Awards season is finally done. There is a lot to celebrate (Spike! Olivia! Regina!), but it was one of the most punishing seasons I can remember, culminating in an embarrassing Best Picture win for Green Book. What better time, then, to look toward the new year, full of new movies and endless possibilities! I know the cycle will repeat itself, and I will be tired of the conversation that will develop around all these movies by the time we hit 2020, but for now, these represent the promise of stimulating, exciting cinema to be enjoyed in 2019.
The Movies I’m Most Excited For:
Us (opens March 22) – How could you not be excited for Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out, one of the most exciting studio releases of the last ten years? This one finds Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke facing off against evil copies of themselves, or something like that. The trailer was almost identical to the Get Out trailer, but I trust that’s just the marketing machine and Oscar-winning Peele has the clout and vision to do something wholly unique with his second movie.
Her Smell (opens April 12) – I find Alex Ross Perry to be a very exciting director, and I absolutely love Elisabeth Moss. Word out of last year’s New York Film Festival (where the movie premiered) is that this movie is a career height for both of them. Moss plays an unravelling rockstar, which sounds right up my alley.
John Wick: Chapter 3 (opens May 17) – The John Wick trilogy comes to a close? If you remember, the second movie ended with John Wick on the run from literally every assassin in the world, so expect this to be a action-packed extravaganza. We are here for legend Keanu Reeves, of course, but check out this cast: Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Jason Mantzoukas, Laurence Fishburne, Anjelica Huston, and Mark Dacascos a.k.a. the Chairman from Iron Chef America!
Ad Astra (opens May 24) – The movie I’m most looking forward to was supposed to open at the end of last year before being pushed to May. James Gray, one of my favorite directors, follows up The Lost City of Z with a science fiction epic. If that weren’t enough, it stars three of our best actors: Brad Pitt, Ruth Negga, and Tommy Lee Jones.
Little Women (opens December 25) – Greta Gerwig follows the success of her delightful Lady Bird with an adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic. I’ll be very interested to see Gerwig work in a period setting -and with a literary adaptation to boot. The cast includes Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pough, Timothee Chalamet, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep.
Dolor y Gloria (release date TBD) – It’s been a while since Pedro Almodóvar made a true masterpiece. We are hoping this movie, which reunites the director with Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas -both of whom became big stars thanks to their roles in Almodovar movies- will prove to be one of his best. The Spanish release of the movie is set for March, so I expect it to play Cannes in the spring and open in the U.S. sometime in the Fall.
Uncut Gems (release date TBD) – The Safdie brothers, responsible for Good Time, follow up that incredible movie with a story set in New York’s diamond district. Adam Sandler plays the lead character, a jeweler with a gambling addictions, and is joined by Pom Klementiff, Lakeith Stanfield and The Weeknd. This will probably debut at Cannes, so I’m hoping for a late summer release, just like Good Time got.
Untitled Noah Baumbach Project (release date TBD) – This one is about a family dealing with divorce, which sounds about right for a Noah Baumbach project. I love Baumbach, however, and will see whatever he does next. The cast, which includes Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, and Laura Dern only makes me more excited.
The Lighthouse (release date TBD) – Robert Eggers, who debuted a couple years ago with The Witch, returns with a horror story starring Willem Dafoe as a lighthouse keeper. I don’t know about you, but that description is enough to sell me on the movie.
The French Dispatch – Wes Anderson started filming his latest movie in the fall of last year. The plot of the movie is unknown, but it’s supposedly set in France after World War II. As usual, Anderson has assembled a cast full of stars, including Saoirse Ronan, Natalie Portman, Timothee Chalamet, Benicio Del Toro, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Lea Seydoux and, of course, Bill Murray. I love Anderson, but remains to be seen if the movie will be done in time to be released in 2019.
Deadwood (release date TBD) – Technically television, but Deadwood is one of the best tv series I have ever seen and it sadly got cancelled before created David Milch could properly put a bow on his masterpiece. More than ten years later, however, he will be able to tie loose ends in a television movie that will air on HBO sometime in the Spring. So if you’ve never seen this show, now is the time to catch up.
Detective Pikachu (opens May 10) – I’m not totally sure why Pikachu sounds like Ryan Reynolds, but I would be lying if I didn’t say the trailer to this movie speaks to my soul. Is my excitement the result of being relentlessly advertised to? A side-effect of being eight years old at the height of Pokemon fever? Or is it simply that Pikachu looks so damn cute? I don’t know the answer, I only know I’m going to watch the hell out of this.