Ah yes, the New Year. A time of reflection and preparation for the next run around the sun. But since it’s also the Internet it also mean we have to churn out endless content for those sweet, sweet, clicks. And since I love movies, and the Avocado loves movies, why not lay out a blueprint for the upcoming year in film. It’s always good to have something to look forward to during these cold winter nights.
As always, a large platter of festival and foreign films that screened for critics during 2018 won’t get a proper release until the new year, here are some of the notable ones.
Under the Silver Lake (April 19)
The only one of these I’ve seen, and a feature that has been consistently kicked down the release schedule, Under the Silver Lake is director David Robert Mitchell’s followup to the acclaimed horror flick It Follows. Mitchell takes a definite zag here, eschewing opaque terror for loopy paranoia. The film is a little bit like a modern Pynchon riff as it follows a burn out loser Sam (Andrew Garfield) searching for his missing neighbor Sarah (Riley Keough), leading him down the rabbit hole of conspiracies and secret codes in the universe.
This is bound to polarize. The lethargic pacing (it runs a cool 140 minutes), erratic tone, and questionable treatment of women will definitely put people off. But the truly spectacular camera work, career best score from Disasterpiece (seriously the music here is unbelievable), and weird, digressive plot will put this in the realm of cult item almost immediately.
High Life (April 12)
Claire Denis’ first foray into English language work features a group of prisoners lead by Robert Pattinson trying to find a source of energy in the outer limits of space. If you were worried that the director would smooth out her style and elliptical structures for an American audience, never fear! Early reports describe this as a one-of-a-kind psycho-sexual nightmare that compares favorably to classic heady sci-fi like Solaris.
Her Smell (March 29)
Master of the unlikable protagonist Alex Ross Perry’s newest feature plunges the viewer in the dank world of the 90s Riot Grrrl. Elisabeth Moss stars as an unhinged punk rocker consistently on the verge of collapse. Reports have this as a deeply unpleasant, but ultimately rewarding experience. Perry and Moss have proven to be a formidable duo, and this guarantees to be at least a interesting watch.
Climax (March 1)
Master provocateur Gasper Noe returns with a new film about a dance party gone wrong after someone spikes the punch. Sounds like another beautiful wallow in the pond of grotesque misery. But critics have noted, that while not light, this film is certainly an odd kind of fun. A mix of Step Up and wild acid trip. Probably don’t see this one with the family.
Since we’re still living in the 21st century, comic book movies are still the touchstone for pop culture and discussion, and 2019 will be no different with a slew of interesting entries throughout the year.
Glass (January 18)
Out all of the movies here this is the one I want the most to succeed. M. Night Shyamalan has been the punching bag of cinema since about the release of The Village. And while making such stinkers as The Happening and The Last Airbender will tarnish one’s reputation, it feels good when a talented artist starts to find their mojo again. Shyamalan demonstrated he could still creatively shock and surprise with both The Visit and Split, and hopefully Glass (which serves as the conclusion of the surprise trilogy started by Unbreakable) will continue his new found creative streak.
Captain Marvel (March 8) & Avengers: Endgame (April 26)
It looks like Marvel is ready to wrap up the current chapter (and actor contracts) with these two films. Bringing in first their first female led film before topping it off with what is promised to be a mammoth conclusion to this particular superhero arc. It will be interesting to see what is done with CM’s period setting, and if A:E can hit the same emotional punch as Infinity War. One thing is for certain: these will be big, big movies.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (February 9)
I’m fudging the genre bounds a bit with this one, but it feels appropriate that the sequel to the best movie with Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern in it gets some recognition. The big question hanging over this one is if it can repeat the success of the original five (!) years later when we can no longer be shocked that it’s good. The trailer is fairly middling, but it’s not impossible for another surprise.
Second Time at Bat
Despite many outlets annually claiming the death of cinema, there are a myriad of new and talented directors bringing life and a unique perspective to the film going experience. Here are some of the most exciting sophomore efforts coming down the pike this year.
Us (March 14)
Fresh off his Academy Award win (and multiple nominations) for Get Out, Jordan Peele once again plums the depths of horror to find the existential fear of modern living. This time he’s bringing along an all star cast including Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker. The new nightmare features Nyong’o a mother who has to protect her family from a group of doppelgängers who act just like them. All signs point towards another excellent outing from Peele and company.
Little Women (Christmas)
Greta Gerwig follows up her beloved coming of age comedy Lady Bird with a jump to literary adaptation, bringing returning stars Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet with her. While it might be a little disappointing to see such a unique voice immediately turning to adaptation Gerwig’s work proves she has the funny/sad chops to pull off this particular story.
The Lighthouse (TBD)
Moving forward with the hypnotic art-house horror of The VVitch director Robert Eggers has decided to dig even deeper in to the New England folklore angle. Almost no plot details exist, and the characters have the enigmatic names Old (Willem Dafoe) and Young (Robert Pattinson). All that is certain at this point is that film was shot in black and white, and the process was so strenuous that Pattinson almost punched Eggers. It’ll be exciting to jump into this mysterious world.
After the head rolling terror of Hereditary director Ari Aster is going full bore into the occult horror with his next feature. This time Florence Pugh heads off to Sweden for a pagan festival while her relationship disintegrates. It sounds like another high stress situation, and Aster has the chops to make this a truly frightening trip.
And that’s not all! Come back tomorrow for a part two featuring big name auteurs and other exciting projects from the year ahead.