With the year of 2018 having come to a close, its reasonable enough to start looking forward to what’s in store for cinemagoers in 2019, right? As 2018 has amounted to, honestly, quite the lacklustre year, I sit here and hope that 2019 will be bigger and better in every way possible. I mean, seriously, cinema needs a win after the very very ‘meh’ year we’ve experienced in 2018. And oh man, does 2019 promise some big moves. Looking forwards, it would already seem that Disney has officially conquered Hollywood in 2019 with upcoming flicks including, Pixar’s fourth Toy Story film, Marvel’s fourth Avengers film (alongside Captain Marvel and a Spider-Man sequel), Lucasfilm’s newest Star Wars effort and a series of live-action adaptations of Disney classics such as Aladdin, The Lion King and Dumbo. But not to fret; amongst Disney’s massive year we also have the return of classic cinema characters such as James Bond, the Joker, IT and John Wick. We also have massive directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater and Danny Boyle releasing some gold material once again. In all honesty, just rereading what I’ve wrote (you know, for editing purposes – nothing vein), I’m actually really pumped up for the year to come now. So, let us say our respects to 2018 as the year comes to an official close, but let us also anticipate what’s to come for the future – for the biggest question I’m left to answer is, what shall make it into the museum of Lost Art?!
But first, here are some honourable mentions: Little Women, Shazam!, “Jumanji 3”, “Bond 25”, Knives Out, Kingsman: The Great Game, The Beach Bum, The Goldfinch, Captain Marvel, Zombieland Too, Missing Link, It: Chapter Two, John Wick 3: Parabellum, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Men In Black: International and The Lion King.
*DISCLAIMER* Glass was on this list, but since I’m lazy and have waited a little too long to post this write-up, I’ve had to remove Glass, because, well, I’ve seen it.
#8 Where’d You Go, Bernadette
I love Richard Linklater. The All-American filmmaker who’s eyes quite usually set on the intimate genres of romance and coming-of-age seems to be turning his attention to a more lively, mystery-based feature in the Cate Blanchett led, Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Based off a novel (for which, full disclosure, I have never read), this charming, light-hearted runaway film provides hints of the domestic noir genre we have seen recently flood cinemas so frequently, from Gone Girl to The Girl on the Train to A Simple Favor – the difference is though that Where’d You Go, Bernadette, in comparison to the others, actually looks “fun”. With an ensemble cast including Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig and Laurence Fishburne, the School of Rock director appears to be going rather mainstream for his newest feature – which is never entirely a bad thing. Where’d You Go, Bernadette looks like a crowd-pleaser made purely for enjoyment and thrills. Some of the best cinema experiences ever are the ones where an auteur indie filmmaker brings something intelligent and savvy to general audiences and since Linklater has almost never let any of his fans down in the past, I’m sure Where’d You Go, Bernadette will excite, inspire and electrify those who seek it out.
#7 “Star Wars Episode IX”
Star Wars is a fickle thing. I never used to like the space saga, but one day, suddenly, I gained respect for it. In this new era of Disney owned Lucasfilm, I have gone back and forth on whether I honestly like Star Wars now or am still lukewarm on the franchise. What I do know is that The Force Awakens holds a special place in my heart as the first review I ever wrote and The Last Jedi may just, unapologetically, be my favourite Star Wars film for the fact that it’s… well… not exactly what most would call a Star Wars film. So yeah, I would say that I am anticipating what comes out of J.J. Abram’s ninth episode in the Star Wars canon. I would not go so far to say I am excited for the next installment, but, more-or-less, intrigued to see how this new trilogy pans out. I love the characters of Rey, Finn, Poe and especially Kylo Ren and seeing how The Last Jedi ended, I would love to see how the saga wraps up the Skywalker story. What I want is something new and fresh; I want Star Wars to fulfill the promises of The Last Jedi and let go of the past to deliver something new. The untitled “Star Wars Episode IX” can do a lot of great things such as deliver a nuance space-based adventure whilst also incorporating the appeal of the franchise’s retro Golden Age. Let’s just say… I have a good feeling about this.
For several years now, DC have played obvious catch-up to Marvel in building a shared cinematic universe with the results being trashy, try-hard and, on some accounts, plain terrible. DC’s inability to create effective team-up films have cost the studio years in failing to produce the one thing they have proved countless times to be ingenious at – solo films. Since the days of Christopher Nolan’s visionary Dark Knight trilogy, audiences have waited for a singular, creative vision to highlight a DC character in much fulfilling ways, with only really Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman fitting that bill. In 2019, audiences shall finally experience an out of continuity solo exploration of one of DC’s most endearing and fascinating characters – the Joker. Todd Phillips’ Joker, produced by Martin Scorsese and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the clown prince, is quite possibly the most head-tilting, chin-rubbing, confusing move from DC in years. Not only does Joker sound like DC’s attempt to finally abort their cinematic universe mission, but it also sounds like an intriguing Arthouse character study film disguised by a blockbuster façade. With names like the legendary Scorsese attached to it and also Phoenix, who has been releasing hit performance after hit performance in last few years, Joker seemingly promises to be a provocative, new turn for DC, which, in all honesty, is needed to wash that bad taste of Jared Leto from our mouths.
