Mini-reviews: 15 movies from 2019 and 2020

Hey everyone,

Here are a bunch of micro reviews for movies from the last 2 years. I already made two other lists like this for movies from 2019 (part one and part two) and this one also features 2019 movies and then slides into 2020 films.

2020 was an odd year for movies because many tentpole movies were postponed and the jump to releases on streaming services made everyone lose a grip on what came out and where and when. Watching movies always felt like participating in a worldwide phenomenon where every movie was available in theatres but streaming services has broken up that system, leaving audiences inside their own bubbles.

The Lighthouse (2019). Two lighthouse keepers losing their minds in the 1890s. An exquisite artwork of dread. Dafoe is amazing in this. Great lighting and use of location. The black and white really conveys this feeling of apprehension that is all throughout the film. Sometimes the why of it all escaped me.

Doctor Sleep (2019). Pretty great sequel to Kubrick’s The Shining! The movie really tries to earn its place. A very atmospheric dark fantasy with Rebecca Ferguson as a great antagonist. The climax, however, relies too much on the 1980 movie.

The Irishman (2019). Martin Scorsese doing what he does best. 3.5 hours but not a minute feels wasted (but I did treat it as a miniseries). DeNiro, Pacino and Pesci are fully committed. Really an epic film.

Uncut Gems (2019). Frantic, loud, messy, funny film. It’s a fully immersive adrenaline ride, full of people making bad choices. The ending is fantastic.

The Two Popes (2019). A contemplative film. Unusual and a bit daring in its subject matter. It’s fascinating and the verbal sparring between Hopkins and Pryce is sharp and sincere. The acting is top-notch.

Tenet (2020). Emotion and character are sacrificed for a badly-explained concept that’s just on the wrong side of being ridiculous. And refraining from putting in the effort to sell it, the film becomes confusing eye-candy while putting the responsibility for its success on the shoulders of the viewer. That’s no way to treat an audience. The editing, sound and writing just made it even more confusing. Stunning action set-pieces, though. I might like it more a second time.

Palm Springs (2020). Groundhog Day style romantic comedy set during a wedding. Funnier and cleverer than I expected.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020). Not quite as funny as the first one, but not for lack of trying. The co-star was perfectly cast and carried a large part of the movie.

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020). How could a relatively simple story go so out of control? Too long and messy and frequently illogical. It wanted to be so much more than the writing and acting could actually carry.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020). I chucked a few times. The music was handled very well, with the right amount of cringe and humor. Good-hearted, but 20 minutes too long.

Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020). It’s not stupid, because it is supposed to be stupid. It’s exactly what it needs to be and I loved it. I love how wholesome Bill and Ted are.

Soul (2020). One of Pixar’s better ones, without a doubt. Perhaps even more aimed towards grown-ups than kids. I loved the depiction of New York in here. Reminded me of Inside Out, but a slightly more mature version at that. Really resonates if you ever struggle to find your purpose in life.

~* Christmas Movies *~

The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (2020). This movie is nuts, in the worst way. Chaotic story, full of crappy CGI and crappy lines. Garbage.

Fatman (2020). Darkly funny Christmas film that really works wonderfully. I had a great time with it. Not as cynical as it may look.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020). A steampunkish black Christmas movie. Looks pretty. Very whimsical and cute. At times beautiful, at other times offensively stupid.

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19 Responses to Mini-reviews: 15 movies from 2019 and 2020

  1. piotrek says:

    From this list, I’ve only seen The Two Popes, and The Irishman. The first I liked, although it was… too soft on both of them, I’d say. Scorcese’s movie was a too long for me, cut by 1/3 it would still be long, and more palatable (with nothing of importance lost)… or add even more stuff and make a mini series, sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah The Irishman was too long for one sitting. A lot could have been cut from the first hour. He doesn’t even meet Jimmy Hoffa until like an hour into the movie. I saw it in 3 parts. It’s still really good though.
      The Two Popes, I’m not sure what the goal was behind this movie. It’s an interesting idea for a movie, sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ola G says:

    I enjoyed Two Popes, mostly due to superb acting from both leads. I still have Tenet and Irishman to see, but I don’t feel any rush to see them (from the reviews I read Tenet just seems a work of hubris and 3,5 hours of Irishman is like seven episodes of a miniseries!).
    As for Christmas Chronicles 2 – totally agree: it was cringe-worthy and unbelievably bad. I still want to see The Lighthouse and Soul 😁

    These short reviews of yours are such a cool idea!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Bookstooge says:

    Bill & Ted! Most Excellent Dude!

    I have to admit my first watch of it was a bit disappointing but that was because I had really pumped it up in my head. I do think the girls were a bit too shallow and twit headed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wakizashi says:

    This is a great post of mini-reviews. What a good idea! ‘Uncut Gems’ was a mad, frantic movie with a really good performance by Sandler. I enjoyed ‘The Irishman’, too. A bit too long but great to see them all on screen together one more time. ‘Doctor Sleep’ was a lot better than what I’d heard from the media “critics”. Not perfect, sure, but a solid, good-looking, creepy movie. THAT scene with the baseball kid was one of the most harrowing scenes I’ve seen in a while. Agreed on ‘Tenet’. It looks great but thinks it’s smarter than it is. I really want to see ‘The Lighthouse’ and ‘Bill & Ted’. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bormgans says:

    Tenet is ridiculous, but it blew me away. Holds up welk on the 2nd viewing, which I did on the same day.

    Loved The Irishman. Not too long for me, I like that kind of slow approach to storytelling (like Better Call Soul).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tenet was impressive but if I try to follow exactly what is going on, I’m getting a headache. It’s making it harder for me to really enjoy it. The main character did make for a good black James Bond.


      • bormgans says:

        I thought it was more or less easy right unto the finale. But rewatching it was actually harder, as I expected to be able to piece together the puzzle, but still couldn’t. I suspect the pieces will never fit, timetravel is a bitch to get right, even if he wrote over 5 years on the screenplay. Or was it 10?

        Very arrogant, almost oppressive movie, but in a good way imo.

        Liked by 1 person

        • [SPOILERS FOR TENET] I did realize that there was one action scene, I think with the hangar scene halfway into the movie, where the scene started with time flowing backwards but halfway through it started to move forwards again because they moved through a time turnstyle. I thought it was quite clever of me that I could keep up with that. But in the final action sequence… I would have to pause the movie every shot to really understand it. I’ll just take Nolan’s word for it that it all makes sense in his giant space brain.

          Liked by 1 person

          • bormgans says:

            Yeah you’ll need to pause and take notes and read up on it on Reddit.

            Still not sure if the basic mechanic (aside from the physics, I’ll take that for granted) doesn’t short circuit.


  6. Pingback: Mini-Reviews: 14 movies from 2020 | A Sky of Books and Movies

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