Adventures in Movie Watching 2019

Well it's that time of the year again when I make lists that a few people look at, here's a long list of the films that I enjoyed that were around cinemas (and online) this year.....
50. Sunset - dir. László Nemes ★★★½
From the director of 'Son of Saul', this drama tells the story of a young woman who returns to Budapest just before the start of World War I and begins to slowly discover some disturbing truths about her family.
49. Happy Birthday (Fête de famille) - dir. Cédric Kahn ★★★½
A French melodrama with plenty of laughs about a family who get together for a mother's birthday party. Things get out of hand qucikly when her unstable daughter suddenly turns up unannounced.
48. If Beale Street Could Talk - dir. Barry Jenkins ★★★½
A story about a pregnant woman trying to prove her husband was innocent of a crime, from the director of 'Moonlight'
47. Colette - dir. Wash Westmoreland ★★★½
A story about a woman who writes hugely successful books under her husband's name, but when she wants some credit for the work, she has to fight for it.
46. Meeting Gorbachev - dir. Werner Herzog and André Singer ★★★½
Werner Herzog sits down with Gorbachev to discuss the last days of the Soviet Union and the ending of the Cold War
45. In Fabric - dir. Peter Strickland ★★★½
Strickland continues with his series of stylish horror movies, this time about a haunted dress that causes chaos during a winter sale, but a lot better than all that sounds.
44. Burning (Beoning) - dir. Chang-dong Lee ★★★½
A very slow moving drama about a young man who reconnects with a girl he's forgotten about from his past, and her rich friend with a peculiar hobby.
43. Papi Chulo - dir. John Butler ★★★½
Heartwarming comedy drama about a weatherman who has a breakdown on air and then only opens up to a migrant worker handyman that he's hired.
42. Transit - dir. Christian Petzold ★★★½
Set in the modern day but about a man trying to escape a Nazi occupied France, who becomes intertwined with the wife of a dead author whose identity he is using.
41. Sibyl - dir. Justine Triet ★★★½
A psychotherapist who is trying to become a writer again ends up taking on an actress who is having an affair with her high profile co-star, a situation which feeds her writing.
40. Rocketman - dir. Dexter Fletcher ★★★½ 
Dexter Fletcher does his thing again with this very enjoyable musical about Elton John
39. Her Smell - dir. Alex Ross Perry ★★★½
A movie about a self destructive musician and the people who have to choose to stay with her or not.
38. Stan & Ollie - dir. Jon.S.Baird ★★★½
The first half was your standard ho-hum biopic but a very emotional second half is what makes it a very worthwhile effort
37. Dolemite Is My Name - dir. Craig Brewer ★★★½
Eddie Murphy is having fun and in a good movie again shocker, playing blaxploitation star Rudy Ray Moore
36. Tell Me Who I Am - dir. Ed Perkins ★★★½
A real life mystery based on a best selling book about about a twin who after suffering an accident can only remember his twin brother and no one else in the world
Rip roaring action comedy about a martial arts enthusiast who can feel no pain (hence the title) who decides to help his in danger hero.
34. The Last Black Man In San Francisco - dir. Joe Talbot ★★★½
Artfully told dream like drama about people trying to find home and kinship in an ever changing city.
33. What Time Is Death? - dir. Paul Duane ★★★½
Ever wonder what the KLF and their hardcore fans are up to, well director Paul Duane found out and lets us in on their surprising latest endeavours. To say any more might spoil it, but seek it out if you can.
32. The Sisters Brothers - dir. Jacques Audiard ★★★½
Uneven Western about a pair of assassins tracking down a gold prospector and his partner, but much much more than that.
31. Celebration (AKA Yves Saint Laurent: The Last Collections) - dir. Olivier Meyrou ★★★★
A documentary that wasn't allowed be released for decades by its subjects which captures a fading Yves Saint Laurent as he reveals one of his last collections. Fans of Phantom Thread might be intruiged by this one.
30. On a Magical Night (Chambre 212) - dir. Christophe Honoré ★★★★
