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We’re all spending much more time inside right now so what better way to pass the time than to catch up on some of the best films from last year!

Rocketman (Sky Cinema, Digital Download, DVD and Blu-Ray)

My favourite film from 2019! Elton John’s biopic had a lot to live up to following the success of Bohemian Rhapsody but Rocketman more than delivers. The cast were all incredible, portraying their characters amazingly – a lot owing to the fact they were able to talk to the people they were portraying in order to fully understand them. Elton John himself was heavily involved in the production and wanted to make sure the film was as honest as possible. Telling the story of his troubles with drugs, alcohol and love accompanied by a stunning soundtrack along the way – Taron Egerton’s voice is incredible– this is a must-see. The outfits used were real show stealers, Elton John was renowned for the outfits he wore on stage and the film doesn’t disappoint on that front, adding flare to Taron Egerton’s amazing performance  – the diamanté devil costume that features throughout is my personal favourite!

Captain Marvel (Disney+, Sky Cinema, Digital Download, DVD and Blu-Ray)

Captain Marvel is one of the best things to have happened to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and her origin story is absolutely amazing. She has been hailed as one of the greatest female superheroes and this film is empowering without being condescending. The plot doesn’t revolve around Carol Danvers’ gender and how she managed to achieve everything she did (just casually saving the universe) despite being a woman, she was just super unapologetically kick-ass. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of superhero movies this is definitely worth the watch – even if it is just for the brilliant soundtrack full of 90s classics – and being set early in the MCU it could be the gateway to some Avengers binging! It’s also great to see part of Nick Fury’s origin story too!

Avengers: Endgame (Disney+, Sky Cinema, Digital Download, DVD and Blu-Ray)

Staying in the MCU – sorry if you’re not a fan of superhero movies but last year was a great year for Marvel films. Jumping straight from the beginning of the MCU right to the end, equipped with stunning visuals and brilliant endings to character arcs along the way. Endgame received somewhat mixed reviews at the time but it’s hard to ignore the fact that it was one of the biggest cinematic events of 2019. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s the last Avengers film, you’ll only really need to have seen Infinity War to understand (and maybe Ant-Man and the Wasp but any excuse to watch a Paul Rudd film)! There’s no escaping the fact that this film has some pretty sad endings, but you can’t help but absolutely love it. 

Toy Story 4 (Disney+, Sky Cinema, Digital Download, DVD and Blu-Ray)

What’s not to love about a Toy Story film? The franchise still manages to feel fresh even after 4 films and it being over 20 years since the release of the first one. The new characters are just as loveable as the original gang and the hunt for the new toy Forky leads Woody to some old faces. The film is hilarious – perhaps even funnier than the previous three – and there’s nothing better to watch for some light-hearted fun. 

Aladdin (Disney+, Sky Cinema, Digital Download, DVD and Blu-Ray)

I’m always sceptical when Disney announce they’re remaking old classics, but the reimagined Aladdin is on par with the original – maybe even better! The visuals used are absolutely stunning – the entire Prince Ali scene is awesome and incredibly funny. Will Smith’s performance as the Genie is hilariously brilliant, bringing him to life in a great way. The new version of the soundtrack is amazing too! This is the perfect family film and is the one to watch to banish those lockdown blues. 

Five Feet Apart (Netflix, Digital Download, DVD)

A classic teen romance film but with a heart-breaking twist. Two teens meet on a hospital ward both being treated for Cystic Fibrosis and slowly fall in love, following the classic arc of a slightly rebellious boy meets a good girl and she tries to set him on the right path. But their conditions quite literally keep them apart as they are unable to come closer than 6 feet of each other to reduce the risk of catching an infection off one another. However, that doesn’t stop them hanging out and breaking some rules along the way. It’s a really heart-warming film but it is so bittersweet – you’re rooting for them to kiss but you know that they shouldn’t. Stella (Hayley Lu Richardson) is such a lovely character and her positivity and commitment to her recovery and then to Will’s (Cole Sprouse) is admirable. It’s a great film for when you want to laugh and cry at the same time!

Joker (Digital Download, DVD and Blu-Ray)

A slightly darker pick but this psychological thriller is a brilliant isolation watch and a chance to see one of Joaquin Phoenix’s best performances. His portrayal of The Joker sees the disturbing origin story of one of the best supervillain’s ever created. This film is easy to watch even if you haven’t seen any DC films before as it’s set before the Batman franchise begins. Full of harrowing scenes, made so in no small part by Phoenix’s physicality as he had reduced himself to an almost skeletal figure, the film shows the Joker’s progression from being the butt of everyone’s jokes through to carrying out his cruel revenge. Even though it is a vastly different film to the others I’ve recommended it is still a brilliant film to watch.

Le Mans 66 (Digital Download, DVD and Blu-Ray)

I know that a film about a 24-hour car race may not exactly be everyone’s cup of tea but Le Mans 66 (also called Ford v Ferrari) will be sure to surpass all your expectations. Being set in the 1960s the aesthetics are stunning, especially when they get to race day and you see the cars racing the beautiful Le Mans track. The film features brilliant performances from Christian Bale as racing driver/ engineer Ken Miles, and Matt Damon as ex-racing driver/car designer Carroll Shelby. Centring around the competition between Ford and Ferrari to be the best race-car manufacturer in the world, the film also tells the story of the drivers who are snubbed and exploited in the process. 

Marriage Story (Netflix)

This Netflix original was an award season favourite, picking up nominations for Best Picture at pretty much every award show. In my opinion it’s the cast that make the film, Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star as Charlie and Nicole, a couple struggling through a divorce, living in different states and fighting over custody of their child. This offers room for emotional argument scenes (featuring Adam Driver’s iconic wall punch) and long monologues about why their relationship failed (ScarJo effortlessly provides this). However, Laura Dern steals the show as Nicole’s divorce lawyer, who may not be morally just but is definitely determined – her performance was rewarded with Best Supporting Actress awards at the Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTAs. 

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (Digital Download, DVD and Blu-Ray)

The latest film from Quentin Tarantino, idolising a lost era of Hollywood and centring around both the seeming brutality of Hollywood and the Manson family in equal measure. It can seem a bit choppy at some points with the two concepts not really linking until the end of the film – which features an absolutely killer fight scene  – but is entertaining, nonetheless. The plot follows the life of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and how his career is in a slow decline – something he’s not dealing with very well and is witnessed throughout the film by his stuntman and friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Dalton’s link to the Manson family comes from living next door to Sharon Tate, who is stunningly played by Margot Robbie, and the film sees a re-imagining of the Manson family’s brutal attack on Tate. Overall, I will admit it wasn’t my favourite film of the year but it’s worth a watch if you’re a Tarantino fan or just need to pass some time.

Disclaimer: there are some great films I would’ve loved to mention but because they’ve not been released on DVD or any streaming platform yet there would be no point including them on the list!

 

This article is part of our themed week on ways to cope with social distancing and isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. We send our HC love to all of our readers and contributors!

Hannah Weaver

Bristol '22

History undergrad at the University of Bristol!
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