Sunday, January 13, 2019

Movies of 2019: The Good, the Bad, and the Maybe

We're already nearly two weekends into January, which means it's about time I give you my yearly preview of 2019. I meant to get this out a bit earlier, but I got a bit busy. Such is life. When it comes to my yearly previews, I experimented with this format in 2014 and immediately felt I struck gold, so I've done it every year since. I think it's a fun way to look at the year. If you're one of my new friends or are randomly stumbling upon this in some way, the way this goes is that I separate all the movies I feel like talking about from the upcoming year into three categories: the movies I'm looking forward to (the good), the movies I'm dreading (the bad), and the movies that I'm currently on the fence about for one reason or another (the maybe). Pretty simple. And yes, my opinion might vary as we get closer to these movies' release dates and there's always movies that I was dreading that I loved, as well as movies I was excited about that disappointed me. But I think this is still a good snapshot of what I was thinking at this time and should give you a decent overview of what we're in for this year, so I hope you enjoy this. It also should be noted that each category is organized by current U.S. release date, which is always subject to change.

The Good:

Glass - January 18
I can't tell you how many times I have watched the movie "Split" because I lost track. The movie is a modern-day "Psycho" on steroids and I think Hitchcock himself would've loved how Shyamalan constructed the film. "Unbreakable" I've only seen once, but it was an enjoyable watch and I was fascinated by how Shyamalan secretly created his own cinematic universe in an age where everyone is desperately trying to do the same. And now "Glass" is the film where both movies come together, which is an exciting prospect. Now with Shyamalan, there's always the risk that he doesn't quite deliver. Consistency is not really his thing. Thus I'm not expecting this movie to be as good as either "Split" or "Unbreakable." I'm just hoping for an enjoyable journey. And we're going to get to go on said journey really soon.

Happy Death Day 2U - February 14
I know horror sequels don't often work out. And I know "Happy Death Day" wasn't the most epic masterpiece to begin with. But by goodness I was thoroughly entertained by it. If you have no idea what it is, it's a horror version of "Groundhog" day where our protagonist had to relive the day of her death until she can figure out what in the heck was going on. The movie knew what it was and had fun with. As long as they bring the same mindset to this sequel where the girl gets stuck in the time loop again, I also am expecting a fun journey.

Captain Marvel - March 8
It's the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Do I even need to say more? Captain Marvel is the character that Nick Fury paged in the end credits scene of "Infinity War," which means she's going to come in and play a big role in the Avengers stopping Thanos. But before we get to see how that all plays out, we'll get a flashback to the 90's to see what she's all about. And if you don't know much about Captain Marvel, she's essentially Marvel's version of Wonder Woman, so she's kind of a big deal. It's the second film in the MCU with a female character in the title, following last year's "Ant Man and the Wasp." But this time around, Captain Marvel doesn't share the title with a man, so this is a big deal for Marvel. On that note, the movie is being released on International Women's Day. Even if we put all of that aside, I've loved all of the trailers. The movie looks like a blast and I'm excited to see what Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson can do with this character. In Marvel we trust, right?

Us - March 15
Jordan Peele floored me in 2017 with his horror movie "Get Out." I mean, who on planet Earth saw THAT coming from Peele of Key & Peele? But yeah, "Get Out" was a genuinely solid horror movie. It's cultural relevance even caused it to get nominated for best picture at the Oscars while Jordan Peele WON best director. Now Jordan Peele is on everyone's radars and he'll get a chance conjure up some more magic with his next horror film, simply titled "Us." If you watch the trailer, this looks quite bizarre. But in this case, I think that's a good thing, especially with Jordan Peele behind the camera.

Shazam! - April 5
Has DC finally made it back onto the winning side of things? It's been a rough road, but I think DC has learned with "Wonder Woman" and "Aquaman" that the way to properly do this superhero thing is focus on the individual movie instead of desperately trying to set up a cinematic universe or catch up to Marvel. Marvel was successful because they initially made a handful of individual movies that a lot of people loved BEFORE they brought everyone together. DC had to learn things the hard way, but I hope they now have that in their heads. That appears to be the case with "Shazam!," which blew me away when I saw the trailer. He's one of the first DC comic book characters, initially named Captain Marvel, actually. I was a bit weary about the idea, but that trailer was a work of genius. This movie looks like a pure gem that's sandwiched right in between Marvel's two big movies this spring.

Missing Link - April 12
In the middle of all this superhero buzz that will be going on around this time, don't let yourself forget about this little movie that looks like a stop motion animation gem. I have a special place in my heart for stop motion animation due to how long it takes to make a movie like that, yet I am saddened how little people pay attention as compared to your typical 3D animation. But not only is this simply a stop motion animation film, this comes to us from the kings of stop motion animation, Laika themselves. Laika is the studio responsible for "Coraline," "ParaNorman," "The Boxtrolls" and "Kubo and the Two Strings." They're four for four on those, so why should I expect "Missing Link" to be any different?

Avengers: Endgame - April 26
This is the most obvious inclusion on this list. I mean, who's going to skip out on the second half of the "Infinity War" story after one of the craziest cliffhangers in cinema history? That would be like never tuning into "Return of the Jedi" after witnessing "The Empire Strikes Back." Some people initially thought that "Infinity War" was the culmination of the last 10 years of the MCU. Not quite. It was just the beginning of the end. The equivalent of the penultimate episode of season of a TV show, if you will. "Endgame" is the season finale. Marvel movies will obviously continue after this. There's another one coming out just two months later. But this is the end of an era and the beginning of a brand new chapter. The movie event of a lifetime.

