With her third feature film, "I’ll Meet You There", writer/director Iram Parveem Bilal crafts an intriguing and enlightening Pakistani story centered on a universal cultural struggle that’s boasted by strong performances. The film follows Majeed (Faran Tahir), a Muslim Chicago police officer, and his daughter Dua (Nikita Tewani), an aspiring dancer, as they are greeted with the unexpected arrival of Majeed’s more traditional father Baba (Qavi Khan). While Majeed and Dua have become more enveloped into American culture, Baba’s presence makes them experience a culture that in Dua’s case she doesn’t know and Majeed’s case that he tries to forget.
The third feature from writer/director Albert Shin, “Disappearance on Clifton Hill”, takes viewers on a moody Niagara Falls mystery that offers a great atmosphere, but a lacklustre conspiracy story. The film follows Abby (Tuppence Middleton), a woman returning to her hometown of Niagara Falls to settle an inheritance she gains from her late mother. Although she’s been away for quite some time, Abby is still haunted by a memory from her childhood of her seeing a young boy with one eye being kidnapped. So, when she makes new connections to the boy’s disappearance, she begins to investigate the town’s history and meets some interesting discoveries that unveil an elaborate conspiracy. With her checkered past rearing its ugly head and her investigation gaining some unwanted attention, Abby must uncover the truth before she’s completely silenced.
Writer/director Kelly Reichardt has gained quite some notoriety over her career, so much so that Bong Joon-Ho even denotes her as one of his heroes, and her latest film, “First Cow”, gives audiences a unique Western adventure filled with friendship, character, and a cow. Set in Oregon during the 19th Century, the film follows two scavengers – a skilled but secluded cook named Cookie (John Magaro) and an opportunistic Chinese man named King Lu (Orion Lee). Although they meet on strange terms, the two grow a special friendship as they look to make a name for themselves. However, when an incredibly wealthy man named Chief Factor (Toby Jones) purchases and brings the first cow to the area, the two see an opportunity to gain a wealth of their own. So, as they sneakily steal milk from under Factor’s nose, Cookie and Lu make a name for themselves by cooking baked goods that eventually gets them unwanted attention.
The second I saw the trailer for director Autumn de Wilde’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved comedy “Emma.”, I just knew that it was something special. Even as someone who wasn’t familiar with the book in the slightest, there was just something so visually appealing and intriguing and it looked to kick off an incredible year for Anya Taylor-Joy. Now, that the film has finally hit theatres, it has met and exceeded my expectations and bolsters some of the strongest performances we’ll likely see this year – especially from Taylor-Joy.
I am a movie recommendation fiend. You’re an action person? Check out “1917” (2019). You want an indie film with twists and turns? Netflix US still has “The One I Love” (2014). You want to watch movie films directed by women? “The Farewell” (2019), duh! There is something special about giving a recommendation and them landing. Both of my parents are movie people. My dad used to work at 20th Century Fox doing IT and my mom worked at Amblin when I was little. I was raised by film. Even now, when I can share a movie I really liked with either of them and they, in turn, enjoy it, I’m elated. I am still overjoyed that my dad saw “Annihilation” (2018), going to the theater by himself, to support a film with a female-fronted cast.
Last year was probably one of the best years for film in quite some time. Throughout the entire fall, week after week, it felt like the phrase “oh, this is going to be in my top ten for sure” became incredibly common. From Bong-Ho Joon’s enthralling and mind-blowing depiction of class with “Parasite” to the box-office smashing end of the Infinity Saga with the Russo Brothers’ “Avengers: Endgame”, there were so many new kinds of stories and visions that constantly pushed genre boundaries. 2019 was especially a great year for female filmmakers as there was an onslaught of incredible films from both new and already established women in film.