The Great Movie Catch-Up, 2019 Edition

I’m a little late to posting this list of movies I want to watch in preparation for the annual Kaedrin Movie Awards and Top 10 list (which, because I’m not a fancy schmancy critic, means I post much later than everyone else, usually at the precise moment people are totally sick of the best-of discourse, but still before the Oscars, so there’s that, stop looking at me like that, I’m trying here, ok, I get it, you have to want it, but I’ve got other things to do, like maybe write a Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker review that I’m totally not avoiding in any way, no sirree, is that how you spell sirree, weird, the spellcheck doesn’t mark it as a misspelled word like “schmancy” or “Skywalker”, oh wow, I did actually spell it right on the first try and it totally means what I thought it meant, I’m the best, wait, what the hell were we talking about, shit we’re still in the parenthetical, I should end that before we get started, or maybe not, rules are made to be broken, are they not, I mean, look at all the goddamn commas I’ve used recently, jeeze, maybe I’m not as much the best as I thought, um, yeah, let’s actually get this over with, close-parenthesis.

As of this moment, I’ve already seen 81 movies that could plausibly be considered 2019 releases (some are listed as 2018, but my official criteria doesn’t count film festivals, jerks). Much of this is due to the rise of streaming (not the Rise of Skywalker, which, again, I’m not avoiding) and it also helps that Regal Cinemas (i.e. the chain that has the most theaters around me) finally released their MoviePass money-losing scheme that I’m totally taking them up on. Anywho, despite all the movies I’ve already seen, there are still quite a few that I never got to, and I always try to track them down because I usually manage to discover a couple of things that I never would have seen if left to my normal devices (or, uh, streaming devices, yeah?), but which I really enjoyed. Usually 1-2 of my top 10 are discovered during this period, which is actually pretty great. So here’s a bunch of movies I want to catch up with that are totally not ways to avoid writing a Rise of Skywalker review, which I am definitely going to do soon.

  • Uncut Gems – The Safdie brothers latest, I didn’t quite love their previous release (Good Time), but their artistry is evident, and this one has great reviews. Update: I’ve seen it! It’s good, but it’s anything but a crowdpleaser. I didn’t like the main character, despite Adam Sandler’s great performance, so it sorta felt flat for me. Well, like, you’re not really supposed to like him, and the movie does manage to ratchet up the tension in that final half hour, but all I kept thinking was “damn, I wished I cared more about this guy who’s clearly going to die”. Anyway, if you’re a normal person, you probably won’t like this, but if you’re a weirdo who likes watching assholes make dumb decisions and like, lots of conversations where everyone is yelling over each other, you might enjoy it.
  • The Farewell – Pretty emphatically doesn’t seem like my sort of thing, which could mean that I’ll love it. It could also mean that it’s emphatically not my thing.
  • Under the Silver Lake – This seems like one of those things that has an incomprehensible plot, which I hate, but which is made really well, which I like. Another toss up.
  • Little Women – It looks like a really well made version of a story that’s probably not my thing, so I should totally watch it in the hopes that it will surprise me.
  • Little Monsters – I’m not a huge zombie movie fan, but “A washed-up musician teams up with a teacher and a kids show personality to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies.” does sound pretty great. Plus: Lupita Nyong’o!
  • Cold Pursuit – American remakes of quirky foreign films don’t usually work out, but the talent behind this one gives me some hope that they could translate the original into something interesting. That being said, you should totally watch In Order of Disappearance, it’s great.
  • 1917 – The gimmick is that the whole film appears to be a single take, which is certainly my kinda gimmick, but it’s tough to make the story work in those scenarios. Even Hitchcock struggled with this sort of thing (but then, he’s Hitchcock, so the result was still pretty good, if nowhere near his best).
  • Captive State – Indie SF film about an occupied earth, seems like it could be interesting. Divisive reviews though.
  • Richard Jewell – Eastwood is always interesting, so if this is actually still in theaters, I’ll get to it eventually. Mid-tier movies that aren’t monster successes, like this, have been falling out of theaters so quickly lately though, so I’m not sure if it’ll work out…
  • American Factory – I know very little about this other than it’s a documentary, presumably about an American Factory.
  • Climax – Gaspar Noé’s latest sounds like a plotless, psychadelic fever dream. Not usually my thing, but maybe?
  • The Grizzlies – One of them underdog sports movies, could be fun.
  • Fast Color – Something about a woman with superhuman abilities being hunted and hiding out where they’d least expect, with her family. I dunno, sounds like it could be interesting.
  • Close – Action espionage film starring Noomi Rapace as the Bond/Bourne type? Sure, I’m in…
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu – I’m just old enough to have missed the general Pokémon

    craze, so I certainly won’t get all the references or in-jokes, but this does strike me as the sort of thing that gets how to translate a video game into a movie (i.e. by changing it completely). Update: I saw it, it’s perfectly cromulent, Ryan Reynolds is great and the whole cast is pretty good too.

  • Shaft – I dunno, a sequel to a remake? All three films are named the same thing? A friend recommended it though, so I’ll give it a shot.
  • Long Shot – Seems like a winning romantic comedy with charismatic leads. Update: I saw it. It’s fine, definitely coasts on Rogan and Theron’s charisma moreso than jokes or storytelling, though it’s, again, fine.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters – I love the original 1954 Godzilla, but to be honest, almost everything since then has failed to connect with me, though some of them are fun.
  • Satanic Panic – I keep hearing good things about this movie, but it doesn’t appear to be available anywhere to watch. If it becomes available, I will watch it!
  • Color Out of Space – I don’t think this is actually getting a release until 2020, but it sounds great. Nicolas Cage in an adaptation of an HP Lovecraft story directed by Richard Stanley? This could be amazing… or a total disaster. Early indications, er, indicate the former.
  • Extra Ordinary – This Belgian/Irish flick about a paranormal driving instructor who… you know what, that first bit is all I really need to know. Alas, no idea how to actually watch this movie.
  • Synchronic – Moorhead and Benson’s latest directorial effort, that’s all I really need to know. Alas, no idea when this will be available to watch (or if it’ll be a 2020 release).

Phew, that’s a lot of movies, and I almost certainly won’t see them all (I mean, even beyond the ones that aren’t even out yet), but it’ll be an interesting January…

Update 1.5.20: Fuck it, here’s some more movies for the Catch-Up, focusing a little more on foreign films because I’m somewhat lacking in that this year:

  • Mike Wallace Is Here – Documentary about famous journalist, could be interesting. Don’t think it’s top 10 fodder, but you never know. Available on Hulu.
  • Aniara – Swedish Science Fiction flick about a colony ship knocked off course to Mars, could be interesting… Also available on Hulu.
  • Thadam – Indian crime thriller/murder mystery, sounds like it could be really fun. Available on Amazon Prime.
  • Monos – Something about kids on a mountain taking a hostage. I’m skeptical as to whether I’ll like this, but will probably give it a shot. Available to rent all over…
  • Luz – German flick about a woman chased by a demon or somesuch. Sounds fun. Available on Shudder.
  • Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made – Not a foreign film, but was recommended to me by a friend. Found footage horror about two kids who try to dig a hole to hell. Sounds like a fabulous idea, kids.
  • 3 Faces – Iranian film directed by Jafar Panahi, doesn’t sound like it’d be my thing, but who knows?
  • T-34 – Russian tank movie about a tank crew escaping a WWII prison camp in an old tank, sounds interesting…

So there you have it, lots of movies, some of which I will no doubt not get to…

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