Detective Pikachu - May 10
Ever since I was young, I've dreamed of the idea of seeing a live-action Pokémon film. I watched the show. I played the games. I still have a collection of cards. It's kind of a big deal for me. And now it feels amusingly surreal to see that finally coming to fruition, because I never actually thought it would happen. What I didn't see coming is that the specific direction they took with the first live-action Pokémon film was the "Detective Pikachu" route. Although that's probably because this is a fairly new game, released in Japan in 2016. I'm not quite up to par with my recent Pokémon stuff. But still, the idea of this was rather amusing to me, especially upon hearing that Ryan Reynolds was to be the voice of Pikachu. Seeing that trailer, though, brought me so much childlike joy and I've watched it many, many times. It's Deadpool voicing Pikachu in a movie that seems like it's out to simply have a lot of fun as a movie that's not to be taken too seriously. And I'm so ready for that ride!

John Wick: Chapter 3 - May 17
One of the best action franchises today is, without a doubt, "John Wick." The first movie was a very pleasant surprise and the second one managed to build upon the lore while maintaining the wildly entertaining feel to it. The best part of both movies is that director Chad Stahelski has developed the textbook example of how to properly film an action sequence. For anyone who wants to learn how to do action right, look no further. And with Stahelski coming back to finish his trilogy, I couldn't be more excited for what is sure to be a wild ride.

Aladdin - May 24 
As crazy as it may seem, out of the big Disney trifecta this year, the movie I'm most looking forward to is "Aladdin." I have questions about "Dumbo" and "The Lion King" that we'll get to later, but at the moment I am perfectly confident in this Aladdin movie. The teaser trailer proved that this is going to be a visual treat, but more than that, I think they have the perfect cast with the right ethnicity for the movie and, from what I hear, they also found people who can sing and dance. I think this is going to be quite the spectacle to behold. The original "Aladdin" has some of the best overall music out of all of Disney's movies, so that leaves the door wide open for this to be grand. The only question here is the obvious. How is Will Smith's Genie going to be? Based on set photos, quite different for sure.

Godzilla: King of Monsters - May 31
Not everyone liked that 2014 "Godzilla" movie, but I was among the crowd who loved it. The problem was it came out too close to "Pacific Rim," which left people with the mindset that the monsters should be revealed early and often. "Godzilla" took the classic monster movie approach, which consists of helping people be more patient by not revealing the monster until the second half of the movie. And now we have a sequel wherein Godzilla goes to battle with Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah, all with 2019 technology! What's not to love about that?

Men in Black International - June 14
It's been a while since I've been excited for a new "Men in Black" movie. The first movie came out 21 years ago and the two sequels weren't exactly what you call quality. But instead of trying to do the same premise with the same actors, they wiped the slate clean and have this fourth movie star Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. In other words, this is "Thor: Ragnorok Part 2"? Essentially. Speaking of Tessa Thompson, with her inclusion in one of the lead roles, does the title "MEN in Black" really fit here?

Spider-Man: Far from Home - July 5
The biggest question with "Spider-Man: Far from Home" is how the heck do they plan on advertising this movie given the end of "Infinity War"? Isn't showing a trailer too soon a partial spoiler for "Endgame"? But you can't wait until after "Endgame" to release the trailer because that means you only have two months to advertising. Comic book fans like me will be perfectly fine. But the general public needs to know this movie is coming out. Anyways, Tom Holland was a revelation as Spider-Man, successfully revitalizing the character. On top of that, "Homecoming" was a well-crafted movie all around, so I'm excited for the next chapter via "Far from Home," especially since we have Jake Gyllenhaal as Myserio.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - July 26
It's a Quentin Tarantino movie. Enough said. I mean, when it comes to a modern director with a consistent track record for quality films, you don't get much better than Tarantino. The man is very selective with the films he chooses to direct and most of them have turned out to be amazing films. So any time we have a new Tarantino film, it becomes an event film. "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" sees Tarantino taking on the story of the Manson Family murders and brings in Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Dakota Fanning, Kurt Russell, Al Pacino, Scoot McNairy and a whole bunch of others. That all sounds rather intriguing.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw - August 2
Before we get to "Fast & Furious 9" next year, we have a quick appetizer with the franchise experimenting with a spin-off following Hobbs and Shaw, arguable the two best side characters the franchise has to offer thanks to the star power of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. I'm a big fan of the "Fast & Furious" movies, especially since the last four have all been extremely entertaining. Anyone who is begging them to stop making these movies obviously hasn't sat down and watched them or else they wouldn't be saying that.

IT: Chapter 2 - September 6
The 2017 adaptation of Stephen King's "IT" was a huge horror phenomenon, earning $327.5 million at the domestic box office, a record high for any horror film without adjusting for ticket price inflation. And it made that much for good reason. It was a perfectly done horror movie. A modern classic, if you will. But that was the easy part as it was an adaptation of the first half of the book when all the kids were young, which is the part that everyone loves. "IT: Chapter 2" will take on the second half of the book with our main group of kids now grown up as adults. That's the more controversial part, so the filmmakers have their work cut out for them. But hey, they got a solid cast here with James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, and Isaiah Mustafa leading the way for the grown-up loser's club, so that's a good first sign.

