We’re halfway through the year, which means it’s time for Wylie Writes’ recap of the best and the worst films of 2019. Don’t forget to click the coloured titles to read a more detailed write-up about the film!
The Dawn Wall (DIR. Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer)
The Dawn Wall is a captivating documentary about rock climber Tommy Caldwell – his victories, his tragedies, his relationships, and the influences that push him to aspire. The film is also a thrilling real-life adventure chronicling an epic mission carried out by Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson as they free climb an unbelievably steep portion of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan. The documentary was eclipsed by the Oscar-winning doc Free Solo, but The Dawn Wall is a superior flick by every measure.
Loqueesha (DIR. Jeremy Saville)
After earning its 15 minutes of viral fame with the release of its shocking trailer, Loqueesha was recently unleashed on Amazon Prime users. It’s an arrogant, tone-deaf “feel-good” film featuring writer/director Saville playing an allegedly wise barkeep who anonymously poses as a black woman to get a job at a local radio station looking to diversify. This is an ungainly, racist movie that could sink Saville’s filmmaking career.
Dishonourable Mentions: The Con Is On, London Fields, What Men Want
Sky Wylie (Wylie Writes’ Co-Editor)
#1. Gloria Bell
#2. The Dead Don’t Die
#3. Lords of Chaos
#4. The Grizzlies
#4. What Men Want
#3. London Fields
Rocketman (DIR. Dexter Fletcher)
Here’s a refreshing film that gets the “biopic” right. Rocketman may follow the same genre formula (from the daddy issues to the drug addictions), but this film hits every beat with a unique visual and musical style that’s surreal and larger than life – much like Elton John is himself. Engaging and exciting, this film isn’t a series of ‘I’ve got an idea for a song’ scenes, instead using the music to help tell the story. Taron Egerton is fantastic in the lead role, and the songs and performances are all stellar as well.
Honorable Mentions: The Grizzlies, Shazam!, Godzilla: King of Monsters, Avengers: Endgame
Five Feet Apart (DIR. Justin Baldwin)
Ah, another forbidden teenage romance. Five Feet Apart features more cringe-inducing love clichés than the entire Twilight Series. Beyond having characters making terrible, nonsensical and life-threatening decisions, this film culminates with an ending so absurdly dramatic that it abandons logic and reason beyond all recognition. Five Feet Apart makes an honest effort to draw attention to a very real medical condition, but it’s too bogged down by genre tropes to raise any kind of awareness or make a lasting impact.
Dishonorable Mentions: Wine Country, The Beach Bum, Pet Sematary
TIE: The Dead Don’t Die (DIR. Jim Jarmusch)/Velvet Buzzsaw (DIR. Dan Gilroy)
This has to be a tie because both films are wonderful piss-takes of American cultural consumption told through the ostensible guise of horror. It just so happens that one is about consumption in small town America, while the other is about consumption in big city America. Plus, both are hilarious!
Honourable Mentions: Us, The Miracle of the Little Prince, Born in Evin
Lords of Chaos (DIR. Jonas Åkerlund)
Imagine a true crime story told in the style of a 1980s teen comedy. What you’re currently picturing might be close to this twee-bit of black metal storytelling that makes several murderers and arsonists look like a bunch of kids trying to keep their local recreational centre from closing down.
Dishonourable Mentions: Pet Sematary, Lords of the Toys, Wine Country