Wick's 2019 Great Movies (22)

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Created Mar 10, 2019 12:03AM PST • Updated Mar 10, 2019 12:03AM PST

The Great, Really Great & Perfect new movies I’ve seen in `19: new movies I graded 4.0, 4.5 or 5 beams out of 5. Includes movies officially designated 2018, but not out wide till 2019.


  • Really Great
  • 68 Points
Title Released Trust Weighted Summary Viewable
1st Apollo 11
2019 Perfect 66 Points

Apollo 11 is an enormous cinematic accomplishment – an rFactor 1 documentary with the power, pulse and scale of big time SciFi. See it on the biggest screen possible, with the best sound system, IMAX optimally.

It revivifies the epochal year of 1969, the first and last time that billions of people around the world focused on one joyous global event. Seen now on the big screen, it's not just the overwhelming scale to which IMAX does justice, it's the freighted historical moment revealed like an accidentally perceptive home movie. There's Johnny Carson in the Cape Canaveral gallery! The…

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Added Mar 10, 2019 12:03AM PST • Updated Mar 10, 2019 12:03AM PST
2nd Captain Marvel
2019 Great 83 Points

So much fun! Captain Marvel is yet another marvelous Marvel movie. You can doubt investing political import in a superhero movie, but never doubt Marvel. The House that Stan Built launches three marvelous movies a year, been doing so for over ten years, ever since Robert Downey Jr. declared "I am "Iron Man":https://www.viewguide.com/movie_reviews/1180-iron-man."

Captain Marvel isn't only marvelous. It's an ultimate Marvel movie, the ultimate Marvel origin movie: Nick Fury origin & SHIELD origin + Captain Marvel origin. About her, Marvel major domo Kevin Feige's team have conjured…

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Added Mar 17, 2019 06:00AM PST • Updated Mar 17, 2019 06:00AM PST
3rd Hotel Mumbai
2019 Great 66 Points

The 2008 Mumbai attacks were of 9/11 savagery and comprehensiveness, yet have faded from Western consciousness. Hotel Mumbai recreates them with stunning alacrity, moving quickly from the Islamist terrorists coming ashore in rubber boats to starting to shoot-up train stations, restaurants and especially the legendary Taj Hotel, where most of the movie is then set. It's a well rounded and highly dramatic tableau.

Most insightful is the guidance the young terrorists receive via satellite phone from their handler back in Pakistan. He cajoles, flatters, reprimands and reassures them — a li…

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Added Apr 22, 2019 12:09AM PST • Updated Apr 22, 2019 12:09AM PST
4th Amazing Grace
2018 Really Great 66 Points

Aretha Franklin was never even that close to being one of my favorite singers. There, I've said it.
Diana Ross, "Nina Simone":https://www.viewguide.com/movie_reviews/4326-what-happened,-miss-simone & Mavis Staples all found more favor with me than did the Queen of Soul.

That's now changed. I've seen the light, heard the voice. Amazing Grace does that to a man. It's a glistening time machine brimming with musical brilliance the likes of which comes along once a century.

Sydney Pollack filmed it in 1972 but failed to use a "a clapperboard to synchronize the picture and sound at the …

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Added Apr 28, 2019 07:32PM PST • Updated Apr 28, 2019 07:32PM PST
5th Avengers: Endgame
2019 Really Great 66 Points

Endgame doesn't disappoint, surmounting both high expectations and a lengthy runtime. Marvelous!

Avengers assemble, with each of a dozen getting ten minutes on average to reintroduce themselves. After those two hours they spread out over time – literally over time – taking the movie to its three hour runtime. Yet Endgame never drags, never loses pace, always connects, without even always having to go BOOM.

  • Starts human-scale and often returns to human-scale, one of Marvel's best powers
  • Moves back and forth through time, an old cinematic trick done with deft anticipation and p…
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Added May 12, 2019 07:57PM PST • Updated May 12, 2019 07:57PM PST
6th Rocketman
2019 Great 83 Points

"The bitch is back" in this rockstar revenge pic. Rockumentary in spirit and phantasmagoric in production, Rocketman is a largely satisfying dip in the deep well of Elton John's bottomless self-regard.

