14 Movies We’re Looking Forward to in 2019
A new year means a whole bunch of new movies to anticipate. We asked some of our bloggers about the films they’re looking forward to seeing over the next 12 months. Here are just a few they came up with.
February 14: Alita: Battle Angel
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
The initial trailer for Alita: Battle Angel dropped over a year ago, but James Cameron has been attached to the project for decades and brought on Robert Rodriguez to direct. The film has been a long time coming, enduring multiple delays due to the shifting landscape of film releases, the latest of which is due to the Disney/Fox merger. Regardless, I have been excited since that trailer first dropped with the hauntingly beautiful “Lullaby For A Solider” sung by Maggie Stiff. The big anime eyes of Alita were off-putting to some – and have been tweaked since – but I was on board from the word go.
Based on the manga from 1990, this movie features a CGI-enhanced Rosa Salazar as the cyborg Alita on a quest to find her identity and place in the world. So far, Rosa is most known as Brenda in the 2nd and 3rd Maze Runner films, and has also appeared in the recent Netflix movie Bird Box. She will be joined by Academy Award winners Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, and Mahershala Ali. With visionaries James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez behind this film, we are all surely in for a visually unique Valentine’s Day treat. My date will be Alita. – Andrew Kendall
March 8: Captain Marvel
Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
The biggest headline going into Captain Marvel is the fact that it will be Marvel’s first film that stars a female superhero. The expectation is that this will draw in a larger audience than an obscure Marvel hero might otherwise warrant, because the world has been craving more strong women saving the day. This isn’t just any woman, though; Carol Danvers is one of the most powerful characters in all of Marvel Comics. Likewise, behind the camera, Anna Boden is the first female director to work on a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. But this movie isn’t solely about women finally getting some recognition in the franchise; there are many other reasons I’m looking forward to Captain Marvel.
First of all, Brie Larson is taking on the role. She is an Oscar winner who has proven in past films that she has range and strength. Also, for people like me who have been enjoying the boom of nostalgia in film and TV, the majority of Captain Marvel will be set in the 1990s. I expect to see a number of things I recall with fondness from that time period, and also some of Marvel’s amazing de-aging on Samuel L. Jackson. If you’re the casual Marvel fan who thinks this is the next Ant-Man-type of movie that you can skip without missing anything, wake up! This is the preamble to Avengers: Endgame. Captain Marvel is the equivalent of a chess grandmaster getting his queen in position to set up the crushing final moves to attain checkmate. – Ben Lott
March 15: Us
Directed by Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele didn’t just write, direct, and produce the best horror film of 2017; Get Out was the best film of 2017, of any genre. So of course I’m stoked for his follow-up, Us, another horror flick about a family retreat where things start getting weird. True, Peele no longer has the element of surprise here. Get Out springing from a the mind of a man best known as a sketch comedian was a shock. But now he’s “Get Out director Jordan Peele,” and that comes with expectations. While I’m not expecting another Get Out, and even though I usually shy away from home invasion stuff, I’m confident Peele will deliver something fresh and interesting. As if I wasn’t sold already on whatever he did next, he got Lupita Nyong’o to star. And then there’s that genuinely creepy trailer. (Elisabeth Moss, whatever you’re about to do with those scissors, please don’t!) – Tom Kapr
March 22: Triple Threat
Directed by Jesse V. Johnson
April 26: Avengers: Endgame
Directed by Joe & Anthony Russo
Nothing builds up anticipation like a cliffhanger, and the Russo Brothers hit us with one of the most devastating in film history. Infinity War left the world with an infinite number of reasons to look forward to Endgame. This film will set the stage for what will happen with the franchise in the future. Who will die? Who will be raised from the dead? How will “the snap” affect the future of the Earth and its mightiest heroes? Everything is up in the air still, and that feeling of uncertainty has me breathless with anticipation. I am confident that, in the hands of the Russos, Endgame will be a brilliant film with amazing action sequences and it will manage to highlight all of the myriad MCU heroes we know and love.
Now, I’ll admit, I was not as infatuated with Infinity War as many others; lack of finality bothered me. And clearly, since I know there will more Spider-man and Black Panther movies, those characters can’t be truly gone. However, my expectation is that Endgame will not only be a great movie in its own right, but will retroactively make Infinity War a better film. By resolving the dangling threads of story, it will finally feel complete. In April a magnum opus of 22 films will reach its final crescendo before moving on to new horizons. Can I have a time gem to make the date come sooner?! – Ben
May 17: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Directed by Chad Stahelski
One-time Keanu Reeves stunt double Chad Stahelski made a big splash, directorially-speaking, with 2014‘s John Wick. Sure, the movie owed its success in part to the shock value (and the sure-fire tear-jerking) of a murdered pooch, but it also had style to burn, and a title role tailor-made for Reeves to strut his action stuff. Stahelski impressed me with John Wick: Chapter 2 in 2017 by maintaining the propulsive action of the first while expanding the world and the mythos of Wick.
