Every year, CGM collects the best and most exciting film releases to hit store shelves, and 2019 is no different.
2019 was an amazing year for movies, there where so many amazing films to hit screens at VOD it is hard to narrow it down to what is worth your time and your money, but we at CGM Backlot have done our best. From the action-packed John Wick to the slow horror in Midsommar, we have collected the best in genre video releases of the year.
While most of this list is avalable now, some movies are delayed into January based on region, we have included them here just due to the importance and what they add to any video collector if you love genre, action or thriller cinema.
Shadow is a truly stunning work from a great director. The visuals are a testament to what is possible within the cinematic medium even without relying on CGI, and the story is one that gets its teeth into you. If you can look past an exciting yet slow beginning, few films are as masterfully crafted both visually and creativity then Shadow from director Zhang Yimou.
DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date August 13, 2019
Pet Sematary (2019)
We still see plenty of that quiet pain in the Creeds, and although there are some inoffensive jump scares present, the shock and awe factor is mostly controlled. If anything it may be too subdued for fans of gross-out horror, and in some cases, the feature film is even less tense than the 1989 TV production (I was waiting for a version of Rachel’s sister Zelda that haunted my dreams again but never really got it). Pet Sematary is further proof of the burden of bringing King stories to life, but it manages to shine through where it needs to. Maybe the third time will be the charm (King’s tales will live on for decades to come, so it will happen eventually), but the second strike at the anvil isn’t half bad, either.
DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date July 9, 2019
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Shedding its flaws like bullets to a flak jacket, John Wick 3 can best be described as elegant and effortless. The choreography is on point, the cast is memorable inside and out, and our expectations are still being subverted. While there is certainly more to come, the powers that be have already cemented John Wick as one of the most consistent action trilogies to date. It’ll be tough to keep this smorgasbord of chaos going, but as long as the same leads and creatives are there, I’ll keep believing.
DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date September 10, 2019
I personally cannot wait to spend hour upon hour dissecting every hidden reference, every vague piece of dialogue, and every visual design choice in Us for months and years to come. But if you’re the kind of super horror nerd who loves that kind of thing, you won’t need my review to convince you to see this movie. But, if you’re just someone interested in seeing a film that will hit you with the perfect mix of suspense and comedy, character and world-building, laughs and thrills – heed my words. Us will satisfy you like nothing else.
DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date June 18, 2019
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
A lot of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s strengths are drawn from the entire concept of a “faux universe” that’s right on the tip of your tongue. Provided that you have knowledge of the era you’ll see all the historical cues coming a mile away, witness various cameos of famous Hollywood players, and take it all in with a bit of uneasiness. It’s never quite right, and that’s why it works so well as a Tarantino film: it needs a bit of devil business he is fully capable of. Although fictional, Tarantino manages to shine a direct light onto all of Hollywood’s vices and charm, because he’s both lived in the aftermath and has reverence for its history. As Norma Desmond observed in Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood giveth, and Hollywood taketh away.
DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date December 10, 2019
I also had a mixed reaction when it comes to the heart of Crawl, which deals with the troubled, but ultimately love-filled relationship between Hailey and her father. Pepper has always kind of flown under the radar since Green Mile, floating between memorable and questionable roles, but he gives it his all here and you are rooting for him. The same goes for Kaya Scodelario’s performance, even though you never truly spend enough time with these characters to turn the corner: Crawl’s runtime clocks in at less than an hour and a half. I expected nothing from Crawl and got something. It’s a great summer thriller after you’ve seen all of the critically acclaimed flicks, and a bright spot on Scodelario’s rising career in spite of how you may feel about the genre.
DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date October 15, 2019
Ready or Not
Tonally, the whole cast and crew nailed it. It’s almost effortless how uncomfortable the whole affair is (in a good way), to the point where you feel constantly unsettled at the events that are unfolding throughout the film. Some dragging in the third act aside, it avoids becoming a slog due to the aforementioned character studies: there’s even a great lore explanation for the carnage. Samara Weaving’s status as a scream queen has been cemented (if it wasn’t already with The Babysitter) and she helps elevate Ready or Not as a result. I know this is a monkey’s paw situation I’m gambling with here, but I wouldn’t mind a follow-up with a different game and a new cast: so long as the creatives return.
DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date December 3, 2019
Parasite is a brilliant work of fiction that is as edgy as it is funny. The full cast does a brilliant job of capturing both echelons of society, making for some fantastic onscreen chemistry from all characters. If you have the chance to dive into Parasite, give it a watch—you won’t be disappointed.
DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date January 28, 2020
Midsommar is everything I would hope for from the director of Hereditary in his sophomoric outing. While it treads on some familiar ground, it goes to wholly new places and delivers some masterfully disturbing concepts. For anyone worried Aster was a one-trick pony, Midsommar should set all fears to rest.
DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date October 8, 2019
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
When it does get back on track though, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark does a wonderful job of following through with that weird PG-13 realm of gore and lack of it. As I already mentioned the creatures are great, and the film nails the harrowing themes of the actual stories while working within their limitations. It actually feels like there are stakes involved and people aren’t going to magically figure out a solution and save the day at any moment. There’s a constant source of dread surrounding this world, which is impressive given that these are kids, after all. The creative team really could have gone anywhere with the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark IP, and they smartly chose to cruise into a 65 mile-per-hour “PG-13” (Stephen King’s) It lane. Though it borrows elements of classic King stories like small-town insidiousness and doesn’t commit to them hard enough, the love for these stories is clearly present.
DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date November 5, 2019