New works from Claire Denis, Jordan Peele and Kelly Reichardt round out our bumper 2019 preview.
Ready to get stuck into another 12 months of new movies? To whet your appetite, here are 30 upcoming features we think are worth getting excited about. When you’re done with this part of our 2018 preview, check out part one.
Eta 12 April (US)
A year on from the delicate soul-searching of Let the Sunshine In, Claire Denis is setting her sights higher. The French master’s English-language debut, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last autumn, sees Robert Pattinson struggling to survive in deep space along with his young daughter. Denis regular Juliette Binoche is also on-board. Take our word for it, this is one you’re going to want – and need – to watch again and again.
Nicolas Winding Refn is heading east again to tackle espionage, existentialism and the Yakuza. The Danish director has described this as a “big, extravagant action film,” which sounds tantalising enough – even more so with regular Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade on board. If Drive proved anything, it’s that Refn knows how to do slick, edge-of-your-seat action.
Mia Wasikowska and Phantom Thread’s Vicky Krieps make the pilgrimage to the same island that inspired famed Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman, before the lines between fiction and reality start to blur. Mia Hansen-Løve’s latest sounds like a dream, and we’re expecting it to make an appearance at a major film festival early in the year.
Eta 29 March
Disney’s live-action adaptations of their own animated classics have by and large worked out well. The trailer for the studio’s high-gloss Dumbo remake suggests director Tim Burton has got the tone just right, and with a stellar cast including Colin Farrell and Eva Green we’re fully expecting this to clean up at the box office. We’re mostly here for Danny DeVito and pink elephants though.
The next film from one of America’s greatest filmmakers sees 19th century fur-trappers embark on a voyage from Oregon to China and back. Kelly Reichardt’s heartbreaking Certain Women was one of the standout films of 2017, and her return to the West for the first time since 2010’s Meek’s Cutoff is cause for celebration.
We’re been waiting for Terrence Malick’s World War Two drama for what feels like an eternity – and now it seems the film is finally wrapped and ready. Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Nyqvist, Bruno Ganz star in this biography of Austrian Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious objector who refused to side with the Nazis. Expect this one to have its bow at the Berlin Film Festival in February.
Eta 26 April
After the cataclysmic fallout of the Avengers’ last outing, the Russo brothers have offered few clues as to how this epic saga will be concluded. We’re still not entirely sure who will be returning, not to mention who or what will be revealed as the key to stopping Thanos. Will it be Hawkeye? Probably not.
Following the introspective poeticism of 2016’s Paterson, Jim Jarmusch is pulling a 180 with zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die. However, one only needs a vague knowledge of the director’s filmography to know that this isn’t going be anything like Zombieland. Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Tom Waits, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi and Eraserhead cinematographer Frederick Elmes are all attached.
Keanu Reeves reprises his role as ice-cool ex-hitman John Wick – and he’s joined this time Anjelica Huston and Halle Berry, adding even more firepower to the cast. Chad Stahelski remains in the director’s chair, ensuring that this trilogy-closer will be sticking to its no-nonsense action roots. Prepare for war.
If you don’t already worship at Timothée Chalamet’s feet, you will after he dons Henry V’s crown in David Michôd’s forthcoming historical epic. The Australian director’s career hit a slight bump in 2017 with War Machine, but encouragingly this one looks closer in tone and style to Animal Kingdom and The Rover.
The English-language debut from Lourdes and Amour Fou director Jessica Hausner centres on genetically-engineered plants manipulating living organisms in what sounds like a modern spin on ‘The Day of the Triffids’. The prospect of Ben Whishaw being plunged into a tale of horticultural horror is a very enticing one indeed.
An ensemble piece about the dissolution of a South American drug lord, spearheaded by A Most Violent Year director JC Chandor. From the lens of Roman Vasyanov (End of Watch) and the pen of Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty), this is likely to be a methodical, gritty crime film. Ben Affleck stars opposite Pedro Pascal.
Set in New York’s diamond district, a man’s jewellery business is jeopardised by some rather unsavoury behaviour. Directed by the Safdie brothers, whose hit-and-run fever dream Good Time was one of our top films of 2017, Uncut Gems is bound to bring something new to the bloated crime genre. The film stars Lakeith Stanfield, Judd Hirsch and Adam Sandler in another serious role.
Eta 20 December
If someone were to create an algorithm for a successful cinematic musical, ‘Tom Hooper’ and ‘Cats’ would surely be the first keywords inputted. The Les Mis director has embraced the parable of the Jellicles and Heavenside Layer for his next project, forcing Idris Elba, Sir Ian McKellen and Judi Dench into a feline frenzy that will stay true to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original.
Eta 15 March
Get Out was not so much a socially-conscious horror as it was a major cultural event, even shattering the genre-ignorant Academy to win Best Original Screenplay. Jordan Peele’s second feature is therefore unmissable. Alongside Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Anna Diop and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II star in this haunting thriller about a couple’s beachside getaway being interrupted by some uninvited guests.
