The Notable Films Of 2019: G-J

The Notable Films Of 2019 G J

Onto the third volume of DH’s yearly film preview guide which includes current Will Smith vs. Fresh Prince Will Smith, the return of the monstrous Pennywise the Clown and the lothario Jesus Quintana, the converging of two franchises into one, the spinning off of another, and what looks to be the monster movie to end all monster movies.

There’s also a teen hit sequel, a new take on a devilish comic, an old-fashioned WW2 naval movie, a lawmen hunt Bonnie & Clyde tale, a Japanese horror reboot, one grifter story with two British greats and one grifter story that’s an unnecessary remake, a Stephen King adaptation, several films about famed civil rights activists, some high profile sequels, Scorsese’s return to the crime genre, and an iconic villain getting his own film.

This third of six volumes runs from titles beginning with the letters G,H, I & J. Here’s the list:

image

“Gemini Man”
The script for Ang Lee’s new film has been floating around for two decades and was once going to be a Tony Scott work, but it’s only now that digital de-ageing technology has reached the point of being convincing enough to use on a major character and sustain it across a feature-length runtime which is required to pull off this story. Will Smith plays an assassin in the twilight of his career who finds his handlers have selected him as a target for their newest recruit – a clone of himself who is around 25 years younger (essentially “Fresh Prince”/”Bad Boys 1”-era Will). Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong co-star in the Bruckheimer-produced film which was shot in Colombia, Hungary and Georgia and will serve as one of Paramount’s few blockbusters for the year.

image

“Georgetown”
Christoph Waltz makes his directorial debut on this crime drama from Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Auburn and based on the true story of Albrecht Muth. Waltz plays Ulrich Mott, an ambitious social climber who marries wealthy widow Elsa (Vanessa Redgrave) in Washington D.C. in order to mix with powerful political players. Throwing lavish events at their townhouse in Georgetown, they became celebrated until Elsa is found dead and Ulrich becomes the prime suspect. Elsa’s daughter, a federal judge, begins her own investigation as Ulrich creates an increasingly elaborate charade to convince everyone that unknown dark forces from his past are responsible for his wife’s murder.

image

“Glass”
M. Night Shyamalan’s resurgence is complete with this follow-up to both 2016’s very well-received “Split” and one of his most celebrated works with 2000’s “Unbreakable”. A post-credits sequence in the former linked the two films and now we see how it plays out as David Dunn (Bruce Willis), Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) and Elijah ‘Mr. Glass’ Price (Samuel L. Jackson) end up in the same institution under the care of a psychiatrist (Sarah Paulson) who probably won’t figure out until too late that Mr. Glass has plans for them all and intends to enact them. Made for a cost-effective $20 million, the film is expected to earn three to four times that on its opening weekend alone and should be the year’s first major hit.

image

“Gloria Bell”
Before his festival darlings “A Fantastic Woman” and “Disobedience,” Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Lelio was best known for 2013’s celebrated “Gloria” which won many awards. That film starred Paulina García as a free-spirited older woman in Santiago who engages in a whirlwind relationship with a former naval officer whom she meets out in the clubs. Now Lelio re-imagines his own film five years later with this English-language remake starring Julianne Moore in the lead role in a new take which is set in Los Angeles and is what the director calls a ‘re-invigorated and vital’ version of the story that goes well beyond a mere remake.

image

“The Glorias: A Life On The Road”
Famed feminist writer and scholar Gloria Steinem gets a biopic treatment by playwright Sarah Ruhl with the plan to explore her life at various different stages. Lulu Wilson (“The Haunting of Hill House”) will play the young teenage version, Alicia Vikander is the young adult version, and Julianne Moore is the older version of Steinem in the film which marks the welcome return to the screen of visually spectacular filmmaker Julie Taymor (“Titus,” “Frida,” “Across the Universe”) after nearly a decade’s absence. As it hasn’t begun filming it will probably be pushed to 2020.

