In 2019, cinema has brought us the end of one of the most beloved universe story arcs of our generation in Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame and has offered work from great directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Claire Denis, Jordan Peele and Barry Jenkins. We’ve had a number of great genre movies and a level of sophistication to some mainstream releases that we’ve not seen in years, while performances from stars young and old have mesmerised us just as much as the incredible cinematography or CGI of the films with the highest of production values. 2019 has been quite the stellar year…
In this list, I’m counting down my top 10 picks from every film released in the UK in 2019.
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10. Avengers: Endgame
Do I think Endgame is going to make a lot of people’s end of year lists? No. Does it deserve it? There are probably films with more sincerity that deserve the spot to be fair. Do I regret putting it here? Absolutely not. I am one of the people who went to every single film for the past 11 years and this was the ultimate pay off. A pure nerd utopia. I love you 3000.
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Jordan Peele’s most recent foray into the horror genre, after 2017’s all-time great Get Out, offered a twist on the home invasion genre. It’s an insane anxiety inducing thrill ride that manages to keep itself fresh and original while paying homage to so much. Peele is fast becoming one of the smartest filmmakers in any genre. Us can be slightly less pointed than Get Out, but it’s just as thoughtful and intelligent. Lupita Nyong’o is a sensation and much of the success the film has in maintaining suspense is because of her performance.
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8. Ad Astra
This was described in reviews as “Apocalypse Now in space” and, while that may not be a bad comparison, it’s fair to say that James Gray swaps the 60s trippy paranoia of Coppola’s masterpiece for a more 21st Century misanthropy, although the film occasionally allows itself to ruminate on optimistic themes to bring balance.
Brad Pitt plays Major Roy McBride who’s on a mission to Neptune to stop his father (Tommy Lee Jones) from destroying the solar system. It’s a beautiful film and has some of the most sensational action scenes of the entire year, including a vehicle chase on the moon that I still think about months later. If you’re looking for intelligent science fiction then there’s really only one film better than Ad Astra in 2019, but more on that higher up the list.