Eta 5 April
Jacques Audiard’s star-studded western, based on Patrick deWitt’s acclaimed 2011 novel, made waves at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals in 2018. The film tracks the mishaps of the trivially-named assassins, played by Joaquin Phoenix and John C Reilly, as they hunt down Riz Ahmed’s gold prospector – with Jake Gyllenhaal not far behind.
Eta 28 June
In the wake of his departure from Bond 25, Danny Boyle is returning to safer ground for his next directorial effort. Penned by Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually writer Richard Curtis, this as-yet untitled project follows a songwriter who discovers that he is the only person in the world to remember the Beatles following a sudden bout of global amnesia. Lily James and Ana de Armas also star.
Set in the world of high art, and seeing to amp up the animosity between artists and collectors, this is Dan Gilroy’s latest exploration into the darkest nooks of the human psyche. The Nightcrawler director reunites with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo for a biting critique of the increasingly-commercial art world.
Adapted from Donna Tartt’s 2013 novel and adapted for the screen by Peter Straughan (Frank, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), The Goldfinch sees director John Crowley team up with Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson and Jeffrey Wright for what looks to be an emotionally rich drama. Crowley previously impressed with 2015’s Brooklyn.
On an island where time has lost all meaning, two children must fight to secure their longterm happiness. Benh Zeitlin’s second feature treads in the paw-prints of 2012’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, merging fantasy with human drama. The promising young director has once again opted to cast unknown child actors.
The colourful mind behind Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Thor: Ragnarok has lined up an adaptation of Christine Leunens’ book ‘Caging Skies’ for his next project. It sees Taika Waititi himself play Adolf Hitler, here an imaginary friend to a Hitler Youth member who discovers that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is sheltering a Jewish girl.
Eta 31 May
If last year’s Rampage didn’t quite scratch your monster-sized itch, then the next instalment in Legendary’s MonsterVerse promises to do just that. Pitting Godzilla against Mothra and King Ghidorah, Michael Dougherty’s blockbuster stars Vera Farmiga, Charles Dance and Millie Bobby Brown. With Godzilla vs Kong arriving in 2020, we’re expecting big things from this one.
Eta 1 November
Following the wonderful 2018 documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, this till untitled biopic stars Tom Hanks as American TV personality Fred Rogers. Marielle Heller assumes directorial duties, having recently helmed Can You Ever Forgive Me? to huge acclaim. This true-life story couldn’t be in safer hands.
Eta 4 Oct
After the debacle of Suicide Squad and Justice League and partial redemption of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, Todd Phillips plans to set the DCEU on the right course with this Joker origin story. Early glimpses of Joaquin Phoenix as the titular antagonist suggest that Joker will avoid the schlockiness and cheap fan service of previous DC offerings.
Eta 15 February
Having meddled with aliens on the streets of South London, Joe Cornish finally returns after a seven-year hiatus with his follow-up, The Kid Who Would Be King. In what looks like a cross between King Arthur and The Goonies, young Alex (played by Louis “Son of Andy” Serkis) accidentally pulls a sword from a stone, leading to a legendary clash with Rebecca Ferguson’s villainous Morgana.
Eta 21 June
If the finale to Toy Story 3 didn’t leave you a blubbering mess, Pixar are giving it another go by reuniting Woody and the gang for a road trip with a new cast member, Forky. Josh Cooley directs this latest tale of children’s toys finding their place in the world, with Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele adding their vocal talent to the mix.
Eta 20 September
Straight Outta Compton writer Andrea Berloff marks her directorial debut with this ensemble crime thriller centring on the wives of Hell’s Kitchen’s meanest gangsters. Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss head up what sounds like a ’70s-set answer to Steve McQueen’s recent Widows.
If The Last Jedi proved anything, it’s that Rian Johnson isn’t one to play it safe. The director’s homespun take on an Agatha Christie-esque whodunit serves as a welcome counterpoint to Kenneth Branagh’s more faithful Murder on the Orient Express – and it’s equally stacked with talent, including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon and Ana de Armas.
It’s fair to say that The Big Lebowski has amassed a healthy cult following since its release 20 years ago, even spawning its own religion, Dudeism. With Going Places, actor and sometime director John Turturro focuses on the life and times of the Dude’s bowling adversary, Jesus Quintana. With Bobby Cannavale and Susan Sarandon attached, Lebowski fans can rejoice – your church is about to get a whole lot bigger.
Robert Eggers turned heads in 2015 with his critically-lauded folk horror The Witch, and he’s returning this year with a mystery about an ageing lighthouse keeper, aptly named Old (Willem Dafoe). Shot in black-and-white on 35mm film, The Lighthouse sounds like another unnerving vision from this up-and-coming director.
Read part one of our 2019 preview here
Published 1 Jan 2019
Our annual countdown of the movies that made the biggest impression on us this year, from Hereditary to The House That Jack Built.
By Rory Marsh
The ninth film by Quentin Tarantino and a Leos Carax musical are among our hot tips for the year ahead.