image

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters”
A follow-up to both 2014’s “Godzilla” reboot and 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island,” what could easily have been the most dismissed entry in the planned four-film ‘Monsterverse’ may well end up being its best thanks to the keen eye of filmmaker Michael Dougherty. The director’s take on the material tore the roof off of Comic Con with its first trailer which many consider last year’s best preview, and so far the marketing for the film has been nothing but exquisite. The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters including Godzilla who takes on Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah in the film which also stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford and Charles Dance. One of the most promising blockbusters of the year.

image

“Going Places”
John Turturro reprises his iconic “The Big Lebowski” role of bowling enthusiast and Latin American North Hollywood resident Jesus Quintana. The thick Puerto Rican accent and the referring to himself in the third person character traits return for the project which the Coen Brothers gave Turturro permission to use the character. The new film also serves as a remake of Bertrand Blier’s 1974 French film “Going Places” and follows a trio of sexually depraved misfits including Quintana along with characters played by Bobby Cannavale and Audrey Tautou. The irreverent and highly charged dynamic reportedly evolves into a surprising love story as they inadvertently perform good deeds. They’re also pursued by both the law and a gun-toting hairdresser.

image

“The Goldfinch”
“Brooklyn” helmer John Crowley handles this adaptation of Donna Tartt’s celebrated and popular modern Dickens-esque novel in which “Baby Driver” star Ansel Elgort plays Theo, a young man who loses his mother in a museum bombing and is taken in by a wealthy family, only to be drawn into New York City’s art underworld. “Stranger Things” breakout Finn Wolfhard will play Young Boris, a Ukrainian student and troublemaker who bonds with Theo due to their both having lost their mothers. Sarah Paulson, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Ashleigh Cummings, Luke Wilson and Aneurin Barnard also star in the project which boasts a script by Peter Straughan (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) and cinematography by Roger Deakins so chances are it’s going to be as solid an adaptation as can be done of the work.

image

“The Good Liar”
Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” “Mr. Holmes”) assembles the dream pairing of Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren alongside the always stellar Russell Tovey in this grifter story based on the Nicholas Searle novel about a seasoned conman who finds himself growing to care for the wealthy widow he orchestrated his latest scheme against after picking her out as an easy mark online. At the same time, we explore their pasts and with nearly a century of secrets to uncover there’s a reckoning to be had. Famed playwright Jeffrey Hatcher penned the script with spunky go-getter Greg Yolen producing. Shot in London and Berlin, Warners is set to release the film in the Fall.

image

“Greyhound”
They don’t make classic Alistair MacLean war movies like “The Guns of Navarone” or “Where Eagles Dare” anymore, but we might get to see a modern take on that genre with this $50 million adaptation of “Horatio Hornblower” author C. S. Forester’s WW2 naval thriller novel “The Good Shepherd”. “Get Low” helmer Aaron Schneider directs the film in which Tom Hanks plays Ernest Krause, a USN commander who must protect an international convoy of 37 Allied ships from wolf packs of German U-boats as they cross the North Atlantic. At the same time Krause, commanding the titular Navy destroyer leading the fleet, battles his own self-doubts and personal demons. Stephen Graham, Elisabeth Shue and Karl Glusman co-star in the film which Hanks himself adapted the script for.

image

“Grudge”
A U.S. reboot of the supernatural psychological horror franchise that began with the Japanese “Ju-On” films, became the hit “The Grudge” U.S. remake, spawned two further sequels, and is now being reimagined here in essentially a second remake. Once again Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, and Takashige Ichise will produce but “The Eyes of My Mother” writer/director Nicolas Pesce is helming this time out from a script co-written with Jeff Buhler (“Midnight Meat Train”) and it’s expected to bring a much darker, more sinister and grittier sensibility to the story. Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver, Betty Gilpin and William Sadler co-star in the film which is set for a Summer release.

