« All Features

The 50 Best 2019 Films We’ve Already Seen

Written by on January 7, 2019 

Dragged Across Concrete (S. Craig Zahler)

dragged-across-concrete

Anyone transfixed by the hyper-stylized meathead triumph of blood and violence of Brawl in Cell 99 should be warned. Dragged Across Concrete, S. Craig Zahler’s third feature, is comparatively much tamer than his 2017 prison drama. But where the new entry lacks in bloodshed and bone-splintering violence, it still confirms Zahler’s penchant for complicated characters, and conjures up a bad cops action movie which, despite blips in tension and a second half far superior to the first, crystallizes Zahler’s as a key name to watch for lovers of the genre. – Leonardo G. (full review)

A Family Tour (Liang Yang; Seeking Distribution)

a-family-tour

The last time that director Liang Ying released a film (When Night Falls, back in 2012) it was apparently deemed to be a dangerous enough critique of the Chinese police and judicial system that sending the cops to provoke not only Ying’s family in Shanghai but also his wife’s family in Sichuan was thought to be a fair response. It was also said, at the time, that the authorities had even attempted to buy the rights to Ying’s film in order to–as we can only assume–stop it from being distributed. So it’s no surprise then that Ying’s follow-up to When Night Falls and his fifth feature, A Family Tour, tells the story of a family torn apart as a result of similarly depressing state machinations. – Rory O. (full review)

Feast of the Epiphany (Michael Koresky, Jeff Reichert & Farihah Zaman; Seeking Distribution)

feast-of-the-epiphany

What most strikes in Feast of the Epiphany is a sense of conviction and fidelity, a willingness to document things as they are: unvarnished and imperfect. Though the two halves only connect back for a fleeting instant at the very end, and otherwise represent entirely different visions of what a specific place can contain, neither is “incomplete” in and of itself; both are allowed the proper time to linger and settle. Koresky, Reichert, and Zaman’s daring is thus no mere gambit: it registers less as a simple bait-and-switch and much more as a conscious, courageous attempt to recalibrate notions of society and belonging. – Ryan S. (full review)

The Grand Bizarre (Jodie Mack; Seeking Distribution)

the-grand-bizarre-1

Jodie Mack’s work is vital, both in the sense that it is an essential cornerstone of modern film practice but also–and more significantly–alive. With a stop-motion style of animation that returns the genre to its oft-forgotten root definition of literally bringing inanimate objects to life, her experimentation with form is refreshingly playful and unpretentious, liberating materials from their settings and placing them in conversation with less colorful aspects of the world at large. Her first feature The Grand Bizarre has been a long time coming, disrupting a loaded filmography of significant, acclaimed short films. With an hour run-time that abstractly chronicles the travels of a group of vibrantly colored, escaped textiles and fabrics, Mack escalates breathtaking aesthetic revery into a stimulating discourse on the global economy. – Jason O. (full review)

“I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” (Radu Jude; Seeking Distribution)

i-do-not-care-if-we-go-down-in-history-as-barbarians-1

Inverted commas withstanding, “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” seems like an awfully long and pretentious thing to call a film. Indeed, it might even suggest that something long and pretentious will be awaiting any viewer of Radu Jude’s latest creation but thankfully, in this case at very least, only one of those adjectives is true. At 140 minutes, Barbarians (as it will be referred to from here) is indeed rather long, especially when considering that one could easily describe it as a drawn-out dialectic on the responsibility of nations to confront whatever atrocities their government and populous committed in the past. So how on earth is Barbarians so funny and compelling? Well, one reason might be that it’s a movie by Radu Jude, a Romanian New Wave filmmaker who has managed to operate just outside the main spotlight of his gilded colleagues, occasionally departing from their stark contemporary realism while always sharing in their brand of gallows humor. – Rory O. (full review)

In Fabric (Peter Strickland)

in-fabric

In Fabric is a film that’s wholly retro, and not just in how writer/director (and emerging remix artist) Peter Strickland embraces ’70s Euro-horror tropes (and even judging by one commercial glimpsed on a television; a little bit of vaporwave). Rather, the director longs for a time before Amazon decimated the retail industry, one when a person’s hopes and desires hinged on a trip to that one certain shop. – Ethan V. (full review)

In My Room (Ulrich Köhler)

in-my-room-2

At what point do vaguely-related surface movements form into something resembling a wave? The idea of a so-called “Berlin School” has been doing the rounds for quite a while. However, the creative output of that group of filmmakers in the last few years has been nothing short of astonishing. Christian Petzold led the way with Barbara (2012) and Phoenix (2014) but nothing could have prepared us for Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann rocking Cannes or Valeska Grisebach’s Western doing the same last year. Petzold’s Transit divided audiences (we thought it was great) in Berlin in February and now we encounter this strange, intimate, little science-fiction film. – Rory O. (full review)

The Killing (Shinya Tsukamoto; Seeking Distribution)

killing-1

Shinya Tsukamoto introduced his latest film Killing at the Toronto International Film Festival as a “desperate scream.” The writer, actor, director, cinematographer and editor is terrified of modern Japan’s (and thus the world’s) move “closer to a state of war after 70 years of peace” and has chosen to express that anxiety by returning to the tumultuous end of Japan’s Edo period; bringing the samurai picture of cinema’s past into the world of his uniquely violent, psychosexual, raw-nerve style of cult filmmaking. – Josh L. (full review)

Knife + Heart (Yann Gonzalez)

knife-heart_2

There is a movie within the movie Knife + Heart and it boasts the slightly euphemistic title of Homocidal (although I prefer the working title: Anal Fury). It is, in fact, being filmed as we watch, along with a number of other similarly lewd movies. Homocidal is the latest production of Far West Films, a fictional queer softcore porn studio that acts as the focus of Knife + Heart, a delightfully icky horror movie seeped in beautiful Giallo homage that is the second feature of Niçoise polymath Yann Gonzalez (who you might know as one half of M83). – Rory O. (full review)

La Flor (Mariano Llinás; Seeking Distribution)

la-flor

I am starting this review of La Flor from a segment that in the film’s Borgesian labyrinthic narrative would probably go unnoticed, because I think it goes some way toward making sense of that early remark Llinás had made in the prelude, his head bent over a notebook, his hands sketching La Flor’s structure through an intricate series of lines and arrows merging into a skeleton flower. This film is about its four actresses in the sense that it is a testament to how their craft developed through time. And the feeling of awe that transpires from that late montage, the feeling of having watched four artists grow, is indissolubly contingent on the film’s colossal length. – Leonardo G. (full review)

Continue >>

« 1 2 3 4 5»


See More: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


blog comments powered by Disqus


News More

Trailers More



Features More
Twitter icon_twitter Follow