2019’s Most Anticipated Movies

December 26, 2018
Here are 63 films that we are pumped to check out in 2019, plus a dozen that we are not so excited about.

AUSTRALIAN FILMS

Many of these would make the main list, but we thought that it would be best to look at them separately.

2040

The story goes that Madman didn’t know what they had when they signed on for actor turned filmmaker Damon Gameau’s personal documentary That Sugar Film. Released in 2015, the film ended up grossing $1.7m+ in Australian cinemas and went onto change the conversation and the diets of thousands of people. Now he is making an enviro-doco and the question is, will lighting strike twice?

Animals

Adelaide filmmaker Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays) is one of this country’s most exciting artists, with this UK/Australian co-production starring Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat as young women on a bender, adapting Emma Jane Unsworth’s novel, described as “Withnail for Girls.”

The Combination 2

Ten years after the first film started a fire in multiplexes, director David Field and writer/star George Basha return to similar territory, but this time with the far right involved.

Danger Close

The busiest director in Australia, Kriv Stenders helms this true story of the 3.5 hour battle of Long Tan, wherein 108 Australian and New Zealand soldiers held off 2,500 Viet Cong. Travis Fimmel, Luke Bracey, Richard Roxburgh, Nicholas Hamilton, Daniel Webber, Alexander England, Aaron Glenane, Lincoln Lewis and Myles Pollard star from a screenplay by Stuart Beattie.

Emu Runner

Unexpectedly premiering at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year, this independent first film from Imogen Thomas, about a young Indigenous girl recovering from the loss of her mother by bonding with an emu, is a potential breakout hit of 2019.

Hotel Mumbai

After sorting out their woes around the Weinsteins, who invested in the production, this first feature from director Anthony Maras finally premiered at Toronto (international) and Adelaide (local) film festivals to praise around its intensity but also questions around the lack of emotional connection rendered by this true story of the horrific terrorist attacks of a decade ago. Dev Patel, Jason Isaacs, Nazanin Boniadi, Armie Hammer and Tilda Cobham-Hervey star.

I Am Mother

Highly ambitious sci-fi based on a Blacklist screenplay by Michael Lloyd Green, from first time feature director Grant Sputore. Young Danish actress Clara Rugaard plays the last human on earth (or is she?), Hilary Swank plays ‘Woman’ and Rose Byrne provides the voice of ‘Mother’, but the big stars here are ideas.

Judy and Punch

Actress/short filmmaker Mirrah Faulkes makes her feature writing/directing debut with this imaginative tale of the titular puppeteers trying to put on a marionette show during an anarchic time and a place. Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman play the title characters, with Danny Gabai (Jim & Andy, founder of Vice), Nash Edgerton and Michele Bennett (Chopper) producing, and the film premiering at Sundance.

Little Monsters

Abe Forsythe casts his Down Under star Alexander England in the lead again, this time as a slacker who tags along to his kid’s school farm excursion, mesmerised by a teacher played by Black Panther/Us/Star Wars star Lupita Nyong’o, competing for her attentions with a dooshy children’s performer played by US import Josh Gad, all the while, a zombie apocalypse has broken out…

Me and My Left Brain

Alex & Eve writer Alex Lykos makes his directorial debut and also stars in this Woody Allen influenced story of a neurotic actor in love with the unattainable (Chantelle Barry) whilst ignoring all the signs of his true love (Rachael Beck) living next door. The twist? Malcolm Kennard plays his left brain in this equal parts charming and crude bro-com made in Sydney.

Nektotronic

Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, this comedic genre effort from Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner, the makers of Wyrmwood, stars Monica Bellucci, Tess Haubrich and Benedict Hardie, with a plot sounding like something that may work or as likely, crash and burn: ‘a man who discovers that he is part of a secret sect of magical beings who hunt down and destroy demons in the internet’. Wyrmwood benefited from its lack of budget, allowing us to forgive its many faults, but now with a substantial budget and the support of big hitters, can the Roache-Turners make magic?

The Nightingale

Highly anticipated sophomore film from The Babadook director Jennifer Kent enjoyed its international premiere at Venice, and locally at the Adelaide Film Festival, dividing audiences at both. Next stop Sundance… A period revenge film, it stars Aisling Franciosi and Baykali Ganambarr, trekking through Tasmania in search of justice and Sam Claflin’s English officer.

Palm Beach

Whether this has anything to do with 1980’s film of the same name is yet to be declared, and perhaps the only common thing is the casting of Bryan Brown. Rachel Ward directs the comedic drama which sounds like an Antipodean Big Chill – ‘a group of lifelong friends reuniting to celebrate a special birthday, with Sydney’s iconic Palm Beach providing a stunning backdrop for the unfolding drama.’

