SINGAPORE — It’s that time of year again when Yahoo Lifestyle rounds up the best movies of 2019. Here are the picks from our editorial team, in no particular order, for the movies that most made us laugh and cry, and kept us at the edge of our seats. We’ve included both movies that screened in theatres as well as those from streaming platforms like Netflix.
This was undoubtedly the movie event of the year: Marvel Studios finally wrapped up their decade-long superhero saga with Avengers: Endgame (okay, Phase 3 actually ended with Spider-Man: Far From Home). Who can forget the pure satisfaction of seeing the Avengers assemble to face Thanos for one final epic showdown, joined by a host of beloved characters who have been built up over 20 movies? – Teng Yong Ping, Editor
As a movie "event", this sets the standard by which all other blockbusters will now be judged on. For those who have followed the past Marvel Universe films, there is an added poignancy during the film's finale, after investing your time (and money). - Chia Han Keong, Editor
Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino’s ninth feature film is also his least accessible, relying on the audience to keep up with the cultural references as he pays homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Still, it’s always good fun to spend time with his characters as their dialogue sings in your ears. Coupled with a great action “showdown” at the end, it’s classic Tarantino magic. – Dhany Osman, Editor
Hypnotic, dreamy and totally Quentin Tarantino. Totally worth immersing almost three hours in 1960s Hollywood. – Chia Han Keong, Editor
Golden Horse Award-winning Singaporean director Anthony Chen made his comeback after 2013’s Ilo Ilo with this tender and moving tale that observes how a forbidden romance develops between a student and his teacher. Wet Season unfurls a feast of emotions within its measured pacing. It also has amazing and sensitive performances from all its cast members. Yeo Yann Yann won Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards this year for her role as a troubled Chinese language teacher. – Teng Yong Ping, Editor
Watching Martin Scorsese's The Irishman is akin to taking a nostalgic trip down The Godfathers and Casino paths. With a stellar cast and performance from bigwigs like Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino, the storyline chugs along slowly on the film's legacy and working class themes, reminding you in the end, it's not always family that have your back but your self-esteem. – Reta Lee, Lifestyle Editor-in-chief
The Irishman: Intense epic with a gripping storyline about.....ageing, both in the typical Martin Scorsese mobster world and the extraordinary cast (De Niro, Pacino, Pesci), all of whom grow old in miraculous CGI fashion. – Chia Han Keong, Editor
A gritty, compelling film with twists that kept me trembling at the edge of my seat until the final curtain call. Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, whose performance as a misunderstood clown that spirals down the rabbit hole of destruction and depression, calls for an Oscar win. I was moved. I cried. And I couldn't stop thinking about the film's disturbing but realistic layers of world view, days after. – Reta Lee, Lifestyle Editor-in-chief
I liked its portrayal of a dystopian world and the characterisation of the Joker. Some say it paints a negative picture of mental health issues, but I feel that the film justifies it with context, since the Joker repeatedly faces tragedy after tragedy – there is justification as to why he turns out the way he is. The film makes you uncomfortable in a reflective way and is a penetrating commentary on today’s societal ills. – Wan Ting Koh, Reporter
Alita: Battle Angel
Finally, a good old-fashioned hero story done right – and with a strong female lead to boot!
Based off an early-90s manga series, the movie is a visual treat with its arresting blend of animation and live action. While the level of world-building taking place makes it seem like more of a James Cameron flick, director Robert Rodriguez manages to inject a good dose of comic book fun, especially when it comes to the bad guys.
Rosa Salazar's performance as the titular character – a super cyborg who's also a naive girl learning about the corrupt world around her – also helps to reel you in and keep you caring about what happens to her. – Dhany Osman, Editor
Parasite (dir. Bong Joon-ho)
Is Bong Joon-ho's Parasite a thriller, black comedy, horror movie or social drama? Well, for fans of the South Korean director, it shouldn't come as any surprise that his latest outing is a bit of everything.
Coming off 2017's family-friendly Okja, Parasite sees Bong returning to explore the darker sides of the human psyche. Some may see the story of a poor family scheming its way into a rich household as powerful social commentary, while others might find its increasingly bizarre turns just plain ridiculous.
I, for one, just enjoyed the ride for being something that could only come out the mind that produced Mother (2006) and The Host (2009). – Dhany Osman, Editor
John Wick: Chapter 3
The Internet's boyfriend, Keanu Reeves, continues to thrill us with his broody expression and ample action sequences with his role as assassin John Wick. The mind-blowing third instalment of Reeves' pure fighting, mean machine film raises the amp on unexpected bloody scenes, coupled with a beautiful martial arts choreography. And the man himself, 55, does those sequences while still looking good in a three-piece suit by designer Luca Mosca. – Reta Lee, Lifestyle Editor-in-chief
The Two Popes
This Netflix movie stars Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins, but Jonathan Pryce holds his own against Hopkins. The two play former Pope Benedict XVI and current Pope Francis in the days leading up to one pope’s shocking resignation to make way for the other. (These are not spoilers because the movie is based on true events). You don’t have to be a Catholic or Christian to be fascinated by the arguments that these two leaders of the biggest church in the world have – one representing tradition, and one representing reform. – Teng Yong Ping, Editor
A lesser known B-grade budget horror/action, the premise here is that of a typical creature feature (like Jaws) but I feel that it's very well done for a budget film. It’s suspenseful, well-paced and weaves the main protagonist's own arc as a struggling competitive swimmer into the main storyline – saving her father from a swampland beset with a hurricane and crocodiles on the loose. – Wan Ting Koh, Reporter
We also want to make some honourable mentions that didn’t make the above list but contributed significantly to movie pop culture this year too: Frozen 2, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Toy Story 4 and Bohemian Rhapsody.