Some of you are regular visitors to Den Of Geek UK and already know the score, but for anyone new joining us …first of all, welcome! Welcome in general, and welcome to our annual list of must-watch films set to be released in the coming months.
At the start of the year, this list most closely resembles a ruddy-faced young lad turning up to the school gates with his shoes all shiny and his bag packed with a neat pile of books and an apple for the teacher. This list begins with its hopes and dreams intact, squinting up at the bright lights of magnificent-sounding movies yet to truly exist in the mind’s eye.
By the end of the year, that young man has lost his school jumper, failed at maths, learned all the swear words from Mason in P.E., and is more than ready for the Christmas holidays (and a hiding, too, if he’s not careful – stop saying those swears at your Gran, Peter).
As always, we’ll be updating this list all year round with the latest trailers, and our reviews as each film is released, eventually making ourselves a nice little time capsule for the ages.
Shall we get started?
30. Long Shot
Love is so, so unlikely to be in the air as Seth Rogen reteams with 50/50 director Jonathan Levine for this summer’s potential comedy firelight.
Here, Rogen plays unemployed journo Fred Flarsky, who decides to romance his childhood crush, Charlize Theron. Just one hitch: these days, she happens to be one of the most powerful women on the planet. Alexander Skarsgard (Mute, True Blood) co-stars as the “very handsome” Prime Minister of Canada. They …really didn’t need to tell us the character would be very handsome, to be quite honest.
The Interview’s Dan Sterling has provided the screenplay, but we’d imagine there’s been plenty of improv during the production…
29. The Kitchen
One we’ve been keeping an eye on for a while! This big screen adaptation of Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle’s exceptional comic book series could be a female Goodfellas given half a chance, as Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Handmaid’s Tale star Elizabeth Moss take over their Irish mob husbands’ organised crime syndicate, with the help of hitman Domhnall Gleeson.
The Kitchen will be World Trade Center scribe Andrea Berloff’s debut feature film for New Line, and we think it’ll be one of 2019’s dark horses.
28. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Pushed back from 2017, Dark Phoenix is set to reunite the first class on a deadly mission to save Jean Grey (Game Of Thrones star Sophie Turner) from a malevolent force in one of the comic series’ most treasured arcs.
Murky test screenings, reshoots and rejigs have hit Simon Kinberg’s big whack at a new X-Men franchise instalment where it hurts, but is it really possible to produce a bad film where James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender meet over a game of chess and call each other “old friend” while wacky comic CGI stuff happens elsewhere?
Who said “Apocalypse”? Sit down! You’re right. But… sit down. For now. Please? We want this to be good.
27. Chaos Walking
Doug Liman (Edge Of Tomorrow) is getting back into the sci-fi/fantasy game with his adaptation of Patrick Ness’ bestselling novel, Chaos Walking.
Accompanied on a fraught journey by wee Spider-Man Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley plays perhaps the last woman alive in a dystopian world where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts. They’ll have to try to survive both this bonkers reality, and Mads Mikkelsen as the Big Bad. One ticket, please!
The movie’s reshoots have been delayed to let Holland finish work on his second Spider-Man film, Far From Home, so we suspect this may end up in the back half of 2019’s release schedule, and not even close to its original March date.
26. Terminator 6
The Terminators are at it again and we’re excited again. We always get excited, why is that? Is it that with one of these things they might actually hit the high watermark of Judgment Day? Or is it that really we just want to see killer robots smash their way around big action set pieces? Probably we should stop complaining about the story and focus on the latter, we’re likely to get out of the cinema less glum.
In the sixth (!) film in the franchise, Linda Hamilton is back as Sarah Connor for reasons, and there’s been a lot of talk about using CGI to make Edward Furlong’s John Connor appear in it, too. Expect Schwarzenegger to Be Back in some capacity as well.
Read more about Terminator 6 with our Geek Essentials guide right here
DC and Warner Bros are going down a more lighthearted comedy route with their Shazam! movie, roping in horror-director-on-the-rise David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) to produce a long-in-gestation big screen adventure drawn from the comics, and one that features Andi Mack star Asher Angel as a little boy who just so happens to get some very big powers that turn him into Chuck alum Zachary Levi.
Sounds perhaps vaguely confusing if you’re going in blind, but the trailer filled us with a lot of hope that this’ll be a winner from the DC stable on all accounts.
24. I’m Thinking Of Ending Things
Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Synecdoche, New York) is writing and directing this film for Netflix based on Iain Reid’s best selling novel, I’m Thinking Of Ending Things, and you know what that means! Er, actually, no, none of us do. It’s Charlie Kaufman. The man’s mind is a mystery that will never be solved.
Kaufman could end up following the plot of the book very closely (or barely at all) but if he sticks with it, we’ll follow the tale of Jake and his nameless protagonist girlfriend on a tense road trip to psychological hell. Anything else is getting close to spoiler territory, we’re afraid.
