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Top 30 Best Movies Of 2019 – Preview Guide

12th  The Lion King
Starring: (voices) Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyonce, Seth Rogen, John Oliver
Director: Jon Favreau
Released: July 19, 2019

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CGI re-imagining of the 1994 Disney classic… Updating Shortly.

11th  Ad Astra
Starring: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, Jamie Kennedy
Director: James Gray
Released: May 24, 2019

A man (Pitt) journeys across a lawless solar system to find his missing father (Jones) — a renegade scientist who poses a threat to humanity… ‘Ad Astra’ is a Latin phrase meaning “through hardship to the stars”. Director James Gray (‘Lost City Of Z’) has compared the story to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. He also intends it to be “the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie. To say, ‘Space is awfully hostile to us.'” Pitt is one of a few solid gold movie stars and putting him in a genre piece will elevate it significantly (see the otherwise meh ‘World War Z’). As more revelatory things are being learnt about the solar system every year, and fx continue to improve, it makes modern space exploration films all the more fascinating (when they’re smartly made).

10th  Us
Starring: Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker
Director: Jordan Peele
Released: March 15, 2019

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Director Jordan Peele (of ‘Key & Peele’) is returning to “social-horror thriller” territory after ‘Get Out’. And who can blame him with the phenomena that was, taking $255 million theatrically worldwide from a $4.5m budget, entering the cultural psyche, provoking discussion, and earning an Oscar for Peele’s screenplay (not to mention nominations for Picture and Best Actor). As George Romero showed us long ago, mixing social allegory in with horror gives it a special potency and protects it against critical sneering. ‘Us’ is being called an unofficial sequel, or spiritual sequel, but the plot is under wraps. The only clues are the poster, its description as a “new nightmare”, a budget 5x larger, and reporting that it’s about a black couple (Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong, ‘Black Panther’) and a white couple (Elisabeth Moss, ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ and Tim Heidecker, ‘Tim & Eric’). Expect this to make waves all over again, even if it’ll struggle to top the extraordinary impact of ‘Get Out’.

9th  Gemini Man
Starring: Will Smith, Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Benedict Wong
Director: Ang Lee
Released: October 4, 2019

An aging assassin (Smith) seeking to exit his career finds himself going against a 25-year younger clone of himself (also Smith), who can predict his every move… Clive Owen plays the villainous head of the cloning program, while Mary Liz Winstead plays an operative ordered to spy on the old assassin. ‘Gemini Man’ has been Jerry Bruckheimer’s longest gestating project since it was first pitched to Disney in 1997, with Tony Scott and Curtis Hanson (now both deceased) as attached directors over the years. For much of it Disney concluded cgi wasn’t good enough for a de-aged version of the lead character. It wasn’t until Ang Lee came on board 20 years later that things got moving. The Oscar-winner is one of most versatile and interesting in the business, from ‘Crouching Tiger’ to ‘Brokeback Mountain’, to ‘Taking Woodstock’ to ‘Life of Pi’, even when his genre experiments don’t work, see ‘Hulk’, ‘Billy Lynn’, they’re interesting. Presumably another delaying factor was the 2012 release of Rian Johnson’s very similar-sounding ‘Looper’. ‘Gemini Man’ will have to work hard to avoid the comparison, though de-ageing one actor rather than casting two is a key difference, and this is about cloning rather than time-travel. Will Smith remains a top notch performer in blockbusters when he choose to be in one (better in ‘Suicide Squad’ than he was given credit for), and watching his dual role will be fascinating, especially given the nuance Ang Lee should bring to it.

8th  The Irishman
Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, Ray Romano
Director: Martin Scorsese
Released: TBC 2019

A mafia hitman, Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (De Niro), recalls his possible involvement with the assassination of union man Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino)… Based on the book ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’, this is the first feature film directed by Martin Scorsese to star Robert De Niro since ‘Casino’ in ’95, and their ninth together. By contrast it’s the first time Pacino has been directed by Scorsese. The budget has escalated to a reported $175 million, which is beyond bonkers. Because of this it’s been part-funded by moneybags Netflix, despite Scorsese having railed against watching movies first on TV (and without a proper theatrical run, it may cost it at the Oscars). The main reason for the enormous budget is ILM’s extensive de-ageing work throughout the film. Pacino for instance will be playing Hoffa at ages like 39 and 48. De Niro will extensively appear 45 years younger, looking as he did in ‘Godfather: Part II’. Meanwhile, Joe Pesci was reluctantly persuaded out of retirement to play the Pennsylvania Mafia boss who may have had a hand in Hoffa’s disappearance of Jimmy, making this something of a ‘Goodfellas’ reunion. Harvey Keitel is also in there as a Philly crime boss and DiCaprio is rumoured to have a cameo as JFK, which would make it a Scorsese catalogue reunion. Bottom line, it’s one of the world’s greatest directors, back in his most comfortable genre, with his favourite actors, and a ridiculous budget.

7th  Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Damian Lewis, Luke Perry, Al Pacino
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Released: August 9, 2019

A faded TV actor and his stunt double embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry during the Helter Skelter reign of terror in 1969 Los Angeles… Updating Shortly.


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