image

“Happy Death Day 2U”
Christopher Landon’s 2017 college slasher meets “Groundhog Day” time loop film was a surprise breakout hit for Blumhouse, the $5 million effort generating $122 million at the box office and scored a pretty good reaction from critics. Lead Jessica Rothe’s performance was widely praised, even as the subject matter and nature of the brutality left some less impressed. Now the follow-up takes a slightly more sci-fi bend, and a big dollop of inspiration from “Back to the Future Part II,” as the story sees Tree Gelbman unexpectedly re-entering the time loop two years later and becoming determined to escape it after finding out her friends are now involved and the original killer has been murdered – meaning she has to solve the problem all over again.

image

“Harriet”
The great Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou,” “The Caveman’s Valentine”) helms this biopic based on the life of famous abolitionist Harriet Tubman who escaped slavery and led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Stage actress Cynthia Erivo, who had such a strong year in 2018 with both “Bad Times at the El Royale” and “Widows,” stars as Tubman in the project which boasts a script by Gregory Allen Howard (“Remember the Titans”) and also stars Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monae, Janelle Monáe, Joe Alwyn, Vondie Curtis-Hall and Vanessa Bell Calloway. With Focus Features releasing the film, expect it to try for some awards play.

image

“Hellboy”
While Guillermo del Toro’s “Hellboy” films are well liked, the franchise was neither particularly loyal to the comics or profitable – the films making not much more than their increasing budgets. The announcement of a more cost-effective reboot wasn’t a shock and the promise of “The Descent” director Neil Marshall giving us something R-rated, bloodier and more in tone with the Lovecraftian elements of Mike Mignola’s comic was promising. Also good was the casting including David Harbour in the titular role along with Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Sasha Lane and Daniel Dae Kim offering support. But the release of the not well-cut trailer last month proved divisive – Harbour looks good but the film is seemingly being marketed as something far more jokey and akin to del Toro’s films than promised. Even if it’s just a bad trailer, there are many del Toro loyalists out there who will turn this down cold and so right now Lionsgate has its work cut out for it.

image

“High Flying Bird”
The first and on the surface least interesting of Steven Soderbergh’s two Netflix films this year, like “Unsane” this is an iPhone-shot very low budget drama albeit this time set in the world of professional sports. “The Knick” and “Moonlight” breakout Andre Holland stars as a sports agent who pitches a rookie basketball client on an intriguing and controversial business opportunity during a lockout. Caleb McLaughlin, Zachary Quinto, Zazie Beetz, Bill Duke, Kyle MacLachlan and Michelle Ang co-star in the film which will have its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival later this month ahead of hitting the service in early February.

image

“High Life”
Celebrated French filmmaker Claire Denis returns with her first English language feature, a sci-fi film about a unique paternal relationship played across deep space. Boasting a script by novelist Zadie Smith and husband Nick Laird, the story follows a group of criminals on a mission to find an alternate energy source near a black hole. They’re soon sexually experimented on by the scientists on board. Robert Pattinson plays one of the criminals who finds he now has a daughter against his will (she was gestated through artificial insemination) and soon comes to love her. The film screened at Toronto to excellent reviews that called the film challenging and confounding.

image

“The Highwaymen”
John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side,” “The Founder”) helms this $49 million true story crime western drama which stars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson as a pair of former partners in the Texas Rangers who were out of the service by the time that notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde began their reign. A consortium of banks coax them back, commissioning them as special investigators and assembling a posse to end the robbery spree of the violent lovers and their gang. John Fusco penned the script, doing extensive research in order to portray Costner’s character as accurately as possible. Originally setup at Universal, the film will now be released by Netflix in March and co-stars Kathy Bates, John Carroll Lynch, Kim Dickens, Thomas Mann, and William Sadler.

