2019 was a remarkable year in Cinema. More than ever are we seeing Netflix and female Directors at the forefront and you will see this in the Team’s year’s best. Once again we are thrilled to share our favourites with you and would love to see how these align with your own personal faves. If you haven’t caught-up yet on your 2019 viewing, we hope the Team gives you some inspiration for your Holiday viewing!
Enjoy the rest of your Holidays and to an even more amazing 2020!
Team Mr. Will
L to R: Jonathan Godfrey, David & Alyssa Baldwin, George Kozera, Justin Waldman x Mr. Will
(There in spirit: Amanda Gilmore, Siobhán Rich)
A farewell to beloved Thompson Diner, where we held our 2019 Holiday Brunch.
In my opinion, this year has been one of the strongest years in Film for a VERY long time. We had amazing diverse creative talents in front and behind the camera who have worked together to make outstanding work, which is precisely why making this Top Ten list has been extremely difficult for me. I would love to write a Top 30 list if I was allowed, but sadly I’m not. Because of this, I have made my list according to my favourite films of the year that I could also re-watch multiple times for years to come. I have also added some honourable mentions because let’s face it, this year was flipping awesome!
DISCLAIMER: I have yet to see 1917 at the time of writing this list.
The Films below are listed in alphabetical order, they are not ranked.
Booksmart Honey Boy Jojo Rabbit Joker Knives Out Late Night Little Women Marriage Story Parasite Us
Honourable Mentions: The Peanut Butter Falcon: an extremely touching and unique coming-of-age story. Ready Or Not: an inventive thriller with one wickedly funny and badass female lead. Rocketman: I LOVEElton John and this film was a knockout!
Written in order the release, the following are my faves for 2019: winter began with If Beale Street Could Talk, a tale of struggle set to a mesmerizing score. Next, Alita: Battle Angel, a great anime adaptation with mesmerizing MOCAP (Motion Capture) work. Spring brought Toy Story 4, a 3D spectacle for the ages; and Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, another spectacular Script from Tarantino. IT Chapter 2 scared me silly this summer, and A Hidden Life was my TIFF ’19 darling. Fall brought with it a Trilogy of favorites: the powerful performance piece, Joker; the breathtaking animation of Frozen 2; and of course, a forever favorite, Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Winter has returned, and with it, Little Women, a wondrous adaption to warm this holiday season. I have high hopes for 2020, including: Dune, Tenet, Mulan, No Time to Die and Bill & Ted Face the Music.
2019 was a banner year for me, watching movies in a darkened theatre. I saw many impressive features from either first-time Directors or from established awards winners. Netflix, the little distribution company that could, released movies that were eclectic in genres and superior in quality and for the second year in a row, one of its offerings made my list as Number One. I saw movies that bored deeply into my skin and heart and mind and soul. It is with apologies to the Christmas releases that I have yet to see (Little Women, Bombshell, 1917, Uncut Gems) and too many Honorable Mentions to list that I submit my Top Ten of 2019:
1. Marriage Story 2. Jojo Rabbit 3. Waves 4. Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood 5. Parasite 6. The Irishman 7. Knives Out 8. The Last Black Man in San Francisco 9. Joker 10. Rocketman
2019 has certainly been an interesting year for movies. We saw the end of The Skywalker Saga, the warfare between Netflix and Distributors continues to grow increasingly-tense, Scorsese and Iger are teasing a conversation. Movies had more surprises this year, and there have been some genuinely heartwarming and enlightening movies this year. In alphabetical order here are my top 10 movies to end out the decade.
Booksmart Olivia Wilde directing Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever may have been the most unexpected, most hilarious thing I have seen all year but this Movie is endlessly-fantastic. It is the only Movie I have seen countless times this year, it became an instant classic for myself, that will be adored for the ages.
Jojo Rabbit Taika Waititi in my mind can do no wrong when it comes to filmmaking. Ragnarok, What We Do In The Shadows,and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Waititi constantly delivers genuinely heartwarming and hilarious movies. Jojo Rabbit is no exception to that, the WWII satire is everything I expected of it and more.
