Us – The first great film of 2019, Us is another overwhelmingly impressive entry into Jordan Peele’s writing and directing career. His films are most exciting perhaps because you can feel that singular vision, that singular mind, and the level of control that he has over the medium. Like an auteur film, a Hitchcock flick where the creator bleeds into all aspects of the frame, from the writing, directing, the acting, to the cinematography, the score, and the world itself. You’re getting a real glimpse into their subconscious, diving into their mind as close as you can get.
High Life – More people know of Edward Cullen, than they do of Robert Pattinson, and that’s quite the shame. Because outside of that fanged and frenzied franchise, he’s quietly put together an impressive independent resume of dark, isolated, manic characters. Showing a desire to push the envelope, sometimes recklessly, but always fearlessly. Films like Good Time, Cosmopolis, and The Lost City of Z are a testament to that.
The upcoming film High Life has him starring alongside the always illuminating Juliette Binoche, in a Science Fiction space indie, about a man and his daughter struggling to survive in deep space where they live in isolation. Though the film’s plot sounds rather conventional, it will likely be anything but, as it is a Claire Denis film, cerebral, and visceral. On a slightly different level of subconscious.
Godzilla – Streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, all have their place in the grand-scheme of television and movies. Their inclusion has led to some great new films and television series, many that would have never seen the light of day under traditional circumstances. But one of the things that will always be reserved for the theater and the silver screen, is the monster epic.
Not only is it extremely unpractical and unlikely for a streaming studio to take on a large-scale and expensive project, they just couldn’t give the film it’s proper credence unless they also distributed for a theatrical run. So I’m going to embrace any decent monster epic that we get, because when done right, it can be some of the highest forms of popcorn entertainment that there is. Gojira…
Avengers: Endgame – The culmination of 10 years, 20 films, and 17 billion dollars at the box office, it would be foolish and a bit pretentious not to include Endgame on your radar, even if you’re not a fan of superhero or comic-book movies. I’m not one either to be fair, but a well-crafted summer blockbuster is rare and not to be so quickly dismissed. It’s not so easy to please hundreds of millions of people all at once.
Joker – Joaquin Phoenix, a true wildcard, a joker in a sense, and quite possibly the most enigmatic and talented actor of his generation, fully submersing himself into a crazed and maniacal character. If the writing and direction are up to par, I expect we’ll be seeing something on the level of Heath Ledger’s portrayal.
Gemini Man – Everyone gets to have one guilty pleasure pick, and this one’s mine. As an unapologetic Ang Lee superfan, I have faith in those who have doubted him, and he’s shown himself over the years to be one of the most versatile, and sincere filmmakers we have. Shot in 120FPS, this is another one of Lee’s deeper dives into the realm of hyper-realism. Whether it pays off or not, only time will tell, though I’m sure we will see some bold strokes regardless.
Midsommar – Ari Aster’s follow-up on the heels of his debut film, Hereditary, we get a glimpse into the rarely seen: the daytime horror movie.
Instead of living in a nocturnal world where night seems to be eternal, we’re instead stripped of all those things. To be terrifying in broad daylight, that’s a skill beyond measure, and given his debut, we’re likely in for quite the treat.
The Irishman – A living legend, returning to the director’s chair, reunited with the likes of De Niro, Pacino, Keitel, Pesci.
Scorcese’s last film, Silence, is a film that is still to this day, grossly underseen, difficult to watch, even harder to market, but a true test of faith. Few films can fundamentally show you the limits of faith, while testing your own.
With a much more palatable and mainstream storyline: gangsters, mobsters, house painters, fixers, and indomitable resources with Netflix, the masses will once again be attending a Scorcese sermon, quiet, obedient, and eager to listen.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood – Watching a Tarantino film is a bit like watching a Hollywood throwback, an old-school mashup. So what happens when a Tarantino film is set in old-school Hollywood, ripe for imitation, with infinite potential for homage, and all the stars under the sky? A Tarantino fantasy film. With blondes, bullets, and feet. Expect lots of them.
Star Wars: Episode IX – This is that part of the movie where the hero is down, and out. The audience is divided, some have even given up completely. There seems to be no hope for our hero. No chance for redemption. But I think that is where this story begins. I think J.J. has got something up his sleeve, something we may not have foreseen. Why? Because as a director, he’s always delivered the goods.
Even if you criticize The Force Awakens for not taking more risks, he still brought some magic, something you could connect to, with Rey, Kylo, and Finn. But most importantly he embraced the spirit of the films and what they inspire in people. And no matter what potential criticism can be thrown his way, he’s probably the best shot we have at a great Star Wars film outside of Denis Villeneuve. Help us J.J. Abrams, you’re our only hope.