This one went quiet for a while (hence the lower placing on the list) but Netflix was still aiming for a 2019 release date the last time we checked, and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) has now been cast in the lead role.
Kaufman is a huge fan of the book, so will likely want to do it justice. He even provided a quote for its jacket: “I’m Thinking Of Ending Things is an ingeniously twisted nightmare road trip through the fragile psyches of two young lovers. My kind of fun!”
23. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Keanu Reeves is a man who can carry a franchise and no mistake.
2019 will bring us a new, super violent adventure featuring not-quite-retired hitman and puppy-cuddler John Wick, and with a $14 million contract on his life very much in play, Mr Wick will have to punch/kick/stab/shoot/maim or explode his way out of New York if he has any chance of surviving this third movie.
Chad Stahelski is returning to direct, and Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne and Halle Berry may all be friends or foes to our main dude in Parabellum, depending on how they feel from minute-to-minute…
22. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
Finally, Michael Dougherty (Krampus, Trick ‘R Treat) has been given a whole heap of cash and a huge kaiju sandbox to play in with this sequel to Gareth Edwards’ middling 2014 Godzilla effort, and the first trailer promised us something both beautiful and a lot bigger than we could have imagined.
Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) is in the mix this time as crypto-zoological agency Monarch battle to save the planet from the likes of King Ghidorah, Mothra and Rodan, even as our favourite clumsy lizard wades in for a few hours of eye-blistering building demolition. Expect this to be an IMAX fave.
21. Men In Black International
Thor: Ragnarok’s Revengers, Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, are reuniting to put on those immaculately iconic suits for this rebooted Men In Black outing, and y’know what? We bet they make this look good.
F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) is helming this effort to rejuvenate the franchise, following a lack of interest by the original stars in pursuing more sequels, and he’s working from a script from Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, who wrote the very first Iron Man film.
No, Men In Black International did not come to play.
Read more about Men In Black 4 with our Geek Essentials guide right here
20. Pet Sematary
Brotherhood’s Jason Clarke continues to embrace the horror genre after 2018’s wobbly haunted house flick Winchester with a trip down Stephen King Adaptation Lane.
This time, he won’t like what happens after he resurrects his young child via the town’s resting place for its local dogs and cats… *torch under chin* as it’s built over an ancient burial ground OOooooOOOoooooOOOOOOwe’ll stop now.
Wait, though, there’s more! This version of King’s tome is being helmed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, the co-directors of the critically acclaimed and super gross horror gem, Starry Eyes.
Time to get excited.
After the casting of both Justin Timberlake and Tom Hardy fell through (with the latter discovering that he couldn’t really sing some weeks into preparing for the role) Taron Egerton is your Elton John in this upcoming biopic.
The Tiny Dancer crooner gave everyone involved with the forthcoming flick a license to go as balls-to-the-wall as they liked with this dramatised version of his rise to fame.
“This film is going to make people’s jaws hit the ground,” producer Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman) promised. “Elton just said, ‘Tell it all. Go as R-rated as you need to’. And we do just that, with his blessing. The flaws and the genius are all there.”
It’ll be interesting to see just how this compares to Bryan Singer’s Freddie Mercury film, Bohemian Rhapsody, when it arrives in May…
18. Hobbs & Shaw
David Leitch is directing this Fast & Furious spin-off outing as a vehicle for The Rock and Jason Statham to somewhat depart the franchise. It’s no secret that ructions between Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel have been taking place behind the scenes for years, and if Hobbs & Shaw is successful, they may never need to exchange pleasantries on set again.
Regardless, Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw will be teaming up on the big screen come August, facing off against foe Idris Elba. Muscles will be flexed, things will explode and there’ll be a few sarcastic wisecracks from The Stath, no doubt.
Read more about Hobbs & Shaw with our Geek Essentials guide right here
17. In The Tall Grass
When master horror scribe Stephen King and his son Joe Hill write a novella together, you naturally imagine that it’ll be on the fast track to Movieville, and lo and behold it bloody well is. Netflix was all over this adaptation before anyone else could draw breath, and hooked up the legendary Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Cypher, Splice, NBC’s Hannibal) to direct. After star James Marsden dropped out during pre-production, Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring, Aquaman) stepped up.
In the story, a brother and sister venture out into a field after hearing a little boy’s cry and nothing good happens. When can we have it?
Now go read about all the other Stephen King adaptations coming your way…
16. Gemini Man
One Will Smith is all well and good, but what if there were two Big Willies? Isn’t that at least 100% better than one?!
A film that was once set to be helmed by the late Tony Scott at Disney in the late ’90s Gemini Man was abandoned when it was decided that the technology needed to do it justice just wasn’t good enough. Now at Paramount, Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) has been taking his sweet time with the film, as weary old assassin Will Smith dodges a younger clone of himself in this Looper-esque-sounding sci-fi yarn.