This third chapter – whose subtitle comes from the Latin phrase Si vis pacem, para bellum, meaning “If you want peace, prepare for war” – promises more globe-trotting for John, as when we left him last, he was on the run with all the assassins at the beck and call of the Continental on his heels. Veterans of the franchise such as Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, and Laurence Fishburne are set to return, while Reeves gets new Oscar-caliber support from Halle Berry and Anjelica Huston. I’m looking forward to another ride in this burgeoning action universe. – Nigel Druitt
June 14: Men in Black: International
Directed by F. Gary Gray
On paper, this seems like a terrible idea. After all, what could Men in Black be without Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (or even Josh Brolin, who helped make the delayed third installment memorable)? Not to mention the fact that Chris Hemsworth has already gone down the sci-fi comedy reboot trail with mixed results (see: 2016’s Ghostbusters).
Well, never mind; this trailer sold me. After all, teaming Hemsworth back up with his Thor: Ragnarok co-star, current It-girl Tessa Thompson, could never be a bad thing. Between the two of them, they look like they can be a match for Will Smith’s hotshot from the original trilogy. And look at the rest of the cast! If we can’t have Tommy Lee Jones, at least Liam Neeson is here to lend gravitas. The cast also boasts Mission: Impossible badass Rebecca Ferguson, with Emma Thompson in charge of the MIB. They’re all being directed by F. Gary Gray, who certainly knows his way around an action movie (see: The Italian Job, The Fate of the Furious, or a movie in my personal Top 100, The Negotiator). I was not initially sold on this idea, but now the universe of Men in Black is looking like one I’d like to revisit. – Nigel
June 21: Toy Story 4
Directed by Josh Cooley
Toy Story 3 seemed like such a perfect ending to a trilogy, many fans were baffled when a fourth movie was announced. Andy has moved on and left his toys to a new child to enjoy, so where does the story go from here?
Pixar has to have a good reason for this. (Beyond, you know, $$$$.) Certainly, not a lot of plot details have been released, so the “Buzz” is built on a lot of questions. IMDb’s official plot synopsis reads: “When a new toy called ‘Forky’ joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.” Forky is the spork voiced by Tony Hale who inexplicably shows up in the first teaser trailer, and the road trip apparently will bring our favorite toys to a carnival, where they’ll meet the likes of Bunny (Jordan Peele) and Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key), as seen in Teaser #2. Many voice actors veteran to the franchise are returning (including, of course, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as Woody and Buzz Lightyear), and new players include Patricia Arquette and Keanu Reeves in as-yet-undisclosed roles.
Undoubtedly, we’ll get to know a little more as Toy Story 4‘s June release date approaches. One thing’s for sure: coming 11 years after its predecessor, Toy Story 3 hit us with a whole truckload of emotions. Nine years later, are we ready for another onslaught? – Nigel
August 9: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Even his fans have to admit that if you’ve seen one Tarantino film, you’ve kinda seen them all. Big-name celebrities explore themes of violence in various retro settings. Yet each of QT’s movies somehow manage to feel new and important, and they tend to become subjects of popular discussion and debate. This one, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Margo Robbie, Brad Pitt, and a host of Tarantino regulars is set adjacent to the cult murders that happened in Los Angeles half a century ago, but is centered on a fictitious actor/stuntman team moving within Hollywood circles at the time. Just because we know what happened to the real-life Sharon Tate, whom Robbie is playing, doesn’t mean we have the first clue what will happen in this flick; Tarantino has a habit of revising history (see Inglourious Basterds.) The one thing that seems a safe bet, from the title and from Tarantino’s record of cinephilic indulgence, is that he’ll have loads of fun paying homage to the spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West, the Chinese martial arts film Once Upon a Time in China, and whatever other classics he’s been binge-watching lately. – David Conrad
November 27: Knives Out
Directed by Rian Johnson
There’s not too much info out on this film yet, but here’s all I needed to know to make it my most-anticipated of the year: it’s directed by Rian Johnson, and it’s a murder mystery, set in modern day but in the style of Agatha Christie. Now, opinions obviously differ regarding Johnson’s take on Star Wars, but I fall firmly into the positive camp (it’s the best Star Wars film since 1980), and in addition to that, I’ve been a fan of Johnson’s since his very first feature, Brick, which was a modern-day take on noir detective films. He also touched on crime with The Brothers Bloom and Looper, to some degree, and I’m super excited to see him return to the milieu with a modern take on detective classics. Daniel Craig and Lakeith Stanfield are playing the detectives, with a stacked cast as the suspects including Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, and lots, lots more. I’m disappointed for Star Wars that Johnson isn’t doing Episode IX, but I’m also glad that not doing Episode IX let him do this. – Jandy Hardesty
December 13: Jumanji 3
Directed by Jake Kasdan
One of my big surprises from 2017 was the fact that they even made a Jumanji sequel. I never thought the original was all that good, so why would they make another one? The bigger surprise was that Welcome to the Jungle was a great comedy-adventure movie. The idea of shifting the whole thing into a video game sounded like a lame excuse to cash in on nostalgia, but it worked brilliantly. I loved how the quartet of actors were tasked with playing against type for comedic effect. It made me laugh more than any other movie in the last few years. And not only was it hilarious, but also provided a perfect framework for sequels.
