With 2019 coming to a close and awards season in full steam, let's look back at all the films that have wowed us so far this year.
IGN rates movies on a scale of 0-10. On this scale, any film rated 9.0-9.9 is considered “amazing” and anything that gets the coveted 10 rating is declared a “masterpiece”.And we don’t give out 10s to just anything, either. In fact, not one motion picture has earned a 10/10 rating from us so far this year.But listed below are all the films — released theatrically between January and now — that our team of critics have ranked an 8.0 or higher.Click the links to their reviews to find out more about why we scored them as we did, and then be sure to tell us what your favorite films of 2019 are in the comments below!
Alita: Battle Angel – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Alita: Battle Angel is Robert Rodriguez’s best film in many years. It’s an ambitious, impressive, visually spectacular production with great performances that make its strange world seem real. It’s a shame that, by trying to adapt as much of the original manga as possible, the filmmakers left out most of the intelligent commentary that made “Alita” so powerful in the first place. This is a classic story, and it’s been turned into a film that’s merely very entertaining."
Eli – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "A promising premise sets a solid stage for terror. Perfectly repulsive spectacle and superbly paced jump-scares make for a sensationally satisfying build-up, which is enhanced by the percolating possibility of an unreliable protagonist perspective. But what you'll make of Eli all comes down to its final gambit. It rolls the dice on one last subgenre. And while this reveal is well-plotted, it may not pay off. Personally, the play it picks is one I just don't find as nearly as scary as bubbling flesh, pernicious poltergeists, or broken brains that make a hellscape out of the mundane. But for others, this last twist might be damn satisfying."
Just Mercy – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "There were many opportunities for Just Mercy to be bland. But it just missed that boat by staffing up with acting heavy hitters and being choiceful in how they showcase a corrupt system. There’s some surface-level shine to the film but it’s not too watered down for the sake of palatability. And because of that, its earnestness shines through in thoughtful ways."
Little Monsters – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "If you've always wished that Shaun of the Dead sparked a whole zom-com subgenre, Little Monsters will likely please you greatly. It'll be equally as effective for audiences looking for some unconventional fun as the film offers up both horror and comedy in equal amounts alongside a whole bunch of honesty and heart that every audience needs in 2019."
Marriage Story – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson give their all to Marriage Story, a smart exploration of the emotional intricacies of divorce and how they can rip love to shreds. As characters, they’re a little too extraordinary in their careers to be as relatable as the film wants them to be, but that doesn’t get in the way of the sheer power of the writing and acting on grand display."
Missing Link – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW "Missing Link is another example of Laika raising its bar again. Hugh Jackman’s Frost and Zach Galifianakis’ Mr. Link are a formidable pairing with Zoe Saldana’s Fortnight adding something extra that really makes the journey a joy to go on. Anchored by first-rate storytelling, Missing Link is another jewel in the crown for Laika that leaves you satisfied and still ready for more."
One Piece: Stampede – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "While One Piece: Stampede doesn’t leave an impact, story-wise — there are no great upheavals or shifting of the status quo — that’s not really the point here. This movie is a celebration of the legacy of One Piece. It reminds us how far Luffy and the Straw Hat crew have come. It basks in the absurdities of ‘90s shōnen and boasts about One Piece’s own faithfulness to itself and its tone. One Piece, after all, is a wonderful reminder that the journey is far more important than the destination. One Piece: Stampede pays homage to that philosophy, and it does so with pomp and ceremony. And a whole lot of flying fists."
Pet Sematary – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "2019’s Pet Sematary is a fun and frightening film — if by fun you enjoy seeing characters go to hell and back. The movie milks its powerful premise of denying or outright cheating death for every gruesome bit that it’s worth. While some purists may balk at the changes and omissions made here, those simply looking for a horror movie as compelling as it is wicked should enjoy this new Pet Sematary."
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Despite the film industry’s resistance to video game movies, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu has landed a critical hit. Sure, not everything goes off without a hitch, but the lifelike Pokémon provide a nonstop stream of delights to make the weaker aspects of the movie forgivable. Smith’s character gives the story an emotional weight and Reynolds delivers an endearing comedic performance that’s closer to his subversive Deadpool schtick than you’d expect. While video game movies haven’t had the best track record, this movie is by and far the best example of how to do one right."
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark feels like it could light the spark to bring kids horror back to the forefront. It's filled with solid scares, fun adventure, and a cast that's genuinely likable. The biggest missteps here are not narrative or due to lack of thought from the creators but seemingly from a lack of budget, with one of the biggest monster scenes hitting a little less hard with some questionable CGI."
