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:
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
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
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
Summary: Great cast with great chemistry, easily Jennifer Lopez’ best performance
Smileys: Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, lighting, make-up
Frowneys: Narrow premise
The Irishman 4.0/5
Summary: The most made film of all filmmaking that happened this year, a fine mob picture.
Smileys: Joe Pesci, editing, directing, VFX
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
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
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
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
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
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 3.0/5
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
Summary: As ambitious as a film can be. Bit too in love with its own weirdness to make it stand out.
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
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
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
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
Frowneys: Winston Duke, pacing
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
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
Summary: A nice take on the superhero-ism but ultimately doesn’t satisfy.
Smileys: Elizabeth Banks, premise
Frowneys: Atmosphere, screenplay, Jackson A. Dunn
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 Dirt 2.0/5
Summary: Wikipedia version of the book as in it skims through it.
Smileys: Iwan Rheon
Frowneys: Structure, directing
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
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 1.0/5
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
Summary: Just a mess of a movie, everything seems disconnected from scene to scene.
Frowneys: Cinematography, soundtrack, screenplay, Ian McShane, score