Best Movies of 2019 (So Far)


We are now halfway through the year and as has become an annual tradition here at The End, it’s time to look back at the best movies of the year so far. As I discussed in the 2013 halfway post, the consensus movie-dating system is nonsensical and posits New York as the center of the universe. Far more logical (and much easier to use) is a system reliant on imdb’s dating system, which locates a film in whatever year it first played for an audience. That’s what we use here for all Rankings & Awards as it’s the most fair to all eras and areas. (A dating system reliant on playing in a certain locality I think can be valuable for a publication that is geographically specific, like a local newspaper or website. But here at The End, we have a global reach.)

A by-product of the system is that a number of films that first go into wide-release in any given year actually had their premiere in the year before. A number of the films on many critics’ halfway-point lists will include these films, films that find their proper home here on my 2018 list. And so here we have two lists: the Best Movies of 2019, following the strict imdb dating system, and the Best 2018 Movies of 2019, which includes those films from last year (and one from 45 years ago) that you might find on a more chronologically-illogical list. I also have a third list, Best Unreleased Movies of 2018, of last year’s films that have yet to see a New York release and therefore don’t (yet) exist by the standards of most critics. And there’s a fourth list, a halfway version of my annual Best Older Movies list, counting the top movies I saw for the first time this year that are more than a few years old.


The Best Movies of 2019 (So Far)

1. A Home with a View (Herman Yau)
2. Lynch: A History (David Shields)
3. The Rolling Thunder Revue (Martin Scorsese)
4. Deadwood: The Movie (Daniel Minahan)
5. The New King of Comedy (Stephen Chow & Herman Yau)
6. The Dead Don’t Die (Jim Jarmusch)
7. Furie (Lê Văn Kiệt)
8. Avengers: Endgame (Anthony & Joe Russo)
9. Booksmart (Olivia Wilde)
10. Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (Yuen Woo-ping)
11. White Snake (Amp Wong & Ji Zhao)
12. Missbehavior (Pang Ho-cheung)*
13. Pegasus (Han Han)
14. The Wandering Earth (Frant Gwo)
15. Triple Threat (Jesse V. Johnson)
16. Us (Jordan Peele)


The Best 2018 Movies of 2019 (So Far)

1. Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhangke)
2. Asako I & II (Ryusuke Hamguchi)
3. Grass (Hong Sangsoo)
4. The Fate of Lee Khan (King Hu, 1973)
5. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)
6. Transit (Christian Petzold)
7. Non-Fiction (Olivier Assayas)
8. The Crossing (Bai Xue)
9. Legend of the Demon Cat (Chen Kaige, 2017)*
10. Suburban Birds (Qiu Sheng)
11. The Eyes of Orson Welles (Mark Cousins)
12. The Image Book (Jean-Luc Godard)
13. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
14. Hotel by the River (Hong Sangsoo)
15. Diamantino (Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt)
16. Shadow (Zhang Yimou)


The Best Unreleased Films of 2018 (So Far)

1. The Grand Bizarre (Jodie Mack)
2. Hidden Man (Jiang Wen)
3. Little Forest (Yim Soonrye)
4. Blue (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
5. No. 1 Chung Ying Street (Derek Chiu)
6. Chinese Portrait (Wang Xiaoshuai)
7. Tourism (Daisuke Miyazaki)
8. La cartographe (Nathan Douglas)
9. Veslemøy’s Song (Sofia Bohdanowicz)
10. Norman Norman (Sophy Romvari)
11. Shoot the Moon Right Between the Eyes (Graham Carter)
12. Dead Pigs (Cathy Yan)
13. A Land Imagined (Yeo Siew Hua)
14. Girls Always Happy (Yang Mingming)
15. House of Hummingbird (Kim Bora)
16. Song Lang (Leon Le)

Chan Is Missing - 1981

2019 Discoveries (So Far)

1. Chan is Missing (Wayne Wang, 1982)
2. Street Angel (Yuan Muzhi, 1937)
3. Desperately Seeking Susan (Susan Seidelman, 1985)
4. War and Peace (Sergei Bondarchuk, 1966)
5. Taxi Hunter (Herman Yau, 1993)
6. Suzhou River (Lou Ye, 2000)
7. Red Sorghum (Zhang Yimou, 1987)
8. The Untold Story (Herman Yau, 1993)
9. From Beijing with Love (Stephen Chow & Lee Lik-chi, 1994)
10. Yellow Earth (Chen Kaige, 1984)
11. Cry Me a River (Jia Zhangke, 2008)
12. Duel to the Death (Ching Siu-tung, 1983)
13. The Horse Thief (Tian Zhuangzhuang, 1986)
14. Legend of the Stardust Brothers (Makoto Tezuka, 1985)
15. Useless (Jia Zhangke, 2007)
16. Troublesome Night 3 (Herman Yau, 1998)
17. The Mindscape of Alan Moore (Dez Vylenz, 2003)
18. Captain America: Winter Soldier (Joe & Anthony Russo, 2014)
19. Xiao Shan Going Home (Jia Zhangke, 1995)
20. Howard the Duck (Willard Huyck, 1986)
21. Ju Dou (Zhang Yimou, 1990)
22. Maximum Risk (Ringo Lam, 1996)
23. Springtime in a Small Town (Tian Zhuangzhuang, 2002)
24. Dong (Jia Zhangke, 2006)
25. Three Sad Tigers (Raúl Ruiz, 1968)
26. Breakin’ (Joel Silberg, 1984)


*According to Mike D’Angelo’s list, neither Missbehavior nor Legend of the Demon Cat played in New York in 2019, but they did play in other North American cities, including Seattle, and so I’m considering them to exist.