Nick from ‘Built For Speed’s’ Best and Worst movies of 2019

Best Films of 2019

1. Sorry We Missed You

As he did with I, Daniel Blake, British director Ken Loach delivers an excruciatingly honest and effortlessly powerful look at the state of working-class Britain. Here he shows the plight of a struggling family where the father works as a contracted parcel driver forced to adhere to an impossible schedule while his wife struggles to cope with the system as an in-home carer. An extremely raw and moving indictment of the workplace exploitation becoming more common in the casualised and gig economies.

2. The Nightingale

One of the most brutal, confronting and vital films to come out of this country as it delves into Australia’s hideously dark past and our treatment of indigenous people and women.

3. Jojo Rabbit

Strange but wonderfully effective mix of surreal satire and fiercely emotional drama set in Belin at the end of WW2 that brought a tear to the eye of many a stone-faced critic

4. The Irishman

The rightful heir to the Scorsese gangster movie crown – I never really took to The Departed. It didn’t have the amphetamine driven rock’n’roll energy of Goodfellas and Casino but operated in a similar milieu and provided a more introspective look at the much-explored gangster world.

5. Parasite

Bizarre, riveting and confronting mix of social satire, thriller, horror and caper comedy from the remarkable Korean director Bong Joon Ho.

6. Hustlers

Probably the surprise of the year. A comeback for the once ubiquitous Jennifer Lopez that reimagines The Wolf of Wall Street as a story about strippers fleecing patrons in the midst of the global financial crisis. The morality was questionable but the filmmaking was exhilarating.

7. Joker

Apparently, we’re required by law to have an extreme reaction to this film: you have to hail it as epochal genius or an abomination. Neither views are true. Joker was refreshingly different to other films in the superhero comic genre, was very well directed and featured a powerful performance from Joaquin Phoenix even though he occasionally veered into tortured wretch 101.

8. From Music into Silence

Extremely moving Australian documentary about Peter Roberts who plays the harp for terminally ill people in respite care. It’s often depressing and desperately sad but also full of uplifting humanity and to know there are good people out there like Peter is reassuring.

9. Knives Out

A fun Agatha Christie ‘whodunnit’ pastiche with a knockout cast and clever direction from Rian Johnson.

10. Us

Creepy, intriguing and at times perplexing mix of horror and social commentary from Us director Jordan Peel.

Honourable mentions

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • Peterloo
  • Pain and Glory
  • Midsommar
  • Never Look Away – German post-war drama
  • Everybody Knows – Spanish film fest
  • At Eternity’s Gate
  • Eighth Grade
  • Toy Story 4
  • Booksmart
  • Greenbook
  • The Australian Dream
  • Marianne and Leonard
  • Suzi Q
  • The Eulogy
  • Maria by Callas: In Her Own Words
  • Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy Blache
  • Amazing Grace – Aretha Franklin
  • Apollo 11

Worst films of 2019

1. Rambo – Last Blood

Horrendously stupid torture-porn garbage with appalling racial stereotyping.  This is even more offensive than the film it rips off, Taken.

2. Cats

Embarrassingly awful adaptation of the stage musical. The sight of revered thespians like Sir Ian McKellen digitally mutated into cat creatures was disturbing. Cats is sure to be mentioned alongside Ishtar and Howard the Duck as an archetypal cinema disaster.

3. The Hustle

Awful, unfunny remake of comedy classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

4. Stuber

Loathsome and irritating anti-comedy with Kumal Najiani and Dave Bautista.

5. Charlie’s Angels

Tedious, utterly unnecessary remake that jettisoned all the high-energy, technicolour fun of the early 2000’s films with Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz and replaced it with a dull, grey aesthetic and some nasty violence that killed any sense of fun.

6. Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Infuriatingly murky looking, silly and overwrought attempt at the monster team-up movie had none of the fun of the old Toho studio films.

7. Little

A movie that feels like it came out years ago was one of the old kid/ adult Freaky Friday style body swap films but was completely devoid of wit or charm.

8. Fast and Furious presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Another ludicrous, noisy but dull instalment in the interminable Fast and Furious movie plague.

9. Gemini Man

A misfired experiment from Ang Lee in which he inexplicably resurrected the horrible high-frame speed technique used in the first Hobbit film and had two Will Smiths.

10. The Kid Who Would Be King

Not terrible but a clumsy and unconvincing teen sword and sorcery fantasy.


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