The de-aging tech has been working pretty well for Marvel in its recent MCU offerings, so Gemini Man could be one to watch in October, if the effects are ready and a whole ton of reshoots aren’t in the offing.
15. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Leonardo DiCaprio is Sharon Tate’s struggling actor neighbour in Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming Manson murders mystery, and a predictably all-star cast will be surrounding him, including Brad Pitt, Damian Lewis, Lena Dunham, Margot Robbie and Al Pacino.
Summer 2019 might bring us a languid shot of violence, swearing and some of that ever-quotable Tarantino dialogue, but with Manson having been done to death on both the big screen and small, what can the foot-loving Pulp Fiction director offer us in this new spin?
Read more about Once Upon A Time In Hollywood with our Geek Essentials guide right here
M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero thriller reteamed Unbreakable’s Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson with newer Split villain James McAvoy as the three got locked up in an asylum together under the care of psychiatrist Sarah Paulson – as if just putting those men in a room together wasn’t bad enough, clearly no one had seen a single episode of American Horror Story!
Things were likely to go from bad to worse once Crumb, Dunn and Mr. Glass started conspiring to rid themselves of the hospital shackles, and we were definitely going to be there to watch what came next.
Hellboy is getting the movie reboot treatment in 2019 with Stranger Things star David Harbour playing Red this time around. Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) hasn’t called the shots on a proper feature film since Centurion and Doomsday both debuted to a muted reception in the back half of the last decade, so it’ll be interesting to see what the director can do with his very own comic book property and a little bit of cash.
12. Artemis Fowl
The only Kenneth Branagharghrhr movie now set to be released in 2019 after Fox pushed back Death On The Nile to 2020 to avoid its new Disney friend’s Christmas tree angel Star Wars IX. The flame-haired luvvy has indeed been a very busy man, filming this adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s bestselling children’s book (and likely the first of many adaptations, if all goes well) over the summer of 2018.
In this live action Disney affair, young Artemis Fowl will discover a magical world full of Fairies, and decide to rob them.
Er, yes. It’s not your average tale…
How many people can you think of who’ve made four belters in a row? Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead could be adding to their storming run of Resolution, Spring and The Endless in 2019, as the co-directors are planning to release their fourth film Synchronic this year.
Anthony Mackie (the MCU’s Falcon) and Jamie Dornan (Mr Grey will see you now) will star in the pair’s new project – and you may be able to tell that the directing team is on the rise by the casting of those rather more well-known actors instead of, y’know, themselves, in this one – about two New Orleans paramedics whose lives are ripped apart after encountering a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects.
We’re ready to have our brains utterly warped again. Yes please, and thank you!
Joaquin Phoenix stars as the Joker in this origin story for Batman’s most notorious foe, and it looks like it could actually be (whisper it) …good.
Yes, DC and Warner Bros’ new strategy of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks continues with the handing over of the Clown Prince of Crime to The Hangover director Todd Phillips. He’s written the screenplay with ‘gritty story maker for hire’ Scott Silver (8 Mile, The Fighter) and it’ll explore the transition of a humble Arthur Fleck to the villainous smile-scratcher we all know and fear.
Read more about Joker with our Geek Essentials guide right here
9. A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
Marielle Heller (The Diary Of A Teenage Girl) is behind this story of cynical journo Tom Junod (Matthew Rhys) who agrees to write a piece for Esquire about Fred Rogers, star of beloved children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and finds all his jaded personality traits being slowly stripped away during this encounter with a genuinely lovely man that people had nothing but good things to say about in real life.
Tom Hanks makes for a great Fred and god DAMMIT how are we ALREADY crying? We’re already crying just from THINKING about watching this sweet-sounding movie good LORD 2018 was hard-going, wasn’t it?
8. Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel is the most powerful superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in this ’90s-set blockbuster that kicks off after pilot Carol Danvers (Oscar winner Brie Larson) has already acquired her powers and trekked off to have otherworldly adventures with her mentor, Mar-vell (Jude Law).
When she comes crashing back down to Earth she meets a couple of familiar S.H.I.E.L.D. agents called Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, and all this connects to Avengers: Endgame, and the maybe-saving of half the universe…
Here’s our review
7. Velvet Buzzsaw
Netflix scooped this one up for development in 2018 for streaming straight into our eyeballs in 2019.
Dan Gilroy has been in the industry for years but only decided to make his directorial debut back in 2014 with the outstanding Nightcrawler. The director’s real life wife Rene Russo came back for another turn in Velvet Buzzsaw, and so did Nightcrawler lead Jake Gyllenhaal. A horror-thriller set in the art world, it didn’t quite stick the landing unfortunately.