Kingsman 3 - November 15
They haven't revealed the subtitle for this movie yet, so "Kingsman 3" won't be the official title here. But I really loved "The Secret Service" and "The Golden Circle," the first two "Kingsman" movies. They're crazy, insane action movies where you get to sit back, relax, and enjoy all of the extremely entertaining insanity. Whatever they have planned for us third movie, I'm in!

Frozen 2 - November 22
The whole world loved "Frozen" when it first came out. It was a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, the world loved it so much that the second wave of people who didn't see it initially were expecting it to be the greatest movie ever made and thus labelled it a horrible abomination when it didn't live up to those lofty expectations. That second wave of people have become so loud that now "Frozen" almost has a bad reputation as one of Disney's worst movies, which I think is flat-out frustrating. Yes, I'm one of those people from the first wave of people who loved it. I even think I saw it close to five times in theaters. Not just that, though, I can STILL sit down and watch it today and be thoroughly entertained. I don't care what all the haters say and I'm prepared to defend it at moment's notice. And yes, I'm excited for "Frozen 2." It's the same people who made the first movie a success. And Disney doesn't have as bad of a reputation as you may think with their main branch. Most of the awful sequels came from DisneyToon. Disney's main branch has only done "Rescuers Down Under" and "Ralph Breaks the Internet," and possibly the 2011 "Winnie the Pooh" and "Fantasia 2000" if you count those as sequels. That's a decent group there and thus I'm anticipating quality out of "Frozen 2."

Jumanji 3 - December 13
I don't think anyone was excited for "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" when it was first announced. Which is why we were all shocked out of our minds when it ended up being a solid movie. The goodwill and nostalgia carried it to a jaw-dropping $404.5 million at the domestic box office, which obviously means Sony immediately ordered another one, given that it's now Sony's highest-grossing movie ever, not adjusted for ticket price inflation, narrowly edging out the $403.7 million of Sam Raimi's original 2002 "Spider-Man." And now they certainly have my attention. I'm totally ready for another fun Jumanji adventure.

Masters of the Universe - December 18
I've heard close to nothing about this live-action "Masters of the Universe" movie outside the constant carousel of directors and writers jumping on and falling off. I haven't even heard of a revealed cast or news of them having started filming the movie. Thus I'm not convinced it's actually coming out this year. I'll bet money on it being postponed, especially since coming out two days before "Star Wars: Episode IX" seems like a bad idea. But as of now, it's still on the schedule, so I'll tentatively throw it on here because I'm down for a modern, live-action movie with He-Man, Skeletor and the gang... whenever it comes out.

Star Wars: Episode IX - December 20
According to Star Wars fans, "The Force Awakens" was an awful movie because it was too similar to "A New Hope." The same group of fans were again furious when "The Last Jedi" was too different. So regardless of what Lucasfilm does, it seems like fans are determined to hate it, making Star Wars fans the worst fan base on Earth right now. I almost don't even want to associate myself with them. In fact, I banned all of my Facebook friends from talking negatively about "The Last Jedi" because I got sick of the debate. But the truth of the matter is that I AM a fan of Star Wars. Always have been for as long as I can remember. And I really loved both "The Force Awakens" AND "The Last Jedi." So of course I'm pumped for "Episode IX." But part of me just wants to watch it quietly by myself in peace, then ignore the internet for a few months so I don't have to be subjected to the rage of fiery hate that this movie is inevitably going to receive by fans that have already predetermined to hate it before the title has even been released. And you know that I'm right with that statement.

Little Women - December 25
Well this is a weird movie to include on this list. I really have little to no knowledge of "Little Women," neither the original novel nor the 10,000 adaptations that it's had. So why is this here? One name: Greta Gerwig. I fell completely and insanely in love with her movie "Lady Bird," to the point where it beat out "The Last Jedi" as my favorite movie of 2017. "Little Women" is her next film so I just have to see what she does with it. It also helps that it stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothee Chalamet, Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, James Norton and Bob Odenkirk in the movie. That's a solid cast.

The Bad:

A Dog's Way Home - January 11
Listen. I know this movie is already out and the reviews are on the positive side of Rotten Tomatoes. But I still had to include this movie on this portion of the list as a snapshot of my brain from what I was thinking when the year started. They've been shoving "A Dog's Way Home" down our throats with the trailers for a while now and they've looked absolutely stupid. Not only does it seem like the voice-over is horrendously bad, but the trailer also showed the whole movie and it looks like a cheap knockoff of "Homeward Bound." The book it's based off of is from the same author who wrote "A Dog's Purpose" and a bunch of other dog books. And maybe they just don't translate well to the big screen because "A Dog's Purpose" also wasn't a super memorable film, even though it didn't deserve that massive wave of controversy it received shortly before it was released.

Cold Pursuit - February 8
It's Liam Neeson doing what Liam Neeson does best. Remaking "Taken" yet again. I mean, the plot of this movie is that Liam Neeson is a snowplow driver who is seeking revenge against the people who killed his son. Granted, I enjoy Liam Neeson as an actor and I hope that this one is extremely entertaining, but the more I think about it, the more I think this will simply be destroyed by critics and audiences for being monotonous and unoriginal. It will bomb at the box office and be completely forgotten by March until someone picks it up in a $5 bin at Walmart in a year or two, most likely in a collection set with all of the other Liam Neeson movies you also forgot about. You can't argue with me there, can you?

