- Many memorable films have already been released this year and some have had rave reviews and others have been panned by critics and audiences alike.
- Movies like “Booksmart” and “Us” were lauded by critics for being stand-out films in their respective genres.
- Other films, like “After” and “Dark Phoenix,” yielded low scores from critics and audiences across the board.
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2019 is slowly coming to an end, but several films released this year have already made a lasting impact on critics and audiences in both positive and negative ways.
Here are the six of the best and six of the worst movies that have been released in 2019, so far. As a note, the scores listed throughout the piece were accurate at the time of publication but are subject to change.
“Booksmart” has been lauded as a whip-smart teen comedy.
As graduation day approaches, two straight-A students realise that the colleges they worked so hard to get into also accepted their slacker classmates. Suddenly insecure about not having had enough fun in high school, the two best friends try to cram four years of deviant behaviour into one night.
Directed by Olivia Wilde, “Booksmart” was praised by critics for being a breath of fresh air in the teen comedy genre.
“‘Booksmart’ manages to be inclusive and progressive, without being precious about anything or sacrificing an ounce of humour,” Emily Yoshida wrote in her rave review of the film for Vulture. “It feels at once like a huge moment for the teen movie genre, and also effortless, effortless enough to make one wonder what took so long.”
Disney Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” has been dubbed a film full of depth and heart.
When preschooler Bonnie makes a toy of her own at school, Woody makes it his mission to take the fear-addled “Forky” under his wing and show him what it means to be a toy while making some major realisations of his own.
All in all, critics and audiences seemed to agree that Pixar’s fourth and final venture in the “Toy Story” series takes beloved characters to new heights with dazzling animation. Film reviewers gave the film high praise for its achievements in design and animation as well as its emotional story.
“Simultaneously deeper and more artistic, ‘Toy Story 4’ opens with the concept of how such plush and plastic companions adjust to the idea that their duty to their original child might be done,” wrote Variety critic Peter Debruge.
Many feel “Avengers: Endgame” is a testament to just how amazing superhero films can be.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe comes to a sweeping climax with “Avengers: Endgame.” After their crushing defeat at the hands of Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War” the remaining Avengers attempt to bring back fallen heroes or risk losing them forever.
Many critics called the film a well-earned, emotional conclusion to 10 years of Marvel pictures, noting how the film ended with an impact while still leaving the door open for the next phase of movies.
“The Russo brothers’ poignant, powerful finale more than lives up to the hype: It’s a thrilling conclusion and a deeply emotional exploration of loss and love, duty and honour, friendship and family,” wrote critic Sandie Angulo Chen in her review for Common Sense Media.
“Us” is a high-stakes horror film that audiences and critics seemed to be blown away by.
Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us” follows a family of four as their vacation is derailed by strangers who look eerily identical to them. Things go from creepy to horrifying as their counterparts begin trying to kill off their look-alikes one by one.
With a strong performance from Lupita Nyong’o and inventive world-building, “Us” took critics and audiences by surprise, with many praising Peele as a talented director.
“[Peele is] his own director, with a vision that melds comedy, horror and social commentary,” wrote Roger-Ebert critic Monica Costello. “He has a visual style that’s luminous, playful and delightfully unnerving.”
Many were impressed with the emotional power of “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”
In Joe Talbot’s feature-film debut “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” Jimmie Fails (played by the actor of the same name) attempts to reclaim his grandfather’s house in the heart of San Francisco. The emotional drama chronicles Jimmie’s journey through the past and how the changing city has influenced him and his closest friend.
The independent drama was heralded by many critics as one to watch this awards season. “‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ is an indelibly beautiful story of love, family and loss in America from two childhood friends turned filmmakers,” film critic Manohla Dargis wrote for The New York Times.
“Rocketman” dazzled viewers with rich musical numbers.
In the musical biopic “Rocketman,” Taron Egerton portrays legendary musician Elton John as he goes through adolescent struggles with drug addiction and fame. The colourful movie is filled with musical interludes that pay homage to John’s prolific discography.
