Top movies to watch in 2019: The definitive list of the best
From Marvel extravaganzas and animated gems to tear-jerkers, spine-tinglers, and bone-chillers, 2019 promises to be one hell of a year for cinema, and we've got you sorted
Serenity (Jan 25)
Director: Steven Knight
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane
Plot: McConaughey plays a fishing boat captain who's asked by his ex-wife to kill her new husband. The trailer paints a grim picture of a man torn and a woman who's hiding a lot more than she's letting on. Expect sparkling performances from both stars.
The Informer (Feb 1)
Director: Andrea Di Stefano
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen
Plot: When a former criminal is asked by his FBI handlers to get inside a Polish mob's drug ring in New York, he finds himself revisiting the scene of his own personal hell, Bale Hill Prison. But with his cover about to be blown, does he have enough time to get out before he's left inside permanently? This could be the film that launches Joel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon) into the stratosphere.
Velvet Buzzsaw (Feb 1)
Director: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, John Malkovich
Plot: After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art. OK so it does sound a bit daft, but with that cast you could make a film about a pebble and it would win an Oscar. Also, we're thrilled to see Rene again!
The Rhythm Section (Feb 22)
Director: Reed Morano
Cast: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown
Plot: If Ryan Reynolds doesn't watch out he's going to have to cast Blake in Deadpool, so fast is her star rising at the moment. The Rhythm Section follows a woman hellbent on finding the truth about a plane crash that killed her family. Needless to say, she discovers something's amiss and tracks down those she believes are responsible for the deaths.
Chaos Walking (March 1)
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Mads Mikkelsen
Plot: Set in the near future, Todd Hewitt has been led to believe that all the women in his colony were killed by a virus and gave men the ability to read people's and animals' minds via the Noise. Soon, however, he finds a 'silent' patch and discovers a woman. Together they start discovering the truth behind this new world.
Fighting With My Family (March 1)
Director: Stephen Merchant
Cast: Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Dwayne Johnson, Vince Vaughn
Plot: Basically a biopic of the WWE superstar Paige (born Saraya-Jade Bevis), the hilarious film charts the rising career of the wrestler from humble and rather unique beginnings in the 'arms' of her professional wrestling family to rubbing shoulders with The Rock on the world stage.
Captain Marvel (March 8)
Director(s): Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn
Plot: Larson plays Carol Danvers, a former US Air Force fighter pilot, who becomes one of the galaxy's most powerful superheroes and joins an elite Kree military team. But when she returns to Earth with more questions than answers about her past, who she really is, she finds it caught in the middle of a truly galactic war.
Us (March 22)
Director: Jordan Peele
Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
Plot: Peele is at it again. This time it's the outsiders who are all a bit strange. Husband and wife Gabe and Adelaide Wilson take their children to their beach house, hoping to spend time with friends, but it all goes to pot when a group of "strangers" arrive.
Greyhound (March 22)
Director: Aaron Schneider
Cast: Tom Hanks, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Elisabeth Shue
Plot: This one looks like an absolute corker. Tom Hanks (who also wrote the screenplay) plays a Navy destroyer captain leading a convoy of Allied ships across the Atlantic in WW2. Hunted by German wolf packs, Commander Ernest Krause (Hanks) must battle Nazis and his own self-doubt as he makes the treacherous crossing.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette (March 22)
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig
Plot: Blanchett plays Bernadette, a woman who dislikes people and the outdoors. So when she goes missing, her daughter Bee takes it on herself to find out what happened to her mother.
Under the Silver Lake (April 19)
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Topher Grace
Plot: Andrew Garfield plays a man who sets out to investigate the sudden disappearance of his neighbour (Keough), only to stumble on a much larger conspiracy. The real star here, however, is the city of Los Angeles. Expect a Drive meets LA Confidential.
Avengers: Endgame (April 26)
Director(s): Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans
Plot: The Avengers and Earth have been decimated by Thanos. Can the world's surviving superheroes find a way back? If you need more info then you really should come out from that rock you've been living under.
