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Movie Corner – Top 10 Films of 2019

Howard McQuitter

By Howard McQuitter
oldschoolmovies.wordpress.com
howardmcquitter68@gmail.com

1. 1917
Director Sam Mendes epic World War II film where two British soldiers Lance Corporal Schofield (George McKay) and Lance Corporal Blake (Dean- Charles Chapman) are ordered to go through areas largely abandoned by the Germans to warn 1600 British combatants not to attack for the Germans are planning to ambush them. Largely shot in one take “1917”, the movie should join one of the best war films in film history. (R) Running time:119 minutes. War/Drama/Thriller.

2. Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Back to Hollywood in 1969 with Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) on the rise as an actress. Rick Dalton (Leonardo Di Caprio) is almost a has-been TV and silver screen actor and his stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) tries to find work in his beloved Hollywood. (R) Director: Quentin Tarantino. Running time: 161 minutes. Drama/Thriller/Period Piece.

3. Joker
A cautionary tale this dysphoric take in Gotham City, a place somewhere over time has seen a wider and wider gap between the have and have-nots with no end in sight. Caught up in all the misery of the city is one mentally-ill Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a clown by day and an aspiring comedian by night. He’s pushed to the margins of society, becomes known as the “Joker,” and goes on a rampage. As such, “Joker” is very disturbing character for sure, but the movie is much deeper than it appears. (R) Director: Todd Phillips. Running time: 122 minutes. Period Piece/Drama.


4. The Irishman

Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a former World War II learns to kill while serving in Italy. Looking back at his life sitting in a wheelchair in a nursing home, Frank (Robert Di Niro) tells an unseen person (possibly Charles Brandt, who wrote the book on “Frank Sheeran), tells stories about working for Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), former president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who disappears mysteriously in July 1975 at age 60. Frank starts out in the 1950s as a truck driver for a meat factory and works for the Italian mob knocking off dozens of men. By the time of President John Kennedy, Frank is rising in the ranks among the mob and becomes a favorite of Mr. Hoffa. (R) Director: Martin Scorsese. Running time: 209 minutes. Crime/Biography/Drama.

5. Parasite
Now world-renowned South Korean director Bong Joon Ho (“Snowpiercer”, “Mother”, “The Host”) new film “The Parasite,” the title speaks for itself, starting with an unemployed family working for little or nothing has to come up with something to pull themselves out of their rut. So happens the son takes an interest in the daughter of the wealthy Parks family only to have his life and his family’s lives changed (perhaps for the worst) in a business scheme not exactly honest. (R) Director: Bong Joon Ho. Running time: 132 minutes. Korean in English subtitles. Drama/Thriller.

6. Ford v Ferrari
American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), because of health issues, passes the baton to Ken Miles, British race car driver, (Christian Bale) hoping to build a revolutionary race car for Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts), (the Ford Motor Co.) to challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. Director: James Mangold. Running time: 152 minutes. (PG-13) Drama/Biography.

7. Pain & Glory
A warmhearted quasi-biography of the director Pedro Almodovar’s successes and failures. From the days as a boy with fond memories of his mother to his adult years with a former lover. Director: Pedro Almodovar. Running time: 113 minutes. (R) Spanish in English subtitles. Drama/Biography (semi)/Romance.

8. The Purity of Vengeance
I saw this film at the 38th Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. Three detectives (Nikolay Lie Kaas, Fares Fares, Johanne Louise Schmidt) seek to solve multiple murders after two workmen busting into a wall in an older Copenhagen apartment find three mummified corpses still in chairs around a tea table with one empty seat. Not Rated. Director: Christopher Boe. In Danish with English subtitles. Running time; 119 minutes.

9. Rocketman
“Rocketman” is not North Korea leader Kim Jong Un but a reference to Elton John (Taron Egerton) one of our most influential musicians across generations. He faced many hurdles from parental problems to drug, alcohol issues and then to come to terms with being gay. (R) Director: Dexter Fletcher. Runnning time: 121 minutes. Biography/Drama/Music.

10. Dark Waters
Today, many of us who are “common people” complain about corporations but few are willing to take on any corporations when they have caused great harm (physically or otherwise). A corporate defense attorney stands up against Dupont, the most powerful chemical company in the 1950s through the 1990s, and beyond. Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) discovers a farmer’s cows in the Appalachians that are mysteriously dying. More than that, people begin to get sick from the polluted river. (PG-13) Director: Todd Haynes. Running time: 126 minutes. Drama/Mystery.

Highly Recommended Films of 2019

1. Knives Out – Drama/Mystery/Comedy

2. Uncut Gems – Crime/Drama

3. Queen & Slim – Drama/Romance/Road Film/African American/Police

4. Motherless Brooklyn – Gumshoe/Drama/Period Piece

5. A Hidden Life – History/Hitler’s Germany
German in English subtitles

6. Ad Astra – Science Fiction/Space

7. Harriet – African American History/American History

8. Judy – Biography/Music

9. Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice – Documentary

10. It Chapter Two – Horror
also Two Popes – Catholicism/Popes/Religious

11. The Farewell – Family/Drama/Comedy
Chinese in English subtitles

12. Midsommer – Horror
Swedish in English subtitles

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