Showing posts with label Top 10. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Top 10. Show all posts

Friday, December 27, 2019

Rosy the Reviewer's Best and Worst Films of 2019

Well, another year of movies have come and gone, and I wanted to share with you my favorites and those I hated.  

I know hate is a strong word, but as my life gets shorter I get crabbier and crabbier when I spend two hours watching crap. As for what is considered "best," I know that's a very subjective thing so I actually prefer to say this list actually represents my favorites for the year.

So here is a handy list of my top ten favorite films of 2019, and a synopsis of what I said in my original review, with a few comments in hindsight (not in any particular order because I loved them all - click on the link for my original full review):

***My Favorite Films of 2019***

1. Once Upon a Hollywood
(reviewed August 2, 2019)

Once upon a time...there was an actor and his stunt double whose careers were on the way down and whose lives intersected with some murderous history in the Hollywood of the late 1960's.

It's about the Manson Murders... but it's not. It's typical Tarrantino... but it's not.  All I can say, it has one of the most cathartic endings of any movie I have ever seen...and it's downright entertaining as well.  Do not miss this film! 

Rosy the Reviewer said...ring, ring, Mr. Di Caprio?  Oscar calling. We have a Best Actor nomination for you. Ring, ring, Mr. Pitt?  People Magazine calling.  We wanted to let you know that you are still the Sexiest Man Alive!

2.  A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
(reviewed November 29, 2019)

A film that shows Mr. Rogers wasn't just for kids.

This is not your usual biopic (if you are looking for a biopic on Mr. Rogers, see "Won't You Be My Neighbor") and, surprisingly, Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers actually has more of a supporting role, because the film focuses on a cynical, unhappy journalist and how Mr. Rogers helped him. But Hanks still has incredible impact, and after seeing this film, you will realize he has helped you too!

Rosy the Reviewer said...this film is a must see!  You will leave the theatre wanting to be a better person. And you should. We all should. Oh, by the way, ring, ring!  Mr. Hanks?  Oscar calling!

3. Judy
(reviewed October 4, 2019)

A depiction of the last year of Judy Garland's life.

In the winter of 1968, Garland was alone and lonely having just divorced her fourth husband.  She was also broke and unable to pay her hotel bills or care for her young children, and her abuse of alcohol and drugs had made her an insomniac and a liability to the film industry.  So when she was offered some nightclub dates in London, she reluctantly agreed to take them on despite the fact that she was in such a fragile state it was unclear whether or not she would be able to perform.  
The film follows Garland as she tries to meet her performance obligations while at the same time struggling with sleep and addiction issues.

A bravura performance by Renee Zellweger.

Rosy the Reviewer said...ring! ring! Ms. Zellweger, Oscar calling.  We have your statue all ready to go!

4.  Toy Story 4
(reviewed July 17, 2019)

The fourth installment in the "Toy Story" franchise.

Well, if you have been reading my reviews for any length of time, you know I hate sequels.  And after "Toy Story 3," was there really anything more that needed to be said?

The answer is yes! I can't believe I am saying this, but even though this film is a sequel, I loved it! 

Rosy the Reviewer the answer to my question, "Did we need yet another one?"  Maybe not, but I'm glad we have this one.  It's a joy to spend time with these characters. Just wish I had had a kid sitting next to me to enjoy it with!

5. Blinded by the Light
(reviewed August 23, 2019)

Javed, a shy working-class Pakistani boy who endures the racism and seeming dead-end life ahead of him in Margaret Thatcher's 1987 England, is transformed when he discovers Bruce Springsteen. 

Based on a true story, you don't have to be a Bruce Springsteen fan to enjoy this film. It has everything I love in a movie:

  • Engaging actors
  • A delightful story
  • Wonderful music
  • A message
  • Innovation (lyrics swirl around the screen and a fantasy wind storm erupts to illustrate Javed's inner world as he discovers Bruce)
  • Layers of meaning

You could see this film many times and every time find something new to love.

Rosy the Reviewer said...young or old, you will enjoy this movie - it will make you glad you are alive! And don't miss the end credits where you can meet "the real Javed" and his family.

6. Rocketman
(reviewed June 7, 2019)

The rise to fame of the incomparable Elton John.

This was the year for films about music and performers, which is not surprising after "Bohemian Rhapsody" hit it big last year.  Written by Lee Hall, I might be causing controversy here, but I liked this film more than I liked "Bohemian Rhapsody."  In fact, I loved this film.  It is a poignant, raw story of a guy whose life started out rough and who overcame his problems to find a happy ending. And then there are all of those wonderful Elton John/Bernie Taupin songs.

