We’re reaching a new year and once again it’s time to make a list of my twenty-five most anticipated films coming up in 2019. The same thing every year I make this list, it should be noted that some films on here may have already been released stateside or hit the major film festivals in the UK in 2018, but due to it not getting their full cinematic releases (and 99% of the time it’s the only way I can get to see them locally) until 2019, it’ll be added on the list here. This list is my own preference and may vary from your own and so without further delay, here is my twenty-five most anticipated films of 2019.
25. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
Director: Rob Letterman
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe, Paul Kitson, Karan Soni, Omar Chaparro, Rita Ora, Bill Nighy, Suki Waterhouse and Chris Geere
Detective Pikachu sees Justice Smith playing Tim Goodman, whose searching for answers as his father, Detective Harry Goodman, goes mysterious missing. This leads him to encountering his father’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu, where they soon learn that they’re uniquely equipped to communicate with one another. The two partner up, hitting the streets of Rome City, chasing clues that leads them to uncovering a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe. There’s still a mega-fanbase in relation to Pokémon that were crying out for a live-action film adaptation of the popular brand, but the first one to be focused on Detective Pikachu did raise a few eyebrows. But after the first trailer in which we see how the Pokémon work in live-action, as well as Ryan Reynolds voicing Detective Pikachu, I’m definitely more intrigued to see how it will all work out as a feature film.
24. Alita: Battle Angel
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jacke Earle Harley, Keenan Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Lana Condor, Eiza González, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Leonard Wu and Marko Zaror
Alita: Battle Angel is the live-action adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga series titled Battle Angel Alita, which is set centuries in the future where Alita is found in a scrapyard of Iron City by a cyber-doctor named Ido. Alita awakens with no memory of who she is nor the world she finds herself in. Determined to uncover the truth behind her past with the help of street-smart new friend Hugo, Alita sets out on a journey that will lead her to take on the injustices of this dark, corrupt world. I initially had this film on my most anticipated films list last year when it was set for a summer release until 20th Century Fox moved to early February 2019 and we’ve had a few more trailers and footage to be seen and while I’m still looking forward to the film, there’s more films on the list I’m looking forward to this year.
Director: David F. Sandberg
Cast: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Faithe Herman, Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans and Djimon Hounsou
DC’s Shazam! marks the DC Comics character’s big screen outing in which we follow teenager Billy Baston, who meets with a wizard who happens to grant him the ability to change into the adult superhero Shazam! Now Billy must try to work what abilities he has and master them in order to fight the forces of evil led by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. What’s selling this film at the moment is promoting it as Big with superpowers and while we’ve had the San Diego Comic Con trailer, we’re still waiting on the promotion push from the studio leading up to April to increase the anticipation. But after the box office numbers Aquaman has been doing recently and the fact Zachary Levi feels like inspired casting as Shazam!, it’ll be interesting to see how this film fares for the DC films going forward.
22. Hobbs & Shaw
Director: David Leitch
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba, Eiza Gonzalez and Eddie Marsan
Hobbs & Shaw marks the first spinoff in Universal’s Fast & Furious franchise in which this will focus on the unlikely alliance between Dwayne Johnson’s US Diplomatic Security Agent Luke Hobbs and mercenary Deckard Shaw. The chemistry between these two was one of the highlights of The Fate of the Furious film and with them joining forces to take down villain Brixton, played by Idris Elba, whilst having David Leitch (whose directed John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2) to direct the action, you can’t help but be expected to see what high-octane is brought to the big screen this summer.
21. Green Book
Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Dimiter D. Marinov, Mike Hatton, Don Stark, Sebastian Maniscalco, P. J Byrne, Brian Stepanek, Iqbal Theba and Von Lewis
Green Book focuses on working-class Italian-American bouncer, Tony Lip, who becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist, Dr. Don Shirley, on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South. As the two clash over their attitudes to life and ideals, they find a newfound respect for each other as they witness and endure America’s appalling injustices on the road. The film is directed by one half of the Farrelly brothers, Peter Farrelly, who is more known for his comedic films and Green Book here has been gaining momentum in terms of being an awards contender this season for the Best Actor/Supporting Actor and Best Picture categories. I like the two leads involved, especially as Mahershala Ali has been killing it as of late, and I look forward to finally catching the film at the cinema at the end of January.
