The reasoning behind my top 10 films of the year.
There was only one real stinker in the films I saw in 2019; Ad Astra, which was appalling.
I continue to use these 4 criteria for this round up:
1 – did the film do what it set out to do?
2 – did it use its resources to its best ability? A £250,000 film is not going to have as good explosions as a £25,000,000 film, or it shouldn’t, and if it does, there’s something wrong with the £25,000,000 film. Basically, it’s a technical merit score.
3 – Intellectual satisfaction – does the film’s plot pull some really stupid move at the last moment? Does the plot rely on characters being more stupid than they are?
4 – Does this work as a whole? Did it work for me? I am aware that this is the most subjective of subjective criteria!
Ad Astra failed all 4 of these.
I’d say 8 and above of my top 10 pass one or more of these criteria.
My top 10 films of 2019 are:
1 – Blinded by the Light – It’s not perfect, it’s bit obvious, and heavy-handed in parts. But it’s made with love and it perfectly captures *that* feeling of being alone in the world and suddenly, there’s that band (or that singer) who is the only person who understands you.
2 – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – I liked the art work, and the way they told the story they aimed to. I love Toothless in all his ridiculousness, and it also gets points for F. Murray Abraham’s villain, who was excellent.
3 – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – L thought I’d love it, all well-choreographed violence surrounded by baroque nonsense and a delightfully morally ambiguous turn from Ian McShane. And I did. I am a woman of simple tastes.
4 – The Missing Link – I like Laika films. This just didn’t quite work for me. Not quite sure why. I did love the Elder of the Yetis.
5 – Captain Marvel – Another one that didn’t quite work for me. Probably for the same reason that Captain America didn’t work for me. Excellent soundtrack mind you.
6 – Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – In what’s getting to be a theme, this didn’t quite work for me. And while the stunt crew and the actors brought it, the continuity department and fact-checking teams really didn’t.
7 – Gemini Man – While this did work for me, I am more than aware that it wasn’t as good as the three films above it. I could have done without most of the technical tricks it used (except *that* one. *That* one was very good.) but there is a solid and interesting film somewhere under the top layer of too much SFX.
8 – Avengers: Endgame – This is the one where I am willing to accept that I am being mean when I rank it this low. Because the technical parts of this were excellent, and I cried when they wanted me to. I also respect that they had a story they wanted to tell and told that story. I like what they did with two of the main 6 Avengers, and I can live with what they did with another 2. But with one of Avenger, I have the same problem with the way they handle him as always, although this time they at least gave him a few scenes where he wasn’t impossible (the problem is, as always, the disconnect between what they want me to feel about the character and what I do feel). But for the remaining Avenger, I hated what they did with him. I think it could have been done, and done well, even if it went against his character arc in his own 3 films, but they also chose to make him a joke, and I don’t like that when he’s my favourite Avenger.
9 – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Again, it didn’t work for me (set design excepted, that worked) but it’s less well done than the other films that didn’t work for me. I’m not sure what story they were trying to tell. It’s probably a bad sign that the bits of the film I enjoyed all featured bad guys.
10 – X-Men: Dark Phoenix – I think this one might actually have been bad, but it was better than the remaining two films I saw in the cinema last year. It seemed like they threw in lots of characters and then gave them nothing to do. It was a lot of set pieces barely strung together. Worst of all, the character they handled the worst was Jean, which given that it was supposed to be *the* Phoenix film is a very bad thing indeed.
Fuller reviews of those 10 films and the others I saw in 2019 forthcoming, only I am terribly behind.