Films in 2019: September

September was a big movie-filled month, primarily because I ended it with another trip to New York City for the opening weekend of the New York Film Festival! As you may remember, I attended the last weekend of NYFF back in 2017, and I’ve wanted to go again since then, so I’m glad I was able to come back this year. I love the festival for its mix of brand new releases and its retrospective screenings, and this year they honored the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Cinematographers, so they had some especially wonderful films scheduled. If you follow me on Twitter, I did tweet a bit about the talks and screenings I went to, which included seeing both Martin Scorsese and Pedro Almodóvar talk about movies they either admire or were inspired by. Also while I was in NYC, I made a quick stop by the Criterion office! I was only allowed to hang out in the lobby, but it was still pretty cool seeing some of their covers displayed on their walls, and just knowing where all the hard work is being done to create wonderful packages of Blu-rays and DVDs for movie lovers. Anyway, I did just get back home from my trip today, and with it still much on my mind, I’m focusing my favorite films of the month on the three new movies I saw at the film festival. I hope you get a chance to see them if they play at a theater near you in the coming weeks!

New-to-Me: 31

Re-Watched: 10

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 2
  • 1930s – 2
  • 1940s – 4
  • 1950s – 7
  • 1960s – 5
  • 1970s – 0
  • 1980s – 1
  • 1990s – 1
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 8

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Decision Before Dawn (1951)
  2. Valley of the Dolls (1967)
  3. The Opposite Sex (1956)
  4. Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)
  5. The Honey Pot (1967)
  6. The Big Sky (1952)
  7. It Chapter Two (2019)
  8. Champagne (1928)
  9. The Love Bug (1968)
  10. The Happiest Millionaire (1967)
  11. With a Song in My Heart (1952)
  12. Edge of the City (1957)
  13. Alibi (1929)
  14. The Cotton Club (1984)
  15. Hustlers (2019)
  16. Not Wanted (1949)
  17. The Slender Thread (1965)
  18. Nocturne (1946)
  19. Othello (1951)
  20. Wake Island (1942)
  21. The House of Rothschild (1934)
  22. The Vikings (1958)
  23. Ulee’s Gold (1997)
  24. Ad Astra (2019)
  25. Being Julia (2004)
  26. Gloria Bell (2018)
  27. Good Time (2017)
  28. The Irishman (2019)
  29. The Hard Way (1943)
  30. Pain and Glory (2019)
  31. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

The Irishman (2019)

The Irishman (2019), directed by Martin Scorsese

While I generally love Martin Scorsese’s films, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy The Irishman as much as a lot of his other ones. But I really shouldn’t have doubted this one, I was fully engrossed throughout the whole 3.5 hours running time, and it really did not feel as long as its length (in Thelma Schoonmaker we trust). Everyone is at the top of their game here, and it’s amazing to see Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel among others all under Scorsese’s direction. I especially enjoyed seeing Pesci in a movie again, and his performance is my favorite, with Pacino close behind. It’s a fascinating, reflective movie in the gangster genre that these men are best remembered for; I already want to see it again.

Pain and Glory (2019)

Pain and Glory (2019), directed by Pedro Almodóvar

The trend among legendary filmmakers this year is very reflective of their past works and inspirations, from Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood to Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. But the deepest might be Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, a loose autobiography (or “autofiction” as he calls it) of himself. Antonio Banderas delivers one of the very best performances of his career, affectingly heartfelt throughout as Almodóvar’s proxy. It’s definitely an instant favorite as a movie about movies, though there is so much more to it than that. And I’ll say that the final shots really knocked me out; such a brilliant end to a fantastic movie.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019), directed by Céline Sciamma

From the moment I saw the first trailer, Portrait of a Lady on Fire really grabbed me and I couldn’t wait to see it, and the film truly exceeded my expectations. Céline Sciamma’s film really took me in through its gorgeous cinematography, and of course the slow-burn romance between the main characters played by Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel. I don’t want to say too much more about this film because it is quite an experience, I was pretty overwhelmed with emotions by the end of it and was left speechless. It’s simply a breathtaking, beautiful film.

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