M. N. Miller’s 2019 Year In Film: Part 9
59. The Black Godfather
It is an absorbing look at the career of one man’s influence on the entertainment industry during a time of racial economic disparity that is still very relevant today.
58. Captain Marvel
The MCU’s Captain Marvel is well-paced, with a handful of moments of strategically-placed humor, is solidly acted from start to finish, and now has a crowning character to replace Captain America in the future phases.
57. Always Be My Maybe
This quirky, awkward, and funny Netflix comedy had me well before, “I punched Keanu Reeves in the face.” Wong and Park wrote a script that’s perfectly tailored to their strengths that’s gleefully enjoyable (Park’s ability to get laughs with a single expression is priceless).
56. American Son
Son offers no easy answers on racial tensions and I was engrossed by its riveting dialogue that cuts deep, often, while leaving an indelible mark.
Chris Robinson’s film tackles inner-city mental health and policy issues in an offbeat way. Anderson’s performance is ultimately moving, showing strength, finding redemption, and developing tender care.
54. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
Scorsese’s new concert documentary film is sometimes moving, sometimes powerful musically, and almost always an entertaining piece of filmmaking, if not a head-scratching one.
53. Aziz Ansari: Right Now
This documentary concert film by Spike Jonze proves Ansari is funny and still irreverent yet. Jonze though is more interested in how a star rebirths himself back into the world since his sexual misconduct charges. The moment he walks off stage is honestly polarizing.
52. High Flying Bird
While arguably his most experimental (shot entirely on an iPhone), this is Soderbergh’s best film since 2005’s Bubble. The breakout star of the film is Andre Holland, who is so good here as the wheeling and dealing Ray Burke.
51. Just Mercy
While succumbing to a small amount of melodrama, Just Mercy is ultimately a moving film about integrity, injustice, and the indictment of our criminal justice system.
50. Richard Jewell
I can argue Hollywood’s most Republican face’s latest film agenda is to take on a liberal media or a deep dive attack against the FBI. What can’t be argued, though, is how naturally absorbing the story is and the terrific turn by Paul Walter Hauser.
49. Long Shot
What separates Long Shot from other Rogen comedies is the chemistry not only between the leads but the entire cast. Theron carries the film with comedic chops and gives it its unexpected heart.
The multi-talented Duplass brothers continue to build an eclectic resume similar to the Polish brothers, whether it’s acting, writing, or directing. This dramady is anchored by an emotionally raw turn by Mark Duplass, that has a light comic touch despite impeding circumstances.
Peele’s visual control is masterful, Lupita elevates the material, and the overall tone of the film is gripping. Us, however, loses its way with one too many reveals. There is much to like here, but not enough for most to call it a masterpiece.
46. I Lost My Body
A film that is full of hopeful bliss and pensive melancholy. While the narrative may not have been fully realized, it doesn’t have to be. Let Dan Levy’s inventive and moving musical command your attention, then fill your heart.
45. Someone Great
Netflix delivers a genre film that’s just a damn-good movie, and maybe the best comedy they’ve ever done. Funny, mature, even moving, that separates itself from others with a sublimely structured script that has Rodriguez and Stanfield at its center.
44. The Spy Who Fell To Earth
When the credits start to roll you are left with just as many questions as there are answers. In the end, with the evidence presented, you are forced to ask yourself and wonder who you can actually trust when telling this story. Which, essentially, is what a good spy story is all about: sorting out the truth versus misinformation.
Disney goes back to the well like no other with a throwback to films like White Fang, Balto, and Iron Will with a big family adventure film that swells with heart and builds genuine suspense.
42. American Woman
40. John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum
John Wick 3 puts its stamp on what is the best action franchise of the past 20 years.
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.