#5 Toy Story 4
You know what, this film would be higher if it were not for the fact that I am so nervous going into it. If you ask me, the Toy Story trilogy is perfect. Alongside Richard Linklater’s (we meet again) Before trilogy, I believe the Toy Story films to be the most flawless trilogy ever committed to cinema. So, it goes without saying that Pixar’s decision to make a fourth film not only breaks that trilogy but threatens the whole series to be quite possibly imperfect. Here’s the rub, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 sit on 100% on Rotten Tomatoes whilst Toy Story 3 sits at 98%… if Toy Story 4 was to dip lower than 95%, I would consider it a failure and a disappointment. Now, a film should not entirely be judged on their Rotten Tomatoes score, but for an animated series to continue hitting such high praise with each entry is an astounding feat and to have the fourth film just be considered ‘good’ and not ‘great’ would be a saddening subject. Pixar have recently devoted a lot of time to sequels such as Finding Dory and Incredibles 2, both of which were good but not close enough to being as great as their predecessor. I fear that in this new ambiguous age of Pixar that Toy Story 4 could be added to the list of ‘alright’ Pixar sequels… and I really hope its not. The characters of Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang are sacred childhood characters who since 1995 have enriched and inspired children globally – like me. I’d love to see another adventure with the toys and cannot wait to see what Pixar have formulated for a new instalment… just please, let it be amazing.
#4 Spider-Man: Far From Home
The character of Spider-Man has been on a winning streak over the past year or so. Since his revival back at Marvel Studios with Tom Holland in the lead role, the web-slinger has garnered acclaim through animated features, video games and various team-ups with the notorious Avengers on the big screen. Spider-Man: Homecoming was one of my favourite films of 2017 and still stands as one of my favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe films to date. The choices made in Homecoming to separate it in style from previous on-screen Spider-Man adventures have refreshed the character and rejuvenated the name of Spidey for new and old fans of the comic book legend. Spider-Man: Far From Home promises to shake things up for young Peter Parker even more, undertaking the format of a backpackers, gap year, summer vacation styled European adventure that – if we’re all being real for a second – a lot of us young folk can relate to (Contiki anyone?). From Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man mentor to Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury mentor – from the Ramones’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ to the Ramones’ ‘I Want To Be Sedated’ – from the Iron-Spider suit and the Homemade suit to the Black suit and the SHIELD suit – from Laura Harrier’s Liz love interest to Zendaya’s MJ love interest – from Michael Keaton’s villainous Vulture to Jake Gyllenhaal’s somewhat heroic Mysterio – Far From Home sounds like the biggest upgrade to Spider-Man ever seen for a second installment… let’s just hope its more along the lines of Spider-Man 2 rather than The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro… ew…
In 2017, Jordan Peele showed the world he was not just the other half to the comedic output that was Key & Peele, but also a highly talented, extremely intelligent, layered and thought-provoking auteur writer and director with the incredible horror flick, Get Out. Not only was Get Out a game changer in terms of thrilling and bone-chilling filmmaking but also an insightful and introspective exploration of the Black experience in African-American culture. Get Out was one of the best directorial debuts of the 21st century, which then begs the question: can Peele confirm he didn’t just fluke Get Out by either matching or overthrowing his predecessor with his sophomore effort, Us? Applying a Twilight Zone appeal to his work, Peele’s upcoming feature, Us, has already found itself shrouded in mystery. With a cast including Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss and a recent trailer that has only added to the suspenseful uncertainty of this film’s narrative, Us is shaping up to be one of the most talked about films of 2019… and I’m talking about after it’s release. Like Get Out, I’m hoping Us shall be a film worthy of a year’s worth of avid discussion, leading all the way towards 2020 Oscar season.
#2 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
It’s always a massive event when Quentin Tarantino releases a new film. Quite possibly the only filmmaker who can garner such global attention in the vein of Marvel or Star Wars when they announce a new film, Tarantino’s features have continued to contain a sense of quality long since his arrival to cinema in the early 90’s. The thing that has continued to make Tarantino so enthralling and inviting to audiences is his unrequited, unapologetic love for cinema as an artform. Utilising constant allusions to past films like Westerns, samurai epics and noir based cinema, it’s only fitting that Tarantino’s newest film will finally devote itself to a Hollywood setting, exploring the crazy what-not of cinema’s 1960s past, revolving around the infamous Manson murders. Gaining quite possibly his greatest ensemble cast to date, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is set to feature faces as a big as Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino and Bruce Dern… I mean, what else do I have to say? This is gonna be freaking awesome! And if it’s not amazing, what’s the worse that could happen? Death Proof? Well, considering how Death Proof is only really a poor ‘Tarantino film’, its still a good film. How could a buddy flick featuring DiCaprio and Pitt not be the most endearing thing ever?
#1 Avengers: Endgame
You all knew Avengers had to be my endgame. Marvel Studios, for the last ten years, have delivered nothing but well-executed, heavily detailed and intricately engineered storytelling, incorporating 20 films into one enduring franchise that culminated in 2018’s epic, Avengers: Infinity War… or did it? No, it didn’t. The series continues with what appears to be a more intimate and personal conclusion to the inner storyline of the MCU’s original Avengers line-up. Fan favourites like Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye have seemingly been left to suitably ‘avenge’ their fallen friends, family and colleagues in Avengers: Endgame. Another 2019 film shrouded in mystery, and for good reason, I cannot wait to see how this decade of carefully orchestrated storytelling will culminate, officially. And sure, Marvel will continue releasing film after film until their popularity dies out, but for now, let us celebrate the genius which has been at play, carefully constructing one of the most remarkable film franchises in existence, as we edge closer and closer to the endgame that I think we all have been waiting to see unfold.
- Gerber, S 2019, Marvel Studios releases first official still from ‘Avengers: Endgame’, Modern Myth, Modern Myth Media LLC, viewed 22 January 2019, <https://marvelstudiosnews.com/2019/01/04/marvel-studios-releases-first-official-still-from-avengers-endgame/>