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What Netflix and Noah Baumbach have created here is nothing short of a marvel.
Marriage Story – director-writer Baumbach’s immersive dive into the crumbling of a marriage – is heartbreaking and funny, kind and cruel, but most of all, it’s human.
Adam Driver gives a spellbinding performance as theatre director and devoted dad Charlie, in a role only bested this year by Joaquin Phoenix’s transformative Joker.
Scarlett Johansson is abrasive, beautiful and complex as Nicole, a woman who says she put her life on hold to fulfill her husband’s dreams.
This movie is so poignant, passionate and truly impressive that it’s sure to make my top five of 2019.
We The Animals
Raul Castillo – co-star of HBO LGBTQ+ drama Looking – once again surprises as an abusive husband but doting father whose family begins to fall apart.
When he leaves his children with his wife – an alcoholic prone to depressive episodes – she neglects the children, leaving them to fend for themselves.
As Manny, Joel and the youngest, Jonah, are set free to roam wild, scavenge food for themselves and rely on each other, we see two children grow up to be like their father.
But it’s young Jonah’s life that begins to take an unexpected, difficult turn for him. This is a quiet, emotional film that will catch you off guard.
Charlie Wilson’s War
This dutiful, thoroughly enjoyable film about a Texas congressman’s dealings with Afghanistan is funny, slick and has some of the most wonderful acting put to screen.
When Charlie Wilson’s efforts lead to the rebels pushing forward in a war with the Soviets, he can’t predict what his help will do.
Political, romantic and funny, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are fantastic in the leads, and both are as elegant and charming as ever.
But it’s the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, nominated for a supporting actor Oscar here, who truly shines.
Delightful and snappy with a script from Aaron Sorkin, this one breezes by.
Though the drug cartel movies has been done 1,000 times, auteur Oliver Stone finds a way to make Savages slick and sexy in 2012.
It’s about marijuana growers Ben and Chon who become embroiled with the cartel when the woman in their threesome relationship is kidnapped.
As they square off with scary antagonists with the help of a crooked cop, their fates may just be sealed for good.
An incredible cast, including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Benecio Del Toro, John Travolta, Salma Hayak and Blake Lively, this is one of the better thrillers of the decade.
Some might describe it as an anti-war movie, but I’d give Jarhead kudos for the realism it brings to the subject.
Made in the midst of real-life wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it was timely and spoke to the dwindling appetite from soldiers to fight these battles.
This psychological drama looks at the desert shield and storm operations during the Gulf War, and shows desperation and the tired eyes through which soldiers see war. While too hard for some modern Americans to watch, these struggles were so important to show.
With magnificent performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx, this is an under-the-radar hit.
Jordan Parker's weekly film reviews can be found on his blog, Parker & The Picture Shows.