Alita: Battle Angel - February 14
I'm also rooting for this movie. I want it to be an entertaining sci-fi movie. But whenever a movie keeps getting postponed because the studio has zero confidence in the movie due to the competition it ends up being against, then red flags go up like crazy for me. Even worse, it ended up landing in February, which feels like the studio just gave up and dumped it in a spot where they can cut their losses and move onto other things. Apparently this is a movie that James Cameron wanted to direct for a long time, but he's spent his whole life doing nothing but "Avatar" sequels, so he gave it over to Robert Rodriguez, who directed "Sin City" in 2005... and nothing else notable. Unless you're a fan of his "Machete" movies.

Wonder Park - March 15
I felt bad putting this here. For some reason, I was determined to include "Wonder Park" on this list, but I didn't know where to put it. It was literally the last movie I placed because I was at a loss. So I just put it here because I'm not really excited about it, nor do I have the feeling that it could be good. It looks kinda cute and will probably be some harmless entertaining, especially useful to distract your 3-year-old with in the mornings. But I don't know if it will be anything that anyone with a double digit age will really care about.

Hellboy - April 12
The first part of the year, especially March and April, is swarmed with superhero movies. Marvel has "Captain Marvel" at the beginning of March. DC has "Shazam!" at the beginning of April. Then Marvel is back up to bat with "Avengers: Endgame" at the end of April. And in the midst of all that, a "Hellboy" movie was crammed onto the schedule. Whenever we have a whole bunch of similar movies close together on the schedule, there's usually a bit of cannibalism that happens. One of these four movies is going to take a huge hit and I'm betting the house on "Hellboy" being one of the first epic failures of 2019. I'm not necessarily a "Hellboy" aficionado, but I do know that "Hellboy" fans have been clamoring for "Hellboy 3" for a long time now. One with the same cast and same director. A "Hellboy" remake was NOT what they were asking for. Not helping things out here is that when they dropped the trailer, it looked awful. And when the released the poster a bit before, their Facebook comment to go with it was "Savage AF," as if a 10-year-old boy was put in charge of marketing.

Uglydolls - May 3
This movie is in a similar category as "Wonder Park." I don't think this is necessarily going to be an awful movie. It'll probably be a great movie for its target audience of very young children. But they keep shoving this trailer in my face every time I see a new animated movie and it's quite annoying that's filled with every kids movie cliche in the book. I also think it's a giant musical. If not, then why are Janelle Monae, Nick Jonas, Bebe Rexha, Kelly Clarkson, Charlie XCX, Blake Shelton and Pitbull all in the movie? And if so, I can see it as the type of kids musical that small kids play on repeat while driving all of the adults crazy.

A Dog's Journey - May 17
Apparently Hollywood thought "A Dog's Purpose" did so well that we have TWO follow-ups coming out this year, both based on books by W. Bruce Cameron, the author of "A Dog's Purpose." In January, aka this weekend if you're reading this upon me posting it, we have "A Dog's Way Home," which is a Sony release. "A Dog's Journey" is a Universal release, which is the studio who released "A Dog's Purpose." In fact, "A Dog's Journey" is the movie that is the direct sequel to "A Dog's Purpose," with the same dog that's narrated by Josh Gad. Apparently these books have good reviews, but I just don't know if this is the type of movie that translates well into a movie and I'm mildly annoyed that we'll now have three of them by the end of May.

Minecraft - May 24
I'm not convinced that this animated "Minecraft" movie is coming out this year. We're four months away from release, yet we've heard close to nothing. I'm expecting an announcement any time now that the movie has been postponed to next year, or perhaps towards the end of this year. But as of now, it's still on the schedule for May. So I'm putting it here. Now, yes, I know how popular "Minecraft" is. It's one of the biggest things out there right now in the gaming world. But there's not that much of a plot to the game, so how do you turn it into a movie? Until I see some sort of trailer to figure out what they have planned, I'm not going to be convinced that this is a video game adaptation that's going to work. I mean, video game movies have a really bad rap because most of them are awful. I highly doubt that "Minecraft" is the one movie that's going to change that.

Dark Phoenix - June 7
Fox has made this movie before. It's called X-Men: The Last Stand. People hated it so much that it killed the initial X-Men series, forcing Fox to reboot things with X-Men: First Class. Now Fox was doing really well with "First Class" and "Days of Future Past," but then the crashed things into the wall again with the disaster that was "Apocalypse." And now it seems almost fitting that history is set to repeat itself as the Dark Phoenix story arc is going to kill the X-Men franchise twice as this is the final movie with Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and company before Disney takes over and reboots it all again. "Dark Phoenix" is a movie that I questioned the second it was announced. I got even more nervous when it kept getting postponed. And now I'm almost confident that it's going to be a complete dud after seeing the trailer that looks like pure crap. The worst X-Men movie yet, perhaps?

The Secret Life of Pets 2 - June 7
I'm not going to lie, the first teaser for this movie, the one with all of them at the Vet, had me chuckling a bit. But an amusing teaser is not enough to get me on board with this movie when the first movie was about as lazy and mediocre as you can get when it comes to animation, which is sad because it had a solid premise. It just didn't have good execution. Yet somehow it ended up as Illumination's highest grossing movie, anyways, so of course they quickly threw together a sequel because that's the smart thing to do. It doesn't mean I have to be excited about it, though. Unfortunately for Illumination, "Toy Story 4" comes out two weeks later, so I'm doubting this sequel's ability to hit as high as the original.