Pimped

Ella Scott Lynch announces herself as a star to watch in this complex leading role opposite Benedict Samuel in a stylish psychological thriller with horror elements that wowed them at overseas genre film festivals and recently picked up an award at Monster Fest.

Ride Like a Girl

The inspirational true story of Michelle Payne, who was not only the first woman to ride a Melbourne Cup winner but did so with a seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her way. The feature directorial debut of Rachel Griffiths, starring Theresa Palmer as Michelle Payne, Sam Neill as her dad and Stevie Payne, her strapper brother playing himself.

Storm Boy

Massive obstacles stand in the way of this reimagining of Colin Thiele’s book and the classic 1976 film of the same name. Top of the list is Geoffrey Rush, who appears as a grown-up Mike, a framing device that everyone regrets as the film approaches its release in January.

Top End Wedding

Co-written by its star Miranda Tapsell, and directed by The Sapphires’ Wayne Blair, this rom-com stars Tapsell and Gwilym Lee (Brian May in Bohemian Rhapsody) as an about to be married couple in search of her mum (played by, we assume, Kerry Fox), who goes missing in far north Queensland.

True History of the Kelly Gang

Writer Shaun Grant and director Justin Kurzel reunite for the first time since their breakthrough with Snowtown. Here, they are adapting Peter Carey’s dense book about our most famous folk hero, with a cast that includes Charlie Hunnam, Nicholas Hoult, Thomas McKenzie, Russell Crowe, Essie Davis, George MacKay, Sean Keenan, Harry Greenwood and Claudia Karvan.

NON-AUSTRALIAN RELEASES

Ad Astra

Can Brad Pitt and the sci-fi genre bring a hit to one of the most under-rated filmmakers in the world, James Grey (The Lost City of Z)?

Alita: Battle Angel

Robert Rodriguez teams up with James Cameron for this visually groundbreaking effort adapted from a Manga.

Artemis Fowl

Potential franchise starter from director Kenneth Branagh

At Eternity’s Gate

Julian Schnabel takes on Van Gogh with Willem Dafoe.

Avengers: Endgame

Finally an ending, hopefully.

Brightburn

Horror or superhero movie? James Gunn surely knows.

 

Captain Marvel

Marvel’s first movie about a female superhero.

Chaos Walking

The bad title should not impact this scifi from director Doug Liman, with Charlie Kaufman listed as one of its many writers. set in a dystopian world where there are no women and living creatures can hear others’ thoughts in a stream of images, words and sounds called ‘noise’. Cast includes Tom Holland, Mads Mikkelsen, Nick Jonas, David Oyelowo, Kurt Sutter and Daisy Ridley.

Charlie’s Angels

This will suck, but it is being directed by Elizabeth Banks, so may not suck as hard.

Dark Phoenix

Bryan Singer got fired off this one, but still, X-Men.

Destroyer

Nicole Kidman’s buzzed about performance.

Downton Abbey

You can’t keep a hit TV series down.

Dragged Across Concrete

Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn as suspended cops going into the criminal underworld from writer/director S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk)

 

Dumbo

Tim Burton does Disney live action reimagine.

Fighting with my Family

The Rock in a movie set in the WWE universe!

Flarsky

From the writer of the under-appreciated The Interview, and the director of The Wackness, 50/50 and The Night Before, featuring Seth Rogen, Alexander Skarsgard, Andy Serkis and Charlize Theron in the story of a journo who tries to pursue his childhood crush who is now one of the most unattainable women in the world.

The Front Runner

Jason Reitman recruits Hugh Jackman to play real life politico disgraced out of office for being a pants man.

 

Gemini Man

Ang Lee is up to his tech tricks again, shooting in new HD technology, which didn’t quite help his last film (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), however here it’s in service of scifi in a story of a hitman facing off against his younger self. Will Smith stars.

Glass

M. Night Shymalan brings his Unbreakable trilogy to a close.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Hopefully they have learnt from the mistakes of the first film.

The Goldfinch

Potential awards contender with John Crowley (Brooklyn) directing Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson and Ansel Elgort in an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel.

Green Book

Peter Farrelly makes a drama!

 

Hellboy

Not enough superhero movies!

If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins follows up Moonlight with James Baldwin adaptation.

IT: Chapter Two

27 years later…

The Joker

Joaquin Phoenix.

John Wick: Chapter 3

Same director and star, turned up to 11.

The Kid Who Would be King

Joe Attack the Block Cornish makes a family film!

