Welcome back, movie buffs! This is my recap of every film I reviewed in 2019. It's an annual list I create to let you know which movies were enjoyable, disappointing, and somewhere in the middle. Firstly, I don't really judge cinema in terms of best or worst. I simply have favorites and other movies that don't connect with me. High and low scores on Rotten Tomatoes don't sway my opinion at all. 2019 was an interesting year because several big releases didn't impress me very much. It seems like Hollywood released all kinds of properties, including adaptations, sequels, remakes, and some original work to see what audiences prefer. Viewers are fickle, so it's hard to tell what people want. 2019 seemed like a big experiment with a lot of random content. I'm beginning with my most disliked films and moving up. We're saving my favorites for the end. Let's see what I thought.
30) Cold Pursuit
I must confess; this movie is awful. Cold Pursuit fails to be humorous and interesting. The storytelling is bad and most of the characters are just outdated stereotypes. I'm usually a fan of Liam Neeson as an action star, but it's been a while since his work connected with me. Better luck in 2020.
29) Hotel Mumbai
This film wasn't made very well. The cinematography is weird and shaky. I didn't connect with any of the characters, even though they were in great peril. This movie also feels like shameless exploitation instead of a cinematic experience that raises awareness about real life violence. It seems like a missed opportunity. Maybe these filmmakers aren't my cup of tea. They also created Sicario and Wind River, which weren't my favorites either.
I'm really disappointed with this movie. Seriously, I thought critics were exaggerating in their negative reviews. It's the truth! The remake of Hellboy is one of the worst films in 2019. It's so gross with gratuitous violence and bad VFX. I don't mind gore, but the violence was just unenjoyable. Also, David Harbor as Hellboy was the film's only decent actor. It's unfortunate because we probably won't see another Hellboy movie for a long time.
27) Dark Phoenix
Dark Phoenix was a lackluster end to the current X-Men series. The first two X-Men movies were amazing and everything went downhill afterwards. In fact, this one is probably the worst installment except for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It's really boring with very little action. I don't think the actors want to be in this franchise anymore and the story barely resembles the source material. We're getting a reboot in the MCU, which is probably the best thing for the X-Men brand.
26) Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
This film might be my biggest disappointment of the year because the book series introduced me to the horror genre. It's a very nostalgic property. I find the creatures quite scary and they're faithful to the source material, but everything else was unimpressive. This movie is bland, incoherent, and the actors didn't give very good performances. Additionally, this film is super gross as well. Nasty movies don't sit well with me.
25) Doctor Sleep
Here's another boring horror film. Doctor Sleep is a sequel to The Shining, but I don't believe audiences were excited to see it. This movie is incredibly long and slow without a compelling story. It's not scary either. However, it has good villains. The True Knot is the best part of film. I just don't think we needed this adaptation. Maybe it should have been a streaming show on HBO or Netflix.
I don't think Jordan Peele's work suits my taste. Us is another overrated film in his repertoire, although it's a lot better than Get Out. This movie is really weird with tons of plot holes. Lupita Nyong'o gave an excellent performance, but the overall film lacks scares and coherence. Us was received quite well among critics and mainstream audiences, but I simply don't understand the appeal.
Another horror movie falls to the bottom of my list. Brightburn subverts our expectations for the superhero genre, but the plot is very thin and it has a ton of lame horror tropes. I'm not a fan of the characters and there doesn't seem to be a real reason why this kid is bloodthirsty. However, I'll give this film credit for having great kill scenes. It's gore done the right way. This film isn't very long either, which is another plus.
22) Angel Has Fallen
Unfortunately, this movie is my least favorite installment in the Fallen series. It's packed with cool action scenes, but the plot is completely predictable and Gerard Butler is definitely aging out of his role. This film is perplexing in a way because the pacing is quick and yet I felt incredibly bored. I suppose you can throw a ton of action in a movie, but it's not interesting if the story and characters are subpar.
Now we're reaching middle grade cinema. Anna is an okay espionage film, but it's not great. It has some killer actions scenes and a few interesting plot points. But it has pacing issues and I'm not particularly thrilled with the actors. Luc Besson has a habit of casting models in his lead roles, which might not be the best decision. Fortunately, this movie gets better along the way. I don't mind it.
20) 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
Honestly, this is a bad movie, but it's also a guilty pleasure. Uncaged is quick and breezy with a lot of shark antics. Let's just throw four teenagers in an underwater maze with great white sharks. Sounds like fun, right? Don't expect good storytelling in this type of film. I just wish it had a little more substance and scares. It should be possible to make a decent shark movie. No, Jaws doesn't count. Jaws was the first dumb shark flick that spawned the others.
