June 30, 2019. This day means we are somehow halfway through 2019. Where does the time go? Instead of waiting to make an End of Year Top 10 list, I wanted to look back at my favorites of the year so far.
There are a few movies that I need to see (like new release, Yesterday), but of the releases within January to June 2019, these are my favorites, in order.
A decade of heroes, captivating storylines, and dream team ups, Marvel Studios spared no expense in this ensemble superhero epic. Following up on the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Earth’s remaining heroes gather for a last-ditch effort to repair a devastated universe. In each of my three viewings, I laughed, cheered, cried, and held my breath throughout the movie that I hardly noticed the three hours passing by. As the movie closes and the end credits roll, you truly feel that you are watching something special: A culmination of so many characters, stories, and moments.
Ted. Johnny Utah. Neo. Keanu Reeves has played many roles over the years. Now we can add uber-assassin, John Wick. Due to previous actions in John Wick: Chapter 2, Wick finds himself with a hefty bounty on his head and hunted by the entire underworld. With this type of action film, you don’t worry about the body count after the first unfortunate soul meets the Boogeyman. Halle Berry makes the most of our time, no matter how short her gun-toting character is on screen. This movie is a thrill-a-minute action flick that’s smartly continues to unfold Wick-verse, making you want more Wick right that second.
DC Movies haven’t been the strongest in recent years, ranging from mediocre (Man of Steel) to the disappointing (Justice League). Their last two solo adventures, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, have met with more success because of the brighter direction these films took and possessing the heart of DC’s heroes. The recent installment, Shazam!, is possibly their best work. The story of a kid who can transform into a god-like adult superhero is the stuff of imagination for both children and adults, touching at the core of what DC Comics is. Zachary Levi is hilarious under the direction of David F. Sandberg. If you didn’t see this in theaters, it’s worth the purchase to add to your collection!
4. Toy Story 4
Toy Story 4 – the sequel we didn’t need but everyone asked for. It’s funny how that happens. While I wasn’t against a fourth entry into the Toy Story franchise, the third movie ended so perfectly that the main story didn’t need to be continuation. While this entry isn’t as good as Toy Story 3, it belongs next to its predecessors. The emotional impact does enough to win audiences over. If this is the end of the Toy Story franchise, it’s a great conclusion for toys we’ve grown up with.
If Netflix keeps cranking out movies like this, I should keep an eye out. The streaming service found their niche in romantic comedies and this is probably their best movie. Two best friends with an awkward romantic past reconnect after years apart and finally act on their feelings. A movie with social commentary about Asian-Americans, laughs, and wonderful chemistry between the two leads along with the gift of Keanu Reeves, I couldn’t get enough of this movie!
Speaking of romantic pairings, this raunchy comedy caught me by surprise when I went to the screening. Seth Rogen plays a typecast character as a man-child journalist who reconnects with his former babysitter (Charlize Theron), who is now the United States Secretary of State. I didn’t think this pairing would work on screen but their chemistry was impressive. Charlize’s comedy chops along with Rogen’s brand of humor play off each other and had the audience laughing during the entire time. Be sure to catch this out of the blue romantic comedy.
7. How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I didn’t get into this franchise until hearing about this final installment. Because I got curious about these films, I entered into the animated dragon universe. Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) seeks a dragon utopia called “The Hidden World” for all the dragons of his village while coming to terms with Toothless’ new bond with a female Light Fury. Filled with laughs, heart, and love that will bring a small tear to your eye, few trilogies conclude the way the How to Train Your Dragon did. If you haven’t seen any of these movies, I highly recommend them!
8. Fighting With My Family
I’m a wrestling fan. I have been since I saw my first Wrestlemania with Stone Cold and the Rock in 1999. So imagine my surprise when I found out a biopic about pro wrestler Paige, portrayed by Florence Pugh, was actually well received at the Sundance Film Festival. Not getting stuck down in cliches, this film is actually a champion with dedication to the sport it celebrates, committed acting by the lead and energy from the cast. Right now, I will file this under my sleeper hit for 2019 so far.
While this isn’t a top 10, there are still a few movies that I need to see. This year has been a strong one for movies, tapping into audiences’ emotions with strong acting and exciting writing. Hopefully there will be more of the same as we go into the second half of 2019!
Thanks for reading, everyone!
What are your thoughts about the first half of 2019? Are there any first half movies that I haven’t listed that I should see? Definitely leave a comment! Don’t forget to subscribe to One Scene at A Time!
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