The Curiouser Top Ten Films of 2019
What no Avengers Endgame? Yes, it caps off the dozens of films we’ve watched in occasionally spectacular fashion, but that’s all it does, and it goes on way too long. And it doesn’t feature any of my heroes like Motley Crüe or Charles Manson or Godzilla or John Rambo…
1. Star Wars Episode 9
Don’t care what anyone else says; I’ll watch this a hundred times just like the best of the rest of Star Wars. I don’t need things slowed down or spelled out to me, and I’ll happily spend years exploring the fallout. Brilliant lightsaber scraps, space battles and other spectacles delivered too. More than happy!
2. The Dirt
I was lucky enough to see Crüe live on their farewell tour, and a bit closer to their prime, so had high hopes for this. For years! This is a great translation from one of my favourite books ever to screen, is well cast, and manages to capture enough to tell the tale more or less intact and in a coherent way in under two hours. And what a tale! The highs and lows, the debauchery and lunacy of being the ultimate rock stars in a time when rock stars were rock stars and not members of Coldplay. Very, very enjoyable watch.
3. Godzilla King of the Monsters
It’s a proper Godzilla movie! Great-looking monsters in great-looking locations having great-looking fights. They all have their own theme music like wrestlers too. And loads of people that are so stupid they deserve everything they get! This should be the template for all films made in future ever!
4. Charlie Says
Banged-up Manson girls facing the music for their crimes, interspersed with loads of back story with the last watchable Doctor Who playing Charles Manson, and once you get over that, he’s a great fit! He’s enigmatic, creepy and a bit dim-witted all at once, and his hippy ranch backdrop is everything I imagine it to have been in real life; it’s really well set in terms of location and period. Loved the appearances of Dennis Wilson too – I’ve always been fascinated with The Beach Boys’ links to this nut-job!
5. It! Chapter Two
It can’t touch Chapter One for raw enjoyment, and it’s not as scary as it thinks it is, but it’s still as slick, with some really nice imagery and some great set pieces. Just drags on way too long, which would be fine if the extra minutes were for crazy clown action, but unfortunately it’s all there for getting dark and serious about the cast with stuff from its predecessor’s cutting-room floor, which I could have happily skipped. Still, that probably makes it feel more like authentic Stephen King, and Pennywise is great, and there’s a full length film in there somewhere that is a blast!
6. Rambo: Last Blood
More Commando than Rambo but it’s alright. Even if it’s not really Rambo. When Rambo eventually escapes the confines of the plot and goes Rambo, there’s some great violence and inventive set-piece kills in his home-made network of tunnels that even the Saw fella would be proud of. A reminder of how action movies used to be – a relic, yes, but Rambo will always a welcome one. That will probably do for Rambo sequels now though… it’s time that Cobra finally gets the one it deserves.
7. Lords of Chaos
Keep in mind it’s a movie and not a documentary – particularly if you’re a fan of black metal like me – and this will keep you entertained and quite often amused for the duration; the “inhaling death” scene is a personal highlight! It is shallow, it’s not especially accurate (read the book of the same name if you want a bit more factual) and tries too hard to shock at times, but otherwise you’re getting a Hollywood take on the beginnings of a scene and the somewhat tragic, deluded characters involved; a scene that I’m so glad will always be the opposite of Hollywood. And it’s alright.
8. Book of Monsters
This is a fantastic love-letter to low budget, funny, gory 80’s monster movies, with some of the best creature designs and practical effects bringing them to life that you’ll see all year. And the creativity behind the huge parade of monsters wreaking havoc at the teenage party setting (of course!) is all the more impressive when you consider this was beyond low budget. Great fun.
Really fun part-monster, part-disaster movie involving a big alligator getting its kicks in a Florida hurricane. Everything looks good, the effects are convincing, there’s some nice gore, and everything is as ludicrous as it needs to be. It’s no Piranha, but what is going to be in 2019?
10. Captain Marvel
I’m increasingly disinterested in Marvel stuff, was in no hurry to watch Endgame, and was in no hurry to watch this, but it turned out to be alright! Not as self-important as it’s made out to be – just a decent superhero origins story, decent set pieces, decent 90’s nostalgia and a fit hottie in a tight superhero outfit… sorry, I mean empowered female lead. Samuel L Jackson puts in one of his better Marvel performances too. Apart from Rambo, my favourite superhero movie of the year.