Studded with bits of fantasy, Rocketman is more "Across the Universe":https://www.viewguide.com/movie_reviews/3741-across-the-universe than "Bohemian Rhapsody":https://www.viewguide.com/movie_reviews/4824-bohemian-rhapsody, more rock opera than naturalistic biopic. Elton John's life is nothing if not operatic: overwrought and opulent, the former with unrequited love, drugs and indul…

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Added Jun 15, 2019 06:28AM PST • Updated Jun 15, 2019 06:28AM PST
7th Toy Story 4
2019 Perfect 66 Points

Ah Toy Story, we're not worthy. You've been with us for over a generation and have somehow gotten better with age, something that didn't seem possible when Woody & Buzz first dazzled us a quarter-century ago.

Each sequel – "TS2":https://www.viewguide.com/movies/365405-toy-story-2, "TS3":https://www.viewguide.com/movie_reviews/2729-toy-story-3 and now TS4 – adds new characters and deepens those we already know and love. In TS4, Tim Allen's Buzz Lightyear and Tom Hanks' Sheriff Woody reach new levels of depth, the former hilariously, the latter poignantly, both transcendently. Such sweet s…

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Added Jun 28, 2019 06:37PM PST • Updated Jun 28, 2019 06:37PM PST
8th Yesterday
2019 Great 66 Points

Yesterday is the best high-concept movie in recent memory. What if the entire world never knew of the Beatles? No Hey Jude, no Sgt. Peppers, no Revolution, no Fab Four. John, Paul, George & Ringo, just lads.

Except one guy never forgot, a failed singer-songwriter who only needed one great song to succeed, let alone the greatest songbook in music history. He knew them like we know them. It's a primo high-concept.

Two great actresses – Lily James & Kate McKinnon – rule Yesterday. Actually the Beatles songbook rules Yesterday, but it wouldn't be half as charming or incisive w…

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Added Jul 13, 2019 05:53AM PST • Updated Jul 13, 2019 05:53AM PST
9th Spider-Man: Far ...
2019 Perfect 66 Points

The fate of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in sticky good hands as Spider-Man improves to perfection in Tom Holland's sophomore outing. Indeed, Far from Home gives us everything we want in a blockbuster.

It starts by playing out the changing-of-the-guard that began in the still-in-theaters "Avengers Endgame":https://www.viewguide.com/movie_reviews/4866-avengers-endgame, from Robert Downey Jr's "Iron Man":https://www.viewguide.com/vulists/792-iron-man-series to the friendly neighborhood superhero who's still in high school.

Spider-Man: Far from Home also has lots of laughs, char…

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Added Jul 20, 2019 04:20AM PST • Updated Jul 20, 2019 04:20AM PST
10th Once Upon a Time...
2019 Perfect 66 Points

Hollywood loves Hollywood, always has and still does, especially Quentin Tarantino, local boy made good. He has outdone himself with Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, which is quite simply Peak Tarantino.

It's literally AND figuratively about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: true crime events that happened there AND a morality tale about the movie & TV industry based there, the latter more than the former.

Indeed, Quentin unspools a subversive love affair with Baby Boomer TV addiction: Mannix, Combat, Green Hornet, The FBI & Bounty Hunter. That last one is fictional, a vehicle for …

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Added Aug 04, 2019 06:46AM PST • Updated Aug 04, 2019 06:46AM PST
11th The Peanut Butte...
2019 Really Great 66 Points

One of the best movies of 2019 suffers from a terrible title of four words that don't normally go together. People tend to ignore movies this poorly titled. Pity. This movie's greatness starts with its plot: a Down's guy goes out on the lam, buddies up with a hard-bitten fisherman, rafts a river, and ends up at a flamboyant kernel of deep-fried Americana. A great cast of moviestars makes it lovable as hell – a most lovable movie!

