Our 19 Most Anticipated Movies for the Rest of 2019

We polled our team to see which movies we're most excited about for the remainder of 2019. The results are both expected and surprising.

Anticipated Movies End Of

It wasn’t too long ago that a given year’s film releases were grouped fairly rigidly by the season. Blockbusters occupied the summer, award hopefuls spread their wings in the late fall/winter, and the movies studios were embarrassed to release snuck in and out of theaters each February. All of that’s changed now, for the most part, as the whole concept of entertainment seasons has begun to recede. (Just don’t tell the TV networks.)

That’s a long-winded way of saying that the movies heading our way through the remaining fall and winter of 2019 don’t all fit in the same box — and most of them have zero intentions of angling for awards.

We polled our entire team — a fairly diverse group in age, geography, and tastes — to see what movies they’re most excited about seeing from now through the end of December, and the 19 films below received the most votes. It’s a fairly diverse list filled with picks both obvious and unlikely, and it offers up an interesting picture of what’s to come. The last quarter of 2019 has something to offer every taste, and these just might be the best of the bunch.

Red Dots

19. Queen & Slim

Queen And Slim

The “Bonnie & Clyde” trope frequently recurs throughout pop culture, but we’re extra stoked to see Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas put their timely spin on it. Queen & Slim represents a landmark creative collaboration for both women, marking their feature film debuts as scribe and director, respectively. The film is set to combine the striking honesty of Waithe’s writing with Matsoukas’ emotionally-driven images. But most importantly, the “protest art” of Queen & Slim tells a sweeping, sensitive love story for its African-American protagonists; one that values the power of human connection despite the brutality, trauma, and tragedy that surrounds them. (Sheryl Oh)


18. Zombieland: Double Tap

Zombieland

From Us to Gemini Man, 2019 is proving itself to be the year of doppelgangers: enter Zombieland: Double Tap, yet another to fall into this category. The sequel not only offers a reunion of the fantastic cast from Zombieland, but also introduces an entirely new double-take cast featuring Zoe Deutch and Luke Wilson. We’re hoping for more zombie hilarity, Twinkie hunts, and another Bill Murray cameo — the cast list hints at the potential of Dan Aykroyd’s appearance as well. Double Tap’s trailer opens with White House shenanigans, reminiscent of the Zombieland “Oh, America” opening, so perhaps some zombie political commentary is also in store to close out 2019. (Fletcher Peters)


17. Waves

Waves

The meteoric rise of director Trey Edward Shults continues with Waves, a sprawling family drama set against the glorious Florida coastline that promises to pack a stylish wallop of love and tragedy. Festival hype has prepared us for game-changing work from young breakthroughs Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Taylor Russell as well as acclaimed stars Sterling K. Brown and Lucas Hedges. Most exciting to this writer is what this movie will mean for Shults’ ever-changing style. With Waves, Shults continues his focus on dark and formalist stories of family, but here he abandons his trademarks of single locations and small casts for an ensemble-led journey that runs 45 minutes longer than his previous two features. (Fernando Andrés)


16. Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator Dark Fate

James Cameron is back (producing). Linda Hamilton is back. Arnold is back. Deadpool director Tim Miller is in. As I typed that, I was thinking about the fact that I may have said this about previous Terminator sequels — I’m thinking about Genisys and Salvation here — but I think I might be excited about the next Terminator movie. It’s time to find out whether or not this franchise can re-capture the magic or if I am going to realize, once and for all, that I’m in an abusive relationship with a sci-fi franchise from the 80s that has potentially overstayed its welcome almost four decades later. But, Linda Hamilton! (Neil Miller)


15. Rambo: Last Blood

Rambo Last Blood

Look, either you’re on board for the kind of carnage-fueled beast that John Rambo has become or you’re not. There’s no right answer here, but for those of us who enjoy the occasional over-the-top action romp 2008’s Rambo remains a highly entertaining blast of bloody mayhem. While new chapters in Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky (1976) franchise have embraced nuance and character, his return to Rambo’s world has been a steady shift as far away from First Blood (1982) as possible. His latest, and if the title is to be believed, his last foray as Rambo looks to be channeling a more somber tone likely inspired by the likes of Logan (2017) as the warrior finally returns home only to forced into one last fight. Mexican cartels are the enemy here so expect lots of preemptive criticism — that it may ultimately earn — but having not seen it yet I’ll be doing the irresponsible thing and reserving judgement until I have. Director Adrian Grunberg’s Get the Gringo (2012) is a solid action flick that leans darkly humorous, so it will be interesting to see how he handles a more straightforward action experience. (Rob Hunter)


