Yesterday - Despite some surprising conviction to it's world-building, this rom-com offers little in the way of likeability, especially not from a very poorly written Lily James. There is also an incredibly shark jump moment which I imagine will leave fans angered.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix - The last gasps of air from the Fox X-Men universe ends the franchise on a bum note. A soulless, joyless slog through to the finish line. At least the actors are right there with you in not giving a shit about anything in this film.
The Favourite - What a shitshow of a film. Despite some great acting turns from all three leads, there are a bevy of problems: The dialogue is poorly written, the camera angles are ugly, the editing is poorly done, the music is dreadful and the creative team seem to think they invented lesbians. An exercise in utter frustration.
The Worst Film of 2019 - Balance, Not Symmetry
Where do you fucking begin with how this film is bad? For starters, director Jamie Adams decided to film the dialogue with no script, meaning that the actors are flying by the seat of thier improv skills through a skeleton of a plot. In the hands of good actors, this isn't a problem. However, Laura Harrier proves that she is not capable of carrying this responsibility. All the charisma from her BlacKkKlansman and Spider-Man: Homecoming appearances disappear in a matter of seconds. I actually felt quite bad for her, as she is clearly out of her depth here.
Alongside her is Bria Vinaite, who may have just overtaken the likes of Shailene Woodley and Vicky Krieps for the title of 'Most Annoying Person To Watch in a Movie'. Every delivery, be it a line or a movement, is totally and utterly infuriating. I hated every single thing she did and I couldn't wait for her to get off screen every time she appeared, which was unfortunate as she was second billing on the posters. Mind you, almost every character was irredeemably bad; The mom character was borderline abusive despite being framed as sympathetic, the lecturer was a baseless moron, and the father character didn't even appear and the fact that his death was driving this plot made me angry he exists.
And we haven't even got to the fucking terrible plot. There are two American students studying at the Glasgow School of At, one of the most prestigious art school in Europe, and the main characters CAN'T EVEN FUCKING DRAW. Everything in this films just defies logic. And above all that? It's flat out fucking boring. I wouldn't be as mad if I was even remotely entertained, but I was struggling to stop myself from walking out it was so terrible. I have never once walked out of a movie in my life, but I got up and started to exit just before realising that the movie was thankfully ending.
They couldn't even include the soundtrack in a convincing manner, as good as it is. And if you can't get the one thing we're all here for right, what reason does this have to exist? And the screening promotions advertised a live Biffy set and a Q&A with the cast, the latter of which was cut from the screening I saw. Hopefully because everyone involved was sentenced to death. I truly hate this movie with every fibre of my being, and knowing it was birthed from the very artists I idolize is absolutely soul crushing.
The world would have been a better place if this film didn't exist.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Luckily a far cry in quality from The Last Jedi, but sadly not reaching the lofty heights of The Force Awakens. The Rise of Skywalker tries to make two movies worth of lore into one, which ends up being a messy and rushed film, but still massively enjoyable.
Alita: Battle Angel - A film that for all accounts shouldn't have worked offers one of the best anime to Hollywood adaptations thus far. A visually striking film that embraces it's silliness in a meaningful and earnest way.
Vice - It's rare that a movie disgusts and terrifies you, yet you can't help but laud it as one of the years best. Christian Bale is a total chameleon in this film, offering a Walter White-esque spiral into the power hungry Dick Cheney we all know and hate.
10- Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
Reasons - In what will forever be known as the Power Rangers pick, the 10th slot is reserved for a movie that for all accounts shouldn't be here, but scrapes in under the line through pure charm alone. I get it, I'm a sucker for anything Pokemon, but what Pokemon: Detective Pikachu manages to do within it's constraints is deliver a tight, enjoyable and very funny kids movie. It's not high art, but then not every film has to be. Ryme City is an excellently realised locale, the visual integration with the rest of the brand is mesmerising and ultimately Justice Smith is able to act very, very well against a Ryan Reynolds voiced CGI Pikachu. If that pairing didn't work, none of the rest of the movie would, so thank god Smith is every bit the capable actor he wasn't in Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. And of course, one of the lines of the year in "Finish him, Ditto!" offers the unintentional laughs in spades. This was a fun ride from start to finish, and whilst it's not going to wow audiences at Cannes, it made this 27 year old man child very happy.
Best Bit - Equal parts the epic Torterra reveal and the Deus Ex Bulbasaur parade.
9- John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Reasons - It's strange to think that the once humble, low budget John Wick masterpiece has spiralled out into this multi-film action behemoth that rakes in tons of money, but when you've got Keanu at the height of his Reeve-naissance, then you've got a good movie. Whilst the action is certainly the heaviest and wackiest it's been so far (The opening fight giving me "Two blokes and a fuckload of cutlery" vibes), it wouldn't be fair to say that it's as tight as it's predecessors. Even John Wick 2 had a bit more of a straight line plot than this one. However, the expansion of the world of assassins and the theatre and spectacle of John Wicks world tour of murder is undeniably entertaining. It's probably as close to the re-invigoration of the 'Dad's action film' genre, but I'll be damned if it's not a fun time at the cinema.
