MOVE Magazine’s most anticipated films of 2019

Exciting follow-ups and fresh independent work fuel this year’s upcoming films.

This article contains spoilers for “Us” and “High Life.”

Captain Marvel

In theaters March 8

After 21 entries and an ungodly number of Hollywood Chrises, Marvel’s “Captain Marvel” is the first of the studio’s films to have a female director and protagonist. It tells Carol Danvers’ (Brie Larson) origin story as an alien soldier with a strange connection to Earth who crash lands in early ‘90s America. Since Danvers’ entrance was teased at the end of the last Avengers movie, it’s a safe bet that “Captain Marvel” will be influenced by a need to set up “Avengers: Endgame” come April. Still, with recent releases like “Black Panther” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” offering a much-needed reinvention of what it means to tell a mainstream superhero story, the film also has the chance to move the needle on Marvel films even further.

Us

In theaters March 22

After helming horror knockout “Get Out” (which won Best Original Screenplay last year), comedian-turned-director Jordan Peele was offered his pick of preexisting projects. Instead, he chose to stick to original horror and create his own monster mythology. “Us” reunites “Black Panther” stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke as a couple vacationing with their children and friends when things take a sinister turn — and co-star Elisabeth Moss’ associations with Scientology aren’t even to blame! The film’s teaser trailer revealed that the antagonists of this story are mysterious doppelgängers of the main characters, each brandishing a leer and a pair of gold scissors. In tackling the idea that we can be our own worst enemies, Peele seems poised to cement his signature blend of darkly funny, immersive terrors. Alexa, play “I Got 5 on It”!

High Life

In theaters April 12

Because veteran French director Claire Denis’ new film “High Life” is her first English-language feature and stars one of the internet’s favorite boyfriends, Robert Pattinson, one might assume that the sci-fi horror endeavor is her most accessible project yet. But if early reviews are to be believed, this is far from the case. Pattinson plays Monte, a prisoner and the only surviving member of a deep space expedition besides his infant daughter (Scarlett Lindsey). The film’s timeline jumps between their fight to stay alive and the story of what went wrong when a scientist (Juliette Binoche) forced inmates to take part in a reproductive experiment on board amidst massive black holes. Love it or hate it, “High Life” is undoubtedly one of the most graphic, polarizing and ambitious releases on the horizon.

The Goldfinch

In theaters Oct. 11

“Brooklyn” director John Crowley is taking on the task of distilling Donna Tartt’s 784-page magnum opus, “The Goldfinch” — which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction — into a prestige drama. Ansel Elgort stars as Theodore Decker, who begins committing art forgery after surviving a bombing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a young teenager. The story, which spans decades, is the first of the celebrated novelist’s works to be brought to the screen. Sarah Paulson, Nicole Kidman and Jeffrey Wright also star.

Star Wars: Episode IX

In theaters Dec. 20

It’s been over a year since Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi” ignited controversy after his new take on wars in the stars shifted the franchise in a bold, Porg-filled direction. Now, as Lucasfilm prepares to launch a series of TV shows and spin-off films, a solid end to the Skywalker saga is crucial. Luckily J.J. Abrams, who directed and cast “Star Wars: Episode VII -The Force Awakens,” is returning to close out the sequel trilogy and give us the lens flares we deserve. Little is known about the plot yet, but expect it to pick up about a year after the events of “The Last Jedi.” The film will also feature an ensemble of beloved characters (archival footage of Carrie Fisher will be used to wrap up her role as Leia Organa) and new faces — Keri Russell, British actress Naomie Ackie and Richard E. Grant are set to join the cast.

Little Women

In theaters Dec. 25

Greta Gerwig — patron saint of white people coming-of-age dramedies — is at it again! After earning two Oscar nominations and making women everywhere call their moms with her directorial debut “Lady Bird,” she’s now putting her own spin on Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” Gerwig’s adaptation will reportedly draw from the second half of the novel, when the four March sisters leave their home in Civil War-era New England. The 2019 adaptation boasts an all-star cast, featuring Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet and Emma Watson, just to name a few. The Avengers are shaking!

Edited by Joe Cross | jcross@themaneater.com

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