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Jordan Peele returned to the big screen in 2019 with Us, the follow up to his cult-hit directorial debut Get Out. This movie certainly had a lot to prove – mainly being whether Peele is a one trick pony or really has potentially for longevity in Hollywood.
Us is a home-invasion thriller laced with nostalgic cultural references and classic cinematic scares. The plot focuses on Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o)- who had a traumatic experience at Santa Cruz beach as a child, her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and children Zora and Jason (Shahidi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex). As they decide to take a vacation at Santa Cruz, Adelaide becomes increasingly anxious about her old demons, and soon has to face what happened all those years ago.
The performance from Lupita Nyong’o in this movie is incredible, she alone is reason enough to warrant repeat viewings. This is a story of humans; what divides us, what these divisions mean and how those divisions hurt everyone. Peele’s direction takes a tight grasp on horror and comedy, balancing both perfectly. Us makes it clear that sometimes, the scariest truths are hiding in plain sight.
1917 is the most recent film by acclaimed director Sam Mendes. Although I only watched 1917 a few days ago, it was released in 2019, so it can make it onto this list. I had mixed expectations going into this movie- I’d seen the all the critical acclaim it’s garnered over the last month, but I’ve never been a fan of war movies (I liked Dunkirk, but that’s the only exception). But the way I felt leaving the movie was something I’d never have predicted, I absolutely loved it.
From its revolutionary cinematography to its compelling storyline, I was gripped for the whole two hours. After studying media for four years now, the way the movie was shot is something I really appreciated. The whole movie was disguised as one single take. I only counted two visual cuts in the whole film, and they were for story purposes. Obviously there’ll have been hundreds of cuts throughout the production of the movie, but the way they’re masked to make the film flow so simultaneously is incredible, and unlike anything I’ve seen before. It’s phenomenal to say the least. The cast is brilliant, with each actor giving a stellar performance, the story remains consistent and keeps you on the edge of your seat, and there are countless cameos from stars including Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth and Richard Madden. If anything, 1917 has only opened my mind to consider viewing more period films in the future.
I’m sure you’ve heard enough about Avengers: Endgame already, considering in 2019 it became the highest grossing film of all time, but it most certainly deserves its victory. The movie brought together a whole universe of beloved characters in a way that we’ve never seen before (sorry, Justice League) and set the bar for what any blockbuster superhero should be – epic. The scale of the movie is incredible, jumping from planet to planet at light speed and keeping its focus firmly on the characters and plot. To put it simply, Avengers: Endgame is probably the most ambitious, entertaining, emotional and beautiful blockbusters I’ve ever seen, and certainly the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon thus far. The events that take place over the perfectly-paced three hour run time can only be truly appreciated when watched, there are new surprises every five minutes.
To call this film a love-letter to Marvel fans would be an understatement. It’s a truly wonderful gift to everyone who’s spent the last decade investing in these characters and their adventures over the previous 21 movies, and a breathtaking conclusion to this era of the MCU. The Russo Brothers and Kevin Feige are true masterminds and you can feel their hard work and appreciation flowing through the veins of the movie. Endgame is the towering entertainment experience I’ve longed for, and the emotional rollercoaster that I want to keep reliving again and again.
I was intrigued by Midsommar the moment I finished watching the mysterious first trailer. I’m a fan of a good-old horror movie, but this one looked fascinatingly different. For as long as the genre has existed, horror movies have taught us to be afraid of the dark. However in Midsommar, the brightness is cranked all the way up and all cliches are thrown out the window. My hopes were already high as this was director Ari Aster’s follow up to the popular and acclaimed horror Hereditary. Florence Pugh gives an outstanding performance as Dani, a young clingy woman in a failing relationship who joins her husband on him and his friends’ summer trip in hope of rekindling their romance. They travel to a remote rural village in Sweden where they attend a festival that only occurs once every 90 years, and is hiding some gruelling secrets.
The film stretches nearly two and a half hours, allowing tension to build slowly and gradually to reach the disturbing conclusion. There were several moments in the movie that were so gruesome I literally could not look, which further lodges the film into my brain and made it an even more memorable cinema experience. Midsommar is by far one of the most memorable movies of 2019, proving hit director Ari Aster is far from a one-hit wonder.
Have you seen any of these movies? If so, what did you think?