Another year has come and gone, and with 2019 finally upon us, it looks to be nothing short of a fantastic year for moviegoers. Looking ahead to the new year, I thought it might be fun to talk about some of the films releasing this year that I’m most looking forward to. Please let it be known that although I’m listing these films, they are most certainly in no particular ranking. Just kinda spitballing here. I’m also aware that there are a ton of other cool films coming out this year, and there’s a lot to get excited about. I just picked 10 or so really big ones for me, and here we are. Let’s do this.
Glass (dir. M. Night Shyamalan)
This one is pretty interesting to speculate about, because unlike the others on the list, I’m seeing this one fairly soon. Next week, in fact. The 20+ year career of M. Night Shyamalan has been something of an up-and-down ride, full of very high highs, remarkably low lows, and whatever the hell The Happening was. But, following the epic twist/tie-in to conclude 2017’s Split, M. Night brings us the official conclusion to his unofficial superhero trilogy. I’ve been a Shyamalan fan since I saw Unbreakable years ago, and I, like many, stuck with him through the dark years until his return to form. Early reactions to this flick have been slightly muddled and mixed at best, but I still have faith that M. Night can pull out the right stops and end this trilogy on a high note. I adore Unbreakable, I love Split, and I hope that very soon I can say the same about Glass. Here’s hoping our boy doesn’t crack under pressure.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (dir. Mike Mitchell)
Quite simply, 2014’s The Lego Movie is one of my favorite films. Lord and Miller’s complete and utter defiance of any and all presuppositions the film faced was rather unprecedented, delivering one of the smartest, funniest, and most-well made animated films of all time. And despite the fact that I feel that “Everything is Awesome” should be accepted as a form of cruel and unusual torture, I fall more and more in love with the film the more I watch it. I can’t help but be excited for the sequel that, although not directed by Lord and Miller this time around, still looks to deliver yet another bodaciously fun and cleverly heartfelt LEGO adventure. (There’s also apparently another song in this movie that Chris Pratt himself claims is “at least three times as catchy” as “Everything is Awesome”. Lord help me.)
Us (dir. Jordan Peele)
Never in my lifetime has a debut impressed and thrilled myself and so many others quite like Jordan Peele’s 2017 cultural smash Get Out. The film was an out-and-out phenomenon, and is arguably one of the best thrillers of the decade. As Peele now steps into the director’s chair a second time, I can’t help but be infectiously and maddeningly excited for what the man will do this time around. Us has been shrouded in quite a heavy bit of mystery since its announcement last June, and will probably continue to be right up until its release. With an exceptionally stacked cast, a visionary behind the camera, and a trailer that somehow managed to make Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” maddeningly frightening, the sky might very well be the limit and then some. There’s a lot riding on Us following how incredibly well-received Get Out was, but if there’s anyone who I feel can deliver, it’s the master of the modern thriller, Jordan Peele.
Captain Marvel (dir. Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden)
There’s not a ton I can say about this film as of right now, because I know next to nothing about Captain Marvel as a character. I think this film has a terrific cast, and I’m interested what the newcomer director duo can bring to the table. (Ok, maybe they’re not newcomers. I just don’t remember a thing about Mississippi Grind, and that’s all IMDB would give me). So yeah. I’m excited. I like Marvel Studios films. Should be a good one. For variety’s sake, I guess I’ll also mention the OTHER Captain Marvel, otherwise known as SHAZAM!, directed by David F. Sandberg. (Thanks again, IMDB). I’m interested to see what direction the DCEU heads in following Aquaman, and whether or not this film, like CM, can help me invest in a character I know hardly anything about. I wasn’t as struck by this film’s trailer as many others were, but that’s probably just because of the fact that I don’t really know anything about this character. I really only speak fluent Spider-Man and Green Lantern, so these two will hopefully be informational steps into new characters, and overall fun times at the theater.
Avengers: Endgame (dir. Joe and Anthony Russo)
Do I even need to tell anyone why I’m excited for this movie? Everyone is. I don’t need to explain it. I haven’t met a single soul who wasn’t captivated and floored by the historical cultural phenomenon that was Avengers: Infinity War, and it’s pretty safe to say that this film is shaping up to be not only one of the biggest sequels of all time, but an unparalleled cinematic event like none other. This is the end of what the entire crew at Marvel Studios has built for more than 10 years, and will most likely be goodbye for a handful of beloved heroes. The stakes have never been higher both on and offscreen, and it’s under this intense anticipation and pressure that the Russo Brothers thrive. The MCU has produced a number of wonderful films for years running, and whether you’ve been a fan of these movies since 2008 or since 2018, Avengers: Endgame promises to be a once-in-a-generation superhero experience for fans everywhere.
