Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 8.31.30 AM.png

Philadelphia's independent voice
for film criticism.

Andy's Ten Most Anticipated 2019 Films

Andy's Ten Most Anticipated 2019 Films

Every year is a great year for movies. This year looks no different. What movies will end up as my favorites of the year that are completely off my radar now? What will surprise me? What will disappoint me? Only time will tell. We've got two enormous tentpoles (Star Wars Episode IX, Avengers; Endgame) and two major career summations from some of our greatest living filmmakers (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, The Irishman) which I have left off this list because they are obvious choices. Otherwise, these are ten of the movies that have me really looking forward to the rest of the year. 

Dragged Across Concrete (dir. S. Craig Zahler)

This made my list last year but didn't end up getting a theatrical release in 2018. Since then I have only gotten more excited about it. Zahler's follow up to Brawl In Cell Block 99 brings back Vince Vaughan and adds Mel Gibson, as two rough cops who refuse to adjust to the ethics of policing in the era of Ferguson and body cams. There's no way that isn't going to be incendiary when it is released, and early reviews have confirmed as much- from calling it an honorable exploitation follow up, to being sheer right wing propaganda. To me, Zahler's style and commitment to character work completely sidesteps any type of political concerns I might have going in. 

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (dir. Michael Dougherty)  

This was the most amazing trailer I saw last year- with an epic version of "Clair De Lune" highlighting the reveal of the legendary Kaiju like Mothra and Rodan. All showcased in a thick blue fog. After I got engaged this fall, I had a strong urge to watch this trailer again and I started to cry. The feeling I got from watching it is that it seeks to capture no less than the mysterious wonders of life and the universe. Plus it stars Millie Bobby Brown, who will return for a third season of Stranger Things less than two months after this is released. Get ready for her to own the summer. 

John Wick: Chapter 3 (dir. Chad Stahelski)  

I tried to steer clear of sequels for this list, but I cannot contain my excitement for both the new Godzilla movie and this, the third entry in the unexpectedly great John Wick series. The 2017 sequel found a way to deliver all the same thrills while expanding the intrigue of the secret assassin world in which John Wick (Keanu Reeves) lives. It ended with him breaking a major rule of the Hotel Continental, putting him on the run for his life with an hour long head start. It seems pretty safe to assume the odds will be more stacked against him than usual in this third chapter. We also get exciting new cast members Anjelica Huston and Halle Berry. 

Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson

Knives Out (dir. Rian Johnson)

Few directors must have had a more simultaneously exciting and frustrating 2018 than Rian Johnson. He may have directed what will end up being the best Star Wars movie, but in taking so many awesome risks unleashed a wave of horrible internet trolls that further emphasized how dark and fucked up the internet has become. But living well is the best revenge, and it looks like Johnson isn't letting anything slow him down. His next is an Agatha Christie style murder mystery with a fucking stacked cast: Michael Shannon, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more will star. 

Ari Aster

Ari Aster

Midsommar (dir. Ari Aster)   

After a breakout year with the success of Hereditary, Ari Aster is already back with another A24 movie. It's about a couple who travels to Sweden to visit their friend's hometown during a a fabled mid-summer festival, which turns threatening when they come into contact with a pagan cult. Sounds a lot like The Wicker Man, a movie that seems to be carrying a lot of influence in modern horror lately. I liked Hereditary a whole lot, but its ambition made it a little messy. I am excited to see what a sophomore effort from him will be like.This one stars Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, and the forever creepy Will Poulter. 

Standoff At Sparrow Creek (dir. Henry Dunham)

This is another film released by Cinestate, the Dallas based production company also responsible for Dragged Across Concrete. Like that film this appears to be another Right-sploitation film, about a small town militia who have to weed out one of their own, someone suspected of committing a mass shooting at a police funeral. It has a cast full of character actors and takes place in a single location- and is touted as in the spirit of Reservoir Dogs. It stars James Badge Dale, Brian Geraghty, Patrick Fischler, Happy Anderson and more. It will be available on VOD in just a few weeks.  

220px-Didion-Last.jpg

The Last Thing He Wanted (dir. Dee Rees)   
Dee Rees made a big splash with 2017's Mudbound, one of the first Netflix films to receive serious awards consideration. She is back already with another Netflix film, and with Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck and Willem Dafoe in tow. This one is based on a Joan Didion novel, about a woman who takes over her father's position as an arms dealer for the U.S. government in 1980's Central America. That all sounds eclectic and exciting. 


The Truth (dir. Hirokazu Koreeada)  

After winning the top prize at Cannes with last years Shoplifters, Koreeada is already back- but this time with Ethan Hawke and Juliette Binoche for his first English language film. It seems kind of hard to believe that it's taken the prolific Japanese auteur this long to make that type of crossover. I cannot wait to see Hawke lead one of his somber meditations on family and time. 

teaser-poster-and-photos-for-rob-zombies-upcoming-film-3-from-hell-social.jpg

Three From Hell (dir. Rob Zombie)

So apparently the Firefly family- Otis, Baby and Captain Spaulding- didn't go out in a blaze of glory after all at the end of The Devil's Rejects. Or maybe they did and they've been resurrected. Who knows. All I know is that I am glad to see those three  round out a trilogy which started with House Of 1000 Corpses. And as is typical of Zombie, a whole shit ton of classic character actors are along for the ride, with Clint Howard, Danny Trejo, Dee Wallace and Richard Brake joining Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, and Sid Haig. 

Us (dir. Jordan Peele)

When all is said and done, few other films captured the zeitgeist this decade like Get Out. Peele is back with another horror film, about a black family who are terrorized by a mysterious clan of their personal doppelgangers. You have almost certainly seen the trailer by now- and it once again looks primed completely dominate the culture for the next several months. I can't wait. 

American Dad: The Adventures of Jack Ryan–Part 3

American Dad: The Adventures of Jack Ryan–Part 3

Escape Room is fun, but doesn't reach its potential

Escape Room is fun, but doesn't reach its potential