Terminator: Dark Fate – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Despite Sarah Connor’s previous attempts and sacrifices, humanity’s fate is once again at stake — and with it the future of the franchise itself — in Terminator: Dark Fate. Tim Miller’s film deftly builds upon what worked in the first two James Cameron-helmed entities while bringing in a new host of characters and circumstances to challenge the course of humankind. While there’s definitely some frantic leap-frogging involved in terms of accepting why some characters have evolved the way they did, Terminator: Dark Fate ultimately succeeds in serving as both a suitable closing chapter for the original two films and a possible gateway to exciting new chapters ahead."
The Addams Family – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Frighteningly funny and fresh, this hilarious animated treat will introduce a whole new generation to the loving and strange family whilst also pleasing those who grew up with the iconic '90s movies. With a sweet story, tight runtime, and impressive animation, this is the perfect Halloween treat for film fans young and old!"
The Lighthouse – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Robert Eggers’ sophomore effort should do for remote lighthouses what The Shining did for remote hotels, the film being less a battle of wits, and more a question of who will lose their wits first. Both Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson have never been better, which is really saying something. And as a rumination on loneliness, desolation, and madness, The Lighthouse is filled to the brim with disturbing dialogue and haunting images that will burrow into your brain."
The Lion King – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Disney delivers their most successful remake yet. A strong cast, outstanding visuals, and the classic animal-centric take on Hamlet make this infinitely more watchable than some of the studio's previous retellings. The only issue here is that The Lion King is a beat-for-beat adaptation that will make even the coldest hearts warm with nostalgia but could potentially disappoint those looking for a new take on the iconic story."
Yesterday – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Yesterday doesn’t take too many chances, but it does boast a well-told story with a cast that’s game for both its comedic and more dramatic moments. It doesn’t hurt, also, that The Beatles’ greatest hits aren’t just played throughout, but crucial to the plot."
Zombieland: Double Tap – 8.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Zombieland: Double Tap is a riot, and a lot of that is due to Zoey Deutch and her character, Madison. While it doesn’t quite achieve classic status in its own right, when it comes to sequels that do the original film justice, it is up there. It’s worth the wait, your time and your money."
Charlie's Angels – 8.1
READ THE REVIEW: "An entertaining plot, impressive script, fantastic cast, and awesomely shot action make Charlie's Angels one of the most unexpectedly fun films of the year. If you're a fan of having a good time at a movie theater and/or action movies then you do not want to miss these two hours of pure, silly, cinematic joy. Plus it's one of the best-costumed movies of the year and is full of non-stop outfit inspiration and women looking great whilst beating up bad guys. "
Long Shot – 8.2
READ THE REVIEW: "Long Shot doesn’t rewrite the rom-com gospel, but that really doesn’t matter. Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen’s chemistry elevates the story beyond its familiar formula. Rogen and Theron may not seem like the obvious choice to headline a movie about falling in love, yet Jonathan Levine’s delightful script and skillful direction helps their relationship flourish. Mix in some stellar supporting actors like Bob Odenkirk and O’Shea Jackson Jr., and you have a very entertaining movie with a feel-good attitude."
Captain Marvel – 8.3
READ THE REVIEW: "Captain Marvel manages to take the best ideas of early MCU origin stories like Iron Man and Thor and use them to form something that feels both familiar and fresh. It can be a bit on-the-nose at times, and occasionally has to fast-track its exposition in ways that can feel slightly clunky, but what it lacks in grace it makes up for in charm. Brie Larson's stellar performance gives Carol Danvers a vibrant, joyful life that will fit right into the future of the MCU, whatever that future may hold."
Klaus – 8.3
READ THE REVIEW: "Sergio Pablos' Klaus is a beautifully animated mix of old and new – offing up a unique and quirky take on Santa's humble beginnings. It's a fun, fresh story about friendship and the power of kindness that coats snowbound cliches with a shiny sheen."
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – 8.5
READ THE REVIEW: "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is not what you expect from a Mister Rogers story. There’s been a hunger to uncover more about the sweatered man – the critical and box office success of 2018’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor proves that. But where Won’t You Be My Neighbor breaks down the principles of Rogers, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood showcases the effects of those principles on one man. Personable, emotional, and packed with humor, this film – and the spirit of Rogers – holds on to your heart and refuses to let go."
A Hidden Life – 8.5
READ THE REVIEW: "A Hidden Life is a true return to form for Terrence Malick. His most recent features were meandering affairs, at times underwritten or over-edited. Here he’s taken a more traditional approach to narrative, and the linear structure makes for a more focussed film and a more compelling watch. The movie is 173-minutes, yet never feels self-indulgent or overlong, with Franz Jägerstätter’s incredible story deserving of an epic run-time. And while it’s frustrating that we never truly get inside his head, maybe that’s the point, with A Hidden Life forcing audiences to truly contemplate Franz’s "unhistoric act," and relate it to where oppression and tyranny can be found today."