Child's Play - June 21
So because last year's "Halloween" was a huge success, that gives us permission to reboot every classic horror franchise now? Maybe if I see a good trailer I can be convinced otherwise, but until then I think we've seen so many creepy doll horror movies that I think this specific subgenre of horror movie should be put to rest. Chucky started the trend, or at least popularized it, but are people going to care about him, or whatever this "Child's Play" doll is named, in 2019? The only thing that I'm giving this movie kudos for is that the initial teaser poster is almost an exact replica of the "Toy Story 4" teaser poster. And the two movies are getting released on the same day, so that's well played by the marketing team.

Grudge - June 21
I know very little about the "Grudge" franchise. But this is still a rebooted horror franchise in 2019 and for the most part, those don't work out, so I am confident it putting this here. And why is this getting released on the same day as "Child's Play"? A horror movie and a Pixar movie can work on the same day. It's called counterprogramming with "Child's Play" and "Toy Story 4." But two horror movies on the same day is cinematic suicide, so Sony HAS to reschedule this or else no one is going to see this.

New Mutants - August 2
Oh how a year has changed things. "New Mutants" was on this list last year, but on the good section. Because Fox had a trailer out last January for this movie and it looked like an X-Men horror movie, which had me very intrigued. But then they pulled the plug nearly last minute, as if Fox new that they had a bad movie on their hands and wanted to see if they can fix things before it's too late. Then they postponed it again and suddenly my excitement dissipated. Now it seems like Fox's X-Men movies are going to whimper out like a dog with its tail between his legs. "Dark Phoenix" and "New Mutants" will be the last two movies before Disney takes over and I'm predicting both of them will be duds.

Artemis Fowl - August 9
I have plenty of friends who are excited about this movie because they are huge fans of the book series and are excited to see what Disney is going to do with it. But I'm sorry, the more I think about this, the more I'm convinced that this is a movie that should've come out 10 years ago when the "Harry Potter" and "Hunger Games" phase of cinema was in full gear. Since those franchises have ended, Hollywood has desperately searched for the next young adult book series to adapt into a film series and they've come up blank every time they've tried. Audiences just don't seem to care as none of these movies have done anything. The genre is dead. Yet Disney is going to try again in 2019 with "Artemis Fowl"? No. It's not going to work. It reminds me of "The Giver" in 2014. The book was borderline revolutionary. Way ahead of its day. But it took forever for them to make a film and when they finally did, it was way too late. The movie fizzled out and died. With Disney putting most of their focus this year on "Dumbo," "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" this year, "Artemis Fowl" just seems like an afterthought for them. This year's "Nutcracker," if you know what I mean.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 - August 16
I'm choosing not to rank these movies because I like the idea of listing them all in order of release date. But if I were to rank them, this would easily be the No. 1 bad movie on the list. "The Angry Birds Movie" was utterly appalling in so many ways. I don't even want to recount them because it brings back bad memories of a film I was hoping to forget forever. But for some reason, that apparently did well enough for a sequel to be justified. I can only hope that this is an epic box office disaster so that we don't have a trilogy of putrid "Angry Birds" movies.

PLAYMOBIL - August 16
I saw this on the schedule and was wondering what the heck PLAYMOBIL was because it sounded familiar, but I couldn't place. Turns out it's a brand of toys. I immediately gave an ugly sigh. "The LEGO Movie" was liking catching lightning in a bottle. But just because that succeeded, it doesn't mean we have to every other brand of toys to turn into movies. Let's adapt things that naturally fit the format of a movie instead of scraping the bottom of the barrel. There's a reason why everyone is saying Hollywood is running out of ideas.

The Addams Family - October 11
I'm going to be a Grinch with this one until I see what this movie actually is. All I know is that it's an animated reboot of "The Addams Family" and I just raise my eyebrow at that. "The Addams Family" was a great thing in its day. But do we need to bring it back in any format?

Untitled Terminator Movie - November 1
I hear a lot of positive buzz from people about this new "Terminator" movie. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of "Terminator" and "Terminator 2." The latter movie is especially one of the best action movies ever made. But it also wrapped up the story. But then "Terminator 3" ignored that ending and created a disgustingly bad movie anyway. Instead of giving it up, they keep trying to make more "Terminator" movies as if people actually. And they have all sucked. So I just want them to give up and let this die. Yes, I know. Linda Hamilton is back. Yes, I know. Tim Miller is directing. Maybe he cares enough about the first two to actually give us a good movie. Yes, I know. They're going the semi-reboot route as they're pretending everything after the second movie doesn't exist. Could it be this year's "Bumblebee"? Perhaps. But I'm also thinking it could be this year's "The Predator." Everyone was excited for Shane Black to bring the franchise back to its former glory. But it was a rotten piece of dog turd. They need to make something epic in order to win me over.

Sonic the Hedgehog - November 8
Where do I begin with this one? The Sonic era of video games was my thing. The Sega and the SNES were excellent consoles with a lot of fun games. But I'm very weary of taking those characters and giving them movies. Yeah, sure, there's a lot of fun stories worth exploring, but if we're going to go this right, it needs to be with a studio or team I trust and it should be animated. The director with "Sonic" is Jeff Fowler, whose only previous directing work is a 2005 Oscar-nominated short film called "Gopher Broke." And I'm pretty sure they've gone the live-action/CGI hybrid route. This doesn't seem like it's going to work. We should take notes from "Into the Spider-Verse," which looked like an actual comic book with its animation style. Take that idea and turn "Sonic" into a classic Sega-style animated movie with a director I trust and maybe I'll be on board. This just feels like a disaster, though.

