Synopsis: A young woman, who has been continuously unlucky, accepts a job as a department store elf during the holidays. When Kate meets Tom on the job, her life takes a turn.
Release Date: November 8, 2019
Thoughts: There are certainly many reasons why Last Christmas checks off a number of boxes on my list. There’s its holiday theme, its London setting, the involvement of director Paul Feig (Spy), not to mention it’s written by Oscar-winner Emma Thompson (Late Night) who also has a co-starring role. Feig’s casting of his A Simple Favor star Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) is a nice bonus and I’ll never turn my nose up at a movie that proudly touts that it is “featuring the music of George Michael”. However…I’m not totally sold on it…at least not yet. Why? I’m just not on the Emilia Clarke train yet. Though she’s gained a lot of press for her work on Game of Thrones as well as nabbed starring roles in Me Before You, Terminator: Genisys, and Solo: A Star Wars Story, I’ve yet to be convinced she’s the next big thing. Perhaps this will be the holiday romance to convince me.
Synopsis: Four sisters come of age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Release Date: December 25, 2019
Thoughts: It’s a curious thing, watching this first trailer for the much-anticipated holiday release of Little Women. I mean, it’s not exactly like we’ve been starved for adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel. There was a modern remake last year, a well-regarded BBC mini-series in 2017, and the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder still ranks high on my list. Let’s not forget the Katherine Hepburn entry from 1933 or the one in 1949 with Elizabeth Taylor among the dozens of other takes on the source novel. All this to say I was surprised director Greta Gerwig chose this project as her follow-up to her breakout hit Lady Bird. To me, the way the preview is cut feels too indie twee for me, but Gerwig has assembled a heck of a wonderful cast with Saoirse Ronan (How I Live Now), Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), Florence Pugh (Midsommar), Laura Dern (Smooth Talk), and Emma Watson (The Bling Ring) getting into the period costumes to once again bring Alcott’s characters to the screen.
Synopsis: A bride’s wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game.
Release Date: August 21, 2019
Thoughts: It’s not often I start a review of a trailer actively advising my readers not to watch the preview I’m showcasing but I feel strongly in the case of Ready or Not like you should avoid seeing this one. For those that don’t care about spoilers or for the horror fraidy cats that want a good idea of what’s in store for them, by all means, have at it, but if you’re like me and don’t want to see numerous key plot points revealed outright then you should just read the synopsis above, pencil August 21 in on your calendar, and plan to be surprised. It’s a growing frustration of mine that studios are so willing to let the entire cat out of the bag in a two and a half minute trailer and then ask audiences to pay good money to fill in the gaps. Every once in a while you get lucky and the best twists are saved for the big show but it doesn’t seem like much of Ready or Not is held back. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (V/H/S) and starring Samara Weaving (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Andie MacDowell (Only the Brave), and Adam Brody (Shazam!) this looks like a lot of fun based on the poster alone. I’m going to try to forget what I saw, though, in the hopes I can go in as fresh as possible.
Synopsis: A couple’s first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Thoughts: There are so many interesting cooks in the Queen & Slim kitchen, I didn’t even need to see a preview to know it was something to take notice of. This extremely timely tale was written by Emmy award winner Lena Waithe (Ready Player One) from an idea by infamous author James Frey (you know, the one that embarrassed Oprah) and directed by Melina Matsoukas who was a creative force behind many of Beyoncé’s most prolific music video experiences. Matsoukas has put together a dynamite cast led by Daniel Kaluuya (Widows) and relative newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith (The Neon Demon) as a star-crossed Bonnie & Clyde for the modern age. I’m quite looking forward to this one…and to the inevitable important discussions it will provoke.
Synopsis: A mob hitman recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.
Release Date: September 27, 2019
Thoughts: The pending release of any Martin Scorsese film will always create buzz but there’s a special kind of hum that’s been generated from his next film, The Irishman. It’s not just that it marks another high profile director turning to a streaming service (Netflix) to finance and release their film but it also re-teams Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street) with two of his greatest collaborators. Seeing Robert DeNiro (Cape Fear) playing another hard-boiled gangster is all well and good but boy, it’s already a huge thrill to see Joe Pesci coaxed out of a semi-retirement in this first teaser trailer. Add in Al Pacino (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) and you have a triple-crown of heavy hitters in mafia films helmed by the godfather of the genre. Though it’s too early to call this one a slam dunk, Netflix is likely gathering all their four-leaf clovers and betting on The Irishman to get them back into the Best Picture race they so narrowly lost last year.
Synopsis: A follow-up to the 1986 hit brings back Naval Aviator Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and will deal with the rise of unmanned drones and pilots becoming a thing of the past.
