2019 is now upon us which means another year of pictures that are likely to thrill, spill and disappoint in equal measure. Some we know a lot about, some we know little, but I thought I’d pick out 12 for 12 of those I’m the most intrigued to see.These aren’t one film per month or anything, but are probably in order of my excitement. Let’s explore some of what’s to come…
12. Joker (Todd Phillips)
No one quite knows what to make of this one, do they? Joaquin Phoenix in what appears to be an origin story for the Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime from the DC Comics universe, directed by Todd Phillips, best known for The Hangover trilogy.
Hmmm. The jury is out here but I am certainly intrigued. Phoenix is more than capable of the weirdness we’ve seen in the previous three on-screen Joker incarnations, not to mention the brooding darkness, and this seemingly divested of being part of any franchise or bigger narrative means Phillips might have the freedom to tell a Joker story we’ve never seen before.
Let’s face it, Phoenix can’t be much worse than Jared Leto. Can he?UK Incoming: October
11. Hobbs and Shaw (David Leitch)
This could be absolutely wonderful or absolutely terrible. My money is on the former. A spin-off from the Fast & Furious franchise, Hobbs & Shaw takes the two most interesting characters and two most entertaining actors from the bonkers action series, throws them together and gives them their own film.
In other words, The Rock & Jason Statham vs Idris Elba. Directed by the guy who made John Wick and Atomic Blonde.
I mean, quite simply, where the flippin’ heck do I sign up?
UK Incoming: August
10. Glass (M. Night Shyamalan)
We all thought M. Night was done, didn’t we? He was a two-hit wonder who collapsed under the weight of his own self-indulgence and directorial limitations, but Shyamalan won back a lot of that acclaim after first The Visit and especially Split which, surprise, turned out to be a semi-sequel to the film some have spent almost 20 years crying out for: Unbreakable.
Glass is the film that stitches them both together and given I genuinely believe Unbreakable is an unheralded masterpiece, I cannot wait to see Bruce Willis’ sonnambulist superhero David Dunn and Samuel L. Jackson’s tragic super villain Mr Glass face down James McAvoy’s terrifying, monstrous Beast.
It may well end up utter ludicrousness but if Glass is even half as good as Unbreakable, I’ll be happy.
Incoming: January 18th
9. Terminator 6 (Tim Miller)
Who in the name of SkyNet knows how this one is going to go? The Terminator franchise has been messed about with and at times bludgeoned into dodgy submission after James Cameron did the first two masterpieces, and Alan Taylor’s risible Genisys was the last straw. Cameron got the rights back and now alongside Deadpool director Tim Miller, this classic franchise has a chance to be salvaged.
This could well end up being similar to what was planned for Neill Blomkamp’s aborted Alien 5, a film which will conveniently ignore everything after Terminator 2: Judgment Day, given Linda Hamilton is back an older Sarah Connor. Arnie is also back in his most iconic role but beyond this, we know almost nothing.
I live in hope of another great Terminator movie though. If we’re lucky, this could be it.UK Incoming: November
8. Men in Black: International (F. Gary Gray)
Another franchise that was largely effed up after a great first movie, Men in Black has sat for years with its potential being squandered. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (who was barely in the third one anyway) have been shunted in favour of a fresh reboot with Chris Hemsworth & Tessa Thompson in the lead roles of the alien hunters.
Honestly, this could be inspired. Hemsworth & Thompson proved with Thor: Ragnarok how great their chemistry was and both are at the height of their cultural popularity. MIB is a little dated now but it has the blockbuster factor to be reenergised, and while F. Gary Gray can be a patchy director, if the script is good, the charm of the main duo will see this through.
I’m at least intrigued. Plus it has Rebecca Ferguson and everything is better if she’s in it.
UK Incoming: June
7. Spider-Man: Far From Home (Jon Watts)
Hang on, but isn’t Peter Parker dead after Thanos—? Yeah yeah yeah, whatever. Once we’re clear of the Endgame, the dominoes will fall to give Spider-Man a proper sequel to Homecoming, which for me was the first Spider-Man film to do the character justice, thanks to Tom Holland’s delightful portrayal.
I’m expecting more of the same really from Jon Watts’ sequel. Spidey is apparently heading to London, and Tony Stark is being swapped out for Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury (set to have a busy year in the MCU) & Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill. With Jake Gyllenhaal on villain duties, and Michael Keaton somewhere in the mix, I’m sure this’ll be just as much fun as it’s predecessor.
