The Notable Films Of 2019: K-N

The Notable Films Of 2019 K N

In this fourth volume of DH’s yearly film preview guide, there’s a bunch of prequels to properties ranging from spy franchises to mafia-centric TV shows, sequels to movies about children toys, two Disney live-action remakes, a spin-off of a superhero franchise and a sci-fi franchise, a remake of a celebrated novel, and

There’s also some experimental horror, the welcome return of several acclaimed filmmakers after a few years absence, WW2 epics done on a budget, several gritty dramas, an Australian horror comedy, the latest from celebrated animation powerhouse LAIKA, and a take on several of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.

This fourth of six volumes runs from titles beginning with the letters K, L, M & N. Here’s the list:

image

“The Kid”
A reunion of three key players from “The Magnificent Seven” remake, Vincent D’Onofrio’s second feature brings back his co-stars Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke for this much more indie western drama from new scribe Andrew Lanham (“Just Mercy”) which offers a different take on the legends of Billy The Kid and Pat Garrett. The story follows a young boy (Jake Schur) whose uncle has murdered his father and turned his sister out onto the streets. The boy tries to rope Billy (Dane DeHaan) into killing said uncle, but finds his romantic notions of the gunfighting outlaw are false and a true hero is there in the form of Sheriff Garrett (Hawke).

image

“The Kid Who Would Be King”
The long-awaited second feature of British comedian and filmmaker Joe Cornish following his debut “Attack the Block,” this new “Goonies”-esque adventure tale follows a young and utterly powerless British schoolboy (Louis Serkis) who finds his everyday problems dwarfed by his discovery of the mythical sword Excalibur. Soon, he and his friends must thwart a medieval villain named Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) who is hell-bent on destroying the world. Patrick Stewart also stars as Merlin in the film and Cornish has been very selective and consistently good with his other work of late which makes anything he does worth seeing.

image

“The Kindness of Strangers”
“An Education” director Lone Scherfig’s new drama follows four people suffering through the worst crises of their lives. Zoe Kazan, Bill Nighy, Andrea Riseborough, Jay Baruchel, Tahar Rahim and Caleb Landry Jones co-star in the film which will premiere at Berlinale.

image

“The King”
While “The Rover” and “Animal Kingdom” director David Michod’s first Netflix feature “War Machine” came and went with little fanfare, expect much more attention to be paid to his next one which hits the streamer in July and adapts three of four plays (Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Henry V) within Shakespeare’s second historical tetralogy known as the Henriad (which was recently adapted for TV as “The Hollow Crown”). Michod and Joel Edgerton penned the adaptations with the latter taking on the key famed role of Falstaff while Ben Mendelsohn is Henry IV, Timothee Chalamet is Henry V, and Robert Pattinson is The Dauphin in this British-Australian-US co-production from Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Blue-Tongue Films.

image

“Kingsman: The Great Game”
Serving as a prequel to the espionage action comedy film franchise, director Matthew Vaughn returns to helm this outing set nearly a century earlier and boasting much more of a period drama tone. Stepping into the student-mentor roles in place of the Egerton/Firth dynamic this time are “Beach Rats” breakout Harris Dickinson and acting veteran Ralph Fiennes. The WWI-set story will reportedly deal with the formation of the service and also stars the likes of Rhys Ifans as the manipulative Russian mystic villain along with Daniel Bruhl, Charles Dance and Matthew Goode in supporting roles.

image

“The Kitchen”
This adaptation of the Vertigo comic mini-series serves as the directing debut of “Straight Outta Compton” scribe Andrea Berloff and boasts a “Widows”-esque premise in which the wives of Irish mobsters take over their husband’s organized crime operations in the 1970s in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen after the FBI arrests their spouses. What’s most interesting is that this is being done very much as a drama, even with comedians Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish playing two of the three wives. Elisabeth Moss plays the third, Common is the FBI agent trying to bring them down, while Domhnall Gleeson, Margo Martindale and James Badge Dale also have key roles.

