Films seen in theaters by year…
2018 ended up being one of the busiest, if not the busiest year of my life. For a big chunk of the year I was working six days a week while being a full time film student at ASU. For the entire month of May I was also in Colorado doing a construction job and wasn’t able to watch a single film. As good as it is to be productive, I always aim to watch at least 100 films in theaters every year and 2018 was extremely disappointing in that regard. I have had it a top priority to work a little less as I finish my final year of film school and really focus on getting back into the movie theater to do what I love…watch and review as many films as possible. Before I kick off my 13th consecutive year of sharing what films I am most excited about in the coming year, let’s take a quick look back at my Top 10 from last year and see how they turned out…
10. Hold the Dark – This film ended up being picked up by Netflix and skipping theaters and although I have not seen it yet, this year on Top Pun Reviews I will be reviewing Netflix films so I can promise that this film will be reviewed here on this site at some point in the coming months and we can all find out if it was worth the wait…
9. The House that Jack Built – Although I missed this in its very small theatrical release that it received (hence why it is not reviewed on this site), I was able to watch this recently and although there are a couple minor aspects that took me out of the film, overall I loved it. Fair warning though, the films of Lars von Trier are extremely graphic when it comes to sex and violence and this is no different. If you are squeamish, you will want to avoid this at all costs but if you are desensitized like me, then there is a lot of von Trier’s talent on display to admire here.
8. Under the Silver Lake – Delayed until 2019…
7. Sicario: Day of the Solado – Although not as amazing as its predecessor, I gave this follow up an 8/10 which is still a very admirable score and I strongly recommend it. I’m curious to see whom they get to direct the third and final installment in this trilogy but as long as screenwriter Taylor Sheridan makes time in his busy schedule to write the third film, you can expect me to be very excited up to the follow up to this. Check out both “Sicario” films if you haven’t already.
6. Avengers: Infinity War – I gave this film a 7/10 and although the ending was a cheap ploy at our emotions, the Hulk was pretty awful, Vision was a waste and there were other minor problems, overall this film did excel at the monumental task of throwing all these characters together and Thanos is one of the best villains in any comic book film ever. So even though I had my problems with it, this is a must see for Marvel fans and over all a lot of fun with ground breaking special effects. #ThanosDidNothingWrong
5. Annihilation – This film was on my Top 10 List for two years in a row since it got delayed but finally saw release a year ago, in February of 2018. I gave it a very respectable 8/10 and if you are a fan of science fiction, this is a must see. Not enough people saw this film with its trippy visuals, underrated score and plot that sucks you in and makes you question everything. If you missed this last year, give it a shot now.
4. First Man – Damien Chazelle’s follow up to “La La Land”, this film received a 7.5/10 and although it isn’t as strong as his previous film or “Whiplash”, this is still a really well made movie with some of the best music of the year, underrated performances, brilliant cinematography and more proof that Chazelle isn’t a director who is going to fizzle out anytime soon. He is here to stay and we as film goers are all the better for it.
3. The Cartel – Delayed indefinitely…
2. Vice – This was the last film I saw in theaters in 2018 and as you can see, my most recent review before I am posting this list. Although you can go look at the 6.5/10 review right now, the long story short is that there are some brilliant performances and Oscar worthy editing paired with some fun directorial choices but the film ultimately disappoints as McKay’s script lets his own political biases bring down the film. Here is hoping his next film is more “The Big Short” than it is this.