I love some brilliant Joaquin. I love me some Joker. I just love this Movie. It is haunting and ingenious, but please for everything that makes this great, do not make a Sequel.
This Whodunit was one of the biggest questions from this Agatha Christie-esque film. It was marvelously-acted, packs a punch, and let’s face it, were all obsessing about knitted sweaters now.
I couldn’t begin to tell you what I thought I was getting myself into when I went to see this. All I can tell you is that it is one of the strangest, brilliant movies I’ve seen all year and I still think about it all these months later.
Moment of truth, this was my first Little Women and what Greta Gerwig manages to do with it is nothing short of inspiring. However when you have Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep and Saoirse Ronan its also hard not to be delighted the entire time.
This was horrifying. Ari Aster still manages to haunt me with his brilliant Horror Film. The Director’s Cut is significantly better than the theatrical cut as well, as well as more haunting when you pay attention to the background. There is nothing else to say.
If you’ve seen it, you know EXACTLY why its on the list. If you have not, why are you waiting? Stop reading immediately and go see the Movie. There is literally no reason not to. It is brilliant and deserves all the acclaim.
Give Sandman everything. This Movie is neurotic, anxiety-inducing acid and you cannot look away. I felt dirty after watching the Movie, but I can’t shake it. Adam Sandler has never delivered a better performance.
This Movie broke me, is the easiest way to put it. It is beautiful, it is tragic, it is heartwarming, it is heartbreaking. This Movie launches a rocket right into the feelings and explodes on impact.
2020, you’re the start of a new decade, you better deliver as well as if not better than 2019.
1. Parasite 2. Jojo Rabbit 3. Marriage Story 4. The Farewell 5. Us 6. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood 7. Honey Boy 8. Blinded By The Light 9. 1917 10. Booksmart
2019 will go down as one of the best years for Film this decade – maybe even the singular best one. There is so much to say about these ten brilliant Films, and even more to say about the multitude of films that did not make this list. Yes, many will remember this year for the end of The Avengers and Star Wars Sagas. But others will remember it for the magnificent new discoveries that were made, for the masters making some of their best work to date and for the actors we completely wrote-off giving us plenty of reasons to remember them again. I lived, breathed and loved so many movies this year. And know that with the impending birth of my first child, that so much about next year and the next decade of my filmgoing life is going to be so drastically different. So it might just be the nostalgia talking, but I doubt I will ever see another exquisite year of Cinema like this ever again.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 prevails at the Box Office, opening on-top with $46.2 million from 4,561 theatres for Universal Pictures. It gets 54% on the Tomatometer and an A- CinemaScore. While impressive, this feat still is unable to top its 2016 Predecessor’s $104 million bow.
In second is DARK PHOENIX with $33.9 million from 3,721 theatres in in its debut for 20th Century Fox. It gets 22% on the Tomatometer and B- CinemaScore. The Film has the lowest grossing opening to date for the X-Men Franchise.
ALADDIN still is going strong in third this weekend with $24.6 million, a three week tally of $210 million in North America.
GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS slips to fourth this weekend with $14.4 million, a total $77.4 million over two weeks domestically for Warner Bros.
BOOKSMART rounds-out the Top Ten with $1.6 million from 1,134 theatres for eOne Films/United Artists Releasing. It has made $17.8 million over three weeks.
GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS destroys the competition in a big opening this weekend. The Warner Bros. release debuts at top spot with $51 million from 4,303 theatres. While getting 40% on the Tomatometer only, audiences gave it a B+ CinemaScore. Franchise best still belongs to 2014’s GODZILLA with $93 million.
ALADDIN slips to second spot this weekend with $43.6 million, which would be good enough to be #1 again most other weekends. It’s two week gross for Disney is $186.3 million domestically.
ROCKETMAN bows in third with $23.8 million for Paramount Pictures from 3,610 theatres across North America. Reviews are outstanding with a 90% on the Tomatometer and a strong A- CinemaScore.
