15 films we can’t wait to see in 2019

Including new movies by Jordan Peele, James Gray, Joanna Hogg, the Safdie Brothers, Dee Rees, Rebecca Hall and Paul Verhoeven


Us

After the critically acclaimed, Oscar-winning phenomenon that was Get Out, expectations couldn’t be higher for Jordan Peele’s next thing – and since the trailer hadn’t dropped at press time, all we know is that the story involves a family’s beach-house getaway being interrupted by uninvited guests. Black Panther’s Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke co-star with Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker and Moonrise Kingdom’s Kara Hayward. But honestly, “Jordan Peele’s next thing” was all we needed. March 15 NW

It: Chapter Two

Andy Muschietti did a more than decent job directing the first part of this adaptation of Stephen King’s horror opus about seven losers battling a shape-shifting monster named Pennywise. The second part – filmed, like the first, in and around Toronto – will be more of a challenge, but it’s got plenty of star power, including Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and James McAvoy playing the adult counterparts to three of Chapter One’s teens. Word is Muschietti has dispensed with the book’s icky ending. If he gets the Chinese restaurant fortune cookie scene right, I’m in. September 6 GS

Uncut Gems

If you noticed the Safdie Brothers and The Weeknd liking each others’s pics on Instagram and wondered if they were collaborating – they are. The Toronto musician is appearing with Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel, Judd Hirsch and Trinidad James in this crime drama set in New York City’s diamond district. The auteur brothers have had this project on the back burner for years, and now that Good Time has raised their profile – Martin Scorsese signed on to exec-produce this one – it’s finally happening. Release TBA KR

Ad Astra

Robert Pattinson and Claire Denis won’t be the only arthouse duo launching into space in 2019. Their High Life, which played last TIFF, will be joined by James Gray’s Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt as an astronaut going interstellar to search for his father. Up until now, Gray’s films (which are getting a TIFF retrospective in January) have always been set in the past and characterized by beautiful visuals and classic storytelling. I can’t wait to see how he approaches the future. May 24 RS

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

For those of us who loved Maria Semple’s bestselling novel about a precocious girl named Bee trying to locate her missing neurotic architect mom, the news that Cate Blanchett was playing the title character and Richard Linklater was directing came as welcome news. Now that the trailer’s out, and though it seems like Blanchett’s drawing on the same nasally, privileged accent she used to win her second Oscar (for Blue Jasmine), the severe bob and oversized sunglasses are perfect. Seattle looks great, too. Here’s hoping Linklater gets the mystery plot and Antarctica scenes right. March 22 GS

The-Souvenir.jpg

Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Honor Swinton-Byrne (right) stars in Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir.

The Souvenir

A movie set to make a splash on the festival circuit early in the year is cult British director Joanna Hogg’s 80s-set drama, starring mother-daughter team Tilda Swinton and Honor Swinton-Byrne. The latter plays a film student who defies her mother’s advice and ends up in a emotionally tumultuous relationship with a man. A veteran TV director in the UK, Hogg segued to features in her late 40s, helming three excellent, formally impressive and increasingly experimental films: Unrelated (2007), Archipelago (2010) and Exhibition (2013). One of the most exciting voices in global independent cinema. Release TBA KR

Apollo 11

If First Man reignited your interest in the moon landing, Todd Douglas Miller’s IMAX documentary is here to help with that. Produced entirely out of archival material, including a cache of 70mm TODD-AO footage never before seen by the public – and which will look spectacular at the Cinesphere someday – Apollo 11 promises to bring mankind’s giant step onto the lunar surface in vivid detail. We’ll be keeping a hopeful eye on its Sundance premiere. Due in May NW

The Last Thing He Wanted

Between Pariah and Mudbound, Dee Rees leap-frogged from a filmmaker to watch to a force to be reckoned with. The latter period film, written with opposing points-of-views, created both a production and narrative challenge that the director handled exquisitely. She’s up for a whole new challenge adapting Joan Didion’s thriller about a 1984 Washington Post reporter (Anne Hathaway) leaving her job to replace her dying father as an arms dealer in Central America. As with Mudbound, Netflix is distributing. Due in May RS

Benedetta

You can say Paul Verhoeven’s movies are in bad taste. That much is written into the text in films like Basic Instinct, Showgirls and Elle, where sex, violence and genre make uncomfortable bedfellows, but there’s a rigorous intelligence in his work. The director’s latest adapts Judith C. Brown’s 1986 book Immodest Acts (the title screams Verhoeven), the history of 17th-century lesbian nun Benedetta Carlini. The film will have Verhoeven re-teaming with star Virginie Efira, who had a small, ambiguous and resounding role in Elle. Release TBA RS

Untitled Fox News movie

Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Kate McKinnon and Connie Britton starring in a big-budget, semi-fictionalized account of the sexual harassment allegations against now-dead Fox News media propagandist Roger Ailes? Yes, please. Anne Ramsay was born to play Greta Van Susteren. Release TBA KR

Under The Silver Lake

After the indie-cinema triumph of It Follows, writer/director David Robert Mitchell trades slow-burn horror for idiosyncratic mystery with this study of a Los Angeles layabout (Andrew Garfield) whose search for a vanished neighbour (Riley Keough) leads him into a mysterious world of conspiracy theorists, dead billionaires and cemetery sex parties. That is, if you can believe anything in the trailer. April 26 NW

The Good Liar

Writer/director Bill Condon’s spent a lot of time on big, empty Hollywood projects like Dreamgirls, the last two Twilight movies and the live-action Beauty And The Beast remake. His new film, based on the novel by Nicholas Searle, reunites him with frequent collaborator Ian McKellen in a drama about a con man becoming genuinely fond of the wealthy widow (Helen Mirren) on whom he’s set his sights. Will this plumb the emotional depths of McKellen and Condon’s first collaboration, Gods & Monsters, or be a mannered misfire along the lines of their already-forgotten Mr. Holmes? We’re hoping for the former, obviously. But we’ve been burned before. November 15 NW

Passing

I’m down for anything starring Ruth Negga (the Loving star also appears in Ad Astra). Passing casts Negga opposite Valkyrie herself, Tessa Thompson, in a period drama about performing race. Actor Rebecca Hall is making her directorial debut adapting Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel about two mixed-race women. One identifies as Black while the other, a tragic mulatto figure like Peola in Douglas Sirk’s Imitation Of Life, tries to pass for white. Release TBA RS

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

Gareth Edwards’s 2014 relaunch of the classic kaiju property played like a Steven Spielberg pop thriller infused with Terrence Malick’s sense of awe and rapture – and frustrated audience members who just wanted giant-monster smackdowns. The sequel, directed by Michael Dougherty (Trick ’R Treat, Krampus), promises that by the bucketload, pitting Big Green against new versions of Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidora while puny humans Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ziyi Zhang, Thomas Middleditch and Kyle Chandler run for cover alongside returning players Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe and David Strathairn. May 31 NW

John Wick 3: Parabellum

The John Wick franchise keeps plots simple and sexy while serving up eye-candy for movie nerds: a John Woo nod here, a Buster Keaton crash landing there. The last Wick left Keanu Reeves’s un-retired hit man on the run from an entire assassination nation, which sounds like too much to handle for anyone who cares about movies being plausible. May 17 RS

Leave your opinion for the editor...We read everything!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • This Week’s Issue