As the year draws to a close, Nicholas Seles takes a look back at his favourite films of the past twelve months.
10. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
It’s hard to think of a Tarantino movie that’s ever been truly bad. The Hateful Eight was a movie that I had to sit on for a bit after I saw it, but after subsequent viewings, ended up loving it the most out of his filmography. …In Hollywood doesn’t have an overall story like most of his other films, but the characters of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) are ever so likeable and all of the character interactions are engaging.
9. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
The end to the Skywalker saga didn’t hit all the notes I wanted it to, but it was far from a terrible ending. The cast deliver strong performances and Rey is given the opportunity to finally find a name for herself when family was what she sought. John Williams never failed to deliver a terrible score and that rings true with this instalment as well, calling on themes from the original trilogy and continuing to build on themes like Rey’s, the Resistance and Kylo Ren.
8. Captain Marvel
Haters will hate, but Captain Marvel was far from a bad movie. It certainly felt like a phase one film, in retrospect, but as a fan of Carol Danvers in the comics beforehand, I did not leave feel disappointed. Being brainwashed into having no thought or emotion for herself, it’s understandable that Brie Larson gave the performance that she did, and I felt it worked. It developed the world pre-Avengers and gave us one of the strongest heroes moving forward.
7. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
While it’s been a few years since Breaking Bad concluded on AMC, the story of Jesse Pinkman remained open. El Camino brings Jesse back to give us his conclusion and it wraps things up incredibly well. The tension and style that made Breaking Bad so famous returns with no hiccups and instantly draws you back into the world of Pinkman. Vince Gilligan wrote and directed the film, and there could honestly be no better send-off for the character and story.
6. The Irishman
Martin Scorsese has tried to make this film for years and he’s finally found an outlet for it with Netflix. Starring legendary actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, The Irishman tells the story of Frank Sheeran, an Irish hitman who worked for the Bufalino crime family and was tied up with the infamous Jimmy Hoffa. The performances are all beyond exceptional, the writing and editing is as tight as ever with not a moment of screen time wasted, and Scorsese has not lost his edge with using crime stories to make you contemplate mortality.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, Joker shows us how Gotham’s clown Prince of crime could come to be in a realistic setting. Phoenix’s performance as Joker is stellar and the entire movie would lose its notoriety had his performance not followed through. Hildur Guonadottir’s score is haunting, beautiful and overall incredibly effective at demonstrating the peaceful chaos within Arthur. It can be a difficult movie to watch at times, but overall, incredibly well made, acted and hit all the right notes a live-action standalone Joker movie needed to hit.
4. Knives Out
Coming off the heels of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson resurrects the classic murder mystery genre in a way it desperately needed. The ensemble cast which features Ana De Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette and Daniel Craig (among many others) is exceptional and the twists and turns that the story takes makes it an even more enjoyable experience. The cast seem to be having such a fun time with the characters and story which only furthers the immersion and enjoyment of this excellent whodunnit.
3. Jojo Rabbit
Taika Waititi delivers another hit in the form of a World War II satire that shows us love is the strongest combatant against hate. The entire cast is spectacular; Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi, Scarlet Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Thomasin Mckenzie all deliver touching and hilarious performances. It’s a film that came at such an important time, but Waititi never planned for it to release at a time of political turmoil with leaders like Donald Trump in power – it just happened.
2. Spider-Man: Far From Home
The prologue to Avengers: Endgame took Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his classmates to Europe for a class trip where they’re interrupted by the sinister Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). What makes this film so enjoyable is the chemistry between Holland and Gyllenhaal and the opportunity that Parker is given to grow into his own hero in the wake of Tony Stark’s sacrifice, as well as the sequences which help develop his spider sense and Mysterio’s illusions.
1. Avengers: Endgame
Anyone who knows me could see this one coming a mile away. Endgame brought about the end of the first arc of stories for the Marvel universe. 2008 to 2019 was building up to this moment, where the heroes would put an end to the chaos and destruction brought about by the infinity stones. It brought it all together in an exhilarating, captivating and emotional (and I mean emotional) end. While the franchise is far from done, it signalled the end for heroes like Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).
Honourable mentions: Frozen II, Bombshell, Toy Story 4, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
Yet to see: 1917, Parasite, Marriage Story, The Lighthouse