image

“Knives Out”
“Brick” and “Looper” director Rian Johnson has found himself suffering at the hands of fanboys for much of the past year in the wake of the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” so it’s welcome to see him return to something quite different with a new project he’s both penning and directing that serves as a love letter to Agatha Christie’s works. The film is dubbed a modern take on the whodunit murder mystery with Daniel Craig as the Poirot-esque Detective Benoit Blanc along with Lakeith Stanfield as his offsider. The casting is exquisite – Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Don Johnson, and youngsters like “IT” star Jaeden Lieberher and “13 Reasons Why” actress Katherine Langford all playing either suspects or victims. Lionsgate has the film and are planning an early Fall release.

image

“Kursk”
Celebrated Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg helms this true story tale about the famous K-141 Kursk submarine disaster in 2000 when a Russian submarine on a naval exercise sank in the Barents Sea. Two dozen sailors desperately fought for survival while their oxygen ran out, and negligence within the Russian government led to them refusing help from foreign governments for five days. The film, the final role of the late Michael Nyqvist, premiered on the Fall film festival circuit to tepid reviews.

image

“Lady and the Tramp”
Set to be arguably the biggest of the launch films for the soon to premiere Disney+ streaming service, “Lady and the Tramp” is a live-action adaptation of the famed 1955 animated feature. Unlike with “The Lion King” or “The Jungle Book” though, this one is almost entirely live-action with real actors interacting with real dogs (with a bit of CG assistance). “The Lego Ninjago Movie” helmer Charlie Bean directs the story of an upper-middle-class American cocker spaniel named Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson) who meets a streetsmart, downtown stray mongrel called the Tramp (voiced by Justin Theroux), with the two embarking on many romantic adventures. Janelle Monae, Ashley Jensen, Sam Elliott and Benedict Wong lend their voices while Kiersey Clemons, Thomas Mann, Yvette Nicole Brown and Arturo Castro appear in on screen human roles.

image

“Last Christmas”
“Spy” and “A Simple Favor” filmmaker Paul Feig returns with this Xmas-set British romantic comedy co-written by none other than Emma Thompson. The project marks something of a double re-teaming as male lead Henry Golding worked with Feig on ‘Favor’, while Golding’s “Crazy Rich Asians” co-star Michelle Yeoh also stars in this. Emilia Clarke, Rebecca Root and Thompson herself co-star in the project which will incorporate numerous George Michael songs including the titular one. Specifics of the plot remain under wraps, but the film will be out just in time with a mid-November release planned.

image

“The Last Full Measure”
Originally slated to star “The Flash” actor Grant Gustin, this inspirational true story army tale swapped him out with the less interesting but not too shabby Jeremy Irvine in a story which jumps between one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War and a present day investigation into a cover-up. Sebastian Stan plays a young Pentagon investigator teaming with veterans of Operation Abilene to convince Congress to award the Medal of Honor to a courageous Air Force medic. The cast includes Christopher Plummer, Samuel L. Jackson, Linus Roache, Diane Ladd, Bradley Whitford, Ed Harris, Peter Fonda, William Hurt, Michael Imperioli, Amy Madigan and John Savage in supporting roles.

image

“The Last Thing He Wanted”
It may not have made it into the Best Picture nominations, but Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” remains one of the best films Netflix has done to date and now she reunites with them for her latest work – an adaptation of Joan Didion’s political thriller novel “The Last Thing He Wanted”. Anne Hathaway, Willem Dafoe, Ben Affleck, Toby Jones, Edi Gathegi and Rosie Perez co-star in the story of a woman in the early 1980s who gives up her job as a political journalist to care for her dying father, only to take over the family business – international arms dealing. Boasting a soundtrack by Tamar-kali, the film was shot last Summer in Puerto Rico and will likely score a big push on the streamer in the Fall.

image

“Late Night”
Originally set to be a Paul Feig directorial effort until his commitments to the upcoming “Last Christmas” got in the way, both that film and this have managed to snag Emma Thompson for key roles. This one tells the story of a Letterman-esque long-running late night talk show host who hires a female head writer (Mindy Kaling) to revitalize her fading show. “Transparent” episode helmer Nisha Ganatra tackles the picture which offers a welcome gender-switched take on the overly male-dominated late night talk show scene. John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy and Amy Ryan co-star in the film which will premiere at Sundance.