The Aftermath (April 26)
Director: James Kent
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke
Plot: Set in postwar Germany in 1946. Rachael Morgan (Knightley) returns to Hamburg to reunite with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a British colonel charged with rebuilding the city. She soon finds out that she'll be sharing her house with its previous owner, a German widower (Skarsgård) and his daughter. All very End of the Affair, and all very enticing.
John Wick 3: Parabellum (May 17)
Director: Chad Stahelski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose
Plot: John Wick is still on the run after he killed a member of the High Table in The Continental, and with a $14 million global contract on him. Banned from every Continental service, John’s objective is to fight his way out of New York City.
Aladdin (May 24)
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Will Smith
Plot: Let's face it, the only reason this film is on the list is because it's directed by Guy Ritchie and might end up being a Lock, Stock with a Lamp. It could also be utter pants, so there's that. As for the plot...you know...rub lamp, get genie, get wishes, blah, blah. Will Smith has some outrageously huge Robin Williams-style shoes to fill as the genie.
Ad Astra (May 24)
Director: James Gray
Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga
Plot: Twenty years after his father left on a one-way mission to Neptune in order to find signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence, Roy McBride, an Army Corps engineer, travels through the solar system to find him and understand why his mission failed. This could be Solaris meets Interstellar, or it could be Pandorum meets Event Horizon, either way we're happy.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 31)
Director: Michael Dougherty
Cast: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown
Plot: Who doesn't like a good Godzilla movie! This nth reimagining sees crypto-zoological agency Monarch face-off against innumerable monsters, with puny humans caught in between. This has the grandest scope of any of the English-language Godzilla films to date and looks most likely to be the best.
Rocketman (May 31)
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden
Plot: Elton John! The legendary singer's life, work and everything else in between, and trust us, there's a lot of stuff in between.
Dark Phoenix (June 7)
Director: Simon Kinberg
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Plot: 20th Century Fox seems to insist it can make Marvel films better than Disney (no it can't). But here they go again, and this time it better be good. Nearly a decade after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse, the X-Men are heroes. When a solar flare hits them during a rescue mission in space, Jean Grey loses control of her abilities and unleashes the Phoenix.
Men in Black: International (June 14)
Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson
Plot: The original Men In Black was superb thanks mainly to the chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, so Hemsworth and Thompson have their work cut out for them. For all intents and purposes this is a murder-mystery, with aliens.
Toy Story 4 (June 21)
Director: Josh Cooley
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Kristen Schaal
Plot: Arguably the best animated film series ever, the Toy Story franchise has struggled since John Lasseter vacated the hotseat, but they're going to give it one more shot anyway. This time Woody and friends head out on a road trip of truly epic proportions. And you'll get to meet Forky too.
Ford v. Ferrari (June 28)
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Jon Bernthal
Plot: The film follows a determined team of American engineers and designers, led by Carroll Shelby (Damon) and his British driver, Ken Miles (Bale), who are dispatched by Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca with the mission of building an entirely new automobile that can defeat Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours race in France. This one has us salivating, and hopefully Bale won't have to go through hours of makeup before each take.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5)
Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Michael Keaton
Plot: After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker goes on summer vacation to Europe with his friends. While abroad, he teams up with Mysterio to battle the Elementals.
17 Bridges (July 12)
Director: Brian Kirk
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, J.K. Simmons, Sienna Miller
Plot: A disgraced NYPD detective (Boseman) who, after being thrust into a citywide manhunt for a cop killer, is given a shot at redemption.
The Lion King (July 19)
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen
Plot: Many may question the logic behind remaking what is essentially a very, very good film. But what Jon wants, Jon gets. The plot is essentially the same as the original, but when the hot button topic of music was brought up, Favreau tried to allay fears by saying that Hans Zimmer (who scored the original) would return, with the main song being written and performed by Tim Rice and Beyonce. Eventually better sense prevailed and it was revealed that four songs from the original film would be included in the film: "Circle of Life", "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", "Hakuna Matata", and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight". Not rocket science, but still.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26)
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie
Plot: In 1969 Los Angeles, around the time of the Charles Manson murders, a TV actor and his stunt double embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry. Leo and Brad, could this be the modern-day Pacino-De Niro?