Will this be Spider-Man’s last run out in the MCU though following Sony’s loan of the character? Time will tell.
UK Incoming: Summer
6. Captain Marvel (Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck)
While we’re on the subject of the MCU, the big new contender this year is Captain Marvel, which introduces Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, a former US Air Force pilot who becomes an intergalactic superhero. It’s likely she’ll rock up in Avengers: Endgame, but first we need the origin story.
Honestly, the trailer for Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck’s film didn’t blow me away, despite all the requisite Marvel elements we’ve seen over the last few years. That being said, their trailers don’t always do the films justice, and Larson leads a cracking cast in this 1992 set tale that, effectively, serves as an MCU prequel.Can’t see it being a Black Panther but it could be the next First Avenger. We’ll see. UK Incoming: March 8th
5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
Love him or loathe him, Tarantino is back and he doesn’t care if you’re offended by him dramatising the Charles Manson murders which marked American psychology from the 60’s into the 70’s. The fact he has a world class cast behind him led by Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt & Margot Robbie suggests they don’t mind either.
Honestly, I’m somewhere in the middle with QT. I only truly adore one of his pictures (Jackie Brown, for me his best work to date) but I’m always excited as a film fan for a new piece from him. His chosen topic this time also fascinates me, in what he might do with a period he has never to this date tapped.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood could be his bravest picture yet.
UK Incoming: July
4. Us (Jordan Peele)
Arriving almost out of nowhere, 2017’s Get Out was a revelation, not just for director Jordan Peele but for the horror genre, twisting conventions and drawing class and racial barriers for a weird, darkly comic and deeply unsettling thriller that stands as one of the finest directorial debuts in recent memory. Peele’s follow up has been hugely anticipated since and Us, his next film, may live up to the hype.
An original piece, involving a family trip to a beach house where they are disturbed by unwelcome visitors, Us may well see Peele bring those same, sharp observations about culture to another tense, nail biting piece of work. Will it strike as much of a chord as Get Out? That would be hard to do, in all honesty, but it is likely to continue Peele’s ascension into one of the most promising auteurs in modern cinema.
UK Incoming: March 15th
3. John Wick: Chapter 3 (Chad Stahelski)
Now I’ve also heard this being referred to by the subtitle ‘Parabellum’, which I hope they’ve scrapped because it’s a right mouthful. Ultimately though, they could call this ‘Don’t Fuck with Keanu’s Dog 3’ for all I care, given how excited I am for another run out with, *whisper it*… John Wick.The first John Wick was good fun but Chapter 2 was a real treat, blending The Raid-style chopsocky with a classy mythology behind the assassinations and dark criminal underbelly of Wick’s world. Keanu Reeves looks like he’s having a blast as the world’s most lethal killer and if Chad Stahelski can build on the promise at the end of the last one of Wick basically fighting every assassin on the planet, this is going to be *insane*.
This could be the action spectacular of the year.
UK Incoming: May
2. Star Wars IX (JJ Abrams)
Aka The Force Awakens II, otherwise known as Return of the Return of the Jedi, because let’s face it, that’s what we’re all expecting from JJ Abrams and the end of the third Skywalker Star Wars trilogy. Abrams won’t pull a flanker like Rian Johnson did. This will be the Star Wars everyone expects it to be.
And that’s fine. I’m sure this won’t reinvent the wheel and will feel like another nostalgic blast in the way The Force Awakens was, but with Luke likely to play a smaller part, Han dead and thanks to Carrie Fisher’s sad death, likely very little to no Leia, I’d be lying if I said I was as excited for this as Abrams’ first Star Wars film. Either way, this will be one of 2019’s biggest cinematic moments.
Where does Star Wars go from here? Now that, I can’t predict.
UK Incoming: December
1. Avengers: Endgame (Joe & Anthony Russo)
It had to be this at the top of the tree, didn’t it? Aside from the climactic ending to Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame, and the conclusion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first 10 year arc, is *the* storytelling event of 2019 without question. How do you solve a problem like Thanos?
With time travel, almost certainly. That’s what everyone is expecting. Doctor Strange certainly had a trick up his sleeve. And almost everyone thinks either Captain America or Tony Stark are dying to save the universe. It’s all up in the air but quite how they’ll write themselves out of the bonkers cliffhanger at the end of Infinity War has been fascinating audiences this past year, and I can’t wait to see how the chips fall.UK Incoming: April 2019 is already shaping up to be a cracking year for event cinema. I look forward to it, and to hopefully covering a fair bit of it on this blog!