image

“Hobbs and Shaw: Fast & Furious Presents”
Easily the best thing about the otherwise forgettable “The Fate of the Furious” was the teaming of Dwayne Johnson’s Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s criminal Deckard Shaw. Their subplot was effectively a prison movie and the surprise was just how much chemistry the pair had together, so much so that Universal opted to push back the next entry in the series to try this spin-off focusing on the duo. Here they find themselves targeted by an international terrorist leader and criminal mastermind (Idris Elba), forcing them to turn to Shaw’s sister and MI6 agent Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) for help. Eddie Marsan and Eiza Gonzalez co-star in the film which is expected to be a fun but less bombastic than the main series has become, though with “Deadpool 2” and “Atomic Blonde” helmer David Leitch directing it won’t be short of action.

image

“The Hole in the Ground”
Short filmmaker Lee Cronin (“Ghost Train”) makes his feature debut on this Sundance premiering Irish horror tale about a woman (Seana Kerslake) building a new life on the fringes of a backwoods rural town with her young son. A terrifying encounter with a mysterious neighbour shatters her security, and disturbing changes in her little boy are seemingly connected to an ominous sinkhole buried deep in the forest around their home. Depending upon reviews, it’ll either be a sleeper hit or vanish into VOD oblivion.

image

“Honey Boy”
One of the downright oddest films of the year, actor Shia LaBeouf has penned this film which is based on his own life as a child star and his relationship with his father (the title was his childhood nickname). Interesting if not out of the ordinary, but added to this is the fact LaBeouf is also playing the role of the father himself and then it becomes something a bit more meta – especially in the wake of LaBeouf’s behavioral issues in recent years. Noah Jupe (“A Quiet Place”) and Lucas Hedges (“Boy Erased”) will share the role of the film’s version of LaBeouf while Maika Monroe, Natasha Lyonne, FKA Twigs, Laura San Giacomo and Clifton Collins Jr. co-star in the project which will have its world premiere at Sundance.

image

“Hotel Mumbai”
After winning multiple awards for his short film work, Australian filmmaker Anthony Maras makes his feature debut with this true story tale about the victims and survivors of the devastating attacks on Mumbai in 2008 when members of an Islamic terrorist organisation carried out a series of a dozen coordinated attacks lasting four days across the Indian city – most notably the Taj Hotel where 200 hostages were being held. There’s a welcome international and diverse cast here along with a devotion to a true to life documentary aspect akin to the likes of Paul Greengrass’ “United 93”. The film screened on the Fall film festival circuit to good reviews.

image

“How to Build a Girl”
Coky Giedroyc, a stalwart director of British TV for many years, jumps to features with this quirky coming of age story of teenager Johanna Morrigan (“Lady Bird” scene-stealer Beanie Feldstein), a young woman who reinvents herself as fast-talking, lady sex-adventurer Dolly Wilde. She moves to London and gets a job as a music critic in the hope of saving her poverty-stricken family in Wolverhampton. Emma Thompson, Chris O’Dowd, Paddy Considine and Frank Dillane co-star in the film which is based on Caitlin Moran’s novel which Moran and John Niven are adapting.

image

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
The third and final feature in the Dreamworks Animation franchise with Hiccup and Toothless having to travel to a hidden world thought to only exist in myth and fighting together to the very end to protect everything they love in an order to take down a dangerous enemy. Early reviews paint this as a very strong capper to the franchise.

image

“The Hummingbird Project”
Scoring fairly good reviews after premiering in Toronto, this comedy/drama follows two cousins (Alexander Skarsgard, Jesse Eisenberg) from New York who are serious players in the high-stakes game of High-Frequency Trading. The pair set out to build a fibre-optic cable straight line between Kansas and New Jersey and potentially make them millions. Festival reviews were pretty solid.

image

“The Hunt”
“Compliance” and “Z for Zachariah” director Craig Zobel re-teams with “The Leftovers” writers Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse for this Blumhouse feature which is less the teen horror they’re known for and more a “Battle Royale”-style thriller in which violent hunters pursue a group of blue-collar types for sport. A lot of specifics about it are under wraps, and the cast is made up entirely of unknowns, but it’s already set for a Fall release and will likely be done for cheap which means it could well push some boundaries.