image

“The Laundromat”
Steven Soderbergh’s biggest streaming play to date, the acclaimed “Logan Lucky” and “Ocean’s 11” helmer gets a solid budget and great cast for his new Netflix original film about the Panama Papers scandal which will be based on Jake Bernstein’s novel “Secrecy World”. Re-teaming with his “Contagion” and “Side Effects” scribe Scott Z. Burns, the project revolves around the journalists covering the largest leak of corporate data in history as 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonesca were revealed back in 2015 and detailed the various ways powerful elites and corporations hide their money in offshore accounts. Shot across six countries and with the latest RED cameras, the all-star cast includes Antonio Banderas, Gary Oldman, Meryl Streep, David Schwimmer, Will Forte, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alex Pettyfer, Jeffrey Wright, Chris Parnell and James Cromwell.

image

“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part”
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller return only as producers for this Mike Mitchell-directed follow-up to 2014’s popular and well regarded “The LEGO Movie”. Animators Animal Logic return for this new outing in which Duplo invaders level Bricksburg. Five years on, everyone is now living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and Emmet soon finds himself heading into space to rescue his kidnapped friends from the evil General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz ) and Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi (Tiffany Hadish). Pretty much everyone from the first is back for the follow-up, joined by Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa and Margot Robbie playing their DCEU characters in LEGO form.

image

“Light of My Life”
Actor Casey Affleck’s second turn behind the camera is a post-apocalyptic survival thriller about a father of a young daughter who both become trapped in the woods after a deadly pandemic radically alters the world. As the father struggles to protect his daughter’s innocence, their bond is tested. Already shot early 2016, talk of the film has effectively been radio silent for nearly two years despite being pre-sold in many territories.

image

“The Lighthouse”
Making an astonishing debut with “The Witch,” filmmaker Robert Eggers returns at last with a new dark fantasy horror tale about a pair of lighthouse keepers in 1890 Maine who encounter strange and mythical forces from the sea. Shot on 35mm and on black-and-white film stock as opposed to color and then desaturated, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson take on the roles of the two keepers in the film which was shot in Nova Scotia and will score a release via A24 like Eggers got with “The Witch”. The distributor has teased it with the promising line: “a totally unique and ambitious universe and manages to somehow feel scary, suspenseful, wondrous, and beautiful all at the same time.”

image

“Limited Partners”
The quite political and impressive dark comedy “Beatriz At Dinner” by Miguel Arteta certainly deserved more attention than it got, and now the filmmaker returns with this new laugher starring Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne as two best friends and business partners with very different ideals (one is practical, one indulges in a lavish lifestyle) who go to war when an offer is made on their start-up beauty company. Salma Hayek, Ari Graynor and Billy Porter co-star in the comedy which Paramount is set to open in October.

image

“The Lion King”
Jon Favreau’s “The Jungle Book” was nothing if not a testing ground for an eventual “The Lion King” remake and, in the wake of that film making a billion dollars at the box-office and also scoring good reviews, along came the inevitable with Favreau using the same tech but going even further this time out. Dubbed ‘live-action,’ though really just photo-realistic CG animation, this new take on the beloved 1994 Disney animated classic is expected to be quite loyal to the original and includes a superb voice cast like Donald Glover, Beyonce, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key, Florence Kasumba, Alfre Woodard and the great James Earl Jones reprising his role of Mufasa. Expect another billion-dollar box-office haul for Disney.

image

“Little”
Making no bones about it being a contemporary “Big” homage, but switching the gender and race of its lead, coming of age comedy “Little” sees the teaming of awards darling Regina Hall and acclaimed HBO series star Issa Rae in a film about a take-no-prisoners tech mogul who wakes up in her penthouse just before a do-or-die presentation with one problem – she’s now a teenager. Rae plays her long-suffering assistant April, the only one in on the secret that her daily tormentor is now trapped in an awkward young body just as everything at the company is on the line. “Drumline” director Tina Gordon helms from a story by “Girls Trip” scribe Tracy Oliver and a script by “Fresh Off the Boat” creator Camilla Blackett.