Rosy the Reviewer said...I liked this one better than "Bohemian Rhapsody."  Even with the fantasy sequences, it seemed more real while at the same time magical.

7. Yesterday
(reviewer July 5, 2019) 

Struggling singer/songwriter Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) gets hit by a truck and when he wakes up, he discovers he is in an alternate universe -- where the Beatles never existed!

What would the world have been like without the Beatles?  Almost impossible for me to contemplate.

This is yet another movie where a knock on the head puts our hero or heroine into an alternate reality and we must suspend our disbelief ("I feel Pretty," "Isn't it Romantic," "What Men Want," "Overboard" - and these are just the ones produced within the last couple of years!) Starting to be a sort of cliche?  Yes, but boy did I love this movie!  I didn't mind suspending my disbelief for this one, one bit!

Rosy the Reviewer said...even if you are not a big Beatles fan, you will become one. This charming film will captivate you.  I promise.

8. Knives Out
(reviewer December 6, 2019)

Best-selling mystery writer, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), is found dead in his study, with his throat slit.  Was it suicide....or MURDER?

A star-studded cast graces this Agatha Christie-like murder mystery with Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, a modern day Poirot.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, this film is a modern take on Agatha Christie without losing any of her dramatic tropes that always kept us guessing.  And the film even makes some statements about class and politics.  But mostly, this film is a lot of fun.

We can always count of Christopher Plummer to bring it and he does and the rest of the cast create a nice ensemble.  And can I say, damn?!  Chris Evans is one handsome guy and there is not one trace of his Captain America persona in his portrayal of the evil Ransom.  But the film really belongs to Daniel Craig as Benoit and Ana de Armas as Marta.  Craig is having a lot of fun playing against type.  There is not a stitch of Mr. Bond in evidence.  Instead, his southern accent is so drawling that he would make Jeff Sessions proud. Benoit teams up with Marta, Harlan's young nurse, because she cannot tell a lie.  If she does, she throws up.  So Blanc enlists her to help him find the truth about Harlan's death. And speaking of which, this is one time I did not figure out the ending or the who dunnit part.

Rosy the Reviewer said...this is one entertaining film.  Highly recommended!

9.  The Irishman
(reviewed December 13, 2019)

A mob hitman reflects on his life and his involvement with Union Leader Jimmy Hoffa.

Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, all together in a mob film directed by Martin Scorsese.  How can you go wrong? You can't.  And though this film is about the mob, this is not just a mob film.  It's an attempt to figure out what really happened to Jimmy Hoffa, who mysteriously disappeared 44 years ago. But more importantly, the film is three-and-a-half hours of incredible acting and filmmaking, highlighting a time in American history when people and organizations like Jimmy Hoffa, the unions and the mob wielded huge amounts of power that could affect not only American politics but events around the world.  And parallels can certainly be drawn to what is happening today.

Rosy the Reviewer extraordinary achievement and a worthy addition to Scorsese's impressive body of work that includes some of my all-time favorite films. At 77, Scorsese's still got it!

10.  Marriage Story
(reviewed December 20,2019)

A poignant story about a marriage breaking up.

What could be just another divorce movie is made special by the reality of the characters, scenes and dialogue that writer/director Noah Baumbach so expertly marries (pardon the pun). When we marry, we have a list of things we love about our spouses, we have hope for the future, but sometimes love and hope aren't enough. We are all human with our individual needs and desires and, yes, selfishness. Life sometimes gets in the way of all of those things we love and hope for and what was once a loving, respectful relationship gets broken down and becomes a hotbed of resentment and disillusionment. Then when divorce rears its ugly head, we forget that list of things we loved and we do things we never thought we would do.  It's complicated and there are no bad guys.  Just two people who grow apart and want different things.

And Baumbach captures all of that and more with the help of stunning performances by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.

Rosy the Reviewer said..Ring!  Ring!  Oscar calling!

(Available right now on Netflix!  We love you Netflix!)


63 Up

I knew this would happen.  I had already chosen my Top 10 and then realized that this film had just been released, a documentary series that in my opinion is the greatest of all time. I had to see the latest one. And after seeing it, I had to add it to my favorites list. Director Richard Linklater received many kudos for filming "Boyhood," where he followed a young boy from age 6 to age 18.  Well, folks, director Michael Apted has been following fourteen British children since they were seven in his "Up" series where every seven years he checks in to see how they are doing.  The entire series is a must see, but if you haven't seen the earlier films, he expertly brings you up to date in each installment. And this latest one is no exception. 