Maria leaves her husband but only moves into the hotel across from her apartment and wonders is she doing the right thing, all the while her past revisits her.
29. Support the Girls - dir. Andrew Bujalski ★★★★
A manager of a sports bar inspired by Hooters gets tested throughout a particulalrly eventful and strange day. The film got the Obama seal of approval last year, and fans of Linklater might find this of interest, like a throwback to some of the better indies of the nineties.
28. Extra Ordinary. - dir. Mike Ahern, Enda Loughman ★★★★
Maeve Higgins shines in this paranormal comedy romp, ends up all over the place but good good fun.
27. Someone, Somewhere (Deux moi) - dir. Cédric Klapisch ★★★★
Two neighbours, who have never met, go through similar issues in this odd but quietly moving comedy.
26. Thunder Road - dir. Jim Cummings ★★★★
Centered around an outstanding central performance from writer/director Cummings, Thunder Road tells the story of a cop whose life is spiralling out of control quickly after the death of his mother. Worth watching for the opening scene alone.
25. Capernaum - dir. Nadine Labaki ★★★★
A 12 year old boy sues his parents while he serves time in jail. A compassionate drama about life on the fringes.
24. The Amazing Johnathan Documentary - dir. Ben Berman ★★★★
The Amazing Jonathan, a famous magician/comedian, is given years to live, a documetary crew arrive and bizarre events occur.
23. Varda by Agnès - dir. Agnès Varda  ★★★★
Following on from last year's Faces Places, Varda, who sadly passed away earlier this year, lets us in on her creative process through showing us excerpts from her films, photos and art exhibitions.
22. Aniara - dir. Pella Kågerman, Hugo Lilja ★★★★
Based on a poem by Harry Martinson, a ship transporting humans from a dying Earth to Mars veers off course, causing the inhabitants to try and keep it together while they come up with a solution. Not a casual watch, be warned.
21. Midsommar - dir. Ari Aster ★★★★
Aster does his thing again, creepy horror drama, pagan rituals, blunt head trauma but this time with Florence Pugh terrific in the lead role and Jack Reynor with a very revealing performance.
20. Best Before Death - dir. Paul Duane ★★★★
The second documentary on the list with the KLF's Bill Drummond in it, this one captures two years of his 25 year project to perform the same 20 performances/rituals in a different city every year.
19. Good Posture - dir. Dolly Wells ★★★★
A dramedy about a directionless young woman who tries to bond with her deceased mother's friend, a famous reclusive writer, who she finds herself living with.
18. The Aeronauts - dir. Tom Harper ★★★★
Surprisingly entertaining (well to me anyway) period action drama about two people who go up in a giant air balloon to see if taking readings can help predict the weather. Jones and Redmayne are excellent foils for each other again. Harper also directed Wild Rose this year, which didn't quite make this list but's also well worth checking out
17. Hustlers - dir. Lorene Scafaria ★★★★
Stylish drama about strip club performers who gang together to con money out of their rich Wall Street clients.
16. La Belle Époque - dir. Nicolas Bedos ★★★★
High concept comedy about a disillusioned cartoonist whose wife is no longer in love with him, is offered the chance to re-create his youth
15. Diego Maradona - dir. Asif Kapadia ★★★★
Asif Kapadia artfully tells the story of Maradona's tempestuous time as a Napoli footballer
14. The Souvenir - dir. Joanna Hogg ★★★★
A young film student from a posh background finds herself in a toxic realtionship that she has no idea how to navigate her way through, Tom Burke is excellent as the boyfriend.
13. Maiden - dir. Alex Holmes ★★★★
The true story of the first all female crew to enter the the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989, and the travails they faced on and off the boat.
12. The Favourite - dir. Yorgos Lanthimos ★★★★
Lanthimos returns to his dark comedy roots with this tale about Queen Anne and the people competing for her affection and power. Brilliantly cast and packed full of awkward laughs.