I don’t know what the creative team has planned for the Jumanji sequel coming in December, but the possibilities feel endless. All they need is a new group of teens to get placed in the body of the same characters, and put them in a slightly different video game setting. It takes the concept they established but gives it a whole new feeling when this time a shy girl is in the body of Dwayne Johnson, or a macho jock is embodied by Karen Gillan. Just thinking about the potential makes me chuckle. I hope that the creative team will see what worked about Welcome to the Jungle and recapture the magic, because this could be a great franchise for the whole family. – Ben
December 20: Star Wars: Episode IX
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Speaking of Star Wars: Episode IX… as I said above, I was a huge fan of The Last Jedi and Rian Johnson’s take on Star Wars lore, and I’ll admit I’m a bit trepidatious to see what will happen as the franchise returns to J.J. Abrams’ hands. I liked The Force Awakens, but I was much more excited by the subversion and breaks with the past represented by The Last Jedi. If J.J. undoes everything Johnson did, I won’t be happy. And let’s face it, J.J. isn’t traditionally the best at ending things. That said, I’d be lying if I didn’t include the finale of the new trilogy in my most-anticipated films of the year. I’ve enjoyed all the Disney Star Wars films quite a bit, and I’m pretty excited to see how they finish it off. There’s a huge potential for disappointment here, but also a huge potential for satisfaction. And either way, we get to spend a bit more time in my favorite fictional universe, so what’s gonna be wrong with that? – Jandy
December 25: Little Women
Directed by Greta Gerwig
Little Women was one of my favorite books growing up, and I’ve seen at least three film versions. Do we really *need* another one? Well, probably not. It’s going to be hard to beat either the 1933 version with Katharine Hepburn or Gillian Armstrong’s wonderful 1994 take. But I’m also pretty keen to see what Greta Gerwig does with her next turn in the director’s chair. Lady Bird was an incredibly intimate and personal film, drawing a lot on her own experiences. This is a whole other beast, an adaptation of a beloved classic book with several other film versions already. I hope she’ll bring a fresh vision to it. She certainly has a great cast, reuniting with Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet, and adding Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, and Laura Dern. Plus, this list of ours is very full of action/adventure blockbuster type films, and it needs some counterprogramming. – Jandy
Just a few more…
Here’s a short list of other movies we want to see in 2019.
January 18: Glass (directed by M. Night Shyamalan) (trailer)
February 8: The LEGO Movie: The Second Part (directed by Mike Mitchell) (trailer)
February 22: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (directed by Dean DeBlois) (trailer)
March 29: Dumbo (directed by Tim Burton) (trailer)
April 5: Shazam! (directed by David F. Sandberg) (trailer)
April 12: Hellboy (directed by Neil Marshall) (trailer)
April 12: High Life (directed by Claire Denis) (trailer)
April 19: Under the Silver Lake (directed by David Robert Mitchell) (trailer)
May 10: Pokémon Detective Pikachu (directed by Rob Letterman) (trailer)
May 15: A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (directed by Will Becher & Richard Phelan) (trailer)
May 31: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (directed by Michael Dougherty) (trailer)
May 31: Rocketman (directed by Dexter Fletcher) (trailer)
July 5: Spider-Man: Far From Home (directed by Jon Watts) (trailer)
September 6: It: Chapter Two (directed by Andy Muschietti)
October 18: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (directed by Marielle Heller)
November 8: Kingsman 3 (directed by Matthew Vaughn)