Wednesday, January 16, 2019

My most anticipated movies of 2019

With 2018 officially behind us and January half over, I figure it's high time I take a look into our cinematic future.

2019 certainly seems like it's going to be a Will Smith kind of year.  He's going to be in:
  • Aladdin (as Genie)
  • Geimini Man
  • Spies In Disguise
Smith's son, Justice, is also going to be in a POKÉMON Detective Pikachu.

What great movies (and which box office bombs) are you most looking forward to seeing?

Here's my list (and a few predictions).

The movies I'm most looking forward to seeing:

Avenger: Endgame

I mean, who can seriously compete with this one?  Avengers: Endgame will be the conclusion to the current phase of Marvel's Cinematic Universe.  It's the first two-parter Marvel movie that has come out so far.

In theaters: April 26


This looks like a fun movie!  Some of my family members are skeptical of it, but I'm excited.  I think it'll be a lighter side of DC.  A little more comedy.  I hope it's not too comedic.  I want to take Shazam seriously.

But I think it's a great decision to put this movie (a different direction than previous DC movies) out at a time when Marvel is putting out their version of Wonder Woman in the form of Capt. Marvel.

It's different enough that it will have its' own identity.  The movie certainly doesn't appear to be taking itself too seriously, but I think it'll still be a respectable superhero movie.  The one I'd say it's probably most comparable to is the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Who would've thought that there'd be such mass appeal to a talking raccoon and a talking tree?  Shazam has the opportunity to live in that same zany superhero movie realm.  I think it will thrive there and will be a surprise hit with critics and fans alike.

In theaters: April 5

Spider-Man: Far From Home
The first Spider-Man was awesome!  One of my favorite Marvel movies, by far. 

I don't want them to change the Mary Jane, Felicia Hardy, Flash (etc.) characters too much, but I liked Ned and the updated take on Spider-Man.

The MJ (who isn't Mary Jane?) character is good too (so long as she isn't actually Mary Jane).

The other Spider-Man movies started with Parker's senior year in high school.  He graduated by the end of their first movies.

I like that these Spider-Man movies are focusing on a teenage Peter Parker trying to be Spider-Man while being in high school.

This franchise is taking it slow.  I like that.  I like it a lot.

I'm definitely going to go see it, I'm going to try to avoid trailers and I'm hoping it won't disappoint.

In theaters: July 5

Dark Phoenix

The X-Men franchise is often credited with kicking off the superhero genre back in 2000.  It's been a messy, zig-zagging franchise.  It certainly wasn't planned out the way Marvel was with Phase I, II, etc.  I'd argue that it wasn't even as organized as DCEU's plan with the Justice League characters.

That being said, I once had little faith that they'd be able to tie it all together.  They've done a remarkable job at attempting to do just that.  My only complaint about the young Jean Grey is that she looks nothing like the adult Jean Grey.

Sophie Turner is apparently a good actress.  I know she's developed a following after her time on Game of Thrones, but I've never seen the show, so I can't attest to that.  She was fine in X-Men: Apocalypse.  All of the X-Men were fine in that movie.  Apocalypse was awful!  Let's forget about him, though.

The Phoenix (and Dark Phoenix) Saga is one that is a staple of the X-Men franchise, but it's never been brought to the big screen before.  Hopefully this movie lives up to the anticipation.

I want to see the X-Men franchise go to space like the saga shows.  I don't want some internal Phoenix the way X-Men 3: The Last Stand tried to present the story.  Let's hope they get it right this time around.

In theaters: June 7


Speaking of Phoenix --- let's talk Joaquin Phoenix.  He's going to follow in the footsteps of Jack Nicholson and Jared Leto as The Joker.  This movie is not going to be intertwined into the DCEU.  It's a standalone movie about The Joker.  It's an odd decision to do this.

Apparently this will be gritty and geared towards adults and set in the 1980s as well.  I'm not sure what to think about this movie.  Venom was a standalone movie that most people weren't looking forward to, but then they saw the trailer and flipped with excitement.

It may be a similar situation here.  I have a feeling it won't leave many people in the middle.  They'll either love it or hate it.  For DC's sake, I'm hoping people love it.

In theaters: October 4

Captain Marvel

I'm not 100% behind this one yet.  I have faith that it will be good because it's part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

They rarely get things wrong.  That being said, I like Ms. Marvel and that presentation better than Captain Marvel.

I prefer the old outfit and the old name.  But I guess the Capt. Marvel name and attire is more gender-empowering.

Nonetheless, I like that they're going to do a little backstory movie here and that it will involve the Kree.  I'm hoping it's a good movie (pretty sure it will be) and that it will mesh well with the rest of the MCU movies.

