all of the amazing films still to come in 2019
And okay, a bit of 2020. Basically this is your ultimate film guide for the next six months.
We’re getting to that time of year again: when the nights draw in, Christmas decorations festoon the aisles of Poundland and the movie theatres suddenly burst at the seams with so many brilliant movies we struggle to find time to see them all. You’ll be glad to hear that, after a whirlwind film festival season, 2019 is no different. Starting next month -- though you could argue that this has kickstarted with Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and Hustlers arriving in theatres already -- Oscar-friendly flicks will spill out into your local multiplex, alongside a set of sweet antidotes if you’re not too keen on the more ostentatious stuff.
So without further ado, here are some of the best films that are yet to hit cinemas, but that are excellent enough for us to vouch for them with our whole goddamn chests. Best update your watchlist with all of the below!
The Safdie brothers are quick becoming America’s hot new auteurs, what with the cult success of the Robert Pattinson-starring crime drama Good Time in 2017 and its hotly anticipated follow-up. In Uncut Gems, a career-best Adam Sandler plays a jewel dealer who, hellbent on getting out of debt with some dodgy figures, acquires a gigantic gem through some dodgy middle-men that’s valued at over a million dollars. But when he lends it to NBA basketball player Kevin Garnett as a good luck talisman (Garnett plays himself in the movie), things start to spiral out of control. Also featuring a pretty lol cameo from The Weeknd, Uncut Gems is a scintillating comedy-slash-thriller harnessed by its vivid directorial style and a pulsating and twisted Oneohtrix Point Never score. Winter 2019
The ebb and flow of everyday life finds its way of washing over you eventually, but it’s always unpredictable. That’s the crux of Waves, the new film from It Comes At Night director Trey Edward Shults. Telling the story of a black American, middle class family, the film was shrouded in secrecy before it debuted at Telluride and Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, perhaps because on paper it sounds unremarkable. All of its excellence lies in its execution. It’s not worth spoiling, so all we will use to sell it is this: Kelvin Harrison Jr, Euphoria star Alexa Demie and Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges make up this beautiful, character driven story that’s told with such an intense dose of humanity it hardly feels like a film at all. Oh, and it also includes no fewer than five Frank Ocean songs on the soundtrack, which is a glowing selling point in itself. Winter 2019/Early 2020
Are we ever anything more than facsimiles of our parents, no matter how fucked up or deranged their behaviour is? This is a question posed a lot in Honey Boy, the new film from documentary filmmaker Alma Har’el based on a semi-autobiographical script from Shia LaBeouf. In it, we meet a young child star named Otis -- played by British actor Noah Jupe as a kid and Lucas Hedges as he gets a little older -- who has a contentious relationship with his drunken, directionless, freeloader father, played by Shia LaBeouf. Since Otis is still a minor, in need of care and a manager, the pair ride through life side-by-side, while Otis suddenly finds himself growing more mature and ambitious than his deadbeat dad ever was. It’s an emotional almost-bildungsroman about the burden of addiction and abuse, but it soars through the painterly lens of Alma Har’el. By far, this is one of the year’s best films. Winter 2019
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Céline Sciamma has a knack for character dramas. She got to the heart of a gender-questioning kid in the gorgeous Tomboy and unpacked the suburban life of Parisian teens in 2015’s Girlhood. For her new film Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Sciamma looks to the past as a way of framing a new story with a deliciously executed, fiery queer energy. It tells the story of Héloïse, a woman living on the stormy coasts of Northern France, waiting to be married off to a rich male suitor in Milan. For the past few months, a number of painters have been summoned to try and paint her portrait for the approval of said suitor, but her stubbornness has caused them all to fail. That is until Marianne arrives. Pretending to be a maid, she spends her days observing the fine details of Héloïse, painting her portrait in secret. What ensues is a ravishing, masterful depiction of queer desire; so great, in fact, that it won the Queer Palme at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Winter 2019
