Top 30 Must-See Movies of 2019: Our Favorites of the Year


From heart-wrenching dramas to pulse-pounding action flicks, 2019 was packed with incredible movies. We've narrowed down the must-see films to a list of 30, featuring some of our favourite picks, including the critically acclaimed Parasite, the adrenaline-fueled Ford v Ferrari, the immersive World War I epic 1917, and the gritty and controversial Joker. Whether you're a movie buff or just looking for a great flick to watch, our Top 30 Must-See Movies of 2019 list has got you covered.

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1. Parasite (2019)

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Director: Bong Joon Ho
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller

My Take:

Parasite is a film that delves deep into class differences and the social struggles that come with it. The film tells the story of a poor family that infiltrates the life of a wealthy family, using fake identities to get by. The film cleverly weaves in plot twists that keep the audience on the edge of their seats, wondering what will happen next. As the story progresses, the characters struggle to maintain their façade, and the tension between the two social classes only escalates.

At its core, Parasite is a social satire, a commentary on our capitalist society. The film takes a hard look at class differences and how it affects our daily lives. It exposes the corrupting power of wealth and the lengths people will go to maintain their social status. It’s a film that makes us think about our own place in society and how it shapes us as individuals.

Set in South Korea, the film is a stark reminder of the deep-rooted social class divide in the country. The film brilliantly captures the contrast between the wealthy, who live in lavish homes and have all the luxuries money can buy, and the poor, who live in squalor and struggle to make ends meet. The film’s cinematography perfectly captures the stark differences between the two worlds.

The performances in Parasite are top-notch. The actors deliver powerful performances that bring their characters to life. The chemistry between the actors is palpable, and their tension is almost tangible. The film’s director, Bong Joon Ho, expertly guides the actors, bringing out the best in each of them.

Parasite is a masterpiece that brilliantly captures the social struggles we face in our daily lives. The film’s powerful message is delivered through clever storytelling and masterful direction. It’s a film that deserves all the accolades it has received and is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys thought-provoking cinema.

2. Ford v Ferrari (2019)

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Director: James Mangold
Cast: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal
Genre: Action, Biography, Drama

My Take:

Ford v Ferrari is an enthralling and thrilling biographical drama directed by James Mangold. The film is based on a true story of the fierce competition between two giants in the automobile industry, Ford and Ferrari, during the year 1966. The film stars Matt Damon as the legendary car designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as the British racer Ken Miles. The chemistry between Matt Damon and Christian Bale is remarkable, and their performances are outstanding.

The film showcases the epic rivalry between Ford and Ferrari and the struggle of Ken Miles to compete in the 24 hours of the Le Man’s race. The final race scene of the film is a masterpiece of cinematic entertainment that is breathtaking, intense, and thoroughly entertaining. The film’s sound mix is electrifying and immersive, which adds to the overall experience. The film won two Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Editing.

Ford v Ferrari captures the essence of mid-20th-century racing and the spirit of the men who went to battle in Le Mans. The film is not just about racing; it also highlights the importance of male friendship and the struggles that come with success. In conclusion, Ford v Ferrari is a well-crafted passionate story with engaging camerawork, stylish and enjoyable mash notes to its era and the need for speed.

3. The Irishman (2019)

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Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci
Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama

My Take:

The Irishman is a gripping and powerful film that tells the story of Frank Sheeran, a hitman for the mob who becomes involved with the teamsters union and the disappearance of union leader Jimmy Hoffa. The film features a nonlinear timeline, jumping between different periods of Sheeran’s life, and is based on the book “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt. The film has been praised for its outstanding performances by Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, who all delivered some of the best performances of their careers.

Martin Scorsese directs with his signature style, creating a world that is both gritty and glamorous, violent and poignant. The film has been nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for both Pacino and Pesci.

At its core, The Irishman is a film about regret and the consequences of a life of violence. Sheeran is a complex and fascinating character, and De Niro’s performance captures his brutality and humanity. The film explores themes of loyalty, friendship, and betrayal and is a haunting portrayal of a world where violence is the norm.

The film’s nonlinear structure allows Scorsese to explore Sheeran’s life uniquely, showing how his actions in the past come back to haunt him in the present. The film’s use of de-ageing technology to show the characters at different ages has been applauded.