Cats - December 20
I know that "Cats" is one of the most popular Broadway musicals ever. So on that note, it makes sense to give it a movie with how popular movie musicals are today. But this spot was supposed to be where our movie adaptation of "Wicked" was going to be, so I'm kinda bitter that they shelved it and replaced it with "Cats." Plus, you're going to have to convince me that "Cats" is a musical that successfully transitions into a movie and at this point, I'm not so sure about that. You have a bigger uphill battle to climb when you inform me that Taylor Swift and Rebel Wilson are starring in this. I love me some T-Swift. But she's a singer, not an actor. I need someone who can do both. And Rebel Wilson is cinema poison for me. Her presence makes every scene she's in exponentially worse. Tom Hooper is director, which is a positive sign for "Les Mis" fans. But I didn't like that "Les Mis" movie, so that doesn't help me much.

The Maybe:

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part - February 8
Have you ever watched a trailer that you were excited about and had to lie to yourself in order to pretend to enjoy it? Yeah, that was me with "The LEGO Movie 2." I loved "The LEGO Movie." It was such a creative movie with a brilliant ending. The idea that the whole thing was a little kid playing with LEGOs I still think is one of the best movie twists. But now that the secret has been revealed, is it possible for them to recapture the same magic? At best I think this is a fun movie because I don't think it's possible for them to hit the heights of the first movie. But given that the trailer didn't capture me like I wanted it to, I'm also considering the possibility that this could be one of the big disappointments of 2019. Lord and Miller are still attached, but they're not directing this time as the main director is the guy who did "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Shrek Forever After." There's also six people with writing credits on the film. These are things that raise red flags for me. I hope I'm wrong with these premonitions, though.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World - February 22
One of these days I'm going to do a ranking of all of Dreamworks' animated movies like I've done with Disney and Pixar. When I do that, "How to Train Your Dragon" is going to be towards the top of that list because I think it's a stunning work of art. But "How to Train Your Dragon 2" just did not hit for me. I have several good friends that see that sequel as a masterpiece, but I just must've been subjected to a different movie. It took forever for Dreamworks to finally get the final chapter in this trilogy, but they're doing the same thing that they did with the second movie, that being showing the WHOLE MOVIE in the trailers. Based on that, I see it as an average movie. The 100 percent score it has on Rotten Tomatoes is nice, but that's with only nine reviews counted. From what I can tell, most of those people are among the crowd who also thought the second movie was a masterpiece, so said reviews don't mean much to me. I'm not yet willing to call this "bad," but I am anticipating this being one of my more controversial reviews of this year.

Chaos Walking - March 1
Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley star in a movie directed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity) that's about a dystopian world where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each others' thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds. That sounds like a fascinating movie with something interesting to say. But this movie is scheduled to come out on March 1 and there's no trailer yet. What's going on?

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - March 22
This is a movie directed by Richard Linklater, director of "Boyhood," which is still one of my favorite movies of this decade. So that alone has me curious. It's about a 15-year-old girl whose mother disappears, so she does everything she can to track her down. Starring in the movie is Cate Blanchett, Judy Greer, Kristen Wiig, Billy Crudrup and Laurence Fishburne.

Dumbo - March 29
Disney's original "Dumbo" is a nice, little film that's essentially the story of the Ugly Duckling. A character who is a misfit until he finds where he belongs. I enjoy it. But I emphasize the word "little" in my description. It's only 64 minutes long. And a part of that 64 minutes includes a lot of filler, like the racist crows led by Jim Crow or the scene where Dumbo accidentally gets drunk and has hallucinations of pink elephants. So what is Disney going to do here in order to get this to the length of a full film that also cuts out the scenes from 1941 that DON'T hold up? Yeah, the trailers show a lot of emotion. But my questions regarding the film still haven't been answered. And I'm worried that Tim Burton might have a little too much fun with the pink elephants scene, if you know what I mean. So we'll see here.

Pet Sematary - April 5
Well, the trailer for this is excellent. And the cast is great. But I just don't know enough about "Pet Sematary" to know if remaking this film in 2019 is a good idea or not. It'll give me the opportunity to go visit the 1989 film, so that's a positive, right? And maybe we'll get on a good streak with Stephen King movies following "IT" in 2017 and now "Pet Semartary" in 2019. But I just don't know yet. And seeing Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer as directors makes me nervous because I haven't even heard of anything they've done.

Booksmart - May 24
A comedy directed by Olivia Wilde. That's all. Olivia Wilde is a great actress, but she's never directed a full-length film. Just a few random shorts. Can she do it? I don't know. But it grabbed my attention. Actors transitioning to directing has worked really well recently, with the likes of Bradley Cooper and John Krasinski being two great examples from 2018.

Brightburn - May 24
What if Superman came to Earth, but ended up growing into a crazy, super-demon horror child? I have no idea what to think of this. This was one of the strangest trailers for a horror movie that I've seen recently. And no, this is not technically Superman or Clark Kent. Officially speaking, this is an original horror movie that's not based off of any DC comic book. But still. That's what it looks like. And I honestly don't know if this is going to be an atrociously bad movie or an epic horror film. And that's a weird feeling to have after watching a trailer.

Rocketman - May 31
A musical biopic of the legendary Elton John, with Taron Egerton playing Elton John. That sounds like it could work. But I don't know. Maybe it's just that I just got burned hard by "Bohemian Rhapsody" and am thus extra grumpy, but I'm not completely sold. The strangest thing, though, is that this seems like it's part musical biopic and part fantasy. In the teaser they released, everyone starts floating in the air during one of his performances, so I feel like there's going to be a lot of weird in this movie and I'm not sure what to think about that.