Downton Abbey (September 13)
Director: Michael Engler
Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Michelle Dockery
Plot: Picking up where the mega-hit TV show left off, it features the same cast and Julian Fellowes has his way with the words again. All eyes are on the film to see if it can cement or destroy the series' considerable legacy.
Joker (Oct 4)
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz
Plot: This is a Joker origins story, and Joaquin Phoenix could be an inspired choice to play the 'smiling' sociopath, but he's got some seriously large Heath Ledger-size shoes to fill. Brett Cullen plays Bruce Wayne's dad Thomas, and according to early reports, he's quite the a-hole.
The Woman in the Window (Oct 4)
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Wyatt Russell, Gary Oldman
Plot: A cast of elite talent assembles in this tale of an agoraphobic child psychologist who witnesses a crime while spying on her neighbors, leaving her to determine whether to alert the police. All very Hitchcock, but expect some killer performances.
The Goldfinch (Oct 11)
Director: John Crowley
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Aneurin Barnard
Plot: As a child, Theodore Decker survives a terrorist bombing at an art museum — an attack that kills his mother. From there, he tumbles through a series of adventures that finds him living in Las Vegas with his deadbeat father (played by Luke Wilson) and, later, involved in art forgeries.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Oct 18)
Director: Marielle Heller
Cast: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper
Plot: Has there ever been a bad Tom Hanks movie? No, we didn't think so either and this film about the iconic Mr Rogers (Hanks) is sure to carry on that trend. Rhys plays journalist Lloyd Vogel who accepts an assignment to write an Esquire profile piece on the beloved television icon Fred Rogers.
Terminator 6 (Nov 1)
Director: Tim Miller
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis
Plot: We need another Terminator movie like a hole in the head, and we all need a hole in the head. Terminator 6 (expect a far catchier title in a few months) will be a direct sequel to The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Very little in known about the plot but we can expect Arnie to deliver at least one of his iconic metal-head lines.
Midway (Nov 8)
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Luke Evans, Mandy Moore
Plot: Roland Emmerich loves blowing shit up, and in the WW2 film, he'll have a whole host of ships to send to that great scrapyard in the sky. With an ensemble of stars Emmerich will take to the seas for what many historians describe as the naval battle that effectively destroyed Japan's hopes of ever beating the US. Woody Harrelson plays Admiral Chester Nimitz, the role played by Henry Fonda in the 1976 screen version of the battle.
Frozen 2 (Nov 22)
Director: Jennifer Lee
Cast: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff
Plot: Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf head off into the forest to find out the truth behind an ancient mystery in their kingdom. Hey it's sketchy we know, but it's got songs and snow and Olaf!
Knives Out (Nov 22)
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon
Plot: When James Bond meets Captain America, the shit's gonna go down. Allegedly a whodunit, this murder mystery should leave us shaken, as for the stirred bit....
Star Wars: Episode IX (Dec 20)
Director: J. J. Abrams
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega
Plot: This is allegedly the film that will put Luke Skywalker to rest. And while we don't know the details, expect it to be a spectacle of epic proportions.
Cats (Dec 20)
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen
Plot: Over a single night, a tribe of cats called the Jellicles make what is known as "the Jellicle choice" and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. Cue music.
Little Women (Dec 25)
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh
Plot: Little Women explores the lives of sisters in 1860s Massachusetts. According to its producer, the new adaptation focuses more on the March sisters' young adult lives, particularly after Meg, Jo, and Amy leave their family home. The film jumps back and forth in time and focuses more on themes rather than narrative.
1917 (Dec 25)
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman
Plot: This film set in the trenches of WWI has all the trappings of a heart-rending epic. Think Birdsong meets Saving Private Ryan.