The Irishman is a masterful film showcasing Scorsese’s talents and his exceptional cast. The film’s epic runtime of three and a half hours is a testament to Scorsese’s ability to keep the audience engaged and invested in the story. It is a must-see for fans of Scorsese’s previous work and anyone who enjoys a great crime drama.

4. 1917 (2019)

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Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays
Genre: Drama, War

My Take:

1917 is a masterpiece in cinematic storytelling that stands out in its use of the “one-shot” technique to showcase the race against time during the height of World War I. The film follows two British soldiers tasked with delivering an urgent message to their comrades, warning them of an impending enemy ambush. The film’s long takes, edited to appear as one continuous shot, are awe-inspiring and perfectly capture the intensity and chaos of war.

“There’s only one way this war ends: last man standing.”

Roger Deakins’ work on the film’s cinematography is exceptional, earning him the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 2020. The film’s color palette and lighting perfectly capture war’s gritty and grim nature. Every scene is beautifully composed and expertly executed, from the trenches to the abandoned villages.

Director Sam Mendes’ attention to detail is evident in every aspect of the film, from the meticulously designed sets to the realistic costuming. The film’s score by Thomas Newman adds another layer of tension to the already suspenseful story, enhancing the viewer’s emotional connection to the characters and their perilous journey.

The film’s use of practical effects and real locations adds to its authenticity, giving audiences a glimpse into the horrors of war. The film doesn’t shy away from the brutal violence and trauma of battle but also highlights moments of hope and humanity in the midst of chaos.

Overall, 1917 is a remarkable film that seamlessly blends technical brilliance with a heartfelt story of bravery and sacrifice. It’s a cinematic achievement that should be experienced by all film lovers, not just fans of war movies.

5. Joker (2019)

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Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

My Take:

Joker (2019) is a powerful origin story of the world’s most notorious villain. Todd Phillips, known for his comedy movies like The Hangover Trilogy, took a chance with a dark, gritty, serious DC comic book character. Joaquin Phoenix was tasked with the role of portraying the infamous Joker. His performance was absolutely amazing, and he gave everything he had to bring the character to life. Phoenix’s portrayal of the Joker was so realistic that it even disturbed some viewers.

“Is It Just Me Or Is It Getting Crazier Out There?”

The film tells the story of Arthur Fleck, a stand-up comedian who suffers from a mental illness that causes uncontrollable laughter. The audience is given a glimpse into his life, and it is clear that he is a victim of a dysfunctional society that pushes him toward the edge. The film raises important questions about mental illness, loneliness, and the impact of a dysfunctional society. It is not just a superhero movie but a social commentary on the state of our world.

The film received critical acclaim and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year at the 92nd Academy Awards. Joaquin Phoenix won the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role award for his portrayal of the Joker. The film was also praised for its cinematography, music, and direction. The use of colour and lighting added to the dark and gloomy atmosphere of the movie.

Joker is not just another superhero movie; it is a character study that takes an in-depth look at the origin of one of the most iconic villains in comic book history. The film is a commentary on the darker side of humanity and how society can push people to its limits. It is not a movie for everyone, but it is definitely worth watching for those who appreciate a thought-provoking film.

6. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)

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Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie
Genre: Drama, Comedy

My Take:

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a love letter to the 1960s era of Hollywood, showcasing the Western filmmaking industry and the Manson murders that shook the city in 1969. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, a fading western star, and Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth, his longtime stunt double and friend. Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, a real-life actress, and victim of the Manson murders. The film is an alternate history, creating a fictional ending for the events that unfolded on August 8th and 9th of 1969.

The movie is also a film within a film, as we see Rick Dalton struggling to maintain his relevance in Hollywood while filming a new Western TV series. The film features multiple fictional characters, actors, and real-life figures such as Bruce Lee and Steve McQueen. The blending of reality and fiction is a signature of Tarantino’s style.

The standout performance in the film is Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Cliff Booth, for which he won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role at the Oscars. Pitt’s performance is both charismatic and understated, adding depth to his character’s laidback persona. Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as Rick Dalton is also noteworthy, as he portrays a man grappling with his fading career and the loneliness that comes with it.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a fun and nostalgic film that showcases Tarantino’s signature style and pays homage to a bygone era of Hollywood. The film’s alternate-history ending may not be for everyone, but it’s an entertaining and satisfying conclusion. It was nominated for ten Oscars and won two, including Best Original Screenplay for Quentin Tarantino. The film’s attention to detail in recreating the 1960s Hollywood era is noteworthy.

7. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

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Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

My Take:

Avengers: Endgame (2019) is a movie that breaks all kinds of records, both box office and cultural, as it marked the end of the Infinity Saga and provided an epic conclusion to a decade’s worth of superhero storytelling. One interesting fact about the movie is that Robert Downey Jr. was the only actor who read the entire script. The directors, Anthony and Joe Russo wanted to keep the story as secret as possible, so they only provided the cast with their parts of the script. This level of secrecy helped to build anticipation and kept the movie’s biggest twists and surprises from being spoiled before release.

The film follows the remaining Avengers as they try to undo the damage caused by Thanos’ snap, which wiped out half of all life in the universe. The movie’s first two acts are great, focusing on the five original Avengers and their emotional journey. The plot and the pacing are well-done, and it feels like the story is building toward an epic conclusion. However, the final battle is a mixed bag for some viewers, as it didn’t feel like it needed all the characters and plotlines it included.

Nevertheless, Avengers: Endgame is easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most ambitious movie yet. With time travel as its central plot device, the film takes viewers on a nostalgic journey through the previous movies in the series, tying up loose ends and answering long-standing questions. The action sequences and special effects are stunning, making the film a visual spectacle.

Avengers: Endgame (2019) is a massive cinematic achievement that delivers an epic conclusion to the Infinity Saga. Despite its lengthy runtime, the movie manages to keep viewers engaged throughout, providing a satisfying end to many beloved characters and storylines. While some may quibble with the final battle, the film is undoubtedly a crowd-pleaser and a must-watch for superhero and blockbuster cinema fans.

8. Weathering with You (2019)

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Director: Makoto Shinkai
Cast: Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Shun Oguri
Genre: Drama, Romance

My Take:

Weathering with You (2019) is a film that is a feast for the senses. It is the film anime film released in India, and I had a blast experiencing anime on the big screen for the first time. Directed by Makoto Shinkai, the movie explores the themes of love, sacrifice, and climate change. The screenplay is thought-provoking and grounded in fantasy, with coming-of-age elements that make for an enjoyable and emotional ride.

The human mind works in mysterious ways, you just need to see the sun shining in the morning to feel energized.

Shinkai’s experiences during Japan’s rainy season influenced the movie’s development. He was struck by the beauty and power of the rain, which inspired him to create a story exploring the relationship between people and weather.

The two main protagonists, Hodaka and Hina, are endearing and relatable as they navigate life and fall in love with each other. From the beautifully rendered sunshine scenes to the mesmerizing rain scenes, the visuals are a treat for the eyes. The use of weather manipulation and magic also adds a layer of intrigue to the film.

RADWIMPS, who also composed the soundtrack for Your Name, delivers another beautiful score that complements the movie’s emotional and entertaining moments. The songs are catchy and memorable and add weight to the movie’s most poignant scenes.

Weathering with You is an enchanting anime film that immerses viewers in a mesmerizing world of love, sacrifice, and climate change. It stands out not only for its stunning visuals and captivating music but also for the meaningful themes it explores. The screenplay artfully blends fantasy elements with coming-of-age moments, creating a story that is enjoyable and emotionally resonant.

9. Les Misarables (2019)

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Director: Ladj Ly
Cast: Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, Djebril Zonga
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

My Take:

Les Misérables is a French film directed by Ladj Ly and released in 2019. The film takes place in the impoverished and volatile Montfermeil district in the suburbs of Paris. Les Misérables is not an adaptation of the novel by Victor Hugo, but it draws inspiration from the book’s theme of social injustice.

The film follows three cops: Stéphane, Chris, and Gwada, who patrol the neighborhood, where they struggle to maintain law and order. They quickly realize that the area is a ghetto, and the residents are fed up with the police. They soon find themselves in a tense situation when a group of teenagers steals a lion cub from a circus, and the cops must try to retrieve it before things get out of hand.

The film portrays the police as violent, corrupt, and ineffectual. The story is loosely based on the 2005 riots that occurred in Parisian suburbs, triggered by the death of two teenagers who were electrocuted while hiding from the police. The film examines themes of police brutality, social injustice, and the cycle of violence.

