2018 was a great year for film, but the upcoming year appears similarly stacked. 2019 will be remembered as the year that Brie Larson saved a universe, but it will also be noted for the return of two of 2017’s most lauded young filmmakers. And while the Avengers enter their endgame, so too does Disney, moving ever closer to monopoly with the release of upcoming “Star Wars: Episode IX,” three remakes of animated classics, and “Toy Story 4” — needless to say, my money is theirs. Without further ado, here are 2019’s most anticipated movies, excluding films that nobody asked for, namely “Terminator” and “Frozen” sequels.
Oscar movies, prestige pictures and indies
As hinted at above, Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig are back in 2019. Regarding the former, Peele will follow up the Academy Award-winning “Get Out” with another self-described “social thriller” called “Us” (March 15). The film stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss, and is poised to further cement Peele’s status as a contemporary genre master. Regarding Gerwig, the writer-director behind “Lady Bird” is currently in production on an adaption of “Little Women” (Dec. 25). The film will reunite Gerwig with Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet, whose castmates include icons such as Laura Dern, Emma Watson and God herself, Meryl Streep.
And while most of 2019’s awards season films haven’t been announced yet, several high-profile filmmakers aim to enter the race, such as Ang Lee, whose Will Smith-starring science fiction film “Gemini Man” releases in October. Additionally, Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” — a period piece about the Manson Family murders, which this writer very much plans on avoiding — will scuttle forth from the rank fissure from whence it came to accost us all in July.
On a brighter note, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” director Marielle Heller will return with “You Are My Friend” (Oct. 18), a Fred Rogers biopic starring Tom Hanks that will surely attract the sizable audience of this summer’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Finally, the egregiously Oscar-less Amy Adams might make a run for awards gold with the Joe Wright thriller “The Woman in the Window” (Oct. 4).
2019 will also see the release of a long-gestating mystery-drama from David Robert Mitchell and A24 called “Under the Silver Lake” (April 19). Additionally, indie favorite James Gray heads to space for “Ad Astra” (May 24), a thriller starring Brad Pitt, Ruth Negga and Tommy Lee Jones.
What’s more, indie champions Annapurna Pictures will release Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” (March 22), which stars the legendary Cate Blanchett. Annapurna Pictures will also release “The Translation of Wounds” (March 29), a horror flick starring Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz and Armie Hammer, which could be the “Hereditary” of 2019.
Other heavy hitters, for which I lack the word count to discuss:
“Velvet Buzzsaw” (Feb. 1), “The Beach Bum” (March 22), “Greyhound” (March 22), “The Aftermath” (April 26), “The Kid” (May 23), “Rocketman” (May 31), “Ford vs. Ferrari” (June 28), Untitled Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis film (June 28), “Downton Abbey” (Sept. 13), “Cats” (Dec. 20), “The King” (no release date).
For the Marvel Cinematic Universe, 2019 finally sees the release of its first female-led and female-directed film, “Captain Marvel” (March 8). It’ll take Oscar-winner Brie Larson to save the Avengers, and we’re here for it. Plus, the movie features an alien cat named Goose, and we can’t wait for it to snuggle Thanos into submission. Mere months later, “Avengers: Endgame” (April 26) and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (July 5) will arrive in theaters. Insert tired joke about superhero fatigue here.
Finally, DC Comics adaptations are looking to further right Warner Brothers’ ship, as “Shazam!” (April 5) appears to be an absolute blast, while the Joaquin Phoenix-starring “Joker” (Oct. 4) seems like a movie that’s so off-kilter it could actually be good.
Three superhero movies that probably won’t score higher than 65 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and one that might (you guess which):
Any year always has its share of remakes, but 2019 will bring a whole bucketload of them, including “Dumbo” (March 29), “Pet Sematary” (April 5), “Aladdin” (May 24) and “The Lion King” (July 19) — the latter starring Donald Glover and Beyoncé in a teamup that can only be described as regal.
Then, there are the films that already have fans hyped, such as “Toy Story 4” (June 21), “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” (May 10) and “It: Chapter Two” (Sept. 6). But no 2019 film has as much baggage as J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: Episode IX” (Dec. 20), a trilogy-closer whose fandom was beleaguered by Russian bots and petulant fanboys who don’t deserve the magic of Kelly Marie Tran.
And while this writer almost doesn’t want to see the release of the ninth “Star Wars” film, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (May 31) — whose first trailer privileged the sublime over the spectacular — is a very welcome 2019 blockbuster, as is Doug Liman’s “Chaos Walking” (March 1). Co-written by superstar screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and starring familiar faces such as Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, the film promises sci-fi of the highest order.
To cap off this article, I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out the midbudget films that I dearly wish to succeed, such as the Gina Rodriguez vehicle “Miss Bala” (Feb. 1), the Emilia Clarke-Henry Golding teamup “Last Christmas” (Nov. 15), and the Chadwick Boseman action flick “17 Bridges” (July 12).
There are too many movies in 2019:
“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” (Feb. 8), “What Men Want” (Feb. 8), “Alita: Battle Angel” (Feb. 14), “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” (Feb. 22), “Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie” (April 5), “Missing Link” (April 12), “John Wick 3: Parabellum” (May 17), “Men in Black: International” (June 14), “Hobbs & Shaw” (Aug. 2), “Charlie’s Angels” (Nov. 1), “Jumanji 3” (Dec. 13).
Contact Harrison Tunggal at [email protected] .