Whodunnits are rarely all that interesting because you’ve seen them done several times before, and can spot the conclusion coming from a mile off. But Knives Out is different. The new film from Rian Johnson, fresh off of the latest Star Wars, hones in on a family visiting what detectives call “a real life Clue board” for their geriatric patriarch’s birthday. The next morning -- with all of the family staying in the mansion that night -- they find his body in his study, his throat slashed. Everyone thinks it’s a suicide, but they all, individually, have a motive for murdering him too. This mystery movie works for several reasons. Not only does it not take itself too seriously, but it’s so prickly and unpredictable in its style of storytelling that it hooks you in for a whirlwind two hours that fly by. 29th November 2019
You're trapped in a derelict lighthouse off the coast of Maine, erected on a strip of land that juts out into the stormy seas, exposing you to the elements. It's been five weeks, or two days. Your mind is playing tricks on you so you can't really tell. How are you feeling? Are you hopeless? Horny? Haunted? This is what is going through Robert Pattinson’s character’s head in the deranged new film from The Witch director Robert Eggers, The Lighthouse. This film premiered at Cannes back in May to a wave of critical fanfare, with movie nuts obsessing over its bold visual style that hearkens back to horror films like Nosferatu. Truth be told, it’s sort of indefinable in terms of genre. You’ll laugh your head off and freak the fuck out five minutes later. 17th January 2020
How to Build a Girl
If you’re a fan of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and that whole ouvre of intelligent coming-of-age comedy, then you’re in for a treat with How to Build A Girl. Based off Caitlin Moran’s bestselling book, it tells the story of a young Northern girl growing up in poverty who escapes it by falling into music journalism, where she thrives as a scathing rock critic writing for weekly music mags in the big smoke. It stars Beanie Feldstein, known best for her turns in Lady Bird and the spectacular Booksmart, as the lead character Johanna (who transforms into the bitchy, sexually liberated and iconic Dolly Wilde), while Alfie Allen and new Brit boy Laurie Kynaston play her love interest and queer, sardonic brother respectively. For anyone who’s ever dreamt of becoming a journalist only to discover it’s extremely bad for your mental health to ceaselessly shit on other people, this one’s for you! Early 2020
Weathering With You
Remember Your Name, that wonderfully extra anime film about young love that, when you watched it, felt like someone had propped your eyes open with cocktail sticks and you saw the world in a way you’ve ever seen it before? Well the director behind it -- Makoto Shinkai -- is back with more. His latest film Weathering With You, another young love story that unfolds like it's characters are perched on the brink of oblivion, is a lustrous ode to hand-drawn cinema. Set in Tokyo in the very near future, it tells the story of a boy who moves to the big city, penniless and optimistic, who experiences spiritual enlightenment when he runs into a ‘sunshine girl’: a teenage woman who has the wild ability to control the weather. Global warming plays a huge part in its narrative: as rain falls ceaselessly on the city, the sunshine girl makes a big business out of shedding some much needed rays on everybody’s shitty day, on demand, when they need it. It all culminates in a typically explosive Shinkai allegory: that falling in love is like clinging onto a world that could fall out of your life at any given moment. Like we said: extra. Early 2020
Making films about east London is hard, mainly because most people hone in on the tropes of gang culture and excessive violence. Rocks, the new film from Brick Lane
director Sarah Gavron, focuses on a different kind of gang. Set in a high rise block of flats that stands in the shadow of the Shard, it follows a teenage girl, nickname Rocks, who’s forced to fend for herself and look after her little brother after her mentally ill mother runs away. But Rocks isn’t alone: the film takes us through her life in an all girls school, and the friends she makes that reach out to help her out. It’s hard-going at times, but is lifted by that gorgeous spirit of girls with the world against them banding together to push through. Shot with an entire team of newcomers, streetcast by Gavron and her team, British cinema is crying out for films as gorgeous, diverse and heart-swelling as this.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.