19) Don't Let Go
I believe Don't Let Go has some positive qualities, including good performances and a nice little mystery with a sci-fi twist. However, it's probably more suitable for sreaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime. Unlike most of the films on my list, Don't Let Go is actually an original work. It's not amazing, but completely watchable. Aside from pacing issues, I would say it's a decent watch on any streaming service.
18) It Chapter 2
Part two of the It franchise didn't impress me. The visual effects are terrible and it lacks a surprising amount of scares. Pennywise isn't in the film very often and the plot has quite a few tangents. With that said, all of the actors are terrific and it has decent entertainment value. Ironically, this movie is nearly three hours long, but it moves along briskly. It's weird and incoherent, but I saw much worse cinema in 2019.
17) Knives Out
This little murder mystery was fine for all intensive purposes, but it's overrated. I'm not sure why it's a potential awards contender. Knives Out is fun and satirical with a great ensemble cast. However, the mystery is predictable and the film suffers from pacing issues. Anyone who regularly watches PBS will figure out the mystery elements without a problem. But it's still a good effort and an entertaining social commentary.
16) Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
The second Maleficent film has many fun and interesting elements, but it's also quite strange. It's a Disney fantasy that's oddly inappropriate for younger viewers. It's too dark and violent for really young kids. With that said, adults might enjoy this movie. The action scenes are quite good and it has plenty of Medieval fantasy themes. It went a little bit overboard with the social commentary and the VFX weren't the best, although it has several redeemable qualities.
15) Avengers: Endgame
That's right. Avengers didn't reach my top ten of the year. Isn't that a shocker? In general, Endgame was a good movie, but it's incredibly long and many elements don't make a lot of sense. Regardless, it has some powerful moments, cool action scenes, and a lot of heart. I love so many of these characters and it's exciting to see what will happen in the next phase of the MCU. It has a really nice conclusion that leaves the door open for future chapters.
14) Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw
Yeah, I'm ranking Hobbs and Shaw a little bit above Avengers. It gets a lot worse! Just wait until you see my top ten. This Fast & Furious spinoff is fun and wacky with endless action scenes and humorous banter. I enjoy the characters and the film's over the top nature. However, it's awfully silly with hardly any substance. It's cute, but not the best. With that said, I will gladly watch Hobbs and Shaw instead of the other Fast & Furious installments. It's not one of my favorite movie franchises.
13) Ready or Not
This little horror film was a nice surprise. It has an interesting concept, enjoyable characters, dark humor, and plenty of scares. Sometimes the humor works and other times it left my audience in dead silence. Ready or Not has quite a bit of originality and wit, but it's also slow at times. Basically, I recommend it for horror fans. It's a hidden gem for certain moviegoers.
12) Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Another huge blockbuster fails to reach my top ten. Granted, this one is closer. The Rise of Skywalker is an exciting conclusion to the main Star Wars series. It's full of space battles, lightsaber duels, creatures, beautiful world building, and the characters have strong development. What's the problem? The story is very convoluted and weird. I'm a huge Star Wars fan, but this film is surprisingly confusing for me. Many elements don't make sense and the movie is stuffed with peculiar fan service. But I enjoy many components and it's a satisfying end to the Skywalker saga.
11) Terminator: Dark Fate
A lot of hardcore Terminator fans hate this movie, but I think it's much better than anything that followed Judgement Day. In fact, Dark Fate is a pleasant surprise with entertaining characters, fabulous action sequences, and a lot more substance than I expected. The opening is controversial, but it didn't make me feel bent out of shape. Dark Fate's real weaknesses are sloppy writing, poor visual effects, and it's rehashing too many elements from the first two Terminator movies. Even though the apocalypse was prevented, mankind still created another homicidal computer system that will spark another wave of killer robots. They can't do anything else with this franchise? I like this film, but it tanked at the box office and we probably won't see another Terminator movie for quite some time.
You reached my coveted top ten of 2019! This is an unusual list of films. Sure, it's a list of blockbusters and actions movies because that's my jam. But the biggest and most popular releases of the year didn't make it to the top. Midway is a war film that takes place after the disaster in Pearl Harbor during World War II. I think this movie has really good storytelling and it's more realistic than most PG-13 war dramas. Basically, it's a decent action film that should please history buffs. However, it's very long and I wouldn't recommend it for everyone.
