Photos | Walt Disney Pictures / Annapurna Pictures
From left: A reinvented “Lion King” is among the reboots, remakes and sequels scheduled for release in 2019, but promising original stories are also anticipated. Christian Bale stars as Dick Cheney in “Vice,” the story of an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider who quietly wielded immense power as vice president to George W. Bush.
Oh January, you’re the Monday of months, and what have we to look forward to in 2019? If we gather in movie theaters, shoring up our psyches against an uncertain future with huge tubs of buttered popcorn, what will we be watching? Perhaps it makes sense that the releases of the upcoming year are stuffed with old reliables and known entities. Familiar properties from “The Avengers” to “Charlie’s Angels” are coming our way, and the few original movies I am looking forward to are based on beloved and popular books.
Foremost on my list of movies to catch this year is “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.” This was a terrific, hilarious novel by Maria Semple, who used to write for “Arrested Development” and it’s directed by Richard Linklater, so things are aligned for greatness. Cate Blanchett stars as Bernadette, a brilliant, high-maintenance wife and mother in self-exile from a singularly stellar career as an architect. Bernadette is wonderfully peculiar and frustrating to her family until she, as the title suggests, disappears altogether, leaving her equally smart daughter to find her.
My only problem with this movie is that when I read Parker Posey’s droll and wonderful 2018 memoir “You Are on an Airplane,” she complained about being up for a role in this, directed as it is by the guy who launched her career with “Dazed and Confused,” and obviously not getting it. It makes me sad; I assume the part went to Kristen Wiig as neighbor and nemesis Audrey, although Posey actually should have been Bernadette. You should still check out this movie because it’s going to be great, but read Posey’s book too, for balance.
You couldn’t read Donna Tartt’s 2013 novel “The Goldfinch” without thinking it would make a great movie and at last it is coming to the big screen, directed by John Crowley, who did the same for the novel “Brooklyn.” Again, however, my casting suggestions have been ignored! I don’t see Adam Driver listed anywhere as playing the role of Boris, the Russian best friend of the main character Theo Decker, so maybe my email about casting meetings got sent to their SPAM folder accidentally, and mistakes have been made. Nevertheless, this is a wonderfully plot-driven, Dickensian kind of novel, set in museums, antique stores and Vegas, and it should make a great movie.
Every other movie coming out, as far as I can tell, is either a remake, a reboot, a sequel, or maybe some are reboots of sequels. Least essential among these — and this is a very tough call — would have to be another “Charlie’s Angels” movie, which nobody needs, despite being directed by Elizabeth Banks. Wait, there’s another Angry Birds movie; that’s got to be the least essential. Let me get my calculator.
I think “Toy Story 4” has the most to lose, since “Toy Story 3” was the perfect ending to a perfect trilogy, and perfection ought not to be messed with. You can’t make me cry more than “Toy Story 3” did; it’s a physiologic impossibility. Or maybe childhoods will be ruined with the live-action remake of “The Lion King” and/or the live action remake of “Aladdin.” We must have something to complain about on the internet, after all. And with everything else is the world going so smoothly and free of controversy, this is sure to dominate the national conversation in 2019.
Also, why would they reboot “Hellboy?” It’s great already; I like “Stranger Things’” David Harbour but I like Ron Perlman better, and Guillermo del Toro directed the originals, while this is helmed by someone named Neil Marshall. I guess we can see this as a further installment with a new Hellboy, like a bright red James Bond. Which means I have to allow “Men in Black International,” since it’s a further installment in a series and since Tessa Thompson is in it, reuniting with her “Thor: Ragnarok” star Chris Hemsworth.
One of the few firsts for 2019 will be the first Marvel female superhero to get her own film in “Captain Marvel” starring Brie Larson and set in the 1990s. If you’re saying, “but what about ‘Wonder Woman,’” then the distinction between Marvel and DC is lost on you, and honestly, you have your priorities straight — what’s your secret? I want to be more like you.
Moving into 2019, let’s resolve to distinguish less, in general, and read more, in general, as we buttress our souls with movie theater butter.