2019 is shaping up to be another huge year for movies. From huge blockbuster sequels and spin-offs, original sci-fi flicks, dramas, and horror, there’s something for everyone to be found at your local movie theater this year. Here’s a list of the movies that I’m most excited about.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – February 8th
The first Lego Movie, released back in 2014 (How has it been that long?!), was one of the biggest shockers in recent memory. It somehow turned what should’ve been a cheap cash-grab of a movie into something far more transcendent, smarter, and powerful than anyone could’ve predicted. Credit has to go to the wildly creative and daring duo of writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who are returning to the Lego franchise fresh off the heels of the critically acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The downright incredible animation style is back, and the sequel has added some new talents such as Margot Robbie, Stephanie Beatriz, and Tiffany Haddish. Everything is gonna be awesome again.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – February 22nd
Dreamworks’ underappreciated gem of a franchise, the How to Train Your Dragon series has consistently delivered gorgeous animation and a more epic, mature style of storytelling than the usual Dreamworks fluff. The Hidden World will be the final installment, and it looks to be a satisfying and emotional conclusion to Dreamworks’ best trilogy. Don’t sleep on this series.
Chaos Walking – March 1st
Chaos Walking is based off of a series of YA novels written by Patrick Ness. It hits some cliché YA beats, such as taking place in a dystopian world, but the rest is pretty high concept. All living creatures can hear each others’ thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise. It’d be worth seeing just to see how they pull something like that off, but it also has a good director at the helm, Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow), and a great cast that includes Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, and Mads Mikkelsen, among others. Hopefully the film has what it takes to breathe new life into the dying YA genre.
Captain Marvel – March 8th
The long, long overdue first woman-led film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel will finally hit the big screen this March. Academy Award winner Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers, a young woman who becomes one of the most powerful heroes in the universe when Earth is caught in the middle of an alien war. The 1990s setting will be a first for the MCU, as will Danvers’ powers, which are more Superman / Dragon Ball Z than the usually grounded powers of the other Avengers. Wonder Woman paved the way in 2017, but Captain Marvel is looking to usher in a whole new wave of heroism.
Us – March 15th
Writer, actor, producer, and director Jordan Peele kicked off his film career with a bang: Get Out was a phenomenon that swept award nominations and audiences continue to talk about today. Anticipation is high for his follow-up, and Us doesn’t look like it will disappoint. The terrifying trailer shows a family taking a vacation to the beach in hopes of enjoying time with some friends, but their joy quickly disappears when a group of strangers that look exactly like them begin to wreak havoc. It looks like to be just as cerebral as Get Out was, but possibly even more frightening.
The Beach Bum – March 22nd
Director Harmony Korine is known for his increasingly bizarre and often disturbing films such as Spring Breakers and Gummo, and due to his strange and appalling style, you either love him or hate him. The Beach Bum’s plot is vague – a rebellious stoner named Moondog lives life by his own rules. That’s it, but with Korine’s unique filmmaking and a cast that includes Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, Zac Efron, Martin Lawrence, and Matthew McConaughey as Moondog, it’s sure to be a weird time.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette – March 22nd
Richard Linklater makes some truly innovative and unique movies, including Boyhood, A Scanner Darkly, and School of Rock. His next film, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, based upon the novel of the same name by Maria Semple, is a bit scaled back. After her anxiety-ridden mother disappears, 15-year-old Bee Branch goes on a journey to find her, and in doing so discovers a lot about herself as well. This is yet another great cast – Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer, and Laurence Fishburne.
Captive State – March 29th
Captive State is a story told from two differing perspectives – the collaborators and the dissidents of a decade long extraterrestrial occupation. It stars Vera Farmiga, John Goodman, and Machine Gun Kelly, of all people. It’s also being made by Rupert Wyatt, the man behind the excellent Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I’m a sucker for a good alien invasion movie, and this sounds right up my alley.
Shazam! – April 5th
DC has been determined to make a comeback after losing in the superhero genre for so long, and they’re steadily making their way back up. Aquaman was bonkers, and Shazam! looks like it’ll be sticking with that sense of fun and wackiness. If you’re unfamiliar with the hero, Shazam is a 14-year-old kid who can turn into an adult superhero just by shouting out one magic word. It definitely looks to be the most friendly effort from DC thus far, but that’ll probably end up being a very positive thing. It’s nice to see DC heading in a more fun and loose direction.
Pet Sematary – April 5th
Thanks to the massive success of 2017’s It, as well as several other recent, quality adaptations of his work, Stephen King is currently back as a staple of pop culture. As a huge King fan, I’m not complaining, especially since all the most recent adaptations of his novels have been pretty great. Filmmakers seem to finally be understanding just what it is that makes King’s tales so terrifying, and this new version of the classic Pet Sematary looks extremely unsettling. Pet Sematary is much more of a slow burn compared to other King stories – a family moves to a rural home where they discover the Pet Sematary, a graveyard put together by kids who want to give their animals a final resting place. But things buried in the cemetery don’t always stay dead.