MA lands in fourth in its debut for Universal Pictures, earning $18 million from 2,808 theatres. Reviews aren’t too bad, garnering 60% on the Tomatometer and a B- CinemaScore.
BOOKSMART is in eighth in week two of release, with $3.7 million and a $14.7 million total for United Artists Releasing/eOne Films.
THE HUSTLE rounds-out the Top Ten with $1.3 million, a three week tally of $33.1 million for Universal Pictures.
DISNEY’S ALADDIN soars the skies in its debut, taking $84.9 million from 4,476 theatres Memorial Day weekend. By the end of the American long weekend it will be in around $106.5 million. This is Disney’s second-highest Memorial Day opening ever, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, back in 2007. It gets an A CinemaScore and 58% on the Tomatometer.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM lands in second spot after taking too spot last weekend. It still goes strong with $24.2 million this weekend, a two week tally of $106.8 million by end of day Monday for Lionsgate Films/eOne Films.
AVENGERS: ENDGAME places third with $16.6 million, a five-weekn run of $802.8 million in North America for Disney.
BRIGHTBURN opens in fifth with $8 million for Sony Pictures, at 2,607 theatres. It gets 58% on the Tomatometer.
BOOKSMART opens in sixth spot with $7 million from 2,505 theatres for eOne Films/United Artists Releasing. It gets a hearty 97% on the Tomatometer and a B+ CinemaScore.
LONG SHOT rounds things out in tenth with $1.6 million in its fourth week for Lionsgate Films/eOne Films.
Buzz for Olivia Wilde‘s directorial debut has been wild since its Premiere at SXSW. The Coming-of-Age Comedy centering on two best friends, Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), whom on the eve of their high school graduation come to the realization they’ve never let loose at all in their time there. They embark on one last chance at fun before beginning their paths as adults and that comes at finding the party that all the cool kids are at even if they aren’t invited.
See the Trailer:
Stars Feldstein (Lady Bird, Neighbors 2) and Dever (Detroit, Beautiful Boy), the former who happens to be the younger sister of Jonah Hill, came to Toronto to introduce the Film to fans at a special screening held at Cineplex Yonge& Dundas. Many will be pleasantly surprised how the duo have come into their own in Booksmart and also their undeniable chemistry. Feldstein and Dever were amazing to Fans, snapping Selfies and signing autographs, ensuring everyone was taken care of. They embark on a second day of Press on Friday in support of the Movie including television and radio appearances.
We are on Day Three of the SXSW Festival and the majority of our day was spent walking around some pretty great installations.
The first one we attended was a fan art installation for Jordan Peele‘s Us. The moment you walk in, you’re faced with the costumes the Actors wore and the soon to be iconic scissors they use. You are then given a card that gets you one free download for the Soundtrack of the Film. They also treat guests to two drinks as they walk around the Exhibit. The Art is stunning to look and even more amazing considering it is Fan Art based on its Trailer alone.
Then we headed to Amazon Prime Video’sGood Omens exhibit, taking place over an entire outdoor parking lot, and had quite the queue to get in. Once inside, you are given a free umbrella and tote bag that displays the Show’s title. As you walk around, Top 40 music is blared from Drake, Ariana Grande, Cardi B as you are treated to free chicken and pork, drinks, beers and wines. There is an area for people to get their hair and nails done, once again for complimentary, and a huge floor chess board for people to use. However, one of the greatest parts for us was getting to see the adorable puppies they had for guests to pet and swoon over! It is hands down one of the best times I’ve experienced so far this SXSW. It’s also certainly put the new show Good Omens, starring David Tennant and Martin Sheen, on our must-see list with all its hype. Check out the Trailer if you don’t believe us!
When it came to the evening, the Premieres started down at the Stateside and Paramount Theatres. The first of the evening was Netflix‘s The Highwaymen, starring Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner. Word has it that Willie Nelson and Matthew McConaughey came to the Premiere also.
