Anticipated Films of 2019

Richard Petro

twitter @ThePetroProject

February 18, 2019

    Another year, another slew of films to look forward to! It’s always hard writing a list of anticipated films this early into the year, mostly because you don’t fully know exactly everything that’s coming (which is part of why this is seeing the light now). But now, we can take a look at some of the films we anticipated here most.

Firstly, we’d like to cover some quick Honourable Mentions:
    - The Lego Movie: The Second Part and How To Train Your Dragon 3 would have made the list proper, except one is out already, and I had the pleasure of seeing them a few weeks before their official release date at pre-screenings.
    - All the films that we listed in our last year’s anticipated list that ended up not being released would still be on this list, and they would rank incredibly, incredibly high. I decided to leave them off as I have already written about them, but Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, Claire Denis’ High Life, and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman are still tensely anticipated with us.

17. Joker

     I generally make myself a rule that I don’t include ‘tentpole’ films in my most anticipated lists as those are obviously movies people would look forward to, and I was going to include Joker in with that group. Also, as someone who enjoys the character when done well, I’m still very exhausted over the last few years with the seeming focus on him and feel like he should be given the backseat for a bit. Not to mention that having an ‘origin’ story for someone like The Joker just doesn’t sound like it would work, nor should it, for reasons that are too long to discuss here.
     I’m going to be completely honest here, when the film was first announced, I was slightly intrigued but indifferent. I tend to be open minded with ideas like this since I like seeing what people will do but I still have been feeling fatigue with many things superhero related. And then… Joaquin Phoenix was announced to star. Yes, me being incredibly excited for this film revolves vastly around Phoenix. I love him as an actor, and think he’s obviously one of our best actors working today. I’m incredibly curious to see what he brings to the film, as his performance alone will probably guarantee something that qualifies it as a must-see. Also, I’ve liked the way they’ve been going with everything from what we have seen. Will it work? Who knows, but I know it will have a phenomenal performance of it that I’m really looking forward to. It may seem odd to hang something like the anticipation of a film on one person, but here we are. It doesn’t hurt that we haven’t heard any BS involving production like the last film with Joker in it…

16. The Nest
     Sean Durkin’ Martha Marcy May Marlene came out all the way back in 2011, before the director moved onto directing the British series Southcliffe in 2013. Now he’s finally returning to the big screen with The Nest. While not much is known about it, its revealed plot of a family’s move from America to England bringing upon isolation that differently affects each family member is rife for a tense, nerve-wracking sit.

15. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

     It feels weird ranking a Tarantino film so low on my anticipated lists, as I usually really look forward to whatever he has coming out. Unfortunately, there have been a few things going against this lately for me, from Uma Thurman’s stories about her shooting experience during Kill Bill to a sense of nervousness I feel when it comes to this film. The last few movies Tarantino has made have been very revenge-fantasy-historical re-writes, if you’d like to call it that. There, those things made sense, as it’s generally easier to pull that off when it comes to a vast idea like Nazis or racists in the south. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood having Sharon Tate be part of the picture is… yeah. It’s different when you may focus in on one person’s life, and I’m really, really hoping this movie doesn’t go where it may. It’s hard to explain in a small paragraph like here, but I’m hoping for nothing that gets too ‘real-world’ in regards to individual happenings. I actually hope it doesn’t deal with it at all.
     That being said, it’s a 60s period picture from Tarantino, during a time where films themselves were seemingly changing, and it has an incredible cast lined up (which, admittedly, isn’t a surprise). I’m still really looking forward to it, but there is a sense of nervous dread in me in regards to specific content.

14. Midsommar
     A couple visits a friend’s hometown overseas during a mid-summer festival that slowly reveals itself as a pagan cult competition. While we have seen other horror films that follow similar plots involving cults, this is Ari Aster’s follow-up to his fantastic Hereditary from last year. Hereditary ranks high as one of the best films of 2018, haunting and tense in its execution, and we are incredibly excited to see what Aster does with his new film, and it’s a given that, with his imagery in Hereditary, Midsommar will be filled with nightmare inducing set-pieces.

