Well, its that time of year again, when the last of the films of 2019 are about to hit in theaters, the award nominations have already started, and we all wait with anticipation to see who will take home the prize for BEST PICTURE!
And whether your family heads out over the Holidays to catch a film together, or you just want to catch up on all the fabulous films you might have missed throughout the year, I have comprised my list of the ~ TOP 10 MOVIES OF THE YEAR ~ THAT YOU HAVE TO SEE ~(Technically 11, because I just couldn’t leave out either of my #10 Choices – and there are a few Honorable mentions that you might want to check out listed here too!) and regardless if you’re catching them at a theater near you, on DVD, or on your favorite streaming service before the accolades start arriving…you have to catch these films…So let’s get started…:
#1 MOVIE OF THE YEAR – ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD – From its all-star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, & Margot Robbie, to its perfectly scripted storyline, to its nod to Hollywood glimmering through each passing frame, Quentin Tarantino Writes and Directs the most fabulous film to hit the big screen this year, and even after viewing it 5 separate times with family and friends, I still managed to catch something new, that I hadn’t caught before within all the nostalgia hitting on screen, making ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD my absolute favorite film of the year!
#2 MOVIE OF THE YEAR – THE IRISHMAN – Leave it to Scorsese to create a film for Netflix that was leaving a big wake months before it ever hit a big screen near you, much less on your television screen at home via the streaming service. From its Academy award winning, star studded cast, to its persuasive storyline of “what really happened to Jimmy Hoffa”, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci make sure that this film is totally worth spending the 3+ hours it takes to see it through, alas making it the longest running time film to hit this year’s list too!
#3 MOVIE OF THE YEAR – LITTLE WOMEN – Hitting Theaters on Christmas Day, Greta Gerwig has managed to remake the authentic Louisa May Alcott tale into a contemporary masterpiece, filled with the ambiance of the era, complete with breathtakingly beautiful imagery, and a intertwining storyline that is totally “the real deal” thanks to the superb cast, that includes Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern and Timothee Chalamet! And here’s hoping that the Academy garners Gerwig the nod that she so most rightfully deserves, for Writing and Directing this exquisitely stunning film…
#4 MOVIE OF THE YEAR – MARRIAGE STORY – When Academy Award nominated Director & Writer Noah Baumbach decided to take his own life experiences to big screen, sharing the pain and anguish that comes from a failed marriage and inevitable divorce, and puts it all on full display for the world to see, you get one of the most incredibly moving performances I have seen all year from his male lead, Adam Driver. Driver’s performance is so poignant and heart-breaking, it totally rocked me to my knees! Still playing on the big screen at Landmark’s Plaza Frontenac Theatre, this film is a definite “Must See on the Big Screen” for me, although you can presently catch it on Netflix too, if you just want to catch it in the comfort of your own home!
#5 MOVIE OF THE YEAR – JOJO RABBIT – Who would have thought that a young man channeling an imaginary friend – who is none other than Adolf Hitler himself – as he struggles through life with his single mother, and a stowed away Jewish girl in his home during World War II, would turn out to be one of the funniest, and moving films of the year… and that is exactly what Director and Writer Taika Waititi managed to create with his latest creation JOJO RABBIT! This film is truly one of the most fabulous films to hit the big screen this year, and with star-power to boot, including and incredible performance by youngster Roman Griffin Davis, and funny and heartfelt performances too by Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell! And if you haven’t had the chance to catch it yet on a big screen near you, this film is presently playing at Landmark’s Plaza Frontenac Theatre, so get your tickets NOW!
#6 MOVIE OF THE YEAR @ Matinee Chat with Kathy Kaiser is ROCKETMAN – Taron Egerton is totally channeling Elton John throughout this fabulous film (He is SUPERB), as this biographical masterpiece takes you into the life of this child prodigy, and John’s friendship with Music Composer Bernie Taupin. I mean, what’s a year in film without an incredible musical to put a little pep in your step…and ROCKETMAN does not disappoint! My only wish throughout the film, was that we got to experience more of Elton’s life, beyond his years with Taupin. But with that said, if you love Elton’s music like I do, you most definitely have to catch Egerton is his award worthy performance, as this legendary entertainer!