It's a movie I'll definitely go see, but it's not the one I'm most excited to see this year.

In theaters: March 8

Star Wars: Episode IX

Eh.  Anticipated?  Dreaded?  Not sure how I feel about Star Wars.

I am NOT a fan of Rian Johnson and his repeated defenses of his indefensibly bad take on Star Wars.  I'm fine with the idea that regular people could be Jedi.  I'm fine with a diverse cast.

What I'm not fine with is the non-explanation explanation they gave as to why Rey has Jedi powers, what the hell the force even is, why the force lives on a single planet (and the dark side apparently in a little hole), why Princess Leia is all-of-the-sudden not killable and has more powers than Yoda by floating through space and why Rey and Kylo Ren have a connection.  That's a lot of question marks for one Star Wars movie.

They're not the kind of questions that you just gloss over by making the rest of the movie spectacular.  They're questions regarding central plot points.

However, I'm very happy to see JJ Abrams taking the helm again.  That gives me some hope.  You could say a 'new hope' (sorry, I had to).

I hope he can salvage what's left of the Star Wars universe.  Solo (despite being built on the stupid idea of trying to find a young Harrison Ford) was a good movie.  Rogue One and The Force Awakens were two of the best movies of the franchise.

I hope J.J. Abrams can take this messy middle part of the latest trilogy and connect all the dots in Episode IX.  I don't have high hopes, but I'll probably give it a shot on the big screen.

In theaters: December 20

The New Mutants

I can't say this movie intrigued me too much upon seeing the initial trailer.  It looks like a horror movie, but didn't really seem to fit into the X-Men franchise.  It didn't really look like a great horror story either, to be honest.

I'm hoping that the year or so delay will help bring it back into the X-Men franchise without losing the horror movie feel.

If you're talking teenage mutants and whatnot, Stranger Things has done a good job with that market.

I think it's awesome that superhero movies are expanding and branching out.  Wonder Woman was a solo female superhero movie.   The Black Panther featured black actors.  Logan was like an R-rated movie with an old western feel.  Aquaman was an underwater adventure.  Deadpool was an R-rated comedy.

Superhero movies have to branch out and going into the horror genre makes sense.  I just hope it's still a superhero movie.  I've seen Saw, Scream and other horror movies.  They were OK.

But I'm not going to see this movie so I can see a horror movie.  I want to see a superhero horror movie.  Make sense?

In theaters: August 2

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Other movies:

Those are the (mostly superhero) movies that I'm most looking forward to seeing.  However, there are quite a few other movies coming out in 2019.

I don't think I'll see these in the theater, but here are some of the others that could be OK --- at least worth a rental.

What Men Want

I saw a trailer for this movie over Christmas and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

When I heard they were basically updating What Women Want, it sounded like another example of Hollywood going back to the well (maybe too often) and not coming up with anything original.

While I don't think this movie will break any records at the box office, it will probably do OK.

In theaters: Feb. 8

Isn't It Romantic

This seems like it could be a fun movie. It may be kind of a modern mix between Groundhog Day and Enchanted. It’s about a skeptical woman who ends up finding herself in a romantic comedy. 
Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth aren’t box office heavyweights but are well known.  They seemed to have a decent enough chemistry together. I think this will be a good one for both of them. 

I highly doubt I’ll see this in the theater but I’ll check it out as a rental. 

In theaters: Feb. 14

Five Feet Apart

This may be a good movie.  It'll probably be a tearjerker though, so be ready.

Two patients who have cystic fibrosis are not supposed to be near each other --- hence the name 'Five Feet Apart.'  It looks like an OK story, even if the previews kind of give away most of the plot.

I don't know if I'll watch it because it seems very much like a drama that you'd need a Kleenex box for, but maybe I'll pick it up at some point on Redbox.

In theaters: March 22


I never saw the original. I wasn’t too familiar with the character. I did actually just buy the original on DVD from one of those bins filled with $3 DVDs. So I intend to watch it before this movie comes out. 

I assume I won’t see it in the theater unless the 2005 version is amazing. A lot of pressure on that movie!

I’ll get this on Redbox regardless of how the previous version was.

I don’t see Hellboy being a huge hit because he’s not a character people are too familiar with. I wasn’t and I’m a pretty big superhero fan.

The other reason is because it comes out in just a few months and I’ve seen almost zero advertisement for it.  Today was actually the first time I saw a trailer in the theaters for this movie.

The trailer seemed like it tried to utilize a lot of comedy, but I'm not sure if it will land the way they want it to.

In theaters: April 12

MIB: International

Nobody really asked for a Men in Black reboot, but Hollywood recycles ideas, so it's not surprising.  Besides rebooting the franchise, they are getting two people who have already starred together in an action-comedy.

Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tessa Thompson (The Valkyrie, from Thor: Ragnarok) will co-star in this movie.

Despite not really being something people were yearning for, I think it'll be a good movie.  Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones is a tough duo to beat, but this should have a different, yet similar flavor to the previous MIB movies.

The thing that I like about this movie -- and the only reason I'm giving it a chance -- is that they didn't recast the characters.  They didn't try to replace Smith and Jones with new actors.  They're introducing us to new agents (and tying it into the previous trilogy).

That's OK in my book.  I'm not a fan of recasting different people to portray the same characters, especially so soon after the originals.

MIB: International is in theaters: June 14

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The Disney factor:

It's going to be a Disney 2019.  Not only is Avengers: Endgame coming out.  But they are remaking three of their classic animated movies into live action movies.  Big money coming their way in 2019, regardless of the quality of those movies.


I'm not sure this qualifies as 'live action' but it's probably more 'live action' than the Lion King movie because it stars some human actors, too.  I have a feeling fans may generally like this movie more than The Lion King or maybe even Aladdin because the animated Dumbo, while good, isn't the modern day classic that The Lion King and Aladdin are.

Hollywood has come a long way since the original Dumbo was first released several decades ago.  The way they tell stories has changed.  The live action Dumbo is probably going to make you cry more than the original did.  I think it'll be visually more impressive than the animated version.

The biggest benefit this movie has is that the animated version was done such a long time ago that people won't be comparing it the way they will be comparing the live action Lion King to the animated Lion King.

Plus you've got Tim Burton involved so it should be memorable, whether it's any good or not.

In theaters: March 29


If Dumbo doesn't soar above the box office competition, they can possibly rely on Aladdin.  Though I'm not personally impressed by the casting of Aladdin and Jasmin, I do like the idea of Will Smith being Genie.

The animated film was great, so the live-action version has some big shoes to fill.

So far the costuming doesn't look great.  To be honest, the costuming looks like something you'd find at a cheap Halloween store or maybe a Disney store.  If this is going to be a successful live-action Aladdin, then they need to make it good.

We'll see how it goes.

In theaters: May 24

Toy Story 4

Disney just isn't letting up are they?  Three live-action movies and a Toy Story entry into the 2019 movie mix.

I think I watched Toy Story 2, but I'm not the avid fan that a lot of others are.  I'll have to go back and rewatch the first three.  I don't really remember a lot of them honestly.  I'm sure this will do well at the box office though.

In theaters: June 21

The Lion King

A lot of people who grew up on The Lion King are excited for this movie.  I think it'll be a box office success.  I'm not sure if it will be a critical success or not.  It'll be a financial win for Disney, no doubt.  It's not usual for a Disney movie to at least break even.

Disney has been hit and miss with their live action movies though.

The Jungle Book was an awesome film.  Amazing acting by the child actor, great voiceover work by the rest of the cast, very good visuals and a good telling of the story.  2015's Cinderella wasn't as memorable or anywhere near the best version of that story.

Maleficent was a great retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story and was such a success it's getting a sequel.  2017's Beauty and the Beast was a commercial success and a lot of critics and fans liked it.  Yet, there are several (like me) who felt it wasn't nearly as good as the animated version.

I thought Emma Watson was a great casting choice but my main complaint was the Beast.

Way too much CGI there and, worse than that, it wasn't good CGI.  The Beast's face looked like a sloppy 5th grade drawing.

While The Lion King will do well financially and I have a feeling a lot of fans will like it too, I wonder if it will compare to the animated version.  The animated version was so good that the 'live action' (mostly CGI) version has a lot to live up to.

In theaters: July 19

Frozen 2

I have to wonder if this lives up to the hype of the first movie.  After about 9 months of hearing 'Frozen!  Frozen!  Frozen!' I decided to watch it.  It wasn't bad.

I assume the sequel will be a highlight for all the younger kids who watched the first one.  It comes out over Thanksgiving, too.  Wise choice.

In theaters: Nov. 22

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The Secret Life of Pets 2

Awww man, I loved this movie.  It was such an awesome movie.  Anyone who has a pet should be able to relate to this movie.

I'm not sure where the storylines go for the sequel, but I'll take whatever they throw at me.

In theaters: June 7, 2019

Jumanji 3

Jumanji was a surprise hit and I think the sequel will do well also.  The cast is what will make this movie, even if the story isn't amazing.  This is a great cast that knows how to do comedy, so I have high hopes.

In theaters: Dec. 13

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Here are some movies I don't see doing very well ...

