24 Movies We're Excited for in 2019: Aliens, Assassins and a Magical Flying Elephant
By John Boone
Courtesy of Warner Bros. / Marvel Studios / Universal Pictures / Neon
As the deluge of Best of 2018 lists comes to a close and we prepare ourselves for the impending awards season -- during which we'll analyze the merits of all of the films we saw this year -- let's look ahead to the movies we're anxiously awaiting in the first months of 2019: Your requisite superhero movies (Marvel, alone, will release two before summer) and a handful of horror flicks (Pet Sematary, Us), as well as reboots, remakes and reimaginings of some of the most beloved characters in cinema history. Here are 24 titles to mark down on your calendar:
Glass (Jan. 18)
Whether you think M. Night Shyamalan is an auteur or hack or both, few can deny that the last-minute David Dunn cameo in 2016's Split was an absolute thrill. Who could have predicted we'd be getting an Unbreakable sequel some 19 years later?
Directed and Written by: M. Night Shyamalan Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Sarah Paulson
Everything will surely be awesome again in the sequel to 2014's Lego Movie (and follow-up to the Batman and Ninjago spinoffs), especially with Tiffany Haddish voicing a shapeshifting alien queen. The big question is whether the filmmakers will attempt another twist as inspired as in the original.
Directed by: Mike Mitchell and Trisha Gum | Written by: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, Matthew Fogel and Raphael Bob-Waksberg Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Channing Tatum and Tiffany Haddish
What Men Want (Feb. 8)
Say what you want about Hollywood's habit of remaking any and every available IP, but we've endured a hundred-plus years of movies starring men, so I'm all for spending 100 more gender-flipping them. Especially when the incomparable Taraji P. Henson is stepping in for Mel Gibson.
Directed by: Adam Shankman | Written by: Tina Gordon Chism, Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Max Greenfield, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Erykah Badu and Tracy Morgan
The Prodigy (Feb. 8)
First there was Rosemary's Baby, then The Omen (and then a remake of The Omen). The latest film that will make you reconsider having children is The Prodigy, with Orange Is the New Black's Taylor Schilling now starring as the mother of potentially-possessed offspring.
Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy | Written by: Jeff Buhler Starring: Taylor Schilling and Jackson Robert Scott
Fighting With My Family (Feb. 14)
If you aren't part of #PughNation, get onboard, because Florence Pugh (of The Little Drummer Girl, of Outlaw King) is a star. She plays an aspiring WWE wrestler in this and will share scenes with another undeniable star, Dwayne Johnson, popping up as a riff of his "The Rock" persona.
Directed and Written by: Stephen Merchant Starring: Florence Pugh, Nick Frost, Lena Headey, Jack Lowden and Dwayne Johnson
Happy Death Day 2U (Feb. 15)
Happy Death Day 2U looks like it has the exact same plot as Happy Death Day, which...is maybe the point? Anyway, I found the first one -- about a co-ed who relives the day of her murder over and over again -- to be good, dumb fun and am eager for some Valentine's Day scares.
Directed and Written by: Christopher Landon Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu and Steve Zissis
James Cameron, the man behind such epics as Avatar and Titanic, and Sin City director Robert Rodriguez team up for an adaptation of Yukito Kishiro's manga series, about a futuristic cyborg who awakens with no memory of who she is or where she came from.
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez | Written by: James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis and Robert Rodriguez Starring: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali
It's been a minute since Rebel Wilson graced our screens, but this is the perfect vehicle for her return: She stars as a woman who doesn't believe in romance, then bumps her head and finds herself trapped in a rom-com. As it were, it is also a perfect vehicle for Liam Hemsworth's abs.
Directed by: Todd Strauss-Schulson | Written by: Erin Cardillo and Dana Fox & Katie Silberman Starring: Rebel Wilson, Adam Devine, Liam Hemsworth, Betty Gilpin and Priyanka Chopra
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Feb. 22)
The saga of reluctant Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon sidekick, Toothless, comes to a close in this final chapter of the trilogy. If you haven't kept up with the series, you are missing out on one of the sweeter, most visually spectacular franchises out there.
Directed and Written by: Dean DeBlois Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harington and Cate Blanchett
Greta (March 1)
If Isabelle Huppert isn't killing somebody or otherwise trying to kill somebody in your film, I'm not interested. Thankfully, Huppert -- the Meryl Streep of France -- is wreaking havoc on poor Chloë Grace Moretz here, and the movie looks wild.
Directed by: Neil Jordan | Written by: Ray Wright and Neil Jordan Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Isabelle Huppert and Maika Monroe
Chaos Walking (March 1)
Peter Parker, himself, and Rey from Star Wars star in a movie about mind reading and a world without women, from the writer of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the director of Bourne Identity.
Directed by: Doug Liman | Written by: Charlie Kaufman, Lindsey Beer, John Lee Hancock, Gary Spinelli and Patrick Ness Starring: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Mads Mikkelsen, Demián Bichir and Nick Jonas
Climax (March 1)
Noted provocateur Gaspar Noé returned to Cannes this year and will, soon enough, return to a theater near you with this delirious drama about French dancers whose rehearsals goes to hell when their sangria is laced with LSD. Think Step Up meets Requiem for a Dream.