image

“Little Joe”
Sounding like a blend of numerous classic sci-fi tales from “Day of the Triffids” to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” this new feature deals with a genetically engineered plant scattering its seeds and causing uncanny changes to living creatures around the glove. The afflicted appear strange as if they were replaced by copies that aren’t quite right. Jessica Hausner, who delivered the superb “Lourdes” and “Amour Fou,” helms this project which stars Ben Whishaw, Emily Beecham and Kerry Fox. It’s expected to be done by the Spring and could see a Fall festival rollout.

image

“Little Monsters”
One of Australia’s most promising young actors, Abe Forsythe, made a shift into filmmaking with the comedies “Ned” and “Down Under”. For his third go behind the camera, Forsythe steps into genre filmmaking with this tale of a washed-up musician (Alexander England) who teams up with a plucky teacher (Lupita N’yongo) and a kids show host (Josh Gad) to protect a kindergarten class from a sudden outbreak of zombies during a school excursion to a farm. The tiny Aussie comedy managed to attract N’yongo and Gad thanks to a strong script, and the film is set to premiere at Sundance next month.

image

“Little Women”
Beloved indie actress Greta Gerwig knocked it out of the park with her debut directorial effort “Lady Bird,” and so now she returns with this new adaptation of the iconic Louisa May Alcott novel. Enlisting the help of her previous film’s co-stars Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet along with the likes of Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, James Norton, Bob Odenkirk, Chris Cooper, Emma Watson and Meryl Streep, the film is the newest adaptation since the early 1990s version with Kirsten Dunst and Winona Ryder. Set in 1860s Massachusetts, the story is essentially a coming of age tale for four sisters with this version said to place much more focus on the young adult elements of the novel and what the girls get up to upon leaving home. Sony is already positioning it as both a potential awards player and a mainstream holiday hit with a Christmas release planned.

image

“The Lodge”
Riley Keough leads this Hammer Films claustrophobic thriller project which tackles religious devotion and the frailty caused by it. The story follows siblings who resent the new younger woman their newly separated father plans to marry. The soon find themselves trapped with her, snowed in in a remote holiday village, and just as they begin to become friendly some frightening events threaten to unearth trauma from the woman’s strictly religious childhood. Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, the duo behind the decidedly creepy “Goodnight Mommy,” helm the project which also stars Richard Armitage, Daniel Keough, Jaeden Lieberher and Alicia Silverstone and will premiere later this month at Sundance.

image

“The Long Home”
The fate of this James Franco-directed indie adaptation of the William Gay novel remains unknown despite the stacked cast including Tim Blake Nelson, Courtney Love, Timothy Hutton, Giancarlo Esposito, Ashton Kutcher and Josh Hartnett. Set in rural 1940s Tennessee, a young man (Josh Hutcherson) lands a job building a ‘honky-tonk’ bar for a charismatic, scheming bootlegger – unaware the same man murdered his father a decade earlier. Shot in mid-2015 over just three weeks, the film has been sitting on a shelf for three years.

image

“Lost Girls”
Originally a Sarah Paulson vehicle setup at Amazon, it has now jumped to Netflix which is trying for its own gritty “True Detective” style tale here with an adaptation of the Robert Kolker novel which stars Amy Ryan as Mari Gilbert, a mother who relentlessly drives law enforcement agents to search for her missing daughter. In the process, she sheds light on a wave of unsolved murders of young female sex workers on the South Shore barrier islands of Long Island – murders committed by a serial killer. Thomasin McKenzie, Gabriel Byrne, Oona Laurence and Lola Kirke co-star in the film which the prolific Liz Garbus is helming.

