I honestly thought that after Joker there was no 2019 film that could provide a performance that would rival Joaquin Phoenix’s.
However, after finally watching Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story on Netflix, I can say he now has some stiff competition.
Every single actor does an incredible job in this film, which follows a couple going through a divorce and trying to make things easy for their son, only for their divorce proceedings to escalate.
Both Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver are flawless as Nicole and Charlie Barber and are natural Oscar contenders, especially Driver who blew me away in so many scenes, like the one where he gives an impassioned song.
Again, if Joker had been released any other year then Driver would have an Oscar in the bag with this performance.
Complimenting the actors’ performances is the character writing for both Charlie and Nicole, with the film showing both of them to be flawed people who the audience can sympathize with and decide who is more at fault for the failure of their marriage.
And it’s not just the actors that are great but the cinematography as well with both long, extended takes and quick cuts being utilized to for dramatic and thematic effect perfectly.
Baumbach did an amazing job directing this film.
The only minor criticism I can think of is that it did take me a little bit to relate to Charlie and Nicole because of their celebrity status, which initially felt slightly alienating.
But, this issue I was having did quickly dissipate because of how the story and character arcs played out, along with the great the performances and cinematography so I can hardly fault the film. Marriage Story is an emotional, highly crafted film that is definitely one of the best of the year.
Taika Waititi playing Hitler… well, I think it’s safe to say that I have seen everything now.
In all seriousness, when Jojo Rabbit was first announced there was a bit of controversy over the satirical plot being about a young boy in World War Two Germany whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler.
Thankfully, such controversy was unwarranted as Waititi has crafted a film that manages to be hilarious, heartwarming and dark, resulting in a film that is probably my favourites of his.
The story follows the young Jojo (played by Roman Griffin Davis in his first role) a member of the Hitler Youth who is so misguidedly infatuated with the country’s genocidal leader that he imagines him as his imaginary friend.
After learning that his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), is hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) from the Nazis, Jojo desperately tries to figure out a way to get rid of her without getting his mother into trouble.
What follows is many endearing scenes between the three characters as Jojo comes to learn that Elsa is far from the monster Nazi propaganda would have him believe.
All three actors give great performances, delivering both emotional weight and humor perfectly.
The same can be said for the other characters like the disillusioned Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and Jojo’s friend Yorki (Archie Yates) who is just too pure for this world.
I especially loved Waititi’s portrayal of the imaginary friend Hitler, taking him from the childish and friendly character of Jojo’s imagination to the cruel and detestable dictator we know from history.
This slow decrease in Jojo’s perception of Hitler, results from many surprisingly tragic moments in the film, including one moment that left me gaping for at least a full minute.
I probably would have cried if I had not been so shocked by it.
Ultimately, this is what proves JoJo Rabbit to be one of Waititi’s best films.
It balances its often dark tone with humor brilliantly, often combining to create dark humor, resulting in a satire that comments on the impact of war, hate, and by the end, love.
I highly recommend Jojo Rabbit.
When I heard Avengers: Endgame was going to be three hours long I was very concerned.
Not only about how I would sit through the entire thing without a toilet break, but also about how the film could drag due to this runtime.
Well, while watching Endgame I was overjoyed to find that, not only could my bladder hold, but also that the film earns every minute of its three hours.
In all honesty, the movie does not even feel three hours long. Endgame is so investing that at no point does it drag, despite its long runtime, which is a huge achievement.
Directed by the Russo Brothers, the film picks up after the events of Avengers: Infinity War where Thanos (Josh Brolin) snapped his fingers and wiped out half of all life in the universe.
The Avengers must then unite to find a way to stop Thanos and undo everyone’s deaths.
To say anything more of the plot, would be to spoil so many of Endgame’s amazing twists and turns.
For the most part the trailers only show the first half hour of the film, leaving me completely clueless as what was going to happen next, which made the experience even better.
So many movies spoil their big twists in trailers these days that it was a wonderful change of pace to have absolutely no idea what was coming.
This is made even more wonderful by how brilliant Endgame is with its story, characters, and action sequences.
The story brought out so many emotions in me.
I honestly cried at least five times during this film, both out of joy and sadness.
I think the last time I cried this much when watching a film was Logan, which was my favourite film of 2017.
Well, Endgame is certainly looking primed to take the top spot in 2019 for all its brilliance.
The characters themselves are a part of this brilliance, with many of their arcs being complete perfection.
My favourite characters of the film would have to be Tony Stark’ Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers’ Captain America (Chris Evan), Clint Barton’s Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Natasha Romanoff’s Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and surprisingly Nebula (Karen Gillan).
Tony is by far the standout though, with him providing a lot of the film’s emotional heart.
Then there is the action, which is also stellar.
The final action sequence alone is one of the greatest final hours of any film I have ever seen.
It is absolute brilliance.
Sure, a lot of it is fan service, but it is earned fan service.
Every single part of Endgame is earned, especially that final bombastic hour.
Even the slower moments of the film are great, with so much amazing character development shown as our heroes deal with the aftermath of Thanos’ snap.
Speaking of the big guy, Thanos continues to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best villain.
He is not the main character of the film, like he is in Infinity War, but his presence it still massively felt.
Overall, any problems I do have are relatively minor.
At the end of the film there appears to be a retcon to rules established earlier in the film, but this retcon is more than earned so it does not really matter.
Then there is Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), who I actually found myself disliking in this film because she is very stuck up and arrogant.
This would not have been a problem if this had been the start of her character arc, with her growing to learn that she needs the Avengers’ help, but she does not change at all.
Still, Captain Marvel is only a minor part of Endgame so my dislike of her here does not change my feelings about the film. Avengers: Endgame is the true culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being its best film with the way it delivers excitement, intensity and emotion.
It is breaking so many records at the box office right now that it has me wondering if it might beat James Cameron’s Avatar, becoming the highest grossing film of all time.
I hope the film does because it has more than earned it.