Aeronauts

Credit is deserved for casting Jones as a heroine even if the real figure was a man. In the ’90s, a script would have been reworked with Redmayne ascending the balloon with Moose from Frasier. Progress wins & historical accuracy takes a holiday even if the script is full of hot air.

104. Abominable

Abominable has some gorgeous visuals and a sweet message and should be credited for creating an Asian female heroine. However, most Dreamworks animations have an emotional disconnect (Shrek being the exception) from their audience, and Culton’s film is no different.

103. Jexi

Yes, Jexi is a rip-off, a toned-down, immature comedy that plays like a Spike Jonze film for dummies. However, there are enough solid laughs and a winning formula to give this movie a shot on cheaper formats like rental or digital streaming platforms.

102. In the Shadow of the Moon

This twisty, sci-fi horror-noir doesn’t always make sense or connect all the dots, but it has the feel of a good, unedited Black Mirror or X-Files episode, with the always interesting Boyd Holdbrook performance at its center.

101. Trial by Fire

Unbroken‘s Jack O’Connell carries Trial By Fire and gives a combustible turn as an unlikeable man who loved his children dearly but who can’t get out of his own way.

100. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

Here’s a horror film that actually knows its target audience that even manages not to pander, patronize, or condescend. While it does have its flaws, the adaption feels overly cramped. It will surely satisfy its fervent fan base.

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