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Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2019

Written by on January 10, 2019 

90. Zola (Janicza Bravo)


Janicza Bravo’s Lemon was one of the most peculiar comedy offerings of recent years, announcing a fresh new voice in independent cinema. For her next feature Zola she’s teaming with A24 for a wild true story. Originally based on a Twitter thread, it tells the tale of a former stripper and sex worker who take a trip from Detroit to Tampa with the promise of dancing at a lucrative club. It turns out the man accompanying them is a pimp who aims to make money from the women. Featuring kidnapping and murder, it has the makings of a strange, intense tale of the South. – Jordan R.

89. Isabella (Matías Piñeiro)


Following up 2016’s charming Hermia & Helena, Matías Piñeiro is preparing his next project Isabella, in which he, as he’s done before, will put his own spin on Shakespeare, this time with Measure for Measure. Production was aiming to begin this month, IONCinema reports, so hopefully it’s done in time for a festival premiere. The original play followed “the titular nun, a woman who is pressured into giving her virginity to a city official threatening to execute her brother for fornicating with his fiancée before marriage.” – Jordan R.

88. Call of the Wild (Chris Sanders; Dec. 25)


Director of How to Train Your Dragon and Lilo & Stitch, Chris Sanders, is making his live-action debut this year with Call of the Wild. Starring Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford and Omar Sy, the Jack London adaptation will incorporate heavy visual effects from The Jungle Book team, so it should be interesting new territory for the director. Scripted by Michael Green (Logan), the film follows prospector John Thornton (Ford) and his journey across the Canadian Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush. – Jordan R.

87. Chaos Walking (Doug Liman)


Based on Patrick Ness’s 2008 novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, get ready for another high-budgeted adventure film from director Doug Liman, whose action masterpiece Edge of Tomorrow is only a few years young. If that’s not enough to get you to the theater, try this: it stars cutie Spider-Man Tom Holland and Star Wars‘ Daisy Ridley as people living in the future on another planet where nearly every woman has been killed by a virus. – Jordan R.

86. Fireball (Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer)

Into the Inferno

After going Into the Inferno with Clive Oppenheimer, the duo will look to the skies for their next cinematic exploration. With production already underway, Fireball finds them exploring sites that may yield “insight into comets and meteorites and help them understand what they can tell us about the origins of life on Earth.” With Herzog’s singular voice, we look forward to his thoughts on the galaxy and, perhaps, our own planet’s demise. – Jordan R.

85. The King (David Michôd)


Timothée Chalamet is getting medieval. The Call Me By Your Name star has teamed with Netflix for David Michôd’s The King for Netflix. Also starring Robert Pattinson, Sean Harris, Ben Mendelsohn, and Lily-Rose Depp, the film is based off the Shakespeare play Henry V, and will be adapted for the screen by both Michôd and Joel Edgerton, who will also star in the film. Chalamet will play Henry V in the titular role and will follow his involuntary rise to power after the death of his brother–all while facing military conflict with France. Michôd’s last Netflix collaboration, War Machine, didn’t go down so well, but hopefully better things are in store for this one. – Jordan R.

84. Honey Boy (Alma Har’el)


Shia LaBeouf is once again getting meta this year, starring in Honey Boy, a film based on his own experiences with his alcoholic father, played by LaBeouf himself. Playing the character inspired by LaBeouf across different time periods in his contentious upbringing as a childhood TV star is both Lucas Hedges and Noah Jupe. Directed by Alma Har’el, who last gave us the beautiful documentary Love True, and shot by The Neon Demon cinematographer Natasha Braier, we imagine this will be the talk of Sundance. – Jordan R.

83. The Lodge (Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz)


After earning acclaimed for their horror feature Goodnight Mommy, directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz are back this year with what looks to be an even bigger break-out. The Lodge, starring Riley Keough, Richard Armitage , Jaeden Lieberher, and Lia McHugh, follows tells the story of a young woman and her new stepchildren who are menaced by a terrifying supernatural force while spending Christmas in their remote cabin. Shot by Yorgos Lanthimos’ frequent cinematographer Thimios Bakatakis and set to premiere at Sundance, this has the makings of a chilly frightfest. – Jordan R.

82. Motherless Brooklyn (Edward Norton)


It’s been 19 years since Edward Norton’s directorial debut Keeping the Faith and so there’s no way to know for sure what his directorial style will present as. That being said, Norton is also starring alongside Willem Defoe and Bruce Willis in this period detective yarn with a twist. Based off of a stellar novel from writer Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn is the story of a man with Tourette’s trying to find the person or persons who murdered his mentor. Given the star power and source material, there’s more than enough to look forward too even with the giant question mark hanging over Norton’s directing.  – Brian R.

81. The Report (Scott Z. Burns)


The work of Scott Z. Burns will show up a little later on this list thanks to his fruitful collaborations with Steven Soderbergh, the writer has gotten behind the director’s chair for his own drama. Starring Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Ted Levine, Maura Tierney, and Michael C. Hall, The Report dives into the uncovering of the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation tactics, as discovered by Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Driver). – Jordan R.

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