Next was Adopt A Highway, it’s a Blumhouse Production and stars Ethan Hawke, Betty Gabriel and more. While fans were waiting to catch a glimpse of Hawke from outside the theatre, they were surprised by two actors who were waiting to go in. Both André Holland (Moonlight) and Sterling K. Brown (This is Us) were outside Stateside Theatre talking on the sidewalk. When fans noticed it was them, they formed a crowd circling around them. Both were very patient and took Selfies with any fans who asked.
The final Premiere of the night was Booksmart, which is the directorial debut for Olivia Wilde. Nearly everyone in the Cast was on-stage for the affair. When they arrived at the Red Carpet, many were friendly with the fans, but none more so than Wilde and her partner, Jason Sudeikis who stars in the Film too. Both came over immediately from exiting their vehicle and took time with fans. It was an extra special night for Wilde as she was celebrating her birthday. When she came on-stage to intro the Film, the SXSW team surprised her with a cake and the entire audience serenaded her with Happy Birthday. When the Film was over, the audience gave a standing audience with loud cheers. It’s true, Wilde‘s first Feature is a beautiful and near-perfect coming-of-age story. Review here.
Some Snaps! Hover cursor right to move forward in our gallery:
There are no signs of SXSW slowing down as there are even more Red Carpet Premieres are taking place tomorrow. There will also be some Panels consisting of Jason Blum, Ethan Hawke, Aidy Bryant and Elizabeth Banks. So stay tuned!
On the last day of high school before graduation two education driven best friends (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever) decide to go into unchartered territory and attend a high school party.
Booksmart is a beautiful study of how strong the bond between best friends can be, while being an authentic and hilarious coming-of-age story. Director Olivia Wilde’s precision makes it hard to believe this is her first time directing a feature. When it comes to the performances every actor is perfectly cast in each of the multi-layered characters. Feldstein and Dever make star-turning leading roles that are infectious. The two of them together light up the screen with their magnetic chemistry.
Booksmart screens at SXSW on March 10 at 9:40 PM at The Paramount Theatre.
SXSW 2019 is beginning tomorrow in Austin, Texas and will run until March 17. It’s once again celebrating all things Film, Music and Comedy. The Festival runs from March 8-17.
SXSW is known to showcase some marquee titles that star heavyweight talent. It appears that this year SXSW will be putting its entire support behind the Horror film genre because both the Opening and Closing Film are sure to scare audiences. One of the highest profile Films this year is the Opening Night Film, US. This is the second Feature Film for Writer-Director Jordan Peele and stars Lupita Nyong’o,Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss and more. We have word that all those we have named will be on hand for the World Premiere tomorrow at the Paramount Theatre. Pet Sematary has been chosen as the Closing Night Film and stars Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow and more.
Other Must-Sees which are having their World Premieres at SXSW are Long Shot starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron, Good Boys starring Canadian Jacob Tremblay, The Beach Bum starring Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher and Zac Efron, The Highwaymen starring Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner, Booksmart which is the directorial debut of Actress Olivia Wilde, and Stuber starring Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani. All those Films are apart of the Headliners section of the Film Festival and are expecting big Red Carpet arrivals. One close-to-home Film we should have our eyes on is Run This Town, which is the Toronto-filmed movie about the late Mayor Rob Ford. It stars Ben Platt, Nina Dobrev, Scott Speedman and Damien Lewis as Rob Ford.
Something that sets the SXSW‘s Film Festival apart from others is its Keynote Speakers and Featured Sessions. These panels and talks provide insight into many different industries and social issues. This year some noteworthy mentions are Jason Blum, Ethan Hawke, Jodie Foster, Amber Heard, Busy Phillips, Elizabeth Banks, Gwyneth Paltrow, Henry Winkler, Kathy Griffin, Trevor Noah and more. There are also some political officials set to speak at sessions during the Festival such as Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Elizabeth Warren, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and more.
Tomorrow is when things will be kicking into full swing, check back here for all the latest from SXSW.