20. Toy Story 4
Director: Josh Cooley
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Blake Clark, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, Jodi Benson, Michael Keaton, Jeff Pidgeon, Kristen Schaal, Bonnie Hunt, Timothy Dalton, Jeff Garlin, Laurie Metcalf, Lori Alan and Tony Hale
Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called Forky to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy. Toy Story had the perfect trilogy of any film trilogy, let alone animated trilogy. Unfortunately, you can’t leave a good thing alone these days and this summer we see the return of Woody and company but in a new chapter without Andy and also the premise is not much to go on other than the addition of Forky. With the talent involved and going by the previous three instalments, I’m still looking forward to seeing what they bring to the big screen here.
Director: Karyn Kusama
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, Bradley Whitford, Jade Pettyjohn, Scoot McNairy, Toby Huss, Zach Villa, James Jordan and Beau Knapp
Destroyer follows the moral and existential odyssey of LAPD detective Erin Bell who, as a young cop, was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert with tragic results. When the leader of that gang re-emerges many years later, she must work her way back through the remaining members and into her own history with them to finally reckon with the demons that destroyed her past. Destroyer is a film that sees The Invitation trio, writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi and director Karyn Kusama, teaming up again to bring us this neo-noir crime thriller with Nicole Kidman as the lead that looks engaging, action packed and character driven.
18. Missing Link
Director: Chris Butler
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Zach Galifianakis, Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Timothy Olyphant, Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Ching Valdez-Aran and Amrita Acharia
Missing Link focuses on the charismatic Sir Lionel Frost, who considers himself to be the world’s foremost investigator of myths and monsters. The trouble for him is none of his peers seem to recognise this. Lionel makes a last chance effort for acceptance from his peers by travelling to America’s Pacific Northwest to provide the existence of a legendary creature, a living remnant of Man’s primitive ancestry…the Missing Link. This film is LAIKA’s stop-motion animation followup to the critically acclaimed Kubo and the Two Strings, with ParaNorman’s Chris Butler writing and directing here and with such a huge voice ensemble, I have high expectations for Missing Link.
17. Pet Sematary
Directors: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer
Cast: Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie and Obssa Ahmed
Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed, who, after relocating with his wife Rachel and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall, setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences. We’ve had a resurgence as of late for film adaptations of Stephen King novels and this will mark the second adaptation of Pet Sematary, originally brought to the big screen back in 1989. The trailer for the film gives the right amount of creepy vibes without giving much away and it’ll be interesting to see how Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer direct the film.
16. Dragged Across Concrete
Director: S. Craig Zahler
Cast: Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Tory Kittles, Michael Jai White, Laurie Holden, Jennifer Carpenter, Fred Melamed, Don Johnson, Tattiawna Jones, Udo Kier, Thomas Kretschmann and Myles Truitt
Two policemen, one an old-timer, the other his volatile younger partner, find themselves suspended when a video of their strong-arm tactics become the media’s cause du jour. Low on cash and with no other options, these two embittered soldiers descend into the criminal underworld to gain their just due, but instead find far more than they wanted awaiting them in the shadows. S. Craig Zahler’s profile has increased in recent years with his directorial features Bone Tomahawk and Brawl In Cell Block 99 and you would expect with Dragged Across Concrete’s premise, we should be gaining an explosive conclusion much like his previous films. Just patiently waiting for some footage to job, hopefully early in the new year.
Director: Jonah Hill
Cast: Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, Lucas Hedges, Gio Galicia, Na-kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Ryder McLaughlin and Alexa Demie
Mid90s focuses on Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 1990s-era Los Angeles who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop. This film marks the directorial feature debut from Jonah Hill, who also wrote the script and from the trailer it has this authentic feel to the 90’s, from the outfits, right down to the handheld camera quality shots in the skateboarding sequences. It’s been well received critically and I look forward to seeing what Jonah Hill can do behind the camera.
Director: David Yarovesky
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner, Steve Agee, Becky Wahlstrom and Stephen Blackehart
Brightburn focuses on a couple who adopts a baby that came from the stars. While they attempt to raise the boy to use his powers for good, an evil begins to grow from inside that he unleashes. A film that essentially takes Superman’s origins and spins it into a superhero horror film? Sign me up!
13. Beautiful Boy
Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Cast: Steve Carrell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan, Kaitlyn Dever, Andre Royo, Timothy Hutton, LisaGay Hamilton and Amy Forsyth
Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years. There’s some true stories that impact you with a big screen adaptation and judging by the trailers for this film, it looks set to hit you on a emotional level as Carrell and Chalamet have been knocking it out of the park as of late.