Release Date: June 26, 2020
Thoughts: Has it really been 33 years since Tom Cruise cemented his rising superstar status with the blockbuster release of Top Gun? Inspiring countless imitators (including Cruise himself) and launching a million slow dances to the Oscar-winning theme song, the movie is firmly in our cultural lexicon and holds up quite nicely. So you could hear some groans across the U.S. of A. when it was announced Cruise would be returning in the long rumored sequel. For someone with as good as track record as Cruise has with starring in successful non-franchise fare, why occupy his time between Mission: Impossible sequels with another sequel to a previous role? Teaming with his Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski and looping in an excellent roster of supporting players, from the looks of this first trailer for Top Gun: Maverick Cruise clearly knew what he was doing and I’m sorry I doubted him in the first place. This sneak peak at the high-flying action film releasing almost 12 months from now stirs the kind of nostalgic summer excitement within me that doesn’t get a jolt that often. Fingers crossed it’s more than just a retread of the original.
Synopsis: A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.
Release Date: December 20, 2019
Thoughts: I mean, I literally was speechless after I got done watching this first trailer for the long-awaited (by some) film adaptation of the international hit musical CATS. Since it premiered in 1982 on Broadway there has been buzz of a film and though a purrrfectly decent direct to video movie was made featuring Broadway and London stars there was always a Hollywood version slinking around. Boasting a star-studded cast with the likes of Jennifer Hudson (The Three Stooges), Judi Dench (All is True), James Corden (Into the Woods), Taylor Swift (The Lorax), Idris Elba (Molly’s Game), Rebel Wilson (The Hustle), and Ian McKellen (Beauty & the Beast) among others, I was holding out some hope this might quell some persnickety naysayers that have always turned their noses up at the show.
I’m sufficiently creeped out by this preview, though, and even more amazed they let Hudson sing ‘Memory’ in its near entirety! It’s the big 11 o’clock number…why give it all away? Still…I’m more curious than ever to see how big of a dumpster fire this one will be. I’m gonna get dressed up in my finest finery for the Jellicle Ball come December.
Synopsis: A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Thoughts: This November, writer/director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) is hopefully going to give this Agatha Christie murder-mystery loving guy something to be thankful for when Lionsgate releases the star-studded whodunit, Knives Out. Packed to the brim with A-listers and a few solid B-list mainstays, this looks like a cheeky and fun black comedy with a bit of death thrown into the mix. With favorites like Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Toni Collette (Muriel’s Wedding), Chris Evans (Avengers: Endgame), Daniel Craig (Skyfall), Michael Shannon (Midnight Special) among the suspects and sleuths, all bets are off on what Johnson has in store for us but I expect some twists to be turned and rugs to be pulled as we get to the final reveal. Fingers crossed this is as entertaining as it looks. Though I’m sure this must contain some sort of spoilers – the first look at Knives Out is fairly sparse and feels like it’s holding back big reveals for the finished product.
Synopsis: An astronaut travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. He uncovers secrets which challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.
Release Date: September 20, 2019
Thoughts: There’s nothing I love seeing on the big screen more than a giant space spectacular and the long delayed Ad Astra (meaning ‘to the stars’ in Latin) looks like a grand achievement. Feeling on par with the likes of large scale epics such as Gravity, The Martian, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, director James Gray (The Lost City of Z) teams with Brad Pitt (World War Z) on this project which was originally set to be released in May 2019 but was moved back after 20th Century Fox was bought by Disney. A fall release positions the movie more in the awards competition (and conveniently far away from Disney’s summer blockbuster Avengers: Endgame) so I’m not too nervous about Ad Astra losing its original release date. Gray’s films tend to be quite contemplative and I’m curious to see how he can marry that dramatic tension with the space chase elements shown in the preview. Considering the caliber of the people involved and how good this first trailer is, I’m totally onboard for this one.
Synopsis: Plot unknown
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Thoughts: I know it’s difficult to do, but even after watching the trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate I’m trying not to jump for joy quite yet. The last time we all got excited for a new Terminator movie we wound up with 2015’s stinkeroo Terminator Genisys. In 2019, the studio is counting on fans turning out not only for the familiar face of Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Expendables 3) but for original creator James Cameron (Titanic) returning as producer and, most very importantly, Linda Hamilton appearance as Sarah Connor. This first teaser doesn’t give us much indication how much Schwarzenegger and Hamilton will be involved in Tim Miller’s (Deadpool) new “day after Judgment Day” Terminator film but with Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049) already impressing as a tough new breed of Terminator and action set-pieces that indicate some jaw-dropping fun…I’m hoping for the best.