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Entertainment Weekly

Movies

The 10 best movies of 2019…so far

Posted on

Illustration by Ryan Inzana for EW

The 10 best movies of 2019 (so far)

The studios may be saving awards bait for the year’s second half, but there’s still a lot to love in cinema’s creepy doppelgängers, dancing divorcées, and a Sundance drama that defies definition.
Peter Prato/A24

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Piercing study of race, urban gentrification, and male friendship; heady meditation on nostalgia and memory; love letter to a singular city: It’s hard to exactly define Last Black Man, but it’s impossible not to fall under its spell. Joe Talbot’s Sundance-winning drama is so transportive, it feels less like a movie than a lucid dream. —LG
Neon/CNN Films/Sundance Institute

Apollo 11

Space buffs couldn’t ask for a more perfect gift to celebrate the 50th anniversary of NASA’s moon landing than Todd Douglas Miller’s gorgeously intimate documentary. Assembled from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, this enthralling testament to mankind’s ambition and ingenuity is awesome in every sense of the word. —CN
©Marvel Studios 2019

Avengers: Endgame

How would Marvel follow up the cliffhanger ending of Infinity War? The answer: brilliantly. The Russos’ chapter-closing saga was a rousing and surprisingly poignant farewell to an era in franchise filmmaking that may never be topped. —CN
Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/A24

Gloria Bell

Julianne Moore is a disco-loving divorcée just trying to get by—and maybe say yes to midlife romance with a basset-eyed John Turturro—in director Sebastián Lelio’s effervescent remake of his own 2013 Spanish-language breakout. The stakes may be small, but Lelio (Disobedience; A Fantastic Woman) imbues every scene with loopy, glorious life force. —LG
Music Box Films

Transit

The horrors of the past become an eerie commentary on the present in German director Christian Petzold’s haunting puzzle-box thriller. With the face of a bruised angel, Franz Rogowski plays a desperate war refugee who assumes the identity of a dead man in order to stay one step ahead of an occupying Fascist goon squad and only ends up making things worse for both himself and a desperate widow (the luminous Paula Beer) who’s waiting in vain for her late husband. —CN
Claudette Barius/Universal

Us

If Jordan Peele couldn’t quite replicate the zeitgeist lightning bolt of 2017’s Get Out, he could still give us Us—a witty, winkingly self-aware take on classic body-snatching horror anchored by Lupita Nyong’o’s killer performance(s). Either way, you’ll never feel the same about scissors, beach boardwalks, or Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” again. —LG
Neon

Amazing Grace

Mired in lawsuits and technical snafus for nearly half a century, this documentary portrait of Aretha Franklin recording her seminal 1972 live gospel album of the same name over two nights in Los Angeles has finally found the light. Grace’s fly-on-the-wall intimacy doesn’t just capture the Queen at the peak of her powers; it feels as close as any artist gets to God. —LG
Focus Features

Everybody Knows

Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director behind the Oscar-winning A Separation, spins another intimate web of secrets and lies in this kidnap drama about a teenage girl who vanishes during a wedding reception. Real-life couple Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz shoot off sparks as former lovers reunited through crisis. Everybody Knows is a slow-building sucker punch of a film that finds its biggest truths in its smallest moments. —CN
Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Pictures

Booksmart

By now, Olivia Wilde’s high school overachievers-on-a-bender comedy has been called a “female Superbad” so often that it feels like both a disservice and an oversimplification. Sure, Booksmart follows a well-worn formula, but Wilde (in her feature directing debut) has so much love and empathy for her two bestie leads (the awkwardly wry Kaitlyn Dever and the outrageously unforgettable Beanie Feldstein) that it feels totally original: a delirious coming-of-age story completely free of cynicism and condescension. —CN
Niko Tavernise/Lionsgate

John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum

First they killed his beloved dog. Big mistake. Then they destroyed his prized muscle car. Bigger mistake. Now Keanu Reeves’ assassin is the hunted—on the run with a $14 million bounty on his head. Director Chad Stahelski turns the cinematic art of killing into a giddy ballet of bullets and bruised knuckles with shoot-the-works action sequences that are as insanely baroque as they are brutal. For the first time since The Matrix, Reeves has found a role that fits as perfectly as one of John Wick’s black suits. —CN
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