Here’s our review
6. Hug Chickenpenny
If you’re not familiar with Hug Chickenpenny, don’t feel left out. Brawl In Cell Block 99 and Bone Tomahawk barnstormer S. Craig Zahler has been keeping a lot of people in the dark about the planned adaptation of his own demented book. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop picked up the rights to this all the way back in 2017, and it’s been slow going ever since, but that’s what we love about puppets, man – we get older, they stay the same age. Hell, this may not even end up materialising in 2019, but we want to be mentally prepared if it does.
Zahler certainly seems to still be on board to direct the story of Hug, “a hopeful, physically asymmetrical boy who faces challenges in an orphanage, and the weird and dangerous world outside after he is adopted by an elderly eccentric as a pet” and it should be his next project if everything falls into place.
It’s been described as Eraserhead meets Charles Dickens, but with puppets…
…holy fucking shit.
5. Star Wars Episode IX
Christmas in 2019 will likely be dominated by the closing part of the most recent Star Wars trilogy, and J.J. Abrams is back at the helm after Colin Trevorrow departed the project.
Will Rey’s parents turn out to be more than just “junkers”? Will Finn and Rose have a blooming romance? Will Poe learn from the mistakes of his impulsive decision-making system? Will Kylo Ren get in touch with his light side? Will there be an angry man boycott that makes virtually no difference to the overall box office but that somehow manages to tiresomely dominate online chatter for months either side of the film’s release?
Read more about Star Wars Episode IX with our Geek Essentials guide right here
4. Ad Astra
In Ad Astra, Brad Pitt is going to be tracking his long-lost father Tommy Lee Jones through the solar system after he disappeared decades ago on a one-way trip to Neptune. James Gray is following up The Lost City Of Z with this, and he’s been quoted as saying that he wants the sci-fi flick to feature “the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie”. Having seen his back catalogue, he’ll probably get the job done.
The film was scheduled for release in January, but the release date has been pushed to May in the wake of the Disney/Fox merger…
3. Lucy In The Sky
Fargo maestro Noah Hawley was forced to shelve his planned Doctor Doom movie in the midst of the upcoming Disney/Fox merger, but he’s kept himself busy on his first feature film for Fox while he waits for the dust to settle.
Lucy In The Sky (which was at one point called Pale Blue Dot) stars Natalie Portman as an astronaut who’s been on a mission to the stars for way, wayyy too long. Disconnected from her family and friends when she comes back to Earth, she begins an affair with a fellow astronaut who turns out to be not exactly committed to the idea of an exclusive thang. A fully tripped-out psychological meltdown could be in the offing, and who has better chops than the combo of Hawley and Oscar-snatcher Portman to pull it off?
Hawley’s latest muse Dan Stevens (The Guest, Legion) is also on board this one playing Portman’s neglected husband, as are Deadpool’s Zazie Beetz and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm.
Lucy In The Sky does sound like it’ll be fantastic, but with Ad Astra now taking up an early summer slot and Fox still deciding where to put its other spacey sci-fi outing, this film could realistically end up in another Annihilation type situation, which would be really bad luck for Hawley, but even worse luck for poor Portman.
2. Avengers: Endgame
We still don’t know much about Avengers: Endgame. Disney and Marvel have kept a very tight lid on it and, as usual, not even its stars know how it’ll end. Apart from our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man Tom Holland, perhaps, who seems to find out the climax to everything one way or another! Historically, he’s been known to spill the beans about all manner of plot twists, so we’ll keep one eye on his Instagram until April rolls around.
So, what do we know? Well, the Russos shot this back-to-back with Infinity War, and our usual line-up has of course been cut down the middle by mad titan Thanos. The original crew – Black Widow, Hawkeye, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Hulk – are all pawns in Doctor Strange’s ‘one in fourteen million’ endgame now, alongside Ant-Man, Rocket Raccoon, War Machine, Okoye, Valkyrie and Nebula, but what will become of our other dusty faves?
We shall have to wait and see.
You can read more about Avengers 4 with our Geek Essentials guide right here
1. Jojo Rabbit
A new Taika Waititi film means a new possible all-time favourite film! Hunt For The Wilderpeople, What We Do In The Shadows and Thor: Ragnarok are all still on heavy rotation here at Den Of Geek, and with good reason – Waititi makes films so full of unexpected joys and emotional punches that they become gifts that keep on giving.
The director’s new film sounds like a little bit of a departure for him, as he’ll star as an imaginary Hitler and hero to a 10-year old German boy who dreams of joining the Nazis. Scarlett Johannson will play his secretly anti-Nazi mother, while Sam Rockwell, Stephen Merchant, Rebel Wilson and Alfie Allen will all feature as people you wouldn’t want to mess with in this dark WWII comedy drama.
Just hook it up to our veins.