In Depth

Best films coming in 2019 from The Irishman to Frozen II

It is a huge year for Disney with Aladdin and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

As the year draws to a close and Hollywood gears up for awards season, we can expect a flurry of high-quality, Oscar-baiting films in the coming months.

Here’s a look at some of the best films to have hit the big screen so far this year and a few blockbusters due out soon.

Beautiful Boy

Timothee Chalamet was nominated for a Golden Globe, Bafta and Screen Actors Guild for his performance as a young drug addict, watched on by his tormented father (Steve Carell), in Beautiful Boy.

Based on the memoirs of David and Nic Sheff, it depicts a father-son relationship that’s “pushed to the limits by a seemingly no-win situation”, says Empire.

“A based-on-fact family drama whose truths may hit too hard for some, but are worth suffering if only to witness Timothee Chalamet’s performance,” the magazine concludes.

Out now

If Beale Street Could Talk

Newcomer KiKi Layne stars as a young pregnant black woman whose life is derailed when her boyfriend is falsely accused of raping a Puerto Rican woman. Set in early-1970s Harlem, the film is based on the 1974 novel by James Baldwin and directed by Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins.

“A period piece that feels beautifully and painfully present: beautifully because love stories are timeless, painfully because the spectacle of racial injustice feels up to date,” says The Wall Street Journal.

Out now

The Aftermath

Keira Knightley stars in this post-WWII romance, as the wife of a British army colonel who falls for a German widower, played by Alexander Skarsgard. Based on a novel of the same name by Rhidian Brook, The Aftermath “could be the next Atonement”, says Bustle.

Out now

Avengers: Endgame

There are more superhero films out in 2019 than you can shake a cape at: Hellboy, Captain Marvel, Shazam! and Spider-Man: Far from Home, to name a few. But the one generating the most excitement is Avengers: Endgame, bringing the Marvel top team together again after last year’s Infinity War. It surpassed box office expectation, shooting to second place in the list of highest-grossing films worldwide. 

Out now

Aladdin

After the success of the Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella live-action remakes, Disney is hurrying through the list of its other classics. New adaptations of Dumbo, directed by Tim Burton, and The Lion King, starring Donald Glover and Beyonce, are out this year. But the 2019 remake of Aladdin, with Will Smith as the Genie, is set to be particularly magical. “If the final movie is anything like the trailer, then it will definitely still have the same spirit (and Cave of Wonders) that fans loved about the original,” says Bustle.

Out now

El Camino

Still upset about the end of Breaking Bad? Never fear - six years after it went off the air, the creators are back with a feature-length film winding up the story of Jesse Pinkman, Walter White’s partner in crime.

Aaron Paul reprises his role as the crystal meth dealer Jesse, and viewers are treated to more adrenaline-pumping action starting from where the show’s finale left off. 

Following its debut on Netflix last week, El Camino received rave reviews from critics. Describing the film as “nimble” and “riveting”, IndieWire says: “The core of El Camino is made up of those returning players, but there are a few new faces to wrestle with as well.”

Out now

Hustlers

A feature film based on a 2015 New York magazine article - “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler - sounds like a somewhat unusual premise. Nevertheless, writer-director Lorene Scafaria has pulled off a remarkable feat in the creation of Hustlers, a razor-sharp drama about strippers in financial-crash-era New York City who steal money by drugging stock traders and executives who visit their club.

Featuring a fascinating cast of veteran stars, breakthrough actors and even a few world-famous musicians, the film has been a critical and commercial smash hit since its release in September. 

“A giddily entertaining homage to female power that illuminates bold ambition in its stars and director alike, Hustlers is the kind of era-defining film that Hollywood didn’t know it needed,” says Empire.

Out now 

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood 

Quentin Tarantino has returned, four years after The Hateful Eight, with a film about the 1969 Manson family murders - and critics loved it.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood had its world premiere at Cannes Film Festival in May, where the audience gave it a seven-minute standing ovation, with some saying it was his best work since Pulp Fiction.

The director has assembled his “biggest, starriest cast to date”, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell, says Den of Geek.

“It’s shocking, gripping, dazzlingly shot in the celluloid-primary colours of sky blue and sunset gold,” says Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian. “The Los Angeles of 1969 is recovered with all Tarantino’s habitual intensity and delirious, hysterical connoisseurship of pop culture detail.”

Out now

Frozen II

With Frozen still the highest grossing animated film ever, Disney is hoping its sequel might bring in another cool $1.2bn. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, the voices of Anna and Elsa, are expected to return, but the plot is being kept strictly concealed. Musical sequels are “rare beasts”, notes The Daily Telegraph film critic Tim Robey, especially for Walt Disney Animation Studios, which normally sends its sequels straight to DVD. But, he adds, “we all know full well that Frozen II will be enormous, even if it’s no good at all”.

Expected UK release date: 22 November

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The Skywalker saga returns at Christmas with the ninth and final, still unnamed, episode. The Force Awakens director and writer J.J. Abrams is back, after Rian Johnson took over for The Last Jedi, and is “surely the safest pair of hands you could possibly find”, says GamesRadar. Daisy Ridley stars as the orphaned scavenger Rey, who has replaced Luke Skywalker as the focus of the latest trilogy.

Expected UK release date: 19 December

The Irishman

Robert De Niro plays real-life mobster Frank Sheeran in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, alongside Al Pacino, Ray Romano and Joe Pesci. The film is being made for Netflix, but the streaming service is rumoured to be planning a two-week cinema run, perhaps to help it qualify for the Academy Awards.

Expected UK release date: 8 November

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