Directed and Written by: Gaspar Noé Starring: Sofia Boutella
Captain Marvel (March 8)
Marvel is going back to the '90s, before Tony Stark ever donned his Iron Man armor, to tell the origin story of the MCU's mightiest superhero yet: Carol Danvers, Air Force fighter pilot-turned-alien special ops soldier and Marvel's first female to front her own solo film.
Directed by: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck | Written by: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Jac Schaeffer Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Lee Pace, Jude Law and Annette Bening
Gloria Bell (March 8)
If you've seen Sebastián Lelio's 2013 dramedy, Gloria, you already know how hilarious, cringey and ultimately affirming Gloria Bell is, as it's Lelio's fairly-faithful English adaptation of his own film. Julianne Moore, stepping into the titular role of the disco-loving divorcee, has truly never been better, and her performance alone more than warrants the remake.
Directed by: Sebastián Lelio | Written by: Alice Johnson Boher and Sebastián Lelio Starring: Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Brad Garrett, Michael Cera and Rita Wilson
Triple Frontier (March 15 on Netflix)
Ben Affleck was never invited along for one of BFF Matt Damon's Ocean's outings, but now he's got a heist of his own to pull off: Assembling a group of down-on-their-luck special ops soldiers to steal millions from a South American drug lord.
Directed by: J.C. Chandor | Written by: Mark Boal and J.C. Chandor Starring: Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam, Oscar Isaac and Garrett Hedlund
Us (March 15)
The newest nightmare sprung from the mind of Academy Award Winner Jordan Peele looks like a f$%king nightmare. (The Us trailer is the scariest movie of 2019.) I will be first in line to see it, to support the criminally under-cast Lupita, to lust after Wakanda's Sexiest Man Alive 2018 and to never sleep again.
Directed and Written by: Jordan Peele Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss
Where'd You Go, Bernadette (March 22)
Maria Semple's novel -- about an agoraphobic architect and mother who suddenly up and vanishes -- isn't quite as plucky as the trailer for Linklater's latest would have you believe, but I'm in for any Cate Blanchett vehicle that has her wearing a severe wig and doing an arch accent.
Directed by: Richard Linklater | Written by: Richard Linklater, Holly Gent and Vincent Palmo Jr. Starring: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne, Judy Greer and Kristen Wiig
The Beach Bum (March 22)
It was inevitable that Harmony Korine (of Spring Breakers fame) and Matthew McConaughey (of Oscars and bongo drums fame) would link up sooner or later, and that time is now. I have no idea what the movie is actually about, but McConaughey plays a character named Moondog and Zac Efron looks like this.
Directed and Written by: Harmony Korine Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Isla Fisher, Snoop Dogg, Martin Lawrence and Zac Efron
Dumbo (March 29)
The Mouse House digs into its animated archives once more to breathe CGI life into another one of your childhood favorites, with Tim Burton at the helm for a big, whimsical take on Dumbo. Of the most crucial boxes checked by the first trailer, Dumbo himself is at least very, very cute.
Directed by: Tim Burton | Written by: Ehren Kruger Starring: Colin Farrell, Eva Green, Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito
While Marvel's universe-building continues at a breakneck pace, DC briefly slowed their output, with a single film (Aquaman) in 2018 and only one next year: The Big-meets-Superman comedy, Shazam! (Things will ramp up in 2020, when we finally get Wonder Woman 1984and the Harley Quinn-fronted Birds of Prey.)
Directed by: David F. Sandberg | Written by: Henry Gayden Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer and Djimon Hounsou
Pet Sematary (April 5)
It: Chapter Two won't arrive until later this year, but the Steven King renaissance continues with another adaptation of a terrifying tale set in rural Maine, swapping scary clowns for reanimated house pets, ancient burial grounds and zombies.
Directed by: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer | Written by: David Kajganich and Jeff Buhler Starring: Jason Clarke, John Lithgow and Amy Seimetz
Hellboy (April 12)
Last we saw this misunderstood half-demon on the big screen, he was played by Ron Perlman and directed by Guillermo del Toro. This is a new take, starring Stranger Things' David Harbour and with Neil Marshall (The Descent) at the helm, but with all of the monsters and paranormal mayhem you've come to expect.
Directed by: Neil Marshall | Written by: Andrew Cosby Starring: David Harbour, Ian McShane, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane and Milla Jovovich
High Life (April 12)
Rob Pattinson has one of the most fascinating careers of any working actor, and it's something of a dream to see him collaborate with the always ambitious and equally confounding director Claire Denis for an apocalyptic drama about astronauts stranded in deep space.
Directed by: Claire Denis | Written by: Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau and Geoff Cox Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth and André Benjamin
Avengers: Endgame (April 26)
How do you follow up a movie like Avengers: Infinity War, the most ambitious crossover event in history? The notoriously secretive Marvel Studios will make sure no one knows that answer until Endgame arrives and beardless Steve Rogers, ninja Hawkeye, Captain Marvel and so many more battle everyone's favorite genocidal space daddy.
Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo | Written by: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Karen Gillan, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson and Josh Brolin