Friday, July 10, 2020
CLOSE
 
Best Films of 2019
By Dwight Brown, NNPA Newswire Film Critic
Published December 26, 2019

“Booksmart” (***1/2) – Two coeds (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever), high-school outcasts, find refuge in their close friendship. Animated performances. Funny and thoughtful dialogue. Astute comic direction by first-time filmmaker and noted actress, Olivia Wilde. Who knew nerdy teen angst could be hilarious?

“Dolemite Is My Name” (****) – King of comedy Eddie Murphy rises like a phoenix in this oh-so-hysterical ode to comedian and pioneering indie filmmaker, Rudy Ray Moore. Dream team cast includes: Keegan-Michael Key, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Wesley Snipes, Mike Epps and scene stealer Da’Vine Joy Randolph.

Eddie Murphy stars in “Dolemite Is My Name” (File Photo)

“The Farewell” (***1/2) – An Asian family handles the last-chapter of life process with charm to spare. Writer/director Lulu Wang digs into her own experiences in a premise and script filled with colorful kin folk. Star turns by Awkwafina, Shuzhen Zhao and Tzi Ma make the characters lifelike.

“Harriet” (***) – Depicting the legendary life of the courageous abolitionist Harriet Tubman is a task few are worthy of. Director Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”) is the chosen one. Her epic bio tale catalogs the inhumanity and humanity of the 1800s. Cynthia Erivo (“Widows”) infuses Tubman’s spirit in every frame. Terence Blanchard’s emotionally charged musical score is haunting.

Cynthia Erivo stars in “Harriet” (File Photo)

“The Irishman” (****) — Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino team up for an impressive crime/drama/thriller about a man who purportedly murdered Jimmy Hoffa. Brilliant performances. Strong direction, writing and editing. Ingenious use of CGI. The crowning achievement of Scorsese’s career.

“The Lighthouse” (****) – Two workers (Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe) and a bunch of seagulls are engaged in a melodramatic relationship at a desolate New England lighthouse, circa 1890s. Brutal allegory. Totally engaging. Director/writer Robert Eggers and co-writer Max Eggers make riveting cinema on a black and white canvas (cinematographer Jarin Blaschke).

“Little Women” (****) — Actress turned director, Greta Gerwig gives the classic Louisa May Alcott Civil War novel her own feminist spin with relatable three-dimensional characters. Fiery relationships among sisters, parents and friends. Feels like you’re on a long buggy ride with lots of bumps in the road. Superb performances by Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet and Laura Dern.

“Marriage Story” (****) — Writer/director Noah Baumbach captures the angst of thirtysomethings (Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson) going through what should have been a friendly D-I-V-O-R-C-E that turns into a war of threats, betrayals and raw emotions. As primal in ways as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Full of life at its worst and people struggling to take their next steps.

“Queen & Slim” (****) – Easily the most talked about Black movie of the year. Director Melina Matsoukas (HBO’s “Insecure) and screenwriter Lena Waithe (TV’s “Master of None”) weave a very modern crime tale and a poignant love story together. Hints of social relevance are threaded in. Lovers on the run are played by Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith. So thoughtful. So cool. So romantic.

(from left) Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) in “Queen & Slim,” directed by Melina Matsoukas.

“Uncut Gems” (****) — A gregarious, Jewish NYC jeweler (Adam Sandler) is deep in debt to thugs. His schemes dig him into a deeper hole. Gritty, sewer-level urban drama written and directed by the very talented brothers Benny and Josh Safdie. Sandler deserves an Oscar nom. Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Julia Fox and LaKeith Stanfield round out a powerhouse cast.