9) Captain Marvel
I was pleasantly surprised with Captain Marvel. It has some issues, but the overall product is fun and effective. I found Brie Larson quite entertaining and sassy as the titular character and this film is very different than everything else in the MCU. Yeah, it has some feminist themes. Big deal. In general, this movie was a nice start for the Captain Marvel character.
8) Spider-Man: Far From Home
The latest Spider-Man movie is really entertaining and heartwarming. I'm sure it's also the most popular entry on my top ten list. This film is much better than Homecoming with better action scenes, more character development, and a lot of humor. I can totally picture teenagers getting in this much trouble if superheroes and villains existed. It's a real treat. This film isn't perfect, but it's a crowd pleaser.
7) Pet Sematary
The remake of Pet Sematary is a cool little horror movie. I watched the original film and read the novel by Stephen King. This rendition of Pet Sematary is the best. It's frightening and creepy with interesting psychological elements. The actors are very good and the production design is atmospheric. Lately, I've been disappointed with the horror genre, but this one is a rare exception.
6) Annabelle Comes Home
There's another horror film on my top ten! I wasn't a fan of the Annabelle series until this one. The third Annabelle movie is a delightful catastrophe of scares and adrenaline. It's a real scream fest, but in a fun way. The plot is simple and that's not a bad thing. It focuses on the horror element and general entertainment value. The filmmakers had the right idea. I'm sure some viewers will want more complexity and substance, but it was fine for me.
5) John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum
Who doesn't love John Wick? He's one of the best antiheroes. John Wick: Chapter 3 is an intense show of action and gratuitous violence. It's amazing for anyone who's an action fan. Naturally, it won't appeal to people who prefer dramas and family entertainment. This movie doesn't have a great plot, but the action scenes are strong enough to distract audiences from the issue. Also, the stunt choreography is a work of art. Hopefully, we'll get a fourth John Wick film in the near future.
4) Godzilla: King of the Monsters
This movie is a big improvement from the Godzilla film that was released in 2014. King of the Monsters is like a classic Godzilla movie with modern VFX. Plus, it has a great cast of both humans and kaiju. This film has a surprisingly decent story and the fight scenes are incredible. It's everything a kaiju fan should want. However, I know this is a niche genre and many viewers won't find it entertaining.
I never believed this movie would land on my top ten. The trailers were downright stupid! But the actual film is wonderful. It has a great script, excellent characters, plenty of humor, and other entertaining qualities. I would say it's one of the best DC films in their current timeline. Shazam! is a nice movie for the entire family and it actually has a lot of substance. I was incredibly surprised.
The remake of Aladdin is another shockingly good movie. Like Shazam!, the marketing was terrible. Fortunately, the finished product is spectacular, even though it's a little bit cheesy. It's a nostalgic adventure that's faithful to the source material while adding new elements. That's not an easy task. I also love the cast and music. Sure, Will Smith isn't a fantastic singer, but he's an excellent casting choice for the Genie anyway. This version of Aladdin should keep the original fanbase happy while entertaining a new generation of audiences.
1) Pokémon Detective Pikachu
Can you believe it? Detective Pikachu is the reigning heavyweight champion! This movie is so adorable, funny, charming, and accessible to people who don't know anything about Pokémon. The story makes sense to me, although I'm sure some viewers will disagree. It's just different. I can't think of a recent film that looks and feels like Detective Pikachu. Additionally, it means video game movies can be good. Heck yeah!
That's the end of my 2019 review list! Naturally, there isn't enough time and money to see every major release. The marketing failed to impress me for the following movies, so I'm waiting for streaming: Escape Room, Replicas, Glass, Serenity, Miss Bala, The Prodigy, Happy Death Day 2U, Alita: Battle Angel, Dumbo, The Curse of La Llorona, The Intruder, Ma, Men in Black: International, Shaft, The Dead Don't Die, Child's Play, Midsommar, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, The Kitchen, Ad Astra, Rambo: Last Blood, Joker, Gemini Man, Zombieland: Double Tap, Ford v Ferrari, Charlie's Angels, 21 Bridges, Black Christmas, and 1917. Evidently, another Jumanji movie came out in 2019, but I didn't see any trailers.
What were your favorite and most disappointing movies last year? Did you see any films that I skipped? Leave any comments that show your honest opinions. 2019 was a strange assortmet of movies and it almost seemed like studios threw darts at a board to determine their film lineup. Maybe 2020 will be crazier yet. I guess we'll find out soon enough. A horror film called Underwater is going to be the first item on my slate for 2020. Let's see what happens. Thanks for taking this journey with me and I'll write another post soon. Bye!
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