John Wick 3: Parabellum (dir. Chad Stahelski)
As someone who, for the majority of his life, saw Keanu Reeves only as Ted “Theodore” Logan, it’s a testament to the John Wick films that the man now terrifies me more than anyone on the face of the planet. After a simplistic yet delightfully brutal action extravaganza (with style, might I add) in 2014’s John Wick, it’s 2017 follow-up took the characters and expanded their vast world of hitmen (and women) for hire to an even more vast degree. With the perfect setup now in motion for an epic cap on a ridiculously awesome trilogy, I’m beyond excited for director Stahelski to see his vision carried out to the end alongside plenty more exciting and innovative action that we’ve come to know and love this franchise for. It’s literally going to be John Wick vs. a literal planet-load of assassins. You don’t need to sell me any further than that. I cannot wait to have a complete blast come May, and hope to solidify the John Wick trilogy as one for the history books.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (dir. Jon Watts)
As said before, I’m something of an enthusiast and a self-proclaimed “expert” (although not even remotely) on this a-here subject matter, so a Spidey outing of any kind won’t ever fail to get me excited. Homecoming, per my eyes, is top-shelf MCU, and did a number of wonderful things for the Spidey mythos in regards to the characters, their worlds, and how both fit into the grand scale of the MCU. I’m also incredibly interested to see how this film will handle what look to be the incredibly chaotic events of Endgame, and where it will place Peter Parker following the events of both Infinity War and its sequel. Add Jake Gyllenhaal’s mega talent to bring fan-favorite villain Mysterio to the big screen, and I do believe we may have ourselves a winner this July. (I will try my very best not to painstakingly compare this and/or any future Spider-Man films to Into the Spider-Verse. But I’ve seen it six times, and it’s still wonderful. Please see it if you haven’t already.)
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
I actually have an interest in this one for two particular reasons, the first of which being that I love Tarantino. I mean, I go to film school, and it’s pretty much a constitutional amendment. The man has a talent for making precisely stylistic and indulgently violent ensemble genre films, and I haven’t a doubt in my mind that he’ll crush it this time around. I’ve also grown quite the interest in the Manson murder case following some 60’s-70’s research I did to better understand 2014’s Inherent Vice. Tarantino is no stranger to showcasing (or straight up rewriting) history for better or worse, and will bring his unique angle to one of the most notorious cases in history. My only fear is that this film, in Tarantino fashion as of late, may be too long. I’m never one to be squeamish at the sight of a lengthy runtime, but as someone who wasn’t the world’s most gargantuan fan of The Hateful Eight, I find sitting through repeat viewings to be damn-near impossible. This is just a personal nitpick, and I’m sure I’ve got nothing to worry about. Word on the street is that Tarantino may be nearing his end as a director, and if such a tragedy is the case, I sure hope he goes out with some solid flicks under his belt. Time shall tell. (I say that like he hasn’t already crafted some of the most iconic films of all time. This is why no one reads my blog.)
Rocketman (dir. Dexter Fletcher)
I have a bit of a funny relationship with musical biopics. The only one that I’ve ever gone into with legitimate knowledge of the artist(s) was 2015’s Straight Outta Compton, and this film is no exception. I, like many, enjoy a lot of Elton’s music, and hope that this film not only shows us his life and legacy, but also shows us the world in which he lived, showcasing why his music and persona had such an impact. In other words, I like when my biopics contextualize. It gives them depth. I’m looking right now at a film that may or may not rhyme with “Mowheemian Flapsode.” No further questions, Your Honor. I’m also quite a Taron Egerton fan, and can’t wait to see what his charm and talents do with such a larger-than-life persona.
If I may go off on a little side tangent, some of you may know this film’s director as the guy who replaced Bryan Singer and finished what was left of Bohemian Rhapsody. And for as crazy about BR that I personally wasn’t, I respect Fletcher for stepping in and finishing the film true to Singer’s vision, thus competently avoiding what had potential to be a disaster for a studio who’s kind of notorious for poor director relationships. I mean, the film just won a bunch of awards. Probably’ll win a few more. So don’t count Fletcher out just yet, I truly think this one could be a pleasant surprise this year.
Star Wars: Episode IX (dir. J.J. Abrams)
Star Wars. Everyone loves it, right? And everyone has been totally okay with the new films and loves Disney for the new direction they’re taking the films and franchise in and no one is being entitled or upset or borderline inhumane to perfectly nice people on Twitter?
I’m gonna be honest, I’ve kinda been dropping off the Star Wars monorail as of late, but not because of anything having to do directly with the new films. I really enjoyed The Force Awakens, and although I haven’t been crazy about the others, (some of you know that I really wasn’t very nice to Solo) it’s pretty safe to say that some fans are not happy with what direction Disney has taken their beloved franchise in. And while it’s more than fine to be passionate about what you love, as well as critical of one’s interpretation of said object of your affection, that’s absolutely no excuse for being any less of a human being to someone else. The sheer sense of entitlement and toxicity I’ve seen come from members of a community I was once proudly a part of has floored me. It’s just unfathomable. Was I not crazy about The Last Jedi? Sure. But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have good things in it, or that Rian Johnson isn’t a talented filmmaker, or that opinions aren’t subjective, and it most certainly doesn’t change that fact that it’s just a movie. These are just movies. And at the end of the day, good, bad, or otherwise, they shouldn’t be used as a front to belittle and harass others. What happened to Kelly Marie Tran (which is only one example) really broke my heart. I think that before any of us get excited about a new Star Wars film, we have to just work on being better people first. And that certainly doesn’t mean all of us. Those responsible know who they are. Then we can talk about what may or may not need fixing. That’s how we enjoy these things. So, am I excited for Episode IX? Yes. Who wouldn’t be? But more than anything, I’m interested to see if we can revitalize the joy in experiences such as these, and recognize that sometimes, a movie is just a movie. It’s the love for them (and one another) that makes them so special to us.
(I just realized I said practically nothing about the actual film itself. But I just really needed to get that all off my chest. Also, we know virtually nothing about IX right now. So boom. Also, it’s my blog and I make the rules here. So double boom.)
And that’s my list, be it ever so humble. See you guys next week.