Best Directors
• Noah Baumbach = “Marriage Story”
• Robert Eggers =”The Lighthouse”
• Greta Gerwig = “Little Women”

• Melina Matsoukas = “Queen & Slim”
• Martin Scorsese = “The Irishman”

Best First Films
• Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre = “The Mustang”
• Mati Diop = “Atlantics”
• Melina Matsoukas = “Queen & Slim”
• Olivia Wilde = “Booksmart”

• Phillip Youmans = “Burning Cane”

Best Foreign Language Films
• “Ash Is Purest White”

• “Atlantics”
• “Corpus Christi”
• “Les Misérables”
• “Transit”

Best Documentaries
• “After Parkland”

• “Miles Davis: The Birth of the Cool”
• “David Crosby: Remember My Name”
• “Pavarotti”
• “Tony Morrison: The Pieces I Am”

Best Actors
• Robert DeNiro = “The Irishman”
• Daniel Kaluuya = “Queen & Slim”

• Eddie Murphy = “Dolemite Is My Name”
• Robert Pattinson = “The Lighthouse”
• Adam Sandler = “Uncut Gems”

Best Actresses
• Awkwafina = “The Farewell”
• Cynthia Erivo = “Harriet”
• Lupita Nyong’o = “Us”

• Alfre Woodard = “Clemency”
• Renee Zellweger = “Judy”

Best Supporting Actors

• Jamie Foxx = “Just Mercy”
• Aldis Hodge = “Clemency”
• Joe Pesci = “The Irishman”
• Brad Pitt = “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
• Bokeem Woodbine = “Queen & Slim”

Best Supporting Actresses
• Indya Moore = “Queen & Slim”
• Florence Pugh = “Little Women”

• Da’Vine Joy Randolph = “Dolemite Is My Name”
• Jennifer Lopez = “Hustlers”
• Shuzhen Zhao = “The Farewell”

Best Screenplays
• “Ad Astra” = James Gray, Ethan Gross
• “The Farewell” = Lulu Wang
• “The Lighthouse” = Max Eggers, Robert Eggers
• “Little Women” = Greta Gerwig

• “Queen & Slim” = Lena Waithe

Best Cinematography
• “1917” = Roger Deakins
• “Atlantics” = Claire Mathon
• “The Irishman” = Rodrigo Prieto
• “The Lighthouse” = Jarin Blaschke

• “Queen & Slim” = Pete Beaudreau

Best Animation/CGI
• “Frozen II”
• “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”

• “I Lost My Body”
• “Toy Story 4”

Other Great Films
“1917,” “Ad Astra,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Beach Bum,” “Giant Little Ones,” “Good Boys,” “A Hidden Life,” “Hotel Mumbai,” “Hustlers,” “The Mustang,” “Never Grow Old,” “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” “The Report,” “Rocketman,” “Sauvage, Skin,” “Us,” “The Two Popes,” “Woman at War.”

HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

@DwightBrownInk @NNPA_BlackPress @wesleysnipes @KeeganMKey @Instatitus @MissJodie

Categories: Entertainment | Movies
Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

Get the Los Angeles Sentinel App!



Since 1933 The Voice of Our Community Speaking for Itself.
87 Years of LA Sentinel.
Black News.
SEARCH:    
Videos


Black Fact of the Day


Photo of the Day

Events

LA Sentinel
in your pocket:





TOS-Cookbook-Web

LA Watts Times

 
© 2020 Los Angeles Sentinel All Rights Reserved • A Bakewell Media Publication

AboutArchivesContact UsCorrections & MisprintsMedia Kit

Terms of ServicePrivacy Policy

LA Watts TimesTaste of Soul

Close / I'm already on the list

Subscribe Today!

Don't be limited anymore! Subscribe Now »

** Existing subscribers, please Login / Register for Digital »

Subscribe to The Los Angeles Sentinel for only $5.99 $3.99 per month, with 1 month free!

Relax in comfort each week as you read the printed newspaper on your own time, delivered weekly to your home or office. This subscription also includes UNLIMITED DIGITAL ACCESS for all of your devices. Includes FREE shipping! One easy payment of $3.99/month gets you:

Subscribe Now »