image

“Lost Transmissions”
A new indie drama stars Juno Temple as a shy songwriter who discovers that her record producer friend (Simon Pegg) has lapsed on his schizophrenia medication and rallies a group of her friends (Alexandra Daddario, Tao Okamoto, Rosanna Arquette) to help commit him to a psychiatric facility – chasing him as he outruns his colorful delusions through the glamour and grit of Los Angeles. The Katharine O’Brien-directed film is said to explore both the troubling inadequacies of the U.S. mental health care system and serve as a music industry satire.

image

“Mainstream”
Though she’s not as well known as her grandfather or aunt, Gia Coppola delivered a strong debut with her first feature “Palo Alto”. Now, five years later, she finally follows that up but not with her originally planned “The Secret Life Of The Lonely Doll” . Rather it’s an ensemble drama set in the Internet age and dealing with a love triangle with the likes of Andrew Garfield, Maya Hawke, Nat Wolff and Jason Schwartzman starring. As it only recently began filming, it’s probably not coming until year’s end.

image

“The Many Saints of Newark”
David Chase changed the TV landscape with HBO’s “The Sopranos” which, combined with the likes of “Oz,” “Sex & The City” and “The Wire,” helped HBO create prestige cable drama and lay the foundation for what has become the golden age of television. Since the show wrapped, there’s been talk of a potential film spin-off and now it’s finally arriving with Chase offering this 1960s prequel story set against the Newark race riots and the rise of Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) along with the nine-year-old Tony Soprano who witnessed it. Alan Taylor, who helmed many of the episodes, returns to direct the project which will shoot in March and so far only has Nivola signed on. Hopefully will make it into cinemas by year’s end.

image

“Mary”
Cinematographer-turned-filmmaker Michael Goi teams with “The Shallows” writer Anthony Jaswinski for this ocean-set tale dubbed “The Conjuring on a boat” in which a family aiming to start a charter-boat business buys a ship that holds terrifying secrets once out on isolated waters. Emily Mortimer, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Esposito, Michael Landes and Owen Teague co-star in the film which was much sought after by studios during development but has otherwise stayed under the radar since.

image

“Matthias & Maxime”
Despite all those negative reviews for “The Death & Life of John F. Donovan,” you can’t keep filmmaker Xavier Dolan down and the actor gives us a double dose this year with the second being this much more intimate French-language indie drama that re-teams him with his “Mommy” stars Antoine Pilon and Anne Dorval while “Beach Rats” breakout Harris Dickinson also stars. The story focuses on friends in their late 20s and all the hallmarks that come with that age.

image

“Medieval”
An international cast lead this Czech historical drama and biopic of Jan Zizka, the Bohemian military commander who never lost a battle. Set in his younger years and before the Hussite Wars, Ben Foster stars as the man who at this point is a member of a mercenary group that does dirty work for nobles. His latest mission is to save Catherine (Sophie Lowe), the lover of King Wenceslaus (Karel Roden) but things get complicated when he falls in love with her. The most expensive Czech film ever made at around $23 million US dollars, it also stars Michael Caine, Til Schweiger, Matthew Goode and William Moseley.

image

“Men in Black International”
Rather than forking out money for another sequel, Sony is half-rebooting the franchise with this spin-off which shifts the action to the London branch of the agency that monitors and enforces law for all alien life visiting or living on Earth. A pair of agents, played by the welcome re-pairing of “Thor: Ragnarok” duo Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, become involved in a murder mystery that sends them traveling the globe. Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani and Rafe Spall also star in the project which hails from the writers of “Iron Man” and is helmed by F. Gary Gray (“The Italian Job”). A first trailer released the other month showed strong promise, but considering the third film has gone up in many people’s estimation in recent years – it’s going to have its work cut out for it.

image

“Midsommar”
Making it onto many best of year lists last year was Ari Aster’s intense horror tale “Hereditary” which also became a big hit for distributor A24. Now he follows up that stylish debut feature effort with this project which sounds like a spin on “The Wicker Man”. Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor star as a couple visiting a friend (Will Poulter) in his Swedish rural hometown for a mid-summer festival, but instead find themselves forced into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition by a pagan cult. A24 have confidence in this, having set aside an early August release date for the film.