#7 MOVIE OF THE YEAR – THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON – When Directors & Writers Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson set out to create a film for their friend Zack Gottsagen, little did they know that there “Sweet little film” about a young man with Downs Syndrome, who dreams of one day becoming a professional wrestler, would strike a chord with so many of its viewers along the way, including me! 😉 And securing Shia LeBeouf as the lead was a total God-send too, as he places his most incredible acting to date, within the frames of this film. And when you add in the other exceptional performances by Dakota Johnson, Bruce Dern, Thomas Haden Church, and John Hawkes, you end up with one incredibly moving and heart-warming story, that stays with you long after this beautifully crafted film is through…
#8 MOVIE OF THE YEAR on Matinee Chat with Kathy Kaiser– FORD V. FERRARI – If you love fast cars and racing, or just want to see another Oscar worthy performance by Christian Bale, FORD V. FERRARI is a fast-paced, thrilling rush of adrenaline! This real-life story takes you into the life of race car designer Caroll Shelby (played by Matt Damon), and his friend, Ken Miles (Bale’s role), who’s race car driving is that of legendary proportions. As these two men take on the physics of car racing, their own personal issues with one another, and the establishment all along the way, they alas find a way to build a vehicle that will surpass Ferrari in the 24 hour LeMans race, circa 1966. With an all star-cast, featuring other fabulous performances by Josh Lucas, Noah Lupe and Tracy Letts, and some incredible cinematography all the way throughout too, FORD V. FERRARI is one intense joy ride, that you don’t want to miss!
#9 MOVIE OF THE YEAR – LONG SHOT – Well, I can’t put a list together of TOP 10’s without making sure that one film from my favorite genre makes it onto the list, and even though it seems that Hollywood doesn’t really want to venture out to make many Rom/Coms anymore, LONG SHOT made me fall in love with it,,,from its hilarious antics, to its palatable picture perfect chemistry you get to experience between Theron and Rogan. I know, I know, I thought going in too, “what kind of cornball premise is this movie, and can Theron and Rogan really pull off a relationship fueled film together? And suffice to say, the answer is 100 times YES!!
#10 MOVIE OF THE YEAR – THE REPORT – This Amazon Prime Original Film stars Adam Driver in another award worthy performance this year, as Senate Staffer Daniel J. Jones, who has been tasked with finding out what’s really happening within the CIA’s post 9/11 Interrogation and Detention program…and what he finds, and reports, leads him down a painful path, with tortureistic results…
#10 MOVIE OF THE YEAR – BOMBSHELL – Centered around the true-life story of the fall of FOX News CEO Roger Ailes, and starring Academy Award winner Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, Academy Award Winner Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson, and Academy award nominated actress Margot Robbie as fictitious character Kayla Pospisil, as they all give exceptional performances throughout, and prove that there truly is “power in numbers”, once you decide to forge forth to expose your hedonistic, and sexually exploitive Boss!
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Even as I comprised my BEST FILMS of 2019, there are a few others that I wavered back and forth with, so I have to share these with you too, as they truly are MUST SEE’s as well...
UNCUT GEMS – Have you ever sat through a film that is so chaotic, yet so riveting, that you walk out of the theater asking yourself, “what just happened?” Welcome to A24 Studios new release UNCUT GEMS, featuring an award worthy performance by Adam Sandler, proving that besides being “the funny man about town”, Sandler has what it takes to take on a very serious role, and nail an incredible performance throughout every inch of this film!
HARRIET – Cynthia Erivo gives an Oscar Award worthy performance as Harriet Tubman, who’s ingenuity and courage saved hundreds of slaves throughout her life, ultimately changing the course of our Nations history…
KNIVES OUT – With an all-star cast, including Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Don Johnson, the list goes on and on…this “who done it” film, is going to keep you on the edge of your seat, the whole way through…
AVENGERS: END GAME – No, I’m not a Marvel junkie, and yes, I struggled on whether or not to place this film in my TOP 10 of the YEAR, as this final installment moved me to my core, and then some. I know, it’s not as if one of my favorite actors of all time bit the dust in real-life, but my favorite Marvel character of all time sure did, leaving me in a pool of tears throughout the remainder of “the best film in the Marvel Universe”, since the Original IRON MAN!
JUDY: Renee Zellweger gives the performance of her life, as legendary entertainer Judy Garland, during the end of her allustrious, and increasingly tragic, life-long career. This performance has Oscar written all over it, and I can’t wait to see if channeling Judy, makes all of Renee’s dreams come true!
JOKER: One of, if not the most astounding performance by an actor this year, Joaquin Phoenix takes on the role of JOKER. This prequel film of how the DC Character comes into existence, had the whole world talking, as Movie theaters ramped up security, since the tragic incident in Colorado during the release of The Dark Night Rises! This film is both dark and demented, but it also shows a side of mental illness that we don’t usually get to travel down, bringing to light the anguish and torment of someone who is trying to exist with this disease. Joaquin should be taking home the Oscar this year, for his absolutely incredible performance throughout every inch of this film!