2019 has not exactly been a banner year for mainstream American films. I still have plenty of foreign titles to catch up on before the year ends, and thankfully I caught a few worthwhile indies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to make this list a bit more interesting that it would have been otherwise. Here are my Top 10 movies of 2019 so far, with every title except one having already been released in U.S. theaters during the first half of the year (the one that hasn’t is currently slated for release this fall). Read More »
The first half of 2019 is simultaneously the longest stretch of time I’ve experienced, and the shortest. The longest because the current political climate only worsens, and the shortest because I haven’t had the time to see nearly all the movies I wanted to see. Films like The Farewell, Parasite, Her Smell, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, An Elephant Sitting Still, and The Report evaded me before I sat down to write my best movies of 2019 list, but there are still plenty of great films to distract us — or perhaps remind us — of our most troubling real-life problems.
Here are my top 10 movies of 2019 so far.
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We’re still several months away from the next awards season ramping up, but this past weekend, members of the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society voted to determine the winners of several mid-year movie-related categories, including the best film of 2019 thus far. That prize ultimately went to Olivia Wilde‘s debut feature film Booksmart (a great pick!), and you can read on to find out who won Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Most Anticipated Film for the Second Half of 2019, and more. Read More »
Believe it or not, the surreal nightmare that is 2019 is half over. As we head into the latter half of the year, it’s time to look back at the 10 best movies of 2019 so far. This year was off to a slow start, and some of the films on my list aren’t even out yet – I was lucky enough to catch them at the Sundance Film Festival. There are also a handful of currently playing films I’ve heard great things about, but have yet to see – The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Wild Rose. I’ll catch up with them before the year is out, but for now, here are the 10 movies that I enjoyed the most this year so far.
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We’ve officially hit the midpoint of 2019, and that means it’s time to take stock of the year’s best movies so far. This summer has been mostly unremarkable, with a few glimmers of greatness here and there, but thankfully, the rest of the year has offered some gems worth gushing about. Honestly though, most of the great movies this year, at least for my personal list, come courtesy of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and thankfully, they’ll be on the way to theaters soon enough.
Below, find out my list of the 10 best movies of 2019 so far. Read More »
The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, watch a new version of the Sonic the Hedgehog trailer fixed with an infinitely better version of the titular hero. Plus, get a recap of the entire X-Men film franchise before Dark Phoenix comes out this weekend, and go on a Lyft undercover with Jason Sudeikis driving around Los Angeles with directions from his significant other and Booksmart director Olivia Wilde. Read More »
While many have labeled the SXSW hit Booksmart the female version of Superbad (and not just because the former co-stars Jonah Hill’s sister, Beanie Feldstein), that seems slightly unfair since this film has loftier emotional ambitions. Helmed by actor-turned-first-time-director Olivia Wilde, Booksmart concerns two high school seniors—Molly (Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever—who want to change the course of their entire high school experience on the day before they graduate. The best friends have spent the last four years concentrating on scholastic achievements and put aside all thoughts of partying or socializing in any form with anyone but each other in the hopes of getting into the best colleges. But on the last day of school, Molly is confronted with the almost-unspeakable truth that all of the kids who had fun and partied every weekend also got into great schools, leaving her on a quest to have her last night as a high school student be one of throwing caution to the wind and going to a rager with best buddy.
The entire film takes place over the course of roughly a single 24-hour period, and during the course of that day, secrets and deeply buried feelings come to the surface, both girls have their friendship tested and hearts broken, and learn that judging the other kids in their school based on their public persona is perhaps a massive mistake.
Feldstein is just starting to build an impressive filmography with memorable supporting roles in such works as Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and Lady Bird, as well as the FX series What We Do in the Shadows, while Dever has made a reputation for herself from a young age as a hugely talented actor in some very serious roles, including parts in Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now, Detroit, The Front Runner, and perhaps most memorably in the second season of FX’s Justified, in which she co-starred with Margo Martindale in one of the greatest seasons of television in modern memory. Seeing her play comedy in Booksmart with such gusto only adds to the lost list of what she’s capable of as a performer.
/Film recently spoke with Dever and Feldstein about bonding with each other and their director, the film’s powerhouse supporting cast of largely unknowns, and how celebrating intelligence is key to the film’s humor. Bookmsart is currently in theaters nationwide.
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The Memorial Day weekend box office gave audiences an extra day to catch new releases this weekend, and it seems like everyone was clamoring to see how Disney fared with their latest live-action remake of an animated classic.
Aladdin topped the weekend box office with a three-day opening weekend of $85 million. But when all is said and done for the four-day holiday weekend, the movie will have raked in $112.7 million. However, some estimates see the movie possibly hitting around $110.9 million, which would have it take the #5 spot of the biggest Memorial Day weekend openings from X-Men: Days of Future Past. But how did other new releases like Brightburn and Booksmart turn out? Find out in the rest of our box office report. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Booksmart is the film about female friendship for a new generation. What sets this film apart from Bridesmaids is that rather than focus on women in their 30s, the film chooses to focus on a pair of women on the eve of graduating high school.
I spoke with a number of cast and crew on the red carpet before the world premiere of SXSW. During the post-premiere Q&A and even during an event at the Twitter House earlier that day, director Olivia Wilde spoke about those films that she looked to for influence. Not surprisingly, two of the films mentioned were Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless. Both of these films are set in high school and were directed by Amy Heckerling. The influences weren’t just limited to high school comedies but also buddy cop films in the comedy and drama genres, such as Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, and Training Day.
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When I first watched Booksmart during its world premiere at SXSW, I fell in love with this high school comedy in an instant. When we talk about the films that we wished we had while growing up, this is one of them. It feels like an instant classic. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein are both phenomenal in the film and I couldn’t stop laughing at every ridiculous and wonderful joke.
Booksmart screenwriter Katie Silberman (she shares screenplay credit with Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, and Susanna Fogel) spoke with /Film over the phone this week to discuss the writing process as well as favorite high school comedies. Before the world premiere, I chatted with Katie Silberman on the red carpet. Some of that conversation has been edited into the transcript of our phone conversation.
Annapurna opens Booksmart in theaters on May 24, 2019.
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