The Peanut Butter Falcon could be more aptly titled Huck Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Then again, Two Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest might be more like it, o…

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Added Sep 20, 2019 04:29AM PST • Updated Sep 20, 2019 04:29AM PST
12th Ad Astra
2019 Really Great 66 Points

Brad Pitt has his own great astronaut movie now, as every one of today's great moviestars must.1 Ad Astra is a stately space epic, albeit punctuated with an atomic blast and more than a few death-defying set pieces. Most impressively, James Gray's instant classic reinforces our conception of heroism even as it challenges it, personifying that dichotomy with a never better Brad Pitt and the always great Tommy Lee Jones.

This character study of an iconic right-stuff astronaut focuses on his frequent psychological self-examinations, a clear nod to how we moviegoers are psychologically b…

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Added Oct 02, 2019 04:58AM PST • Updated Oct 02, 2019 04:58AM PST
13th Rambo: Last Blood
Great 66 Points

Has there ever been a better franchise star than Sylvester Stallone? His multi-sequel characters – Rocky, Rambo, and Barney of "The Expendables":https://www.viewguide.com/movie_reviews/4106 – have become treasured cinematic friends over the decades. The second one has his story brought to a well-crafted and satisfying conclusion in Last Blood, aka Rambo V.

Stallone aged Rocky well in the recent "Creed":https://www.viewguide.com/movie_reviews/4803-creed-ii offshoots. He does the same here with John Rambo, while also credibly maintaining his essence. Well, "credibly" by the highly surr…

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Added Oct 20, 2019 04:20AM PST • Updated Oct 20, 2019 04:20AM PST
14th Joker
2019 Perfect 66 Points

You laughing at me!? That's directed at society in general by Joker, the movie of the year if not the decade.

Todd Phillips has unleashed a monumental monstrosity on us, a movie that works on so many levels it requires an intellectual elevator to visit them all. Let's peek in on a few, shall we.

First, Phillips focuses on a character that has underlain several indelible performances. Jack Nicholson's Joker in the ginormous 1989 "Batman":https://www.viewguide.com/movies/2472-batman was THE MOVIESTAR performance of the decade. Heath Ledger's Joker in the epochal 2009 "Dark Knight":h…

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Added Nov 02, 2019 09:30PM PST • Updated Nov 02, 2019 09:30PM PST
15th Jojo Rabbit
2019 Really Great 66 Points

The Hitler Youth get a satirical stake through the heart in the wonderfully wacky Jojo Rabbit. Taika Waititi – he of "Thor: Ragnarok":https://www.viewguide.com/movie_reviews/4645-thor-ragnarok – wrote the screenplay, directs the movie and even stars as a wacky Hitler, well a Hitler as the imaginary friend to a little boy stuck in the Hitler Youth during the brutal end-days of WWII.

Now that's a high concept we can all get behind! Not since Hogan's Heroes has Nazi insanity been so deftly skewered, only Jojo Rabbit is much funnier, interspersed with being profoundly sad. Such juxtaposi…

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Added Nov 10, 2019 01:17AM PST • Updated Nov 10, 2019 01:17AM PST
16th Parasite
2019 Perfect 66 Points

Martin Scorsese would consider Parasite cinema, brilliant cinema. The rest of the filmic world agrees, seeing as how this South Korean sensation won the Palme d'Or at Cannes this year, where it beat out "Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood":https://www.viewguide.com/movie_reviews/4900-once-upon-a-time—in-hollywood, which was Peak Tarantino. After seeing Parasite, I have no objection.

