It’s Day Three of The Female First Awards 2019, and today we’re stepping away from looking at individual performances for just a moment, to celebrate some of the best movies that have come to the big screen (and streaming services) throughout the past 12 months. Picking out five of our favourites – that you absolutely must see if you haven’t had the chance to check them out just yet – we’re sure that those of you who have seen these cinematic greats will agree that they deserve their spot on this list!
Nominee: The Irishman
Director Martin Scorsese may be revisiting some of his most well-trodden themes with The Irishman, but that doesn't stop the film from being one of the most impactful of the year, despite only dropping on Netflix less than a week ago! Over three hours long, this is a gangster drama of epic proportions which will glue you to your seat from its video game-esque opening, right through to its closing minutes.
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Jesse Plemons all form the makeup of a cast that is sure to go down in history, both assertive in their delivery when necessary, and hilarious wherever the time calls for it. With huge expectations to live up to, Scorsese and his A-star team have managed to knock it out of the park with The Irishman, delivering a film that will stand strong alongside some of the most memorable the gangster genre has ever thrown up.
Nominee: Toy Story 4
Millions of us thought the Toy Story saga was over with the series’ third instalment, but it made a successful return this year with the release of Toy Story 4! Originally planned to be a sequel and love story between Woody and Bo Peep, instead what fans were treated to, was something with a lot more action, and a few new faces!
Now in their new home, after original owner Andy grew up and donated his toys to a young girl, the group must welcome Forky into the fold, as they go on a journey of self-discovery and figuring out exactly what they want from their individual lives.
Heartwarming and packed full of the signature charm and humour which made the first three Toy Story films such a hit, this serves as the perfect conclusion to one of the world’s most beloved franchises.
Giving an origins story to DC’s most infamous villain was always going to be a challenge, but director Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the flick alongside Scott Silver, has done an incredible job of finally giving comic book fans some background on the Clown Prince of Crime.
Joaquin Phoenix gives the performance of a lifetime in the titular role, going through the transformation of struggling comic Arthur Fleck, to Batman's most maniacal adversary.
A study of mental health and trauma, Joker does well to showcase the character in a realistic light, despite all of the unrealistic chaos we’ve seen him a major part of in the past. The societal influences of the film are heavy, leading to this being one of the most topical and important movie releases of 2019.
Nominee: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino returned to the director's chair with Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, delivering what many believe to be one of his all-time greatest features.
Set with the backdrop of the Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate murders, at the hands of the Manson Family (led by Charles Manson), the film centres around actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), who's struggling to find work following a lucky hit in the 1950s. Alongside best friend and stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), the pair attend celebrity-studded parties, get into fights, and bring the laughs alongside the chaos and drama of this new-age Hollywood.
It may not sound like much, but the social commentary layered throughout every scene and moment in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is why it’s earned its spot on this list today. If you get a chance to check it out, don’t pass it up.
Nominee: John Wick 3: Parabellum
Keanu Reeves did it again with John Wick 3: Parabellum, delivering the best dose of action-adventure that cinemagoers have seen throughout the entire year. Now a marked man and on the run in Manhattan with his dog, John Wick has been declared "excommunicado" by the people he used to work for, with a $14 million bounty placed on his head. Rising with every hour that passes, he must fight harder than ever before to ensure he escapes with his life.
It sounds like it should be mindless fun, but it’s actually an incredibly emotive and challenging piece of cinema that leaves a long-lasting impression. Put a night aside to binge the entire trilogy if you haven’t seen any of them yet!
And the winner is…
It may only have been available on Netflix for a few days, but any gangster genre fan worth their salt is going to hail The Irishman as one of the best the cinematic world has ever seen. Gripping throughout, it feels like a monumental piece of history, and a movie that will be celebrated for decades to come.