14. Gemini Man

Gemini Man

Listen up: Ang Lee is one of the most accomplished and eclectic auteurs working in Hollywood and when he puts something new out you best pay attention. Recently, Lee’s work has consisted of a string of films built around audacious technical experiments and he’s back at it again with Gemini Man, attempting to conquer the as-of-yet unconquered uncanny valley. That’s right: younger Will Smith is not the result of de-aging tech. That is a fully CGI human character. Oh, and the 120 frames per second from Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is back. Gemini Man may very well be a technical landmark, here’s hoping it’s got a story to match. (Meg Shields)


13. Black Christmas

Black Christmas

I was unmoved and disinterested upon first hearing about the upcoming remake of Bob Clark’s classic 1974 original because the 2006 remake is a colorful turd, but then I watched half of the film’s trailer. Half, because it gives away far too much, unfortunately, but also because that’s all it took to convince me this was going to be something more than a mere rehash of a sorority house terrorized by a killer living inside their house. This iteration looks to take the basic premise and then shift it into a hopefully thrilling commentary on male entitlement and sisterhood, and if that means we end up with half a dozen “final girls” instead of one then I’m all for it. Also worth noting? The film’s IMDB page doesn’t mention or credit Clark’s original at all. Make of that what you will, but in the meantime, I’ll be over here giddy af about a new slice of Christmas horror. (Rob Hunter)


12. The Lodge

Riley Keough In The Lodge

After their shocking 2015 debut film Goodnight Mommy, directing duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are back with their next horror feature, The Lodge, which seems to be reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Riley Keough stars as a soon-to-be-stepmom who is tasked with taking care of her fiance’s kids for a few days in a remote mountain cabin. What sounds like a perfect bonding opportunity turns into a nightmare for the three of them as an unseen evil begins creeping in during a blizzard. Just looking at their two feature films, Franz and Fiala seem to love a story about a mother-figure and her kids getting trapped together in a claustrophobic space as hell breaks loose. It proved effective, yet divisive, for Goodnight Mommy, so hopefully it works just as well for The Lodge. (Mary Beth McAndrews)


11. The Irishman

The Irishman

Do you remember the first time you saw Heat? Robert De Niro and Al Pacino sharing the screen in one movie!?!?!? The anxious anticipatory energy around that pairing reached critical levels of desire for this film fan, and Michael Mann delivered in spades. There’s nothing like your first time, and the two actors would go on to star opposite each other in a variety of questionable projects best left unmentioned. But here they are back again in The Irishman, and they’re dragging Joe Pesci out of retirement to boot. Cool, cool, cool. Then toss Martin Scorsese behind the camera directing a true-crime saga centered around one of the great American underworld mysteries. Forget about it. You can choose to concern yourself with the de-aging technology or not. I don’t care. This crew of artists equals an essential watch no matter the uncanny valley. (Brad Gullickson)


10. Cats

Cat

Is Cats on this list because we’re all collectively doing a bit or because some of us are earnestly excited for it? Who knows! The point isn’t whether or not the movie will be “good,” it’s that Cats is going to be a bonkers experience that none of us are truly prepared for. Tom Hooper, the reigning king of poorly adapted musicals released on Christmas, is back to unleash his overwrought closeups in all their digital fur glory. Cats will surely be grotesque and likely terrible, but if it’s as bananas as the trailer promises, it’s a movie not to be missed. (Anna Swanson)


9. Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems

The Safdie brothers blew audiences away in 2017 with their jaw-dropping thriller Good Time, a gritty New York crime thriller that never stops nor apologizes for its unrelenting transgressions. Now the directors are prepared to deliver a powerful 1-2 combo with their latest New York-based film, Uncut Gems. Starring Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems is an anxiety-inducing adrenaline rush featuring what some are saying is Sandler’s best performance since Punch-Drunk Love. With critical acclaim at both Telluride and the Toronto International Film Festival, Uncut Gems is a diamond that will surely be at the top of audiences watch-list. (Carl Broughton)


8. Parasite

Parasite

The seventh feature film from Bong Joon-ho (SnowpiercerOkja) has been a force to be reckoned with during this year’s festival circuit; beginning with a landmark Palme d’Or win at Cannes, Parasite has been garnering near-unanimous praise at every screening since, and was even billed as the South Korean filmmaker’s magnum opus by our own Luke Hicks. Without giving too much away, the film follows a low-income family in their attempt to con a wealthy family through a mysterious, symbiotic bond, and as such is shaping up to be another thrilling take-down of class inequality from a writer/director at the top of his game. That alone is enough to get us excited for when the film goes into wide release in early October, and for its inevitable Oscars sweep if there’s any sense left in this world. (Christina Smith)


7. Little Women

Little Women

Director Greta Gerwig (the official mayor of film twitter) has teamed up once again with Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet for this years’ Little Women. An adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s timeless novel about young women, their dreams, and their decisions, Gerwig’s take is very exciting for a couple reasons. Beyond her Lady Bird collaborators Ronan and Chalamet, she’s enlisted breakouts Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen, as well as some true acting royalty in the form of Laura Dern and Meryl Streep. Gerwig has also proven her ability to invest in the interior lives of young women, and brings levity and humor to everything she touches. This film is sure to bring Little Women from high school reading lists into cinephiles’ hearts everywhere. (Margaret Pereira)


6. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Rise Of Skywalker

It’s the social event of the season! Lightsabers will clash, Emperors will cackle, and droids will bleep as the Skywalker saga ends with The Rise of Skywalker. George Lucas maintained for a while that the Star Wars series spanned nine movies, and now he gets his wish. But what will be the shocking event in the final chapter? The little bits of footage that have made it out confirm the return of not only the Knights of Ren but also evil architect Emperor Palpatine, and we have flying stormtroopers, red stormtroopers, a galaxy full of old Star Destroyers and the unlikely possibility that Rey will swap to the dark side. Of course that is likely a baloney vision or some sort of possession trick, but nevertheless it looks like J.J. Abrams might deliver a cracking end to the series. The possibilities are endless, with rumors of Hayden Christensen returning as Anakin/Vader, and a question of whether Abrams will look to previous discarded concepts, such as the original ending of Return of the Jedi where Yoda and Obi-Wan returned from the netherworld to fight the Emperor. Only now, at the end, do you understand. Or something. (Charlie Brigden)


5. Knives Out

Knives Out

The Agatha Christie mystery formula of gathering all of the suspects into one place so a genius detective can play mind games before cracking the case remains a favorite of mine, and my love for the structure carries over into humorous riffs on the idea too. Rian Johnson’s (Looper, 2012) latest sets up this exact premise built around an eclectic cast of characters brought to life by one hell of a cast including Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Christopher Plummer, LaKeith Stanfield, Don Johnson, and more. The combination of talents here promises something special, and even if the mystery itself ends up being fairly familiar the laughs look to be more than enough. (Rob Hunter)


4. The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

In 2015, Robert Eggers exploded onto everyone’s radar with his Sundance sensation The Witch. This year, he’s proving that he’s far from a one-hit-wonder with the Cannes-premiering The Lighthouse. Pairing two of the most adored art-house actors in recent years, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, is already brilliant on its own, but the film’s claustrophobic setting and aspect ratio, beautiful black-and-white cinematography, and thriller-drama aspirations suggest something even bolder and braver could be hitting theaters this fall. A two-hander is always risky, but box-office star Pattinson and four-time Oscar nominee Dafoe have already earned some of the best reviews of their entire careers for their portrayals of two men pushed to the edge. (Cyrus Cohen)


3. Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep Featured

Mike Flanagan has given us seven astounding works of horror over the last seven years through a commitment to classical hallmarks of the genre, best exemplified in his The Haunting of Hill House series. With Doctor Sleep his eighth work in eight years – and second pairing with Stephen King after Gerald’s Game – he continues exploring his love for high-concept supernatural horror, dripping in that blue-collar realism that could only come from King. What to watch for in this sequel to The Shining though will be all of the visual references to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film, which is infamous for being a wild departure from the story that King wrote. But Doctor Sleep is the sequel to King’s original novel, not Kubrick’s film, so how these two diametrically different versions of The Shining coalesce in Doctor Sleep will be a fascinating balancing act to watch. And if there is anyone that can pull that off: it’s Mike Flanagan. (Jacob Trussell)


2. Ad Astra

Brad Astra

Director James Gray wants to show us the cold hostility of space and, like most good sci-fi, the survival of the human race is at stake. Not unlike Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (2014), the relationship between scientist/space explorer father and child seems to be the crux of this sci-fi flick, but the dramatic heart of the film doesn’t mean there won’t be action — it looks like there will also be space pirates, explosions, and intergalactic exploration. Fans (including most of us) are already hungry for more Brad Pitt after his acclaimed performance this summer in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s backed up here by a stacked cast including Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland, and Ruth Negga. (Sam Olthof)


1. Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit Forest

Taika Waititi is one of the most original voices in contemporary comedy, so Jojo Rabbit is worth seeing for that reason alone. However, this movie is also set during World War II, and the story follows a little German boy whose imaginary friend is none other than Adolf Hitler. In lesser hands, a movie like this could be unfunny Nazisploitation that’s out to shock and offend. But Waititi’s track record of making movies that promote love and friendship guarantees that Jojo Rabbit will be a beautiful story, despite its controversial subject matter. The movie has already scared Disney executives, which makes supporting this movie even more important. If this film doesn’t make money, Disney will be less enthusiastic about releasing other projects that venture off the beaten path. (Kieran Fisher)


Honorable mentions: Dolemite Is My Name (10/4), Joker (10/4), Lucy in the Sky (10/4), El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (10/11), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (10/18), Charlie’s Angels (11/15), Little Monsters (11/15), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (11/22), Frozen II (11/22), Atlantique (11/29), Daniel Isn’t Real (12/6), Marriage Story (12/6), Portrait of a Lady on Fire (12/6), Clemency (12/27)

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