The series began in 1964 and continued every seven years since then.  It is just an amazing and fascinating feat of filmmaking.  Now those "children" who have survived and/or continued to participate are 63. The series began with the premise “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man."  Has that proven to be the case?

Rosy the Reviewer says...
this is the best and most ambitious documentary every produced and must be on my list for 2019.  Full review next Friday.

And now from the sublime to the ridiculously horrible...

***The Worst Movies of 2019***

Certainly there were more than these five films that were bad in 2019, but keep in mind that my goal in life is to NOT see bad films.  But sometimes I am lured in by previews that make a movie look good or the film deals with a subject matter I am interested in but then I get to to the theatre or sit down on my couch with my glass of wine only to discover the preview contained all of the best bits or the subject matter had been ultimately ruined by a bad script or misguided director. Lots of reasons lead me to a film, never realizing I am sending myself to a couple of hours of hell. And since I don't want to dwell on my mistakes, this is a short list. 

I have just included the very worst of the worst.

1. Drunk Parents
(reviewed December 13, 2019)
Two parents try to hide their financial situation from their daughter and their neighbors and they are not helped by the fact that they are drunk all of the time.

Frank (Alec Baldwin) and Nancy (Salma Hayek) Teagarden have just dropped their daughter off at school only to return home to find their car being repossessed.  You see, Frank and Nancy have financial problems.  They also each have a drinking problem which doesn't help them make good decisions.  For example, they are watching their neighbor's house while he is in London and decide that it's a good idea to put an ad in Craig's list and rent it out for some extra money.  And who should rent it from them?  Why, Carl, a sex offender (Jim Gaffigan).  Drunk people funny?  Sex offenders, funny?  Nope. The only reason I kept watching was to see if there was a reason to keep watching.

Rosy the Reviewer said...I watched this film much as I would a train wreck, horrified but wondering just how much worse it could get.  And it did.

2. The Hustle
(reviewed November 8, 2019)

The female version of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" was funny and memorable. This one wasn't. I loved "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." I not only didn't love this one, I loathed it.  If I see Rebel Wilson fall down and slide across the floor, I am going to throw myself across the floor.

Directed by Chris Addison, this is almost a complete replica of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," except with women...but sadly this version is neither funny nor memorable. One could make the case that the film tries to make a statement about women who are getting back at men for being treated so poorly by them, but it doesn't really work nor did I care enough to give this film that much thought.

Rosy the Reviewer said...if you are in the mood for a funny movie about con artists, watch the original "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

3.  Dumbo
(reviewed April 19, 2019)

One of Disney's live action remakes of those classic animated films we all loved. This time it's "Dumbo," and I wish they had left this one alone!

The original "Dumbo" was basically the story of a darling little elephant born with oversized ears, his mother loving and protecting him, his finding his "wings" as it were, and all of that capped off with lots of musical numbers.  

But instead of reprising the original story, Disney decided they needed to create an entirely new plot and, worst of all, they didn't highlight the most important, three-hanky scene in "Dumbo," when little Dumbo goes to visit his mother who has been imprisoned and she sings "Baby Mine," while cradling Dumbo in her trunk.  Okay, give me a minute....

Let's just say, if you loved the original, nothing in this remake will remind you of it.

Rosy the Reviewer said..a disappointment.  See the original.

4.  Poms
(reviewed May 17, 2019)

A dying woman moves from New York City to a retirement community in Georgia and finds a reason to live when she forms a geriatric cheerleading group.

I know I should be on the side of this film because, this is aimed at my demographic and it meant well (I think). I really do want to see shows like this. For example, I love "Grace and Frankie." But I am not going to give this film props just because it's about older ladies and meant well. A film needs to be some kind of worthwhile experience such as funny or uplifting or cathartic.  None of those apply here.  

There was fodder here to really camp things up or at least be funny.  Sometimes movies can be so bad they are good but even that wasn't the case here.  It was just bad. 

Rosy the Reviewer said...terrible.

5. Cats 

The long-running Broadway show finally comes to the screen.

And nobody seems to care. I actually must confess, I haven't seen this and probably won't, but I can tell it is really bad just from the previews, so it makes my list.  Didn't like the Broadway show, the previews for this looked egregious, and the critics have been catty - " a descent into madness" and "Yes, Cats is as bad as it looks" -  so I don't need to see it.  I'm jumping on the bandwagon and putting it on my worst list. Besides, though I love James Corden and Judy Dench, I think seeing them in catsuits would make me want to spit up a hairball.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I never was a cat lover.

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"63 Up"


The Week in Reviews
(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See

Before I Die Project"

And by the way,

Happy New Year! 

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Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.