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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

Short Reviews From 2019

Wasn’t able to save the visual elements that originally featured reviews of these films so here’s a snapshot of them:


Joker 5.0/5

Summary: Made with distinct precision, Hildur Guðnadóttir’s towering score and Joaquin Phoenix’s performance lead the film beautifully.

Smileys: Joaquin Phoenix, score, cinematography, screenplay, directing

Frowneys: Nothing

Booksmart 5.0/5

Summary: Superbly funny, picks up the momentum about 20 minutes in and never slows down after it.

Smileys: Screenplay, humour, Kaitlyn Dever, directing, Beanie Feldstein

Frowneys: Cliches in the beginning

Marriage Story 5.0/5

Summary: Every scene, word and body movement matters. True acting showdown from first to last.

Smileys: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, screenplay, directing, Alan Alda

Frowneys: Writing for the kid


Ad Astra 4.5/5

Summary: Quiet and loud at the same time, absolute pleasure for your eyes and ears.

Smileys: Sound, VFX, score, cinematography

Frowneys: Flashbacks don’t work too well

The Peanut Butter Falcon 4.5/5

Summary: A heartfelt road movie, moves the story along nicely.

Smileys: Shia LaBeouf, Zack Gottsagen, Dakota Johnson, story

Frowneys: Bad guys at the end are a weird addition

Shazam! 4.5/5

Summary: Two hours of unfiltered fun that leaks through your screen, great take on family life as well.

Smileys: Humour, Jack Dylan Grazer, Zachary Levi, pacing

Frowneys: Team-up at the end

Hustlers 4.5/5

Summary: Great cast with great chemistry, easily Jennifer Lopez’ best performance

Smileys: Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, lighting, make-up

Frowneys: Narrow premise

The Irishman 4.5/5

Summary: The most made film of all filmmaking that happened this year, a fine mob picture.

Smileys: Joe Pesci, editing, directing, VFX

Frowneys: Structure


Avengers: Endgame 4.0/5

Summary: Did something that hasn’t been done before in film franchises, more of a season finale than its own thing.

Smileys: Whole cast’s performances, stunt choreography, VFX, score

Frowneys: Story

Spider-Man: Far From Home 4.0/5

Summary: Jake Gyllenhaal along with this VFX-heavy trickery steals the show, it makes up for the awkward high school road movie-ness.

Smileys: Jake Gyllenhaal, VFX, Tom Holland, Zendaya

Frowneys: Locations

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood 4.0/5

Summary: Smooth, calm build to explosive ending. Brad Pitt shines here.

Smileys: Production design, Brad Pitt, ending, Leonardo DiCaprio

Frowneys: Structure

Good Boys 4.0/5

Summary: Thankfully more jokes do land than don’t and it has enough heart to stand out from raunchy comedies as of late.

Smileys: Keith L. Williams, Jacob Tremblay, humour, tone

Frowneys: Pacing


It Chapter Two 3.5/5

Summary: Striking visual style and committed performances prevent this red balloon from popping. Bill Hader is a marvel.

Smileys: Whole cast’s performances, production design, humour

Frowneys: Runtime, pacing

Detective Pikachu 3.5/5

Summary: Just simply a kind-hearted and fun movie. Every Pokemon looks great and Ryan Reynolds is Ryan Reynolds here.

Smileys: Ryan Reynolds, character design

Frowneys: Originality

The King 3.5/5

Summary: Great leading performances lead us to the battle. The fighting is just as exciting as the banter.

Smileys: Timothée Chalamet, sound mixing, Joel Edgerton

Frowneys: Structure, characterisation

Ready Or Not 3.5/5

Summary: A victim of its budget but such a good time. The cast has great chemistry together.

Smileys: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, humour

Frowneys: Production design, editing


Midsommar 3.0/5

Summary: As ambitious as a film can be. Bit too in love with its own weirdness to make it stand out. [NOTE: Director's Cut]

Smileys: Directing, production design, Florence Pugh

Frowneys: Jack Reynor, screenplay

Alita: Battle Angel 3.0/5

Summary: Too formulaic but visually striking. It has a lot of franchise potential.

