It doesn’t feel like 2019 should be halfway over, but here we are at the end of June. While some months of this year feel like they lasted forever and others flew by quickly, each month this year has provided some genuinely great films. From franchise reboots and endings to fantastic remakes and incredibly original material, the first six months of the year have treated us well in the movie world.
Here are some of my favorites so far.
10. Child’s Play
- Director: Lars Klevberg
- Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Gabriel Bateman
While I did miss some of the supernatural aspects of the original Child’s Play that made it more creepy, overall, this is the best entry to this long-running franchise since that first film. It was a great fusion of comedy and creepiness that will make you actually care about these movies again.
9. Cold Pursuit
- Director: Hans Petter Moland
- Starring: Liam Neeson, Tom Bateman
At times, Cold Pursuit feels like the Great Value version of a Quentin Tarantino of Coen Brothers film, but at its best, it’s an elevated version of a normal Liam Neeson thriller. It goes for more in terms of cinematography and comedy, and despite having some issues, is a fun ride.
8. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
- Director: Michael Dougherty
- Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown
Just like Avengers: Endgame, I see the latest entry into the Godzilla franchise as more of an “experience” as opposed to a fully narrative film. However, that “experience” is highly enjoyable. The plot is a little basic in the majority of monster movies, but the great action scenes are enough to push Godzilla: King of the Monsters to a spot on my list.
7. Velvet Buzzsaw
- Director: Dan Gilroy
- Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette
Velvet Buzzsaw isn’t just a parody. It’s a deep dive into how the commercial side of creativity seems to subvert the true creative process that allows an artist to flourish and carefully mold their craft. It’s this mad nature of creativity that leads the film from point to point in an ever-developing web that might just cause you to lose all your marbles.
6. Avengers: Endgame
- Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
- Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth
Despite saying goodbye to a few of our favorite characters in Avengers: Endgame, this climax of global proportions feels necessary as we step into the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This franchise holds a special place in the hearts of many. I may not have loved this film as much as Avengers: Infinity War, but Endgame is a great conclusion to this mega-successful saga.
5. The Man Who Killed Hitler & Then the Bigfoot
- Director: Robert Krzykowski
- Starring: Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner
I challenge you to find a more attention grabbing title than The Man Who Killed Hitler & Then the Bigfoot. If you see the title and assume this movie is a straightforward action flick in the vein of Clint Eastwood, you’ll be dead wrong. This Sam Elliott-led drama is not just the story of a mythic WWII veteran who took out Hitler back in the 1940s but a great commentary on the realties of getting older.
4. Pokemon Detective Pikachu
- Director: Rob Letterman
- Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith
The pocket monsters we all played with made it to the “live action” silver screen this year. Maybe I’m inclined to love this movie because of how much I loved Pokemon as a kid, but regardless of the reason, Pokemon Detective Pikachu is a really fun time. It’s a video game movie that finally works.
3. Late Night
- Director: Nisha Ganatra
- Starring: Mindy Kaling, Emma Thompson
If nothing else, Late Night came in as a splash of dry wit in a year that feels littered with less than stellar comedies. It’s a small movie with a big story about show business and those involved in its creation. It will leave you wondering why we STILL don’t have a woman in late night television.
- Director: Jordan Peele
- Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke
Us has a powerful message with fleshed out, well-acted characters and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This movie proves that there is no greater enemy than ourselves. Now that we’ve seen what Jordan Peele is capable of through this film and 2017’s Get Out, I can’t wait for what’s next.
- Director: Guy Ritchie
- Starring: Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Will Smith
Aladdin was by far the biggest cinematic surprise of 2019 for me. It pays homage to the original animated classic and celebrates the message “be true to yourself.” Its triumphant success at the box office is also a gigantic thumbs up to the diverse and accurate portrayal of these characters. This movie is pure joy. I said it in my review and I still stand by my statement, “Critical consensus be damned, Aladdin is delightful.”
For more on movies and music, check out LONGSHOT on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or via longshot.blog.