image

“Midway”
Though he’s tackled alien invasions, several end of the world scenarios, and period warfare, filmmaker Roland Emmerich has never really done a WW1 or WW2 film before. Now he brings his skill for action set pieces to one of the most decisive battles of the Second World War – the Battle of Midway which took place six months after Pearl Harbor. The attack inflicted devastating damage on the invading Japanese fleet, damage that proved irreparable and has been dubbed the “most decisive blow in the history of naval warfare”. Emmerich has managed to enlist a hell of a cast with both Woody Harrelson and Luke Evans in the lead roles while Mandy Moore, Patrick Wilson, Ed Skrein, Aaron Eckhart, Darren Criss, Nick Jonas, Dennis Quaid, Luke Kleintank and Tadanobu Asano co-star. Oddly though, this will mark one of his lowest budget blockbusters with the total coming in at $60 million – so don’t expect much large scale “Pearl Harbor” or “Dunkirk” action.

image

“Miss Bala”
“Twilight” and “Thirteen” director Catherine Hardwicke’s remake of the 2011 film of the same name about an L.A. make-up artist (Gina Rodriguez) kidnapped in Mexico and forced to smuggle money for a drug cartel. She soon works her way up both the cartel ladder and into the DEA’s good books. Trailers for this are…not so good.

image

“Missing Link”
LAIKA’s already great track record reached new heights with the wonderous “Kubo & The Two Strings” in 2016 and now Chris Butler, who helmed one of the studio’s greatest and underrated works with “ParaNorman,” returns with their latest stop-motiona animated feature starring Hugh Jackman as myths and monsters investigator Sir Lionel Frost. Frost sets off on an adventure to the Pacific Northwest to prove the existence of the legendary creature Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis) and is joined on the way by free-spirited independent adventurer Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana). Timothy Olyphant, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas and David Walliams co-star in the film which boasts over 110 sets with 65 unique locations – the most ambitious project of the company to date. Set to open mid-April via Annapurna, there’s little doubt this will be as good as their other work and certainly the best of the three Bigfoot animated movies opening this year (the others being Dreamworks’ “Abominable” and Warners’ “Smallfoot”).

image

“Monday”
Greek filmmaker Argyris Papadimitropoulos follows up the underseen “Suntan” with this much more likely to get traction story of two self-destructive Americans, living across Athens and the Greek islands, who plunge into a tsunami of a romance and hedonism. “Captain America” actor Sebastian Stan and rising actress Denise Gough play the couple with the pair making headlines during filming as they were spotted shooting scenes whilst motorcycling nude through Athens. Dominique Tipper co-stars in the project which aims to offer a very honest look at what an intense relationship can be like – something that the director says aren’t really happening much in society anymore.

image

“Motherless Brooklyn”
Nearly two decades after his first directorial effort with “Keeping The Faith,” actor Edward Norton steps behind the camera again for this adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s novel which he’s been developing for the screen since the turn of the millennium. Set in 1950s New York, Norton plays a private investigator with Tourette syndrome who must solve the murder of his mentor (Bruce Willis). As it’s Norton he’s managed to snag a great cast including Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Cherry Jones, Michael K. Williams, Bobby Cannavale and Leslie Mann. Warners will release the film which underwent some additional filming only last month.

image

“Murder Mystery”
The latest Adam Sandler effort for Netflix is a bit more high profile and from better stock than his usual fare thanks to a long development period (it was once a Charlize Theron vehicle) and some above-average casting including a re-teaming with his “Just Go With It” co-star Jennifer Aniston in the female lead role, Luke Evans as the villain and the likes of Gemma Arterton, Terence Stamp and comedian David Walliams in supporting parts. Sandler plays an NYC cop who finally takes his wife (Aniston) on a long-promised European trip. A chance meeting on a flight with a mysterious man (Evans) gets them invited to an intimate family gathering on the superyacht of an elderly billionaire (Stamp) who is murdered and they have become the prime suspects. Kyle Newacheck helms the project which was shot last summer around Montreal and Lake Como.