Avengers: Endgame – April 26th
After eleven years, more than twenty films, several television shows with multiple seasons, countless memorable characters, and a ludicrous amount of money, the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it is finally coming to an end. Endgame will be the culmination of a story that began way back in 2008 with the first Iron Man movie, and the result of years of work in building film’s first true shared movie universe. The survivors of last year’s Infinity War will have to suit up one last time to take down the mighty Thanos and hopefully put the universe back the way it was, but exactly how they’ll go about doing that is unknown. Endgame is sure to be an emotional and explosive conclusion to the MCU.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu – May 10th
It sucks that we got Ryan Reynolds instead of Danny DeVito, but Detective Pikachu still looks like a lot of fun. It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long for a live-action film adaptation of the Pokémon franchise. The movie looks playful and the Pokémon themselves translate pretty well to live-action, probably better than anyone imagined. Between Bumblebee, Shazam!, and now Detective Pikachu, it’s nice to see the sort of whimsical family films we grew up with back in style.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – May 17th
The John Wick series have really helped usher in a new age of action movies. The distinct style of the always impressive fight choreography is what audiences have come to expect, and John Wick always delivers. This looks like it may possibly be the final outing for Keanu Reeves as well, and he’s definitely gonna go out with a bang (or several).
Godzilla: King of the Monsters – May 31st
2014’s Godzilla reboot is a bit underrated. It’s a masterclass in monster movie film making, hiding the main event for most of the runtime and only giving small glimpses of the true scale and form of the beast. But when they finally give you Godzilla, they give you Godzilla. Love the movie or hate it, but it’s impossible to deny that the final act of Godzilla is an exciting and cheer-inducing spectacle of monster vs. monster action. If that first film didn’t give you enough though, King of the Monsters is sure to deliver. The sequel is tossing in several recognizable kaiju from the original series, and the destruction this time is on a massive, worldwide scale. It’s gonna be a wild time at the movies.
Spider-Man: Far From Home – July 5th
It’s nearly impossible to say what’s next for Tom Holland’s Peter Parker after the events of Infinity War, but fans are waiting with bated breath. Far From Home will see Peter and his high school friends traveling to Europe, but trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes, and the villain this time around is Mysterio, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. That’s pretty much all that we know so far, but be on the lookout for new Spidey suits, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury stopping by, and a possible romance between Peter and Zendaya’s Michelle. Far From Home will be the very first film post-Avengers: Endgame, making it the first entry in the MCU’s “Phase 4”. The universe is probably going to look and feel a lot different after whatever happens in Endgame, and being eased into it by your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is a great way to start anew.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – August 9th
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s first film since 2015’s The Hateful Eight, and possibly(?) his last. This is also Leonardo DiCaprio’s first film since his Oscar-winning role in The Revenant. Loosely based upon the Charles Manson murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is about a faded television star who, along with his stunt double, go on a journey to make a name for themselves in the film industry during the turbulent end of the 1960s. Tarantino has brought one his best casts onboard, which includes DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, and more.
It: Chapter Two – September 6th
Chapter Two takes place twenty-seven years after the events of the first film, and the Losers Club have all grown up and moved away from the town of Derry, taking most of their memories of that terrifying summer with them. Pennywise was never really defeated however, and the gang will have to reluctantly return to fulfill their blood oath to each other. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how director Andy Muschietti brings the frights this time around and how Pennywise can deliver them (adults have some very different fears from children), but It‘s second part is sure to find a way to reignite our constant fear of clowns, among other things. Thanks to the colossal success of the first film, Chapter Two has the luxury of a much larger budget, and a star-studded cast that includes James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader. Get ready to return to Derry one last time.
Joker – October 4th
The world is finally getting a solo Joker movie, and it’ll be interesting to see how the classic villain works without Batman around to be his foil. Joker will show how Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian, is driven insane and eventually becomes the psychopathic murderer that we know him to be. Joaquin Phoenix will be playing the titular role, and the early photos of him in character look fantastic. The cast also includes the legendary Robert De Niro and Atlanta / Deadpool 2 star Zazie Beetz. Todd Phillips, the man behind all of the Hangover movies is in the director’s chair, and hopefully he’ll be able to find a blend of both hilarity and terror.
Gemini Man – October 4th
Ang Lee has had an incredibly unique and always awe-inspiring career, making films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, and Life of Pi. He’s arguably one of the greatest filmmakers working today, and his next film, Gemini Man, sounds like a ton of fun. It’s an action, science fiction, and thriller movie all at once, about a hitman who’s well past his prime that is forced to face off against a younger clone of himself. It stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Will Smith, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong, and with all of them combined with Lee’s brilliant film making, it’s sure to be a hit.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – October 18th
Following up last year’s award-earning Can You Ever Forgive Me?, director Marielle Heller is creating a kind of biopic about the beloved Mr. Rogers. The fantastic Won’t You Be My Neighbor? documentary released last year was a great reminder of the wonderful life and lessons that Mr. Rogers had to offer us, and how much we need his kind of optimism, empathy, kindness, and decency in today’s times. He’ll be played by Tom Can-Do-No-Wrong Hanks, a perfect piece of casting as there has ever been. It’s sure to be a tearjerker, so get those tissues ready.
Knives Out – November 27th
Rian Johnson changed the world forever with 2016’s divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and he has plans to create his own, original trilogy set in that universe sometime soon. But before he returns to that galaxy far, far away, he’s returning to his indie filmmaking roots. Nothing is known about Knives Out except that it’s a modern murder mystery, and an absolutely phenomenal cast that just keeps growing. Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, Lakeith Stanfield, and more will all be making appearances, and with Johnson directing, writing, and producing this original piece of art, it just might be his best work yet.
Star Wars: Episode IX – December 20th
The end of 2019 will also signal the end of Star Wars as we know it. The Skywalker saga, which started all the way back in 1977, will be coming to a close, and who knows what that will look like. The Last Jedi left the Star Wars universe with endless freedom and possibilities for where it can go, and with the return of The Force Awakens‘s J.J. Abrams, it’s sure to be a grand and epic finale.