Best Bit - John Wick, Sofia and two German Shepards vs the population of Casablanca.
8- Green Book
Reasons - The story of two men bracing against the racist norms of the 60's is apparently a controversial Oscar win? What reality have I fallen into? Green Book is a very heartfelt look at how prejudice can often be overlooked and ignored, and approaches this still raw subject in such an emotive way. The empathy you feel for Tony Lip (Viggo Mortenson) to get his shit together and be a better, kinder man is palpable from the early minutes of the film, as is your adoration and sympathy for Dr Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali). Having these chalk-and-cheese characters share a car and open up about their lives might actually be one of the more convincing relationships we've had in movies this year. I realise it's a film that treats the racial issue with a bit of a glossy sheen to it, but I think that trade-off for the gorgeous cinematography and stellar performances may have been worth it. Plus, it impacts the story in no negative way, so what's the issue? This movie was able to break down just how bad it was for people like Dr Shirley in a way that doesn't feel accusatory to its audience, yet still rallies you to want to see changes be made.
Best Bit - A lot of the road trip is great, but in particular the letter writing scenes and the discovery of fried chicken stand out.
7- DragonBall Super: Broly
Reasons - When this came out in the UK on limited release, the demand was so high at my local cinema that the 1 night/2 showings run had to be expanded into a 4 night/3 showings run. The fan demand for DragonBall in the west still surprises me after over 20 years of the English dub existing. After DragonBall returned in 2013 with Battle of Gods and later with Resurrection F and the Super series, it's back to a new height of popularity. And now, we have the canon introduction of the fan favourite Broly character, which goes to great lengths to integrate this story in a smart, emotional way that gives real depth to the story of DBZ. But the real reason this is so high in the list is because of the sheer spectacle of animation and choreography of the fight scenes. As Goku, Vegeta and Freiza all go toe-to-toe with Broly, you're reminded of the hype levels the original series reached with half an hour a week of people screaming at each other, and just how far we've come from there. It's nothing short of spectacular to see these powerhouses knock each other around like pinballs on the big screen, with a room full of excitable weebs going crazy for it.
Best Bit - When Super Sayian Blue Gogeta finally lays the smack-down on Broly and they have a fight that literally shatters their dimension.
6- Toy Story 4
Reasons - By all accounts, a fourth Toy Story film is a bad idea. The story was wrapped up in the third outing with a satisfying conclusion to the story of Andy's toys. However, the money machine of Disney demands there be another movie to capitalise off that good faith. So here we are, with what could have been a contrived retread of the same themes from the last instalment, but instead is a very enjoyable and overall surprising film. Choosing to focus in on the idea of toys becoming lost and finding new purpose outside of their ownership to children, Toy Story 4 somehow pulls their high concept kids film off and breaks the Pixar sequel curse. This is achieved through stellar voice work from all involved, in particular Tom Hanks as a Woody that is finally evolving from the straight-laced no-fun sheriff into a much more interesting, spontaneous free spirit. It isn't quite the emotional gut punch of the ending of Toy Story 3, but the ending here too is one that will evoke tears. The real question is now about if anything comes next, and if it does, what does that look like?
Best Bit - The key!
5- Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Reasons - Tarantino's 10th (Or 9th, if you're counting his way) and penultimate film was every bit the event of controversy you'd expect from Hollywood's most notable cult provocateur. From the inclusion of a depiction of Roman Polasnki, to being called a racist for his depiction of Bruce Lee, to accusations of misrepresenting Sharon Tate, it seems everyone has it out for this film. However, behind all the shouting is a tense, well paced acting masterclass from both Leonardo DiCaprio and especially Brad Pitt. I'm just gonna say it, I think this is Pitt''s best movie of the past ten years and his strongest, most memorable performance since Inglorious Basterds. There's a certain x-factor to his performance; a quiet, friendly guy who knows exactly how to deal with problems and a questionable past hanging over his head. It's a wonderful cocktail of tropes that results in one of the years best characters. The representation of 60's Hollywood is every bit as authentic as it should be and is fertile ground for telling a great character story, which it finds in Rick Dalton's career slump.
Best Bit - Cliff Booth visiting the Manson Family ranch is equal parts terrifying and brutally satisfying.