Toy Story 4 - June 21
I'm remaining stubborn on this one until I see something to get me excited. That teaser trailer, which was more of an announcement trailer, with the characters spinning in a circle was not the thing to get me excited. Yes, I realize that all the "Toy Story" movies have been excellent, with "Toy Story 3" and "Toy Story" being my two favorite Pixar films. But they had such a perfect trilogy that I think they should've left alone. And if Pixar has a kryptonite, it's their recent sequels. The "Cars" movies are unfortunately a thing, "Monsters University" was underwhelming, and even "Incredibles 2" and "Finding Dory" weren't quite on the same level as their predecessors if I'm being nitpicky. So even if "Toy Story 4" ends up being good, I don't see any scenario where this becomes equal to any of the three "Toy Story" movies. It seems predestined to be the worst of the four that was only made because Pixar made a fortune with "Toy Story 3" and wanted to cash in with another movie. There's a difference between making a movie because you came up with a perfect story to tell and making a movie because the previous one you did made you a lot of money and you have dreams of dollar signs.

The Lion King - July 19
Is it live-action or animation? That's the debate right now. I don't really feel right with either label, if I'm being honest. I say glorified animation because it's a movie made completely on a computer that gives the appearance of live-action. Looking at the trailer, I am convinced that this is going to be a visually stunning movie that will be a great showcase of what can be done on a computer. However, I do hope that this is more of the exception than the rule. I am a fan of real sets and old-fashioned filmmaking. But the bigger question I have with this movie is plot. If the plot in this movie is an exact copy of Disney's animated movie, then what was the point of doing this outside money? On the flip side, if they switch things up a bit, well then they're messing with perfection because "The Lion King" as is was practically perfect. This seems like a lose/lose. Also, we need to brace ourselves for the trauma that will come with having to see Mufasa die all over again.

Spies in Disguise - September 13
Blue Sky will be up to bat again in September and they're an animation studio that is typically pretty safe. They're not known for making masterpieces, but most of their films are fairly inoffensive and enjoyable. I'll admit to not having seen all 19,000 "Ice Age" movies they made, but the first one was really good. I also loved "The Peanuts Movie" and thought their most recent movie, "Ferdinand," was a cute enough movie. So I have faith that "Spies in Disguise" will be some harmless entertainment that I can enjoy in the Fall. The movie is about a world class spy who gets turned into a pigeon and has to figure out how to survive. Providing voices in the movie are Will Smith, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan and Ben Mendelsohn.

Abominable - September 27
Last year at about this time we got the movie "Smallfoot" from Warner Animation Group. It looked bad, but ended up being surprisingly enjoyable. But now we get another Yeti movie a year later, this time from Dreamworks? That's odd. There's not much information about this film outside the basic premise about it being about a magical Yeti who needs to return to his family, but it is Dreamworks, which means it has the potential to be something good?

Joker - October 4
I like the idea of DC putting aside their goal of building a cinematic universe and simply focusing on making individual movies. I don't even mind that this movie has nothing to do with the DCEU given that this is not the same Joker that they set up in "Suicide Squad." Joaquin Phoenix is an excellent choice for Joker as he's great at crazy and Todd Phillips is a solid choice for a director. So this movie does have a lot going for it. But the major underlying question is still there. Do we need a Joker origin story? Part of the fun of the character is the ambiguous nature of where he came from. Heath Ledger's Joker, for example, had several different stories as to where he got his scars and ruled in pure anarchy, which is why he was so haunting. So I don't know. I question this idea. If done right, though, this movie playing as a psychological thriller is right up in my wheelhouse, so this very well could end up as a favorite of the year. I'm just not going to blindly trust it, if that makes sense.

Gemini Man - October 4
Ang Lee is a tough man to nail down. One year he'll be directing the 2003 "Hulk," then follow it up with "Brokeback Mountain," with "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" coming shortly before. Then he'll deliver us "Life of Pi," but follow it up with "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk." Haven't heard of the latter? Exactly. But does that mean he's back on in 2019 with "Gemini Man"? It's about an older man facing off against a younger clone of himself, which sounds a lot like "Looper." Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Will Smith, Clive Own and Benedict Wong consist of part of the cast. So maybe this is an Oscar highlight of the year? Or could it be one that gets completely forgotten like "Billy Lynn"? I guess we'll find out in October.

The Woman in the Window - October 4
Speaking of Oscar potential, Joe Wright ("Darkest Hour," "Atonement") is here with a crime thriller. Vague plot descriptions of a woman in New York witnessing an act of violence after spying on her neighbors. So we don't have a whole lot of information at the moment. Or at least I don't. It's based on an acclaimed novel of the same name written by A.J. Finn that was published in 2017, so maybe some of you know all about this. I'd like to keep myself in the dark, though, because these types of movies are often best if you know close to nothing going in. But it does star Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, Wyatt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry and Anthony Mackie, so there's more good news for this movie.