Captive State – 8.5
READ THE REVIEW: "Captive State, Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt's return to science fiction, is an imaginative, interesting, and ultimately rewarding affair. A lo-fi vision of the future which manages to be both heartbreaking and hopeful, Captive State is held together by tight direction and a fantastic lead performance from Ashton Sanders."
Doctor Sleep – 8.5
READ THE REVIEW: "When it’s focusing on the new things it brings to the table, Doctor Sleep is consistently terrifying, visually impressive, and soulful in equal measure. Though it may get a little heavy-handed and tonally confused in its reverence for Stanley Kubrick’s Shining in the homestretch, the vast majority of the film succeeds in using the Torrance family’s pain to tell a story of coming to terms with the past. No matter which version of The Shining you prefer, fans of both will be finding things to enjoy about Doctor Sleep forever. And ever. And ever. And ever."
Framing John DeLorean – 8.5
READ THE REVIEW: "Where and how Framing John DeLorean chooses to end its story is a key question the film’s participants themselves ask, and the movie answers it with reverence and a bit of humor. It’s unlikely to be as emotionally affecting to the average viewer as it was to someone who got to “live the dream” for so many years, as the DMC-12’s marketing tagline put it, but it will leave any viewer with a surprisingly fair, full, and fascinating picture of the legend of the man, the company, and the car."
Good Boys – 8.5
READ THE REVIEW: "Good Boys somehow manages to balance its risqué, scatological impulses with a surprisingly sweet, resonant coming-of-age tale. It may not have the longevity of Stand By Me (or even Superbad), and returns to the same comedic well a few times too many, but the finished product is still a consistently hilarious, impressively evolved entry in a crowded genre."
Happy Death Day 2U – 8.5
READ THE REVIEW: "Despite this slight clunkiness and an overcrowded script, Happy Death Day 2U deserves a healthy amount of praise for pushing its pedal to the metal all the way through. It's hard not to get the impression that no idea was really shot down in terms of generating story here, no matter how bonkers it all seemed. The level of risk-taking is refreshing, even when it's not completely successful at every single turn."
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – 8.5
READ THE REVIEW: "Chock full of inventive set-pieces and brutal kills, while also providing new facets to the intricate underworld lore fans of the franchise have come to enjoy, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum pushes its title character to his breaking point and back while offering fresh information about his backstory. The action is bloody and over-the-top and the emotional throughline remains solid as we follow John Wick on his journey to either save his skin or die trying."
Jojo Rabbit – 8.5
READ THE REVIEW: "The concept of a kid’s imaginary friend being Adolf Hitler is as unpalatable as it is potentially funny, and every last laugh is wrung from the scenario before the film gets serious. And make no mistake, when the laughter stops, Jojo Rabbit is filled with genuine horror. Taika Waititi nevertheless strikes just the right balance between comedy, tragedy, and drama, the result being a very funny WWII film that nevertheless carries an incredibly important message about the here and now."
Knives Out – 8.5
READ THE REVIEW: "Knives Out is a crime thriller with its tongue placed firmly in cheek. From frame one, Rian Johnson and his cast are clearly having a blast, and that mix of comedy and mystery makes it a genuine crowd-pleaser. Moreover, through clever plotting and smart sleight of hand, Johnson has crafted a whodunit that’s worthy of Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle, and one that will have audiences guessing until the final few reels."
Downton Abbey – 8.7
READ THE REVIEW: "Downton Abbey’s journey to the big screen serves as a fitting end to one of TV’s most iconic families (if this is indeed the end). It’s been four long years since series creator Jullian Fellowes said goodbye to the Crawleys on TV, but it’s safe to say that he hasn’t missed a beat since then, bringing all of our favorite characters back to life for a royal dinner to remember. While Fellowes’ script does veer towards too much fan service near the finale, it’s easy to forgive since the script gives every character their moment to shine."
I Lost My Body – 8.8
READ THE REVIEW: "Jérémy Clapin's bold and bizarre film is a poignantly maddening meditation on the cruel nature of disconnection. It's also profoundly gorgeous, offering up a floating, weaving narrative that will sit with you even though it delivers little-to-no answers or affirmations."