4- Le Mans '66 (Ford V Ferrari)
Reasons - Easily the biggest surprise of the year is the story of Ford and Ferrari going to industrial war on the Le Mans racetrack. Whilst the driving scenes are very good, the real meat of the movie is in the drama. Matt Damon turns in a career best performance as Carroll Shelby, whilst Christian Bale perfectly encapsulates the relatable working man character, right down to the common sense logic and colourful vocabulary. But honestly, everyone in the cast are great. Ken Miles's wife and son are a really well realised family unit, the corporate board of Ford are as big of a group of bastards as you'd expect and the garage/pit team are presented as engineering artists in the best way possible. James Mangold's last movie Logan was one of my favourites of the last decade, and whilst Le Mans '66 isn't troubling that list, it easily establishes Mangold as one of those directors that I will see their films on name basis alone.
Best Bit - Ken Miles offering the most Midlands way of fixing problems, not once but twice in the movie.
Reasons - What can be said about Joker that hasn't already been the topic of endless Twitter arguments, mass media smear articles hoping to will a mass shooting into existence or big think YouTube 'philosophy' videos that say it's an indictment against feminism. If you have a take on Joker, it's probably bad. And it's probably bad because you didn't see the film. Even my take will be seen as bad, because I didn't get the same things from the film as a lot of people I've spoken to did. But simply based on the fact that this movie started a real discussion, I have to give it praise. Moreover, I have to really praise the movie for it's commitment to making a movie that deals with mental health issues, political upheaval, funding health projects, paternal abuse, unreliable narrators AND then is a Batman origin story. This film had the brass balls to be different in a landscape that didn't ask for it and then be a stunning piece bought to life by Joaquin Phoenix's impeccable performance as Arthur Fleck. It's clearly not the Joker as we've come to know him, but I think this film is more important than just giving the Clown Prince a gritty backstory. It's lit a fire underneath a lot of people and asked them to question a whole range of sensitive subjects. This film apes Taxi Driver a whole bunch and I think it will end up being just as culturally important as that was.
Best Bit - Just after the twist happens, as Arthur is painting his face white, his final interaction with Randall and Gary is the first really brutal window into who the Joker is.
2- Spider-Man: Far From Home
Reasons - Now we reach this years films that go above criticism and just become pure entertainment bliss. Unsurprisingly, they're Marvel movies. Again. Anyway, Far From Home is my new favourite live action Spider-Man movie, mainly because it managed to contextualise my favourite of Spidey's rouges gallery into the MCU in a believable and creative way. It also succeeded in showing how Endgame will ripple through what comes next in Phase 4. Tom Holland continues to be the lovable teen Peter Parker we all know and love, whose romance with Zendaya's MJ is wonderfully realised and just as awkward as teen romances should be. Weirdly though, I think once Jake Gyllenhall's Mysterio goes through his heel turn, he instantly steals the show. Top that off with some great actions scenes, hilarious laughs from Ned (Jacob Batalon) and one of the best endings in the MCU, and you get a Spider-Man movie so good it shoots straight into second place. Thank god Sony and Marvel put their divorce on hold so we can see the trilogy play out as it should.
Best Bit - When Mysterio gets to go all out with his illusions and they fully capitalise on the trippy nature of the character.
1- Avengers: Endgame
Reasons - Hopefully the last of the inevitable Marvel top spots for a while, we have the cinematic event of the year. I had thought prior to release that his would take number one and I was proven incredibly right. Make no mistake, Endgame is the perfect culmination to the journey we started back in 2008's Iron Man. It has payoff after payoff after payoff and you care about every single one of those payoffs in a fashion that could only have been achieved by the mammoth that is the MCU. Coming in at a 3 hour run-time, somehow the movie is surprisingly easy to watch and ramps up it's pace symbiotically with it's story. And that third act, as I've said before, is the best third act of any movie ever. It's the apex point of more than a decades build up, and none of it feels underwhelming or wasted. The entire cast do a great job, the VFX team deserve a few years off for realising this epic final battle and the Avengers theme tune has never sounded sweeter than when every last motherfucker from the MCU line up alongside Captain America (Chris Evans) to stare down Thanos one last time. Is it indulgent? Yes. Is it near enough the same movie as Infinity War? Also yes. But is it a perfect resolution to the Infinity Saga and the definitive touchstone moment in pop culture of recent memory? You bet your ass it is.
Best Bit - Is it cheating to say the whole thing? Just off the top of my head, you've got "That's America's Ass", "Thor, he's calling me a dickhead again", "On your left", "Avengers Assemble", the fight scene to end all fight scenes, "I am Iron Man".... man, it's tough. I guess if I had to come down on just one, I'd say when Cap finally picks up Mjolnir and spins that shit like a Beyblade. I gave myself a dead leg for about 4 days afterwards just off the sheer joy of that moment.
And there we have it, the last movie list of the 2010's. Overall, a great decade for films and a really closely fought final year. I've had more movies jump up and down my ratings this year than any other and for the most part it's been a great ride at the cinema. Next year, Marvel Phase 4 begins, Kong goes up against Godzilla and the world has to deal with a Sonic the Hedgehog movie existing. It's gonna be a wild one for sure. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more intrepid stupidness.