1. The Irishman – Delayed until 2019…
Looking back at last year’s list, I picked overall fairly well. “Vice” was the only real disappointment as “First Man”, “Sicario: Day of the Solado”, “Annihilation”, “The House that Jack Built” and “Avengers: Infinity War” were all solid films worth checking out. As is the case every year, there were some delayed films that may or may not be on my list this year and I still have to check out “Hold the Dark” so I can review it for you guys. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some Honorable Mentions so we can get into the Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2019…
20. Gemini Man (October 11th 2019)
19. Ford vs. Ferrari (November 15th 2019)
18. Joker (October 4th 2019)
17. Zombieland: Double Tap (October 11th 2019)
16. X-Men: Dark Phoenix (June 7th 2019)
15. Toy Story 4 (June 21st 2019)
14. Under the Silver Lake (April 19th 2019)
13. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (May 17th 2019)
12. The Lion King (July 19th 2019)
11. The Lighthouse (October 18th 2019)
Release Date: May 31st 2019
Director: Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle)
Screenwriter: Lee Hall
Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard
Rating: R for language throughout, some drug use and sexual content
Plot Summary: The film will focus on Elton John’s beginnings, starting when he was a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music and carrying over to when he reached global stardom through his influential and enduring musical partnership with his songwriting collaborator Bernie Taupin. It will be a biopic that looks at the performer’s life past the glitter saturated image we have grown so accustomed to associating with the performer.
Release Date: May 24th 2019
Director: Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.)
Screenwriter: John August
Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, Numan Acar
Rating: PG for some action/peril
Plot Summary: A live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1992 animated film of the same name, which is in turn based on the Arabic folktale of the same name from One Thousand and One Nights and the French interpretation by Antoine Galland.
8. Velvet Buzzsaw
Release Date: February 1st 2019
Director: Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler, Roman J. Israel, Esq.)
Screenwriter: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Natalia Dyer, Daveed Diggs, John Malkovich
Rating: R for violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and brief drug use
Plot Summary: A thriller set in the shallow, vapid world of L.A.’s contemporary art scene, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce. After a series of paintings are found in a dead hermit’s apartment, they become all the rage, before their supernatural powers slowly start creeping off of the canvas and into real-life.
7. IT: Chapter Two
Release Date: September 6th 2019
Director: Andy Muschietti (Mama, IT)
Screenwriter: Gary Dauberman
Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Jay Ryan, Isaiah Mustafa, Xavier Dolan, Will Beinbrink, Teach Grant
Rating: R for disturbing violent content and bloody images throughout, pervasive language, and some crude sexual material
Plot Summary: Because every 27 years evil revisits the town of Derry, Maine, “IT Chapter Two” brings the characters—who’ve long since gone their separate ways—back together as adults, nearly three decades after the events of the first film.
Release Date: July 3rd 2019
Director: Ari Aster (Hereditary)
Screenwriter: Ari Aster
Starring: Jack Reynor, Florence Pugh, Will Poulter, Vilhelm Blomgren, William Jackson Harper, Ellora Torchia, Archie Madekwe
Rating: R for disturbing ritualistic violence and grisly images, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language
Plot Summary: The story follows a young couple visiting an isolated Swedish village; over the course of their vacation, they discover that its residents participate in an eccentric set of seasonal traditions. The recent death of the main character’s parents casts a sense of dread over the proceedings.
Top 5 Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows
5. Stranger Things Season 3 – July 4th 2019 (Netflix)
4. South Park Season 23 – September 25th 2019 (Comedy Central)
3. True Detective Season 3 – January 13th 2019 (HBO)
2. Mindhunter Season 2 – August 16th 2019 (Netflix)
1. Game of Thrones Season 8 – April 14th 2019 (HBO)
FINAL NOTE: Every year I look for patterns or similarities with my most anticipated films and without giving away what is in my Top 5 Most Anticipated Films of 2019, you can see that more than any other year in the 13 years that I have been doing this, the horror genre has never been stronger with #11, #8, #7 and #6 all being horror films, plus some honorable mentions having shades of horror in them. I would love to see you guys try to predict which films will crack my Top 5. A few should be obvious but I will Venmo $10 to anyone whom can get all 5 predictions (order doesn’t matter). As always, thank you for reading and stay tuned for the Top 5 Most Anticipated Films of 2019 in the coming days. Happy Valentine’s Day!