image

“The Hustle”
Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson lead this frequently re-titled gender-swapped remake of the 1980s comedy classic “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and its originator 1964’s “Bedtime Story”. Two female down-and-out con artists engage in a ‘loser leaves town’ contest – whomever manages to swindle an English tech billionaire (Alex Sharp).

image

“I Am Mother”
Australian filmmaker Grant Sputore makes his directorial debut on this low-budget, high-concept sci-fi drama which he co-wrote with Michael Lloyd Green and which made the 2016 edition of the Black List. In the film, a teenage girl is raised underground by a robot ‘Mother’ – designed to repopulate the Earth following an extinction event. But their bond is threatened when an inexplicable blood-drenched female stranger arrives with alarming news that calls into question what the daughter has been told by ‘Mother’ about the outside world. Hilary Swank has a key role in the project.

image

“In Fabric”
British director Peter Strickland has very quickly established himself as one of the great conveyors of human senses in cinematic form with the lesbian lepidopterists in bondage tale “The Duke of Burgundy” and the Argento-esque foley focused thriller “Berberian Sound Studio”. Here he tackles the ghost story genre, setting it against the backdrop of a busy winter sales period in a department store and following the life of a cursed dress as it passes from person to person with devastating consequences. The film has been playing the Fall film festival circuit to rave reviews and should be getting a release next year.

image

“In the Shadow of the Moon”
Director Jim Mickle (“We Are What We Are,” “Stake Land”) helms this new Netflix original political thriller feature which the helmer dubs a “mind-bender” of a script from Gregory Weidman and Geoff Tock. “Logan,” “Narcos” and “The Predator” star Boyd Holbrook leads the cast which includes Michael C. Hall, Cleopatra Coleman and Bokeem Woodbine but further specifics are under wraps.

image

“In the Tall Grass”
“Cube” and “Splice” director Vincenzo Natali returns and has enlisted Patrick Wilson to lead this Netflix original film based on Stephen King and Joe Hill ‘s 2012 novella of the same name. The simple, high concept story sees an inseparable brother and sister on a cross-country road trip who, whilst stopping for a break, venture into a vast field of grass in Kansas after hearing a young boy’s cry for help. The pair soon discovers that there may be no way out and there are other, more dangerous things in that field.

image

“The Informer”
Actor-turned-director Andrea Di Stefano (“Escobar: Paradise Lost”) helms this crime thriller based on the novel “Three Seconds” by Swedish crime writing duo Roslund & Hellstrom. Joel Kinnaman stars as a reformed criminal and former spec ops soldier working undercover for crooked FBI handlers to infiltrate the Polish mob’s drug trade in New York. This means returning to prison on a mission and ultimately getting in a race against time when a drug deal goes wrong and threatens to identify him as a mole. Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen, Common and Ana de Armas co-star in the film which is expected to open in March.

image

“The Irishman”
Few projects in the works right now are more anticipated than this long-gestating adaptation. Scorsese, coming off the beautiful but divisive “Silence,” returns to more familiar territory here and assembles not just a reunion of Pacino & DeNiro but also manages to coax the mostly retired Joe Pesci to work with him again on the film penned by Steve Zaillian (“Schindler’s List”). The story deals with union official and mobster Frank Sheeran who claims to have been involved in the death of Jimmy Hoffa. Budgeted at over $150 million, thanks in part to using CGI de-aging to let his actors play their characters in their twenties and thirties, this isn’t just Netflix’s most expensive film but easily their most ambitious go at a film with serious awards potential.

image

“Ironbark”
“On Chesil Beach” director Dominic Cooke follows up that period drama with another, this one with more espionage leanings. Benedict Cumberbatch plays a British businessman who helped the CIA penetrate the Soviet nuclear program during the Cold War. The man and his Russian source, provided crucial intelligence that ended the Cuban Missile Crisis. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star Rachel Brosnahan co-stars.