13. Uncut Gems
     Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time was one of our favourite films of 2017, with a phenomenal lead performance from Robert Pattinson, probably our favourite of his so far. This year they are releasing Uncut Gems, following a jewelry store owner who has debts and a gambling addiction. While a new Safdie Brothers film makes us excited, the fact that they cast Adam Sandler in the lead has us more-so. Sandler can be very frustrating, as he is such a genuinely good actor in the right roles but he seems to only take them here and there. You want to see him do more of them because whenever he does he honestly turns in some of people’s most liked performances of said year. Hopefully this year is no different, and he gives us something unexpected that leads him to doing more outside the box he’s used to. The fact that he’s joined by Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Manzel, and Judd Hirsch makes it even better.

12. Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie

     I wish the Shaun the Sheep Movie was more successful here in North America. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do. Immediately. It is one of the funniest films in the last few years, and the way everything is built and layered and set up is done with such expertise. It is incredibly joyous and fun, deserving of the 99% that it sits at on Rotten Tomatoes. Aardman Animations has a great track record for fantastic films, and I know that the sequel will be one of the best films of the year. With an interesting story involving a lost alien that opens up possibilities with what they can do and explore, it’s a given that Farmageddon will be one of the sweetest, and best, films of the year. I hope that this one not only does well, but makes people that may have missed the original seek it out.

11. Benedetta
     Paul Verhoeven’s Elle was seen as him working at the top of his form, tackling a story about a woman raped in her home and deciding not to report it based on prior experiences with police. With an incredible performance from Isabelle Huppert, it landed on many ‘best of’ lists of 2016, with many claiming it may be Verhoeven’s best to date.
     Verhoeven returns this year with Benedetta, a biographical film about Benedetta Carlini, a 17th Century nun who begins a love affair with another woman. With Virginia Efira in the lead, joined by Charlotte Rampling, and Lambert Wilson, Verhoeven is bound to make a film that may be divisive, controversial, and one of the best of the year. There has been word that the release may be delayed until 2020, due to Verhoeven recovering from surgery, but we can hope it makes an appearance before the year is through.

10. Toy Story 4

     It’s been almost ten years since Toy Story 3 finished off the series beautifully, giving us an installment that cemented the franchise as one of the best trilogies ever made. Which is why this ranks as low as it does. I’m very excited to revisit all our favourite characters as they go on a road trip with a new friend, and I have complete faith in Pixar doing great, but one can’t help be nervous about re-visiting the well one too many times. It’s a double edged sword, as the films from before it have all built wonderfully and set-up the excitement for this new installment, but you’re still hoping that this was a decision based on proper, fleshed out ideas and not on a whim.

9. The Dead Don’t Die
     It’s a comedy-zombie film. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. I’ve been very fatigued by zombies for a very long time, but when you through someone like Jim Jarmusch into the mix, there’s no way to not be intrigued and excited. Jarmusch has always had an interesting take on things, with Only Lovers Left Alive being a great film exploring vampires and their lives. Though nothing much is known about the plot, the fact that the movie is, well, what it is, directed by Jarmusch, and featuring Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Chloe Sevigny, Daniel Craig, Tom Waits, Steve Buscemi and others is enough. This will probably be unlike any of the other comedy films about zombies you’ve seen so far.

8. The Lighthouse
     Coming four years after the release of The Witch, Robert Eggers’ next film, starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as lighthouse keepers in 20th Century Maine, is still very much shrouded in mystery. All we know is that it is a black-and-white horror fantasy filmed on 35MM. With one of the best, possibly even still underrated, actors working with one of the best young actors we have right now, in a location built for isolated tension, it’s easy to believe that this will be one of the most sweat-inducing films of the year.

7. Knives Out
     The only things we know about Rian Johnson’s upcoming film is that it’s a modern day take on a whodunit mystery and that it has a phenomenal cast attached to it. I’m a really big fan of Johnson, and knowing this will probably be his own, not-forced-to-change-things take on a mystery film makes me very giddy. I’m always excited for a good whodunit murder mystery, and it’s been a long time since we had one. Also, Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, and Don Johnson are the icing on the cake of what will surely be one of the most interesting takes on a genre all year.

