Looking for movie inspiration in the midst of the lockdown? Well, if you're unable to go out, you can surely catch up with those 2019 movies that have recently been released on streaming and video on demand (VOD).
Here's a handy blog round-up of the blockbusters you can watch now, plus an indication of the films coming onto streaming and VOD very soon.
MOVIES AVAILABLE TO STREAM NOW
Daniel Craig has an absolute blast with the role of Benoit Blanc in Rian Johnson's diabolically clever whodunit/comedy. Blanc is the deep-fried Southern investigator called in to investigate the mysterious death of wealthy patriarch and crime writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Did Harlan kill himself, or was foul play involved?
Taking a cue from the intricate novels of Agatha Christie, the movie Clue and many other sources, Johnson's critically acclaimed mystery throws out a dizzying array of twists. Keeping up with the sheer multitude of suspects is where most of the fun lies, and it's clear the cast are having a ball.
Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette and Ana De Armas round out one of the most impressive ensembles seen in many years. If you haven't yet watched Knives Out, dive in and see if you can get to the heart of the mystery before Blanc does.
Jumanji: The Next Level
Back in 2017, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle emerged as a delightful surprise. There was concern that the movie would trample on the memory of the popular 1995 Robin Williams vehicle. But instead, it affectionately honoured the earlier film's legacy, while also upgrading the world of Jumanji itself and taking us inside the game.
The real reason why the movie resonated was the terrific chemistry between the cast. Each playing body-swapped avatars, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Kevin Hart were all terrifically entertaining. So, it makes sense that the same chemistry and team dynamic is carried over into 2019 sequel The Next Level, which unleashes a host of deadly new Jumanji environments.
At the same time, Johnson and Hart get to play avatars that are effectively being controlled by cranky old codgers Danny DeVito and Danny Glover. Trust us, it's as amusing as it sounds.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker
Whatever one's thoughts on the most recent Star Wars trilogy, there's no denying that the resolution, The Rise of Skywalker, is a historic moment.
For one thing, it resolves the Skywalker saga that was initiated by George Lucas back in 1977's A New Hope. It's the final movie in the series to be scored by the revered John Williams. And it concludes the story arc that began with the franchise-resurrecting blockbuster The Force Awakens in 2015.
As Daisy Ridley's noble Jedi Rey prepares to battle the resurrected Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), the galaxy rallies for one final battle. Adding to the poignancy and nostalgia is the presence of the late Carrie Fisher, whose final Star Wars appearance is seamlessly constructed of offshoots from The Rise of Skywalker and The Last Jedi. It's a moving exit for a Hollywood icon.
Jojo Rabbit (27th April)
Thor: Ragnarok filmmaker Taika Waititi walked away with the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for this irreverent World War II satire. Newcomer Roman Griffin Davis is terrific as Jojo Betzler, a kid who imagines Adolf Hitler (a wacky performance from Waititi) as his best friend.
It's almost an inverse of the Pinocchio-Jiminy Cricket relationship, as the Jew-loathing, babyish Hitler attempts to stir Jojo's nationalistic fervour. But the situation is complicated when the boy finds young Jewish girl Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) hiding in his attic. Will he give her up, or become sympathetic to her plight?
Mixing dark laughs with emotional punches, the film also sports an excellent supporting cast, including Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen and Stephen Merchant.
1917 (4th May)
Director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins bring pulse-quickening immersiveness to the World War I movie. 1917 is inspired by Mendes' grandfather, detailing a do-or-die mission across the German front lines to deliver a message to an imperilled British battalion.
In the manner of Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, the movie combines ticking clock urgency with a sober look at the casualties of war. Deakins' Oscar-winning cinematography is composed of remarkably intricate long takes, stitched together to make it look like the movie is playing out in one long, continuous shot.
As the young squaddies, Pride's George MacKay and Game Of Thrones' Dean-Charles Chapman put in emotive performances. The cast is fleshed out with eye-grabbing cameos from a host of British thesps, including Colin Firth, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Little Women (11th May)
Louisa May Alcott's 1868 novel Little Women has been a regular fixture throughout the history of cinema. The earliest feature film adaptations date back to the silent era, and each subsequent filmmaker has an uphill struggle to assert their bold new interpretation of the material.
Lady Bird filmmaker Greta Gerwig, however, makes it look effortless. She scrambles the timeline of the March sisters, drawing out the story's latent themes of ageing while also accentuating the complex dynamic between Jo (Saoirse Ronan) and Amy (a superb, Oscar-nominated Florence Pugh).
With the remainder of the cast rounded out by Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, Timothee Chalamet, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep, this is a handsome-looking adaptation that injects grace notes of contemporary attitude into an enduring novel.
STREAMING MOVIES COMING SOON
The Lighthouse (25th May)
In the mood for something altogether more creepy? Then savour the latest chiller from The Witch director Robert Eggers, a tempestuous story of two 19th-century lighthouse keepers going mad together. Imagine Steptoe and Son meets Round the Twist, with a dash of Nosferatu and The Shining thrown in, and you come close to perceiving the glorious madness of Eggers' movie.
The Lighthouse is shot in black and white in a limited aspect ratio that invites comparison to classic horrors from the early days of cinema. As the warring 'wickies', Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are a volcanically entertaining duo, one a crusty, barnacled old braggart, the other, an introverted, seething individual with secrets to hide.
Watching these two fine performers to go war with themselves and each other makes The Lighthouse a darkly comic, deeply unsettling treat.
Parasite (1st June)
South Korean cinema had much to celebrate back in February, when Bong Joon-ho's Parasite became the country's first-ever recipient of the Best Picture Oscar. The movie also scored historic firsts in the Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Language categories – vindication for a superb filmmaker who has got better and better with every new project.
Parasite is widely considered to be Bong's masterpiece, a twisted story of the haves and have-nots that veers wildly from sly social commentary to moments of all-out terror. When the invasive, lower-class Kim family inveigle their way into the affluent lives of the Parks, they cannot envisage the chaos that will be unleashed.
Appropriately enough, this is a movie will get under your skin and remain there – a rollercoaster that operates as a mixture of popcorn thriller, hilarious comedy and melancholy social statement.
Which of these movies will you be streaming at home? Let us know @Cineworld.