12. Knives Out
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Jaeden Lieberher, Katherine Langford, Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, Raúl Castillo and Noah Segan
Rian Johnson returns in 2019 to life after The Last Jedi with a murder mystery film he also wrote with a massive ensemble cast listed above. No matter everyone’s views are on The Last Jedi, for me Johnson is a great writer/director when doing his own original material, with his previous films Brick and Looper being perfect showcases of that, so this is the reason why I’m looking forward to Knives Out so much.
11. The Lion King
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, John Kani, John Oliver, Alfre Woodard, Florence Kasumba, Eric Andre and Keegan-Michael Key
Disney this year are bringing back a reimagining of their animated classic The Lion King, once again focusing on Simba who idolises his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother and former heir to the throne, has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. While I see peoples issue with the teaser trailer being too much of a shot-for-shot likeness to the original animated film, I have a feeling with Jon Favreau and the Jungle Book remake team that developed this new adaptation, I’m sure there’ll be some new sequences thrown in to keep it fresh and a worthwhile trip to the cinema. Besides the special effects look incredible so far.
10. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Director: Michael Dougherty
Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Ken Watanabe, Aisha Hinds, Anthony Ramos, Charles Dance, Sally Hawkins, Thomas Middleditch, Bradley Whitford and Zhang Ziyi
Godzilla: King of the Monsters follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance. While the biggest complaint of Gareth Edwards’s 2014 Godzilla was that there was barely Godzilla/monster action on display, it looks like Warner Bros. have decided to go all out in the sequel, brining in the likes of Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah to the fold before we get the super fight between Godzilla and Kong the following summer. While most of us (me included) are in for the monster action, there’s some ensemble brought together here with Millie Bobby Brown making her transition to the big screen and having Kyle Chandler included is always a plus for me.
09. The Favourite
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss, James Smith and Jenny Rainsford
In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Lanthimos has a particular style of filmmaking and selection of films that might not be to everyone’s tastes (see previous efforts The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer) but this looks to be right up my street, especially with its leads Colman, Stone and Weisz.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, Anya-Taylor Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark and Charlayne Woodard
Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men. We’ve come along way with M. Night Shyamalan. From exploding to the scene with The Sixth Sense and following it up with Unbreakable in 2000, the sky was the limit for the director and then, slowly but surely, his star started to dwindle with each passing film until he became the punchline for the odd joke here and there (particularly South Park). Now after The Visit and Split, we’re seeing the comeback of M. Night as he builds his ‘realistic’ superhero universe as we see the return of Kevin Dunn and Elijah Price to the big screen alongside Split’s Kevin Wendell Crumb. I’m hoping that the Bruce Willis of old (the actor that actually cares and it shows in the performance) turns up here alongside Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah and I’m sure James McAvoy will be his ever reliable self.
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Dante Pereira-Olson, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Shea Whigham and Bryan Callen
In 1981, a failed stand-up comedian disregarded by the society that he lives in turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City. A low budget, character study of one of the greatest villains, on the big screen that’s set to draw inspiration from Scorsese’s earlier works (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy) as well as Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke? On paper it sounds intriguing, but it also helps that the casting adds some gravitas to the project, especially having Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role. The look of the Joker looks intriguing and I’m excited to see how this ‘one-off’ tale will fare with a larger audience. Looking forward to seeing an official trailer in the new year.
06. It: Chapter Two
Director: Andy Muschietti
Cast: Bill Skarsgård, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Jay Ryan, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Teach Grant, Jess Weixler, Will Beinbrink, Xaiver Dolan, Taylor Frey and Jackson Robert Scott
Twenty-seven years after the horrific events of the summer of 1989, It (Bill Skarsgård) returns. The Losers’ Club fulfill their promises and return to Derry to put an end to the shape-shifting beast once and for all. I remember being skeptical about an It remake back in the day and whenever the first image of Pennywise the Clown was released, I wasn’t a fan of it. Then the trailers dropped and I was more onside with what they were going for to the point I was thoroughly impressed with the film overall upon release. Now we’re back for Chapter Two with an older ensemble that includes some more impressive names such as McAvoy, Chastain and Hader, whilst seeing which will get to impress out of the ensemble (hopefully Mustafa considering the work his character gets to do in the novel) and also how they’ll use the younger cast from Chapter One here. It also helps that they’re keeping Bill Skarsgård involved as Pennywise.
05. Avengers: Endgame
Directors: The Russo Brothers
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Benedict Wong, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Pom Klementieff, Anthony Mackie, Tom Holland, Benicio del Toro, Danai Gurira, Don Cheadle, Letitia Wright, Idris Elba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Winston Duke, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Evangeline Lilly, Jon Favreau, Brie Larson, Hiroyuki Sanada and Katherine Langford
Avengers: Infinity War focused on the Avengers and their allies facing the biggest threat in the universe: Thanos. The Mad Titan’s goal was to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality….wiping out half of the universe. Everything that the Avengers and the Guardians have fought for has led up to this moment, where the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain. While the plot is being kept under wraps and the first trailer was revealed recently, we’re still unsure how the original Avengers team will get to unsnap the universe, be it time travel through the Quantum Realm or by other means, it’ll be interesting to see how Marvel Studios will conclude this particular decade of films with Endgame.
04. John Wick: Chapter 3
Director: Chad Stahelski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Mark Dacascos, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Asia Kate Dillon, Anjelica Huston, Robin Lord Taylor, Jason Mantzoukas, Arjon Bashiri, Saïd Taghmaoui, Yayan Ruhian, Cecep Arif Rahman, Tiger Hu Chen, Boban Marjanović, Vladimir Mihailov, Vlado Mihailov, Danish Bhatt and Candace M. Smith
John Wick is still on the run following his assassination of a member of the High Table in The Continental, and with a $14 million global contract out on himself. Banned from every Continental service, John’s objective is to fight his way out of New York City. John Wick: Parabellum is a film I’m extremely looking forward to as Keanu Reeves is back to kick some ass and take some names and the list of actors assigned to play assassins hunting Wick done alone is why I’m attending opening night for the film. While I wasn’t as big a fan of the sequel as the original, it still left us with a great premise for Parabellum and that’s why I’m looking forward to it.
03. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Damian Lewis, Luke Perry, Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning, Clifton Collins Jr., Nicholas Hammond, Al Pacino, Scoot McNairy, Spencer Garrett, Mike Moh, Keith Jefferson, Eddie Perez, Maurice Compte, Lew Temple, Lena Dunham, Austin Butler, Maya Hawke, Lorenza Izzo, Rafal Zawierucha, Samantha Robinson, Damon Herriman, Rumer Willis, Dreama Walker, Costa Ronin, Margaret Qualley, Victoria Pedretti, Madisen Beaty, Zoë Bell and Bruce Dern
In 1969 Los Angeles, around the time of the Charles Manson murders, a TV actor and his stunt double embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry. A film that by its premise, sounds like it’s Quentin Tarantino’s Summer of Sam in how it’s about a bunch of characters with the murders being a sub-plot in the background, the fact it’s a Tarantino film with a who’s who ensemble that not everyone fitted into the cast list above (the likes of Kurt Russell and Timothy Olyphant have undisclosed roles), there’s high expectations all round for this project and the sooner we get some footage the better.
02. If Beale Street Could Talk
Director: Barry Jenkins
Cast: Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Teyonah Parris, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Brian Tyree Henry, Dave Franco, Ed Skrein, Michael Beach, Finn Wittrock, Aunjanue Ellis, Diego Luna, Pedro Pascal and Emily Rios
If Beale Street Could Talk is told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions–affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realised that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche. A film that’s already released in the US and one that’s gaining momentum this awards season, Barry Jenkins followup to Moonlight is one of the films I’m looking forward to the must in the new year.
Director: Jordan Peele
Cast: Lupita N’yongo, Elisabeth Moss, Winston Duke, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Madison Curry, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon and Duke Nicholson
Us is set in the present day and follows Adelaide and Gabe Wilson as they take their kids to Adelaide’s old childhood beachside home in Northern California for the summer. After a day at the beach with the Tyler family, Adelaide — who’s haunted by a lingering trauma from her past — becomes increasingly more paranoid that something bad will happen to her family. As night falls, the Wilsons see four figures holding hands and standing silently at the bottom of their driveway. I thought Jordan Peele’s directorial feature debut Get Out was a great film and with the official trailer for Us dropping on Christmas Day, it’s more than I need going into the film as I try to figure out at the cinema what it all means. Is the identical family that of cloning? Or is this looking to dive in more thematically about mental health? Who knows until the film comes out but with Peele at the helm and N’yongo and Duke as the co-leads, I’m excited to see what is brought to the big screen
So what film are you most excited to see in 2019? Click on the poll below or comment in the comments section incase the film you’re looking to isn’t on the list.