Why so serious?: ‘Joker’ showed Hollywood how counter-intuitive filmmaking can work.
Here’s a quick run-through of the films that stood out, for one reason or another, in 2019.
The Nightingale – Jennifer Kent’s Gothic colonial revenge drama might have fizzled at the box office but it remains the boldest and best film of the year, from here or anywhere.
Avengers: Endgame – It relied too much on the old time-travel trick, but this final chapter to the Avengers series dutifully delivered a satisfying finale to its planet of fans.
Toy Story 4 – We didn’t need it but we were glad to get it.
Joker – The risky, counter-intuitive dive into social realism paid off big-time ($US1.06b) and produced the best origin film yet.
Ford v Ferrari – An old-school car-racing movie fuelled by a great central bromance.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to old-school Hollywood was a celebration of nostalgia and male friendship. Yep, another bromance and a fitting companion piece to FvF.
Captain Marvel – Brie Larson looked uncomfortable in one of the most marginal Marvel films since Age of Ultron.
Dumbo – Disney’s sour version of the animated classic was an elephantine downer.
Men in Black: International – Lazy cash-in sequel, with Chris Hemsworth burning up a lot of his fan credit.
Charlie’s Angels – Not just a dreadfully inept attempt to revive the franchise but more proof that the best way to go broke is to get woke.
Booksmart – one of the most enjoyable teen films in years.
What Men Want – Taraji P. Henson was a comic firecracker in this rom-com remake. Who’d have thought Benjamin Button’s mum could be so funny?
Fighting with My Family – Rocky for girls. Why not?
Rocketman – A noble Elton John biopic.
Dark Phoenix – The X-men film didn’t click at the box office, but it was a better girl-power film than Captain Marvel, that’s for sure.
Midsommar – A prime example of spooky, slow burn horror.
Doctor Sleep – Ditto.
Parasite – The biting Korean satire about class envy offered a stinging vision of modern materialism.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – great big cheesy, bubblegum action comedy.
Angel Has Fallen – An ageing Gerard Butler churns out his best action film.
Hustlers – Great seeing J.Lo in top form.
Ad Astra – Brad Pitt shines in this contemplative space adventure.
Terminator: Dark Fate – not as bad as people made out, with some good laughs from Arnie.
Frozen 2 – yet more proof that inside every middle aged film critic is a six year-old girl who just wants to sing.
Judy – Renee Zellweger channels Judy Garland with great verve.