Despite film franchises and tried-and-trusted properties, good films based on original scripts continued to be made in 2019. Some might say original movies made a comeback this year after getting buried and ignored in favour of CGI and VFX-heavy blockbusters last year.
The list below consists mostly of crowd-pleasers from various genres. At least four of these are Oscar hopefuls.
5. Toy Story 4
When Pixar announced the fourth film in the iconic Toy Story franchise, I was sceptical. The trilogy had ended with a film that perfectly concluded the story. The end was bittersweet and left fans emotionally drained. The fourth film felt like a cash grab, which is highly unlike Pixar. And indeed, Toy Story 4 made it feel like the tale of Woody and others was incomplete after all.
4. Avengers: Endgame
A grand, extravagant event of a film, Avengers: Endgame wrapped up the Infinity Saga, a giant 22 film story, and it did it almost flawlessly. The Russo Brothers took care to give nearly every one of more than a dozen superheroes their due — an act of superheroism in itself.
A comic-book film that had little to do with comics, Joker was the origin story of the popular Batman villain. The supreme, extremely physical performance by Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character and exquisite camera work by Lawrence Sher buried any shortcomings the film might have had.
2. Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie among others, was a stunning looking and highly entertaining love letter to the art form of cinema The film’s brutal, violent ending had audiences falling over themselves laughing by looking at people burnt to death, their heads smashed to pulp and so on. Only Tarantino can make gore look so cathartic.
1. Knives Out
Rian Johnson’s murder mystery Knives Out would have made Agatha Christie proud, and there cannot be any better praise about the film than this. This whodunit was proof that there can still be whodunits that are a little more than shallow duplicates of what has already been done before. The payoff of the mysteries piling over mysteries was shocking, and the film made moviegoers laugh all the way through.