Fraley Film Guide 2019

2019 MOVIE GUIDE

 

4 STARS

”Parasite” – Bong Joon-ho directs Korean masterpiece on upper and lower class families

”1917” – Sam Mendes salutes grandfather with WWI trench mission shot like one long take

“Little Women” – Greta Gerwig masterfully adapts the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott

“Ford v Ferrari” – Matt Damon & Christian Bale shine in James Mangold’s expert racing flick

“Harriet” – Cynthia Erivo shines in long overdue biopic of the courageous Harriet Tubman

3 1/2 STARS

”Marriage Story” – Noah Baumbach directs divorce story of Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson

“The Farewell” – Awkwafina leads true story of family lying to dying grandmother about illness

“Joker” – Joaquin Phoenix rivals Heath Ledger in disturbingly realistic villain origin story

“JoJo Rabbit” – Taika Waititi channels Mel Brooks & Charlie Chaplin to spoof the Hitler Youth

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” – Tarantino’s 9th laments end of Golden Age in 1969 L.A.

“The Irishman” – De Niro, Pacino, Pesci reunite for Scorsese’s eulogy to the gangster genre

”A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” – Tom Hanks becomes Mr. Rogers in plea for kindness

“Waves” – Sterling K. Brown plays father to family grappling with loss in Southern Florida

“Peanut Butter Falcon” – Kid with Down Syndrome embarks on journey to be a pro wrestler

“Avengers: Endgame” – The 22-film saga culminates in a fitting finale and a somber sendoff

“Yesterday” – Danny Boyle & Richard Curtis whimsically explore a world without The Beatles

“Blinded by the Light” – Delightful indie film is wonderful tribute to music of Bruce Springsteen

“Rocketman” – Taron Egerton dazzles as the flamboyant rock showman in Elton John biopic

”The Two Popes” – Jonathan Pryce & Anthony Hopkins play Pope Benedict and Pope Francis

“Abominable” – Animated gem about a young girl from Shanghai who befriends a magical Yeti

“Queen & Slim” – Daniel Kaluuya & Jodie Turner-Smith go on the lamb like “Bonnie & Clyde”

 

3 STARS

“The Highwaymen” – Costner & Harrelson track Bonnie & Clyde in companion piece to 1967

“Judy” – Renee Zellweger delivers dazzling performance as Judy Garland in tragic later years

“Always Be My Maybe” – “Fresh Off the Boat” creator helms Ali Wong & Randall Park rom com

“Toy Story 4” – Woody leads a rescue mission to save Bonnie’s kindergarten creation Forky

“Knives Out” – Rian Johnson weaves a star-studded whodunit like a tongue-in-cheek “Clue”

“Ready or Not” – If you can buy into the absurd concept, you’ll dig this delicious horror flick

“Us” – Jordan Peele horror flick is freaky, but a few notches below his masterpiece “Get Out”

“The Mustang” – French film about American convict rehabilitatied by training wild mustangs

“The Last Black Man in San Francisco” – Lyrical indie drama poetically tackles gentrification

”Frozen 2” – Elsa and Anna return for complex sequel to Disney’s animated phenomenon

“Hobbs & Shaw” – The Rock & Jason Statham battle Idris Elba in “Fast & Furious” spinoff

“Brittany Runs a Marathon” – Jillian Bell is uplifting as a New Yorker battling her body image

“Ad Astra” – Brad Pitt stars in sci-fi journey that combines “Interstellar” and “Apocalypse Now”

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” – Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal lead creative sequel

“Zombieland: Double Tap” – Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson deliver sequel

“Captain Marvel” – Brie Larson stars as Marvel’s first female lead in the run-up to “Endgame”

“The Lion King” – Disney remake is nostalgic and photorealistic, but pales to 1994 classic

“Aladdin” – Fresh Prince meets Prince Ali as Will Smith stars in Disney’s live-action “Aladdin”

 

2 1/2 STARS

”Dolemite is My Name” – Eddie Murphy in blaxploitation. First half raunchy, second half great

”Booksmart” – Olivia Wilde directs with flair in a somewhat overhyped coming-of-age flick

“John Wick 3” – Opens with craziest action scenes ever but the violence becomes overkill

“Midway” – Roland Emmerich directs standard-issue account of Pacific turning point of WWII

“Missing Link” – Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis lead this bizarre stop-motion animation

“Isn’t it Romantic” – Rebel Wilson wakes up trapped in a PG-13 rom com in clever spoof

“Triple Frontier” – J.C. Chandor’s action-adventurge becomes “Sierra Madre” greed warning

“The Kitchen” – Elisabeth Moss, Tiffany Haddish & Melissa McCarthy star in uneven script

“Gemini Man” – Will Smith squares off against himself in Ang Lee’s high-tech sci-fi flick

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” – Spooky books would have been better as a TV series

“Glass” – M. Night Shyamalan delivers solid sequel that’s more “Split” than “Unbreakable”

“Stuber” – Kumail Nanjiani & Dave Bautista mine buddy comedy in predictable action script

 

2 STARS

“Motherless Brooklyn” – Ed Norton’s “Chinatown” undercut by playing Tourette’s for laughs

“The Lighthouse” – Robert Eggers’ follow-up to “The Witch” is too experimental for audiences

“Charlie’s Angels” – Elizabeth Banks writes/directs unnecessary reboot with Kristen Stewart

“The Fanatic” – Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst directs John Travolta as obsessed fan of movie star

“Men in Black: International” – Fourth installment misses Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones

“X-Men: Dark Phoenix” – Sophie Turner can’t save this dark conclusion to 19-year franchise

“Mary Magdalene” – Rooney Mara & Joaquin Phoenix star in revisionist take on Biblical icon

“Lego Movie 2” – The Lego gimmick is starting to wear thin in this jumbled fourth installment

“Wine Country” – Amy Poehler rounds up her “SNL” cohorts for a girls trip to Napa Valley

“Dumbo” – Tim Burton’s live-action remake is far too sad for its intended child audience

 

1 STAR

“Rambo: Last Blood” – Stallone sequel cheapens a beloved action hero with gory violence

“Serenity” – Matthew McCanughey and Anne Hathaway noir ruined by ridiculous plot twist

 

Reviews from Past Years:

2018 MOVIE GUIDE

2017 MOVIE GUIDE

2016 MOVIE GUIDE

2015 MOVIE GUIDE

2014 MOVIE GUIDE

2013 MOVIE GUIDE

2012 MOVIE GUIDE

2011 MOVIE GUIDE

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