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The Films of 2019 That Surprised Me

A staple of my year-end articles. I like looking back over everything I’ve seen (to this point. There’s still almost a month to go) and pinpointing which films ended up being better (or worse. That’s tomorrow) than I expected them to be. Or, I guess, more specifically, it’s more about — I thought I was getting one thing, and in today’s case, I saw the films and went, “Wow, that’s actually not what I was expecting.” (Tomorrow’s list is more, “Holy shit… that was not what I was expecting.” It’s all about tone.)

Of course, the list is completely subjective to me and what my personal feelings were on the films back in January and going into them. But that’s every list. They’re all subjective. This one is subjective to what ended up impressing me more than I thought it would.

So here are the pleasant surprises of 2019 (for me): Read the rest of this page »

Some Hidden Gems from 2019

And thus begins the end of the year lists. We’ve got a truncated Oscar season this year, so things are gonna be all over the place. Some of the articles you wouldn’t normally see until January are gonna happen this month and some of the stuff that normally happens in January is gonna happen after the Oscars. It’s a weird year, guys, so just roll with it.

The first thing I do always do is kill all the lawyers when I’m starting to wrap up the year is to start broadly recommending stuff. Mostly because rating performances and things of that sort is pointless when there’s still a month of films left to watch. These articles allow me to go over things without the fact that some things are missing from the sample pool doesn’t really matter as much. Since they’re not meant to include everything, just some stuff that fits under the heading of the article.

The ones we’ll begin with over the next few days are Hidden Gems, the Films That Surprised Me, the Films That Disappointed Me and my usual Overrated, Underrated and Underseen Films lists. I try to not overlap the lists too much, so typically something that appears on a Hidden Gems lists won’t appear on the Underseen list if I can help it (though there are some overlaps, mostly on the films I really wanna promote. Which I could eliminate by shortening today’s list, but fuck it. The goal is to get people to watch stuff). But typically I try to spread the wealth as much as possible.

Today is the Hidden Gems list, with a sampling of films I think are gonna be cool little discoveries for people from this year that didn’t necessarily make a splash when they initially came out. Some are more hidden than others, but generally they’re stuff that I thought was really wonderful that deserves a wider audience. Read the rest of this page »

Oscars 2019: Another Word on Best Animated Feature

This is becoming a thing I do. Usually they announce the eligibles list for this category and I go over it immediately and then come back once I’ve seen most or all of them and have a better idea of how I think the category’s gonna go.

It’s been a weak year, so I was hoping to get most of the foreign stuff in before I did this. But I knew if I was gonna do it, it was gonna have to be now rather than later, so we’re just gonna go for it and hope the last couple of pieces fall into place. Not that it’ll really matter in the end, but I’d like to find some cool foreign stuff to be rooting for in those last couple of spots rather than the boring American stuff.

Anyway, as a reminder, here are your 32 eligible films:

Abominable
The Addams Family
The Angry Birds Movie 2
Another Day of Life
Away
Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles
Children of the Sea
Dilili in Paris
Frozen II
Funan
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Klaus
The Last Fiction
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Marona’s Fantastic Tale
Missing Link
Ne Zha
Okko’s Inn
Pachamama
Primal – Tales of Savagery
Promare

Rezo
The Secret Life of Pets 2
Spies in Disguise
The Swallows of Kabul
This Magnificent Cake!
The Tower
Toy Story 4
Upin & Ipin: The Lone Gibbon Kris
Weathering with You
White Snake Read the rest of this page »

Oscars 2019: Annie Award Nominations

The Annie Awards were announced Monday. I waited to talk about them now, because I didn’t have an article for today and because honestly, who cares? I mean, sure, it’s great for the people who work on these films, and that is very admirable. But in terms of the actual Oscar category for Animated Feature, these are pretty meaningless. At this point most people could guess 4/5 of the category sight unseen and all this is gonna do is maybe point us in the direction of the fifth nominee. Though I’d say that the Globes and BFCA will do a much better job of that than these will.

So really, we’re just about to look at how many nominations Disney and Pixar got.

Here are your 2019 Annie Award nominations: Read the rest of this page »