Little Women – 8.8
READ THE REVIEW: "Gerwig mostly plays it safe with this adaptation but a stellar cast and her impressive directorial eye mean that it's a total joy to watch. Ronan, Pugh, and Chalamet are standouts in an impressive lineup, and Gerwig once again marks herself out as a contemporary powerhouse. Those looking for a radical departure from the source material or a more contemporary take on the world of the Little Women may be disappointed but if you want a cozy period piece about strong women, love, and family then you'll be delighted with this sumptuous reimagining of Alcott's beloved book."
Midsommar – 8.8
READ THE REVIEW: "Despite a problematic ending, Midsommar is an emotionally harrowing and slowly insidious journey, languidly forcing dread on the viewer, wrapping them in a weird nightmare summer camp of sunlight and cheer. With his previous film Hereditary and now Midsommar, the horror genre has found a new master in filmmaker Ari Aster."
Shazam! – 8.8
READ THE REVIEW: "Shazam! is a lot of fun and it further proves how, in the wake of the success of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, DC’s movie future is indeed bright. Zachary Levi was born to play this superpowered man-child, delivering lots of laughs alongside sarcastic but amiable co-star Jack Dylan Grazer. After an awkward and obligatory opening, the latter three quarters pack some big surprises for comics buffs and offer enough mainstream appeal to win over new fans. While Dr. Sivana ties in nicely with the themes of how adults can influence children, this villain is ultimately little more than a means to an end for the story of a boy who must learn what it takes to be a (super)man."
Spider-Man: Far From Home – 8.8
READ THE REVIEW: "Spider-Man: Far From Home is a grandly entertaining culmination of the MCU wall-crawler’s journey so far. Thanks to its sweet humor, clever commentary, and deft action set-pieces, Far From Home continues the journey of Peter Parker from kid hero to Tony Stark’s successor. The movie sets the table for some exciting new adventures ahead for Spider-Man and his place in the MCU, pitting him against an antagonist who preys on Peter Parker’s fears and insecurities in ways no other villain quite has yet. Far From Home ends Marvel's Phase Three with a hell of a bang, thrusting its young wall-crawler into a treacherous but hugely exciting new era."
Booksmart – 8.9
READ THE REVIEW: "[Director Olivia] Wilde thoughtfully brought together a cast and crew full of impeccably talented women to make a teen comedy that overachiever girls could truly call their own. The script is snappy, outrageous, and full of heart, giving depth to stock characters often marginalized and mocked. And it does all this while thoughtfully exploring the pressures and pitfalls of the unique hell of being a teen girl. The cast is pitch-perfect, scoring big laughs, heart swells, and even tears. Feldstein and Dever are a phenomenal comedy duo; Lourd is a stellar standout. And Wilde crushed it right out the gate. I can't wait to see what she brings next. But I'll settle for just seeing this over and over again."
The Art of Self-Defense – 8.9
READ THE REVIEW: "One of the most original films of the year so far, The Art of Self-Defense is a searing critique of male violence, and the notion of power at large, told through a traditional kung fu flick set in present day America. Dryly funny, the film also carries a wisdom that makes Riley Stearns a talent to watch."
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie – 9.0
READ THE REVIEW: "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie gives Jesse Pinkman the swan song he deserves, with a compelling two-hour story that brings us back into the high-stakes world of drugs and thrilling shootouts. Writer-director Vince Gilligan’s memorable script explores Jesse’s profound transformation with the use of well-placed flashbacks and cameos that don’t feel forced for the sake of fan service. Aaron Paul delivers one of the best performances of his career, which should keep Breaking Bad’s well-earned reputation as a television phenomenon alive and well for years to come."
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – 9.0
READ THE REVIEW: "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a fantastic, visually stunning and poignant way to end this beloved trilogy. While the young characters remain joyously funny, this finale also adds mature notes to their story of friendship. The franchise has, like its audience, grown up, and to that end this film grapples with more complex themes than before, making for a truly satisfying yet bittersweet conclusion."
Hustlers – 9.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Thanks to Lorene Scafaria’s assured writing and direction, this often sensationalized profession is dimensionalized in fascinating ways without falling back on tired tropes. With a nuanced script, standout performances, and the adrenaline of a well-executed heist, Hustlers is an entertaining ride with something meaningful to say about power and control."
Queen & Slim – 9.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Queen & Slim challenges you to see beyond the road trip and ride with two Black people who are racing against being immortalized early. It’s a sobering thought overlayed with real-life events. But this opens the opportunity to see how our legacy doesn’t crystalize at death, it starts at life. And the people we touch along our journeys are what make our lives meaningful."
Rocketman – 9.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Taron Egerton is Elton John in Dexter Fletcher’s stunning biopic that lays out, warts and all, the turbulent life and times of the English singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. … One of the best films of the year so far, Rocketman is outstanding. A compelling, exhilarating and heartbreaking journey that delivers everything it promises and then some."