The film’s final act is intense and emotional, as the cops and street children engage in a brutal battle in an abandoned apartment block. The scene is a metaphor for the power struggle between the oppressed and the oppressors, and it serves as a reminder that the cycle of violence is difficult to break.

Les Misérables is a powerful and poignant film that explores essential social issues. The film’s depiction of the ghetto and the police has sparked discussions about the relationship between the police and the underprivileged communities they serve. The film is a reminder of the importance of social justice and the need for change.

10. Doctor Sleep (2019)

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Director: Mike Flanagan
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror

My Take:

Doctor Sleep (2019) is a horror film based on Stephen King’s novel. It stars Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson in lead roles. Director Mike Flanagan brought the magic of The Shining (1980) to the screen again by recreating the Overlook Hotel sets from the blueprints acquired from Stanley Kubrick’s estate. Additionally, the use of the heartbeat in the film is a homage to the iconic horror movie, as it builds tension in the audience.

The film is a treat for book and film fans, as it does justice to the source material while maintaining its identity. Rebecca Ferguson’s portrayal of the antagonist is outstanding, and Ewan McGregor’s character development is compelling. The horror elements are genuinely scary and, like The Shining, not suitable for children. The ending sequence, which takes the audience back to the hotel, is stunning and a perfect homage to the original film.

Our beliefs don’t make us better people. Our actions make us better people.

The film also does an excellent job of exploring the villains’ motives and giving them a human touch. The story delves into the complex issues of social longing, spiritual rehabilitation, and existential redemption. This adds depth to the characters and makes them more than just one-dimensional monsters.

Doctor Sleep is an excellent horror film that pays homage to its predecessor while standing on its own. The performances, the scares, and the storytelling all come together to make it a must-watch for horror fans. It’s a refreshing take on the horror genre and an exceptional adaptation of King’s novel.

11. Promare (2019)

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Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi
Cast: John Eric Bentley, Steve Blum, Johnny Yong Bosch
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi.

My Take:

Promare is a 2019 animated movie directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi and produced by Studio Trigger. The movie is set in a futuristic world where firefighters known as Burning Rescue use advanced technology to save people from burning buildings caused by spontaneous human combustion. However, when a terrorist group called the Mad Burnish emerges and starts causing chaos, the Burning Rescue team must stop them before they destroy everything.

The animation style of Promare is nothing short of unique and captivating. The colours are bright and vivid, with neon colours being particularly striking. The action scenes are fast-paced and intense, with CGI blending seamlessly with traditional hand-drawn animation.

The narrative of Promare, on the other hand, can be pretty convoluted and confusing at times. Many characters and subplots are introduced throughout the movie, making it difficult to keep track of everything that’s going on. However, the film makes up for it with its over-the-top and visually exhilarating action scenes.

Promare is an impressive feat of animation with a unique visual style and exciting action scenes. While the narrative can be muddling, it’s still an enjoyable movie worth watching for the stunning visuals alone.

12. Little Women (2019)

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Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh
Genre: Drama, Romance

My Take:

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott, which was first published in 1868. The story follows the March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, as they grow up and navigate society in the aftermath of the Civil War. Saoirse Ronan stars as Jo, the aspiring writer who becomes the story’s main focus. Emma Watson plays Meg, the eldest sister who dreams of a simple life. Florence Pugh is Amy, the youngest sister who is an aspiring painter. Laura Dern is the girls’ mother, Marmee, who tries to instill values of kindness and generosity in her daughters.

“Just Because My Dreams Are Different Than Yours, It Doesn’t Mean They’re Unimportant.”

The film deals with important themes such as women’s societal roles, the importance of family, and the struggle for independence. It also explores the impact of illness, such as scarlet fever that strikes one of the sisters, and how it affects the individual and the family.

The film’s period setting is beautifully recreated, with attention to detail in the costumes, sets, and props. The natural light cinematography gives the film a warm and intimate feeling, while flashbacks add depth to the characters and their relationships. The film also uses an interesting non-linear structure that jumps back and forth in time, creating a sense of nostalgia and reflection.

The performances are top-notch, with Saoirse Ronan delivering another strong lead performance as Jo. Emma Watson and Florence Pugh both shine in their respective roles, while Laura Dern brings a sense of grace and strength to her character. The supporting cast also features notable names such as Meryl Streep and Timothée Chalamet, who both deliver strong performances.