The Kitchen

This could be Widows done right… The wives of gangsters in Hell’s Kitchen in the ‘70s continue to run their husbands’ rackets after they’re in prison. Writer Andrea Berloff makes her directorial debut adapting a comic book, with Elisabeth Moss, Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Domhnall Gleeson in the cast.

Last Christmas

A Christmas movie directed by Paul Feig, with a script co-written by Emma Thompson.

The Lion King

Looks amazing, not bad source material!

The Mule

Clint Eastwood directs and stars as a grumpy old man.

The New Mutants

The director of The Fault in our Stars does superhero origin story. 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

QT does Manson, we are pumped.

 

Peterloo

Mike Leigh takes on history.

Pet Sematary

Stephen King and ‘80s nostalgia.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu

The Ryan Reynolds factor.

The Rhythm Section

Exciting cinematographer/director Reed Morano directs Blake Lively in this revenge thriller also starring Jude Law.

Rocketman

From the uncredited director of Bohemian Rhapsody, Dexter Fletcher, this has the bones of the massive surprising success of that film.

 

Shazam!

DC’s chance to continue the fun vibes of Aquaman.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

We really dug Tom Holland’s introduction to the spider-verse and are looking forward to his follow-up here.

Stan and Ollie

A biopic of Laurel and Hardy starring John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan.

Toy Story 4

You know, Pixar’s most beloved property.

Untitled Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis Comedy

Yep, you all hate Love Actually, but there’s no denying Richard Curtis’s screenwriting chops. Teaming up with Danny Boyle, they are making a comedy for Working Title starring Lily James, Himesh Patel and Kate McKinnon.

Untitled Fast & Furious Spin Off

Is it called Hobbs & Shaw as some outlets are saying?

Untitled Warner Bros Film

Could this be the new Shaft, or is it Motherless Brooklyn? Won’t be holding our breath for the latter – it’s been in development for too long.

Us

Jordan Peele’s follow up to Get Out.

Vox Lux

Actor turned filmmaker Brady Corbet has a killer cast – Natalie Portman, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law, Raffey Cassidy, Stacy Martin, Jennifer Ehle – and the film raised eyebrows at its fest debut, including A Star is Born comparisons.

Wicked

Stephen Daldry returns to the musical genre for the first time since Billy Elliot (and yes, we reckon the original film could be deemed a musical).

The Woman in the Window

Tracy Letts adapts the hit book about a woman living alone, who begins spying on her neighbours, witnessing a distributing act of violence. Rear Window anyone? The film stars Amy Adams, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore, directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, The Darkest Hour).

THE DIRTY DOZEN: FILMS WE ARE NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO

Aladdin

How long has it been since Guy Ritchie made a good film? And Will Smith is not a whisker on Robin Williams?

Angel Has Fallen

Yep, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is back after London has Fallen, with Nick Nolte, Morgan Freeman, Piper Perabo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Danny Huston and Tim Blake Nelson collecting cheques.

Cats

Les Miserables was vanilla, so director Tom Hooper returns to the musical well for this adaptation of the smash Andrew Lloyd Webber stage show.

Grudge

Yes, they are bringing back another take on the JHorror original, this time starring Andrea Riseborough, Jacki Weaver, Betty Gilpin (from GLOW, you’ll be seeing her lots in 2019), John Cho, Lin Shaye, William Sadler, Demien Bichir and Frankie Faison, from director Nicolas Pesce (who also has Piercing out in 2019).

The Hustle

A remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. Need we say more?

Isn’t It Romantic

This could go either way, as the idea is crazy enough to make it entertaining, however, we just cannot see Rebel Wilson carrying the film without it becoming very annoying very fast.

The Lego Movie 2

Isn’t this whole Lego pieces as movie idea dead already?

Men in Black: International

We know that we’re in the minority as critics of the first three films, but just because they’re monster hits does not make them good. See: Ghostbusters and Bad Boys, coincidentally all Sony films, yikes!

 

Sonic the Hedgehog

Yep, those that think the ‘80s were cool (obviously didn’t live through it) and video game nerds are pumped for this, but we can only see downside.

Stuber

This could go either way… Kumail Nanjiani plays an Uber driver hired by a detective played by Dave bautista for a night they will not forget, but we surely will.

Superintelligence

Husband/Wife team Ben Falcone + Melissa McCarthy have an atrocious record of working together.

Untitled Blumhouse Projects

There are 3 ‘Untitled Blumhouse Projects’ slated for 2019, and another for Jan 1, 2020….

What Men Want

The original sucked and even if urban comedies are our go-to guilty pleasure, this one is going to suck balls.

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