Now that the Best/Worst of 2018 lists are slowly running out, let’s focus on what 2019 has in store for us. Quite a few great, renowned directors are releasing a new feature in the year to come.
Some of them are coming back after years of silence, while others have only just released their previous film; some are on a winning streak, others have to step up their game after some mediocre endeavors, all of them are generating high expectations among film fans. If you’re curious to know which movies you’ll definitely want to see in 2019, here’s the list you’re looking for. The films are arranged in chronological order of release.
1. High Flying Bird & The Laundromat – Steven Soderbergh (Netflix)
Soderbergh’s career started off with a bang thirty years ago, when he took the Palme d’Or in Cannes with his intriguing debut Sex, Lies & Videotapes. Since then Soderbergh has taken on more mainstream material with rather mixed success, always preserving however his status as a trustworthy and undeniably skillful director of thrillers.
After the deserving yet hardly memorable 2017’s Logan Lucky and 2018’s Unsane, 2019 will see another two films by Soderbergh, both of them Netflix productions. The first one is High Flying Bird, written by the Oscar-winning Moonlight-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney, focusing on a sports agent who needs the help of an aspiring basketball player to implement a new profit model in the NBA, that’s on the verge of bankruptcy.
In the second production, The Laundromat, a group of journalists discover the links between some of the world’s most powerful political figures and a massive network of fake banking accounts in foreign tax havens. To portray these people behind the so-called Panama papers Soderbergh can count on an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman.
Both scripts certainly seem to offer potential for Soderbergh to pick up the flashing dialogue and exciting action of Traffic and Ocean’s Eleven.
U.S. release date for High Flying Bird: February 8th 2019 // U.S. release date for The Laundromat: 2019 (exact date currently unknown)
2. Us – Jordan Peele
It’s crazy to realize that Us will only be Jordan Peele’s second feature as a director. After the overwhelming buzz and acclaim for his satirical horror debut Get Out, Peele has become one of the most followed directors in the world.
Get Out’s razor sharp analysis of modern day racism, variously hilarious, disturbing and brutally violent, has certainly set the bar high for Us, his sophomore film starring up-and-coming actress Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther, 12 Years A Slave) and everyone’s favorite handmaid Elisabeth Moss.
Us tells the story of a family spending the holidays with a friendly family at their beach house, when some highly uninvited visitors show up and turn what was supposed to be a calm, peaceful trip into a bloody nightmare.
Peele, before Get Out mostly known as a comedy actor and writer, will be exploring the horror genre with great enthusiasm again, as the ominous scissors, the high pitched threatening music and the scary kids in the trailer and the poster abundantly tell us. Having seen Get Out and knowing from the trailer that the two families are respectively black and white, we wouldn’t be surprised to find some serious social satire in it too.
In short, Us promises to offer everything that was great about Get Out, and maybe even more.
U.S. release date: March 21st 2019
3. The Beach Bum – Harmony Korine
Back in 2012 Harmony Korine lured thousands of blissfully unaware teenagers into the cinema theatre with his Disney starlet cast of Springbreakers, just to offer them an anything but Disney fairytale of sex, neon light and violence. It has been seven years since then and apart from a Dior-commercial and a very Koriney music video for Rihanna’s Needed Me, Korine stayed awfully quiet. In 2019, his seven lean years will come to an end with the release of ‘The Beach Bum’.
As the title suggests, the movie depicts the life of a slacker who does little more than hanging around at the beach all the time, living life by his own rules. The title role will be played by Matthew McConaughey, who will be going back to his Dazed and Confused-era, wearing the most ridiculous outfits and uttering the most nonsensical one liners.
According to the trailer there will also be a sufficient portion of Snoop Dogg, snakes, boats, Zac Efron, nudity and drugs; basically anything one would expect from a new Harmony Korine movie actually.
U.S. release date: March 22nd 2019
4. Dolor y Gloria – Pedro Almodóvar
The hyper-productive Pedro Almodóvar basically took no break from filming since his debut in 1978. The legendary Spanish director is teaming up again with two of his favorite actors Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas for Dolor y Gloria, a portrayal of a director of age looking back at his past, making up the balance of his professional and personal life.
By depicting the pain and glory in the life of an older director, Almodóvar undeniably draws inspiration from the impressive tradition of films depicting director’s emotional quarrels, such as Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz, and more recently Orson Welles’s posthumous The Other Side of the Wind. These masterpieces have proven time and again that if great directors make films about great directors, this simply results in great cinema.
Spain release date: March 22nd 2019 (U.S. release date currently unknown)
5. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Richard Linklater
Things have been quite underwhelming for Richard Linklater during the last five years. Since his 2014 coming-of-age epic Boyhood, almost unanimously loved by critics (though arguably a lot more divisive among audiences), Linklater has directed two features, none of them causing a lot of stir. In spite of the overwhelming success of Boyhood, critics, distributors and audiences seemed not too excited about both his Dazed and Confused follow-up Everybody Wants Some!! and his veteran drama Last Flag Flying.
In 2019 Linklater may find himself back on track again with Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, a film about a 15-year old girl desperately looking for her disappeared mother, a woman suffering from anxiety and depression.
The part comedy-part drama story about young people, their family and the love between them sounds like 100% Linklater and could turn out to be the next big thing in his career, especially since the role of the mother is in the secure hands of the ever-astonishing Cate Blanchett.
U.S. release date: May 23rd 2019