Zombieland 2 - October 11
By all intents and purposes, a "Zombieland" sequel should be something that's a highlight of 2019. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are all returning from the original, as are director Reuben Fleischer and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. A "Zombieland 2" is something that fans of "Zombieland" have been begging for since the first one came out and now it's finally happening with the right people in control. But I don't know. We've been burned several times before by comedy sequels that arrive way too late, even with the same cast and crew. Think "Dumber and Dumber," "Anchorman" and "Zoolander" sequels as examples that the general public didn't quite take to as much as their predecessors.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood - October 18
Why can't we just be content with excellent documentaries? It seems like every time an extremely well made documentary comes out, a movie biopic comes shortly after. Generally speaking, the documentaries are usually much better than the biopics. And I'd be willing to bet the same here. If you haven't seen "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" and you're a huge fan of Mr. Rodgers, go find it. It's one of the best documentaries that I've seen lately. But is this Mr. Rodgers biopic going to match that in quality? I highly doubt it. I mean, Tom Hanks is an excellent actor with a long list of iconic performances. But he looks nothing like Fred Rodgers. The set photos that have been released of him in character look like he's doing a Fred Rodgers cosplay. We haven't seen any trailers yet, but he also sounds nothing like him. So if Tom Hanks can successfully disappear into the role, making me believe it is the guy I watched everyday of my childhood and not the Tom Hanks that I've seen countless times in film roles, then by all means give him every trophy possible. I'm just not going to believe it until I see it. If you watch "Won't You Be My Neighbor?," you'll get the actual man in the movie and not Tom Hanks dressed up like him. Can't get any better than that, right?

Charlie's Angels - November 1
I haven't decided if this reboot is one that anyone on Earth actually asked for. When you think of movies or TV shows that need to be revisited, I don't think "Charlie's Angels" would be that high on anyone's lists. However, the more I think of this, the more that I feel that this could be a surprise hit that fits well into the progressive era of the modern age of filmmaking. We want more female directors and more female-led films, right? So maybe if they were to ditch the sex appeal in "Charlie's Angels" while focusing more the trio of crime fighting detective women, perhaps this fits right in. Our angels in this are Naomi Scott, Elizabeth Banks and Kristen Stewart, all three of whom are capable of pulling off the boss female action star. And Elizabeth Banks is also directing this. I highly doubt she is making this in order to turn herself into eye candy for the male audience. My guess is the female empowerment route is where she's going. But since we have no information on this movie at this point in time, these are all just my personal ideas of what a good "Charlie's Angels" movie could look like. I have no idea what they're actually planning here, which is why this is a maybe.

Midway - November 8
A movie about the Battle of Midway from World War II that is being released during Oscar season sounds like a fascinating war film that audiences could fall in love. I personally love myself a good war film. And with a cast including Patrick Wilson, Alexander Ludwig, Luke Evans, Woody Harrelson, Mandy Moore, Darren Criss, Ed Skrein, Dennis Quaid, and Aaron Eckhart, this should be a huge success, right? The problem is that Roland Emmerich is the director here and I don't trust him to be able to make a good movie. All he's ever done are brainless action films that are flat-out awful, showing that he probably doesn't know what makes a good action movie. And if you throw the "Independence Day" argument out at me, well that might backfire on you because all that proves is that he made one good movie 23 years ago, but has done nothing but utter crap ever since. So am I supposed to believe he's even capable of directing a good war film? This sounds like Michael Bay doing "Pearl Harbor" to me. But if Roland Emmerich can pull this off, then maybe he deserves the Razzie Redemption Award for 2019 because that would be truly impressive.

The Good Liar - November 15
I stumbled upon this one and learned that it was a movie starring Ian McKellen as a con artist who stumbles on a wealthy widow played by Helen Mirren. He thinks he's going to pull off an easy con of her until he starts to actually care about her. I'm a fan of a good con artist story and Ian McKellen plus Helen Mirren sounds like it could work really well. So I officially have it on my radar for smaller movies to look out for at the end of the year.

Knives Out - November 27
Believe it or not, Rian Johnson did not ruin my life by making "The Last Jedi." In fact, I love what he did with Star Wars. I think it's exactly what the franchise needed. But even if we put that aside, Rian Johnson is known for making bold and daring films. He directed "Brick" and "Looper," as well as my two favorite episodes of "Breaking Bad." I like a filmmaker who loves taking risks. Perhaps you could argue that that's not the style of filmmaking that Star Wars needed. I would disagree with you, but I'd see your point. But if you take that style and apply it to his own personal film that's not part of a giant franchise, perhaps all you "Last Jedi" haters could agree that "Knives Out" might be a solid movie. I'm willing to bet that he wrote it and directed it in order to distract himself from all the noise. I mean, have you seen his Twitter feed at all? Every time he tweets, even if it's not about "The Last Jedi," he STILL has hundreds of angry Star Wars trolls attacking him for ruining their lives. I feel bad for the man. I'm just putting the movie in this section because I don't know anything about it just yet, outside it's a Rian Johnson directed murder mystery starring Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Katherine Langford, Lakeith Stanfield, Jaeden Lieberher and more. It sounds like something worth checking out.

The Call of the Wild - December 25
I feel like I know Jack London's "Call of the Wild." Perhaps I read it in school during some point of my life? It's a short book published in 1903 about a team of sled dogs in the 1890's. It was previously made into a film in 1923, 1935 and 1972. I have no idea if I've seen any of those versions. When I figure all of this out, I'll let you know. But for now we have a live-action/CGI animated hybrid version of sorts coming out on Christmas starring Karen Gillan, Harrison Ford and Dan Stevens. When I know more information, I'll pass it along.

1 comment:

  1. Read the whole blog post! So many different movies coming out that I didn't even know about. Wonder Park is basically a premise to what I've always dreamed about doing in my childhood (building my own them park). I'm excited to see what twisted tale Rian Johnson will conceive in Knives Out. I also LOVE your pitch for what a Sonic Movie should be. Also, Ugly Dolls looks dated as heck! Probably should have come out in the year Rio came out (2011).