Top 10 Most Anticipated 2019 Releases

Around this time, many critics would push out their best of the year lists. I’ve generally grown to dislike the idea. It’s nearly impossible to see every movie one has interest in within 365 days. Therefore, movies people might have interest in or were unable to see get snubbed. It makes these lists feel incomplete and hollow.

Instead, I felt it would be best to look at 2019, and look at what films I’m most anticipated for. It was a hard list to make, and a lot of sacrifices were done. But this is what I decided upon.

Honorable Mentions


Image courtesy of Universal Pictures/Blumhouse

The follow-up to 2017’s Split, a stealth sequel to 2000’s Unbreakable, this thriller has plenty for fans of Shyamalan’s work. Not just in the crossover, but in action and suspense. It looks chilling, exciting and captivating. It should hopefully continue the hit streak the famed director has with movie studio Blumhouse. Glass releases January 18.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures/Dreamworks Animation

The How to Train Your Dragon series is up there as some of the best modern animation has to offer. Its visuals are breathtaking, while the stories and characters are emotional and powerful. It’s truly some of the best Dreamworks Animation has created in its long history. And with The Hidden World, the trilogy ends with a potential bang. Gorgeous visuals, a new romance with dragon Toothless, a more ruthless antagonist. It seems to have just about everything for fans, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends. This is already playing in Australia and New Zealand and will open in the U.S. on February 22.

Captain Marvel

Image courtesy of Disney/Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will see both the final Avengers movie and a new Spider-Man adventure. But for me, the most interesting film in this year’s line-up is Captain Marvel. Featuring Anne Boden and Ryan Fleck as directors, the film seems to be offering the freshest aspects out of all three movies. Both the intergalactic visuals and the 1990s setting gives the film a breath of fresh air from other Marvel movies. Meanwhile, Carol Danvers, portrayed by Brie Larson, seems intriguing. We know little about her character so far, which should hopefully lead to some real surprises. It’s also nice to see a solo-led MCU film with a woman at the helm. Ant-Man and the Wasp was enjoyable enough, but sorely needed more Wasp action. Hopefully this delivers. This opens March 8.

#10: Rocketman

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

After the massive success of Bohemian Rhapsody (read my review), movie studios are quite eager to capitalize on musician biopics. This Elton John film is no different. Not only does it have Dexter Fletcher as director, who got hired last minute for the Freddie Mercury film, but also Kingsman star Taron Egerton. Judging by the initial teaser, the film will go for a more musical direction, with bombastic choreographed numbers. It’s a sharp contrast from Bohemian, as that film went with just concerts. Hopefully this creative decision pays off and the movie is more entertaining, more interesting and more compelling than the Queen film released last year. The film will release May 31.

#9 Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Image courtesy of Sony/Columbia Pictures

Quinton Tarantino’s next film is an interesting one. Not only is it based on the real-life Manson murders, but it’s the first film away from Harvey Weinstein as a distributor and producer.

While its creative team is strong, and the cast is impressive, from DiCaprio to Pitt to Robbie, I do have some concerns. Tarantino’s work is known for being gruesome and violent. But all of his stories were fictional. He’s diving into real life stories, and I’m nervous the film will perhaps be too tasteless or too exploitative towards these horrible true events. Again, there’s plenty to be excited over, but I’m still in a “wait and see” kind of emotional state right now. But I have enough trust in Tarantino that it’s still in my top 10. Hollywood opens on July 26.

#8 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Image courtesy of Sony/Columbia Pictures

Tom Hanks is Mister Rogers. If that doesn’t sell you on the movie, how about the great Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) as a director? This seems destined to be a strong crowdpleaser and hopefully delivers good insight on Fred Rogers as a figure. Not really much else to say, but all the pieces are there for something really special. It opens October 19.

#7 Ford v Ferrari

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

James Mangold as a director is already enticing, but featuring both Christian Bale and Matt Damon in a story about the rivalry between the leading car company Ford and the Italian sportscar Ferrari makes it even more interesting. Just seems like one of those high-quality star-studded big-budget dramas we rarely see nowadays. With Mangold fresh off the success of 2017’s Logan, it’ll be exciting to see what he has in store. This opens June 29.

#6 Queen & Slim

Photo by Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA/REX/Shutterstock (9665137qs)

A love story between Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, there’s a real strong director and writer here. The script is penned by Lena Waithe, best known for her work as a writer and actor on Netflix’s Master of None. Melina Matsoukas makes her directorial film debut, working on episodes of Insecure and several of the visuals in Beyonce’s Lemonade. There’s very little else known about the project, but everything seems very enticing, and should hopefully lead to something very special. This opens November 27.

#5 Little Women

Image courtesy of Sony/Columbia Pictures

Greta Gerwig saw great success as a director with the release of 2017’s Lady Bird. Now her next feature is an adaptation of the famous Louisa May Alcott novel. If that wasn’t already exciting, this adaptation promises a star-studded cast that rivals the Katherine Hepburn 1933 classic. Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, Timothee Chalamet, Bob Odenkirk and Chris Cooper. If that doesn’t excite you, what will? The movie opens on Christmas Day.

#4 Knives Out

Image courtesy of Deadline

Rian Johnson’s name has come to be a touch divisive amongst the Star Wars community after the release of The Last Jedi. But with his next feature, there is so much to like. It’s a modern-day whodunit mystery, which like Little Women has a stellar cast of actors. Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Colette and Christopher Plummer.

Outside of the basic concept and actors, we have little idea what the movie will be like. But it’s still exciting to see what this new edition to Johnson’s filmography has to offer. Get ready for this on November 27

#3 Native Son

Image courtesy of A24

Opening in a couple of weeks at Sundance, there’s plenty to be intrigued over with this adaptation of the famous Richard Wright novel. The directorial debut of artist Rashid Johnson, the original novel is a touch divisive in its depiction of main character Bigger Thomas, as well as its themes of racial division. Even famed black authors like James Baldwin have voiced concerns over the original novel. But there’s still plenty of prestige and importance to this novel in the literary world, and I’m always excited to see what a first-time director has to offer. Helps that it features Ashton Sanders from Moonlight as the lead actor. He certainly deserves more work, so hopefully this will lead to great things at the Oscars and in his future career. An official release date has not been set.

#2 Us

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures/Blumhouse

Jordan Peele’s Get Out was masterful, with some of the most biting racial commentary seen in mainstream cinema in decades. Us is going for more straightforward horror, but it still looks fantastic. The doppelganger premise is effective, and the scares here look chilling. Alongside a bigger budget, it’ll be interesting to see what the scale will be compared to Get Out. It’s definitely a film to watch out for when it opens March 22, after premiering at SXSW on March 8.

#1 Jojo Rabbit

Image courtesy of Fox Searchlight

World War II stories are a dime a dozen. But what makes this film so interesting is its director and actor Taika Waititi. His most famous work consists of Flight of the Conchords and Thor: Ragnarok. With Jojo Rabbit, one should expect a lot of the same comedy here. But what truly seals the deal is having Waititi play an ethically inaccurate version of Adolf Hitler. Yes really.

Many may scoff at the idea, but not only does it work in context (it’s an imaginary friend to the main character, a 10-year old boy), but Waititi best explained it on his Twitter. Mentioning his decision, he states, “What better way to insult Hitler than by having him portrayed by a Polynesian Jew?”

Of course, while insulting Hitler’s always a good time, there’s plenty more to be excited. The rest of the cast, including Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell, are great, and the film promises to have plenty of dark comedy and hold relevance to modern day events. With all this and more, Jojo Rabbit seems like the most intriguing and most compelling movie of 2019. A release date is to be determined.