11. The Irishman  - dir. Martin Scorsese ★★★★
Decades spanning tale of Frank Sheeran and his involvement with the Mob and Jimmy Hoffa. While the CGI doesn't always quite work, it took a hell of a swing and while some moan about the long duration, it's still only a third of a season of the Sopranos, so belt up.
10. Booksmart - dir. Olivia Wilde ★★★★
A very funny and entertaining coming of age tale about a pair of friends determined to leave high school on a high note.
9. Apollo 11 - dir. Todd Douglas Miller ★★★★
Spectacular documentary that manages to tell the story of the moon landing and makes it feel fresh, exciting and new all over again.
8. Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð) - dir. Benedikt Erlingsson ★★★★
A surreal and beutifully idiosyncratic Icelandic comedy about an environmentalist activist whose activties look set to catch up on her.
7. Ford v Ferrari (Le Mans '66) - dir. James Mangold ★★★★½
An old school, slick and surprisingly moving film about a car designer and driver who are hired by Ford Motor Company to try and win the Le Mans 24 Hour Race despite the odds.
6. Marriage Story - dir. Noah Baumbach ★★★★½
Baumbach tell the story of a marriage coming apart and how lawyers make everything much worse.
5. Knives Out - dir. Rian Johnston ★★★★½
Very entertaining whodunnit that's clever, funny and sneaks in a bit of social commentary. Daniel Craig seems to be having as much fun as the audience.
4. Can You Ever Forgive Me? - dir. Marielle Heller ★★★★½
Marielle Heller follows up on the execellent 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' with this tale of Lee Israel, a lonely writer who turns to forgery after struggling to get published. Both leads are excellent, particularly in drawing out the humanity in their characters and their situation.
3. Eighth Grade - dir. Bo Burnham ★★★★½ 
Tells the story Kayla and her last week in Eighth Grade. There's loads to recommend here, the amazing soundtrack, the relationship between Kayla and her Dad, an insight into hell it is to be young now in the internet age and also one of the most realsistic depictions of the horrible social anxiety that can come at that awkward stage of life.
2. Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) - dir. Pedro Almodóvar ★★★★½
Almodóvar returns with probably his most watchable film about a filmmaker at pain, both literally and figuratively. Banderas is award worthy as a weary man trying to make peace with his past.
1. The Farewell - dir. Lulu Wang ★★★★★
The set up is simple, an immigrant family living in New York find out their grandmother back in China is dying and has only a short while to live, however they decide not to tell her. What could have been an awful, schmaltzy mess is artfully turned into a very warm and human comedy. Awkwafina excels as the lead, a young woman at odds with her family, her situation and life, past and present. Shuzhen Zhao steals every scene she's in as Nai Nai. The anger, sadness, pain and hurt felt by those who emigrate and the ones who are left behind are evoked beautifully and how a family can get through it all. Just a very good watch. Please enjoy if you haven't seen it already.

*Films I wanted to see but didn't get a chance - Ad Astra, Monos, Sorry We Missed You, The Kindergarten Teacher, Doctor Sleep, The Two Popes, Crawl, High Flying Bird, Amazing Grace, The Nightingale, High Flying Bird, For Sama, Boy Erased, Ray & Liz, Avengers Endgame, Destroyer, Ordnary Love, Brightburn, The Mule, Ash is Purest White and many more...

**Yes I saw Joker...

Check out my 20 second cameo on the Spool Podcast - Best Films of 2019

Check out my yearly stats and full list of films of 2019 I watched over on Letterboxd

Previous winners:
2018Faces Places (Visages Villages) - dir. JR & Agnès Varda
2017 - Manchester By The Sea - dir. Kenneth Lonergan
2016 - Room - dir. Lenny Abrahamson
2015 - Force Majeure - dir. Ruben Östlund
2014 - We Are The Best! (Vi är bäst!) - dir. Lukas Moodysson
2013 - Stories We Tell - dir. Sarah Polley
2012 - Beasts of the Southern Wild - dir. Benh Zeitlin
2011 - Blue Valentine - dir. Derek Cianfrance
2010 - Inception - dir. Christopher Nolan