The year has hardly started and you've probably still got a backlog of Oscar contenders you're working your way through. But Hollywood has huge things in store for 2019. Here are just some of the movies we're most excited about.
Cold Pursuit, Feb. 8
There are two ways this post-Taken run of Liam Neeson-kicks-ass flicks finally ends: with box office failure or the bang of a snowplow annihilating drug dealers' trucks. Cold Pursuit argues for the latter as Neeson plays a rural road-clearer out for revenge in this remake of a 2014 Norwegian crime film. It looks gloriously ridiculous yet also like a statement on grief and the opioid crisis. Entertaining failure at worst. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER.
Chaos Walking, March 1
This film is based on a popular young adult science-fiction series, and truth be told, I haven't read the books, so I can't recommend it on those grounds. I will, however, take the word of Charlie Kaufman, who saw enough potential to turn it into his first screenplay since 2015's quirky, animated drama Anomalisa. MITCH MILLER.
Triple Frontier, March 15
J.C. Chandor is three for three at making good films about men scrapping for preservation as society crumbles around them (Margin Call, All Is Lost, A Most Violent Year). He's aiming higher than ever in this Netflix ensemble piece starring Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam and Oscar Isaac. Black ops soldiers going rogue for drug money is a stock premise, sure, but the presence of Chandor suggests some fascinating realism. CSP.
Us, March 15
Before we were even done talking about Get Out, the gift of a trailer for Jordan Peele's next psychological horror film arrived on Christmas. Starring Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss, the story centers on a family facing a terrorizing presence: alternate, murderous versions of themselves. LAUREN YOSHIKO.
High Life, April 12
French director Claire Denis has been considered a topflight filmmaker by arthouse fans for 30 years, and her reputation is poised to pick up steam in the U.S. with High Life. This twisted deep-space thriller centers on a passenger manifest of criminals subjected to the onboard doctor's sexual experiments. CSP.
Ad Astra, May 24
A son voyages across the solar system to find his wayward father in the seventh feature from the gifted director James Gray (Two Lovers, The Lost City of Z). With a cast that includes Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones, as well as cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema—who got plenty of experience in the space genre with Interstellar—Ad Astra should be a memorable trip. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON.
Shaft, June 14
That's right, we're getting blessed with another installment of Shaft. I say "blessed" because unlike a lot of flashy yet unsubstantial reboots, director Tim Story (Barbershop, Think Like a Man) is at the helm and Black-ish creator Kenya Barris co-wrote the screenplay. There's also the three-generational presence of the original John Shaft (Richard Roundtree), John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson) and his son, John Shaft Jr. (Jessie T. Usher). Everything points to this being extremely fun to watch. LY.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, July 26
Whether or not we've decided Tarantino is canceled, I admittedly enjoy cult content too much not to watch this. In a movie set in 1969 Los Angeles, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) struggle to find footing in the film industry, while the Manson murders unfold around them. With Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate and Dakota Fanning cast in the role of Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, you know you're going to see it, too. LY.
Knives Out, Nov. 27
Rian Johnson's first feature, Brick, turned a world of high school cliques into a moody film noir. Looper was a sci-fi thriller that threw audiences into a totally original world of time travel. Whether you loved The Last Jedi or hated it (you're wrong), you have to appreciate Johnson's ambition, and I'm excited to see what he does in this temporary return to the non-Star Wars universe. MM.
The work of Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes hasn't always lived up to the promise of American Beauty, his divisive and addictive debut. But this WWI film—inspired by a tale that Mendes' grandfather told him—promises to be one of the most personal works of the director's career. It also marks Mendes' return to epic-scale filmmaking, something he displayed a knack for with the last two James Bond movies. BCF.