image

“Isn’t It Romantic”
An American-Australian romantic fantasy comedy and vehicle for comedian Rebel Wilson who stars as a cynical architect living in New York City who has always believed that what she had seen in rom-coms is fantasy. Knocked out in a failed subway mugging, she awakens and discovers that she is self-aware of her existence in a romantic comedy and must escape every cliche in order to finally fall in love and achieve the happily ever after that will bring her back to reality. Fellow Aussie Liam Hemsworth and American comedian Adam DeVine play her potential paramours, while Priyanka Chopra (“Quantico”), Tom Ellis (“Lucifer”) and Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”) have supporting roles as does the great Jennifer Saunders who plays her mother. Warners, hoping to snag some lovebirds, has set a Valentine’s Day release.

image

“IT: Chapter Two”
Stephen King’s “IT” was a story that could not be told in one film, and New Line gambled by telling only half of it with Andy Muschetti’s stylish if a little overly jump scare focused film adaptation in 2017. It worked though, the movie becoming a Marvel-sized juggernaut and the most successful horror film ever made. Now comes the other and more difficult half of the story to adapt in which The Losers Club, now all adults in their thirties and forties, return to Derry to face off with the demonic clown Pennywise one last time. The casting is a little odd – the likes of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader make complete sense but some of the others, not so much. The kid stars will return for flashback sequences, and expect the budget to be bigger to deal with some of the more metaphysical and likely effects-heavy sequences such as the Ritual of Chud, but will the audience embrace it as much?

image

“Jacob’s Ladder”
Shot back in 2016, this is a dubbed a full “reimagination” of Adrian Lyne’s original trippy 1990 horror/thriller about a haunted Vietnam War veteran who attempts to discover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation and hallucinations. The new take is described as a “modern-day paranoid action thriller about two brothers” and stars the likes of Michael Ealy, Guy Burnet, Karla Souza and Nicole Beharie. David M. Rosenthal directs.

image

“John Wick 3: Parabellum”
The first was a cult critical favourite that morphed into a fun, thrilling action hit, The second proved as good and made twice as much money at the box-office, so a third film in the series is now about to arrive – picking up from the cliffhanger ending of the second in which John (Keanu Reeves) has been rendered excommunicado, banned from The Continental and on the run in New York evading the $14 million hit that has been put out on him. All the same team is back including series regulars like Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Ruby Rose and Laurence Fishburne while joining them this time out are the likes of Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Jason Mantzoukas and Robin Lord Taylor. Shot in Montreal, Russia, Morocco, and Spain, the film has been given a plum mid-May release which means Lionsgate is damn confident.

image

“Jojo Rabbit”
Beloved Kiwi director Taika Waititi, who has become a household name thanks to “Thor: Ragnarok,” brings his skills to this quirky story of a young German boy in Nazi Germany whose imaginary friend is an ethnically inaccurate version of Adolf Hitler who pushes the kid’s naive patriotic beliefs. He soon discovers that his family is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their house, one who also challenges his views. With Waititi playing der Fuhrer, it’s obviously going to have a touch of the absurd and could yield something quite hilarious. Yet the Christine Leunens’ novel “Caging Skies” which serves as the source material is fairly serious and considering we’re also in a time when fascism seems to be on the rise again around the world, what was farcical a decade ago nowadays seems borderline possible and therefore frightening so getting the tone right will be key. Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen and Stephen Merchant co-star.

image

“Joker”
Much like what Sony did with “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” with amazing results, this is something of an experiment by Warner Bros. Pictures. How do you do a superhero comic book movie without making it a costly blockbuster tentpole? Turn it into a mid-budget 1980s-set gritty crime thriller about one of the greatest villain characters ever created – comics or otherwise. The casting is perfect with the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, Shea Whigham, Bill Camp and Frances Conroy, but the film hails from “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips who hasn’t really dabbled in this arena before. Two other concerns is that this could come off as simply warmed over Mann or Scorsese, not to mention the fact The Joker partly works as a villain because his past remains mysterious so giving him an origin story may not work. It’s a risk, but when so many films in the comic book genre play it safe – it’s nice to see someone at least try.

