There are so many movies that come out in any given year and 2019 was one helluva stacked year. It was hard to put this list out and pick just ten but upon serious reflection (seriously, this list is late!), I’ve narrowed it down to ten flicks. Bear in mind, that this is my list and that I’ve not seen every movie to come out this year, which may explain some gaps. Let us know if you agree, disagree or what you’d put as number one!
Honourable mentions: Rocketman, Blinded by the Light
All roads led here. What makes Endgame so satisfying is it builds off of eleven years of storytelling, completing a loose arc that was established in 2012 and wrapping up character beats from 2008. The movie is far more sombre and dramatic than previous MCU films, showing our heroes dealing with PTSD, regular life and survivors’ guilt. Is it as good as Infinity War? I don’t think so, but Endgame sticks the landing and gives a great conclusion to the Infinity Saga.
9-Toy Story 4
Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending to the franchise so when a fourth got announced, I was less than overjoyed. And while the third movie still is the perfect ending for the Andy era, this was a heartwarming and touching movie just for Woody, who was the heart and soul of the franchise. It’s a bit of a shame Buzz has gotten sidelined in the last few movies, but this one will still tug at the heartstrings for longtime fans.
8-Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
The ninth movie by Quentin Tarantino may not be my favourite from the prolific director-which is a shame as it stars both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt and focuses on 1960s Hollywood, but this hangout movie did resonate with me. On top of that, it has one of the best Brad Pitt performances, which is also one of the years best (in a year full of great performances). The scene where Brad and Leo’s characters sit down to watch a TV episode feels so right as someone who has circles of friends who react the same way. For those who love film and the 60s, this is Tarantino’s love letter.
Martin Scorsese returns to the genre that launched his career, that of the crime drama epic. For this bout, he turns to the adaptation of the book I Heard You Paint Houses and brings in Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci to bring his mob epic to life. This one is all about the performance, and at almost four hours long, it’s a whole lot of movie. But seeing these titans act alongside each other is a joy to watch, even if the deaging technology can sometimes be distracting.
Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe deliver powerhouse performances in this genuinely unsettling film about cabin fever. The Lighthouse contains certain echoes of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining in that we don’t know whether the events we’re seeing are supernatural or the product of the main character going insane. But whereas The Shining was about an abusive husband terrorizing his family, The Lighthouse pits two equally crazy people against each other and allows us to watch it all unravel. The results are deeply unsettling, darkly comical, and maybe enough to make you doubt your own sanity by the end.
5-Ford v Ferrari
Many people I spoke to skipped out on this one because it was “the movie about cars”. And yes, this is about LeMans, the Ford GT and the feud with Ferarri, but it’s also about two very different men, played by Matt Damon and Christian Bale, as they overcome science and corporate politics in an attempt to be the best. Bale, in my opinion, was snubbed at the Oscars in 2020 for his portrayal of Ken Miles, a funny and impassioned performance.
A whodunit in the style of Agatha Christie written and directed by Rian Johnson. What more could you want? How about a grade-A cast, which includes Daniel Craig in the lead role and a scene-stealing performance by Ana de Armas. The movie, like The Last Jedi, takes genre tropes and expectations and flips it on its head, only it does it far better than how it was attempted in a galaxy far, far away (not knocking that movie, however). Smart, sharp and witty, one of my favourites in the genre.
The film may have failed at the box office, but like Blade Runner 2049, Doctor Sleep ranks as one of the best movies of the year. It works both as a sequel to Stephen King’s novel and the Stanley Kubrick adaptation he famously hates. The film has great characters, with one of the best villains of the decade in Rose the Hat. With no cheap jump scares but plenty of supernatural chills and implied terror, this is a must-see.
1917 is a brilliant, exhausting and tense World War One film that puts you, the viewer, into the muddy trenches, bombed-out villages and farmsteads of France thanks to a “one-shot” take. Two soldiers are tasked with crossing the enemy line to deliver orders to another division. They must do this manually due to the telephone wires being cut. The audience becomes the third solider on this crusade, one that has some of the most nail-biting tension I’ve been in any movie, genre notwithstanding, in decades. 1917 is without a doubt, one of the best war movies put to film.
The Crown Prince of Gotham gets his own origin story and to be quite frank, I was very concerned about it when it was first announced. I didn’t need to know Joker’s origins and felt that any attempt would be cheap and gimmicky. Boy-was I ever wrong. The study of class and society in a film about a mentally unstable individual was chilling, disturbing, haunting and wonderfully acted by Joaquin Phoenix, who delivers the performance fo the year hands down. Don’t expect skybeams here, this is a gritty, 1970s crime noir film and it’s an amazing surprise.
So what is your movie of the year? Did you agree with our list? Let us know and have a great year at the movies!