The 52 Most Anticipated Movies of 2019

The most anticipated movies of 2019 include new films from Jordan Peele, Kelly Reichardt, Rian Johnson, Dee Rees, Stephen King, Lena Waithe, Martin Scorsese, and many more.

Most Anticipated Movies

Joker

43. Joker (10/4)

Do we really need another movie about the Joker? No, not any more than we need another movie about Abraham Lincoln or Santa Claus. But then they cast Daniel Day-Lewis as the former or Kurt Russell as the latter or, now, Joaquin Phoenix as Batman’s most iconic foe and, okay, yeah, that’s something you’ve got to see. Joker isn’t going to be overkill the way another Spider-Man movie where he fights Green Goblin is overkill. The Joker is always about the portrayals from incredible, Oscar-caliber actors, like Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, who posthumously won for his performance as the comic book villain. Now it’s Phoenix’s turn, and the movie itself — a gritty early ’80s-set origin story inspired by Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy — could be terrible. Co-stars Robert De Niro and Zazie Beetz could be just fine. Director Todd Philipps (The Hangover) could be totally out of his element. Bradley Cooper producing this as his A Star is Born follow-up could be a mistake. But Phoenix will offer something to appreciate, no question. He’s never not been worth watching. And here he is making us excited for yet another movie about the Joker. – Christopher Campbell

42. Under the Silver Lake (4/19)

David Robert Mitchell‘s It Follows struck a chord with genre audiences looking for something different, and it remains a compelling tale of personal horror even after multiple re-watches. Just as he moved from teen drama to horror with his first two films, Mitchell’s third sees him shift once again into a new direction with a modern-day noir that layers familiar tropes in beautiful ways. The result is an absurdly funny and sad tale about the things we think we need no matter the cost to ourselves or others. Andrew Garfield is pitch perfect as a young man on a desperate search for a missing woman, and he needs to be in more movies requiring comical reaction shots because his are perfection. If the film feels big, sprawling, and messy that’s by design as the Los Angeles explored by our “hero” is as messed up as he is. It’s a beautiful, mesmerizing, and very funny watch, and I’m excited for more people to go down its particular rabbit hole. – Rob Hunter

41. The Kitchen (9/20)

Widows round two. Screenwriter Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton, World Trade Center) makes her directorial debut with a crime drama about the wives of New York gangsters who take on the family business once their husbands are locked up. That’s only a moderately enticing pitch for a film, but when you learn that Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss, and Tiffany Haddish comprise the leading trio, it becomes one of 2019’s most exciting projects and one of Hollywood’s most unconventional approaches to crime. Domhnall Gleeson, Common, Margo Martindale, Bill Camp, and Brian D’Arcy James make it that much more appetizing. – Luke Hicks

40. Rafiki (TBA)

Give us the Afrobubblegum! Happy LGBTQ stories need to have a more prominent presence in cinematic canon, in general. Thankfully, Wanuri Kahiu‘s triumphant latest feature will definitely help make that happen. Everything from the vibrancy of Rafiki’s promotional stills to the film’s excellent soundtrack (full of female artists and playable on Spotify) screams an aesthetic wonderland. This makes Rafiki’s coming-of-age story of two girls falling in love all the more magnetic, effervescent, and vital. – Sheryl

39. Gemini Man (10/4)

Ang Lee rarely does us wrong. Because Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk proved to be a dud, we’re due for something interesting at least. Cerebral sci-fi almost always has that to offer. One of Will Smith’s passion projects, this thriller boasts an all-star production team (including Jerry Bruckheimer) that is sure to capitalize on the concept of two Will Smiths. – Luke

38. Ford v. Ferrari (6/28)

James Mangold does no wrong as a filmmaker, whether he’s making a Western, rom-com, or superhero flick. Returning to the world of bio-pics especially seems like a no-brainer for him, seeing as his Johnny Cash outing Walk the Line made so many waves. Mangold has such a flair for drawing intensely wonderful performances from all his actors that he suits the biographical genre well. There’s no doubt that Christian Bale and Matt Damon are in confident hands. – Sheryl

37. The Last Thing He Wanted (TBA)

The Last Thing He Wanted, based on Joan Didion‘s novel about an 80’s journalist who gives up covering the Presidential primaries to look after her terminally ill father, doesn’t exactly sound like the most interesting tale, but there has to be something in there for director Dee Rees to make this her follow-up to the phenomenal Mudbound, right? Well it turns out papa (Willem Dafoe) was an arms dealer, so his devoted daughter (Anne Hathaway) has to negotiate her way around military secrets and certain Central American countries while being investigated by a spook (Ben Affleck) who of course falls for her. It actually sounds badass, no? – Charlie

36. Benedetta (TBA)

Despite hyper-violent forays into science fiction and horror laced with man-eating arachnids, a cyborg with an identity crisis, and Michael Douglas going clubbing in a woolly jumper, Christianity has always been a subject close to Paul Verhoeven‘s heart. So after writing a book deconstructing Jesus and his myths the director has churned out Benedetta, a biographical drama based on the 17th-century nun Benedetta Carlini. If you’re wondering how much of a Verhoeven picture this will be, just know that it’s based on Judith C. Brown’s 1986 biography Immodest Acts – The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy, so yes, this is a Paul Verhoeven film about a girl in a convent that got up to queer things 600 years ago. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, it stars the excellent Virginie Efira – who had a small role in Elle – and Charlotte Rampling. And if you want a further idea, well, just have a search for the NSFW teaser poster. – Charlie

35. Triple Threat (TBA)

What do you do when you can barely name the last direct-to-video martial arts movie you watched? You turn to action maestro Ed Travis of Cinapse fame and let him roam free. “Handily my most anticipated film of 2019,” Travis writes, “Triple Threat promises to cash the check that none of the Expendables films ever quite did. Assembling several of the most exciting international action stars on the planet and putting them in the hands of director Jesse V. Johnson – who’s on a killer hot streak with Savage Dog, Accident Man, and The Debt Collector before this – Triple Threat is simply poised to be the action film to beat in 2019. Headlining are Thailand’s Tony Jaa, Indonesia’s Iko Uwais, and China’s Tiger Chen; backing them up are such modern action luminaries as Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite himself), and JeeJa Yanin, the female face of the Thai action scene right now. I don’t know anything about the plot, and frankly I don’t care. This is Event Cinema™️ for actionites.” – Matthew

34. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (8/9)

As a kid who grew up watching scary movies like they were Saturday morning cartoons, I had a pretty high tolerance for frightening content. That being said, absolutely nothing scared me more than Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the series of “children’s” books that came complete with their own uniquely traumatizing illustrations and were upsettingly shelved in the nonfiction section of the library (they’re based on folk tales and urban legends). At my elementary school, these stories of murderers, monsters, ghouls, and even a possessed scarecrow were traded like black market currency. Now they’re set to be adapted for the big screen, with Guillermo del Toro writing and producing and The Autopsy of Jane Doe filmmaker André Øvredal directing. I have goosebumps already. – Val Ettenhofer

33. Queen & Slim (11/27)

Starring Get Out, Black Panther, and Widows star Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, the film sees a first date go terribly wrong after a misunderstanding with a police officer results in them killing him in self-defense. Just reading that is enough to entice most people, but when you read that Lena Waithe wrote the script and that it’s Melina Matsoukas‘ film debut, you can’t help but be hyped. – Carl Broughton


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