10 Anticipated Films of 2019
Being a cinephile never stops. With that in mind, we can already look ahead to what 2019 is going to bring us. Of course, we have a plethora of hugely budgeted films awaiting us, but it’s often the underdogs that I find more interesting. Well, that isn’t always true. I sometimes get excited for the bigger pictures, too. We can blame the milieu, but we will always at least be aware of hype of any sort. Do you choose to buy into one movement? That’s your prerogative, and it doesn’t force you to have to do this with every trend either.
Either way, there have been a number of films I have been eagerly awaiting for varying amounts of time. 2019 is here, and we are only so much closer to finally witnessing these realized creations. We have some confirmed release dates, but a lot of these films are still hidden behind closed doors. In alphabetical order, here are ten films I am telling you to keep a close watch on (in case you haven’t been, already).
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Of course, Scorsese’s mobster epic has been on everyone’s minds for what feels like an eternity now. With many of the biggest names to have ever graced the gangster genre (De Niro, Pacino, Keitel, even Joe Pesci’s returned out of his retirement) and an enormous budget (a reported 140 million currently), The Irishman has to at least be determined. Varying writers have proclaimed that Scorsese has released at least one era-defining masterpiece in each decade since the ‘70s (I’m guessing Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and The Departed, depending on who originally claimed this), and The Irishman can end this decade off with another entry in this claim.
Directed by Taika Waititi
I don’t trust many people — especially in 2019 — to make an absurdist film about the monstrous Adolf Hitler being a surreal caricature that appears to a mentally struggling child during the second World War. For some reason, everyone’s favourite button-pusher Waititi seems like he can make this outrageous concept work. Jojo Rabbit is heavily under Waititi’s control, and is an adaptation of Caging Skies by Christine Leunens. Dark comedies just seem like they can be very touchy in this day and age, especially with what will arguably be the most insane premise of 2019. However, Waititi has not let any of us down before, and I, somehow, believe in him to guide us through this one.
The Last Thing He Wanted
Directed by Dee Rees
I feel like Mudbound was only a tiny taste of what filmmaker Dee Rees could deliver, and it left me itching to see what she would deliver next. We’re almost there, with her next film being released sometime this year (hopefully sooner than later). This political thriller (an adaptation of the Joan Didion novel of the same name) involves a journalist that tends to her family’s needs and ceases writing about the election between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale (in 1984). Seeing the rabbit hole that she finds herself in (many hidden labyrinths and organizations) may make The Last Thing He Wanted one of the most enticing works of the year.
Directed by Greta Gerwig
Release: December 25
We’ve heard the tale by Louisa May Alcott many times before. However, Greta Gerwig’s interpretation of this iconic tale is what has rendered this film a hot topic. After all, Lady Bird was a powerful take on a girl’s connection to her surroundings (especially to her mother) that was delivered with the utmost sincerity. If A Star is Born can be retold so many times (and these different voices were entrusted each time), I firmly believe that this umpteenth take on the March family can be told in a fantastic way by the indie-star-turned-auteur.
Lucy in the Sky
Directed by Noah Hawley
Inspired by the real events surrounding astronaut Lisa Now — and apparently now influenced by a certain hit song by some unknown band called The Beatles — is this new film by first time director Noah Hawley (known for his writing, and for creating the Fargo television series). Previously titled Pale Blue Dot (also an interesting name), Lucy in the Sky has already sparked some controversy in a piece for Time Magazine by former astronaut Marsha Ivins, who insists that space explorers usually don’t lose track of reality when they’re back on Earth after a lengthy mission. Either way, this film aims to be spine tingling.
Directed by Epichatpong Wereasethakul
Little is known about Wereasethakul’s latest project, outside of the fact that it stars Tilda Swinton. What is known that the lead begins to experience what may be an entrance to an alternative reality while on an exhibition in Columbia. Knowing how Wereasethakul loves to blend the lines between real, spiritual, and the surreal, Memoria might be a psychedelic and mind bending trip that cannot be contained. Knowing very little about the future project makes the anticipation even greater. If you are curious about convention-shattering films, you might want to go into this one blindly and not look back.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Release: July 26
Everyone and their pet has been talking about Tarantino’s ninth (and reportedly second last) feature for ages now. It boasts a similar name to the works of iconic cinema of yesteryear (like he hasn’t done that before); this time directly referencing one of his main idols (Sergio Leone). We are transported back to ‘60s California during the height of many events: the New Wave of American Cinema that fought against the Hays Code, various political crises, and, of course, the Manson killings. If Tarantino is dead set on creating his own Star Trek film as his final work, this will be the last time we see something that can be classified as signature Tarantino. Let’s cross our fingers and hope he ends on a high note.
Directed by Bong Joon-Ho
Joon-Ho has always been aware of social climates. That’s why Parasite, his latest effort, is surrounded by anticipation. Reportedly about two families that lead similar lives in a mirror-like fashion (also reflecting the current situation of our own political climates), this film has had little revealed about it at this present time. After the striking works of The Host, Mother, Snowpiercer and Okja, I’m sure we can expect Parasite to be just as idiosyncratic artistically and relevant narratively.
Directed by Jordan Peele
Release: March 15
Three years ago, hearing the name Jordan Peele would guarantee a laugh. His comedic writing and acting is impossible to ignore (or shake off, once it hits you). Now, it’s 2019, and the name Jordan Peele elicits prestige. After Get Out, we have come to expect his once-hidden talent for writing complex and socially aware thrillers. Us seems like it is the perfect successor. It’s once again a socially relevant horror film that seems even more strange than Get Out was. The main source of excitement here comes from the imagination Peele has, and we have long since learned that he is creative no matter what he is dabbling in.
Where’d You Go Bernadette
Directed by Richard Linklater
Release: March 22
We will end things off with a signature comedy-drama from Linklater: a director that adores disguising arthouse and expressionist films as your everyday Hollywood works. This adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Maria Semple deals with a missing mother, whose daughter uses correspondence to find her whereabouts. Knowing that Linklater usually brings some sort of innovative pizzazz to his works to elevate them, Where’d You Go Bernadette could be as elaborate as it is light hearted in nature. Luckily, we don’t have to wait very long to find out.
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.