6. John Wick 3

     John Wick 3 has grown into being a film that doesn’t really need an explanation here. With what started as a film that seemed like a joke in regards to plot, it blew everyone out of the water in giving us one of the best action films of all time. The sequel did a great job in building the world that these films take place in, giving us more and more intriguing ideas and twists that now feel like it was all naturally building to this point. We don’t really have a “great from top to bottom” action trilogy out there, so John Wick 3 may be one that cements the franchise as being one of the best ever. Whether or not it does is, honestly, not important though. It’s almost guaranteed to be an entertaining thrill ride, with Keanu Reeves continuing to pull us into the story and making us root for Wick to get through all of this okay.
     Oh, and while the cast as a whole is incredible, Anjelica Huston is also in this. Anjelica Huston should be in more things, so I’m really excited to see her here.

5. Little Women
     Greta Gerwig tackles Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel in her follow-up to the great Lady Bird, and with the news that the film will apparently deal more with themes and focusing on the sisters’ young adult lives, it seems the film will be able to separate itself from the past adaptations of the work in an interesting way that still keeps in spirit of the novel. I’m very curious to see how Gerwig handles working on pre-existing material, but know that she will be able to hit it out of the park. She has also been able to build an incredibly impressive cast, with Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Timothee Chalamet and more taking the journey with her.

4. The Truth
     Hirozaku Kore-eda isn’t just coming off the spectacular Shoplifters, but he’s going into making his English (and French) language debut with a story about a great French actress named Fabienne , played by Catherine Deneuve, and her problematic relationship with her daughter, Juliette Binoche, which comes to a head during a visit from the daughter and her family’s visit as Fabienne’s memoirs are published.
     Kore-eda can seemingly do no wrong, and his name being attached to this does a lot in making this very much a film to look forward to. The fact that he’s joined by such great actresses in their respective countries, along with Ethan Hawke as the daughter’s husband, it’ll be great to see what he does working outside his native language. I’m sure he’ll be perfectly fine, and give us a heart-wrenching film that will easily top best of lists once the year is through.

3. Jojo Rabbit

     Taika Waititi isn’t one to stray away from doing things conventionally. His latest film, adapted from a novel by Christine Leunens, is a dark comedy about a boy living through World War II who has an imaginary friend, who happens to be an inaccurate version of Adolph Hitler (played by Waititi).
     Coming at such a time as now in America is quite the choice, but the movie could very easily be Waititi’s own To Be or Not To Be, by Ernst Lubitsch. Waititi definitely has the talent to make a brilliant satire that tackles a lot of serious issues and does so with a dark sensibility, and it feels as though it has been a very long time since we have gotten a film of this caliber, attempting to do the things Taika will be doing here. It’s reception will be interesting to see, but there is no doubt as to it being one of the most talked about films when it is released, and it may set a new benchmark for Waititi’s own personal filmography.

2. Us

     Do I need to say much here? Jordan Peele’s Get Out was a masterpiece of a debut, a brilliant use of horror to explore and satire a serious issue that seems to, very unfortunately, constantly be around. No one was ready for what Get Out actually was, and it immediately launched Peele into being a director to keep on your radar for future works, rightfully so. His new film, about a family confronted by seemingly identical individuals to them while they’re on vacation, seems to take the tension of Get Out and doubling it. The trailers have been fantastic, and the released poster is striking and brilliant. The marketing team has done a great job in not giving much away, as it should be, and it’s easy to see that Peele has another great piece of work on his hands here. With Get Out, Us, and the upcoming Twilight Zone reboot, it’s a given that Peele has cemented himself as one of our generation’s best in understanding and using genre to explore deep themes through interesting ways.

1. Godzilla: King of the Monsters

     It’s always so hard writing a list like this, mostly ordering it, as you keep bouncing back and forth between what you know and have seen and who’s involved. The trailer released for King of the Monsters last year was one of the best of its kind, immediately showcasing that Michael Dougherty, whose Trick R Treat and Krampus I’m a big fan of, understands what he is making. He seems to be trying hard to present these monsters as they would be in real life, beautiful and awe-inspiring, while also absolutely terrifying. The imagery presented in the trailers alone have been some of the best we’ve seen in the genre, and it’s easy to see that the film itself will be beautiful to look at. More than anything, that trailers and released bios on the kaiju have made me feel like a kid again, and the phenomenal Comic-Con poster out a massive smile on my face. It may not end up being the deepest film of the year, but it will probably be the best ride you can take. I’m hoping Dougherty can pull it off, but I have faith he will, and give us possibly the best American monster movie along the way.