Kent’s Top 10 (Alphabetical)
“1917” – This WWI war film grabs viewers with its gritty realism and wows us with Roger Deakins cinematography – hard-nosed, engrossing. Hold on tight for this gem.
“The Biggest Little Farm” – This wonderful documentary follows a couple creating a sustainable farm during the worst drought in 1,200 years. Charming, beautiful and inspiring, this doc will teach as well as entertain.
“Ford v Ferrari” – Gear-heads aren’t the only ones who will enjoy and appreciate this true story of Ford taking on Ferrari. Damon’s Caroll Shelby is the charmer and Christian Bale’s Ken Miles is the heart of this exciting story.
“Jojo Rabbit” – The most unusual of my top ten – and the most memorable because of it. This dark comedy delivers its message through a boy’s imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, a tragic turn of events and its sad message of forgiveness, self-respect and love. A must see.
“Joker” – Transformative, unrepentant, disturbing and unforgettable describes the this amazing film. Audiences either loved or hated this film – I loved it. Joaquin Phoenix gives an Oscar-worthy performance as this film changes its audience along with its character.
“Marriage Story” – Outstanding acting performances define a narrative of emotional severing as a normal couple is transformed by the courts into hateful, depressed people. We will be hearing about Johannson and Driver at the Oscars.
“Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” – Director Quentin Tarrantino’s take on the events leading up to the Charles Manson murders as Hollywoods final moments of its Golden Age come to an end. This should be Brad Pitt’s Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Another great film by Tarantino.
“Queen & Slim” – This film finds beauty in tragedy, transformation in the journey and truth within its people. Honestly showing a culture and society that needs to change. Memorable filmmaking, acting, music. Stirring and unforgettable. Kaluuya and Turner-Smith are perfect!
“Toy Story 4” – I initially wondered why Disney decided to make this fourth film, now I know why. It is a tear-jerker wrapping up the stories of Woody, Buzz and all the gang as they find that all good things don’t necessarily come to an end – they just ride into the sunset. Make time for this gem.
“The Two Popes” – Fascinating, charming, honest describes the two pontiffs as they spar philisophically and connect emotionally. This gorgeous film is about sins, mistakes and the emotional and human toll. You need not be religious to enjoy this fascinating film.
I could have swapped five to six more of the films below into my top ten. Please consider viewing these honorable mentions as well.
“Ad Astra,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Dolomite Is My Name,” “The Farewell,” “Harriett,” “Honey Boy,” “Hotel Mumbai,” “The Irishman,” “Klaus,” “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” “US,” “Wave,” “Yesterday,”
Documentaries: “Apollo 11,” “Linda Rhonstadt: The Sound Of My Voice,” “Who Will Write Our History.”
Foreign Films: “Angels Are Made Of Light,” “Never Look Away,” “Parasite.”
Lynn’s Top Ten: (Alphabetical)
“1917” - A game-changing stunner of technical wizardry on an epic scale, it’s also moving and engrossing in its World War I battlefield tale. Writer-director Sam Mendes focuses on the urgent mission of two young soldiers -- and George MacKay is impressive as a classic poster boy image of a doughboy. Beautiful shot, masterfully told -- one for the ages.
“Avengers: Endgame” - This humorous, emotional, heartbreaking and thrilling finale is a satisfying conclusion to a sprawling superhero narrative. For 11 years, Marvel made us care about these characters, and every story arc is engaging, with interesting layers.
“The Irishman” - Meticulous and methodical, director Martin Scorsese has made an epic gangster saga that is rooted in fact and a marvel of old-fashioned but thoroughly engrossing storytelling. The three dynamic principals – DeNiro, Pacino and Pesci – haven’t been this good in years.
“JoJo Rabbit” – One of the sharpest social satires in years, this brilliant outrageous film, from writer-director Taika Waititi alternates between hilarious and shocking. The first-rate cast emphasizes the ridiculous nature of white supremacy by using silliness and ignorance.
“Joker” - A very dark character study with a bold unflinching performance by the brave and fearless Joaquin Phoenix as future iconic Batman villain Arthur Fleck. Writer-director Todd Phillips recreated the seedy look of gritty ‘70s thrillers as Gotham City degenerates into a cesspool of crime, greed and lawlessness.
“Little Women” –The March family has had many adaptations, but this one bristles with vitality and spirit. Saoirse Ronan shines as spunky Jo, my first literary hero, and leads an impeccable cast in writer-director Greta Gerwig’s fresh look.
“Marriage Story” – An acting tour de force with never better Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, Noah Baumbach’s best work to date is raw and real about contemporary relationships. As it shows every aspect of a breakup while a family tries to stay together, it depicts the effect on everybody – family, friends, co-workers -- with an honest emotional resonance that goes straight for the heart.
“Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood” - Brilliantly realized with a virtuoso cast, this is writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s richly textured magnum opus. With the precision of a museum archivist and the keen eye of a film historian, Tarantino’s ambitious memory piece revisits a golden age and is a remarkable visual and cultural treasure trove.
“Parasite” - The screenplay of the year is parts explosive thriller, humorous social satire and dramatic statement about the haves and have-nots. Writer-director Bong Joon-Ho’s mastery of storytelling and style uses all the senses as he emphasizes the class differences in clever visual ways – both subtle and sly.
“The Two Popes” – One of the most surprising and satisfying delights of 2019, this riveting film fascinates, with masterful direction by Fernando Meirelles, an absorbing, smart screenplay by Andrew McCarten and an acting showcase by two of the best -- Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins.
“Ad Astra,” “Apollo 11,” “The Biggest Little Farm,” “Dolomite Is My Name,” “Downton Abbey,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” “Long Shot,” “Peanut Butter Falcon,” “Queen & Slim,” “Shadow,” “Toy Story 4,” “Waves,” “Yesterday.”