image

“Jonssonligan”
Getting over the dismal failure of “The Snowman,” Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson returns to his home country for this reboot of the comedic Swedish films about a criminal genius, his two gang members and the ruthless mob boss they have to take down.

image

“J.T. LeRoy”
One of the most interesting literary scandals of the current century was that of J.T. LeRoy, a heroin-addicted HIV+ teenage hustler that was actually the male nom-de-plume of thirty-something single mother and “Deadwood” writer Laura Albert. Albert enlisted the help of her fashion designer sister-in-law Savannah Koop to help her pull off the ruse – Koop turning up at various public events in wigs and sunglasses as JT. In 2005 the hoax was exposed and here comes the narrative feature adaptation of the story with Laura Dern as Albert and Kristen Stewart as Knoop with filmmaker Justin Kelly directing. Screened at Toronto to decent reviews, Universal is shuffling it out in late March.

image

“Judy and Punch”
Selected for Sundance this year, the Australian drama stars Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman as puppeteers who are trying to resurrect their marionette show in an anarchic town on the brink of mob rule. The project marks the feature writing and directing debut of celebrated actress Mirrah Foulkes (“Animal Kingdom,” “Harrow,” “Top of the Lake”) who is also filmmaker David Michod’s wife and has helmed three strong short films herself.

image

“Jumanji 3”
Following great critical and commercial success for 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” the key core players and team behind that film return for a follow-up to the previous film which reimagined the board game macguffin of the 1995 movie into a video game. Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas are all returning and are joined this time by Danny DeVito and Awkwafina, though specifics of the plot are being kept tight-lipped so it’s not clear how they will come back into play.

image

“Jungleland”
Frequent TV comedy director Max Winkler follows up his feature debut on 2017’s “Flower” with this Massachusetts-shot road trip drama starring the fairly pitch-perfect casting of Jack O’Connell as a bare-knuckle boxer and Charlie Hunnam as his brother with the pair travelling across the country for one last fight. An unexpected travel companion (Jessica Barden) soon exposes the long-festering cracks in their bond along the way.

image

ALSO COMING IN 2019
“Good Boys,” “Gully,” “The Intruder,” “IO,” “Ip Man 4,” “Iron Sky: The Coming Race”

NOTABLE FILMS OF 2019 GUIDE

Volume 0-B
“3 from Hell,” “6 Underground,” “17 Bridges,” “47 Meters Down: Uncaged,” “1917,” “Ad Astra,” “The Addams Family,” “The Aeronauts,” “After,” “The Aftermath,” “After the Wedding,” “Against All Enemies,” “Aladdin,” “Alita: Battle Angel,” “All-Star Weekend,” “All the Bright Places,” “Always Be My Maybe,” “Amundsen,” “Angel Has Fallen,” “Angel of Mine,” “Anna,” “Annabelle 3,” “Antlers,” “Arctic,” “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” “Artemis Fowl,” “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” “Ash Is Purest White,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Bad Education,” “Bad Hair,” “The Banker,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “The Beach Bum,” “Benedetta,” “Bergman Island,” “The Best of Enemies,” “Blackbird,” “Boss Level,” “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind,” “BrightBurn,” “Burden”.

