These are Screen Savor's top 10 movies of 2019. Check out his SFGN's Gregg Shapiro, for his weekly Screen Savor moview reviews.
Screen Savor's 2019 Top 10 Best Movies
Even if you love Oscar-winning gay filmmaker (Pedro) Almodóvar (and who doesn’t?), you have to admit that his output in the 2010s (“I’m So Excited!” anyone?) has been less than stellar. Especially when compared to “Volver” (2006), “All About My Mother” (1999) or “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” (1988).
Here is a trigger warning – this review contains possible spoilers! Obsessive auteur Quentin Tarantino takes his longstanding cinematic love affair with Hollywood to new and exhilarating heights in “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood” (Sony/Columbia). Drawing on his own oeuvre as well as the vast entertainments from mid-20thcentury movies and television, the sprawling (nearly three hours!) epic is Tarantino’s most ambitious patchwork quilt film; alternately comforting and gripping.
If Fox Searchlight, busy patting itself on the back for its 25th anniversary (stifled yawn), is smart, the filmed intro by screenwriter/director Taika Waititi (Marvel box office blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok”) that played before a press screening of “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Seatchlight) will accompany every showing of the movie. In it, Waititi, who is ¼ Jewish, talks about how the movie, about a Nazi youth’s imaginary friendship with Hitler, is both anti-hate and pro-peace (which it is!).
To say that “Booksmart” (Anapurna/United Artists), actress-turned-filmmaker Olivia Wilde’s feature-length directorial debut, is where “Mean Girls” meets “Superbad” is not reductive, but actually a well-earned compliment. Co-screenwriters Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins and Katie Silberman have taken the best elements of those movies and synthesized them into an original and instant comedy classic.
It’s a safe bet that you’ve never seen anything quite like“Diamantino” (Kino Lorber), the bizarre feature film debut of co-writers/co-directors Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt. A surreal and fantastical comedy about star footballer Diamantino Matamouros (the sizzling Carloto Cotta who, thankfully, spends much of the movie in various states of undress), who is unwittingly recruited to help in a nationalist plot to have Portugal leave the E.U.
While there is nothing overtly queer about Lulu Wang’s marvelous dramedy“The Farewell”(A24), it’s hard not see similarities between it and Ang Lee’s “The Wedding Banquet” and Alice Wu’s “Saving Face”. All three films have a shared focus on the importance of marriage, family and reputation in Chinese culture.
Let’s face it, Florida gets a bad rap. Between the “Florida man” stories on the nightly news, the relocation of Trump to the state (making him just another “Florida man” now), and the early December 2019 gun violence in Pensacola and Coral Gables, the Sunshine State’s radiance is under attack.
You are going to hate Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), the uncouth, loud-mouthed, unfaithful husband, bad father, lying, cheating, deeply in debt New York jeweler at the rapidly beating heart of the Safdie Brothers’ “Uncut Gems” (A24). But you only have to live with him for the length of the two hour and fifteen-minute movie.
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-is the author of seven books including the 2019 chapbooks, Sunshine State (NightBallet Press) and More Poems About Buildings and Food (Souvenir Spoon Books). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBT and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.