Smileys: VFX, colouring, Mahershala Ali

Frowneys: Dialogue, originality

Rocketman 3.0/5

Summary: By-the-numbers both as a musical and as a biopic. Led by another committed lead performance though.

Smileys: Soundtrack, costume design, Taron Egerton

Frowneys: Editing, screenplay

Long Shot 3.0/5

Summary: Fairly enjoyable, almost throwback-comedy. Doesn’t keep up the momentum throughout however.

Smileys: Humour, acting

Frowneys: Directing

Captain Marvel 3.0/5

Summary: Takes all the decent-but-not-good things from other Marvel films and throws them into a blender. A cute cat appears.

Smileys: Casting, locations

Frowneys: Score

Us 3.0/5

Summary: Focuses so much on metaphors that the story and moving it forward suffers from it. Lupita Nyong’o is ten steps ahead of the rest.

Smileys: Lupita Nyong’o, premise

Frowneys: Winston Duke


Escape Room 2.5/5

Summary: Some of the rooms are fun, some are just there for kills. Ending it three different times hurts the enjoyable premise.

Smileys: Premise, set decoration

Frowneys: Ending, dialogue, structure

Aladdin 2.5/5

Summary: Too watered down, weakens the villain and the songs don’t quite hit. Thankfully Will Smith’s Genie turned out to be actually decent.

Smileys: Naomi Scott, costume design

Frowneys: Marwan Kenzari, directing, runtime

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil & Vile 2.5/5

Summary: The whole cast is a major surprise but the shift from Lily Collins’ character’s perspective to being Criminal Minds is its downfall.

Smileys: Zac Efron, Lily Collins

Frowneys: Originality, production design, story

Brightburn 2.5/5

Summary: A nice take on the superhero-ism but ultimately doesn’t satisfy.

Smileys: Elizabeth Banks, premise

Frowneys: Atmosphere, screenplay, Jackson A. Dunn


Dumbo 2.0/5

Summary: It’s just too lifeless for Dumbo, washed out colour palettes are a weird choice for it. Dumbo itself looks great in live-action setting though.

Smileys: Character design

Frowneys: Michael Keaton, colouring

The Lion King 2.0/5

Summary: There’s no feeling or emotion coming through the screen which is unfortunate because the animation is outstanding.

Smileys: Animation, Billy Eichner

Frowneys: Originality, voice acting, runtime


The Dirt 1.5/5

Summary: Wikipedia version of the book as in it skims through it.

Smileys: Iwan Rheon

Frowneys: Structure, directing, atmosphere

Pet Sematary 1.5/5

Summary: Filled with extremely dull performances that are matched by equally dull dialogue.

Smileys: John Lithgow

Frowneys: Dialogue, Amy Seimetz, Jason Clarke, editing

The Kitchen 1.5/5

Summary: Unironically thinks it’s an exciting gangster film but in reality is just people talking in different rooms without having anything to back it up.

Smileys: Domhnall Gleeson

Frowneys: Characterisation, set decoration, colouring, screenplay

The Goldfinch 1.5/5

Summary: The rare times there is proper dialogue, the movie isn’t saying anything important. Doesn’t know what story it is telling.

Smileys: Jeffrey Wright

Frowneys: Screenplay, editing, story, colouring


Men In Black: International 1.0/5

Summary: Extremely uneventful with its action and all punchline, no build-up with its comedy.

Smileys: Kumail Nanjiani

Frowneys: Humour, screenplay, dialogue, production design

The Curse Of La Llorona 1.0/5

Summary: Mistakes clipping-level-loud for scary, doesn’t help that the scares also look dumb.

Smileys: Raymond Cruz

Frowneys: Sound mixing, dialogue, directing, score

Hellboy 1.0/5

Summary: Just a mess of a movie, everything seems disconnected from scene to scene.

Smileys: Make-up

Frowneys: Cinematography, soundtrack, screenplay, Ian McShane

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