The films of 2019 – the good the bad and the perfectly watchable

Why so serious?: ‘Joker’ showed Hollywood how counter-intuitive filmmaking can work.

Here’s a quick run-through of the films that stood out, for one reason or another, in 2019.


The Nightingale – Jennifer Kent’s Gothic colonial revenge drama might have fizzled at the box office but it remains the boldest and best film of the year, from here or anywhere.

Avengers: Endgame
– It relied too much on the old time-travel trick, but this final chapter to the Avengers series dutifully delivered a satisfying finale to its planet of fans.

Toy Story 4
– We didn’t need it but we were glad to get it.

– The risky, counter-intuitive dive into social realism paid off big-time ($US1.06b) and produced the best origin film yet.

Ford v Ferrari
– An old-school car-racing movie fuelled by a great central bromance.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
– Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to old-school Hollywood was a celebration of nostalgia and male friendship. Yep, another bromance and a fitting companion piece to FvF.


Captain Marvel – Brie Larson looked uncomfortable in one of the most marginal Marvel films since Age of Ultron.

– Disney’s sour version of the animated classic was an elephantine downer.

Men in Black: International
– Lazy cash-in sequel, with Chris Hemsworth burning up a lot of his fan credit.

Charlie’s Angels
– Not just a dreadfully inept attempt to revive the franchise but more proof that the best way to go broke is to get woke.


Booksmart – one of the most enjoyable teen films in years.

What Men Want
– Taraji P. Henson was a comic firecracker in this rom-com remake. Who’d have thought Benjamin Button’s mum could be so funny?

Fighting with My FamilyRocky for girls. Why not?

– A noble Elton John biopic.

Dark Phoenix
– The X-men film didn’t click at the box office, but it was a better girl-power film than Captain Marvel, that’s for sure.

– A prime example of spooky, slow burn horror.

Doctor Sleep
– Ditto.

– The biting Korean satire about class envy offered a stinging vision of modern materialism.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
– great big cheesy, bubblegum action comedy.

Angel Has Fallen
– An ageing Gerard Butler churns out his best action film.

– Great seeing J.Lo in top form.

Ad Astra
– Brad Pitt shines in this contemplative space adventure.

Terminator: Dark Fate
– not as bad as people made out, with some good laughs from Arnie.

Frozen 2
– yet more proof that inside every middle aged film critic is a six year-old girl who just wants to sing.

– Renee Zellweger channels Judy Garland with great verve.