Hollywood in Review

  • 28 Dec - 03 Jan, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

December is here, and with it comes an onslaught of awards, hopefuls looking to make a name for themselves with critics, voting bodies and audiences. 2019 gave us a lot of remakes, sequels, and adaptations people weren't exactly thrilled about. There were a lot of releases that roused expectations yet didn't live up to the hype and were underscored at the box office. As we look back, here we have a list of 10 hits and flop flicks from 2019.

Hits (the ball out of the park)

Avengers: Endgame

Frankly, it beats the title of best film of the year. No matter what your preference is, you can't deny that everything from the acting, the effects, script, and ending, all of it was perfect. Characters remained as we knew them from previous films for the most part, comedy and drama balanced so well and yet maintaining climax at so many points, can't even begin to describe what else qualifies it to be amongst the best works of the film industry, both contemporary and all time. The movie became the highest grossing film of all time by making more than $2.7 billion at the worldwide box office, beating Avatar. Simply a masterpiece in its entirety, a perfect end to the Avengers' tetralogy, Stan Lee's legacy.


Although the movie scored sixth at the worldwide box office and made $1.06 billion overall, it was still marvelous. We were honestly worried that people wouldn't appreciate this film because of what it is. Normally, the general audience wants comic book films to be action-oriented. Joker is not that at all. It's strictly a drama thriller with literally no action, and we were worried that people will just find the film too placid for a comic book movie. We’re glad that people appreciate good writing. Phoenix's acting as the Joker was dead-on. His pain and anguish was so brilliantly reflected in his laughter. It wasn't like the laugh that people usually identify the Joker with. This Joker laughed as he was slowly diving into insanity through sorrow. This film did such a great job at making you empathise for the protagonist and bringing you on his side even when he finally loses it.

Toy Story 4

This movie was better than it had any right to be. Everyone pretty much had the same reaction when Toy Story 4 was announced. "Why? Toy Story 3 ended so perfectly! Why would they want to ruin that?"

Toy Story 3 was a perfect ending – for the toys relationship with Andy. There was still a lot more to tell in the story of Woody and the rest of the toys. Toy Story 4 gives a great conclusion to the story of one of the greatest protagonists in animation, Woody. This was a great ride with the same characters we grew up with and plenty of great and funny new characters. This movie is just heartwarming with so many feel-good moments. It's a mixture of comedy and drama that Pixar and the Toy Story franchise in particular has mastered over the years. This was just a great overall movie that hopefully concludes the greatest animated movie series ever. The movie also managed to beat Joker and came fifth at the worldwide box office with $1.073 billion.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is an admiring re-creation of Hollywood 1969 that strikes a distinctly elegiac and unexpectedly emotional chord, especially coming from Quentin Tarantino. In our opinion, it's up amongst his very best projects. Compared to his other films, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is much more laidback, relaxed, and doesn't contain much tension or threat other than the fact that it takes place in 1969, and that Sharon Tate and the Manson Family are involved in the story. It's a little drawn out at points but the screenplay and direction are so sharp that it hardly makes a difference. Leonardo DiCaprio delivers one of his greatest performances ever in a career filled with great performances, Brad Pitt is his normal charming and charismatic self, and Margot Robbie (despite not being as a big of a part of the movie as you may think) gives a heartfelt portrayal of the late actress. Although the movie was unable to make billions in the worldwide box office and managed to make $371 million securing 21st position. Keeping in view its ranking, we got confused whether it should be a hit or a miss but a Tarantino film with such a strong cast can never be a miss. It’s definitely a hit for us!

The Lion King

Disney's "live-action" retelling of the 1994 animated classic from the director Jon Favreau did not get love from critics, but that did not stop audiences from driving to the theater for sweet nostalgia. Neither did it stop us from loving the movie. The illustrations and detailing in a lion's share of the film were amazing. The battle scene between Simba and Scar is serious and unbelievable, truly a work of art. Despite the critic reviews, The Lion King outpaced Aladdin in ticket sales in the States, as well as 2017's Beauty and the Beast. The remake managed to be the year's second-biggest blockbuster with $1.656 billion, following Avengers: Endgame.

Miss(ed the spot)

Dark Phoenix

Fox's final big X-Men movie wasn't the worst in the franchise, but it left a lot to be desired as the film revisited the Jean Grey phoenix story line that was previously brought to screen in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. The movie mainly suffered because of poorly fleshed-out villains and a completely reshot ending. Viewers probably would've gotten better versions of both if it wasn't for another movie. In an interview, James McAvoy told that the movie's entire ending was changed in order to avoid similarities to another unnamed superhero movie. According to another interview with Tye Sheridan, the film's vague alien villains were supposed to be shape-shifters named Skrulls. If that name sounds familiar it's because those are the aliens who appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and who were a big part of Disney's Captain Marvel. The movie had the lowest box-office gross worldwide of any X-Men film with $252 million worldwide.

Men in Black: International

Sony didn't have Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones back for another time around, but that shouldn't have mattered. The studio had built-in anticipation for the film by having Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson working together. These were two people fans wanted to see together after Marvel's hilarious Thor: Ragnarok brought them together. All Sony needed to do was deliver a film with a decent story but sadly this MIB requel (a franchise reboot staged as a sequel) couldn’t live upto its hype. Thompson and Hemsworth do what they can with a predictable, uninspired script, but it looks like a bigger budget was allotted to ensure the gadgets looked sleek than delivering an interesting enough story to match. The movie only made $253 million worldwide which was disappointing for a MIB requel.

Gemini Man

Gemini Man looked like it was going to go places. Not only was Will Smith playing dual roles as his young and old self, but director Ang Lee (Life of Pi) shot the movie at 120 frames per second (fps) for a film that should have been an in-theater experience unlike any other. Unfortunately, the film had two things working against it. The first is that no theater has the technical capabilities to screen the film the way Lee intended. The second is that the story was too dull to match the sharp visuals on screen. The film failed to pick up steam stateside and managed to make only $173 million worldwide.

Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate was the best thing that happened to the franchise since Terminator 2. It even reunited original stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was everything fans could have wanted from a Terminator movie, so it's a shame more didn't come out to see it. Dark Fate makes our list because it was one of the biggest box-office letdowns of the year when it should've kicked off a new franchise. Instead, the R-rated Dark Fate only brought in $29 million opening weekend and $260 million worldwide. What went wrong? What may have upset fans is that the sixth movie scrapped the last three films from canon. The past three times audiences have shown up for Terminator films, they frankly haven't been very good. (Remember the last film, Genisys?) The failure of Dark Fate may be the end of the franchise on the big screen moving forward.

The Goldfinch

Many were excited for the adaptation of Donna Tarrt's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel because of its stacked cast (Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, and Ansel Elgort) along with Oscar-nominated director John Crowley, but it was another big miss. The movie's non-linear storytelling robs the story of cohesion and makes its emotional punches fall by the wayside. The movie also feels labouriously long while failing to properly develop its characters and most curiously, the film fails to answer every question it presents even though they're answered in the book. Unless you're familiar with the novel, you may be confused with the film's conclusion. The Goldfinch opened to $2.5 million opening weekend, the sixth-worst opening of all time for a release that large. On a reported $45 million budget before marketing, the film has only grossed $9.9 million worldwide.