Best picks, hidden gems for 2019
Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part column.
There are a few absolutes for the next year in film: “Avengers: Endgame” and “Star Wars: Episode IX” will undoubtedly haul in boatloads of cash when released in April and December, respectively.
“Avengers” aside, there will be no shortage of superhero films at the box office (there are currently 11 slated). Disney is doubling down on the trend of remaking its animated library into (somewhat) live-action films, with three scheduled throughout the year.
But there’s still a lot to discover at the theater, with countless smaller, hidden gems waiting to be dusted off. I will list some of the expected heaviest hitters on the calendar, along with some of the more obscure offerings (let’s call them “small-ternatives”). Despite early prognostications, box office revenue for the year will finish at a record high, and theaters are determined to keep that swing upward. Let’s take a look at the films slated to assist them in that endeavor (dates subject to change).
- The New Mutants (Aug. 2) The next generation of X-Men (and women) are portrayed by some of the hottest young names in the business: Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy and Charlie Heaton star as the new mutants with a dark past.
- Hobbs And Shaw (Aug. 2) This “Fast and Furious” spinoff stars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as their standout characters from the franchise in this buddy-cop flick from action director David Leitch (“John Wick,” Atomic Blonde”).
- Artemis Fowl (Aug. 9) Kenneth Branagh, apparently inspired by his stint in the “Harry Potter” universe and directing the first “Thor” flick, takes on the popular fantasy book series that focuses on a young criminal mastermind who kidnaps a ferry.
- Small-ternative: Good Boys (Aug. 16) A group of kids nearing their teens embark on an epic quest to fix a broken toy before their parents get home. The film stars Jacob Tremblay (“Room,” “Wonder”), Molly Gordon (“Life of the Party”) and Tremblay’s “Wonder” co-star Millie Davis.
- It: Chapter Two (Sept. 6) Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader star as adult versions of the kids from the first film, who confront Pennywise the Clown (played by Bill Skarsgård) and attempt to take him down for good.
- Spies in Disguise (Sep. 13) A CGI-animated action-comedy featuring the voices of Will Smith, Tom Holland and Rashida Jones, from “Ice Age” animation studio Blue Sky.
- Small-ternative; Downton Abbey (Sept. 20) The hit UK period drama heads to the big screen, picking up with most of its original cast where the TV series left off when it ended its run in 2015.
- Zombieland 2 (TBD) A decade after its release, the whole band is reuniting (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) but their zombie foes has since evolved.
- Joker (Oct. 4) Joaquin Phoenix will attempt to erase the memory of Jared Leto’s take on the infamous criminal clown prince directed by Todd Phillips, who gave us the “Hangover” series (?).
- The Addams Family (2019) The famed Charles Addams cartoon get an animated treatment, with Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Allison Janney lending their vocals. The directors of “Sausage Party” stay close to the original’s style.
- You Are My Friend (Oct. 18) Hot off the heels of 2018’s documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” Tom Hanks stars as Fred Rogers is this adaptation the children’s show icon’s life.
- Small-ternative: Gemini Man (Oct. 4) Ang Lee directs Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Clive Owen in this sci-fi thriller in which an assassin must face a younger version of himself.
- Margie Claus (Nov. 15) Santa goes missing and it’s up to Mrs. Claus (played by Melissa McCarthy) to save Christmas.
- Frozen 2 (Nov. 27) There’s no way Disney would “let it go” after the smashing success of the animated musical years ago. The original cast and directors app return to make magic in the snow once again.
- Small-ternative: Knives Out (Nov. 27) Rian Johnson take a step away from big-budget sci-fi (after “The Last Jedi”) and goes back to his crime-thriller roots with the help of Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon and Christopher Plummer.
- Jumanji Sequel (Dec. 13) The 2017 re-boot was a runaway hit (for some reason, so Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart are all back to the jungle once again for this as-yet-unnamed follow up.
- Star Wars: Episode IX (Dec. 20) J.J. Abrams steps back in to direct the concluding episode to the series, which is said to take place a year after “Jedi” left off.
- Cats (Dec. 20) Based on the fourth-longest-running musical of all time, this film adaptation stars Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Ian Mckellan, Idris Elba and Dame Judi Dench (among others), but will it create its own new Memories, or will it be the burned out ends of smoky days?
- Small-ternative: Little Women (Dec. 25) Greta Gerwig directs the eighth adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel (including one released in September of 2018), with Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet and Laura Dern starring.