Little Women is a beautiful and touching film that captures the novel’s spirit and brings it to life on the big screen. With its strong performances, stunning cinematography, and timeless themes, it is a film that will be remembered for years to come. It’s a must-see for fans of the novel and anyone who appreciates a well-crafted period drama with heart and soul.

13. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai The Movie (2019)

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Director: Sôichi Masui
Cast: Kaito Ishikawa, Asami Seto, Inori Minase}
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama

My Take:

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai The Movie (2019) is a supernatural fantasy anime movie with a touch of psychological elements. The film continues the series’ story and adds more layers to the existing plot. The animation studio, CloverWorks, has done an excellent job of bringing the characters to life with stunning visuals.

The movie is primarily a love story that explores the themes of time travel and the impact of one’s actions on others. The plot can be confusing initially, but it all falls into place as the movie progresses. The scriptwriting is excellent, and the characters are well-developed, adding to the movie’s overall appeal.

What stands out in this movie is the emotional depth that it brings to the table. The story is touching and heartfelt, hitting you in all the right places. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that will make you laugh and cry.

The happy ending is a beautiful culmination of all the events in the movie. It leaves you with a sense of satisfaction and contentment, knowing that the characters you’ve come to love have finally found their place in the world.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai The Movie (2019) is a must-watch for fans of the series and newcomers alike. It’s an anime movie that perfectly blends romance, supernatural fantasy, and psychological elements. This movie is a top-notch addition to the series with excellent animation, well-written characters, and an emotional story.

14. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)

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Director: Marielle Heller
Cast: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper
Genre: Biography, Drama

My Take:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based on the real-life friendship between journalist Tom Junod and beloved television host Fred Rogers. The movie presents a touching story of empathy, kindness and compassion, which is still relevant and needed in today’s world. The movie shows that good people are out there, and it’s important to cherish them.

Fame is a 4 letter word, but ultimately what matters is what we do with it.

Tom Hanks delivers a brilliant performance as Fred Rogers. He embodies the spirit of the beloved television host and captures his mannerisms and way of speaking perfectly. He is truly the heart and soul of the movie. His scenes with Matthew Rhys, who plays the journalist Tom Junod, are the film’s highlight.

The movie is not a typical biopic. Instead, it takes a more unconventional approach, with some surreal elements and fourth-wall breaking. The film uses an episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” as a framing device, adding nostalgia and warmth to the movie. The cinematography is also worth noting, with a warm and inviting colour palette that reflects the movie’s spirit.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a tribute to Fred Rogers and a celebration of the power of kindness and empathy. It’s a movie that can inspire and uplift its audience. It’s a movie showing that even in the darkest times, there is still hope for humanity.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a touching and heartfelt movie that will leave a lasting impression on its audience. Tom Hanks performs remarkably like Fred Rogers and the movie’s message of kindness and empathy is still as relevant as ever. It’s a must-watch movie for anyone who needs a reminder that it is still good in the world.

15. The Lighthouse (2019)

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Director: Robert Eggers
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Valeriia Karaman
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror

16. Marriage Story (2019)

Director: Mike Flanagan
Cast: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Julia Greer Laura Dern
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

17. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)

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Director: Chad Stahelski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller

18. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

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Director: Céline Sciamma
Cast: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami
Genre: Drama, Romance

19. Uncut Gems (2019)

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Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Cast: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Idina Menzel
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

20. Ride Your Wave (2019)

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Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Genre: Anime, Romance, Comedy, Drama

21. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re-Surrection (2019)

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Director: Gorô Taniguchi
Cast: Jun Fukuyama, Yukana Nogami, Takahiro Sakurai
Genre: Anime, Action, Sci-Fi,  Drama

22. Toy Story 4 (2019)

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Director:  Josh Cooley
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

23. Jojo Rabbit (2019)

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Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War

24. Kaithi (2019)

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Director: Lokesh Kanagaraj
Cast: Karthi, Narain, Arjun Das
Genre: Action, Thriller, Crime

25. Jersey (2019)

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Director: Gowtam Tinnanuri
Cast: Nani, Shraddha Srinath, Sathyaraj
Genre: Drama, Sport

26. Official Secrets (2019)

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27. Article 15 (2019)

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28. The Farewell (2019)

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29. Knives Out (2019)

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30. Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019)

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