Top 19 VOD movies of 2019
James R | On 31, Dec 2019
2019 has been a big year for movies – on the big and small screen. After winning three Oscars at the start of the year with Roma, Netflix has continued to step up its original movie game, from Marriage Story to The Irishman. Amazon, too, has begun to release its movies onto Prime Video sooner after their theatrical releases, with The Report and Brittany Runs a Marathon now available to catch up with straight from your living room. In a year where streaming saw piracy hit the success of One Cut of the Dead, it has also seen more audiences flock to discover it on horror service Shudder, while All 4 has done the same for the powerful documentary For Sama and MUBI has similarly shone a spotlight on Under the Silver Lake. All that in a year where Avengers: Endgame busted major blocks in cinema – not to mention Disney+ launching in the US, Apple TV+ arriving with its own movie offerings and Netflix buying up a cinema in the US, while expanding its theatrical partners in the UK – and the cinema and digital landscape has never looked more dynamic and interesting. How exactly it will continue to shift and evolve in the coming year is yet to be seen, but one thing we can guarantee you: we’ll be here to help you find the best stuff to stream all year round.
As voted for by our team of writers, here are the best VOD film releases of 2019:
Surreal, scary, funny and freaky, Ari Aster’s operatic folk horror is a trip that’s worth taking.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years since Iron Man first landed on our screens. It’s even harder to believe that the Russos have managed to pull those 11 years of sequels together into something not only watchable and comprehensible but super fun too.
John Cho is superb in this gripping thriller about a father searching for his missing daughter.
Natalie Portman is formidable in this violently dark dissection of celebrity and success.
Under the Silver Lake
David Robert Mitchell’s L.A. slacker noir puts the cult in mystery, concealing more than it reveals about the male gaze.
One mother’s heartbreaking dispatch from Syria is political turmoil at its most personal.
This masterful retelling of the moon landings using stunning archive footage is a soaring triumph of cinema.
Jordan Peele’s ambitious follow-up to Get Out is a creepy invasion of mysterious others.
One Cut of the Dead
A zombie comedy about zombie comedies, this whip-smart deconstruction of expectations is a breathtaking, exhilarating surprise.
Read our full review – plus where to watch online
If Beale Street Could Talk
A beautiful story of love, dignity and respect, this lyrical masterpiece is one of the best films of the year.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Tarantino’s thoughtful tour through movie memories and Hollywood history is a magical ride.
Surprising, side-splitting and superbly twisted, this costume drama fizzes and bubbles with manic energy.
Taron Egerton is electric in an Elton John biopic bursting with invention and energy.
Bo Burnham’s brilliant directorial debut captures the pains of growing up in an online age with awkward intimacy.
Jessie Buckley’s star is born in this irresistibly feel-good country music hit.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Wholly unique and jaw-droppingly stylish, this progressive, post-modern story of parallel realities is one of the best superhero movies ever made.
Olivia Wilde bursts onto the directorial scene with this gloriously entertaining, gorgeously warm-hearted high school movie that stands among the funniest films of 2019.
A mature, thoughtful reflection on the consequences of past actions, Scorsese’s patient crime drama is a masterclass in restraint.
Noah Baumbach’s remarkable, heartfelt masterpiece about divorce aches with comedy and compassion.
These didn’t quite make it into our top 19, but were highly rated by our writers:
Toy Story 4 (Buy/Rent)
Capernaum (Amazon Prime)
Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix UK)
Birds of Passage (Netflix UK)
John Wick 3 (Netflix UK)
The Breaker Upperers (Netflix UK)
Sorry to Bother You (Sky Cinema / NOW)
Atlantics (Netflix UK)
Colette (Netflix UK)
Fighting with My Family (Netflix UK)