Alita: Battle Angel

This is going to be yet another Hollywood sci-fi bomb.  It may do well overseas as it's a based on Japanese comic Gunnm, but audiences in the U.S. won't connect.  It's too strange, too sci-fi and I'm assuming that the story just won't resonate.

It'll be just like Ghost in the Shell (another manga), Jupiter Ascending, Kin and various other sci-fi movies.  Hollywood just doesn't do that genre well very often.  I don't think this movie will be an exception to that rule.

In theaters: February 14

Fighting with my Family

This movie is based on WWE superstar Paige's life and her journey to WWE.  Outside of hardcore wrestling fans, I don't see many people catching this one.

The Rock has a cameo on it, but the movie just has a strange feel to it based on the previews.

It doesn't look good enough to be a serious drama, but also doesn't look funny enough to be a hilarious comedy.  I think the mixed genre here is going to hurt it.

In theaters: March 1

POKÉMON Detective Pikachu

I'm torn on this one.  On one hand, I could see it being a surprise hit (although I doubt I'll be a fan of it).  On the other hand (the trusty one), I think it's going to be a miss and not a hit.

It stars Will Smith look-a-like: Justice Smith.  The last name is no coincidence.  Justice is Will's son.  Pikachu?  Played by Ryan Reynolds.

It seems like Reynolds will bring his trademark sarcasm to Pikachu.  I don't know if it'll work that well.  Reynolds is becoming a one-trick-pony.  Same thing in every movie.

This may be a turning point for him.  That kind of thing works for Deadpool, but I'm not sure if it'll work for Pikachu.

After seeing this trailer, it seemed like a more friendly version of that awful Ted movie from 2012.  Then again, that was a box office success, so who knows what'll happen.

In theaters: May 10

Charlie's Angels

Elizabeth Banks is going to try her best this go around, but Charlie's Angels is just so overdone.

They tried it with Drew Berrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu in the early 2000's and got two rather crappy movies out of it.  They tried to reboot it as a TV series in the past few years and that didn't work.

Now, it's back to the big screen.  I think a more serious Netflix version could've been good, but I don't know how well this will do.  Even if it is good, there series is generally too campy to be taken the seriously and it's going to have to overcome the odds that the previous versions stacked against it.

The concept is good.  3 female agents doing combat and saving the world.  Seems like it'd work well, but they need to take a more serious tone with the movie.  Not serious as in The Dark Knight trilogy, but they need to take themselves more seriously.

The Men in Black movies are a great example.  It's outrageous and features aliens and all kinds of ridiculous things, but they take themselves seriously so the audience does too.  The first two Mummy movies starring Brendan Fraser were the same.

They can't approach this the way the past two movies did: as a campy movie remake of the campy 70's TV show.

I'm not sure if I've done a good job explaining it, but, in my opinion, they have to boost the image by taking a different approach or the results will be the same.

In theaters: November 1

Sonic The Hedgehog

It’s neat to see a classic, beloved video game character coming to the big screen but I’m not sure it’ll turn out too well

Will it be geared towards adults (the fans of the original game) or kids (who probably aren’t too familiar with it)?  Will it be animated or computer animated or live action (with CGI)?

I think those decisions will determine the success factor. They’ve got to appeal to more than just Sonic fans for it to do well. 

You’ve got to try to grab some of the middle-aged and some of the kids too. 

I don’t know if Sonic has that kind of crossover appeal unless they make a fun, interesting trailer and then have a great story to tell. 

I assume this will be like The Smurfs.  Although that spawned three movies, none of them were any good.

In theaters: November 8

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These movies will probably do well enough, but won't draw like previous movies in the franchises

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw

I'm not sure if Hobbs & Shaw will do well or not.  It's not a franchise I've followed.  I watched the first Fast & The Furious way back when, but the horrible Vin Diesel / Paul Walker acting combination turned me off real quick.

Jason Statham and The Rock moved into the franchise and they're action stars.  They're hard to count out.  The last Fast & The Furious movie (they're up to 8 or 9 now, right?) did very well based on the box office numbers and reports, so I assume this one could follow that trend.

It'll be interesting to see if the branching out here hurts the franchise or improves it.

In theaters: August 2

Kingsman: the Great Game

Kingsman 2's box office wasn't what the first one was.  I see the same thing happening here, which is what usually happens in trilogies.  Unless it's a blockbuster trilogy, then the third movie rarely does as well as the first and this is no blockbuster trilogy.

I was never a big fan of the franchise, but I know some are.  I don't think those fans will be able to get a fourth installment green-lit by the studios because the box office for the Great Game won't live up to expectations.  That's my prediction anyway.

In theaters: Nov. 8

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