image

“My Zoe”
Julie Delpy is back in the director’s chair with a new film that could be her most mainstream yet. The story stars Delpy as a geneticist who got out of a toxic marriage and is now raising her only daughter occasionally with the help of her ex-husband (Richard Armitage). When tragedy strikes the fractured family, the woman must take matters into her own hands and turns to another couple (Gemma Arterton and Daniel Bruhl) for help. Shot in Berlin and Moscow, it will likely run at festivals for much of the year first.

image

“Native Son”
Set to premiere at Sundance and already picked up by A24 for distribution, this heavily reimagined adaptation of Richard Wright’s 1940 novel hails from celebrated artist Rashid Johnson who makes his feature-film directorial debut on the project about ‘Big’ Thomas (“Moonlight” breakout Ashton Sanders), a young African American man living with family in Chicago. Full of self-determination, he accepts a job as the chauffeur for a wealthy businessman and his involvement in an accidental death places him on a collision course with the powerful social forces pitted against him. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks adapted the script.

image

“The Nest”
“Martha Marcy May Marlene” director Sean Durkin returns with this psychological drama in which the future of an ambitious entrepreneur’s family is plunged into uncertainty upon relocation from America to England. The tense isolation of their new home affects each of them differently and threatens the entire family unit. Jude Law, Carrie Coon and Anne Reid co-star in the British-US co-production.

image

“The New Mutants”
Ostensibly an R-rated teen horror spin-off of the “X-Men” franchise and a potential trilogy launcher, this was once a very promising project which wowed ’em last year with a very well received early teaser trailer. The story follows five young mutants, just discovering their abilities whilst held in a secret facility against their will, as they fight to escape their past sins and save themselves. It’s a teen horror take on “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and it sounded great. Then everything went off the rails – the film was delayed by more than a year, reports came of massive retooling and reshoots being required with at least one whole new character being introduced into the narrative and as much as half the movie being completely redone. The plan is to really make this much more frightening than the original cut was, but some involved have expressed reservations. With Fox set to be fully swallowed by Disney by the time it’s released, it will hopefully be an interesting one-off effort.

image

“The Nightingale”
“The Babadook” director Jennifer Kent returns with her second feature which made headlines when it premiered in Venice to a reception in which Kent was verbally abused. Set in 1829 Tasmania, a young convict woman seeking revenge for the murder of her family takes an Aboriginal male outcast with her through the island’s interior. Unrelentingly bleak and grim, the film starts with a gang rape and brutal child murder and only gets darker from there – not easy viewing for even the sternest of stomachs – and yet Kent’s filmmaking skill can’t be denied. It’s a movie bound to cause a lot of conversation.

image

“Nomis”
Having screened at the LA Film Festival in the Fall, it’s likely this Henry Cavill-led psychological thriller will end up a day-and-date VOD release even with the Superman actor and the supporting cast that includes Alexandra Daddario, Ben Kingsley, Nathan Fillion, Stanley Tucci and Minka Kelly. The story follows a weathered lieutenant, his police force, and a local vigilante who are all caught up in a dangerous scheme involving a recently arrested online predator who is linked to years of female abductions and murders. David Raymond makes his directorial debut on the project.

image

“Non-Fiction”
Filmmaker Oliver Assayas follows up the celebrated one-two punch of “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Personal Shopper” with this bed-hopping comedy which scored very good reviews praising its acting and writing when it premiered at Venice. Guillaume Canet plays a literary editor who refuses to publish an author’s new novel, while at the same time his company hires a young woman (Christa Theret) to adapt them all to the digital age. Turns out the editor’s wife and the author have been having an affair for years, while the author’s left-wing political consultant wife also comes into play.

image

ALSO COMING IN 2019
“The Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang,” “The Kill Team,” “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” “The Last Laugh,” “The Last Summer,” “Life in a Year,” “The Mustang,” “Naya Legend of the Golden Dolphin,” “Nekrotronic,” “Normal People”

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”.