Find the best movies and show to watch from the year 2019. These handpicked recommendations are highly-rated by viewers and critics.
Former SNL cast member and comedy legend Bill Hader is the writer and main protagonist of the HBO-produced and three-time Emmy-winning series Barry. Part psychological thriller, part dark comedy – one of many new series in the “dramedy” genre – deals with the unlikely premise of a PTSD-ridden low-rent assassin, who, after travelling to LA to execute an actor, decides to dedicate his life to the amateur theatre scene. (Watch out for the always amazing Henry Winkler as the acting class teacher! He was rightly nominated for an Emmy for this performance.)
In typical Bill Hader fashion, this genre-mix is still a lot more comedy than thriller and one cannot help but root for hapless Barry, while he dodges one bullet after the other, as it were, navigating Chechnyan mobsters, the FBI, and his intense acting peers. A lovely, funny, and smart show about a seemingly emotionless guy trying to escape his past.
Have you finished Wild Wild Country and are up for another binge-worthy documentary? If so, 1994 might be a compelling option for you to consider. Released on Netflix for the 25th anniversary of the events in 2019, most of the story would be hard to believe if it wasn't… you know… based on facts and backed up by archival footage and interviews. As it often goes with documentaries, truth is stranger than fiction.
In 1994, the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, also known as the EZLN or the Zapatistas, declared war on the Mexican government. This happened after the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, was signed into law. Incumbent Mexican president Salinas (pictured above) selected prominent reformist presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio to become his heir. Just three months later, Colosio was shot in Tijuana on live television.
1994 is a rich, informative, and fascinating account of this violent and tumultuous year in Mexican history, featuring in-depth interviews with many of those pulling the strings at the time, including former president Salinas. As the people being interviewed point out, understanding the relevance of 1994 in Mexican politics will help you understand the country's political and economic landscape today.
Pressured by the feeling that everyone is having sex except him, Otis (Asa Butterfield), like most teenagers, is very uncomfortable with sex, masturbation, and intimacy in general. In addition to the standard-issue teenage awkwardness, to make things worse, he grows up in a sex-positive household under the watchful eyes of his mother Jean, played by Gillian Anderson, who is a sex therapist. Obviously, the subject is omnipresent as are erotic art, oversized dildos, and coitus-craving couples all over the house. The twist comes when he transforms his tribulations into a business model by teaming up with bad girl Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) to counsel his teenage peers on sexual issues of all kinds. As you can imagine, uninitiated teenagers have a lot to offer in that department. Apart from its raunchy premise and explicit images, this is a hilarious, diverse, and warm teen comedy thanks, in particular, to the writing of playwright Laurie Nunn. Lauded by critics for its honesty, this future comedy classic will surely teach you a thing or two about sexuality yourself.
Shot by Sergio Pablos, a weathered animation film creator, here's a future holiday classic to be reckoned with. Klaus is a beautifully old-school-looking, 90s Disney-style animation movie about the origin story of the world's most beloved toymaker, Santa Klaus. Dispatched to a bleak arctic town, because he really wasn't very good at his job at all, mailman Jesper stumbles upon the now-famous Klaus, making an acquaintance that will change the town forever, and, with it, the way Christmas is celebrated around the world. In addition to its homely warmth, funny moments, and nostalgic hand-drawn animation style, you will recognize many famous voice-overs in this festive family film, including the always amazing J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, and Jason Schwartzman, to name a few.
This British comedy stars Charlotte Ritchie (Feel Good) as a broke young woman who unexpectedly inherits the house of a distant family member. Instead of selling it, she and her boyfriend decide they want to renovate it into a hotel. This doesn't sit well with the house ghosts, who are already strapped for space.
The charming performances in Ghosts span the living and the dead. The script is witty and fun. It's the perfect TV show to wind down to: silly, but so well-made.
This heartwarming comedy-drama is about two best friends in their 20s who are deaf. One of them is a graphic novelist going through a breakup and the other just got engaged but is hiding the news out of fear of making her friend feel bad.
The script is sharp and funny, and like any first big production from a minority group, it also feels fresh and original: the arcs are unlike anything seen before, and the characters are a joy to discover and watch.
The result is something that feels like an easy and fun story until it’s not: in the first episode, when one of them doesn’t immediately put their seatbelt on in a plane, the cops come in and restrain their hands (their only way of communicating) to drag them out.
The two leads are played by the creators of the show - the first deaf showrunners in TV history. When they were trying to find a title for the series, they landed on the sign 🤏, not a phrase, that captured the bond between the two friends. “We’re showing something that’s intertwined... [the “this close” sign is] a sign used for “best friends, “like this” or “this close”. So we came up with “this close” from that."
In BBC’s The Capture, a young soldier’s murder conviction is overturned thanks to submitted video evidence. But before he can enjoy his newfound freedom, a different video—this time live CCTV footage—places him at the scene of a new crime. The proof seems damning, but the deeper Detective Rachel Carey (Holliday Grainger) digs into the case, the more she learns about the wider conspiracy underneath it.
The Capture is everything you’d expect from a British police procedural: intelligent, lean, and sufficiently dramatic: no extra fat and unnecessary bits to be found here as action and mystery take center stage. And although TV may already be brimming with thrillers like it, what sets The Capture apart is its eerie insight into our so-called “post-truth” era. Instead of hardened criminals, our heroes go up against deepfakes, disinformation, and 24/7 surveillance. The series lets us know that the threat manipulated technology poses isn't mere science fiction anymore—it's evolved into an unfortunate and unbeatable reality.
A beautifully shot movie about a high-schooler who's pushed by his father to always work and exercise the hardest. He aces his exams and always wins at wrestling, but nothing is ever good enough for the father and there is no margin for error. When things with both his body and his relationship start going wrong, his existence comes crashing down. This movie has two parts, and it takes a lot of narrative risks, but the beautiful camera work and believable characters land every single risk. It's an incredible achievement and a movie that should have gotten much more attention than it did.
The Guardian’s lead critic said of Trapped: Seductive, involving, gripping...I am already, thoroughly, trapped. I’m quoting a publication to give some grounding to my overly excited claim: Trapped (or Ófærð) is one of the best TV shows ever made. I am obsessed with it. The plot is simple: a cop tries to solve a murder before a storm arrives, but the way it gets stretched is exceptional, and can only be compared to Scandinavian classics like The Hunt, The Guilty or Headhunters. And the fact that Trapped is from Iceland (not Norway or Denmark) adds a more chilling twist to the Scandinavian thriller genre. I don't want to say more and ruin the show for you, but this is an amazing binge.
This historical fantasy show is based on the best-selling novel The Saxon Stories, a story set during the Viking / Dane invasion of Britain.
Uhtred was a small boy when he was kidnapped and then raised by the Danes. When he unexpectedly gets caught up in the conflict, his half-Saxon half-Dane mix makes at the same time valuable and untrustworthy for both sides.
There has never been a better alternative to Game of Thrones. The great writing and great performances from a cast of newcomers inevitably induce the same sense of addiction.