Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Top Ten Movies of 2019

10. Parasite

Parasite has been making waves in the last part of the year, and it really is a strong thriller.  It has something to say about the divide between social classes and the lengths people will go to to keep up.


9. Yesterday

I know this didn’t win over a lot of people, and I was honestly dubious about it, but it did end up winning me over.  I liked it both as a tribute to the Beatles and as a story in its own right.
8. The Irishman
This is a 3 1/2 hour movie released on streaming video about some old gangsters being old.  And yet it drew me in enough to watch it all in one sitting even when I didn’t have to.  It was really good.  The acting was, well, what you’d hope to expect from the cast.  I’m not always on board with what Scorsese does, but I was this time for sure.
7. Knives Out
I really enjoy murder mysteries, though there aren’t a lot of really great ones.  I enjoyed Knives Out a lot.  It really had a Clue-like feel.  Daniel Craig was a lot of fun.  The plot was neat in the way it switched up the information reveals.  Check it out!
6. Midsommar
This movie is really disturbing.  I just want to preface with that caveat, because to be honest I am really bothered with this ending.  But the atmosphere fo this movie leading up to it, especially in the first act, is superb.  You feel like you are in the hands of a true craftsman of horror
5. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Tarantino’s new effort is definitely a slow burn, but I enjoyed just sitting in this period with these characters.  As with Midsommar, I’m still not sure how I feel about the way it concluded, but as I reflect on it I’m not sure any other ending would have been appropriate.  Both DiCaprio and Pitt are excellent, and its great seeing them finally on screen together.
4. Avengers Endgame
I was impressed with the way the climax of the MCU was able to pull everything together without feeling overwhelming and give me legitimate surprises in a genre that is often seen as formulaic and repetitive.  The reason this movie works is because we like these characters  and we like seeing them fight through this ultimate challenge.  There’s a reason Marvel is at the top of the box office lists; they know what they are doing and they know how to entertain while focusing on great characters.
3. Ad Astra
Ad Astra isn’t a film for everyone, and I wasn’t sure it was going to be a film for me.  But I really latched on to the themes it was exploring, as they matched my mood of the moment very well.  Ad Astra on the surface is about an astronaut going to the far reach of the solar system to find his father, but underneath its really about mankind’s struggle with faith and struggle against nihilism.  So like I said, not for everyone, but it was for me at this particular time.
2. 1917
An adventure film inside a war film, but without losing the profundity often required of war films.  This was an exciting movie; the kind of movie that got me really interested in films during my younger days.  One thing that really struck me was how the characters are built by tiny moments that humanize them, like the choice to rescue a man they maybe shouldn’t have, or how one character sacrifices his rifle to knock out an enemy rather than kill him.  This is the most recent movie I’ve seen from this year, and it really made an impression on me.
1. Apollo 11
This is the first time my movie of the year has been a documentary.  I’m not a big doc-head; I tend to strongly prefer narrative films.  But this year is an exception, because Apollo 11 was released for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.  First all, I will say I am jealous of everyone alive during that time who were able to see it live (thought I am very eagerly anticipating the eventual Mars landing).  But seeing this documentary of almost entirely stock footage of the mission was perhaps the best alternative I could hope for.  The technical aspects were fascinating, the dramatic moments were tense, and the momentous achievements they reached were very uplifting.  I was entranced by this film and I am very happy it exists.

2 Responses to “Top Ten Movies of 2019”

  1. Are you picking movies I haven’t seen just so I cannot pick apart your list?

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