- Once Upon a time in Hollywood
This is Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to 60’s Hollywood, as we follow TV actor Rick Dalton (Di Caprio) and his stunt double mate Cliff (Pitt) through the hazards of Dalton’s career as a potentially washed up actor, its vintage cars, neon signs and smoke filled meetings in bars. Their story weaves through the Charles Manson family and their murderous intentions. It’s a slow burner until the two stories collide. Al Pacino as casting agent Marvin Schwarz is wonderful. It’s not Tarantino’s best but let this movie wash over you for a day or two and its subtle brilliance will shine.
- A Star is Born
You won’t find this on any best movie lists for 2019, because technically it was released in December the year before, but I didn’t see it till March and it was so good I had to include it. Lady Gaga gives such a great performance as aspiring singer Ally who is discovered by alcoholic music superstar Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) singing in a bar. It’s a love story with dark undertones running through it; written and directed by Cooper we also see in close detail all the pitfalls of Ally’s impending fame. A great movie.
Society rues the day they abandoned Arthur Fisk, he would go on to become the ‘Joker’ and create further havoc in a city that was already in decay. In the performance of Joaquin Phoenix’s career, this movie is the portrayal of a grisly comic into such a mental decline it’s the toughest watch of the year. Director Todd Phillips has created a dark, dank masterpiece, void of deft touch with the intent to wallop the viewer, which is does with a sledgehammer.
- The Irishman
What happens when Netflix gives Martin Scorcese an unlimited budget and free reign, we get an almost four hour gangster epic starting Robert de Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino. There are the common mafia themes of loyalty and power, but mostly it’s about money as Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) ultimately finds out. It’s a story told through Frank Sheeran (de Niro), a working guy who delivered meat that became an integral part in Mob/Teamsters relations, Scorcese has delivered us a classic.
- Ford v Ferrari
You don’t have to be a car buff to love this movie, it may be based on the battle for supremacy at the 24hr Le Mans race in the late 60’s between Ford and Ferrari but what director James Mangold has given us is a buddy movie between Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and his race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale). It’s high-octane racing, meddling Ford executives and beautiful Ferrari’s. You’ll laugh, cry and ultimately end up on the edge of your seat; this is the movie of the year.