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Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2019

Written by on January 10, 2019 

20. Gemini Man (Ang Lee; Oct. 4)

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Finding new life with Ang Lee after lingering in development hell since the ‘90s, Gemini Man sees Will Smith v. Will Smith in a sci-fi thriller featuring an aging hitman forced to contend with a clone of his younger self. Given his ever-eclectic filmography, Lee’s involvement adds some inspiration to the proceedings. Win, lose or draw, his films are wrought with ambition, so here’s hoping he can lift Smith from the ashes of Bright and Suicide Squad. – Conor O.

19. The Daughters of Fire (Pedro Costa)

pedro costa 1

Pedro Costa’s long awaited follow-up to Horse Money was actually featured in our list of the most anticipated films of last year, but we’re still anticipating The Daughters of Fire, which is said to involve a group of sisters, a return to Fontainhas (where he previously shot three films, including his monumental Colossal Youth), and some filming in Cape Verde. Given the beguiling, abstruse nature of his work, this vagueness is understandable, but whatever direction Costa chooses, we will follow. – Ryan S.

18. Domino (Brian De Palma)

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The long parabola of Brian De Palma’s career has seen him emerge from the art film fringes in the 60s and 70s, to the absolute forefront of American cinema in the 80s and 90s, to something of a marginal figure in the 00s and 10s. His acclaim is not doubted, yet Domino is only his second film in the last ten years. Still, the fact that a new De Palma is even on the way at all is cause for delight, and De Palma acolytes will be happy to know that his latest is a police thriller set in Scandinavia whose story incorporates elements of global terrorism. Appropriately weighty for a director accustomed to grandiose, sweeping films. Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Carice Van Houten are the main cast members, so here’s to yet another instance of De Palma turning trash into art. – Nate F.

17. About Endlessness (Roy Andersson)

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During the five-year wait since A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, the closing chapter of Roy Andersson’s Living trilogy, the filmmaker hasn’t exactly been resting on his laurels. Andersson began production as early as February 2017 on his newest work About Endlessness, another lovingly handcrafted vision of life as grotesquely surreal comedy. Although Andersson doesn’t consider the film another chapter of his Living trilogy, we can almost definitely expect a similar visual approach, save for the inclusion of title cards and some mysterious voiceover this time around. As we reported as early as 2016, About Endlessness is earmarked for release at some point this year, making it, just as any Roy Andersson film is, as highly anticipated as anything on the 2019 calendar. – Tony H.

16. The Truth (Hirokazu Kore-eda)

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Coming off his Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda is embarking on his French-language debut, featuring two of France’s greatest stars. Led by Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, and Ethan Hawke, the meta story involves a star of French cinema (Deneuve) and the relationship with her daughter, played by Binoche. Hawke will play the role of Binoche’s husband. Shot by cinematographer Eric Gautier, who most recently worked on Jia Zhangke’s Ash Is Purest White, expect another return to Cannes for the director. – Jordan R.

15. Dry Run (Todd Haynes)

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Following up his family adventure Wonderstruck, Todd Haynes is adapting The New York Times article about Rob Bilott, an Ohio lawyer who uncovered how the chemical company DuPont had polluted drinking water in the region, which opened up a bigger investigation regarding chemicals that were used in everyday productions for decades. Set to star Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, and Tim Robbins, it will be different territory for Haynes, who is known for often co-writing or developing all of his movies. Dry Run will be an exception to that, with a script first written by Matthew Carnahan with a rewrite by Mario Correa. With an extras casting call posted just last week, it seems like things are moving faster than expected on the project and we could see it by year’s end. – Stephen H.

14. Us (Jordan Peele; March 22)

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With the harrowing Get Out, Jordan Peele announced himself as a frontrunner in contemporary American horror. With Us, he looks to start a bit of a streak. Following a couple (Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) who vacation with their kids at a beach house, only to be confronted with some uninvited guests, Us has been shrouded in an expected bit of secrecy. Should its deliciously sinister marketing ring true, Peele has us in for a terrific bit of terror. – Conor O.

13. The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers)

The Witch

Director Robert Eggers immediately caught our attention with his debut horror feature The Witch, a beautifully textured and enigmatic folktale featuring a star-making turn by Anna Taylor-Joy. This year, he returns to the world of horror with his sophomore effort, The Lighthouse, a “fantasy horror story set in the world of old sea-faring myths.” Shot on 35mm black-and-white film stock and boasting a cast which includes Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson (who said in a recent interview that working with Eggers was “the closest I’ve come to punching a director”), we know tantalizingly little of The Lighthouse’s plot, except the cryptic longline: “The story of an aging lighthouse keeper named Old who lives in early 20th-century Maine.” Yep, that’s good enough for us. – Tony H.

12. Bendetta (Paul Verhoeven)

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Following up Elle, Paul Verhoeven’s next film will tell the story of a 17th-century nun who suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. She develops a romantic love affair with a fellow nun assigned to help her through the visions. Based on a book by Judith C. Brown, the writer Gerard Soeteman recently distanced himself from the project due to the extreme sexual aspects of the film, so if that doesn’t increase your anticipation, I don’t know what will. – Jordan R.

11. Pain & Glory (Pedro Almodóvar)

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Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz are often thought of as Almodóvar’s muses, but other than their cameos in I’m So Excited, the stars have never headlined one of his films together. That is until now, the iconic pair star in Dolor y gloria (Pain and Glory) which the director has referred to as “his most personal work” to date. Centered on the experiences of a filmmaker dealing with mortality, the women in his life, and the “unmeasurable emptiness” he faces in the midst of a shoot, the film’s specific synopsis remains a mystery, but as with all things Pedro it will be worth the wait. – Jose S.

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