Critics and Elton-John fans alike found camaraderie in the bright, vibrant film. “As John’s music itself reminds us, even the most familiar tune can take on new resonance,” reporter Justin Chang wrote his review of the film for NPR. “In the movie’s most aching moments, Elton seems to be singing not to others but to himself, as if to suggest that even the most universal pleasures often have intensely personal roots.”
Many reviewers feel that “Dark Phoenix” is a low point for the X-Men series.
Part of the long-running X-Men film franchise, “Dark Phoenix” stars Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, a young mutant in the care of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). After a terrible accident, Jean’s powers grow beyond her control and her friends grapple with how they can stop her without killing her in the process.
The X-Men franchise has had its fair share of highs and lows with critics and some reviewers felt this film missed the mark, saying even the final battle was a bust.
“The final battle takes place aboard a moving train that feels like it’s headed nowhere,” wrote film critic Adam Graham for the Detroit News. “At this point, it’s a perfect metaphor for the ‘X-Men’ series.”
Many audiences felt “Men In Black International” failed to deliver an inspiring story.
In the fourth instalment of this sci-fi franchise, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson star as two agents working alongside alien partners as they try to save their organisation from a double agent.
But even likable leads like Hemsworth and Thompson couldn’t save the intergalactic comedy “Men in Black International” from poor reviews. Many critics have panned the movie for having an uncreative plot.
“In this uninspired MiB reboot, the effervescent biplay between Hemsworth and Thompson almost compensates for the vacuum where a live-wire alien invasion comedy should be,” film critic Peter Travers wrote for Rolling Stone. “Almost being the operative word.”
Many felt disappointed by the teen romance movie “After.”
Based on the popular romance novel by Anna Todd, “After” tracks young student Tessa (Josephine Langford) as she falls for Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin), her mysterious classmate. As their attraction for each other ramps up, Tessa begins to question the security of her own relationship and must decide if she should throw everything away for the chance to be with Hardin.
Many critics expressed disappointment in the plot and central characters of “After,” questioning if anything valuable could actually be taken away from the film’s main message.
“[It’s the] kind of dispiriting effort that thinks it’s scratching an itch for masochistic young girls, but primarily suggests that romance, desire, and sexuality aren’t worth genuinely exploring,” wrote Robert Abele for The Wrap.
“Hellboy” has been panned by critics and many reviewers felt it was an unnecessary reboot.
“Hellboy” stars “Stranger Things” lead David Harbour as the titular superhero. The darkly reimagined reboot follows Hellboy as he grapples with an ancient sorceress hell-bent on destruction.
Writer David Sims of The Atlantic called this new reboot “an R-rated slog that’s heavy on bad attitude and creative dismemberments” and said it was “completely missing the humane core of Mignola’s original story.”
Some critics said the science-fiction film “Replicas” is “terrible” and filled with plot holes.
When his family is killed in a horrific car accident, scientist William Foster (Keanu Reeves) pushes the boundaries of science and technology to bring his family back to life.
Many critics have panned this “astonishingly terrible” sci-fi thriller, oftentimes questioning the ethics and plot of the film.
“The filmmakers manage to avoid every potentially interesting choice for far dumber, and far more inexplicable, conclusions,” wrote film critic Katie Walsh in her review for the Los Angeles Times. “The film around Reeves is so poorly rendered – literally, the CGI is half-baked – and the film nose-dives hard in the third act.”
“The Professor” is a drama that many critics found to be quite dull.
When Richard, played by Johnny Depp, receives a critical diagnosis for a terminal illness, the college professor decides to throw the rulebook out the window when it comes to teaching. The comedic drama also stars Zoey Deutch, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Ron Livingston in supporting roles.
Many critics felt the film was quite confusing and overall fairly bothersome. “The movie frequently makes no sense from a purely human perspective,” wrote Reel Viewers film critic James Berardinelli. “It becomes increasingly annoying as the story rolls on.”