Thursday Movie Picks #288: Films Released In 2019

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy Thursday everyone! I can’t believe it’s been five years since I participated in this weekly Thursday Movie Picks blogathon that’s spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog.

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… 2019 Releases

Well, since I am still working on my Top 10 Best of 2019 that I’m planning to post next week (as I always like to wait at least a week or two after new year before publishing), then consider this post a preview of what you’ll see either on my main list or honorable mentions. I’ll choose three that I haven’t personally reviewed it myself.

So without further ado, here are my picks:

Marriage Story

A stage director and his actor wife struggle through a gruelling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.

I saw this film back in October 2019 at Twin Cities Film Fest, and I still remember how much I was taken by it. Somehow I haven’t gotten around to writing a review of it, not sure why because I have SO much praise for it. Perhaps it’ll be too long of a review, ahah. If someone were to ask me my favorite film of 2019, I often say this one right away because it’s on my mind so much. I just LOVE Noah Baumbach‘s script, which I feel depicts a dissolution of a marriage in an unflinching-ly real and emotional way, with the actors performing in such a naturalistic way it’s as if I was watching the characters themselves, not a performance. I kind of have a thing for Adam Driver these days, and he’s absolutely phenomenal here (plus he sang, too!)

I actually have only seen one film he directed, While We’re Young, and while I like parts of it, I didn’t really love it. But I know I’ll be rooting for Baumbach to win Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars!

A Hidden Life

Austrian farmer Franz Jägerstätter faces the threat of execution for refusing to fight for the Nazis during World War II.

I actually just had a discussion about this film with my fellow blogger Keith who also loved this movie (check out his review of this film here). It’s definitely a return to form for Terrence Malick, which tells the true story of a conscientious objector during World War II. It’s a slow, reflective film but not-at-all boring… it’s a typical Malick film with gorgeous cinematography and long silences, but unlike his previous film Knight Of Cups (a film about a screenwriter without a script??!), this time it has such a strong emotional center. I truly felt for Franz and his wife and their struggle is so painstakingly-palpable. Truly an unforgettable film that stays with you long after the end credits roll.

Peanut Butter Falcon

After running away from a residential nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler, a man who has Down syndrome befriends an outlaw who becomes his coach and ally.

One of my awesome blog contributors Holly P. has reviewed this a while back,  but I had finally seen it this past weekend. Oh it’s such a delightful film and Zack Gottsagen will steal your heart. I think it’s wonderful that the film employed an actor with Down syndrome to portray a character with that condition and he did a marvelous job. I love the relationship between him and his co-stars Dakota Johnson and Shia LaBeouf, there are SO many scenes that pack such emotional wallop. It’s such a funny, uplifting film, definitely one of the best 2019 offerings. In fact, I think it should’ve gotten more awards love than some movies that got nominated recently.

What do you think of my picks? Have you seen any of them?

17 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks #288: Films Released In 2019

  1. Marriage Story I really liked a lot as I was glad to see it before the end of the year as it is an incredible film. I want to see Peanut Butter Falcon as it has a few famous wrestlers that I know of as I’m also intrigued by the story. A Hidden Life is the film I want to see the most but it’s gone from nearest art house theater tomorrow as I can’t go because of my bronchitis. I so want to see it as I love Malick as I’m aware that it’s a return to a more traditional narrative as his last three narrative-based films (Song to Song was the last film he made) were all created without a script as they were mainly semi-biographical films.

    I also heard it’s his most political film in response to what is happening here right now.

    1. Hey Steven! Glad to hear you saw Marriage Story on the big screen. It’s indeed an incredible film, the script is amazing! Yeah Peanut Butter Falcon is such a heart-warming story. A Hidden Life is too, sorry to hear you weren’t able to see it because of your bronchitis, hope you’re fully mended now. A Hidden Life is a subtle anti-war film but not in a preachy way as it’s told from a personal perspective of a real conscientious objector.

      1. I heard it is Malick’s most political film in response to what is happening right now as it is also him returning to traditional writing as his last few films had him working without a script.

  2. I have not seen any of these but I really want to see A Hidden Life because my mom is German and she suffered at the hands of the Nazis and then the Russians. My grandparents were not part of the Nazis at all but that meant they were watched, their children were taken out of the home and placed in the Youth Camps and my Grandfather ended up in a Concentration camp.

    1. Hello Birgit! Thank you for sharing your personal story… sorry to hear about your mom and grandfather. I think you’d really appreciate A Hidden Life, as it focuses on a non-Jewish person who also suffered at the hands of the Nazis… which goes to show just atrocious they were in punishing ANYONE who disobeyed them.

  3. Welcome back Ruth! Sorry to say I haven’t seen any of these, or heard of the last two but I’ve read a good deal about Marriage Story. Baumbach doesn’t always work for me but I like the cast so I’ll give it a try eventually.

    My theatre going was regrettably slim last year with me making there only three times. But on the upside I liked all three and it made my picks this week a snap!

    Rocketman-Chronicle of Elton John’s early life, rise to stardom and semi fall and rise from the ashes all set to his music. Shot very much in the fashion of The Who’s rock opera Tommy and anchored by a brilliant turn by Taron Egerton who does his own singing and who was absolutely robbed of an Oscar nomination!

    Knives Out-Fun, stylish mystery in the Agatha Christie fashion with an eye-popping cast, though both Jamie Lee Curtis & Toni Collette are underused, and amazing production design. Does it make a great deal of sense? Not particularly but an enjoyable ride.

    A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood-Bitter Esquire writer Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) who has major daddy issues it grudgingly assigned to do an interview and brief article on Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks). Dead set against believing anyone could be as pure of heart as Mr. Rogers appears to be he initially sets out to expose him only to discover that in this case he was mistaken. He comes away from their time together a better man. Rhys is good in the lead but this film is owned by Tom Hanks who though he doesn’t necessarily look or sound like Mr. Rogers captures his humanity.

    1. Hi ya Joel! Thanks for sharing your three favorites, I haven’t seen Rocketman but SO agree with Knives Out and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood which are on my top 10 list! (haven’t posted yet, hopefully later this week)

      As for Marriage Story, I don’t always love Baumbach’s work either. In fact I saw While We Were Young recently and it was good, but not excellent. But Marriage Story is so captivating, emotional and absorbing… the dialog, acting, etc. were so immersive. I absolutely love it!

  4. Terrence Malick is not mu guy, so I haven’t seen that movie and probably won’t either.
    Seen the other two and I agree, both are pretty great. I loved Dakota in Peanut Butter Falcon and any movie that makes me forget her FiftyShades performance is a good movie in my book. 😀

    1. Hi Getter, not a fan of Malick eh? I hear ya, his work isn’t for everyone. Which of his have you seen btw? Just out of curiosity.

      Yeah, I think Dakota is a good actress. I haven’t seen any of the Fifty Shades movies and probably never will, but have seen in A Bigger Splash and she was good there.

    1. Hi Ted! A Hidden Life is a slow film that some people might think of as tedious, but the story is captivating. I think it’s one of Malick’s best and it also feels really personal to him.

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