Us – 9.0
READ THE REVIEW: "Us is a very, very strange film. But that’s OK because it wouldn’t be a Jordan Peele joint if there wasn’t a little risk involved. Peele has proven that he’s not a one-hit-wonder with this truly terrifying, poignant look at one American family that goes through hell at the hands of maniacal doppelgangers. The strangeness of the narrative stays grounded with excellent character development, especially with Lupita Nyong’o’s Adelaide. Winston Duke’s Gabe adds some much-needed humor to lighten the tense and bloody mood, and the kids also have plenty to contribute. The impactful use of music and dazzling cinematography elevates Us above your average horror-thriller. Peele has created another marvelous new American horror story."
The Irishman – 9.2
READ THE REVIEW: "Martin Scorsese’s revisionist take on the gangster genre he helped define is a story of epic proportions that benefits from subtly brilliant special effects and three knock-out performances from Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. The master filmmaker has made an introspective, thoughtful, even somber film that manages to be just as entertaining as his classics, even while diving deep into the darkest souls and finding some semblance of a heart."
Uncut Gems – 9.3
READ THE REVIEW: "The Safdie brothers continue their winning streak of making harshly real films about everyday New Yorkers with fatal flaws. But this time, they’ve also given Adam Sandler a platform to show just how good he is with the right collaborators. The results are as stylish as they are affecting."
1917 – 9.5
READ THE REVIEW: "1917 is an expertly crafted and emotionally exhausting thrill-ride behind enemy lines. Gloriously shot, deftly paced, and striking in its gruesome recreation of the time and place, Sam Mendes’ 1917 wisely never loses sight of the smaller, intimate elements in a fast-paced story with immense scale and action. 1917 firmly places the emphasis on what is "human" in such a dehumanizing environment. It’s one of the best films of the year."
Avengers: Endgame – 9.5
READ THE REVIEW: "Avengers: Endgame is easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most ambitious, emotional, and affecting film to date, somehow managing to tie up more than a decade of storytelling in a confident (and mostly coherent) climax – a hurdle that many other blockbuster franchises have stumbled over in their final runs. It will inevitably provoke years of spirited debate among fans, and an overreliance on messy CGI action blunts some of its impact, but in terms of pure heart, Endgame holds nothing back. This may not have been <em>the only way</em> for Marvel to end the first chapter of its sprawling superhero saga, but when faced with 14,000,605 possible outcomes, it manages to be a surprising and satisfying one."
Parasite – 9.5
READ THE REVIEW: "Parasite is a film that sneaks up on you. The first hour is a dark screwball comedy that’s filled with funny characters and silly situations. Then a sudden about-turn changes everything that’s come before, and funny becomes serious, before just as quickly segueing into tragedy. There are no heroes and no villains in this story. Instead, it’s a heartbreaking tale of why the haves and have-nots will stay that way, crafted by a virtuoso director at the very top of his game."
Tigers Are Not Afraid – 9.5
READ THE REVIEW: "Tigers Are Not Afraid is a terrifying and devastatingly relevant dark fantasy about Mexico’s drug war and the children that are being left behind. Though it’s won awards at almost every film festival it played at, it is a crime that it’s only now getting a theatrical release in the US. There’s a good reason Tigers Are Not Afraid has been endorsed by Guillermo del Toro, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King; this is a frightening, poignant, relevant and stunningly powerful film that will scare you right before it breaks your heart."
Toy Story 4 – 9.5
READ THE REVIEW: "The Toy Story series has always been just as satisfying for adults as for kids, but this might be the first film that actually feels more relatable to the grown-ups, offering a surprisingly nuanced tale of coping with change and moving on after loss. While Toy Story 3 felt like the perfect ending for these characters, Toy Story 4 offers an unexpected epilogue that’s just as meaningful as the films that came before it. It may not have been necessary, but somehow, it still feels right."
Joker – 10
READ THE REVIEW: "Joker isn’t just an awesome comic book movie, it’s an awesome movie, period. It offers no easy answers to the unsettling questions it raises about a cruel society in decline. Joaquin Phoenix’s fully committed performance and Todd Phillips’ masterful albeit loose reinvention of the DC source material make Joker a film that should leave comic book fans and non-fans alike disturbed and moved in all the right ways."
What do you think are the best movies of 2019 so far? Let us know in the comments below!For more movies coverage, check out the biggest box office hits and biggest box office flops of 2019, the year's biggest WTF moments in pop culture, the movies we're most looking forward to in 2020, and our predictions for the biggest hit movies of 2020.