Volume C-F
“Call of the Wild,” “Captain Marvel,” “Captive State,” “Cats,” “Chaos Walking,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Child’s Play,” “City of Lies,” “Cold Pursuit,” “The Cradle,” “The Curse of La Llorona,” “Danger Close,” “Dark Phoenix,” “The Dead Don’t Die,” “The Death & Life of John F. Donovan,” “The Devil All The Time,” “Dhaka,” “The Diary,” “The Dirt,” “Dolemite is My Name,” “Dolor Y Gloria,” “Domino,” “Doom,” “Dora the Explorer,” “Downhill,” “Downton Abbey,” “Dreamland,” “Dumbo,” “The Earthquake Bird,” “Echo Boomers,” “The Education of Fredrick Fitzell,” “Eli,” “Ema,” “Escape Room,” “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” “Eve,” “Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie,” “Fighting with My Family,” “First Cow,” “Flarsky,” “Fonzo,” “Ford v. Ferrari,” “Frankie,” “Frozen 2”.

Volume G-J
“Gemini Man,” “Georgetown,” “Glass,” “Gloria Bell,” “The Glorias: A Life On The Road,” “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” “Going Places,” “The Goldfinch,” “The Good Liar,” “Greyhound,” “Grudge,” “Happy Death Day 2U,” “Harriet,” “Hellboy,” “High Flying Bird,” “High Life,” “The Highwaymen,” “Hobbs and Shaw: Fast & Furious Presents,” “The Hole in the Ground,” “Honey Boy,” “Hotel Mumbai,” “How to Build a Girl,” “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” “The Hummingbird Project,” “The Hunt,” “The Hustle,” “I Am Mother,” “In Fabric,” “In the Shadow of the Moon,” “In the Tall Grass,” “The Informer,” “The Irishman,” “Ironbark,” “Isn’t It Romantic,” “IT: Chapter Two,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” “John Wick 3: Parabellum,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Joker,” “Jonssonligan,” “J.T. LeRoy,” “Judy and Punch,” “Jumanji 3,” “Jungleland”.

Volume K-N
“The Kid,” “The Kid Who Would Be King,” “The Kindness of Strangers,” “The King,” “Kingsman: The Great Game,” “The Kitchen,” “Knives Out,” “Kursk,” “Lady & The Tramp,” “Last Christmas,” “The Last Full Measure,” “The Last Thing He Wanted,” “Late Night,” “The Laundromat,” “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part,” “Light of My Life,” “The Lighthouse,” “Limited Partners,” “The Lion King,” “Little,” “Little Joe,” “Little Monsters,” “Little Women,” “The Lodge,” “The Long Home,” “Lost Girls,” “Lost Transmissions,” “Mainstream,” “The Many Saints of Newark,” “Mary,” “Matthias & Maxime,” “Medieval,” “Men in Black International,” “Midsommar,” “Midway,” “Miss Bala,” “Missing Link,” “Monday,” “Motherless Brooklyn,” “Murder Mystery,” “My Zoe,” “Native Son,” “The Nest,” “The New Mutants,” “The Nightingale,” “Nomis,” “Non-Fiction”.

Volume O-S
“Official Secrets,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Once Upon a Time in Staten Island,” “Out of Blue,” “The Outpost,” “Pain and Glory,” “Pale Blue Dot,” “Paradise Hills,” “Parasite,” “The Parts You Lose,” “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” “Pet Sematary,” “Peterloo,” “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,” “Polar,” “Portrait of a Girl on Fire,” “The Prodigy,” “The Professor and the Madman,” “Project X-traction,” “Proxima,” “Queen & Slim,” “Rabid,” “Radegund,” “Rambo: Last Blood,” “Red Joan,” “The Red Sea Diving Resort,” “The Report,” “Resistance,” “The Rhythm Section,” “Richard Says Goodbye,” “Roads,” “Rocketman,” “Rolling Thunder Revue,” “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark,” “Serenity,” “Shazam!,” “Someone Great,” “Son of Shaft,” “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Sound of Metal,” “The Souvenir,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” “Star Wars: Episode IX,” “Stargirl,” “Storm Boy,” “Stuber,” “The Sunlit Night,” “Superintelligence,” “Sweetness in the Belly,” “Synchronic”.