Pop Culture

The Joker, Jedi, and Judy Garland: Are You Ready For The 2019 Fall Movie Season?

I'm sure there's a perfectly logical reason why a cyborg is able to grow a beard.
I'm sure there's a perfectly logical reason why a cyborg is able to grow a beard. Paramount Pictures
It was a rhetorical question: nobody is ready for more movies.

Especially after a summer blockbuster season that left box office records (Avengers: Endgame) and the Manson Family (Once Upon A Time in Hollywood) strewn in its wake. And yet, as 2019 slouches toward an ungainly end, it falls to us to contemplate the most anticipated movies remaining on this year's cinema slate.

And there's a lot to digest. You've got award-seeking prestige pictures, a divisive take on the superhero genre, high profile sequels, low profile sequels, and a movie about singing cats. It's truly an embarrassment of riches. Or maybe just an embarrassment.

In any event, let's break it down old school, as the Dowager Countess might say.

Ad Astra (September 20)

Brad Pitt ... IN SPAAACE. I don't watch trailers (watch as I try to make this the obnoxious "I don't own a TV" of the '00s), but there have been enough ads during NFL games the last couple weeks that I'm forced to assume Tommy Lee Jones has returned from the Event Horizon to usher mankind to hell. Or something.

Rambo V: Last Blood (September 20)

No advance screenings for this, and you know what that means: surefire Oscar contender. I was really hoping the franchise would keep up the Star Trek-adjacent practice of having him mostly murder white people in the odd-numbered entries (especially given the earlier rumors Rambo would be going up against white supremacists). Apparently torturing and killing Hispanics is more in fashion these days.

Downton Abbey (September 20)

I missed the screening for this and was mildly vexed — like a British aristocrat — until I realized there's really no point in seeing this on a big screen. Also I've never seen any episodes of the show (wait, maybe *that* will be my new catchphrase).

21 Bridges (September 27)

I'm just saying, the last time all bridge and tunnel traffic into New York City was shut down was when a bunch of assholes crashed planes into the World Trade Center. Maybe Boseman is chasing Bin Laden's son and the Sand Spider from True Lies.

Judy (September 27)

a.k.a. An Oscar Campaign is Born.

Joker (October 4)

Because what America needs most right now is a Falling Down remake, even one starring an actor as commanding of a picture as Joaquin Phoenix. In fact, just go rent The Master or You Were Never Really Here and be done with it.

On a side note, identifying as an "involuntary celibate" is still the most hilarious self-own imaginable.

Dolemite is My Name (October 4)

Speaking of Oscar campaigns, I think Murphy has spent the last 13 years plotting revenge because he didn't win Best Supporting Actor for Dreamgirls.

I just hope Hollywood doesn't make the same mistake they did with Shaft and remake Avenging Disco Godfather.

Gemini Man (October 11)

Starring opposite a digitally de-aged version of yourself is pretty much peak Will Smith. Still better than casting Jaden.

Parasite (October 11)

In all seriousness (just this one time), Bong Joon-ho's latest has been getting rave reviews and is seriously one of my most anticipated movies of 2019.

The other? Cats.

The Addams Family (October 11)

I'm a huge fan of the Barry Sonnenfeld movies, which I just rewatched. I'm intrigued by the decision to return to Charles Addams' cartoon style, but don't know if the new cast can measure up. Oscar Isaac especially has his work cut out for him, sorry if that's dirty pool, old man.

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (October 15)

Oh, sorry ... this was supposed to be a list of "most anticipated" movies. Not sure how this got in here.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (October 18)

Still annoyed Maleficent herself didn't actually turn into a dragon in the first movie, and not at all because I have a fantasy about getting burned to death by impossibly sharp-cheekboned women who turn into reptiles. Ha ha ha.

Don't look at me.

The Lighthouse (October 18)

Another name for this movie is "Facial Hair Styles My Wife Won't Let Me Grow."

Pattinson has had such a string of post-Twilight excellence (Lost City of Z, Good Time, Cosmopolis) I can't help but be excited for his first collaboration with A24. Also curious to see what happens when you lock Batman and Green Goblin up together and they start going nuts.

Jojo Rabbit (October 18)

I love me some Taika Waititi, but I'm getting serious Life is Beautiful vibes from this.

That's ... not a good thing.

Waves (November 1)

Trey Edward Shults has yet to direct a stinker (I don't care what your aggro horror fan friend thinks of It Comes At Night), so I'm really curious about this. Even if I generally side-eye movies where people scream into the void/hang their head out car windows.

Terminator: Dark Fate (November 1)

FACT: the only good movies in the Terminator series* included Linda Hamilton, so her return is at least one cause for optimism. Another is Mackenzie Davis (Black Mirror's "San Junipero") playing an ass-kicking cyborg-human hybrid.

*TV's Sarah Connor Chronicles was also good.

The Irishman (November 1...?)

I'm starting to think this Martin Scorsese guy likes movies about organized crime.

This could be a renaissance year for De Niro (also appearing in Joker), who hasn't really stretched himself since the 1990s. Not that playing an Irish mobster counts as "a stretch," in this case.

Doctor Sleep (November 8)

Stephen King famously disliked Stanley Kubrick's adaptaion of The Shining, but veteran horror director Mike Flanagan used imagery from the original film for Doctor Sleep.

It's the right choice. No one wants to remember the 1997 TV miniseries.

Charlie’s Angels (November 15)

This is the second cinematic reboot of a certain classic 1970s TV series and I still can't get a goddamn Maude movie?

The Lodge (November 15)

I know next to nothing about this, but I'm including it because there aren't enough damn original concept horror movies on these lists.

Knives Out (November 27)

I am here for this stupidly star-studded cast, which includes dopey Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis (giving me serious Kim Novak from The Mirror Crack'd vibes), and asshole Chris Evans.

Black Christmas (December 13)

To paraphrase Olivia from Dazed & Confused: "The 1974 Black Christmas rocked, the 2006 one..oh god..well, it obviously sucked...maybe the new one will be radical." Personally, I'm eager to see what Sophia Takal can do with this.

Cats (December 20)

Yeah, I lied earlier: I have no desire to see this. Every time I read anything about Cats, whether it's the musical or this, I'm immediately afflicted with hysterical blindness.

Bombshell (December 20)

Yes, yes, great job casting Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly and Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson. But as someone who's loved her from afar since Waiting... I'm all about Alanna Ubach as Judge Jeanine Pirro.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (December 20)

I saw Crawl in the theater and they stealthed the trailer for this in front of it (see above). My one takeaway is that if Palpatine (or Darth Maul) is still alive, then Han probably is, too. Cheer up, fellow nerds.

Spies in Disguise (December 25)

Given the tepid reaction by EON to the idea of casting Idris Elba as James Bond, this Blue Sky Studios (recently acquired by Disney, just like everything including your stem cells) effort is the closest you're likely to get to a black 007.

Little Women (December 25)

Every generation gets the Louisa May Alcott adaptation it deserves. If that's true, y'all must be doing something right, because Greta Gerwig doesn't play.

1917 (December 25)

Sam Mendes's first directorial effort since Skyfall concerns two young British soldiers trying to deliver a message during the Battle of Passchendaele, in which at least 70,000 British Expeditionaty Force troops were killed. Maybe take the kids to Little Women.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar