2019 has been a fantastic year for film, whether it be from legendary and acclaimed filmmakers or very promising up and comers, there have been a lot of great movies and I’m now here to acknowledge my 30 favourites of last year.
Now to preface this list, I haven’t gotten around to watching every film single movie from 2019, however I think I watched the movies that would likely end up in my top 30 favourites of the year. As of right now, I’ve seen 94 movies from 2019, and I’m satisfied with the movies that I chose to watch.
Also, if I have made a very positive review of a particular movie from 2019 and it’s not here, it didn’t make the cut, whether it was never in that position to begin with or if my opinion on it significantly dropped between then and now.
While I’m not going to go into too much depth with them, there are some movies that missed out on being in the top 30 which I think deserve being mentioned at least.
Dolemite is My Name
Light of My Life
Without further ado, here’s my full list.
30. Pain and Glory
Pain and Glory is an emotional, and intimate movie that has been growing on me the more I’ve thought about it, and I actually want to watch it again sometime in the future. The first half was decent, with the first act in particular being a little too slow for my liking, and I didn’t really know what the movie was really moving towards. However by the time it gets to the second half, it really picked up and comes together, becoming something great. The story is very self reflective and melancholic, it felt really personal and special. The cast are all good but it’s of course Antonio Banderas who shines the most, a truly emotional performance, played absolutely perfectly. Pedro Almodovar also directed this really well, and he’s definitely a filmmaker whose other work I definitely want to check out now. Pain and Glory is well worth seeing if you haven’t watched it already.
Avengers: Endgame is one of only two comic book movies which will be making an appearance on this list. Even though I was absolutely loving it when I first saw it, it’s pretty clear now that a lot of my hype played a huge part in my enjoyment. No it’s not a 10/10, no I’m not quite sure I’d still go so far as to say it’s one of the best comic book movies of all time, and yes there’s a bunch of issues that I could list. But even after re-watching it, it’s still quite impressive how well they ended this 11 year-long movie arc, I think they mostly pulled it off. Giving this movie a 3 hour long runtime really helped it quite a lot, particularly for the main characters, and it really does feel like an epic conclusion to this storyline. It does get very fan servicey, but with this essentially being a giant conclusion, it’s expected, so that didn’t bother me too much. Endgame is entertaining, and most of the handling of the characters was good. There are some issues I had with the story for sure, from some plot decisions I wasn’t quite a fan of, and moments that could’ve been handled better. However I just can’t deny that I still think this movie is quite good, flaws and all.
High Life is… a very weird movie, it’s still strange even just thinking back on it, and that makes it a very hard movie to recommend. However it does so many things that I just admire, that I can’t help but put it on this list. There’re so many weird and interesting ideas that this movie has, I didn’t fully grasp a lot of what the movie was trying to say, but I was more than willing to be on this bizarre ride. You really felt the runtime with the slow burn pacing throughout, but didn’t take away from my immersion of the movie too much. Claire Denis’s direction is amazing, it’s such a stunning movie, and effectively eerie and full of dread throughout. The cast also all perform well, with Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth, and more. While I’m not confident that I can say that I loved High Life, there’s a lot of great things in there, and it made me curious to see Denis’s other movies.
As this is a Best Films of the year list, I’ll get this out of the way quickly: yes my love for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood have decreased immensely, and to get an idea of how much, it went from my third favourite to my second least favourite film of Quentin Tarantino. Even though I didn’t feel the magic that I experienced when I first saw it though, that doesn’t mean there’s a lot here that isn’t still great. Tarantino’s love for cinema is on display from to start to finish, and he really put everything together well. His direction is excellent, bringing late 60s Hollywood bacl onto the big screen. His writing is strong, the characters memorable, and the dialogue great as usual. The tribute to Sharon Tate was beautiful, and gave her the happy ending in the movies that she sadly didn’t get in real life. Topping that off is a stellar cast, led by two great leads in Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Even though I couldn’t really get into the movie on the second viewing, there’s at least a lot in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that I really admire and worth praising.
One of the most surprising movies to come from 2019, darkly hilarious, disturbing, and entertaining all at once. The satire and commentary on the likes of toxic and hyper masculinity is for sure ham fisted and over the top, but it works for its intentionally ridiculous style and story. Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots are great in their roles, but it’s Alessandro Nivola who steals the whole movie in one of the best supporting performances of the year. Not many people have seen The Art of Self-Defense yet, so definitely get around to it, particularly if you’re a fan of dark comedy.
After Bohemian Rhapsody, one could be excused for not expecting much from Rocketman as far as music biopics go, but it actually turned out to be the anthesis of the former. It was basically as perfect as an Elton John biopic as you could possibly get. Sidestepping the typical biopic tropes, it’s unconventional, uncensored and unsensitized, and it really was a fantastical musical, with Elton’s music used excellently throughout the film. At the centre of it all is Taron Egerton, who completely embodies Elton John, not just with the singing and performing, but also with the spirit and character of the music icon. Rocketman was visually stunning and entertaining throughout, one of the stand out cinematic experiences I had from the past year.
Before watching Motherless Brooklyn, I wasn’t expecting to like it so much despite the talent involved (mostly due to the initial reactions), but I was actually surprised by it. The script may be a bit bloated and messy in parts, and it could get a little side-tracked at points, but on the whole, I was really into this movie. It’s a very solid neo-noir, with an intriguing central mystery that I was invested in throughout. Edward Norton’s direction embraced all the noire elements, and while for some that might be a little overbearing and trying way too hard, it personally got me more into the atmosphere and the overall story. Making the movie even better was the great cast with the likes of Norton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe and more, all performing excellently in their roles. I’d say that Motherless Brooklyn it’s worth giving a watch whenever you get the chance to see it.
One of the more controversial movies on this list, S. Craig Zahler’s Dragged Across Concrete is a dark and gritty crime drama that I rather admired. The script creates an effectively unpleasant and bleak world, with deliberately flawed and unlikable characters, and while that will turn plenty of people off, I still liked it for that. It was such a well-crafted and put together movie, with a very effective final act to cap it all off. It’s directed excellently, and the lead performers in Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn play their roles very well. Dragged Across Concrete does have its issues, it is a little too long, and while I think most of the slow burn works for this film, the pacing at certain points is a little too slow for its own good. It’s not for everyone, but I think it’s really good.
Terrence Malick’s latest film is amongst his best work in his filmography. Although like with many of his other movies, it felt drawn out at points and indeed it’s a very long film, it didn’t take away too much from how incredibly well made it is. It’s an incredibly breathtaking and stunning film, so amazing to watch. However it’s not just great because Malick directed the movie well, that’s to be expected, the story itself was also good. The more straightforward narrative worked, with an emotional backbone that I don’t even remember seeing in Malick’s other movies, not for a while at least. Add on top of that two very great performances in August Diehl and Valerie Pachner, and you have an all around incredible film.
Mister Rogers (Tom Hanks) meets journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) in TriStar Pictures’ A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
What could’ve been just a standard Fred Rogers biopic turned out to be a genuinely heartfelt and touching movie. A story about love and forgiveness that deals with its topics with maturity (much like a Mr Rogers episode), it’s actually quite compelling and can speak to everyone, whether or not you’re familiar with Rogers. Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys deliver on some great performances, with Hanks completely embodying the character and spirit of Fred Rogers and Rhys also giving a believable and emotional lead performance. Marielle Heller also directs it quite well, with some particular creative choices that help this movie stand out as being more than just a run of the mill biopic. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a lot more than it initially appears to be, definitely a movie that everyone should see.
It’s a real credit to James Mangold that he managed to make a movie about racing to be entertaining and endearing to all, even those who weren’t interested in the subject matter. It may at first seem like a conventional sporting biopic, but it managed to have you engaged in the story and characters, and isn’t only just built on the racing scenes, even though those are great too. The cast all work together, with Christian Bale giving particularly fantastic performance. It’s directed by Mangold immensely well, with the racing scenes being particularly tense, gripping and really well filmed. If you haven’t seen Ford v Ferrari because you don’t think you’d be into it, don’t let that stop you from checking it out, give it a chance.
John Wick Chapter 3 is at least on the level of its predecessor, a fast paced action flick that’s entertaining from start to finish. The world and lore of the John Wick series is expanded further, and there’s a sense of urgency throughout as Wick is constantly on the run, not giving him or the audience too much time to breathe. The action is as usual filmed fantastically, with multiple exciting and entertaining setups and scenarios. Keanu Reeves as usual shines in the best role of his career, great on an action level as well as a performance level. As far as criticisms go, I guess at times the action can get overwhelming and borderline tiresome at points, however I see that not becoming too much of a problem on repeat viewings. I can’t wait to see the John Wick series progress even further, these three movies are already one of the best action trilogies of all time.
Much has already been said about Sam Mendes’s war movie, and I’d say that it generally deserves a lot of its wide praise. On a technical level it is masterful, the method of shooting the movie to look like it was filmed in one shot paid off and wasn’t used as just a gimmick, it immerses you and puts you through the horrors of war that its main characters are experiencing too. Even though its lacking on a story and characterisation front, George MacKay’s lead performance manages to make up for a lot of that, and the payoff at the end is genuinely fantastic. While time will tell whether the movie will hold up past this year, it’s still a technical achievement on a massive level.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco unfortunately didn’t get quite the amount of attention that it deserved. It’s a personal, affecting and melancholic story, that’s greatly written and felt very real. While its plot wasn’t driven by anything and it meanders a little, I was invested throughout it’s runtime. The two main performances from Jimmie Fails and Jonathan Majors were great, some of the most believable on screen friend chemistry I’ve seen in a while in a movie. On top of all that it was directed incredibly (in an amazing debut from Joe Talbot), particularly featuring some of the best cinematography and music in a 2019 film. Definitely watch this whenever you get the chance to, it needs a lot more love and attention.
Joker has caused quite the stir upon its release, not only from people believing that it would spark real life violence (it really just made some people dress up as clowns and dance down some stairs), but also from people who really hated on the movie itself. While I don’t love it as much as when I first saw it in cinemas, I still think it’s great. Joker is very different for a comic book movie, a dark and grounded character study that’s reminiscent of movies from the 80s from the likes of filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese. It seems like this movie was a bit of an experiment to try something new within this genre, and it seemed to have paid off quite well. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of movies that handle its topics and themes in more depth, however for a comic book movie to go there and actually try to say something, that’s still a step forward for the genre. Writer and director Todd Phillips has done a lot better with this than I thought he would, not that I disliked the couple of movies I’ve seen from him already, but he really impressed here with his work on Joker. It completely sets you in this dark and grimy version of 80s Gotham City, with stunning cinematography and an eerie and excellent score throughout. However at the centre of it all is Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck/Joker, who’s excellent, thankfully so since this movie relies on him so much. Phoenix really show’s Arthur’s descent into becoming the Joker, and it’s really a performance like you haven’t seen him give before. While I’m not quite sure I’d say that it’s his best performance, at the very least it’s one of his best. One could say that this movie could’ve done without being associated with a comic book character such as Joker, and that’s true, I still like what they did here. While the similarities between this movie and classics like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy don’t bother me too much, it would’ve been better if it was able to be a little more different. On the whole though, I still think that Joker is a very solid movie.
Mark Ruffalo stars as “Robert Bilott” in director Todd Haynes’ DARK WATERS, a Focus Features release. Credit : Mary Cybulski / Focus Features
Dark Waters wasn’t a movie I was expecting much from, but it actually turned out to be pretty great. While it is a pretty familiar and conventional legal drama, it’s nonetheless very good for what it is. Once the lead character is engaged with the lawsuit at the centre of the movie, you’re locked in too, all the way through to the end. This story and topic are very important and relevant, making it worth seeing, but it’s also handled very well as a movie in itself. The acting was also great, with Mark Ruffalo being particularly strong in the lead role. Engaging, important, and well made all round, Dark Waters is definitely worth your time.
Despite Unbreakable’s now cult following and Split’s generally positive reception, people seem a little divided about Glass. I was one of the few people who loved the movie from when I first saw it, and I still really like it today. Sure it has its typical M. Night Shyamalan-isms, mainly with the writing and especially some of the dialogue where it just feels very unnatural. However, I thought the movie was handled well on the whole, and I was generally fine with the direction it went in with the story. Some people were expecting a much larger scale movie with a big conclusion to this story, but I loved that Shyamalan still kept it as a smaller movie at its core. The performances are all great, from Bruce Willis, Samuel. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, to Anya Taylor-Joy and more. However it is James McAvoy who shined the most, managing to top his performance in Split, he’s truly spectacular. Glass ranks among M. Night Shyamalan’s best films.
The Safdie Brothers have created another effective thriller with Uncut Gems. It’s full of energy from start to finish, and the tension escalates further as the lead character Howard Ratner just keeps making bad decisions, landing him into more threatening situations. On a technical level it’s also great, with the Safdies managing to top their work on Good Time on a directing level. The acting from everyone is really good but it’s of course Adam Sandler who really stands out in a career best performance, as a character that only an actor like him would be able to make him bearable and somewhat likable. I think I’ll have to watch this movie again, and it has a second act that slows its pace down a little too much, but on the whole Uncut Gems is great.
Honey Boy is an incredibly raw and personal film, and really a standout from 2019. Shia LaBeouf’s very vulnerable and therapeutic script just worked perfectly, and it’s an intimate and affecting story. Alma Har’el’s debut immediately shows her as a director to pay attention to, beautifully dreamlike, even in contrast with many of the harrowing scenes. It also features 3 excellent performances in Noah Jupe, Lucas Hedges, and Shia LaBeouf, with Jupe and LaBeouf’s particularly delivering some of the most emotionally performed scenes from 2019. I do think that it really needed to be a little longer to flesh out certain aspects, especially for the present day storyline, that’s the only thing that I really had a problem with. Outside of that, Honey Boy is fantastically made, heartfelt, and emotional and by the end, cathartic.
A movie based off the sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining doesn’t sound all that great, in fact it sounds like it could be a disaster. But Mike Flanagan and co. have managed to handle this movie significantly well, way better than I thought they would. The recently released 3 hour long director’s cut is even a little better than the theatrical, with some additional scenes fleshing out the movie just a little more. The cast are great, from Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance, to Kyleigh Curran who holds her own as Abra Stone. But it’s of course Rebecca Ferguson who steals the movie as Rose the Hat, who’ll no doubt go down as one of the most iconic horror movie villains. While Doctor Sleep is a follow up to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and indeed references it many times (mostly in the last act), it manages to stand on its own. Flanagan adds his own unique voice and style to the story, and has delivered on something truly great. It’s captivating, character driven, and really works at bridging the gap between the book and the movie. I think in some years it’ll be regarded as one of the best movies based on Stephen King’s books.
Waves turned out to be quite the polarising movie amongst audiences. The two part structure (one part chaotic and intense, and the other much more calm and slower), and aspects of the direction which could be sensory overload at times, were things that you either loved or hated, thankfully I gravitated more to the former. It’s an incredibly emotionally powerful movie, featuring some of the most affecting scenes of the year. The performances were excellent too, with the likes of Kelvin Harrison Jr., Taylor Russell, Sterling K. Brown and more delivering on some incredibly acting. Trey Edward Shults’s writing and directing didn’t work for everyone, but I thought that he crafted an impactful, gorgeous and ultimately great film with Waves, and I’m glad to count myself as one of the people who loved it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect Portrait of a Lady on Fire to be, and it was a beautiful and intimate film so excellently put together. The acting from the two leads Noemie Merlant and Adele Haenel were great, their interactions drive the movie and their chemistry was completely believable. Portrait is also one of the best directed movies of 2019, it’s a gorgeous looking movie and handled with such care, perfect on a technical level. It’s a movie I definitely want to revisit in the future, I get the feeling that I haven’t had quite the full experience with that some others had. However, I can tell that it was something really special.
Noah Baumbach’s empathetic movie about divorce has cemented itself firmly as the best movie about the topic. So much of the film’s success is due to its writing, which was fantastic. While the movie at first looks like another typical movie about divorce, there’s some real honesty behind it all. It’s not just an emotional slog and just people arguing for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Instead we are following the main characters as they go through this process of divorce, filled with light hearted moments, sad moments, painful conflict, and a satisfying yet bittersweet conclusion at the end of it all. There are some parts that aren’t so perfect, it very strongly feels like Charlie’s (Adam Driver) film a lot more than Nicole’s (Scarlett Johansson), and I wasn’t emotionally invested in these story and characters as much as I thought I would be, even though I was engaged with what was going on, but even then the complaints aren’t so huge. The cast are all around great but of course the highlights were Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, who give incredibly performances. They felt so believable and natural, some of the best performances of the year for sure. Definitely check out Marriage Story when you can, it is well worth your attention.
Knives Out proved to be one of the most entertaining and surprising movies of the year. Rian Johnson’s shown once again that he’s one of the most exciting talents working today. While his direction is superb, it’s his script that particularly shines, smart, subversive, hilarious, and with many twists and turns that keep you entertained throughout. There’s also an ensemble all star cast who perform their roles excellently, with Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, and Chris Evans really excelling in particular. This is an original whodunit that we don’t get nowadays (at least not one that’s not based on source material), and I hope we get a resurgence of these types of movies. I’m glad to be hearing that there’s plans for sequels following Craig’s Benoit Blanc, because I’m looking forward to seeing what Johnson does next with this genre.
I really wasn’t expecting much from Little Women, but I ended up really loving it. A heartfelt and genuine movie about growing up, Greta Gerwig has crafted a modern version of the classic story for today’s audiences to love. What could’ve just been a stale and by the numbers movie, she gave so much heart, personality, life and energy that makes it delightful to watch from start to finish. While I’m aware that some people are mixed on this aspect, I loved the use of the non-linear structure with two different storylines, and the way it cut between the two was fantastic. The ensemble cast were all great as their characters, with Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh particularly standing out. Many people have already started calling this a future classic, and I don’t really disagree with that. I can honestly see myself revisiting this multiple times in the future. The more I think about it, the more I love it.
While this movie isn’t really for everyone, certainly a lot slower than most people were expecting, I really loved Ad Astra. Despite being on a such a large scale, it feels incredibly intimate, absolutely a character driven movie throughout. It is indeed a slow movie, but I found myself incredibly wrapped up with the plot over the 2 hour runtime. With themes about masculinity, fathers and sons, and moving on, the story is written and told beautifully by James Gray. His direction is outstanding and presents an immensely stunning and immersive movie, with sequences ranging from absolute beauty and wonder to tense fear and horror. Outside of the direction, this movie is really Brad Pitt’s show, giving one of the best performances of his career, subtle yet beyond emotional and powerful. Haunting and very personal, Ad Astra was truly transcendent, and one of the highlight cinema experiences I’ve had this past year.
One of the most controversial and divisive movies of the year is also one of my favourites. Jennifer Kent had already impressed me with The Babadook, which I consider one of the best horror movies in recent years, but she is somehow on a whole other level with The Nightingale. Brutal, harrowing, and uncompromising, it is so well put together. Its widely criticised on screen acts of violence are painful to watch, but necessary. Starting off seemingly as a rape revenge movie, this film could’ve easily fallen over to being exploitive or a revenge fantasy. But Kent keeps the focus steady, never glorifying any action taken, while adding the right level of depth and empathy to the story and characters. The acting was fantastic too, with Aisling Franciosi, Baykali Ganabarr, and Sam Claflin giving some of the best performances of the year. Franciosi is particularly outstanding, and if this movie had any awards attention, she would be deservedly one of the frontrunners for Best Actress (she’s my personal pick for that category anyways). The Nightingale isn’t for everyone, and I can’t blame you if you can’t sit through it, it’s personally not one that I’d watch again. However, I can’t deny how much of a powerful impact it had on me, and has still stuck with me ever since I saw it.
Robert Eggers’s sophomore film is just as fantastic as his debut film The Witch. With a dark atmosphere throughout, it starts off relatively tame, and slowly becomes more unhinged over time, culminating in a effectively unforgettable third act. It’s hard to pin down this movie to being a single genre, it’s original, bizarre, creepy, funny, horrifying, and one of the most memorable movies of the year. Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe gives some of the best performances of their careers (career best in Pattinson’s case), both as two people slowly growing insane together. There’s also glimpses of some interesting depth to this movie, that I’m looking forward to exploring upon some rewatches. With his two movies, Eggers has made himself known as one of the most unique and exciting up and coming filmmakers to really pay attention to, and he’s easily becoming one of my favourites.
Bong Joon-ho’s latest has been receiving acclaim from audiences everywhere and for very good reason. A perfect mix of comedy, thriller, and horror elements, Parasite is one of those movies that’s ‘overwhelming well made’. A Hitchcockian thriller about class divide, capitalism, and the like, Bong has written and directed this so incredibly, and it’s got to be one of the best crafted movies I’ve seen all year. I was already loving it for the first half, but the second half cemented it as not only one of my favourite films of the year, but of the decade. The ensemble cast should also receive plenty of praise for their great performances too, each of them played their roles perfectly. Parasite is one of those movies where not only is the movie itself entertaining, but witnessing the excellent filmmaking was also entertainment. Bong is a master of his craft, and has made something special. If you haven’t seen it yet, go into it knowing as little as possible. To talk in further depth about how great it is would be to ruin the surprise for those who haven’t seen it. I can say that Parasite is truly an extraordinary piece of filmmaking.
Martin Scorsese is very likely my favourite director, and with the cast, the premise, and this film being over a decade in the making, I couldn’t wait to see what he had in store. Even with extremely high expectations, I was truly blown away by what he’s delivered. While Scorsese has made mob movies before, he’s never made one like this. Gone are the excess, thrills, and luxury, and instead we are seeing this storying from the perspective of a dying man with many regrets that he can’t make right. While it starts off like a typical gangster movie, after the first act it turns into something else entirely. It’s written excellently, ranging from being genuinely entertaining and even funny, to sombre, reflective, and melancholic. Scorsese’s skill as a filmmaker are on full display here, over 5 decades of experience have led up to this movie. Don’t let the runtime scare you, this is likely the most invested you’ll be watching a 3.5 hour long movie. Even the daunting task of de-aging the main actors was pulled off mostly successfully (outside of one particular scene with questionable directing choices). The acting is effective too, from the quiet but powerful and dangerous Joe Pesci, to the explosive and wild yet emotional Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa, to then of course Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran the titular character, the latter of whom gives a stoic and subtle, yet greatly heartbreaking performance. The Irishman is one of the best from Martin Scorsese’s career, and it’s potentially his best film yet.
This shall be the second year that I’ll be ranking the Best Picture Nominees for the Academy Awards. While I’m not as emotionally invested in Awards Season as a bunch of other people are (way too invested I should add), I’m still nonetheless paying attention to what’s going on with it.
Considering the disappointing awards (even just for the nominations) last year, this year’s line-up is a considerable improvement. I actually managed to predict all the Best Picture nominees correctly, aside from assuming that The Two Popes would somehow get in as well. Usually I can predict that the Best Picture winner will be between two particular frontrunners, but this time it’s between four, and I’m not actually sure which one will win. Predictions aside, looking at my least favourite nominees this year compared to last, you can really see the stark difference in quality. It might not necessarily what I’d pick for the nominees, but it’s mostly a line-up I’m okay with.
So along with ranking the Best Picture nominees, what I’ll be doing is that I’ll talk briefly about my thoughts on each movie, then talk about its awards chances.
9. Jojo Rabbit
Considering last year with Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book, having Jojo Rabbit as my worst of the nominees for Best Picture is a considerable step up. Now I really loved Jojo Rabbit when I first saw it, it was hilarious, well written, and all around very entertaining. Thinking about it more, while I still liked the movie, I realised there wasn’t a whole lot to it at its core. The message against Nazis, hate and fascism is forever timeless and one that I fully support. However, beyond that, it doesn’t really have much to say. For a satire, and one by Taika Waititi, I know it could gone a little further than it actually did. At least the movie is set from a child’s perspective, so there’s some excuse for the simplicity of Jojo Rabbit. Nonetheless, I felt it could’ve said a little more. With that said, what it gets right, it does very well. It’s well written and directed by Waititi, it has some entertaining scenes, and even a couple effective emotional scenes. The cast was also great, with Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKenzie (who really was the standout Supporting Actress performance in this movie) being the highlight performers. Overall a solid movie that could’ve been even better.
Jojo Rabbit isn’t winning Best Picture, this much I can say for sure. It may have received some praise and some awards nominations, but I really don’t see it going further than that. It has much better chance at some of the technical categories like Production/Costume Design.
I’m aware how potentially controversial it is that this movie is so low on this ranking, and surprising most of all to me considering how much I loved it when I first saw it. Let’s just say that my opinion on it has been decreasing recently, and I had a rew-atch to see how I would feel about it. Even though I have enough things to say about it to make up another review, I’ll condense it for here. There’s nothing I can really pin down as being actually bad, in fact I could still call this a great movie. Quentin Tarantino’s love for cinema and Hollywood is on full display here as he brings its late 60s era onto the big screen. It’s a great looking movie with some stunningly filmed sequences, and Tarantino as usual writes a good script, especially with the dialogue. While not everyone was a fan of how it was handled, I thought the tribute to Sharon Tate and giving her a happy ending was great. It gave the audience a glimpse of who Tate was, instead of just the perception of “Roman Polanski’s wife who was killed by the Manson family”. What I’ll remember most positively most of all with the movie are Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in their roles of Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, which ranks some of their best performances. So you’re probably wondering where the ‘however/but’ comes in after all that high praise. Even though most of the decisions make sense and there’s nothing I inherent had an issue with, I just couldn’t get into it this time. Maybe when I first saw it, it was the anticipation and hype, maybe it was some onscreen cinema magic that really grabbed me. Whatever it was, it wasn’t present for my second viewing, and it just didn’t have the same effect on me. Despite how warm the movie, is especially compared to Tarantino’s other movies, I really lacked a connection to the story and characters, which didn’t help when this was a movie not driven by anything and was 2 hours and 40 minutes long. At a point it became tedious to get through to the end, even if it wasn’t unpleasant to watch. To put it simply, it’s a movie that I admire and appreciate more than I actually love.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one of the frontrunners for Best Picture, and it could very well get it. Quentin Tarantino hasn’t had one of his movies win the top awards, it’s a leading contender in some other categories (including Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay) and it’s a movie about Hollywood, so you know it has at least a solid chance. You can probably tell I’m from up above that I’m less than enthused about this idea. While it’s a solid movie and as far as Best Picture winners go it would fit in just fine, it just sounds rather predictable and most of all safe for the Academy to award. I guess I could accept if it won (especially considering last year’s Best Picture winner), but I’d be seeing it more as a career win for Quentin Tarantino more than for the actual movie itself.
James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari surprised me in how great it was. For a movie that’s about racing, it could really appeal to anyone who could relate to having a passion for anything. It wasn’t just a movie about cars (even though it was that), it was a drama that most people could really get into, even if some of the structure and certain moments do feel typical of most sport movie biopics. We are following our underdog main characters in Matt Damon and Christian Bale and root for them as they try to achieve the seemingly impossible. When it came to the racing itself, it was engaging, intense and great to watch, with 95% of it practical making the movie even more enjoyable. On top of that it’s further elevated by a solid cast, with Christian Bale particularly giving yet another outstanding performance, and possibly one of his best. While at its core Ford v Ferrari is another racing biopic, Mangold and co. managed to make it a little more than just that.
Honestly, I’m a little surprised Ford v Ferrari actually got into the nominees despite all the praise, when I predicated that it would get nominated, I just throw that in as a guess. With that said, it’s got the same amount of chances as Jojo Rabbit winning Best Picture, in that it’s not going to win. However, it actually has a shot at winning some of the awards in the technical categories that they’ve been nominated for like Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and the like. I wouldn’t be surprised if it managed to sneak away with one of those awards, but don’t expect it to be walking away with the top prize come Oscar night.
Early on, 1917 was quickly written off as ‘just another war movie’, especially after being released a couple years after Christopher Nolan’s World War 2 movie Dunkirk, however it’s a little more than that. A technical achievement, Sam Mendes took on this ambitious task and delivered on some great results. Much has been said about how they made the movie look like it was filmed in one shot and it’s indeed impressive and lives up to all the acclaim. More than a gimmick, it really immerses you in the daunting environments and dire situations that the protagonists are stuck in, never allowing a break at any point. However, 1917 is more than this technique, and I hope people recognise some of the other special choices that were made that make it work so well. I will say that I’m not sure the movie will be quite as impressive once it leaves cinemas, and I don’t know how well it will last. While most of the major cast basically just have notable one scene cameos, the leads with George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman are great, with MacKay particularly shining. What would’ve taken 1917 to the next level is if the handling of the story and characters better. While I’m definitely on board with the protagonists and their goal, I wasn’t as invested in them as I would’ve liked to have been, and so the downtime and characterisation scenes didn’t work quite as well (although MacKay’s performance compensated for at least half of that). With that said, that didn’t stop the movie from having a very effective emotional payoff at the end. Overall, 1917 is an impressive piece of filmmaking from 2019.
1917 is one of the four frontrunners for Best Picture, with the win at the Golden Globes establishing it as a big player. Like Ford v Ferrari, it’s a very technical based movie, and on that side of things it’s very impressive (no idea why it got nominated for Original Screenplay though). While I’ll get to the other two frontrunners later, it seems like this and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood would be one of the ‘safe’ choices for the award, and as that I wouldn’t be so excited if it did win. Not to say that it’s completely undeserved though, story and characters aside, 1917 is a filmmaking achievement, so I guess I’ll be comfortable enough with it winning even if it’s really not at all my first choice for the award.
So, among all the divisiveness surrounding Joker, I’m very much on the side of people who really liked it. It’s generally good throughout and I don’t have many complaints, however the third act is where it all comes together and really becomes great. Joker is very different for a comic book movie, a dark and grounded character study that’s reminiscent of movies from the 80s from the likes of filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese. It seems like this movie was an experiment to try something new within this genre, and it seemed to have paid off quite well. Todd Phillips has done a lot better with this than I thought he would, with the movie completely setting you in this dark and grimy version of 80s Gotham City, with stunning cinematography and an eerie and excellent score throughout. However, at the centre of it all is Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck/Joker, who’s excellent, thankfully so since this movie relies on him so much. While I’m not quite sure I’d say it’s his best performance, at the very least it’s one of his best. One could say that this movie could’ve done without being associated with a comic book character such as Joker, and that’s true, I still like what they did here. While the similarities between this movie and classics like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy don’t bother me too much, it would’ve been better if it was a little more different. On the whole I still think that Joker is a very solid movie.
It’s no secret that despite all the backlash against this movie, Hollywood clearly loves Joker, with the Academy Awards giving it 11 nominations. It has a good chance at winning some of these, with Best Score having a good chance (alongside Thomas Newman’s score for 1917), and is the frontrunner for Best Actor with Joaquin Phoenix. With that said, they probably aren’t going to give Best Picture to Joker, there are other movies that are way ahead of it, and I haven’t seen it win Best Picture in any other awards shows. One thing for sure though, it would certainly spark quite the divisive reaction if it somehow got it at the end of that night.
Noah Baumbach’s bittersweet yet hopefully story of divorce is incredibly well made. Showing the process of divorce as well as its effect on a family, it’s very well put together. Baumbach has directed it all very well but his writing is what’s particularly incredible, reaching a range of different emotions and most importantly feels genuine and human above all else. The cast were all great, with the leading performances from Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson truly tremendous, and some of the best from this past year. I guess my one gripe is that although I was very much engaged in this story, I was slightly disconnected from the characters, despite how intimate and character driven this movie is. I’m also not sure if it’s a movie that’s going to hold up that well on repeat viewings. With all that being said, from my one viewing of Marriage Story, it ranks among the highlights of movies to come from 2019.
Marriage Story is indeed receiving critical acclaim from pretty much everyone, but it doesn’t seem to be winning many Best Picture awards from many award shows. Even if it wins some of its awards like Adapted Screenplay, it’s very unlikely that it’ll win Best Picture. If it does somehow win it however, even though it’s not my personal favourite of the nominees, it’s still a great movie that I’d be satisfied seeing being given the award.
I wouldn’t have thought months ago that Little Women would be one of my favourite movies of the year, but indeed it was quite the surprise. While I’m not familiar with the other adaptations or even the original story, Greta Gerwig seems to have done a great job at making this version of Little Women instantly appealing for today’s audiences, crafting a warm and heartfelt film that certainly has the potential of becoming a beloved classic. Her writing and direction were fantastic, and although not everyone was a fan of the parallel storylines that the film cut between, I thought it worked perfectly for the story (I really wished it got nominated for Best Editing at least). The whole cast were all great, with Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh particularly standing out as great performers. The more I think about Little Women, the more I really love it, and I can’t wait to see it again in the future.
Despite the nominations, Little Women doesn’t really have a great chance to win Best Picture. It might be able to win for some of its nominations like Best Costume Design, and possibly Best Adapted Screenplay (competing with The Irishman). However, don’t expect it walking away with Best Picture at the end of the night, not that I’d have a problem if it somehow did.
Now these next two are interchangeable. I firmly believe that if either of them win, they’d be firmly the best ‘Best Picture’ winner of the 2010s.
Parasite is one of the most acclaimed films of the year, and for very good reason. Bong Joon-ho’s latest starts off simple at first but over time becomes something completely different, a Hitchcockian thriller so excellently written and directed, truly made by someone who’s a master at their craft. Even watching it again more recently, I was just enthralled by how well made it is and still holds up, it’s entertaining and hilarious at first and then becomes incredibly dark and tense. The themes of class divide, and the like were also implemented perfectly in the story. The cast were great and deserved a lot more praise than they’d been receiving, it would’ve been nice to see at least one of the actors receive a nomination. Parasite is an extraordinary film, and it’s very satisfying to see it receive the love and praise that it deserves.
Parasite is one of the frontrunners for Best Picture, and it’s great to see a bunch of support for it. It’s already got Best Foreign Film in the bag, could possibly get Best Original Screenplay (although competing with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Marriage Story), and maybe even some technical awards, so it would seem it has a shot at the big award. There’s just one problem, it’s a foreign language movie. This isn’t the first time a foreign movie has been nominated for Best Picture, but none of them have actually won. Now it’s not impossible for it to break through, with Parasite already being loved by Hollywood, even breaking through to American audiences. However, I can still see the voters being snobby over the fact that they have to read subtitles for it and choosing another film instead. If it does somehow manage to win though, that will be quite an achievement, and could even pave the way for the Academy to recognise even more foreign movies (beyond the foreign movie category) in the future.
Martin Scorsese is my favourite director, and with so many excellent movies under his belt, for his latest film The Irishman to be my favourite of his work, that’s saying a lot. While on paper it could’ve been just another mob movie from him, and indeed it starts off like that (albeit a really good one), Scorsese ventures into territory he hasn’t covered before. He’s at the top of his game, telling a melancholic and contemplative story about betrayal, regrets, and growing old, taking place over a lifetime. The ambition of this project is incredibly high and could’ve failed on many aspects, but Scorsese and co. have pulled it off. The whole cast is good, but particularly the trio of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci gave incredible performances, some of the best of their careers (and considering some of their movies, that’s saying a lot). The Irishman is not only one of the best movies of the year, it’s also one of the best movies of the decade, and shall be remembered in the years to come.
The Irishman is one of the frontrunners for Best Picture, and a while ago I would’ve said it was the definite frontrunner above the others. There are a few things that might stop it however. Some voters won’t like the long runtime or just dismiss it as just another Scorsese mob movie, but most importantly there’s also the fact that it’s a Netflix movie, and of course certain parts of Hollywood really are against Netflix. The question is whether that is going to stop the Academy voters from voting for a Martin Scorsese film. The biggest indication that it might not win however is the fact that the Irishman himself, Robert De Niro, wasn’t even nominated for Best Actor. The fact that the most important person of the movie, the titular character who the story entirely surrounded, wasn’t seen by voters to be important enough to be nominated, might also mean that they might not find the movie itself worth voting for. Not to say that it can’t pull it off, in other awards circles it has been winning quite a bit, but there’s even a bit of an uphill battle that they’re fighting here, despite being a frontrunner.
With Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood released in cinemas last month, I decided to rank his entire filmography. In the months leading up to its release, I’ve been re-watching the movies from him I haven’t seen more than once to make sure about how I felt about them, and for the most part I appreciated them a lot more after the more recent viewings.
Tarantino’s filmography in general has been absolutely fantastic, and I must emphasise this before I get into my ranking, as some movies may be placed differently compared to most other people. I consider all but one of his movies great. So I’ll just start with that previously mentioned one movie that doesn’t really work that well for me.
10. Death Proof
Death Proof sticks out like a sore thumb amongst Quentin Tarantino’s filmography. While I’m fully aware of the fact that Death Proof is supposed to be a tribute to exploitation movies, it doesn’t succeed in that fully. It tries to be dialogue driven, and that just doesn’t really work with the exploitation genre. Even if it is possible for it to work, the dialogue here while not bad, is on such a lower level compared to his other movies, and isn’t enough to make you genuinely interested in the characters or what is going on. So, when it is following these two groups of characters as they are talking about random things (like Tarantino does), you might be mildly interested but it really just feels like a grind for the most part.
That’s not to say that the movie is without merit. Kurt Russell is great as the serial killer Stuntman Mike, and the rest of the cast are honestly decent for the most part, even though they really didn’t have much to work with. Also, a lot of the aesthetics seen in exploitation movies are captured very well here, from the sleazy side to the freeze frames and the scratchy visual effects. The scenes involving cars, whether that be the murders in the first half, and the chase scenes in the second half are generally thrilling too. Watching it again more recently, I definitely disliked it less than when I saw it, but I still take a lot of issues with it. Placing it at the bottom of this wasn’t exactly a difficult decision to make.
I know some people would put both parts of Kill Bill as one movie, and Tarantino himself has called them one movie, but the tones and approaches to the story are so different that it can easily be split into two parts, and they are released years apart, so I will treat them as separate movies. I know that it must be pretty outrageous to some putting Kill Bill (any of the parts) close to the bottom of the list. However, I do think it’s really good, and I think I’ll like it even more the more I watch it.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 is one of the most stylistic movies ever made, and I love a lot of Quentin Tarantino’s style and direction throughout. This is the more Eastern style revenge movie, with some really over the top elements, but Tarantino’s blend of different styles and genres work so well together to culminate in a really entertaining movie. I mean he even inserted an anime segment for a character in a lengthy backstory and it actually worked seamlessly with the rest of the movie. The over the top gory action and violence is still memorable, with it remaining Tarantino’s bloodiest movie (which is saying a lot). The cast all work well, with Uma Thurman cementing herself as an icon here as The Bride. With all that said, I’d be lying if I said that it was hard placing this movie towards the lower end of the list. When I think back to the movie, I tend to remember how stylish, bloody and entertaining it is, but that’s it. The dialogue I guess is reasonably good but none of it stuck with me like his other movies. The story itself was pretty simple and didn’t have a lot to it (and you can probably already guess why I prefer the second volume over the first), even though it does its job fine enough and easily gets you on board with Thurman’s character. I’m not complaining that there’s not much ‘substance’, I don’t have a problem with movies having ‘style over substance’ (whatever that even means at this point), but I just personally got a lot more out of his other movies outside of the entertainment. Although I may not quite love Kill Bill Vol. 1 as much as other people, it nonetheless remains and iconic classic and definitely deserves all the acclaim.
Jackie Brown is often widely known as one of Tarantino’s weaker movies, I myself thought it was just alright when I first saw it but not on the level of most of his other movies. As you can tell by my placement of it on my list, it’s not one of my favourites, but I definitely liked it a lot more when I saw it again.
Jackie Brown is a slow burn for sure, but it’s also Tarantino at his most restrained (along with his latest movie). He really takes his time with the plot progression and although it takes a while to get use to the pacing, it’s very rewarding to stick through it all the way to the end. The cast were good, with some of the characters among the best written from Tarantino, with the highlights being Pam Grier, Robert Forster and Samuel L. Jackson. Although I don’t think it’s one of his best movies, it’s still great, and I get the feeling that I’ll appreciate it more and more I watch it.
Kill Bill Vol 1 used to be my favourite of the 2 parts, with Vol. 2 feeling rather weak in comparison to me. It felt more drawn out, less flashy, and I was even a little bored at certain points. However looking at it again more recently, Vol. 2 really stuck with me more, especially with it being a lot more story driven.
Whereas the first volume was more of an Eastern style revenge, Volume 2 is a Western style revenge, though that’s not necessarily why I prefer it more. As I said, it’s a much more story driven movie, and it really takes its time with its pacing. Save for a few moments, a lot of the more over the top and outrageous parts from the first volume has been significantly toned down here. It gave me a little more to care about what is going on outside of the obvious revenge aspect. The acting also stood out more in this movie. Uma Thurman was already great in the first volume, but she’s even better in Volume 2. And in his small screentime, David Carradine as the titular character of Bill remains one of the highlights of the movie. Volume 2 does have its issues, like the odd random monologue which comes out of nowhere and just feels unneeded. Also I should mention that generally the Kill Bill movies just don’t really stick with me, as I know for many other people they’re much higher on other peoples’ lists. But if I had to pick a favourite of the two parts, I’d definitely take the second over the first.
Quentin Tarantino made one of the best directorial debuts ever with Reservoir Dogs. It’s a real standout in the crime heist genre, showing only the aftermath of the heist. While Tarantino was still finding and discovering his style at this point in time, he already showed some impressive talent here and would only build upon it later on.
Reservoir Dogs demonstrated Quentin Tarantino’s abilities early on, mostly with his real standout writing, with some clever and surprising twists, fantastic (and occasionally meandering) dialogue, and unconventional ways of telling the story. Even when Reservoir Dogs is significantly lower budget, and Tarantino’s direction seems pretty standard compared to all his movies that would follow it, today it still holds up at being very effective. The small but talented cast did a very good job, with Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi and Michael Madsen particularly standing out. I’m not sure where people generally place Reservoir Dogs amongst his filmography, but I still think for the most part it still holds up reasonably well today.
The placing of this film on the list is maybe a little different than most would expect from lists ranking Tarantino’s movies. Pulp Fiction is often labelled as his masterpiece, it’s the film that launched Tarantino onto the map as a director to really watch, and as inspired so many future filmmakers. Make no mistake, it’s an excellent movie, and absolutely deserves all the acclaim it’s been receiving ever since its release.
Reservoir Dogs was Quentin finding his style and tone, and with Pulp Fiction, he fully defined it for audiences everywhere. Tarantino’s script was fantastic, doing a great job at making 3 interconnecting stories all worked together seamlessly. It’s generally an entertaining movie, with some great dialogue, and very memorable characters and scenes. The cast also were great, with John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman being the highlights, giving some of the best performances of their careers. At this point, you might be wondering why this movie is lower on the list. The movie doesn’t exactly have many problems, but I personally found the Bruce Willis storyline to be a little weaker in comparison to the other two, and it even managed to drag at certain points. Outside of that, I personally just think the next movies on this list just stuck with me a lot more. Nonetheless it’s a classic for a very good reason.
For a while, Django Unchained was my favourite of Tarantino’s movies ever since I first saw it, I actually think it was the first movie I saw from him. It’s over the top, brutal, stylistic, and entertaining from beginning to end, and I had a blast with it.
Tarantino has infused western elements in a number of his movies, but this is his first attempt at making a full on western, and you can tell he absolutely loved doing that with every second of Django Unchained. Jamie Foxx is really good but Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson are fantastic here. Django Unchained is a standout among the western genre in recent years, and Tarantino brought to the table some of his best aspects, from the snappy dialogue, the fantastic writing, and the deliberately larger than life and stylish direction. Granted it’s been a little while since I’ve seen it last, but from the past few times I saw it, I loved it.
Quentin Tarantino’s most recent release is also one of his best. His love letter to Hollywood is also his most laid back, optimistic, impressive considering most of his other movies (and especially considering the film he made just beforehand). It may not work for everyone especially how different it is compared to much of his other movies, but I consider it to be amongst his best work.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is quite a long movie at almost 3 hours long and meanders for much of its runtime, but it’s one of the rare cases where I actually loved it despite much of its plotless narrative. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt gave some of the best performances of their career, and there are some good performances from the rest of the cast as well. Tarantino and Margot Robbie also successfully tributed Sharon Tate in a respectful way, showing audiences who Tate is (more than a tragic victim of the Manson murders). The third act is also fantastic and is amongst Tarantino’s best final acts in his filmography. It’s not quite my favourite of his movies however, even though I really do love it. I guess the first act was a little slower, even though the movie really picked up after the second act started. Also I feel like the rest of the cast outside of DiCaprio and Pitt didn’t really get to shine as much, I particularly would’ve liked to seen more of Margot as Sharon, the latter will no doubt be fixed with the longer cut that Tarantino has planned to release. With that said, I get the feeling I’ll like the movie the more I watch it, I already love it and it’s getting better the more I think about it.
These next two movies are interchangeable, I’m still trying to figure out which I like more.
2. Inglourious Basterds
In most lists ranking Tarantino’s movies, Inglourious Basterds is ranked in at least the top 3 of his best movies and for very good reason. Absolutely everything in this movie works at such a high level, from the writing, direction, acting, there’s really no weak spot that this film has that I could really pinpoint.
Inglourious Basterds is probably Tarantino’s most complete movie. From the beginning with the excellent opening with Christoph Waltz, to the fiery and chaotic climax, Inglourious Basterds doesn’t make a single misstep. With his writing, Tarantino has crafted some great characters and dialogue, as well as countless incredibly memorable scenes. The cast all worked very well in their roles, with Christoph Waltz and Melanie Laurent being the highlights. Entertaining and all round fantastic, Inglourious Basterds really does get better every time you watch it and is one of my all-time favourite movies.
Bit of an unconventional pick for Quentin Tarantino’s best perhaps. While The Hateful Eight is generally well received, responses have been split a little. Some loved it, others found it to be disappointing and one of Tarantino’s weakest movies. I really liked The Hateful Eight when I first saw it, however I only loved it when I watched it again in prep for his latest film. I can’t exactly explain why this movie worked so well for me particularly, but there’s something about it that I love over his other movies.
The Hateful Eight nearly 3 hours long (and even longer if you watched the extended cut) but from beginning to end it is completely riveting, even before people start being killed off. It’s a slow burn with the first half, but with the characters and the incredible dialogue, I was on board with it all the way. This is by far Tarantino’s bleakest movie from beginning to end, with his most despicable lineup of characters, and an uncomfortable vibe between many of the characters throughout. Strangely enough though, it still managed to be darkly funny at times, and I just had a really good time watching it. The ensemble cast all around were fantastic, with Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Walton Goggins being the standouts. It may be interesting watching it as your first viewing as detectives trying to figure out what’s going on, but it’s even better rewatching it knowing exactly what’s going on. The Hateful Eight is I guess on the side of the more divisive of his filmography, but I consider it among his best, if not his all-time best.
Time: 161 Minutes Age Rating: Graphic violence, drug use, offensive language & sexual material Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton
Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth
Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate
Emile Hirsch as Jay Sebring
Margaret Qualley as “Pussycat”
Timothy Olyphant as James Stacy
Julia Butters as Trudi Fraser
Austin Butler as Charles “Tex” Watson
Dakota Fanning as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme
Bruce Dern as George Spahn
Mike Moh as Bruce Lee
Luke Perry as Wayne Maunder
Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen
Al Pacino as Marvin Schwarz Director: David Leitch
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one of the most anticipated movies of 2019. First of all, it is the next movie from writer and director Quentin Tarantino, and also features one of the best casts of the year, with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino and more involved. I was curious about much of this movie, from the cast, to it being Tarantino’s first movie about Hollywood, considering his absolute love for film. Then there was the whole aspect of it apparently surrounding Sharon Tate’s murder (with this movie initially being branded as a Manson murder movie, which it very much isn’t). Tarantino delivers on yet another fantastic movie, and one of the best of the year.
If you plan to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, you should probably know first that is a long movie at around 2 hours and 40 minutes, and there is an even longer cut coming later. This is definitely Tarantino’s most laid back movie, and this kind of approach to the story won’t work for a lot of people. Some movies that meander don’t really work for me, it would have to have me on board or invested in order for it to even like. However, for whatever reason, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does work for me. Admittedly, it took me some time to get used to the pacing in the first act, it was rather slow to begin with. The movie is really is just jumping around to the perspectives of the 3 main characters and what they’re doing, with each of the 3 acts focussing on a day in their lives. The movie isn’t plot driven on the whole, not with revenge or anything like that. This is also among the most genuinely heartfelt of Tarantino’s movies, the only other movie of his you could really compare it to is Jackie Brown. It’s ironic that after his bleakest and darkest movie with The Hateful Eight, he then makes his most lighthearted. It’s also very much a comedy for the most part, and that comedy is generally effective throughout. At the same time, it’s darkly effective when it needs to be, such as a tense scene taking place at a ranch with Brad Pitt. I won’t mention much about the third act (it’s really the only part of the movie that you could really spoil), but that’s the point when it really escalates, and if you find yourself a little bored from the rest of the time, you’re going to probably like that act more (provided you don’t take issue with the direction it takes), as it seems to be a lot more focussed in terms of plot. However, I know that some people won’t accept this particular direction, I was more than fine with what they did. I do think that it’s worth mentioning that I think some of the significance of certain scenes won’t hit people who aren’t familiar with the Manson family murders, or Sharon Tate and what happened to her. Now I’m not an expert, but I do generally know the main idea of what happened in real life for a while before going into the movie, and so I got the intended effect. But I just know that people who don’t really know about it at all will be confused at the very least. For those who already know about it and are wondering if her murder was exploited (like many have speculated), the simplest answer I can give is no.
The cast was pretty large and talented, and among the most exciting aspects of the movie. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt give some of their best performances here, and their respective characters of Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth are among Tarantino’s best characters. They share some great chemistry together and genuinely feel like best friends. Despite being mainly known as a ‘serious’ actor, DiCaprio with this and The Wolf of Wall Street has really shown that he has a knack for comedy. There’s a certain scene where he just has a complete breakdown after not getting some of his lines right, and it’s among the funniest scenes in the movie. His storyline is really about him being struggling as an actor, as his transition from tv actor to film actor has failed. Brad Pitt also shines as Cliff Booth, which rivalling his best performances (and that’s saying a lot). He has so many hilarious lines and moments, and is really one of the highlights of the movie. Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, and there was much speculation surrounding her role in the movie. The main story really follows Dalton and Booth as they have their own storylines, but once in a while it’ll cut to Tate doing things during her day. One could wonder why the movie focusses on her, as none of her scenes seems to be in a storyline like the other two main characters, or does it seem to be amounting to anything. What I can tell is that her inclusion is meant to show audiences who Sharon Tate is through brief scenes, from her picking up a hitchhiker to her entering a screening of a movie that she starred in to hear audiences’ reactions to her performance. Robbie and Tarantino did a good job at making audiences of today remember Tate as someone much more than a tragic murder victim. I would’ve liked to have seen more of her, hopefully that inevitable extended cut will have more scenes with her. I will say though, despite the cast being one of the most anticipated parts of the movie, outside of those 3 previously mentioned actors, most of the others don’t get a ton of screentime. The likes of Margaret Qualley, Al Pacino, Timothy Oliphant, Dakota Fanning and others play their parts well, but don’t expect to see them more than a few scenes. Some appearances of actors like Michael Madsen and Scoot McNairy, as well as portrayals of iconic real life people like Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) and Steve McQueen (Damien Lewis) are basically just cameos. I guess they’re good in their necessary scenes, and maybe didn’t need to have more, but it’s worth knowing going in that they don’t get a massive amount to do like you might think they do.
Quentin Tarantino definitely has a great handle of this movie, as he usually does with his films. He really takes you back to the 60s Hollywood time period, with the costumes, to the production design and sets, and yes, the very well picked music. Longtime Tarantino cinematographer Robert Richardson also contributes heavily to the movie, giving it a stunning look and even successfully conveying a fantasy and relaxed feel to some of the scenes. Sometimes the movie would just follow Booth or Tate just driving, for a minute or so, it may stop the plot for a bit but for some reason it just worked for the overall vibe of the movie. I feel like if you are really into film, there’s going to be a lot of things in the movie that you’re going to enjoy, especially the scenes of filming with Dalton’s segment in the second act.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s heartfelt love letter to Hollywood, and one of the best movies of the year. The cast is great (DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie particularly), and Tarantino’s writing and direction are on point. It’s not quite in my top 3 favourites from him, but it’s close, and I’d still say that it’s among his best movies. I know that apparently he wants to make one more movie before he wants to retire as a director, but if he just finished with this movie, it would be very fitting for him.
Once again I’m at a stage where I’ve watched most of the movies I wanted to watch but are waiting on a number of them to come out before I can really do a best of the year list. In the meantime I decided to release my Top Anticipated Movies list for the following year.
2018 was a fantastic year for film, with me giving more 10/10s than I’ve ever given in any other year. With that said, with 2019, I’ve never seen a more packed year for film. When it comes to blockbusters you have movies like Avengers 4, Shazam and of course Star Wars Episode 9. But there’s also some very interesting movies coming from the likes of Martin Scorsese, Rian Johnson, Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee and others. 2019 is one of the most exciting years for film, and if all goes well, it is potentially going to be one of the best years for film.
Honourable Mention: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
I should probably mention that I am not familiar with Pokémon. I don’t have a dislike for it or anything but I never grew up with it, I don’t really have an opinion on it. I heard about the Pokémon live action movie and how that was somehow going to be a thing, and I didn’t really pay it any mind. No one is more surprised than me that I’m actually looking forward to the movie, mostly coming from the trailer.
The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim (Justice Smith) to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds): a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City–a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world–they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.
Ultimately it was the trailer that got me interested in the movie. A live action Pokémon movie sounds really silly but from the trailer, it looks like it’s doing it well. The look of the Pokémon creatures in live action actually looks pretty great, especially Pikachu. Ryan Reynolds was an interesting voice choice for Pikachu, I like Reynolds but when I was watching the trailer I was just hearing Deadpool. I’m not sure if this movie will be any good but it is one that I’m oddly enough interested in.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is set for release on May 10, 2019.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen my review for the 1998 Spawn movie but long story short it is currently the worst comic book movie I’ve ever seen. With that said, there were glimpses of potential, and I always thought that it would’ve been done better in today’s era, when it comes to comic book movies and the technology. 2 decades on, we are getting a new big screen adaptation of the character and while I’m not sure how good it’ll actually be, I am curious about it.
There’s only a couple of actors that we know are attached to the movie. Jamie Foxx is playing Spawn and he seems to be a good pick, Foxx is a good actor. On top of that we also have Jeremy Renner playing a character from the comics named Twitch, I don’t know anything about his character from the comics but apparently he’s quite prominent in the Spawn comics. According to Spawn creator (and the 2018 film’s writer and director) Todd MacFarlane, the film would be more of a horror and thriller movie, not a superhero one. While that’s the kind of things a lot of people say about their superhero movies (that their superhero movies aren’t really superhero movies, but more of a genre movie), McFarlane is partnering with Blumhouse Productions which is interesting and might mean this movie might genuinely end up being a horror superhero movie. There is a concern to be had with the movie and that is McFarlane himself, he hasn’t directed anything before, so I’m not sure how well he’ll do with directing this movie. One thing is for sure though, it’ll definitely be better than the 90s Spawn, no matter how the 2018 film turns out.
39. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Extremely Wicked is the movie about Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer, and is also known because he will be played by Zac Efron. With all the people involved with the movie (especially the cast), it at least has my curiosity and interest.
The story of Ted Bundy (Zac Efron) is shown from the perspective of his girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer (Lily Collins), who struggled to accept the reality of her boyfriend’s nature.
One of the most stand out things about this movie is that Zac Efron is going to play Ted Bundy. Some screenshots and teaser images have been released already with Efron somewhat resembling Ted Bundy. Efron has shown himself recently to actually have some unexplored talent, and I have a feeling that there is even more there that we haven’t seen yet. He’s clearly trying to change his image as an actor, I’m not sure how he’ll actually do as Ted Bundy but I’m willing to give it a chance at least. We also have Lily Collins, John Malkovich, Jim Parsons, Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment, James Hetfield and others involved. Good cast overall. I’m not familiar with director Joe Berlinger’s work, so I’m not sure how he’ll do with this movie. Admittedly it’s the cast involved that has me interested the most. I’m also not sure how this movie will tell its story, because it does involve a trial so it may be a court case kind of movie with multiple flashbacks to Ted Bundy earlier on. However it turns out, Extremely Wicked is a movie I’m going to be paying attention to.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2019.
I really liked the first two Hellboy movies, Guillermo del Toro did a great job directing them and Ron Perlman was a perfect Hellboy. It’s a real shame that the two won’t return to make a third film and instead we are getting a reboot. With that said, some bits about the reboot sounds like it still could be really good.
Hellboy (David Harbour) prepares to destroy an ancient medieval sorceress (Milla Jovovich) who seeks to destroy all of mankind.
There are some things about the Hellboy reboot that have a lot of potential. I initially thought Ron Perlman would be irreplaceable as Hellboy. However, the casting of David Harbour is also pretty perfect as well, he’s a great actor and easily fits right into the role. The rest of the cast is also good with Ian McShane and Brian Gleeson involved, as well as Milla Jovovich playing the main villain of the movie. While he’s not Guillermo del Toro, Neil Marshall is a pretty solid director, having made The Descent. In terms of style and tone, apparently it was said that this film will also have an R rating, and will be a darker, more gruesome version of Hellboy. While obviously an R rating doesn’t mean absolutely that it’ll be better than if it was PG-13, it could’ve meant that it is making itself different from the previous 2 movies and was being its own thing, which is good. However the recent trailer made Hellboy look incredibly generic and with little style of it’s own. I’m still hoping that it’s good but it’s not looking that great despite the people involved.
Hellboy is set for release on April 12, 2019.
37. Captain Marvel
For a comic book movie and a Marvel movie, I’m actually not that hyped for Captain Marvel (its honestly mostly to do with the trailer). However, it still has some aspects to it that I’m looking forward to seeing, most notably the talented cast involved and the connection to the upcoming Avengers 4.
Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.
One of the biggest highlights of the Captain Marvel movie is the cast involved. First of all we have Oscar Winner Brie Larson as the titular character. I know nothing about the character but I do know that Larson is very talented. On top of that, Captain Marvel is going to play a big part in Avengers 4, so it’ll be interesting finding out what this character is before that. We also have returning Marvel characters, with Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg returning as 90s Nick Fury (pre eyepatch) and Phil Coulson respectively, as well as Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser and Djimon Hounsou as Korath, the latter two being villains in the Guardians of the Galaxy, which will no doubt make their characters even better as we get to learn about them before that movie. We also have new cast members, most notably Jude Law as Mar-Vell (Captain Marvel’s mentor) and Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, the villain of the film, both of which are very talented actors and I’m looking forward to seeing them. The villains of the film are the Skrulls, and while I don’t know really much about the Skrulls outside of the fact that they are shapeshifting aliens, I am curious about them and how they could potentially come to play in the rest of the MCU. I’ve not seen many films by directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck but I have seen Mississippi Grind and it was pretty good. Despite all that, both trailers unfortunately were a little lacklustre and generic, even when it comes to comic book movies, and it just really didn’t interest me. However there’s still enough interesting aspects about the film and I know I’m going to watch the movie when it comes out anyway. I get the feeling that it’s going to end up being a mid tier MCU movie but I’m nonetheless slightly interested in seeing it.
Captain Marvel is set for release on March 8, 2019.
36. Ford v. Ferrari
James Mangold is a pretty good director, with Walk the Line, Logan, 3:10 to Yuma, Cop Land, Identity and other films under his belt, I’m always interested to see whatever he’d do next. His next film is a biopic and while the story concept doesn’t really interest me that much, because he (and some of the cast) are involved, I’m reasonably interested in the movie.
The true story of the battle between Ford and Ferrari to win Le Mans in 1966.
Ford v. Ferrari has actually been in the works for a long time, with many actors and directors joining and dropping out before finally Mangold got the directing gig. James Mangold is quite skilled as a filmmaker and his direction will no doubt be really good and be one of the highlights of the film. On top of that we also have Christian Bale, Matt Damon and Jon Bernthal making up some of the cast, all really talented actors who will no doubt be quite good in their roles. As I said, the whole plot doesn’t really sound interesting to me but the cast and the director is enough for me to at least keep an eye out when it comes out.
Ford v. Ferrari is set for release on June 28, 2019.
35. Annabelle 3
The quality of the Annabelle movies have been a bit confused and uneven. The first movie was a prequel to the successful horror film The Conjuring that was apparently not good and the second movie set even further back was actually pretty good. The next Annabelle movie however takes place after the opening of The Conjuring, and with the leads of the Conjuring movies returning, I’m actually somewhat looking forward to it.
As I said, Annabelle 3 is actually set during The Conjuring, which is an interesting place of having the next film with the character, but since Annabelle: Creation tied into the first Annabelle movie, which tied into The Conjuring, I guess there really wasn’t any other time to set it but the somewhat present day. That has me somewhat interested in the movie on its own but not enough for me to be super hyped. What gets me quite interested in it however is the fact that Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson will be reprising their roles as Lorraine and Ed Warren. The two were really great in The Conjuring movies, and seeing them once again is something that I’m really looking forward to. The opening scene of The Conjuring introduced the Annabelle doll and Annabelle 3 will take place soon after that opening scene and before the events of the rest of the movie. As for the director Gary Dauberman, this will be the first film that he’s directed, although he was involved with writing Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, IT and The Nun, so he is familiar with horror at the very least. I’m not sure what the whole plot of this movie will be about outside of when it takes place, but I am looking forward to seeing more of Ed and Lorraine Warren deal with yet another demonic spirit.
Annabelle 3 is set for release on July 3, 2019.
34. Triple Frontier
Although the concept its pretty straightforward and nothing all that special, I’m quite interested in the action adventure Netflix thriller Triple Frontier because of the talented cast and director involved. I’m not expecting anything groundbreaking but it could be really entertaining.
Five former Special Forces operatives (Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal) reunite to plan a heist in a sparsely populated multi-border zone of South America. For the first time in their prestigious careers these unsung heroes undertake this dangerous mission for self instead of country. But when events take an unexpected turn and threaten to spiral out of control, their skills, their loyalties and their morals are pushed to a breaking point in an epic battle for survival.
First of all the main cast is made up of Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal, all really talented actors who will no doubt all work really well together and give good performances. I’ve seen 2 of the director’s (J.C. Chandor) films, All is Lost which was pretty decent for what it was, and also A Most Violent Year (also with Oscar Isaac) which was really good. This time he’s taking on an action thriller which should hopefully be good. The trailer itself looks pretty good, showcasing the talented cast and the action scenes. The film had a surprisingly long development history, with people being cast and dropping out since 2010, hopefully all the cast and crew changes will be worth it in the end. While not all of their movies have been great, Netflix has been releasing quality films like Roma, Annihilation and Hold the Dark in 2018. So while there’s a bit of a negative stigma around Netflix movies, I’m looking forward to this one (it’s also not the first Netflix movie that’ll be on this list).
Triple Frontier is set for release in 2019.
33. Kingsman: The Great Game
I liked Kingsman: The Secret Service, it was a fun spoof on the spy genre with some entertaining action and director Matthew Vaughn overall did a really good job with it. Despite the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle being disliked by some people I personally liked it and had fun with it, though I had many problems with it. The next Kingsman movie is coming in 2019 and I am cautiously optimistic about it.
So there’s some confusion as to which Kingsman movie is coming out, they are filming Kingsman 3 and the Kingsman prequel (The Great Game) back to back, recent news came out indicating that the first of the two films to be released won’t necessarily be Kingsman 3. It would make sense that Kingsman: The Great Game might actually be the next Kingsman movie, considering that we have a title and casting for it already, seeming to be in more development than Kingsman 3. Confirmed for the movie is Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Bruhl, Charles Dance, Rhys Ifans and Matthew Goode, all who will definitely will be great additions to the series. With actors like that, and the potential to see something different for the Kingsman Cinematic Universe (I guess this is what we’ll be calling it now), I might be looking forward to this movie more than Kingsman 3. I’m pretty much looking forward to this movie because I liked the previous 2, though since the second movie was a slight disappointment, I’m not as anticipating the next film as I was The Golden Circle in 2017. Hopefully this movie will turn out a lot better though.
Kingsman: The Great Game is set for release on November 8, 2019.
32. Hobbs and Shaw
The Fast and Furious franchise is an entertaining but not very unique action franchise. So I’m mildly interested in the movies but not really enthusiastic about them, they’re fun, but that’s it. One of the best parts of the last film (The Fate of the Furious) however was the dynamic between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, so much so that even they knew it, during filming they flat out decided to have some scenes hinting at a possible team up. While I was somewhat looking forward to the team up, the additional people being involved started to increase my interest.
A spinoff of The Fate of the Furious, focusing on US Diplomatic Security Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) forming an unlikely alliance with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham at the moment are the best parts of the Fast and Furious franchise. In the last film they really played off each other really well and so I can see them in their own movie working really well. In addition to those two leading the movie and playing off each other, there are some other actors that have joined the cast. We have Vanessa Kirby (fresh off her scene stealing performance in Mission Impossible Fallout) and Eddie Marsan, with Idris Elba playing the main villain. Making this even better is the fact that David Leitch is directing, Leitch did great with John Wick and Atomic Blonde, so I have a feeling that his direction of the action here will stand apart from the series’ familiar car action and could be something distinct and special. Hobbs and Shaw has potential to be something special for the series and I hope they pull it off.
Hobbs and Shaw is set for release on August 2, 2019.
31. The Tax Collector
David Ayer hasn’t really had the best movies recently. Sabotage was heavily plagued with a bad script (mostly from more Skip Woods than Ayer it seems), Suicide Squad had a mix of bad decisions, studio interference and a script written within 6 weeks, and Bright was written by Max Landis (although is definitely better than the other 2). However Ayer is still a solid filmmaker, Fury and End of Watch are great films and I even liked Street Kings. So although we don’t know too much about his next movie The Tax Collector, its definitely something I’m curious about.
Really the only actor I recognise in the movie is Shia LaBeouf, who seemed to have taken this role incredibly seriously given the only image released for the film at this point in time. Shia had previously worked with David Ayer on Fury and it resulted in both a great film and a great performance, so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing LaBeouf’s performance. Looking at his filmography, Ayer seems to really excel when doing purely gritty crime movies, and with him both writing and directing The Tax Collector, this could be a return to form for him. However we don’t know anything about the plot yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the end product is like.
30. Pet Semetary
There always seems to be a lot of Stephen King adaptations recently (it’s not the only Stephen King movie on this list), not that I’m complaining but I’ve been really noticing that there’s a lot of movies and shows based on his stories recently. However, I’m all for the recent Stephen King resurgence that has been happening. Pet Sematary however is one of the stand outs among recent adaptations of King’s books, at least from the trailers, it looks like it could be a surprise hit.
Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) and his wife, Rachel (Amy Seimetz), relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his neighbor Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unspeakable evil with horrific consequences.
I’ve not read the book or watched the first adaptation of the book, I’m not actually too familiar with the story, I’ve only heard about it recently. With that said, the trailer looks great and creepy. Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz and John Lithgow are also good actors, and they and the rest of the cast will no doubt contribute to the movie a lot. I don’t know anything that the directors, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, have done in the past, but from what’s on display in the trailer, it looks really great and I’m looking forward to it.
Pet Semetary is set for release on April 5, 2019.
29. Spider-Man: Far From Home
Despite my scepticism about it, Spider-Man Homecoming was a rather solid movie, not one of my favourites from the MCU but actually pretty good. Now we are getting the sequel to it taking place after Avengers 4, so the plot details until that film’s release for Far From Home will probably be limited. The movie itself should be something somewhat decent, I’m not quite sure what to expect from it at this point though.
After the events of the untitled Avengers film Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his friends go on summer vacation to Europe and there Peter finds himself trying to save his friends against a villain known as Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).
The idea to move Spider-Man to Europe was certainly an odd choice (he’s no longer the Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man and instead more the Friendly International Spider-Man now), but it does potentially mean they could do some different and interesting things in this different setting, so I’m fine with it. Tom Holland showed in the previous movies that he’s a great Spider-Man/Peter Parker and he’s returning to reprise his role. A lot of the returning cast is returning, with Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, and others, including actors who weren’t in the previous Spider-Man movie, Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson as Maria Hill and Nick Fury. The addition of Jake Gyllenhaal as the villain Mysterio adds an intriguing element to the movie, considering that Gyllenhaal is one of the best actors working today. I am a little worried at how Mysterio will be, because from what little I know about the character from the comics he seems way to goofy to be taken seriously. It seems like Gyllenhaal may actually be too overqualified for this cartoonish character. Hopefully they’ll do what they did with the Vulture in Homecoming and reinvent the character and his appearance to make him something great in live action. Jon Watts returns to direct the sequel, while I liked what he did with most of Homecoming, some aspects like the action was a little lacking, and hopefully Spider-Man gets to have more memorable and exciting action sequences and moments. Spider-Man: Far From Home isn’t one of my most anticipated comic book movies of 2019 but I’m interested in it.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is set for release on July 5, 2019.
28. Men in Black: International
It’s been so long since I’ve seen the Men in Black movies but from what I remember they were fun sci-fi comedy action movies, with the trilogy starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. 7 years after the 3rd Men of Black movie, we are getting a spin off movie, and while initially it may sound like the studio is trying to make a vain attempt at squeezing some money out of a pretty much dead franchise, it’s got a lot going for it, mainly the cast, so I’m definitely interested in it.
A London-based team of Men in Black (MIB) secret agents become involved in a murder mystery that sends them traveling the globe.
One of the biggest stand outs about Men in Black: International is that we’ve got a pretty great cast involved. Along with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson leading the movie, we also have Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani, Emma Thompson, Rafe Spall and Rebecca Fergusson. All are fantastic and I can’t wait to see how they do in the movie. The director of the film, F. Gary Gray has made some pretty solid movies, with The Italian Job remake, Law Abiding Citizen, Straight Outta Compton and The Fate of the Furious. He’s a decent enough director and should pull off a Men in Black movie quite well. Now it’s been a while since I’ve seen the original Men in Black movies but I remember them being quite fun. International however is a spinoff movie, thankfully its not a reboot at this point in time. Hopefully it’ll succeed in being its own thing, while still being a Men in Black movie.
Men in Black: International is set for released on June 14, 2019.
27. Dark Phoenix
Dark Phoenix was on my Most Anticipated Films of 2018 list before it was pushed back. Dark Phoenix now seems to be the last of the X-Men movies as done by Fox (if you don’t count the Deadpool/X-Force movies). This movie was pushed back numerous times because of reshoots (and particularly the scheduling of those reshoots). While I am still looking forward to seeing it, I am a little worried about it.
Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.
We get the returning surviving cast from Apocalypse with James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner and more, and we also have Jessica Chastain as apparently the main antagonist of the film. I do have some concerns, one of them is Simon Kinberg as the director. He has written and produced a lot of movies (including most of the X-Men movies) but this is his directional debut, so I have no idea how he’ll do at it. However, Kinberg himself has discussed some of the things that didn’t work in Apocalypse. He said that it became more about visual effects than emotion and character, and that with Dark Phoenix he wanted to focus more on the characters. This give me some hope for Dark Phoenix. Another concern is that its adapting the Dark Phoenix storyline, which X-Men: The Last Stand already did and while I don’t dislike that movie, it did a less than stellar version of the story. From the trailer it looks like it could follow similar beats with that movie as well as familiar beats from other X-Men movies (such as Magneto becoming an opposing force to the X-Men characters). However I can’t help but still anticipate this movie, I’m interested to see how they end the series. I fully admit though that it’s a movie I’m rather concerned about.
Dark Phoenix is set for release on June 7, 2019.
26. The Lighthouse
The Witch is a great horror movie, and if you like horror movies I strongly recommend you check it out sometime. I bring that up because the director of that film, Robert Eggers, has his next film coming out next year titled The Lighthouse. Not much is known about the movie but having seeing The Witch, I’m really looking forward to seeing it, whatever kind of movie and story it turns out to be.
The story of an aging lighthouse keeper named Old (Willem Dafoe) who lives in early 20th-century Maine.
Robert Eggers’s work on The Witch was fantastic, it wasn’t conventionally scary like most horror movies but it is really creepy and unsettling, and all of it was handled very well. At the moment, in terms of the cast of The Lighthouse, we just know that Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are involved and they are both great actors and will no doubt add a lot to this movie. We are given a very minimalist amount of plot information, basically just the setting, we don’t know the slightest bit of detail of what is supposed to happen during the story. We do know that it’s a dark fantasy horror film and that the film will be shot on black and white 35mm film, which is quite intriguing and I’m interested to see what Eggers does with this. Not much about The Lighthouse is known at the moment but from what little we do know, I’m really looking forward to it.
25. The Woman in the Window
I’m always open for a good mystery movie based on a book (usually one that I’ve never read). It’s even better when you have a great cast and a pretty good director behind it. I don’t really know much about the movie outside the cast, the director and the initial plot summary, but it sounds like it could be something really good, it definitely has potential.
An agoraphobic woman (Amy Adams) living alone in New York begins spying on her new neighbors only to witness a disturbing act of violence.
The cast is really the main reason why I’m really interested in The Woman in the Window. Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman are in this movie and those three are enough to get me interested, particularly Amy Adams. Adams is always fantastic in everything she’s in, and so I’m sure that this’ll be yet another great performance from her. Joe Wright can be a pretty good director but I know that he can be a little hit or miss at times. Let’s just hope its more Atonement levels of quality and less Pan or Darkest Hour level. If The Woman in the Window ends up being sort of a forgettable thriller, I’m hoping that we’ll at least get some great performances from its talented cast.
The Woman in the Window is set for release on October 4, 2019.
24. Gemini Man
I had been hearing about this movie for a while, and with this concept along with Ang Lee and the cast’s involvement, I’m really quite interested in how it turns out.
Henry Brogen (Will Smith), an aging assassin (Clive Owen) seeking to exit his career finds himself going against a younger clone of himself, who can predict his every move.
There are two main reasons that I’m looking forward to Gemini Man. First of all, the cast here is really great. Along with Will Smith in the lead role, we have Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong as part of the cast, all really talented actors. The other reason I’m looking forward to it is the director, Ang Lee. I’ve only seen a few movies from him, I wasn’t a fan of his Hulk movie, but Life of Pi was a visual experience and Brokeback Mountain was an excellent film. All in all I’m interested in seeing Ang Lee take on this science fiction film and this concept with this very talented cast.
Gemini Man is set for release on October 4, 2019.
23. Zombieland Too
The original Zombieland was quite the hit when it came out, it was a really fun and entertaining zombie movie that people loved. People for the longest time wanted to see a Zombieland 2, and it had been in development for an incredibly long time. A decade after the original’s release however, we are finally getting the much awaited sequel, with the original cast and director returning, and things are looking up for it.
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahasse (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) move from the White House to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies and fellow survivors.
The main cast from the original, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are returning and I’m glad they are, they all worked together so well in the first movie. Director Ruben Fleischer also returns, so it really feels like a big Zombieland reunion. I’m just wondering whether this movie actually takes place 10 years later or not long after the original movie. Also, I’m wondering whether it will just be more of the same or will they do something very different for the second instalment. Either way, I’m definitely checking out Zombieland Too when it releases.
Zombieland Too is set for release on October 11, 2019.
22. Uncut Gems
Good Time was one of the biggest surprises of 2017, with a great direction, a gritty but simple story and led by an incredible performance by Robert Pattinson. The writers/directors of that film, The Safdie Brothers, have a new movie coming out, Uncut Gems, so naturally I’m interested in it. With Adam Sandler on board as the lead, it’s only increased my curiosity of the movie.
The movie will be set in the diamond district of New York City and follow Howard (Sandler), a jewelry store owner and dealer to the rich and famous who must find a way to pay his debts when his merchandise is taken from one of his top sellers and girlfriend.
Adam Sandler is the lead in the movie, which for a lot of people is a very confusing casting choice but this just makes me more interested in the movie. Sandler is known for his comedies but he’s also done some good dramatic work with Punch Drunk Love and more recently The Meyerowitz Stories. When he’s in dramas, he nails his parts, and I can tell that he’ll be great here. And seeing how Robert Pattinson and The Safdie Brothers collaborated so well on Good Time, I think it’s very likely that Uncut Gems will be among Sandler’s best work. In addition to that, the movie also has Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel, Judd Hirsch and Pom Klementieff as the supporting cast. Like with Good Time, Uncut Gems sounds like it involves its protagonist having to find some money, I’m just wondering how the plot and characters differ from the Safdies’ previous movie outside of it involving jewellery. Uncut Gems from what I can tell from some set photos looks good and I’m looking forward to seeing what they have planned with it.
21. The New Mutants
Originally I had this on my most anticipated movies of 2018 list, until it was pushed back (same with Dark Phoenix). While I’m excited for it, I still have some concerns.
Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.
Here’s the things I’m looking forward to (pretty much copied and pasted from last year’s list). First of all, it has some very talented actors with Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams and Charlie Heaton being a few notable stars. The director and writer is Josh Boone, who directed and wrote The Fault in Our Stars (I’ve never seen it but I heard its good). With a smaller (but talented) cast and most of the film seeming to taking place in one location, it seems to be a much smaller film which is definitely welcome given some of the more larger than life comic book movies recently. The main point of interest however is that it will be the first horror based comic book movie. Even if it just ends up being a teen horror movie with mutants, it’s something that hasn’t happened in the comic book movie genre, so I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Here’s the big thing, despite the trailer being heavily horror based, the actual movie itself was originally filmed to be less so, despite director Josh Boone wanting to go there, the studio refused. After the trailer (which was edited to look like a horror movie) did so well however, Fox wanted Boone to go back and reshoot it more like a horror movie. On top of that, it’s adding a completely new character, reshooting like half the movie and adjusting the antagonist aspect of it. Let’s just hope that these reshoots improve the movie and aren’t just a reactionary decision by the studio (because we all know too well how that can turn out). At least Josh Boone actually is allowed to write and direct these reshoots, unlike other superhero movies where they just get other directors to fill in for the original directors. Still hoping that this movie turns out great but we’ll just have to see.
The New Mutants is set for release on August 2, 2019.
20. Terminator 6
The Terminator movie series has been running for many years, with really only the first two being held up as classics (or just generally liked). While I don’t dislike the sequels following the second film, they really weren’t anywhere close to the level of the first two movies. I’m sceptical about yet another Terminator movie but some interesting things are being done this time. The 6th instalment is going to pull a Halloween 2018 and disregards all Terminator movies aside from the first 2. Terminator 6 is also going to be a direct sequel to Terminator 2 and along with bringing Arnold Schwarzenegger back to play the Terminator (obviously), we also have Linda Hamilton returning to play Sarah Connor. It actually does have me interested in what they have in mind for this movie.
We don’t really know any plot details at this point in time but I am excited. The cast is pretty good, as mentioned earlier, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton are returning to play The Terminator and Sarah Connor respectably, and we also have additions to the cast including Gabriel Luna and Mackenzie David, which are also exciting. We’ve also got Deadpool director Tim Miller, who’s an interesting and odd choice for a Terminator movie but I guess we’ll just have to see how he goes with it. While the last Terminator movies haven’t exactly been satisfying, there’s still a lot of potential with this one to be something really good.
Terminator 6 is set for release on November 1, 2019.
A movie about Elton John is definitely going to have my curiosity, as it could be a really wild and interesting experience. Add on top of that a lot of talented people, and you have my attention and interest.
The story of Elton John’s (Taron Egerton) life, from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through his influential and enduring musical partnership with Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell).
Taron Egerton plays Elton John and from the trailers he’s looking like he’s embodying him really well. Taron has proven his talent in Eddie the Eagle and the Kingsman movies, so he definitely has the talent. Egerton is also singing the songs himself, and apparently he’s a legitimately great singer already. His performance is definitely something I’m looking forward to seeing. We also have Jamie Bell, Richard Madden and Bryce Dallas Howard as part of the cast, all great actors as well. The director Dexter Fletcher has had experience working on biopics, with him directing Eddie the Eagle as well as the reshoots for Bohemian Rhapsody. The trailer is also quite unique and interesting, one of the best trailers of 2018. As indicated in both the trailer and said by Taron Egerton, the film would play off as more of a fantasy musical as opposed to a straightforward biopic. I’m glad to hear this because this will probably prevent the movie from being just another conventional music biopics which some movies can fall into disappointingly. I’m not entirely sure what to expect from Rocketman but I’m looking forward to whatever it is.
Rocketman is set for release on May 31, 2019.
18. Jojo Rabbit
Taika Waititi has proven himself to be a very unique director, recently getting mainstream recognition for Thor Ragnarok. He’s back again making an original movie that sounds really weird and rather hard to pull off. However, knowing how Taika does really well with bizarre and odd plots, I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with this movie.
A World War II satire about a ten-year-old boy (Roman Griffin) who, ridiculed by his peers and misunderstood by his mother (Scarlett Johansson), can’t quite figure out how to fit in. As the naïve young German struggles to understand his place in an increasingly Fascist regime, he resorts to an imaginary friend resembling Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi) who can offer advice and help him cope.
Taika Waititi’s writing (especially when he’s making an independent movie) is great and unique, and really can’t be compared to any other directors/writers. Along with Taika Waititi as the imaginary Hitler (wild concept I know), we have Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen and Stephen Merchant in the movie, great cast altogether. All in all with Taika Waititi and the cast, I’m on board with whatever this movie is.
17. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Admittedly, I actually wasn’t super hyped for this movie at first. Yes, I liked the 2014 Godzilla and the 2017 Kong: Skull Island and I had Godzilla: King of the Monsters on my watchlist. However, I was a tad indifferent to it. Then I saw the trailers and all that changed, it looks like a truly entertaining and visual experience.
The new story follows the heroic efforts of the cryptozoological 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 superspecies, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters looks like its leaning even more heavily into the Godzilla and Kaiju monsters and embracing it completely. It really does seem to be Godzilla vs other large scale monsters, and while the first Godzilla seemed to be that, it looks like it’s going even further with that. We’ve also got a good cast as well, with Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Mille Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, and others (with the last two returning from the first Godzilla). I’m only familiar with Krampus in terms of Michael Dougherty’s work (which was okay enough), but the two trailers look like it’ll be something amazing, visually at least. I just hope the movie lives up to the trailer and potential.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is set for release on May 31, 2019.
Shazam is introducing a character that most people don’t know. While people may have heard of Aquaman and The Flash (even if they don’t necessarily know a lot about them), they might not have heard about the character of Shazam. However I think that judging by the reactions of the comic con trailer, its going to be a hit with general audiences and die hard comic book fans alike.
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Ashley Angel) case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM! – this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi).
From the trailer that we got, Shazam is looking to be a really fun movie. It very much is on the lighter side of the DC universe and appropriately so. I make it no secret that I prefer much darker comic book movies (and really movies in general) but it’s a good idea for a cinematic universe to have a diverse range of tones and styles. Not to mention, I think it would be straight up impossible to make a Shazam movie dark. Most importantly though, it’s being its own thing, its light and funny but its not too much like an MCU movie (no disrespect to the MCU). Zachary Levi seems to make for a perfect Shazam, a kid in the body of a superhero, and Levi seems to be embodying that excellently. We also have Mark Strong as the villain (who is always great, and its always nice seeing him in the villain role) as well as Jack Dylan Grace, Djimon Hounsou and others making up the cast. Horror director David F. Sandberg was an interesting choice for Shazam but I am loving the vibe that the trailer is giving off and he seems to be doing the character justice. I also love the whole look of the movie, the dynamic colours and lighting looks fantastic and somehow makes it stand apart from other comic book movies. Now I don’t exactly know what the plot is really about in regards to the stakes, but I feel like its going to be a more grounded and personal comic book movie (I could be wrong). From everything we know and have already seen, Shazam looks like its going to be one of the biggest surprise hits of 2019.
Shazam! is set for release on April 5, 2019.
15. Lucy in the Sky
I only learnt about Lucy in the Sky very recently, however from what little I’ve heard about it, it seems like it could be something really great. With the talented cast and director involved, it definitely has my attention and I hope it turns out as great as it sounds.
The film tells the story of a female astronaut (Natalie Portman) who, upon returning to Earth from a life-changing mission in space, begins to slowly unravel and lose touch with reality. Her psychological decline culminates in a fevered cross-country trip with violent intentions in this complex, thrilling and darkly comedic character study.
The story sounds interesting and has a lot of potential to be something special. I’ve not familiar with Noah Hawley’s work but I know that he created and wrote Fargo and Legion, both apparently great tv shows that I have yet to watch. Then there’s also the cast. We have Natalie Portman, one of the best actresses working today (and probably one of the best actresses of all time) leading the movie and the whole film is basically surrounding her character, and usually when we have movies surrounding a character played by Natalie Portman (like Jackie and Black Swan), we get a phenomenal performance from her. And with it apparently being about the protagonist losing touch with reality, it’s definitely going to be an impressive performance and one of the highlights of the film. That’s not all, we also have Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, Dan Stevens and Ellen Burstyn. Great cast overall. Lucy in the Sky actually sounds pretty interesting, and that is definitely a movie I will be keeping my eye on as its release date (whenever it is) draws nearer.
14. It Chapter Two
IT was a surprise hit of a horror movie, and it was a huge hit upon its release. I thought it was a really good Stephen King horror movie, with the direction, cast and coming of age aspects being the highlights. However, we only saw the first half of the story with the kids, we still have yet to see the adult half of the story, which is what we are now getting with Chapter Two. With a good cast playing the adult versions of the main characters and a different sort of story compared to the first half (with it focussing on adults instead of children), it will be interesting to see how it all turns out.
27 years later, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.
Director Andy Muschietti did a great job with the first IT and I know he’s going to also deliver just as well with part 2 of the story. Bill Skarsgard reprises his role as Pennywise, he was a fantastic screen presence whenever he was on screen and I can’t wait to see what he does in this movie. As for the main cast we have James McAvoy as Bill, Jessica Chastain as Beverly, Jay Ryan as Ben, Bill Hader as Richie, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike, James Ransone as Eddie and Andy Bean as Stanley. Admittedly I don’t know all of these actors but I really like the ones I know (McAvoy, Chastain and Hader), so I can tell that they are all going to be great. We also have the younger actors who played the characters in the first movie returning to reprise their roles in flashbacks. If there’s any concern I have, it’s that the mini series IT’s adult half of the story was very boring and underwhelming and so I feel like Chapter 1 going to be lesser in comparison to Chapter 1. Granted we have better people working on the movie than with the mini series but even people who read the book have found the first half considerably better than the second half. Also, there is a story aspect at the end of the story that I’m worried about, because it is so ridiculous in the book (I haven’t read the book but I’ve heard about it). If they decide to go with it, they are going to have to find a way to execute it well because on paper it sounds absolutely wild and goofy. Aside from those aspects however, I’m really excited to see IT Chapter Two.
IT Chapter 2 is set for release on September 6, 2019.
Jordan Peele made a massive impact with Get Out, his horror movie did well with awards and the box office, receiving critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike. It was exciting hearing that Peele wasn’t done with horror, in fact he would be doing more horror movies that were in the ‘social horror’ genre (like with Get Out). Very little is known about his next film but from what little we know, it sounds like it could be exciting.
A mother (Lupita Nyong’o) and a father (Winston Duke) take their kids to their beach house expecting to unplug and unwind with friends (Elizabeth Moss). But as night descends, their serenity turns into tension and chaos when some shocking visitors arrive uninvited.
Not much is known about Peele’s next film, with only a vague plot summary being given. What we do know is that its a horror thriller and will star Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen III and Tom Pelphrey, which is all around a pretty talented cast. Jordan Peele showed himself to be a great director with Get Out, and so I’m looking forward to him doing another horror film. Honestly there’s not much more that can be said about Us, but all the talent involved indicates that it is probably going to be a great movie.
Us is set for release on March 15, 2019.
Hereditary was one of the best horror movies of 2018 and also one of the best horror movies in recent years. It was such a well made and disturbing movie that really stayed with me. The writer/director of that film, Ari Aster, has already got another horror movie planned for 2019 and after seeing his last film, I’m looking forward to seeing what he does here. There’s not much about the plot that I know but knowing the people involved is enough.
A couple travels to Sweden to visit their friend’s rural hometown for its fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.
Director and writer Ari Aster is one of the main reasons I’m interested, as I said the reason I’m interested in this movie is because of his work on Hereditary. I do also know that Jack Reynor and Will Poulter will be in it, and I’ve liked them in the movies I’ve seen of them, so they’ll be good as well. I’m not quite sure what to expect from Midsommar plotwise, but knowing the person behind the movie, I have a lot of faith that this movie will be really good.
Midsommar is set for release on August 9, 2019.
11. High Life
High Life was a movie I heard about but was hesitant to put on this list, because it wasn’t that clear whether it was a 2018 or a 2019 release. With it being given a 2019 release date, I decided to add it in. From everything I’ve heard about the movie, I feel like it’s going to be trippy and strange but I’m really intrigued by the concept and trailer.
Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of the solar system.The crew death-row inmates led by a doctor (Juliette Binoche) with sinister motives has vanished. As the mystery of what happened onboard the ship is unraveled, father and daughter must rely on each other to survive as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole. A staggering and primal film about love and intimacy, suffused with anguished memories of a lost Earth, High Life is a haunting, thrilling achievement from visionary director Claire Denis.
Claire Denis is the director of this film, and apparently she’s quite the impactful filmmaker, however I haven’t watched a movie of hers myself yet. The cast is also great, with Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche and Mia Goth all being real talents that are involved. The response to this movie has been good but it’s been described being odd and bizarre. The trailer certainly seems to be backing that up, and that as well as the concept really intrigue me. High Life is probably not going to hit with everyone but I’m really looking forward to it.
High Life is set for release on April 12, 2019.
10. Velvet Buzzsaw
Nightcrawler was one of the best films of 2014, it was such a fantastic debut for writer/director Dan Gilroy. I hadn’t seen his follow up film Roman J. Israel but apparently it was a mixed bag outside of Denzel Washington’s lead performance. His next film however looked interesting and something that I’m not board for. Add on a very talented cast, and Velvet Buzzsaw is one of the most anticipated films of 2019.
Big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce. After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.
Dan Gilroy at the very least with Nightcrawler has shown that he’s more than capable of writing and directing a film very well. The cast all around for Velvet Buzzsaw is fantastic. Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo were both in Nightcrawler and they reteam with Gilroy for this next film. We also have John Malkovich, Billy Magnussen, Natalia Dyer and Toni Collette making up the cast. Although we don’t know too much about the movie, it’s apparently a psychological thriller, and seeing Gilroy and the cast take on this story is really interesting to me, something I’m very looking forward to seeing.
Velvet Buzzsaw is set for release on February 1, 2019.
9. Ad Astra
People had been hyping Ad Astra up for a little while now, I’ve only recently looked into it and it looks quite interesting. There’s a lot of things here which has a lot of potential to be something great, even though much of the details of the movie haven’t been revealed yet.
Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones) and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.
Not much has been released for Ad Astra, whether that be images or crucial plot details. However there’s something about what little we already know that sounds really intriguing to me. I did hear that director James Gray compared the story of Ad Astra to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (which would later be turned into Apocalypse Now), and he also mentioned that he intends for the film to feature (in his words) “the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie and to basically say, ‘Space is awfully hostile to us’”. This certainly sounds like it could be a very interesting movie and I’m on board with seeing that. Ad Astra also has a great cast, with Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland all involved. I’ve not seen James Gray’s other movies like The Immigrant and Lost City of Z but apparently they are quite good as well. Although we don’t know a ton of information about it yet, Ad Astra certainly seems like could be something special.
Ad Astra is set for release on May 24, 2019.
8. John Wick 3: Parabellum
John Wick was a really surprisingly great action movie, with some entertaining action, an interesting criminal world and gave Keanu Reeves his best role. John Wick Chapter 2 was even better, expanding the world even further and leaving it on a cliffhanger for the titular character. However I have a feeling that John Wick 3 is going to be somehow even better.
Legendary hit man John Wick (Keanu Reeves) must fight his way out of New York when a $14 million contract on his life makes him the target of the world’s top assassins.
John Wick Chapter 3 picks up right where Chapter 2 ended, with Wick on the run from everyone, which is a far cry from the plots of the previous two movies. Chad Stahelski (who directed the other John Wick movies) is again returning to direct, so all the exciting, entertaining and stunning action scenes that we got we can expect to return in the third film as well. Keanu Reeves is back as John Wick, in his best role. Not only is he great in the action scenes, he’s also really good delivering the emotional aspects of the character and I can’t wait to see how this character progresses. Along with Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Lance Reddick and Laurence Fishburne returning to reprise their roles from the previous movies, we have the addition of more actors, notably Halle Berry and Hiroyuki Sanada, the latter of whom is in the role of the main villain. I can’t wait to see more of this world, the new action sequences happens, and how John Wick’s story (potentially) ends.
John Wick 3: Parabellum is set for release on May 17, 2019.
7. Knives Out
Rian Johnson is a great director, I haven’t seen a whole lot of his movies but I loved the movies of his that I’ve seen. I’m always interested in what he has to direct, and although we don’t know much about his next project, I’m really looking forward to it. With his involvement as writer and director, as well as featuring one of the best casts of the year, and you have a really exciting film.
Very little is known about the plot of Knives Out but there’s already many factors that have me interested in it. First of all, I loved what he did with Looper and Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi, he’s proved himself a really talented writer and director. His next film is a murder mystery and that’s something I’m excited to see him do. There’s also the cast. Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Lakeith Stanfield, Ana de Armas, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer and Jaeden Lieberher are all involved with this movie, such a ridiculously talented cast, and by the time this list is up they’ll probably be even more talented actors attached to this movie. I don’t know really much about what Knives Out is about but I’m really looking forward to it.
Knives Out is set for release on November 27, 2019.
6. Avengers: Endgame
Avengers: Infinity War defied all expectations and absolutely delivered the seemingly impossible to reach level of hype. However, the Infinity War story is not over yet, what we got last year was just Part 1 of the story. The ending of Infinity War set up so many things with such a cliffhanger, seemingly killing off at least half of the main characters. Much of that film’s quality will depend on how Avengers: Endgame turns out, so hopefully it delivers really well.
Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sends a message to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers – Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) — must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos (Josh Brolin) — the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe.
While I loved Infinity War, I am a little worried that it won’t live up to the hype. Once again like Infinity War, it has to deliver on a lot of the things it was setting up for the past movies. Most of all though, we know characters that were killed off like Spider-Man and Black Panther will return, which will no doubt mean that there’s going to be some retconning and undoing a lot of the damage done in Infinity War. I hope that by the end of Endgame it could be said that there was still a massive impact from both this film and Infinity War. However, the Russo Brothers have proven with Infinity War that they have the talent and the ability to deliver on this, and they also proven that they could handle multiple different characters in multiple different locations at once. So I have more confidence in them for Avengers 4 than I did with Infinity War. I hope it turns out great, it certainly has the potential to.
Avengers: Endgame is set for release on May 3, 2019.
This is a really odd movie. From its announcement, the idea of not only a Joker movie but one set outside of the DCEU, written and directed by Todd Phillips has been met with criticism by pretty much everyone. Even I who generally likes comic book movies and the DCEU took some issue with this. But over time as this movie has been developing and set pics and reveals have come out, it has been gaining my interest, and the same with everyone else. With an excellent cast, a strong departure from the comics or cinematic universes, and a very different and potentially fascinating take on a very popular character, Joker looks like it could be something truly special.
As I said, Joker is not tied down to be a comic book movie (its ironic that my most anticipated comic book movie of 2019 is one that’s very loosely a comic book movie), it’s pretty much just a movie with the character of The Joker as the main character, which means that they a lot of freedom to do whatever with this movie that other comic book movies wouldn’t have. Joaquin Phoenix is one of the best actors working today and he will absolutely work wonders with the role of The Joker. The pictures and footage released of him look fascinating. The makeup design is a bit different from the live action versions of Joker that we’re used to but it surprisingly works really well. According to reports, Joker will be a character study like The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver. The idea of a character study of The Joker played by Joaquin Phoenix is extremely exciting, and I’m completely on board for that concept. Add on top of that Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and you have a really talented cast. I guess the main concern in all of this is director Todd Phillips, who is mostly known for The Hangover trilogy and comedies seems to be the out of place person involved. To be fair to him, he can be a solid director, War Dogs was a pretty good movie and that was slightly less comedic than the comedies he’s most known for. I have a feeling he’s going to really surprise us and show us a side of him that we haven’t seen before. On top of that, I’m curious about the world that this movie exists in, and I’m not talking about the Elseworld universe. Along with The Joker being in this movie, it’ll also have Thomas Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth and Bruce Wayne as characters as well. I don’t know what their roles will be in this movie (outside of Thomas Wayne potentially being mayor and there being a movement against him), but whatever the case, I’m just hoping that it utilises them well to improve the movie. Outside of those parts that I’m not quite sure about yet, Joker really looks like is could be something fantastic and really something different for the comic book movie genre.
Joker is set for release on October 4, 2019
With Split, M. Night Shyamalan showed that he was back at the top of his game, with a smaller scale thriller with lots of twists. The biggest of all the twists in Split was revealed at the end, which was that Split and Unbreakable were in the same universe, and the characters would likely crossover in a future follow up. 2 years later, Shyamalan is bringing the characters in both movies together, to create the oddest ‘superhero’ trilogy in film. With a great cast and M. Night Shyamalan still keeping this a smaller scale movie (which is where he excels at), I am really excited at what he has planned.
Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds David Dunn (Bruce Willis) pursuing Kevin Wendall Crumb’s (James McAvoy) superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.
On top of it being a sequel to Unbreakable and Split (both great films from Shyamalan), there is a lot of talent involved. The movie has Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy reprising their roles from Unbreakable and Split, with all of them gave some of their all time best performances in those movies. From the trailers they all look fantastic as their characters once again, even Willis who hasn’t really given a great performance in some time looks like he’s back at the top of his game. We also have Sarah Paulson and some returning characters from Unbreakable. The two trailers were very intriguing, with it still looking clearly like a grounded movie and not trying to be a large scale superhero movie or anything like that. Everything about Glass looks great, it’s one of my most anticipated films of all time, I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.
Glass is set for release on January 18, 2019
3. Star Wars Episode 9
Star Wars: The Last Jedi proved to be more polarising than I thought it would be, dividing fans and audiences to such an unbelievable degree. I personally thought that The Last Jedi was great and in the top 2 best Star Wars movies to date but that’s just me. We are finally coming to an end to the sequel trilogy, and with director JJ Abrams returning to direct and Argo and Batman v Superman writer Chris Terrio signing on to write, this is definitely going to be an interesting movie and I just hope that it can deliver a satisfying conclusion.
The cast we all know and love from the previous two movies (Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran and Mark Hamill) are all returning to their roles and I can’t wait for them. On top of that we will have Billy Dee Williams returning to the role of Lando Calrissian, who will no doubt be good once again. New actors include Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell and Matt Smith, all great actors who will no doubt be great additions to this movie and the series. The one concern I have in terms of the cast is how they’ll handle the appearance of the late Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa, who will appear in the movie through the use of deleted footage from The Force Awakens. This will technically be the last movie that we’ll be seeing Carrie Fisher in so I hope that this is done well enough. There’s not much plot details available for Episode 9 so there’s not much details to speculate on. One of the most interesting parts to Episode 9 is the fact that you have director JJ Abrams, who directed The Force Awakens which was accused by some as being to nostalgic and being to similar to A New Hope, paired with Chris Terrio, who wrote the most divisive comic book movie of all time (Batman v Superman). The pairing of nostalgia and subversion (for lack of a better word) will be a fascinating thing to see, especially after the mixed reactions towards The Last Jedi because of how different and unexpected it was. After watching and loving The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, I can’t help but be absolutely excited for this.
Star Wars Episode 9 is set for release on December 20, 2019
2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Any film by Quentin Tarantino is going to get some attention. While it was originally seemed to be known as the Tarantino Charles Manson movie, it should be known by now that it seems like its going to be something much more. With his writing and direction, the absurdly talented cast and the unique setting and story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood looks to be a truly fantastic film.
A faded TV actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt) embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry during the Helter Skelter reign of terror in 1969 Los Angeles.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is set in the late 60s in Hollywood among the Manson killings. From some reports, it’s a little reminiscent of Pulp Fiction with multiple characters and plotlines. Knowing Quentin Tarantino’s love for cinema, this time period and setting will be something fascinating to see him take on. Not to mention Tarantino’s excellent writing and direction will be top notch for sure. I haven’t even gotten to the cast yet, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has a massive and talented cast, truly the largest and prestigious cast that Tarantino has worked with, and that’s saying a lot. Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Timothy Olyphant, Tim Roth, Dakota Fanning, James Marsden, Damian Lewis, Michael Madsen, Scoot McNairy, Bruce Dern (playing the part that Burt Reynolds was going to play before his death) and more make up the cast of the movie. It’s absolutely astounding how many talented people are involved with this, and they will no doubt be utilised to their fullest potential. If there is one concern I have it’s how they’ll handle the Manson killing parts, especially as it involves Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie) who’s death was particularly brutal and graphic. Quentin Tarantino have covered time periods before with World War 2 in Inglorious Basterds and slavery with Django Unchained, but this is something different, a much more specific event. Handling that aspect tastefully will be really important. Outside of that one concern, everything about this film looks fantastic and will no doubt will be one of 2019’s biggest and most controversial movies.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is set for release on July 26, 2019
1. The Irishman
It’s impossible not to be excited for a Martin Scorsese movie. Not only is he one of the best filmmakers of all time with films like Casino, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and The Departed, he’s also still one of the best filmmakers working today, with him in the 2010s creating Shutter Island, Hugo, The Wolf of Wall Street and Silence, all truly remarkable. Now he teams up with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino (starring in now two of the biggest movies of the year each with critically acclaimed directors), Harvey Keitel and much more for yet another gangster movie, but it seems like Scorsese is going to give us something truly special.
A mob hitman (Robert De Niro) recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
Along with Martin Scorsese directing The Irishman, the cast are an absolute highlight for the movie. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel and Ray Romano are all involved, such a massive and talented cast. Writer Steven Zaillian (writer of Schindler’s List, Mission Impossible, American Gangster, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and more) wrote the script to The Irishman. The story that The Irishman is based on is a true story and from what I can tell about the story, it’s not going to be just another Goodfellas or Casino. Scorsese has made really 4 gangster movies in his entire career and all of them are different from each other. The Irishman on the whole seems to be about older men (specifically de Niro’s character of Frank Sheeran) looking back at his life and reflecting, particularly on his regrets. If there is one concern I have, it’s the fact that the film will be using a lot of visual effects to make De Niro, Pesci and Pacino appear decades younger at various points throughout the film. A few films like Blade Runner 2049 and the Ant Man movies utilised the de-aging effects rather well but both used them in one scene each, and The Irishman will likely have the de-aging effects throughout at least half of the movie. In fact, there is so much that the budget had increased to $175 million because of all the effects (making it Scorsese’s most expensive film yet). Aside from the de-aging CGI, I think everything else about The Irishman looks incredible, and will no doubt be one of the highlights of 2019.
What are your most anticipated films of 2018? Comment below and let me know.