2019 was a busy year where I could only watch or read something because I made time for it. I would relax with an episode or two of a TV series every night, but could not watch as many movies as I wish I did. A list of what I loved watching in 2019:
Tokyo Story (東京物語): Yet another masterpiece by Yasujiro Ozu which yet again examines the parent-child relationship. One of those movies where every scene is a study in itself.
Lawrence of Arabia: An epic by David Lean set in Arabia during the first World War. Jaw-dropping desert scenes and set pieces, all done without CGI. Incredible acting talent squeezed from a set of classic actors. 4 hours long, it is better to watch it like a 4-part mini-series.
Starship Troopers: Paul Verhoeven pulls off a thorougly entertaining movie that is science fiction, action, romance, comedy and a satire on war, all at once. This movie is way better than the Peter Heinlein book that it is based on.
Apollo 13: The quintessential engineer's movie based on the real mission to the Moon. Edge of seat gripping to watch how NASA astronauts and engineers pried success from the jaws of a cold death in space.
The Graduate: Young Dustin Hoffman and a summer affair gone wrong. Gorgeous LA scenery, just three characters and the haunting Sounds of Silence and Scarborough Fair.
Gosford Park: A double murder whodunit set in a clone of Downton Abbey.
Strangers on a Train: Two strangers who meet on a train decide to swap murders of family members they are pissed about. A B&W thriller from 1951 by Alfred Hitchcock which sizzles to this day.
Your Name (君の名は。): Yet another visual treat from Makoto Shinkai involving love and time travel.
Pulp Fiction: Nail biting, thrilling, funny as hell from start to finish.
Article 15: True Detective meets the Indian caste system and rape in rural UP. An excellent atmospheric film by Anubhav Sinha.
Solo: Origin story for Han Solo that avoids the usual Star Wars tropes and is thus rewarding to watch as a space opera that stands on its own.
The Garden of Words (言の葉の庭): From the visually stunning imagination of Makoto Shinkai comes a romantic short set in a Shinjuku garden in the rainy season.
Pelican Brief: Legal and political knives and daggers with Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts. Refreshing to be soaked in a relaxing 90s plot in this age of superhero-sequel sensory overload.
Game Over: Slasher movie meets video games meets the afterlife. Tense thriller with a couple of spine-chilling jump scares.
Silicon Valley (Seasons 1-3): Rollicking comedy that captures the programmer, startup, tech company and venture capital culture in the valley to a T.
NCIS (Seasons 1-8): US Navy crime TV series where the science used does not insult your intelligence. One of the longest running TV series ever, so the characters Gibbs, DiNozzo, McGee, Ducky, Ziva all become unforgettable.
Suits (Seasons 1-3): Law dramas are nothing new, but I had not found any interesting until this one. Sizzles for a couple of seasons before monotony sets in.