Such triumph isn't a surprise given writer-director Bong Joon-ho's string of stellar movies this decade, several in English. Parasite sticks close to home, set in Seoul, spoken in Korean. All ironic, only…

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Added Nov 15, 2019 04:02AM PST • Updated Nov 15, 2019 04:02AM PST
17th Midway
2019 Great 66 Points

Visual and historic greatness trumps the wooden acting in Midway, making it a great war movie that is an absolute must for we history buffs and patriots. The Battle of Midway was the Greatest Naval Battle Ever, won by Admiral Chester Nimitz (Woody Harrelson, stolid) & pilots like Dick Best (Ed Skrein, breakout).1

This huge war movie proceeds rapidly from pre-Pearl Harbor to "The Day That Shall Live in Infamy":https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor, and then through the very eventful six months that followed December 7, 1941, including "the Doolittle Raid":https://en.wik…

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Added Nov 16, 2019 10:57PM PST • Updated Nov 16, 2019 10:57PM PST
18th Ford v Ferrari
2019 Perfect 66 Points

A whip-smart script about whip-smart people doing world historic things in super-cool cars going 200 MPH makes Ford v Ferrari perhaps the best sports biopic ever. Its perfect cast is led by a perfect Matt Damon.

Granted, the moviemakers had loads to work with given how iconic was the Ford GT40 race car, its creator Carroll Shelby and its crucible of Le Mans. Each of those names has long echoed throughout car culture.

The Ford GT was the coolest car. Its distinctive double blue racing stripe down the middle of the body became THE RACING STRIPE, while the Ford Mustang contemporaneous…

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Added Nov 27, 2019 06:27AM PST • Updated Nov 27, 2019 06:27AM PST
19th The Irishman
2019 Really Great 66 Points

Martin Scorsese's The Irishman is the Forest Gump of mob movies, sans any sense of sweetness of course. The Irishman has an emotional range from glum to grim, but is Gump-like in placing its protagonist in the middle of a long series of famous moments from the early sixties to the mid seventies. The most fabled of those is the hit on Jimmy Hoffa, which Frank Sheeran – aka The Irishman – claims to have committed.

This long movie brings to life that walk down mob-memory-lane. It utilizes a Hall of Fame Starting 5 that includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Bob…

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Added Dec 07, 2019 03:19AM PST • Updated Dec 07, 2019 03:19AM PST
20th Richard Jewell
2019 Really Great 66 Points

The FBI's reputation takes a big blow in Richard Jewell, making Clint Eastwood's movie about 1996 timely in 2019. Last week's Justice Department IG report crushed any belief that the upper echelon of the FBI is the least bit trustworthy. That came years after the FBI didn't pay attention "when notified TWICE about the Florida high school mass murderer":https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoneman_Douglas_High_School_shooting#Warnings_to_law_enforcement – when they still would have had ample time to stop him. But the litany of contemporary incompetence began with "Richard Jewell":https://en.wiki…

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Added Dec 19, 2019 07:41AM PST • Updated Dec 19, 2019 07:41AM PST
21st Uncut Gems
2019 Great 66 Points

Uncut Gems could be titled Deadly Sins, with the wages of sin its inevitable conclusion. Populated by a rogues gallery of serious sinners and propelled by seriously sinful decisions, the Safdie Brothers once again wallow through the flamboyant dregs of New York. It's a glorious car-crash experience, as is their métier.

It's also pretty depressing. Adam Sandler's degenerate gambler gives as good as he gets in a Diamond District world of underhanded commerce, and on the home front, where he cheats everyone in his family.

Oh yeah, Uncut Gems could also be titled Uncouth Jews, …

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Added Jan 11, 2020 09:30AM PST • Updated Jan 11, 2020 09:30AM PST
22nd 1917
2019 Perfect 66 Points

The War To End All Wars gets its closeup in 1917, titled after a year little known to we 21st century people. WWI has been largely terra incognita at the movies, even as WWII flicks are dime a dozen, a "Dirty Dozen":https://www.viewguide.com/movies/9204-the-dirty-dozen. The struggle against the Nazi nightmare seems intimately familiar as a result, especially for pre-millenials.

Thus, we disdain '30s and '40s Brits & Yanks for letting Hitler rise on the Continent. 1917 explains why the British didn't want war with Germany less than 20 years after World War I ended. The War To End A…

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Added Jan 17, 2020 05:06AM PST • Updated Jan 17, 2020 05:06AM PST


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